Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Dave Barnes

Ok, so I swear I am not on Dave Barnes payroll and I know, Free Music Friday has already passed, but I ran across this website today which is offering a free download of Dave's song "On a Night Like This". This is the first Dave song I ever heard and it still makes me want to fall in love when listening to it (I have dreams of wooing some lucky girl using this song). So click HERE and download. Enjoy

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Songs, Websites and Video

Hey all, I apologize for the lack of recent info on my life here, but life has been crazy and there hasn't been time. I promise I will have some substantial posts up soon. In the meantime, here are somethings I think you all could benefit from checking out.

In Defense of Loving Truth This is the latest post on my buddy Tylers blog. Tyler is one of the smartest kids I know and I only found out this year that he is a top notch writer. The latest post on his blog was profound, challenging, and the clip at the end left me speechless. Literally. I was blown away. So honestly, check this out. Please.

Free MUSIC! JJ Heller has a gorgeous voice, and I have been a fan for a year or two now. If you go to her myspace account found at , you can download the song "Love Me", which I am a fan of. Also recommend the songs "Only Love Remains" and "Grow" for some high quality music.

MOVIES to Come
So these are random bits about movies that I am excited about coming out... The obvious choices are the new Indiana Jones and Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia) but I also found the trailers to these two movies lately:
Expelled - A movie documentary done by Ben Stein about the scientific communities reaction to questioning of Darwinian theory. In it he interviews heavyweights from both sides of the issue, including Richard Dawkins.
StepBrothers - I dont like every Will Ferrell movie... in fact I havent seen most of them. Watch this trailer though. I have probably 6 or 7 times and crack up each time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Andrew Peterson "On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness"

When I found out that I has obtained the privilege of reviewing my good buddy and favorite singer/songwriter Andrew Peterson’s first novel On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, I thought, “What better way to gain insight than to interview the man himself.” For those of you who don’t know AP, you need to listen to his music, it is utter brilliance. Little did I know what would follow would be AP interviewing me on my thoughts on the book. Enjoy

Me: AP, whats going on man? You have been busy with a new record and now this brilliant new book, I loved it.

AP: Oh yea? Glad to hear it. How did you find time to read it? I hear you are pretty busy over there in Rome.

Me: Well, I got into it on my free day and, well, I couldn’t put it down. Cruised through 200 pages in a day.

AP: I know what I think of it, and what my publishers think, but what would you say the plot is, in your own words… and don’t give away any spoilers.

Me: Here goes… In the once-quiet lang of Skree, Janner Igiby, little brother Tink, and crippled sister Leeli stumble upon the secret of the lost jewels of the mysterious King of the Shining Isle of Anniera. But Gnag the Nameless seeks the treasure for evil ends, so the brave trio and their trusty dog nugget and ex-pirate grandfather must escape Gnag and his minion Fangs, who are sort of like lizard-people. The fantastical world that is created (called Aerwiar) is full of unique characters, strange creatures, and adventure.

AP: You stole that straight from the publicity pack, didn't you?

Me: Yea, but they did a pretty good job of describing it.

AP: Ok, more questions about what you thought. When did you know you were going to like the book?

Me: First page. I don’t laugh out loud often while reading, but I busted out laughing at your tongue-in-cheek style. The first line I think I laughed out loud at was, “That evil was a nameless evil, an evil whose name was Gnag the Nameless.” That style continues throughout the book, even in the footnotes and descriptions of animals: ex. a ratbadger is “as big as a young meep, which is about the size of a full-grown chorkney, an animal that stands about as tall as a flabbit.” I mean, honestly, were you laughing when you wrote that, thinking "they have no idea what I am talking about and come to think about it, I really don't either."

AP: It was fun to invent that stuff. What did you think of the creatures or the world I created?

Me: You have to suspend believability, just like in Narnia or The Lord of the Rings, but the details that you describe the culture and people in painted the picture in my mind of what it was like. Also, brilliant job with the fake footnotes, citing books from this place and weird facts. Loved it.

AP: Favorite footnote?

Me: Actually my favorite one was one that subtly teaches a serious lesson. “Many Skreeans doubted that the legendary Isle of Anniera existed at all. It is a sad truth that some people only believe that something exists if they can see it with their own eyes. Bandy Impstead, for example, had argued for hours in Shaggy’s Tavern one evening that there was no such thing as the wind for this very reason. His roof was torn off in a storm that very winter. Bandy’s mind, however, remained unchanged.” I thought that was a strong, without being preachy, pointer towards faith.

AP: Yea, I tried not to throw lessons out like the point of the book was to teach a bible lesson. It is an adventure, a story to capture the reader, but the best stories are the ones that have truth wrapped up in them.

Me: Ah truth. My favorite passage in the book was when Janner says “It makes me think of when it snows outside, and the fire is warm, and Podo is telling us a story while you’re cooking, and there’s no place I’d rather be – but for some reason I still feel…homesick.” I thought that was beautiful and I know for certain exactly what the character means by that.

AP: Any other favorite lines or parts?

Me: “Part of being a man is taking much care of those you love.” The fact that you have the title of a fictional book as “I came and I Wept Like the Sissy I Am” cracked me up. Honestly, the problem was that I laughed and loved too many parts of this book. I began to read it as a book reviewer but was soon caught up in the story and forgot to make notes about what I was reading. So I guess I would need to read it again to make an official book review.

AP: Fair enough. What would you consider the writing style similar to?

Me: It seems to me like you are influenced heavily by Tolkien, CS Lewis, maybe even the Redwall series or Lemony Snicket. It is accessible like Lewis but with a better sense of humor, in the style of Lemony Snicket. Honestly, I could see this becoming huge, especially with the success in this genre. You get my vote.

AP: Did you know I originally came up with a lot of this telling my kids bedtime stories?

Me: No, I didn’t. Can you tell me some bedtime stories?

AP: Naw, cause I would probably give away what’s in the books to come.

Me: Well, I gotta run, thanks for your time. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the action, the adventure, the humor. Thank’s for the privilege of reviewing this.

AP: Hey no worries, thanks for calling. Take care.

For those who are wondering, the preceding interview was completely fictional and represents my views alone. AP is a cool guy though, and I thought this would be a little more fun than a typical book review. My contest to win the extra copy of the book is this; email me your name and address to AND leave a comment below. If you do this, I will draw the winner out of a hat. Much Love

Monday, March 17, 2008

Mustache and Mullet March!

The pictures say enough. The Mustache and Mullet go out to Greg Varner... happy birthday brother, I told you you had a dedication coming :) Facial Hair February transfers into Mustache and then Mustache and Mullet March. Enjoy. Oh yea, and Free Music Friday... didn't do that so I am sending you on to check out The New Frontiers, a band that is solid, chill, and good listening. Also, if you look at the right side of this website, Phosphorecent and We Barbarians have interesting music. Different, but I like it. Much love to you all.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

New Niece! Let's Celebrate (with music, eh?)

Meet the newest member of the Rule Clan! Miriam Elizabeth Rule joins the fam! If you know Ben or Molly, be sure to send Ben a cigar or a nice bottle of wine or a hecka-lotta diapers and earplugs :) I don't know, just send them some love. My way of celebrating? Give you all free music... So go check out Peter Bradley Adams at his myspace account and download "gather up" but be sure to listen to "Los Angeles"... it is a gorgeous song. Also, check out Hem on their official page and scroll to the bottom for some freebees. After you do that, check out their myspace page and listen to the songs "The Part Where You Let Go", "Not California", and "Half Acre" for some more musical beauty. If you still dig their stuff, go to this website and download a full concert... does it get much better than this? Cheers. Pray for us, as the first spring breakers arrived today.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Favre and Free Music

Free music: sorry, all I got is one song from Kate Voegele, who went to Miami, is recently featured on One Tree Hill and the girl can sing. Check out one free download HERE

Brett Favre: You are retired, I will miss the way you played, you loved the game. It is fun to watch people who truly love the game. Check out his press conference HERE

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Walking out of the apartment this morning wasn’t the best experience in the world. When the sky is a mass of smoky, gray clouds, it doesn’t exactly put a spring into my step. But as I walked to Mr. Copy to print more flyers, I saw throughout the sky, small openings to patches of blue. Not just a faded blue, but a beautiful Crayola sky-blue behind the clouds. I don’t know why this surprised me, but it made me think that maybe this is a weak metaphor for my life in the past few weeks. I have seen a lot of gray, not necessarily black storm weather, but gray, dreary weather and often forget about the blue.

Like I said, this is a weak metaphor but I don’t know how else to describe the past 10 days. I think sometimes I try to paint things as always beautiful on this blog when it isn’t. But those are the fun stories to write. It is not fun to write that I haven’t had very many good conversations lately, that I haven’t met too many interested people and have been caught up in details work, preparing for spring break trips. But that is the reality. I am reading a book called Reaching for the Invisible God by Philip Yancy, and it talks a lot about faith and trust and doubt. I am not going through a lot of doubt right now but sometimes life just takes on that bland taste, like eating plain Rice Krispies; not a whole lot of flavor to it.

What is the answer to this? There are two quotes in this book that have stuck out to me; one says “At such a moment, we want clarity; God wants our trust.” The other says, “When something comes along to test our faith we rely on… patience formed by a long memory and a hope that our faithfulness will be worth the risk.” I don’t know if my faith is being tested by any great trial right now but I think that these two apply to any time, dreary or sunny. The thing that God has continually been reminding me is that he won’t give me more than I can handle.

This past Monday was not my best day; let’s just say I wasn’t walking as a joyful Christian, believing in Christ’s sufficiency to supply all my needs. So when I was back at home, working on detail work, and I got a call from one of my student contacts saying he was free to meet me at campus, I didn’t really want to go. But I knew I should so I did. When I got to campus, I sent a text message to my roommate Amos that said, “Pray for me. I am tired and have a crappy attitude.” The next hour and fifteen was the best of my week. I didn’t know what to talk about with Jody, so I asked him what questions did he have for me. For the next hour or so, in a mix of Italian and English, we talked about the Bible. Old Testament, New Testament, Jesus, fear, Satan, what does it mean to connect to Jesus and how do we have a right relationship with God. God provided exactly what I needed.

I walked away from that conversation praising God that there are people here in Italy who are seeking the Truth. Then, sadly enough, I was discouraged the next day when I was stuck doing more details work. My memory is quite short. I was reading in Isaiah 46 today and verses 8-9 to remember 3 times. Three times in one sentence. I thought back on it; God talks a lot about remembering. In fact, most of the Jewish festivals were for remembering times that God showed up in undeniable, real ways. So for me, when my vision is a little cloudy, I want to remember the times he has been faithful. Remember the times that God has clearly worked when it doesn’t seem like he is reachable. And if you are thinking, “I have never really seen God work in my life,” then remember the Cross. The sacrifice of Jesus. In the times that it is hard, remember that Jesus experienced it too; he felt alone at times (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?), wanted God to provide another way (If it is possible, let this cup pass from me), but he submitted to the Father because the Father loved Him. The Father loves you, loves me, and for that reason I can trust. Even when I don’t feel like it.

The sky outside today is still gray. I still have more details work to do. But I want to choose to remember and to trust. Not to be stuck in the past but to look forward to how God is going to redeem this period. How he will use it for good.

Facial Hair February Final Pics

The title says it all... I think it is my best FFF ever... I mean, I look good j/k

Props to my buddy Shawn, from back home, who just made his own EP. I think he did a pretty good job. Check out his music HERE

So exciting news! I am going to be part of the Andrew Peterson blog tour! What does this mean? It means that I get to get a pre-view copy of Andrew Peterson's book On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (you can preorder it by clicking on that link) and I get to review it and post that review here for you all to read! BUT WAIT, there is more! Not only do I get a copy for myself to read, I get a copy to GIVE AWAY TO YOU! So here is the scoop; I am accepting ideas for a contest to give away this book. From something as simple as guess a number between 1-1000 to something as complex as... I dont know, you tell me. I am pretty stoked about this, hope you guys will be too. Andrew Peterson is one of my favorite music artists of all time, so I am eager to see how his writing (this is the Young Adult fiction range, click on the link to read a product description) stacks up against his song writing. So yea, submit ideas for a contest in my comments or email me. Thanks.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Stories and Songs

Self Portrait at the end of Facial Hair February... and yes, I am inside with sunglasses
I need to get some sleep but thought I would post real quick to give you an idea of what's been going on in my head lately. First off, I want to give you guys quick links to two blog posts from Portland Studios. Portland Studios is a business whos mission is "To create beauty through storytelling." I like that idea, I like their work... and now I enjoy these posts from their blog
What is Meant by Art is an insightful look into modern art... and it is short, so check it out, let me know what you think.
Beauty is the New Ugly is a post about... well Beauty, the rejection of beauty in the arts, and the affect on culture. It is a deep post, takes some time to digest yet is TOTALLY worth it and includes gems like "When we’re honest, we have to concede that the unfortunate are helped more by those with a sensitivity to Beauty and inclination to spread it, than by those with a heightened sensitivity to offense and an inclination to spread it."

These posts and life has got me thinking about life as a story. A story of failure and redemption. A story that is worth telling. YOUR life is a story worth telling. And I think mine is too. But it takes a storyteller to be able to hold an audience captive. It takes a Storyteller to be able to move me, to affect me, to teach me. I want to fill you in later this week on the story of my life this past week, of experience and failure and yes, even redemption. But that is later... hope you check back to read more.

And since I didn't post on Free Music Friday, here are the Alternate Routes. You can download two of their songs IF you have a myspace account. If you don't, sorry you can't download them but you can listen. I really dig Please Dont Let It. Shout out to Mikey who let me in on the Alternate Routes.