Tuesday, May 29, 2007

recently discovered: 28 new planets


not me. not you either. you tell me that you care about planets that are not named earth and I will tell you that you are a liar, as I also punch you in the ear with my clenched fist.

hello. my name is brian t. murphy, and you know what I hate? planets. that’s right. I hate all of the planets.

all of them. the big ones and the little ones and the ones that are frozen and the ones that are molten lava gas balls. I hate all of the planets.

You know why I hate the planets? because growing up (let’s ignore for the moment, the fact that all of my issues stem from some sort of childhood experience), I had to learn about the planets. oh and I learned. I learned that venus is green and that mars is red and cold and will some day become a space-base-station where we will attack the USSR and finally win the cold war and defeat the communists who starve babies on purpose. and I learned that jupiter is so big that it has moons bigger than the equator, and that saturn has rings of nasty gas, and I even learned about pluto, which is not really even a planet anymore. go to hell, pluto.

I think the only planet I ever liked was uranus, because whenever you said uranus, you literally were saying “your anus” which is of course hilarious at any age, unless you happen to not have an anus, in which case that planet is never humorous. but I happen to have an anus, so that planet offered me joy in an otherwise ever-expanding universe of misery.

People always talk about how there might be life on other planets. let me tell you something. there isn’t. it’s fun to think about aliens that look like humans in costumes who shoot laser beams and drive spaceships that look like airplanes. but in reality, there is no life on other planets because other planets are covered in slime and gas and ash from exploding stars. it’s true.

Also, there is no air in space. I do not know this from experience. in fact, I only know this based on movies, but still, there is no air in space, which means that stars are liars because everyone knows that fire needs air and stars are big exploding fire balls. so either science or stars are lying, and I say that it is the stars who are lying, and again, this is why I hate all of the planets.

My last point is that planets are far away.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

spots, friday night, bottletree

it is true. the coolestbandofalltime is playing at the bottletree this friday night.

video projection screen, dancing robots, palm trees, the whole bit.

from what I hear, all the cool people are going to be there. so come on out and enjoy the party.

music starts around 9pm.

see you friday night.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

new music (I'm leaving a lot out)

travis - the boy with no name - british people tend to come out with great music, and I've been looking forward to this new travis installment for awhile now. listened through 3 or 4 times, and it feels stronger with each listen.

the alternate routes - I know nothing about this band. I walked into my favorite record store, and found this at a listening station. it's a record I don't think I'll be listening to after a few weeks, but it is currently a very happy and welcome indulgence for me. upbeat anthem summer pop. that's how I describe it, and right now, it's hitting me squarely between the eyes.

This is my second great lake swimmers record. creative, thoughtful, simplistic song crafting. their first record - bodies and minds - was fantastic, and this sounds even better.


just click here and go listen. immediately. (thanks shawn for leading me to this)

are you kidding me? this stuff is amazing.

wilco. sky blue sky. it comes out next week. I've had the pleasure of previewing the record a few days early. its wilco, what can I say? just go buy it and love it.

I feel obligated to at least mention a few of the many wonderful bands that I'm leaving out, but are also blowing my mind right now: notwist, tunng, the epochs, the go find, midlake...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

sometimes you crash (we're all crashing)

a few days ago I was driving home and I saw flashing lights up ahead, cars slowing down, ambulances and fire trucks blocking the road. I grabbed my camera (which lately seems to always be with me) so that I could photograph the scene as I drove by.

It wasn’t a bad crash. just a car that had smashed into a pole.

A friend was recently talking about how she writes less, the more she has going on. I think I’m the opposite. I tend to write like crazy when life really gets going. and lately, things have really been going. I have written 10 songs (6 hymns, 4 non-hymns) in the past 5 – 6 weeks. and when I’m not at the piano working on music, I’ve been taking a ton of pictures, spending a lot of time with my camera. and when I haven’t been doing either of those activities, I’ve been writing. to me, writing words, writing music, and working on photography all feel like very similar creative outlets. and yes I’ve been writing, just not here, because the worstweblogintheworld is not safe.

sorry worstweblogintheworld, but it’s true. you are about as safe as a gladiator holding cell. and I’m going to be honest, writing elsewhere has been wonderful.

but something I’m noticing more and more is people crashing. It’s a theme in my writing, in the old hymn text I can’t get away from, in the photos I’m taking, in people’s stories all around me, in my own story as I continue to see it unfold and be written about. we’re all crashing. it really is unbelievable.

and there’s beauty too. sometimes you see it in surprising places, like avondale park, a neglected park on the east-side of town. I hear that 40 years ago, it was the best park in town, these days it’s pretty run down. my mom would probably be scared to visit avondale park. (my mom is also the most beautiful person I know, so pease don’t mistake the previous sentence as any sort of slanderous remark about my mother.) but in the midst of this past weekend (a weekend full of people crashing, and me having no idea what to do about it), one of my favorite people in the world, and one of the finer musicians I’ve played with – andrew spear - married his bride, amy, at avondale park.

The wedding was simple and lovely and I felt like it gave me just a little taste of redemption, and not just for avondale. here’s a picture I took as I was leaving the park, of the pond and 5th avenue south. the pond is filthy, and the park is old and worn-out, but sunsets have a tendency to paint fresh colors on tired places:

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

steve malone

I'm just going to go ahead and write about this. Especially since it seems to be all anyone wants to talk to me about.

steve is leaving red mountain. I've seen this coming for awhile. and he announced it, making it official, this past sunday. "what now? what will happen? do we get a new pastor? who? when? btm are you going to leave too? why is he leaving? what happened?"

it's hard to put a number on how many people have called or emailed me with those questions. some are good friends, who really know and care about steve, and they are just genuinely curious. others are people who just want the scoop. to everyone, I'm saying about the same thing, and it feels worth saying at least a bit of it here:

steve is leaving, by his own choice. and yeah it pretty much sucks. I won't go into the detailed reasons for his departure here on theworstweblogintheworld, but I will say that the reasons are not nearly as exciting and tasteless as the rumor mill would have people believe. and his absence is sad. sad for me, sad for our friends, sad for our church, sad for steve, sad for steve's family.

on sunday, steve said (paraphrase) "when we started this church, one of our founding ideas was 'if Christ's ministry was marked by attracting 'sinners' and repelling 'religious people', then why do most american churches attract 'religious people' and repel 'sinners'? and this question has driven a lot of our philosophy here at our church. and what it has meant is that we have become a church for people whose lives are unraveling, whose lives are coming undone. and what I never predicted is that I myself would observe my own life unraveling, 6 years in..."

wow. I never realized either, how much the gospel could really change things. how much freedom really costs. how much people are governed by their own fears. I'm still only at the beginning of embracing and learning about these ideas, and it looks like things are going to get messier long before they get prettier.

one of the things that has been sad for me to see, is people who seem happy that red mountain is in a hard place. I meet people who talk about us in a sort of "well-you-know-you-guys-kind-of-
had-this-coming" sort of way, and that is sad to me. sad that some perceive us as a reckless church of sin-embracing barely-christians (or something to that affect). sad that people in area churches would feel self-affirmed, or even a bit of joy, amidst our sorrow. sad that people would assume so much about us, when they often, obviously know so little.

how does the cliché go? The church is the only army that shoots it's own wounded.

and yet if I am honest, I know that I would likely have the same feelings if churches I do not attend failed. I would probably be happy about it, and quite frankly, I don't have any other church that I could go to. if red mountain folds, I just probably wouldn't go to church anymore. I think a lot of us feel that way.

I had a good talk with my dad last week. and I told him again about how easy it is for me to get so angry at the christians. it was a good talk, and I'm thankful that I can finally talk to him about some of this stuff. and he said, "brian - you gotta just tune some of it out - you know people will always disagree with you - it's noise - you can't pay attention to it or it will drive you crazy..." and I know that is
likely good advice, from a man who knows me well, and is almost 40 years older than me - but the thing is, I'm just not able to tune it out. I'm not able to pretend it's noise, because people's words tend to matter.

But when it comes to our little church, and when it comes to steve - there really is a lot of noise, from a lot of people whose words really don't matter. that much is obvious.

so. steve is leaving. I think we're all a little nervous. steve was a guardian - he made our church safe for people who are in process - for people who really aren't sure what they think about christianity - for people who have a lot of doubts, for people who are clinging to hope, and for people whose lives are really, truly messed up. hopefully we will continue to be that kind of church. hopefully, we can now turn and love steve half as well as he loved us. hopefully, mercy will rain down on all of us.

God knows, we need it.