Sunday, April 26, 2009

Music Moves Me…

That song is so appropriate… How many times have we all said that? A break up… a romance… a memory… a prayer… All seem to float by on the wings of a song. Music is the glue that binds our presents and futures to our pasts. It helps to define our understanding of the world. The words of a song can bring real change. A song, even one I have heard hundreds of times, can bring new meaning to a situation. They can devastate you when you realize that you've been wrong, exhilarate you when they match your current joy, and bring a sad bit of comfort to a "Beautiful Goodbye".

Incidentally, I listened to "Beautiful Goodbye" by Jennifer Hanson about 6 times after I broke up with a good friend. It actually felt right, which is twisted, but true. We weren't meant to be more than friends, and it was sad, but… very very right. Somehow, this song helped me say goodbye to that part of us without real devastation. It was sad, and sweet and fit the situation exactly. There were no angry words, but there was nothing to cling to anymore, and it was best to let each other go. The thing that made this song so right is that it doesn't place blame, there's none to place. It doesn't wish for more, instead it is a way to be thankful for what we had, and for that I will always love it. It reflected who I was, and how I felt that day. Not truly happy, but not truly sad it is a fitting tribute to all that I and my friend had. (As an aside.. I couldn't find a copy of this song's actual music video, so somebody's mashup will have to do, but it does have a decent clean copy of the song, so it's what you get tonight. )

Music is woven throughout our relationships. We always hear about "our song" in movies, books and even real life, and there is a reason… Music is magical. It can carry us to the day we met, or the day we first kissed. It can send us on a journey of the soul, back to the days of "first love", all with the simple unfolding of the melody. A few chords, a couple choice words, are all it takes to draw the memory, make it ours, and new again. The joy of love is difficult to express. Poets, actors, and artists have all brought forth stunning efforts in the defense and explanation of love, but a song is the only medium I have found that can catch the essence of an individual and unique romance. Somehow the simplicity of a song allows people to surround and infuse it with their own feelings, their own hearts. It makes the love immortal, and on some level it makes the song immortal.

"The Song Remembers When" by Trisha Yearwood is a fitting tribute to this role that music plays in our lives, so since I haven't yet found that "our song" with someone, I will share this masterpiece with you instead. (Or at least I would have if the idiot record company would have let me embed the video. The link will take you there though).

Speaking of remembering… do you remember? And that song was playing?.. or We sang that! Songs, even those that are utterly unrelated can be profound reminders of those moments "we will never forget". "I Hope You Dance," played the year I graduated high school. Admittedly, it is the sort of sappy thing you are supposed to remember when it comes to graduation, but it doesn't change the impact it has when I hear it. It still reminds me of the thrill and hope of going to college, moving on, becoming a woman (though to be honest, most days I wonder if I ever really hit that milestone.. I think I am still trying to avoid it, truly.) Or perhaps my memories float to my senior prom with Wes, where the last dance was.. I kid you not.. "American Pie". "Sweet Home Alabama" (sorry, best copy I could find on YouTube) will always be "Sweet Home Maji Modo" (Not sure of the spelling, and never got further than changing that line.. but…) We sang it as we drove into the yard of the first house we stayed in, in the Kenyan "Bush" out with the villagers. "I Can Only Imagine" will forever draw another Kenyan picture to my mind's eye.. it was a fare well dinner in that same village. We cooked, ate goat, shared, prayed and sang with the villagers who had welcomed us so freely into their homes and lives. "So Much Cooler Online," so much fun hanging out at RyanO's house while he DJ'd his internet radio show, "Swingin' Doors". And I still "Cupid Shuffle" every time I turn "to the left" or "to the right" with any of the NABS folks. "Pussycat" has become Missy's personal theme, (with minor alterations)… "Missy cat Missy cat, I love you… Yes I do!" "Manamana" is the car trip song for watching Steve graduate from basic training… Marc and I bonded over a song called "I Hope You Die," by the Bloodhound Gang (It is an awful song, but he played it near constantly, I'm always going to remember it as one of his, and it had a good beat for Audiosurf, which is a great game, so be nice. Also, I'm not really comfortable with this one, so I am not linking to it.. you want it... you find it. I can't help that it reminds me of Marc... and no I don't share the sentiment.. meanies.). So you can see, there are too many to choose, so you won't find them all embedded on my blog here, and it isn't even half my list… but I know you have a list like this too. We all do, and it helps to make us who we are. Most of these memories wouldn't be the same without these songs, and most of these songs would be forgettable enough without these memories, but together? They build a personal soundtrack. They become a musical tribute to who we were, we are, and who we may become.

Finally, I can't count for you the number of times I have been brought to my knees in prayer, and occasionally tears because of a song.. All I can say is that music can be a truly spiritual experience. I have seen it used to teach me many lessons about my relationship with God, and I expect it will be used to teach me many… many more, though there are songs that always stand out as especially relevant, no matter where I stand, and "Canyon Prayer" by Jessi Alexander is certainly one of those songs for me. The first time I heard it… balled like a baby. All right, you people that know me well know that I didn't ball, I don't really cry when stuff hits that deep. I just can't cry, when it really matters… well sometimes, but I usually can't. Anyway, that is not the point of this blog post. I have found many songs that bring me closer to my Savior. They often teach me more than I could have learned from any sermon. I think sometimes the simplicity of music works in its favor when it comes to matters of the spirit. It has the chance to bring one point across in fairly simple and profoundly powerful terms. It doesn't have to be weighed down by argument or rhetoric. It is almost pure emotion. It gives the voice to the deepest longings of the heart. The desire to love, serve, and obey is somehow easier for me to understand when it is put to music. The gift of Jesus' sacrifice is often more real to my soul when it is sung.. He calls us to sing, to praise him with instruments and voice, I have to believe this is why. He loves music as we do, and I believe He knows, better than any how powerful a song can be. This song is powerful for me, and often draws me up short, when I don't wish to go where I ought to be… It reminds me that my loyalties really must belong to Him before all others.

Can't embed this one either.. so "Canyon Prayer."

Music can help us to say goodbye, love a little more deeply, supply a soundtrack to our days, and bring us closer to that we hold most dear. It is profound in its simplicity, and powerfully reminds us of all we are, and long to be. It makes us laugh, and cry, dance, and strive, but most important, it in large part, makes us who we are. I hope that learning a bit about the music that has shaped me will bring you back to your songs "That Remember When".

Friday, April 10, 2009

Super Size Me: Review and Commentary

Hey, tell me I'm not completely late to the party on this one, and I will gladly call you a liar, however, I wanted something to write about, and boy is this it. Wow!.. just wow. First, I will not say that all of this gentleman's research and facts are wrong, nor will I say that it wasn't entertaining, but as a serious education piece, it left more than a bit to be desired.

Are we sure this isn't a "Mockumentary"? The host was not afraid to poke quite a bit of fun at the subject, nor was he afraid that swearing or sexual discussion made his story seem less relevant. I understand that in many ways what he was really trying to put together was more of a "Shockumentary," but it didn't really do it for me. Mr. Spurlock's discussion points, while often, though not always, valid were difficult to swallow in that his style was very preachy, and overblown. I will be the first to admit that I am aware he has his finger pointed directly at people like me. I won't even disagree with the placement of said finger. I am overweight, and much of this is because of my eating and fitness habits, but here's the deal: I made those decisions. Not McDonald's, not KFC, not Blue Bunny, and not Coke. I am the woman that chose to pick up banquet meals for lunch most days at work. I am the woman who usually skips both breakfast and exercise for the five extra minutes of sleep in the morning. I admit it. Am I proud? No, not really. Am I responsible? Absolutely. Do I need a snotty New Yorker calling me out on it? No, thank you.

I feel that Mr. Spurlock, like most documentary producers, had not come into this to test a theory, but to prove a point. He already knew what he expected to find when he started. He may not have expected quite the consequences that he experienced, but on some level, he was expecting something like this to happen. He expected this "experiment" to affect his health and his mood. I can't help but wonder how much of his "mood swings" and "feeling sick" were actually caused by the food, and how much was caused by the idea of the food. I just can't be sure that what he "felt" wasn't merely because he expected to feel it. On the other hand, some of the doctor's reports are fairly scary if they are true. All in all, I just couldn't take the piece seriously.

I know this fairly short "review," doesn't really address any of Mr. Spurlock's discussion points, but that's probably not why you read my blog. If I am guessing correctly, you probably come here because you already know me, and are shocked by the spectacle of me writing anything more than I absolutely have to, and taking the time to ensure proper typing. Really I guess I just needed to see this once in my life, and then I needed to judge it on my blog. I never would have paid to watch it, but it was interesting, though not in an "I want to change my life because of this" sort of way. It was more of a… "Wow, what an arrogant jerk" thing really. However, that being said, this is my first blog post for the month, so we can thank Mr. Spurlock for that. I was casting far and wide for a topic, and he dropped one right in my lap.

So, now that I have made my opinion known on that load of… questionable content, I feel that I must mention that I do feel the need to begin some sort of weight loss plan. Certainly not because of the "documentary" though. It actually came about because I have seen the pictures from the NABS student seminar. I really looked quite a bit larger than I realized, and that makes me unhappy. So, I think first things first, I am going to look into doing a food diary for a while, just to see what I am eating, then if I can afford it, maybe Weight Watchers. If not, well I should be able to come up with something. Those of you who care, feel free to ask me about it, those who don't… well you know what to do.

Good evening for now, and I'll see you all on the flip side.

By the way, if anyone wishes to watch this "cinematic masterpiece" here's the link:

Super Size Me

Have Fun!

(I just found this "response" to the Super Size Me vid on Youtube. It proves two things. First, Youtubers will "respond" to anything that's been promoted or popular, just to get hits. Second, kittens make me much happier than arrogant New Yorkers do. Enjoy!)