Giving Thanks in 2009

I’m glad that there is a holiday dedicated to giving thanks because, quite frankly, I’ve done a very poor job of being thankful this year. It has not been the easiest of times and amidst all the anxiety, exhaustion, and stress, I’ve had a hard time focusing on anything that is not urgent. That’s why Thanksgiving couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I need a couple of days to step back from it all and remember what I and my family have been blessed with.

  • I’m thankful to God for keeping all of us in good health and in a safe place to live. I’m thankful we have the freedom to do as we please and worship as we please.
  • I’m thankful for my beautiful, hard-working, and very patient wife. I know I’ve not been the easiest person to live with lately and I’m glad she still comes home every night and instead of fleeing elsewhere. I’m thankful she can still make me laugh even after the most frustrating and discouraging day.
  • I’m thankful for two healthy beautiful girls. It’s hard to believe that two years ago this time they were so small and fragile, but they are starting become strong and develop inquisitive, loving personalities. I’m thankful that they are no longer one year olds and I’m especially thankful that in a year they will no longer be two-year olds. I’m thankful that spending time watching them is finally starting to feel less like work and more like play.
  • Whatever I say about my job, I’m thankful to still be employed. I’m thankful that I am still able to provide for my family and that I’m challenged daily with problem solving and tests on my creativity.
  • I’m thankful that we are in a stable financial state and able to put a bounty of food on our table tomorrow for Thanksgiving. We will be eating like royalty and we must not forget that not every one will be so fortunate.
  • I’m thankful for family that enjoys getting together for the holiday. I’m thankful that Adriene loves my parents and I love her parents and that my parents and her parents enjoy seeing each other. I’m thankful that we have no drama at family gatherings and we have a good time.
  • I’m thankful for music and art that still inspires me and spurs me on to be creative, even if I don’t have much time to implement anything lately.
  • I’m thankful that there are better days to come yet. In the short term, there will be Christmas and a New Year. In the long term, there will be soccer games, dance recitals, family vacations and more.

Birthday, Etcetera.


Last year I had said that I don’t really like to make a big deal out of my birthday and that’s still mostly true. This year, all we did was travel out to Gwinnett to visit my parents and take the girls to a fun Halloween party and see some old friends. The next day, we enjoyed a nice breakfast and then traveled out to visit my grandmother. For me, that’s a pretty good birthday weekend. As it turned out, though, my birthday ended up stretching to the next weekend. Adriene’s parents came into town and wanted the celebrate my birthday and I sure wasn’t going to deny them. With a Mute Math concert and a game between Georgia Tech and Wake Forest added in, this turned into a very busy weekend.

Adriene and I didn’t know when we got tickets for the Mute Math show at the Tabernacle that the band would be filming a live DVD. I have to admit that I was expecting a little bit of a letdown for this show. I saw the band three times on the previous tour and I loved it each time, but I feared that it would be more of the same show that I saw before. Instead, we got a whole new set of material from their new album Armistice and some cool new tricks by the band. Among all of the cameras recording the band, they threw one contained in a ball into the crowd and let everyone throw it around. I’m sure that will be some fun footage. I hadn’t really had time to listen to the new album, but it sounded great in the show and it’s getting a lot of airplay now around the house in in my car. I really didn’t expect the show to be so great, but it exceeded all expectations.

Surprisingly, I still had some energy left in the tanks the next morning and we took the girls down for a tailgate before the Georgia Tech-Wake Forest. Georgia Tech has decided we are undesirables and forced us out of our normal tailgate location, but the park on the 5th Street bridge proved the be adequate. We enjoyed re-introducing the girls to many of our friends and they enjoyed the nice fall weather. When Adriene’s parents arrived, the girls were overjoyed. Mom and dad didn’t mind the extra help, either. For the game, Adriene and her mom took the girls home and I went to the game with Adriene’s dad. Give Wake Forest all the credit in the world. They played about as well as they could and nearly pulled the game off, pushing Tech to overtime. However, Head Coach Paul Johnson showed why he is quickly becoming a legend on The Flats. In Overtime, down 27-24 on 4th and 1 on the 3 yard line, Johnson asked QB Josh Nesbitt, “Can you get that first down?” Nesbitt replied, “I know I can.” and Johnson said, “I know you can, too.” How can you not want to play for a coach like that? First down. Touchdown on the next play. Game Over. This season is starting to turn into something special and I’m glad to be along for the ride. Happy Birthday, indeed.

Paramore, Paper Route, and Copeland

Maybe I don’t feel bad about being the only adult in a room of screaming teenagers (well, other than the parents that brought the teenagers) because there is something more to Paramore. Oh sure, they are teenage punk and angst and all that. But where other bands have a lot of style and trendy outfits and such, Paramore is all business. Singer Hayley Williams jumps out on stage in a black shirt and jeans and that’s it. No costume changes, no clothes you wouldn’t want to see your daughter in, it’s just straight out rock. Jeremy Davis, the Brothers Farro (Zac and Josh), and Taylor York don’t leap all across the stage and make rock star poses, they just pound out chord after chord and bludgeon the crowd a post-hardcore/punk/rock drive. The kids may dig it, but this stuff isn’t that far off from 1979. The lyrics are all righteous anger about all the things the kids hate from authorities: arrogance, lying, and distrust with a little dose of comfort mixed in between.

While Adriene may have been there to see Paramore, I was actually there for the opening band. I discovered Paper Route a couple years ago, but this is the year that they have made the quantum leap to one of my favorite bands. If you haven’t heard my bather on about their fabulous album Absence, you haven’t talked to me much lately. What I love about this band is that live in concert, they take an album that’s mostly electronica sounds and give it a hard rock sound and deliver the goods without much in the way of pre-recorded gadgets. Powerful drum ensembles by the entire band replace the drum loops on the album. They played mostly songs from their new album, picking one or two from their previous EP’s. The little teenagers standing behind us (each dressed ridiculous and annoying as teenage girls can be) didn’t like them at all, but much of the crowd did, and I figure if I’m liking something that annoying teenage girls don’t, then I’m doing something right.

In other news, I saw earlier this week that the band Copeland was calling it quits. I’m sad to hear that news. They were a band that came about in the early part of this decade when boy bands, divas, and post-grunge still dominated radio and went the other direction, introducing beautiful melodies and the piano back into music. Much like other bands such as Coldplay or The Fray, they were part of the knife edge that pushed music in a new direction. Had I been eighteen when Beneath Medicine Tree was released, I have a feeling it would have been one of my favorite albums ever. As it was when it came out, I was a little older, a little more secure in my romantic life and my personal identity, but the album still resonated with that inner teenager, that one that would’ve probably gone to that Paramore show, too. I hadn’t liked their last two albums as much, but I thought the show they played at Cornerstone Festival this past year was once of the best I’ve seen by Copeland, I’m sad to see them go the way that all good bands, save the occasional U2, seem to go.