Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
It's 2011. What albums from last year are you still listening to? Hopefully there is at least one album in your that made it past the holiday season.
Here's my list of albums from last year that I still listen to pretty regularly.
From least to most:
10. She & Him - Volume Two (a good one to listen to with the mrs.)
9. Joanna Newsom - Have One on Me
8. Surfer Blood - Astro Coast (sometimes you just need some good surf rock!)
7. Beach House - Teen Dream (this would be higher on the list, but I don't actually own it. I do stream it pretty often though.)
6. Sufjan Stevens - Age of Adz
5. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
4. The National - High Violet (early in 2011 this would have been #1 or #2, but then I got less moody and got married)
3. Vampire Weekend - Contra (my wife likes this album a lot. we listen to it quite a bit.)
2. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest (i have often left this album in my car for a week at a time.)
1. LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening (seriously, I can't get enough of LCD Soundsystem.)
There probably aren't too many surprises here. It's kinda a list of essential hipster albums of last year (minus Kanye and Big Boi, probably). If you've missed out on any of these albums, however, I highly recommend them. Buying last years albums is also not a bad choice if you have a used record store nearby; people often trade them in for the new releases. Don't count on being able to find really popular albums used, though. Good luck ever finding a copy of Merriweather Post Pavillion used in Utah.
Friday, May 27, 2011
1&2 by drummermlw
I might extend it to be a whole song, and if I do I'll probably give it some real lyrics.
I really just want a good dance beat.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
The irony of it all is that the act of producing such a work might not itself be the source of fulfillment. Could it be that making those works is not life, but rather the reflections and philosophies of a life well-lived? Behind the subject of every painting and the thesis of every paper is a creator who lives a human life. Their works give us more insight into the human condition, but what is the relationship between the life and fulfillment of the creator and the work they produce? Does living a good life require one to philosophize and produce some great insight? If not, why do I feel the urge to create something that will be of value to mankind? Is it a matter of pride and validation, or is it something more noble? Is this feeling general? Does the creation and nurturing of a family satisfy these needs?
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Dorothy says there's no place like home.
Why can we not just live in the world of the abstract? Why is it important to be connected to the concrete world in some way? Is there really such a divide? Where does that divide fall? What is the concrete world, anyway? Will Dorothy and Toto ever make it back home to Kansas? The answer to the last question is yes. I'll try to address some of the others.... now.
I have often felt annoyed by the dichotomy of the abstract and the concrete and the dominant role that the abstract holds in the world today. Sometimes I feel that life would be the most enjoyable if I could just live in the concrete world and be a sustenance farmer, but usually these feelings are replaced by a sense of responsibility to 1) use the gifts and opportunities I've received and become a leader and 2) choose a life course that will enable me and my family to function easily in today's modern world. My reasons are not important. I share my feelings to point out that by feeling this way, I recognize that the ideas and disciplines that govern the world really are abstract, as Dorothy Smith argued. To be the man I want to be, engaging in abstract dialogue seems to be a necessary part. I suppose this idea is debatable, but I have yet to find a satisfactory alternative.
Accepting the existence of an abstract reality (ha, please notice the irony) and its supremacy in social and economic power does not eliminate our dependence on the concrete world, however. Not only do I feel a strong desire to be connected with the world in which I live, but I also find it necessary to sustain life. Looking past mere survival though, why else might we feel inclined to be more united with the “real” world of the concrete? Why do I feel that strong desire? I would suggest that one reason might be the different effects that abstract and concrete worlds have on people and their relations.
To engage in a dialogue in the abstract world requires training. It is inherently exclusive. Practicing law, for example, requires an undergraduate education, a law school education, and certification to practice law in a given state. Anyone can represent themselves in a court of law, but to do so effectively requires special training, and to do so professionally in behalf of another absolutely requires it. As students of the abstract progress further and deeper in their field of study, they find themselves increasingly alienated from those who do not reside in the same region of abstract space. If they travel far enough, they will find themselves utterly alone, speaking a language of one. Off in the distance they may see friends with whom they had once shared a common space, but they will see that these friends have also forged their own divergent paths leading to equally isolating spaces. Such is the phenomenon of Mathematicians who are unable to communicate with other mathematicians who reside in different areas of the “same” field.
In contrast to the abstract world, the world of the concrete is inherently inclusive and edifying. Feeding another person; caring for another's wounds; dressing a child; all of these actions belong in the real world, and are inherently for people. Real people. I do not believe it is coincidence that one of the most basic and successful social gatherings is a shared meal. In the act of eating together we find universal common ground. Diet restrictions aside, when we eat together we recognize that each of us are alike in that we need food to live and we find the experience pleasurable. Likewise, things like food or clothes are some of the most common gifts because of their universal applicability. Everyone is a partaker of these things in some form or another.
Though there is admittedly some abstract influence in the way we live in the concrete world, the final product or result is always something appreciated and understandable to all. I do not know all of the knowledge necessary for the construction of a well-designed and stable house, but I can still appreciate the finished product. As someone who lives in a house, I find relevance in the discipline of home-building. It includes me. This home fulfills a need, a need that most would argue to be universal.
In summary, the divide between abstract and concrete is a divide between alienation and edification. Things that alienate are abstract, and things that relate to people in a physical way are concrete. Though abstract occupying spaces does not necessarily prevent our social interaction, it is its inherent nature to be exclusive in some way and necessarily excludes to someone. The extent of its exclusiveness depends on its distance from the concrete world and its distance from common abstract space. Concrete things, in addition to satisfying the demands of survival, have greater potential to fulfill social needs and desires because of their universality and thus, inherent inclusiveness. Like Dorothy said, there is, quite literally, no place like home.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
How would you treat others, if every other person were you? Love thy neighbor as thyself? It's the old axiom with a dramatic new perspective. I like it.