Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is my mom's birthday. Visit her blog and wish her a happy birthday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Goodbye, 1985.

I don't know who's driving this bandwagon but I'm getting off here. According to iTunes, Ashlee Simpson's new CD "I Am Me" is inspired by the sounds of the 80's The Cure, Pat Benatar, Billy Idol, and Joan Jett. So here's to all the bands that made that 80's sound popular again. Below is my "New Wave Revival" final playlist, casually collected over the past two years or so: the veterans, the early indicators, the punk rockers, the electropoppers, the blatant imitators, the unknown college bands, and the free downloads of the week. It's been fun. Now I'm going to see Nickel Creek.

(Alphabetically by song)
1251The Strokes
An Honest MistakeThe Bravery
Another Sunny DayBelle and Sebastian
BanquetBloc Party
Black MathThe White Stripes
Blood On Our HandsDeath From Above 1979
Bohemian Like YouThe Dandy Warhols
Bom Bom BomLiving Things
Born Into The WorldSupersystem
C'mon C'monThe Von Bondies
Can't Stand Me NowThe Libertines
Carpe DiemNebula
ChicagoSufjan Stevens
Club FootKasabian
CosmopolitanNine Black Alps
Danger ZoneGwen Stefani
Decent Days And NightsThe Futureheads
Desperate GuysThe Faint
Eleanor Put Your Boots OnFranz Ferdinand
Everybody's ChangingKeane
Fall Behind MeThe Donnas
Float OnModest Mouse
Freedom FightersThe Music
Girl, You Have No Faith In MedicineThe White Stripes
Good SonsStarflyer 59
Gray GhostThe Fever
Hello? Is This Thing On?!!! Chk Chik Chick
Hung UpMadonna
I Love You 'Cause I Have TooDogs Die In Hot Cars
I Predict A RiotKaiser Chiefs
I'd Rather Dance With YouKings Of Convenience
Jerk It OutCaesars
Kissing The LiplessThe Shins
Love In A TrashcanThe Raveonettes
MapsYeah Yeah Yeahs
Me Plus OneAnnie
My CocoStellastarr*
Never WinFischerspooner
No RevolutionThe Explosion
One Of These DaysDoves
Ooh La LaGoldfrapp
Over And Over Again (Lost And Found)Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Publish My LoveRogue Wave
Reason Is TreasonKasabian
Rebellion (Lies)Arcade Fire
ReptiliaThe Strokes
Shot DownNine Black Alps
Slow HandsInterpol
Somebody Told MeThe Killers
Soul Meets BodyDeath Cab For Cutie
Spitting GamesSnow Patrol
Still In Love SongThe Stills
StopBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club
Take Me OutFranz Ferdinand
The Air Near My FingersThe White Stripes
The RatThe Walkmen
The Sound Of SettlingDeath Cab For Cutie
The W.A.N.D.The Flaming Lips
Time Is Running OutMuse
TKOLe Tigre
UnconditionalThe Bravery
Walk Idiot WalkThe Hives
Walking With A GhostTegan and Sarah
Warning SirenTiefschwarz & Matty Safer
We Used To Be FriendsThe Dandy Warhols

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dump Truck + Going Fast + Concrete Wall = Fun

Testing the strength of the concrete barrier used to protect government buildings. The 65,000 lb truck is going 50 mph.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Coupla fast bikes.

I'd like to know what these guys eat for breakfast.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friends Worth Keeping

Meet the Muller family. From the left: Kaley, Deanne, Carol, Brooke, and Dan Muller.

Dan and I have been friends for so long, I can see the family resemblance in his kids. I met Danny in my first grade class, when he was just a little guy and his favorite word was “eyeball”.

We became best friends in third grade. He was a goofy, pesky kid; I was shy and withdrawn. Rejection from the social order cemented our relationship, in fact, for a few years it was pretty much the foundation of it. To be friends with us was to be a social outcast, so no one bothered to be our friend. I think we actually liked it that way, because we both feared that if a third person joined us, one of us would get left out.

Things changed a bit when I was home-schooled in seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. Dan faced middle school alone, along with all the problems that come with it. But we had a paper route together, and Danny never hesitated to let me know all the things that were going on in his life. I think it was during this time that Danny became interested in spiritual things, and he often called on me for guidance. I always tried to answer the best I knew how, even though I had many questions myself.


The paper route ended in tenth grade, and Danny’s father’s job transferred him to Minnesota at the start of our Junior year in high school. For three years, the only communication we had was one letter from him (I don’t remember if I ever wrote back) and a few phone calls. As I graduated from high school and left for college, I thought the time we had as friends was drawing to a close.

Unbeknownst to me, Danny grew up in those three years in Minnesota. Alone in a strange place, Dan soon found himself a social outcast. But he was determined not to let a repeat of New York happen there. He gained a reputation as a fighter, and with it, the self-respect that empowered him to move on from his past and create an identity he could be proud of.

I got a call toward the end of my Freshman year of college that Dan was getting married, and that I was to be in his wedding. I took a train out to St. Paul that summer, and met Dan at the station. He had become a stocky guy with a job as a garbage man. I met his new friends and his fiancée, and saw his apartment and the nice house his parents had moved into. But once again, when we were alone our main topic of conversation was spiritual things. Dan explained that there were a lot of different religions there in Minneapolis, and he informed me that he had become interested in Wicca.


Dan called me during my Senior year of college, saying that he had been trying to lead his father to Christ. At first I was taken back by his statement, but it became clear to me in our conversation that he had become a Christian. At what time I can’t say, but it may have been as far back as the paper route days. I made it a priority after I graduated to go and visit him and his family out in Minnesota.

I took the trip in late August of this past year. We spent a week together, cramming as much activity into it as possible. We must’ve watched a half-dozen movies, went to the State Fair, went to the Renaissance Festival (where it always rains no matter what), made a couple of bonfires, shopped at the Mall of America, went to a Tagine show, and a whole bunch of other things, basically cramming two weeks into one. I had a great time with his kids. Carol and Kaley are two of the smartest and most sociable three and four-year-olds that I have ever met. How many three-year-olds can make a conversation with complete sentences and paragraphs? I would make the trip again just to see them. When the topic turned to spiritual things, we had to admit that neither of us were as close to God as we should be. I was encouraged though, that Dan has found a great church that he attends about once or twice a month.

I developed my definition of a good friend on that last trip to visit Dan. It’s a simple one: a good friend is someone who doesn’t want to see you leave. That’s really what being friends is about, just relishing the time you have together. Maybe it’s because I have so few really good friendships that I especially cherish this one. Not many people are blessed to have a childhood friend that stays your friend into adulthood. I count myself among the very blessed.