#FridayFive: 07/20/2018

You know the deal–let’s do it:

Teens are Flocking to Youtube to…Study?: If you’re a computer-based office worker like me, one of the most important elements of your workday is background music to drown out the sound of your coworkers loudly calling out to each other. Especially your boss, who has no sense of–oh, that’s just me? Sorry. So yeah, background music is essential. I sometimes listen to podcasts, but when I need to focus just a bit more on the less-data-entry-like aspects of my work, it’s distracting. That’s why this article turned me on to what is becoming a lifesaver in my particularly slammed workdays: lo-fi streams on Youtube.

The Trophy: An Essay on Fatherhood: As the daddy of an…almost-one-year-old [*choking back tears*], essays about fatherhood hit me hard. Goins’ posts are always a good read, including this one.

5 Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective: Another Goins post, this time on the weak/filler words that creep into our writing and water it down.

Why You Don’t Need to Read Those Productivity Guides: Although the author drifts dangerously close to “not having an act is your act” territory, he makes some good points here about “enough,” a word that is almost anathema in productivity discussions.

A Choose-Your-Path Twitter Fairy Tale: This is SO GOOD that I furious with myself for not thinking of it. Every so often, there’s a moment–one shining moment–where we all stop and realize, “hey, social media is actually a pretty cool invention that can bring people together in an interesting way.” I think this is one of those moments.

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Your Turn: Any cool stories or blog posts you want to recommend? Throw ’em in the com-box below!

#FridayFive: Super Song List Edition

Greetings, true believers!

For this week’s #FridayFive, I wanted to do something fun, so we’ll take a listen to five superhero/comic-book-themed songs. There are lots of good choices, but here are five I enjoy:

“Superman Song,” by the Crash Test Dummies — CTD is most well known for their 90’s hit single “Mmm Mmm Mmm” and lead singer Brad Roberts’ bass-baritone growl. However, a friend pointed this track out to me a few years ago, and I found it heart-wrenching and gorgeous. This live performance, years after the band had their big hit and faded into semi-obscurity, seems to carry an extra layer of feeling.

“Web-slinger, Hope-bringer” by Kirby Krackle — I just discovered this guy’s music recently, and I’m becoming a fan. This song is not only a great tune about Peter Parker’s burden of guilt and internal conflict, but it’s just a great rock song.

“Rise Above” by Reeve Carney, Bono, and The Edge — This song is a track from the much-maligned Broadway show, “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.” While the staging and production turned into a bit of the fiasco, some of the music was fantastic, and this track is a great example of that. Carney’s experience as the front-man of his eponymous band gave him the vocal chops needed to be a Broadway singer, and the tune is pure late-90’s/early-2000’s U2 goodness.

“The Ballad of Barry Allen” by Jim’s Big Ego — What I love about this song, other than the fact that it sounds so much like the music I loved back in college, is that it perfectly captures the frustration of Barry Allen (The Flash)–he will always experience life differently from anyone around him, and they’ll never understand how he sees the world.

“Superpowers” by Ookla the Mok — Okay, the last few tracks have been kinda down, so let’s close out with something a little goofier. You want a rock song jam-packed with a ton of both familiar and obscure comics references? Here you go. I was first introduced to this song by Steve Glosson on the “Geek Out Loud” podcast (which you should definitely check out, if you haven’t before). It’s a hoot.

Have a good weekend, gang. Excelsior!

I can name that tune…

Random story, because why not:

More than 20 years ago, when I was in ninth grade…

[Pause to wipe away silent tears as I type those words]

…I had a friend named Chad who was a year behind me. Chad was into much cooler music than I was–though I should quickly clarify that we were both on that “Christian music ONLY” tip, at least at that time. So, Chad was into cooler *Christian* music than I was. In those days, I was still rocking out to early DC Talk (DCT fan since “Nu Thang,” y’all), Carman, MWS, and some of the late-80’s/early-90’s Christian hair-metal-type bands like White Cross, Petra*, and Whiteheart. I know–REAL hardcore.

Meanwhile, Chad was into the nascent Christian alternative scene in the 90’s, as well as other random fun things. While I had heard of this strange beast called “ska” not too long before, Chad bought me my first Five Iron Frenzy CD. He would sometimes mention bands I would pretend to recognize.

Well, Chad made me a mixtape of stuff he thought I would like, and while I remember some stuff on it (FIF, MxPx, Dime Store Prophets, etc.), there was one song I REALLY liked. It was a fun, silly rocker, no deep meanings, just something fast and loud to jam out to on your Walkman. (Remember the Walkman? Classic.)  I probably wore that part of the tape out, rewinding and replaying over and over. (Remember tapes? Remember rewinding?!? Good times.)

Fast-forward to maybe ten years ago. I was trying to recall the song. I could remember random lines of lyrics, but despite my best google-fu, was unable to find the song. We were now in the Youtube era, and I was hoping to find it SOMEWHERE. I had no idea who the band was, and I could only assume on the title. Well, a few years ago, I found it. And as it randomly came to mind today, I pulled up the video.

So, here you go. Please to enjoy, “I Take U Everywhere I Go” by Pushstart Wagon (and I recommend you turn it WAY up):

Is there a point to this story? *shrug* Not really. I just like this song. Maybe you will, too. And if you don’t, that’s cool.

[*Yes, yes, yes, Petra started much earlier–I’m talking about the John Schlitt, “Beyond Belief” era Petra here.]