is he cute or is he british?

The Best Idea You Ever Had?

Posted in Uncategorized by steve carroll on October 21, 2010

10/22/98
The best idea I have ever had was in the summer of 1996 in about August. I was at my friend’s house and we wanted to go sledding but there was no snow. So we took a huge 3×3 foot styrofoam box. It was hollow. We had his dad cut a hole in the top and got in, but it didn’t work.

i’m giving you a mixtape (part 2)

Posted in Uncategorized by steve carroll on April 8, 2010

2. Death Cab For Cutie
“Brothers on a Hotel Bed”
[Atlantic; 2005]

“Brothers on a Hotel Bed” turns the longing for longevity in relationships on its head. Gibbard, Death Cab’s frontman, brings up portent questions about growing old with someone – what happens when beauty fades and sex no longer remains? Will memories be enough to carry us, and will we stay in love, even if your face falls off?

You may tire of me as our December sun is setting because I’m not who I used to be No longer easy on the eyes these wrinkles masterfully disguise
the youthful boy below … Cause now we say goodnight from our own separate sides Like brothers on a hotel bed

3. Arcade Fire
“My Body is a Cage”
[Merge; 2007]

For a solid year, Win Butler and his wife wrote a song every day. During that time, they converted a church in Canada into a home and music space, and purchased a cathedral organ to add to their impressive texture palette and expansive ruckus.

“My Body is a Cage” is a slow burning build from start to finish, the groove of the song waiting to kick in halfway through. This only enhances Butler’s examination of his own bodily entrapment while the whole world watches him perform.

4. The Frames
“What Happens When the Heart Just Stops”
[Overcoat / Plateau; 2001]

Hansard’s gem from The Birds is a fitting companion to the poems in It’s Not You, It’s Me. It speaks to the aftermath of relationships; when “the heart gives up / but the body goes on living / the blood crawls to a slow and stops / and floats away.” The reality with any relationship for Hansard is that it ends in his own disappointment.

5. Jars of Clay
“Oh My God”
[Essential; 2006]

Not many songwriters in this generation are concerned with issues of systemic injustice, let alone start successful nonprofits like Blood Water Mission, which builds wells in Africa. Nor do they write sprawlers that exegete errs of our age – lusting after riches, ignoring the downtrodden, and oppressing the poor.

As the midsection of his lament goes silent, Haseltine gives voice to the voiceless when he enables a mother to cry out for the hurting, the dirty, and the dying.

Liars and fools; sons and failures Thieves will always say Lost and found; ailing wanderers Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems Broken hearted; separated Orphans always say War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say Distant fathers; fallen warriors Givers always say Pilgrim saints; lonely widows Users always say

It would make sense for the song to end with a pseudo-American messianic hope, but it never does. It starts with failure, and finishes with cries to God because of the inability of humanity to heal itself. It is not a prayer or request. It is a lament.

i’m giving you a mixtape (part one)

Posted in music by steve carroll on February 7, 2010

this is a five part series.  check back every now and again to see if i’ve posted more.  i should have them all up by wednesday; fingers crossed for good luck.

Opening Monologue
from High Fidelity

What came first?  The music or the
misery?  People worry about kids
playing with guns and watching
violent videos, we’re scared that
some sort of culture of violence is
taking them over…

But nobody worries about kids
listening to thousands — literally
thousands — of songs about broken
hearts and rejection and pain and
misery and loss.

Did I listen to pop music because I
was miserable, or was I miserable
because I listened to pop music?

The simple truth from High Fidelity‘s opening monologue is that regardless of the answer to the closing question, we are miserable.  Here’s my top five for the A-side of my compilation; the deep cuts that commiserate misery.

1.  Bon Iver
“Re: Stacks”
[Self Released; 2007]

The band’s lead, Justin Vernon, knows a bit about misery.  Following the breakup of his former band, his longtime girlfriend, along with a battle with mono, Vernon retreated to northern Wisconsin to spend the winter in his father’s cabin in the woods.  In isolation, he began to process the year gone past, and without intending, ended up writing and recording For Emma, Forever Ago, a brilliant record.

For Emma reeks of melancholy, with no intention of exiting desolation. Vernon has learned a valuable lesson:  how to rest in pain, and to bring others into the fold.   Re: Stacks rests as the last track on the album, beginning our excavation of misery at its outset.

This my excavation and today is Kumran
Everything that happens is from now on

Vernon describes this opening couplet best in his interview with the “Drowned in Sound” blog,

“It’s referring to the excavations where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls. When they found them it changed the whole course of Christianity, whether people wanted to know it or not. A lot of people chose to ignore it, a lot of people decided to run with it, and for many people it destroyed their faith, so I think I was just looking at it as a metaphor for whatever happens after that is new shit.”

the land of all there is

Posted in Uncategorized by steve carroll on January 21, 2010

and stairs.

i’m coming upon the realization that poems i write become inspiration for songs.  i base songs off of what i write in poems.  some would say that lyrics are poetry in themselves; they’re right, but only a specific kind of poetry.  the way i write lyrics is different from the way i write poems.  lyrics are sung, and must be written a certain way to fit with melody, whereas poems don’t have to be comfortable in that way.  it’s all about parameters.

upon moving into the neighborhood

Posted in Uncategorized by steve carroll on December 24, 2009

recently (as in the past year or so) posts have been scarce upon this blog — but very recently (as in the past few weeks or s0) i have not written much of anything that i would be able to share with the invisible world that may never read these posts.

suffice it to say, as of late, the content in my life has been heavier than that which i have ever dealt with before.  i have been forced to walk down roads of self discovery that i never knew existed, and to come face to face with a God that i must admit i had forgotten how to love with my whole heart.  meeting with God has proven to be quite a transformative process and i would like to share some of my findings with you.

i am discovering more and more how important monuments are — that oftentimes, the only thing i can speak of in relation to God is my experience of God and in the ways i have felt God work in my life and the lives of others around me.  it is important to take note of these, whether mentally, or with pen and paper, to later remember the great things God has done.  how easy it is to forget that we love and serve a God who is active in the world around us!

i am discovering the importance of deep roots — that meeting with God on a daily basis at regular times helps me to foster a relationship.  because God has proven to be close, rather than being somewhere far away, this God is imminent; always at hand, and it is always necessary to maintain a connection in order to enjoy God’s presence.

there are myriads of ways in which God has been growing and stretching me lately, but these are two of the highlights i wish to share here.  it’s not easy, but God is here.

every time every time

Posted in Uncategorized by steve carroll on December 13, 2009

the rules are simple.  pictionary.

i’d say the tree looks anemic, but we couldn’t do much better here — it would dominate the space.

ok.  it’s not going to hold very many ornaments.  we don’t have a lot of ornaments.  we have boatloads.  i know, he’s still gloating.

or bloating.

sarcasm of course.

Wisdom Teeth

Posted in life by steve carroll on December 11, 2009

For the past three years, I have been putting off getting my wisdom teeth taken out, and for good reason: Pain!  Now, don’t get me wrong – there are several surgeries which I would rather not tolerate than wisdom teeth removal, but this surgery seems oh so unnecessary, and has seemed unnecessary for the longest time; until I went in for a consultation.

First off – evolution has been telling us for quite some time that we no longer need wisdom teeth; that the kind of diet we have is not conducive to keeping them.  When people used to eat all sorts of fiber-rich food that needed to be masticated fully before swallowing, they needed their wisdom teeth, and thus through natural selection, would choose mates that would produce offspring that should be able to survive a world of chewing on twigs and bark.  Because of this, I always assumed I would need my wisdom teeth later in life, especially since I am a vegetarian.  Our diets are rich in fibrous foods that are difficult to chew without those tertiary molars.

When I went into my consultation for the dreaded surgery I had been avoiding for three years, I sat in the  waiting room for a bit, filled out some insurance paperwork, and then went into the doctor’s office where there sat waiting for me a thirteen inch CRT television hooked up to a DVD player.  The assistant showed me a video that contained a plethora of information about both the harms of keeping my wisdom teeth (nerve damage, sinus damage, cysts, damage to other teeth, etc.) and harms for removing them (the same; including death as a potential side effect to the anesthesia.)  Now, since I am here right now typing, the assumption is that I have not died; while this is true, I still wonder if I made the correct choice.  These bad boys hurt!

words for today

Posted in religion or christianity by steve carroll on December 9, 2009

verses for todaypsalm 139:14-17
i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful i know that full well. my frame was not hidden from you when i was made in the secret place when i was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  how precious to me are your thoughts, God!  how vast is the sum of them!

jeremiah 18:3-6
so i went down to the potter’s house, and i saw him working at the wheel.  but the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.  then the word of the LORD came to me.  he said, “can i not do with you, house of israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD.  “like clay in the hand of a potter, so you are in my hand house of israel.

philippians 3:12-14
not that i have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but i press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  brothers and sisters, i do not consider myself o have yet taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, i press on toward the goal to win the prize for which god has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

The Monster Sloth and its Contemporaries

Posted in history by steve carroll on November 24, 2009

In the year 1788 the remains of an animal of gigantic proportions were found in a bed of clay on the banks of the Luxor, about twelve miles W.S.W. of Buenos Ayres, Paraguay. They were evidently the bones of some extinct animal, for there was no creature living with such massive limbs. Its thigh-bone was twice the thickness of the thigh-bone of the largest elephant ; it had a foot at least a yard long ; yet, singular to say, its head was a comparatively small one. The bones were brought to Madrid, and set up in the Royal Cabinet of Natural History there. The accompanying illustration is a representation of the skeleton, which, it will be observed, is not quite complete, as the inner portions of the pelvis, or haunch-bones, are wanting ; also the tail, portions of the ribs, and other parts.

World of Wonders, 1883

A Remarkable Journey

Posted in recently by steve carroll on November 24, 2009

There have been some speculations for my elongated absence from the blogosphere.  One such explanation was made in 1883 from The World of Wonders:

An extraordinary tricycle journey was accomplished by the VicePresident of the Lyons Bicycle Club, accompanied by his wife, on a two-seated ” machine,” in May of 1882. The travellers went from Lyons, through Nice, Genoa, and Rome, to Naples, returning via Florence and Turin, the whole journey, representing a distance of some 2,300 miles, being accomplished at an average of about fifty to sixty miles for each day on the road.