Monday, April 30, 2007

Dark Lord Day 2007

As it turns out, the #2 rated beer in the entire world (at least according to one list) is brewed at Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, IN - a mere 1.5 hour drive from my home. To make this even more interesting, the brew is available only ONE DAY A YEAR for purchase - Dark Lord Day - from said brewery.

The beer at hand is the Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout. I could go into a weighty review from my own palate - but that would just be too geeky - so here is the excellent description from the bottle's label:

Dark Lord is a gargantuan Russian Style Imperial Stout, with a reverse cascading head that starts out billowing the color of burnt oil like the Dark Lord rising from the black primordial beginnings. Its Resonant vinous aroma has been described as cherries, sweet malt, molasses, burnt currants, plums with a port wine alcohol undertow. Mochachino notes buried within. Motor oil consistency, hellishly smooth yet divinely burnt and vinous. The first sip coats your palate with a palatial charred fruit and chocolate blanket. Alcohol burn wiggles its way down your throat with a thick body.

(and by the way, is this stuff is viscous! It haaaaaangs on the glass like nothing you've ever seen.)

I attended the event with 3 good friends, all of whom have a similar tastes for hoity-toity beers (cough, beer snobs all of us, cough). The line was about 4 hours to purchase the stuff - at $15 per wax-sealed bottle. Doors opened at noon and there had to be at least 1,500-2,000 people go through the line before I left (around 4 pm). There were also picnic tables set up all around with open bottles of home-brews and BYOBs that anyone could walk up and sample. I got to try a number of beers that I had been wanting to try for some time.

So does the Dark Lord live up to its hype? Definitely. It's not every day you get to taste something as wickedly complex and delicious as this thing is. Especially since I only bought three - and they have to last until next year.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Revisit: The Bad Plus

A few months ago I raved about picking up a CD by "The Bad Plus." I just found one of their vids on YouTube... One of the most killer songs by one of the most kick-ass groups I've ever heard:

By the way, their new release "prog" (available May 8) features covers of Rush, Tears for Fears, Bowie, and more. This album is going to rock.

BONUS: Here's a really fun (and funny) video behind-the-scenes of the new album:

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Great Chorus

Last week this song popped up on my Digital Cable's Classic Rock station. Really diggin' the chorus lyrics...

Don't be so hard on yourself
'cause you didn't change the world,
you can't change the world, oh no.
Just be.

"Just Be"
by Styx and the Contemporary Youth Orchestra

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Warrior's Approach

"If we hope to open our heart to all of the world, we must leave nothing out. Freedom and awakening are only found exactly where we are. If we wish to love God we must also learn to love each of His creations - including ourselves, in all our complexity and imperfection. " (Jack Kornfield in "After the Ecstacy, the Laundry")

"I am large, I contain multitudes." (Walt Whitman)

Lately, I've wanted things to go my way. I get frustrated - significantly and ridiculously frustrated - when this should be that, and this thing should go that way. In fact I've been pretty down for a while because I've had this image in my head of the way things should be (ie, "I really need more free time," "Why can't I keep on top of the things I need to do," etc.).

But it's starting to dawn on me (thanks in part to the Kornfield book mentioned above) - I've compartmentalized and segmented "what is." I'm playing favorites with all of "God's creations" when I choose a clean car over a messy car, a simple schedule over a busy schedule, happiness over sadness - actually anything over anything else. It is all part of, as Zorba the Greek put it, "the whole catastrophe." Failures, stresses, messes, and negativity are no less part of the whole that makes up LIFE.

Peace is seeing perfection in what is rather than what you/I think it should be. Peace is acceptance of messy emotions and unforeseen circumstances. Peace is seeing the divine in an unmowed yard or half-finished project. Peace is surfing on top of life's wave of up and downs, rather than drowning in it.

This isn't fatalism or an excuse to cease trying to do or change anything. But it is a mature response when your attempts are futile or when things don't go as planned. It is a surrender to let life unfold as it will.

"The warrior's approach is to say "yes"to life: "yea" to it all.” (Joseph Campbell)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Unstuck in time" - but stuck in our hearts

My favorite fictional writer, Kurt Vonnegut, has died. Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat's Cradle in particular are two of my favorite books that I still enjoy each time I read.

Time magazine did a very nice write-up on Mr. Vonnegut.

Thanks for the imaginative stories, Kurt!


Who / what exactly do you mean when you say the word I? Where is your ego? Who is the one behind your eyes?

Alan Watts suggests that when you say "I", what you are referring to is a muscular contraction... that tightness in the body, that "pulling yourself together," that certain, always-on unsatisfactoriness or baseline anxiety.

Release. Then release further. That tight "I" will unfold. The line between "I" and environment will blur. Exhale, there is peace and all is right with the world.

Monday, April 09, 2007

God, I Love Good Music

My new favorite musical obsession is the band MUTE MATH. Muth Math is formed from the ashes of Earthsuit - a Christian band from about 6-8 years ago that I was totally into. Now they've gone mainstream, have a new album and are about the freshest, most entertaining band I've been enjoying lately.

Watch this live performance from the Craig Ferguson Show. Make sure you watch it all the way through and see all that plays out (yes, he rocks a Key-tar). This is one of my favorite songs of theirs... what a great Chorus.

If that wasn't enough for you, watch their music video for "Typical." Not my favorite song, but the video concept is great (it was filmed completely in reverse).

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Failing and Falling

I heard this poem read on the Writers Almanac on NPR this week and, though its themes are pretty standard, the phrasing, pacing and word choices are beautiful. This is great poetry.

Failing and Falling by Jack Gilbert

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Well, it's been some time since I've been here regularly, so here's a quick update. I hope to get back into the swing of blogging starting... today!

1.) It seems like all my free time is spent performing/practicing with Waltz for Venus or Pink Noise - though both bands are a lot of fun and I'm really enjoying myself.

2.) I got a new computer at work and it's pimptastic - including a 24" flatscreen from Dell.

3.) I picked up one mother-of-a synthesizer/keyboard - the 88-weighted-key Korg Triton Extreme.

4.) My wife likes update lists as well.

5.) Kalli, Amy and I went to the park on Monday. Click here for some cute pictures of the kid.

6.) I'm sorry for not visiting ya'lls pages recently. But I'm going to... right now.