Once again, I have to confess a level of inferior commitment to this space. It’s not like “nothing” has been happening. As I look over the screen, it shows I have (11) draft-posts, various thoughts in a wide array of completeness. Yet, this blog has not lived fully up to its much-touted (by me, in the very first post) name. It has recently contained no pedaling/cycling stories or info, no metal/music-related observations, and, if it weren’t for the re-use of previously written material, the “pastor” part would even be questionable.
This particular post, yes, this one right here before your eyes, will serve the task of drawing me back in, at least a little.
Pedal – the heretofore named “Lazarus” bike (pictured above, pre-fenders) has remained upright and at the ready along the side wall of garage, after the end of last season (Oct. 19, 2015 according to my riding app). I however, while remaining upright, have done absolutely NOTHING to retain my cycling prowess of the past year (prowess, by my definition, not yours). There were certainly opportunities with 70 degree days, December through February; opportunities upon which I clearly did not capitalize.
Now, I’m faced with the (potential) embarrassment as “organized ride” season is upon us, including a ride in 8 days (which I will smartly pass on). Sadly, this particular ride would have provided a chance for personal pedaling redemption from last year’s “Tragedy of Errors,” previously documented here (Part One) and here (Part Two) by friend and fellow
peddler pedaler CheapCyclist. Alas, I just can’t seem to fit redemption into my schedule right now.
Hope remains on the horizon as last year’s “organized ride” season’s greatest success story (Tree City Rolling Tour) is on the calendar with a little over one month to #getoutandride in preparation. Oddly, this ride’s date was shifted significantly, and now conflicts with the OTHER near-disaster of last year, the Decatur Flat 50 (See previous blog post regarding biblical proportions of rain).
METAL – Music, metal and otherwise, across the genres, sub-genres, remains a significant component of nearly every day. As much as I enjoy discovering new artists, I’m finding my attention span to give new material a fair and solid listen is growing shorter. When something stands out, though, it tends to stick. I also have a large enough backlog of “favorites” and go-to tunes/artists for nearly every mood and temperament, that adding another color to the palette is hard to achieve.
That said, here is a brief mixed bag of comments on some recent releases that have passed through my awareness:
Anthrax – For All Kings – Anthrax was a “fun” kind of metal band in the late 80’s/early 90’s, playing heavy music based on comic books and Stephen King novels/characters while wearing loud, obnoxious Jamz-style shorts. Like many bands, they have had their moments, good and bad, and I had not paid them much attention through line-up changes, mediocre music trends, and what not. That is, until vocalist Joey Belladonna was securely back in the fold, and the band released “Worship Music” which absolutely woke me up to a re-energized band. “For All Kings” continues in the very same vein as “Worship Music,” and at first I thought it was good, but also kinda sounded like an over-hyped rehashing of the previous release. I sold it short much too soon, and “For All Kings” has found its way into a heavy rotation playlist. Aggressive, topical, heavy.
Amon Amarth – Jomsviking – It took me awhile to appreciate this band, in general. I was more convinced of my need to add them to my collection after 2013’s “Deceiver of the Gods” and an unexpected, last-minute headline performance at a small club in Cleveland. “Jomsviking” just sorta arrived on the scene with very little hype. It is the band’s first concept album. Granted, all of their albums deal with viking lore, etc., but this is a (mostly) formed storyline. I want to like this, really. Somehow, though, it comes up short. I was persuaded by the first single “First Kill,” but almost nothing of this album has stuck with me as memorable. I couldn’t really tell you if I would recognize any of the tunes found here if I wasn’t intentionally listening to them. Bummer, but perhaps better than my inattentive listening habit gives credit.
Killswitch Engage – Incarnate – This band has been a favorite since the pre-release, online stream of the entire “End of Heartache” album, and I was thrilled by the opportunity to see them live, reunited with Jesse Leach, for the anniversary tour of “Alive or Just Breathing.” The first, full reunion effort, “Disarm The Descent” was a pretty solid. To date, though, I haven’t been able to bring myself to pick up “Incarnate.” I’ve heard the songs, watched a couple of videos, and they hold up as very typical of the band at this point. But it doesn’t bring the “must have” compulsion. They are, without a doubt, a fantastic live band, and I wouldn’t mind catching them again. I’m not sure what it would take for me to capture “Incarnate,” though.
Devil You Know – They Bleed Red – Forged (partially) from the personal challenges of vocalist Howard Jones’ post-Killswitch career, Devil You Know is Howard back doing what he has been known for since his days with Blood Has Been Shed. Again, after a strong first album, I wanted to like this latest effort. Maybe I’m getting older (too old for this? No way, Murtaugh!), but when the video for first single “The Way We Die” centered solely on the band tossing money at strippers (real or otherwise), I’ll admit, I just didn’t get it, and it made me not really care about the song or the rest of the album. No doubt the music is still quite strong, etc., but…c’mon. Status: Unlistened/Unknown
Pastor – A lot happens in the life of a pastor, just as it does for every other human being. Pastors aren’t unique in that sense, by any estimation. This particular pastor though, has had quite a season of exploration, discernment, questions, doubts, joys, thanksgivings, concerns, all to learn that God’s spirit is never dormant or static, and that God is always working to do a new thing.
This season has brought about a lot of reflection, a lot of internal examination. It has included reading things like “Hidden Wholeness,” by Parker Palmer, “Daring Greatly,” by Brene Brown, “The Bible Tells Me So,” by Peter Enns, “Blue Like Jazz,” by Donald Miller just to name of few. I offer to you my sincerest recommendation to check these books out. I have also been working with a spiritual director and a pastoral counselor. I am excited about where the next chapter of things will guide me.
Pedal Redux/Miscellanea – Because this hasn’t been the most visually stunning blog, let me try to remedy that with just a few photos of some recent “down time” that I took. While the activities did not include pedaling, there certainly was a very active cycling community present, and I could only DREAM of having a place such as this through which to mash pedals. Enjoy!