Monday, June 8, 2009

Day One-Hundred Forty-Eight: Shuffle (renamed: EPIC shuffle!)

Ah, the shuffle-blog.

Callously stolen from Dave's PBB, Shuffle-Blog is what you do when you don't have anything specific to write about (or you're feeling too ADD to write about any specific topic for longer than a paragraph). It's pretty simple: you put on your iPod or WMP or whatever you've got, put it on shuffle, and away you go. You blog about whatever the current song playing makes you think about. It's kind of a stream-of-consciousness thing. Sometimes you say something interesting. Sometimes you fail epically. And I'm pretty out of it today, so my inclination would be to say I'll likely fall closer to the latter of those two options. Regardless, off we go!

(Note: occasionally I'll write for the length of two songs rather than stopping after one, but only if I get really carried away with an idea)

#1: Finale Ultimo from Little Shop of Horrors (Broadway revival recording)
They may offer you fortune and fame, love and money or instant acclaim, but whatever they offer you, don't feed the plants!
The musical film of Little Shop of Horrors was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. I saw it again recently and was mildly disappointed with it, but still fairly pleased overall. The music is fantastic. The muppetry is top of the line. The art direction is actually pretty fantastic, too. And it's a nice Saturday-morning-esque happy ending adventure musical slapstick singing plant story. Right? BUT WAIT! When I was in high school, we did the show the movie was based on, and it differs somewhat from the film version in that....


Here's the thing: I actually really like the original ending. It totally wouldn't have worked in the film adaptation because of the way the characters were portrayed. There were very subtle differences in them, especially in Seymour, for which the off-Broadway ending would not have been appropriate. In the movie, everything happens more or less by accident, and Seymour finally makes the heroic decision to vanquish the vile vine and save the day. Aw, shucks. In the show, however, Seymour remains fairly innocent at first, but in each death he becomes more and more involved. He consciously decided to let the abusive dentist gas himself to death (in the movie he seems hesitant, and then the guy's just dead), then he purposely tricks his manipulating boss into climbing in the plant's mouth (in the film, it's more of an accident), and then he makes the decision to keep feeding the plant because he thinks it's the only way he can get what he wants in life--the love of one particular woman--so of course his choices (or his sin?) take that away, too, killing her before his own vengeful charge ends in his own destruction.

Boo ya! Wages of sin = death, people. Who says there are no more good morality plays?
******END SPOILERS******

#2. Holy Orders (Be Quick and Just Shred) by Powerglove
Not going to lie, I sometimes listen to this track six or seven times in a row. It's a heavy-metal arrangement of a track taken from the PS1 game Guilty Gears XX, or X2, or however your translation decides to say it. I used this piece as Nikolai's rock concert in Hero Squad vs. the Princess Snatchers; I'm 99% convinced it's going to be my Epic Battle music for the second play (tentatively retitled The Hero Squad vs. The Supervillain's Apprentice). I also tend to play this one when I'm writing, as it's inspired at least two stories already (one of which I have no idea how I'll actually pull off, but it will be epic when I do).

Epic. This song is just epic. I love epic things. I hope one day to be an epic thing.

By the way, I found a playlist of all the Guilty Gear XX music on It's really fantastic. I understand the music is really the only thing worthwhile about this game. The actual title of this piece in the game is Holy Orders (Be Just or Be Dead). Clever how the metal-rocking geeks of Powerglove switched that around, isn't it?

Seriously, kids. I know there are lots of video game cover bands out there, but do yourselves a favor and check out Powerglove. Not their obscene website, but their awesome music. Do it. Do it now. I'm running out of things to say about this awesome, epic track. Good, it's ending now.

#3 The Next Big Thing by MxPx
It's someone to tell you who you are, it's someone to tell you what you'll be, someone to show you what you think. It's the next big thing!
I heard this song on an X-Games segment on ESPN 2 once. I can usually enjoy the X-Games if I'm flipping through channels and find them on, but it's not really something I lose sleep waiting for every year. I will say I was fortunate enough to be watching the first time Tony Hawk did a 1080 on the vert ramp. (Was it 1080? Was it just 900? I don't remember, but in keeping with the theme of this shuffle blog, it was EPIC). I also appreciate that Mountain Dew sponsors the X-Games. Mountain Dew: making sure my youth is never too far in the past.

#4 Giggle by Silage
(I know very few of the words to this song. He says "Yup" a couple of times) when I was in high school I bought a ton of CDs. Some of them are (wait for it...) EPIC! Some of them, in retrospect, are more like epic fail. This CD gravitates toward that category. I mean, it's not horrible, but then again it's not that good. It's a fun pop-punk-ska-surf silly CD, but I'm pretty sure it's not nearly as cool as I thought it was when I first got it. Many of the songs are also incredibly short. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's kind of like, "What's the deal, Silage? Stamina issues? Focus problems?"

Then again, I don't know how you can knock any band that likens your walk with God to riding an elephant and occasionally falling off because you wanted to change your shoes.


#5 Track 3 by Orlando and his brother
Been in love with you since the day you knew I wasn't for you, and now you finally turn the page and learn that you were made my queen. It's our story...
I don't actually know what this song is called. It's from a CD of three songs that my friend and coworker Orlando recorded for his bride for their wedding. All the guests got one (and I, who didn't make the wedding, got one anyway). If I were to guess, I'd call this song something like "Our Story" or "It's Our Story." Regardless, it's one of the best romantic/relationship songs I've ever heard.

Yeah. I don't know what else to say, other than I love hearing how couples got together, how they dated, how they got married. You know those couples who you see, and you're just happy for them all the time? You think, "Wow, those kids are REALLY great for each other, and seeing them together makes me happy." This is one of those marriages. I think the world needs more of these types of families. That would go a long way toward improving a lot of this country's issues. Maybe I'll blog some more intelligible thoughts on this idea later. But with my track record, I probably won't. Just wait for the play, people. ;-)

#6 Creed by Rich Mullins
I believe in God the Father, almighty Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our lord
What an awesome song to end with. Know what you believe, folks. Examine your faith and your beliefs every day. If it's not worth spending at least a few minutes a day of serious reflection, it's just not very real. Even if it's rehashing "old territory." One thing that marriage has taught me is that there's no such thing as old territory when you are passionate about something or someone. We all have movies we could watch a million times and still enjoy, books we never grow tired of, or songs we have had been singing for fifteen-plus years. I'm learning that my faith needs to be one of these things. I have a tendency to tune out somewhat when folks recite scripture that I already know by heart. The truth is, however, that when I actually take time to connect, to plug in, to contemplate or meditate on the word of God and the character of God, it is never old territory. It can still be fresh, exciting, and very real and relevant in my world when I allow it to be.

So I'll leave this shuffle with an encouragement: revisit some old ground today. It can be your faith, it can be a friendship you may have begun to take for granted, it can be your family, it can be a life passion that has begun to feel more like a chore than a privilege. Spend some time with that person/activity/idea. Rediscover why you love it/him/her.

Passion. It's epic.