Musician of the Week: Esperanza Spalding

I’m resurrecting J-Band of the Week, but broadening it.  I will try and bring a new band/ musician each week and bassicially lavish in the joys of music.

I love jazz.  It is simply the greatest form of music out there.  It soothes the soul while at the same time stirring up and variety of emotion.  It’s calming yet invigorating.  So I bring you a blossoming new jazz artist, Esperanza Spalding.  She is simply brilliant.  One of the few jazz singers I have seen to also play an instrument, usually because the greatest jazz artists usually play brass or woodwind.  Esperenza plays a masterful bass.  He lyrics, or lack there of as much of her vocals are scat singing, are beautiful.  This particular song examines the frailty of life and, although it may be short, we should yet be happy.

Sit back and take in the music:

Little fly
The summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away

Am not I
A fly like thee
Or art not thou
A man like me
Little fly

For I dance
And drink and sing
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing

I thought is life
And strength and breath
And the want
Of thought is death
Little fly

Then am I
A happy fly
If I live
Or if I die




We all are beautiful.  Every man, woman and child.  We are all of the same God, created in His image.  No one is a failed person, a mistake.  We are all children of God.

Its easy to simply attack someone because they are “odd” or “strange” to us.  We make claims against them and create rumors of who they really are.  We never give them a chance.  We jump off the deep end into wild accusations and disregard any truth that is present.  All this does is force people to hide even more.

When people pull back so much and hide so deep, that what they fear most is letting the smallest bit of who they are out.  They fear no one will ever except them for who they are.  They are worried that all the negative stigmas will follow.  So they follow.  They just follow the crowds.  They lose their identity and become one of the Borg.  They put on a mask so no one will ever know.  They soon become the mask, never willing to remove it.

Take off the mask and show yourself.  You are beautiful.

A Year of New Escapades

This year, I am going to try new things.  While I am not trying to revamp my life in any way, I want to spread myself and try new life style hobbies, entertainments, and lifestyle choices.  While I don’t have a list of what I am going to be doing this year, I just want to try things that I have always wanted to, but never had the motivation.

So here are some pictures from my newest hobby, modeling.  I purchased a small set of 13 Tamiya 1/48 American WWII soldiers that I am starting with.  It is a very fun hobby.  Plus you end up with awesome figures.  I hope to make some really cool set pieces and scenes in the future.

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It is not all that expensive.  For a set of 13 soldiers, it costs around $15.  Once you have all the tools, my guess is around $30 total to start. I do not think that I will get into painting them, I don’t have that steady for hands, but we shall see.  Maybe some simple colors could work.

Santa vs. Jesus

As a Christian, Christmas holds a special meaning for me.  It is the birth of my Savior.  It is the moment that prophecy began to be fulfilled.  No Christian would say that Christmas has no meaning to them.  It is one of the most important church holidays, along with Easter.  I could even argue that it is the most important.  without the humble, human birth of Christ, his work on the cross would have been meaningless.

But in our secular world, Christmas has been commercialized.  Christ is no longer there and instead we have a “beast man giving toys for good behavior.”  The media is saturated with sappy Christmas specials and every store has some sort of “holiday special” going on.”  We no longer have the wonderful holiday that it should be, but a sold out shell.

Thus, churches all over have started to “protest” Santa and Xmas (the secular Christmas).  The claim that Santa is simply Satan with another spelling.  Santa’s, errr Satan’s mission is to take “Christ’ out of “Christmas” for good.  Therefore we need to rid the world of Santa for good…. Right?

Well, while I am a Christian, I also love the Christmas that we have.  I love Santa.  While, yes, he may be a figure that has been transformed into an image of comercialism, but he holds another, deeper meaning.  Sant Claus is based off of the Dutch Bishop, Sinterklass, or Sint (Saint) Nikolaas.  Saint Nikolaas is said to have given gift to children on Christmas Eve.  Of course, you have heard this already.  But there are other roots, and berhaps my favorite is that of Saint Nicolas of Bari.  Saint Nicolas was a Saint in who lived around 350 AD.  Stories about of him helping the poor and, more famously, helping children.  He did many wonderous acts and expected nothing in return, just how our modern Santa gives gifts to everyone and doesn’t expect anything in return.  If you want to read more on the real, or at least hagiographal, Saint Nicolas, here is a site that might help:

Christmas is a time of giving without expecting to get.  It is a time to offer help to those who need it, to protect their health and safety.  Now these acts are not restricted to Christmas, but they are definitely a time when every feels the Spirit moving through them.

You may call me a sentimental, but Christmas is magical.  Everything from candy canes to nativity, from eggnog to the Christmas Eve service.  It is amazing.  I look foward to Christmas with a child’s eyes, seeing the magic and joy that fills the as you walk down the streets and see the bell ringers and lights.  I mean, there are much worse things to believe in.

Feel the joy.  Don’t cringe at every Santa, just think of Saint Nick and why we like Santa so much.  If someone asks you about how you can be a Christian and love Santa, you can tell them the stories.  Go and do good and spread Christmas Spirit, also known as the Holy Ghost.  Do not sit and your house all season and be a Scrooge.

J-Band of the Week: Maximum the Hormone

I can’t believe that I almost forgot this band!  Maximum the Hormone is one of my favorite j-bands, not to mention one of the more interesting ones.  Anyone who has seen Death Note is familiar with a couple of their songs, such as “What’s Up People.”  Yet their song goes past hard rock and metal.  A lot of their songs slide on the funk sound and some even go towards pop music.  Every song has its own unique sound.

As i said, What’s Up People is one of their more mainstream metal songs.

Koi No Mega Lover definitly has a very different sound than any traditional metal.  It’s.. um…. happy?  Well most of it is.  It has a very odd pop sound to it that really sets it apart.


Rockinpo Goroshi has more of a funk feeling to it.  Still metal though.

Maximum the Hormone really has a different sound not common in most bands.  It’s a happy metal sounds that makes you rock out and be happy while doing it!

J-Band of the Week: Polysics

Again. sorry that this is a couple weeks late, but this will most likely be the last “J-band of the Week” for a while.  I’ve covered mots of the ones I know well and would just be spreading it thin if I kept going.  If I find anymore, I will let you all know!

That being said, I give you Polysics, a band truly in the “spirit of Devo.”  Truly a wonderful band to listen to, moving from sound to sound, never knowing exactly what to expect.  From great covers to original pieces, they truly have an interesting and wonderful sound.  Not only is their music great, but so are their videos.

First up is I, My, Me, Mine. A true dance song with a great dance video.

This is a cover of Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto, and I must say it is far superior to the original.

This song is just fun.  Electric Surfin’ Go Go

J-Band of the Week: the pillows

Yes, yes…  I know that it has been over two weeks since my last J-band post, but I’m back.  actually I have been working on a couple other articles for my new job (but you’ll find out about that later.)

Anyway, this week I bring you the pillows.  Yes, their name is not capitalized.  That is not a mistake.  They were brought into the mainstream through the anime Fooly Cooly or FLCL. They did basically the entire soundtrack for this short, but wonderful, anime series.  Their music fits in perfectly with the “slice of life” over-the-top story about adolescence and love.

The end theme is by far their most well known song.  It carries a string rock sound and is just fun to listen to.

Hybrid Rainbow is a little bit more solemn, but still wonderful.