The Rentals + Ozma

Wow.  It’s going to be hard to come up with the proper words.  Words that will do these guys justice, words that will properly describe the emotion, passion, and energy of these two bands are not easily formed.

I was a teenager when I first heard The Rentals, shortly after their first album, Return of the Rentals.  Stacks of vintage synths, Orange Amplifiers, and 5, 6, or 7 musicians colliding in danceable and incredible sonic goodness.  Eventually, you can pull your nose out of liner notes and go to a show.

For me, it was around 10 years before this dream could come to fruition.  If the Rentals were ever around the Southeast (it was really rare) it just didn’t work out for me.  When the news surfaced that Matt Sharp had put together a group to do some Rentals songs, I was stoked, but cautious with my expectations.

This group blew me away.  Matt’s stage presence (you may remember seeing him in the early days of Weezer) is terrific.  There’s a world he enters when he steps on the stage that really renews my hope in show business.  Not just Matt; Laura Chipman, Ben Pringle, Sara Radle, Dan Joeright, and Rachel Haden can’t be matched for stage presence, talent, and the ability to follow carefully choreographed mid-song instrument switches.  Rachel played all 7 keyboards at one time or another.  She picked up the Bass several times, acoustic guitar, the small mic’ed set of bells on occasion; sang beautifully. Laura played the Violin, 3 or 4 of the keyboards, and sang in perfect harmony with Matt and Rachel.  Sara too: all over the keys, singing beautifully.  Dan, the drummer, appropriately stayed in royal command of the rhythm.  As a drummer, I can appreciate the feat of being in the rhythm section with three different bassists in one evening.  Ben: WOW.  Ben blew us all the way.  He started in the ‘synth cave’ played bass, guitar, trombone, lap steel, and didn’t miss a beat on any of those.  He had energy that, like Matt’s, makes me want to present a video of this show to other people who grace stages all over the world.

They played old Rentals songs, an old Weezer B-Side, and even Lou Reed’s Take a Walk on the Wild Side.  The news (from the end of the show) is that Matt reported a forthcoming album.  Sweet.

Ozma was terrific too.  After a two year hiatus, they decided to come back and give it another shot. They’re really on top of their game. Their set was tight, and they played a lot of good ol’ songs.  Since I’ve seen Ozma twice before, I won’t be able to ramble like an idiot (see above) about them.  That shouldn’t diminish their show though – it was unbelievable.  They weren’t too clear about their plans for after this tour is over.  I tried to pry but didn’t get any solid answer about forthcoming albums, but I suspect that we’ll see more of Ozma.

Great time.  Great show.  I’m easy to excite, but these guys didn’t leave anything to chance.

New Blog

I’ve decided to create another blog to differentiate subject matter. The crowd I’ve attracted to space-age wasteland is largely addicted to productivity methods, GTD, gmail, and other geekery and hackery (I’m a blogger, I may coin words as I please).

For my new ministry and work in keynotes for youth events and for my liturgical music, I’ve created It’s certainly not meant to be exclusive but they say that guys like to compartmentalize.

That’s all (for now).

Bingbit Update

So why have I been quietly calculating my next move?

First, some details on what’s different about bingbit.

  1. Old: Liturgical music publishers charge a per copy license for music and separate the licensing from mechanical reproduction: costly.
    bingbit: Parish Licensing Program allows music ministers and worship leaders to purchase a combination copy-limited piece of music and an annual license to perform the music: much cheaper.
  2. Old: The same liturgical music publishers charge a monthly fee for publications to make suggestions for songs to play on a given Sunday (songs out of their library, more often that not).
    bingbit: The unique sharebit (FREE) resource offers suggestions from many publishers (including, but not limited to bingbit). Ideas for this resource are contributed and managed by the community.
  3. Old: Publishers are often forced to focus on the business and the marketing much like major music labels are.
    bingbit: Focuses on the liturgy and on the music. We don’t focus on bottom line and management of overhead.

Sharebit is free, and each bingbit song on the annual Parish Licensing Program costs $0.99. That’s less than a dollar. Make all the copies you need for your musicians. Play the song as many times as you need. Renew it if you need it next year. All of the music is downloadable as a PDF lead sheet and many titles already have recordings (if you need some help learning it).

Sharebit is in alpha stage right now. I hope to have a public beta version when things around my parish get started up in September, but I’m waiting on a few functions to be integrated. The public bingbit site is still missing some major graphical components but I hope to launch it around the same time.

With everything going on, it’s been hard to manage development of these two properties. It’s been hard enough to just get a few songs onto the bingbit store at lulu. In fact, I’ve turned over all of the functional development to my friend Jonathan, who has also been quite busy with his own work.

So you’ve got my whole plan now. Not much I can do to stop myself now, huh?

More eBay Auctions

Unfortunately, the mandolin didn’t meet the reserve on eBay, and didn’t sell. Much to my surprise, there were no bids in the last 12 hours of the auction. Maybe I’ve got a disordered view of the way eBay works.

Despite this setback, I’ve got two more auctions going on right now to see if eBay can redeem itself.

The first is a Yamaha SW1000XG sound card. It originally retailed for about $800 and as of this writing there is one $0.99 bid in, with no reserve. This sound card is supposed to be the bees pajamas, but I’ve never actually used it.

The other is a Belkin parallel data switch (yeah, really) that happens to still be in the original box. Again, the opening bid is $0.99 and there’s no reserve.



…Seems to be the theme of the day. I did a good job catching up on my Google Reader subscription list last evening. Then when I opened my Google home page this morning, the only two new entries were both entitled “Belief”.

At first, I was really scared. I thought someone was trying to tell me something – someone was challenging my faith.

Then, I realized that Gene reads the same blogs (Seth’s for instance) that I do.

In case you’re too lazy to click:

People don’t believe what you tell them.

They rarely believe what you show them.

They often believe what their friends tell them.

They always believe what they tell themselves.

Where does faith fit into this? At what point does the ‘faith of our fathers’ become what our hearts start telling us? How does evangelizing differ from marketing?

Uncle Widget (the real deal)

I’ve got big plans for Uncle Widget.

What started as a way to replace the horribly pedestrian music that continuously played in my daughters’ rooms has become a core component in my vocational adventure.

The first CD, Bedtime on Mars is meant to foster peace and creativity in your sleeping child. It gets them accustomed to the orchestration of harmonies, rhythm, and it helps block out the threat of incidental noise. The idea is that if they’re accustomed to regular sounds the interruptions of incidental, irregular sound will go unnoticed.

The second CD will be a playtime and dance CD. I’m working on this music now.

After that, I plan on following my oldest daughter’s learning process – focusing on the State standards for curriculum.

Check out the CD, and if you’re an iPod wielding parent, or if your kid has a MacBook Pro in their room, the CD is also available on the iTunes Music Store:

Uncle Widget - Bedtime On Mars

eBay of the Week (100th post to SAW)

Washburn M3SW MandolinCheck out this Washburn M3SW Mandolin on eBay.

And stay tuned for another personal status update from me!

And a big round of applause for making it to the big 100th post.

Almost 18 months after I started… I’m (mostly) still here.

Also, please check out Zack Scott Reports. Zack paid large sums of money for me to compose his theme song, and he deserves the marketing. These reports are actually quite amusing.

My Current Career

I haven’t talked much about my career. I’ve got a pretty good theory as to why this is. When I was in software, piddling unfulfilled in a cubicle all day, I had plenty to complain about. Now I don’t have time to complain because I’m busy doing the work that I absolutely love.

What do I do? I’m a youth minister. I’m entrusted with entertaining, enlightening, and listening to high-school aged teenagers.

A large part of my work play is marketing (which I really love in the small-scale sense that I do it).

An even bigger chunk is learning (learning about stuff I love – theology, history, and the ministry of Christ).

And the most fun I get to have is the time I get to mentor, teach, speak, sing, hang out, and talk with the young people. There’s so much they can teach me about life and how I don’t have to get old.

…but wait, there’s more

I’ve just recently decided that I’m being strongly called to being a guest speaker/musician/singer/storyteller (I’ve got to get a shorter name for it – comment if you’ve got something). The idea is that I’ll come share my stories, insights, and music with participants at youth rallies, retreats, conferences, etc.. This sort of thing really excites me. I’ve been in youth ministry (in some form) for the past 6 years (I’m 27), and I’ve been playing liturgical music for the past 15 years. I’ve taught executive training courses, middle school, and elementary school.

The trouble is, I don’t really know how to get started. The first gig is always the toughest to get “well where have you done this before?” One lucky part is that I have a captive audience of teenagers that are very supportive of me. Teenagers are honest. They also have very little tolerance for mediocrity.

Here I go again into uncharted waters…

Family Life July ’06

As promised, and update on the family:

  1. It’s a… Ok, so we won’t know the sex of the baby for another 2 weeks, but Cindy and I are expecting our third child in December!
  2. What do you DO all day? Mom works at home with the kids, and I’m working at home. Since I’ve got some flexibility in hours, we occasionally will take a trip to the zoo or go on a shopping excursion. Note that lately, these have been infrequent because it’s so hot. Note, too, that when the weatherman claims that it’s 165 degrees with the heat index, don’t step outside lest you melt.
  3. This update was short. I really just wanted to make sure everyone know I was gonna be a daddy (again). I really do love fatherhood – even after getting peed on at the 4th of July festivities.

Clear Like Tar

Contrary to my normal behavior, I’ve been a stranger lately. Not just because I haven’t been communicating much. When I have communicated, it hasn’t been deep. So I’m going to treat everyone to a few posts that are deep.

  • Family Life – what’s new with the family?
  • Career – it’s funny how I don’t complain when I’m enjoying it.
  • Uncle Widget – what’s the real story, what’s the process?
  • Bingbit – why I’ve been quietly calculating my next move.
  • …much much more! Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks.

I started this blog over a year ago. My modus operandi is sharing. I just haven’t been fully utilizing this venue lately.

I’ll be back soon!