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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Album Review:X2005

Genres:Christian rock

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:It has been a long time since it was 2005. In fact, this album turns 10 years old tomorrow. Several of the bands here have since broken up (like Superchick and Underoath). A few other artists (like TobyMac and Relient K) are still going strong today.

This was a spin-off of the WOW hits series, which I've never really been a fan of because there are so many mediocre or just plain bad songs filling them with only a few good tracks. While this isn't quite as bad, there are several weak points that suffer from poor lyrics or are questionable choices for the album's concept.

Overall, there were a few good songs, but not enough to make a great album.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Celebrate The Small Things:The End Of March

Considering how much I tend to focus on negative stuff, how much my inspiration seems to sputter recently, and that I want to join more blog hops, Celebrate The Small Things feels right.

  • My theme for Tales Of Woe & Woe seems to have interested a few people.
  • I'm just about done with a review I really wanted to do specifically for this weekend.
  • We're that much closer to Age Of Ultron's release.
  • I have a new blog hop to play around with.
  • The reading slump I was in for a while appears to be turning around.

All in all, life's not bad.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Not Quite There...

Image credit:Clipart

I might be a little spotty about updates for the rest of the week. Sorry.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Soundtrack Review:Avengers Assemble

Songwriters:Chris Cornell, Eric Bass, Dave Bassett, Brent Smith, Joseph Principe, Zach Blair, Timothy Mcilrath, Brandon Barnes, James Michael, Papa Roach, Jeremy Ferguson, Andy Biersack, SEAN BEAVAN, Blair Daly, Jacob Pitts, Doug Grean, Scott Weiland, Xandy Barry, Wally Gagel, M. Kasprzyk, Gavin Rossdale, Terry Balsamo, Amy Lee, Franky Perez, Jeremy O'Shea, Dave Warren, Dave Kushner, Keith Nelson, Josh Todd, Steve Dacanay, Mike Bordin, Roddy Bottum, James Martin Blanco, Michael Allen Patton, Bill David Gould, Cherri Bomb, Adam Watts, Gannin Arnold, Andy Dodd

Genres:Rock, metal

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:Who's excited for Age Of Ultron?

Following their big screen debut as a team, the Avengers would have to have a few songs dedicated to them (mostly rock and metal). Aside from one song playing in the credits, this is entirely music "inspired by" rather than "from". And for some reason, "Shoot To Thrill", the song Tony was blasting in the movie, never makes an appearance.

So how does it measure up? Several feel like theme songs for specific characters or for the group as a whole. Sometimes though, I thought "This sounds like it's for X character until a certain point in the song."

Overall, I enjoyed it as both a fan of the movie and of rock music. If you are both of those things, I recommend picking this up.

Imperfect Love

I'm not perfect,
But you still love me
It's a wondrous thing
In all honesty

I know I push you
I can hurt you badly
I act selfish a lot
And you suffer sadly

But if I remember
To show you
The same love
That you do

Then it doesn't need
To be so bleak
Because our love
Isn't quite so weak

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review:The Queen Of Everything

Premise:A man's affair with a married woman ends up ruining his life, as narrated by his teenage daughter.

Author:Deb Caletti


Notes:Cover art taken from Amazon.

Pros:The affair. Jordan's observations.

Cons:A couple of characters. Excessive content. Dated.

Her mom was the wacky, embarrassing one. Her dad was supposed to be the normal one. But why does he date a married woman? Why is he acting strange?

Live Long And Prosper, Pachyderm Mondays

Found these after I did a Google Image search for "monday's back".

Both pictures belong to Christopher Michel.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Album Review:The String Quartet Tribute To Evanescence

Artist:Vitamin String Quartet


Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:How do you like tribute albums in general?

With tracks like "My Immortal" and "Hello", the emotion failed to translate from the original lyrics to the instrumental. However, with songs like "Whisper" or "Haunted", it works rather well.

Overall, fans of both classical music and Evanescence will likely enjoy it.

Some Thoughts And Updates

First, I changed the logo.

Second, I really need to work on my A to Z posts, but I keep putting it off. Figuring out what to say has been a minor problem.

Third, I've been a little stressed out in the last week (as you may have noticed by recent posts), but I'm starting to improve, so things won't be as depressing or dark.

Thanks for stopping by.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Book Review:The Church Case Scenario

Authors:Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz

Subject matter:Humor, church, spiritual, Christian life

Notes:Cover taken from Amazon.

Pros:Treats God with respect.

Cons:Not as funny as it could be.

If you've been to any kind of church or Bible study for long, then you've come across one or two crazy situations. And you've probably encountered a few that made you facepalm. And they are just begging for a snarky response.

As they point out in the first section, this book is made mainly to poke fun at bizarre church traditions and customs, but never at God Himself. That could have made for a hilarious book, but instead it's more an occasional chuckler. Although the section on hypocrites was pretty funny.

The Power Of Positivity

I've been thinking about the verse below a lot over the past couple of months.

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21

Maybe that's just what I should be doing. Overcome evil things by doing good things instead of stressing about how messed up the world is. Maybe the biggest difference we can make is just being a positive force. We need to remember that God punishes unrepented sin, but that He also loves us enough to give us a chance. While speaking (and acting) against sin is needed, doing the inverse - upholding good things - is also necessary.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Album Review:Apathetic EP

Artist:Relient K

Genres:Religious, rock

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:Now things have gotten serious. Not a goofy track to be found. Just some contemplation about what you believe in, waiting for things to get better, and what's worth sacrificing something for.

Three of the tracks are acoustic versions of older songs. And to tell you the truth, they're not that good. There's also a track that they already released on a different album and one of which they later made a better version.

I'm gonna say buy the first two songs and be done with it.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Album Review:Renaissance

Artist:Mark Schultz


Notes:Album art taken from AllMusic.

General thoughts:This is all instrumental with an often-sentimental tone. Think of songs like "When You Come Home" and you'll have a good idea of what to expect.

Overall, if you like instrumental gospel, this is worth checking out.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Album Review:Until The Whole World Hears

Artist:Casting Crowns

Songwriters and composers:Roger Glidewell, Bernie Herms, Jason McArthur, Ed Cash, Matt Armstrong, Jason Ingram, Michael Bleaker, Stuart Garrard, Matt Bronleewe, Sam De Long, Tauese Tofa, Omega Levine, Mark Hall

Genres:Praise & worship, Christian rock

Notes:Album art taken from the official site.

General thoughts:This is mostly what you would expect from Casting Crowns by now, and doesn't cover much new ground. It's entirely praise and worship, which while not necessarily bad, in this case it leaves out some of the emotion present on older albums.

Overall, I'd recommend listening to it once and downloading what's good.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Album Review:Hello Hurricane


Songwriters and composers:Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman

Genres:Christian rock, pop, alternative

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:So after a couple mediocre albums, what have we here?

There's a lot of emotional moments to be had, from love to desperation to hope. It also has an almost even balance between soft songs and the more aggressive or fast-paced songs.

Overall, Switchfoot fans have another winner.

Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia:The LEGO Movie

Image source:Wikimedia Commons

The review is here.

  • At first glance, it might look like no Batman villains appeared in this movie. But there's a guy with split personalities (one of which is violent and evil while the other is friendly but weaker) whose darker side tends to take over. Sound familiar?

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fanfiction Review:Redemption

Premise:What if Jane Foster was in The Avengers? And what if there was a growing personal connection between her and Loki?

Author:Anonymous Companion

Based On:Thor, Avengers

Rated:T (sexual desire/threat and plenty of violence)

Genres:Romance, sci-fi

Notes:You can read it on Updated 12/27/2016 to change wording and add additional triggers.

Pros:Loki, of course. Incorporates Jane into the story well.

Cons:Confusing point-of-view switches. Spelling and grammatical errors. Hasn't updated.

Let's say your boyfriend is a super-being from another world. Let's say his jealous and evil brother has come to your world to conquer it out of spite. And now he has decided to screw with you because what better way to get at someone than through his girlfriend?

Something cheery

Both pictures belong to Virginia L.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Movie Review:The LEGO Movie

Premise:An ordinary LEGO man gets caught up in a prophecy about a hero and an evil plot to destroy the world.

Cast:Chris Pratt as Emmet Brickowsi, Elizabeth Banks as Wyldstyle, Morgan Freeman as Vitruvius, Will Ferrell as President Business, Liam Neeson as Good Cop/Bad Cop, Will Arnett as Batman, Alison Brie as Princess Unikitty, Charlie Day as Spaceman Benny

Directors:Phil Lord and Chris McKay

MPAA Rating:PG for mild action and rude humor

Genres:Adventure/fantasy, comedy, animation

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards.

Pros:Fun setting. Self-awareness.

Cons:Jerk characters. The last act.

Everything is awesome, the song says. Everything's perfect in this world. Well, everything except that the president wants to destroy the world and has everybody complacent. Or that a certain construction worker by the name of Emmet might just be the hero prophesied to stop him, if they can teach him to build without using instructions.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Album Review:Here We Go Again

Artist:Demi Lovato

Songwriters and composers:Toby Gad, Lindy Robbins, Demi Lovato, Adam Watts, Andy Dodd, Aris Archontis, Jeannie Lurie, Chen Neeman

Genres:Pop rock

Notes:Album art taken from Wikipedia.

General thoughts:Now you know one of my guilty pleasures.

The majority of it relates to romance, meaning a lot of songs about break-ups, falling head-over-heels for someone, and obnoxious exes.

Overall, if you like pop about love and break-ups, I'd give it a listen.

A Pair Of Haikus

These are not related to each other.

I should get more sleep,
But every night without fail,
I stay awake late.

I can block the noise
If I try hard enough to
And I can find peace

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Album Review:Eye On It


Songwriters and composers:Christopher Stevens, David Garcia, Brandon Heath, Mike Woods, Lecrae Moore, Jamie Moore, Ryan Stevenson, Cary Barlowe, Jesse Frasure, Ryan Edgar

Genres:Pop, religious

Notes:The main album art is from the official site. The deluxe art is from Amazon.

General thoughts:This is not quite like anything TobyMac has done before. It's a lot more pop than his older albums, and the few rock songs here aren't very good. The term "radio friendly" has come up in regards to this release. The strongest points are at soft spiritual tracks like "Steal My Show" or "Forgiveness".

The deluxe edition adds just a few remixes. They're not must-haves, but there are enough good ones that if you find it for a good price, just go ahead and get it.

Overall, it's a decent album, but nothing stunning.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Album Review:Live The Life

Artist:Michael W. Smith

Songwriters:Wayne Kirkpatrick, Brent Bourgeois, Nik Kershaw, Steve Lipson, Beverly Darnall, Cindy Morgan, Joanna Carlson, Michael W. Smith

Genres:Gospel, adult contemporary, pop

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:I have a confession to make. I don't actually like most praise-and-worship music. Maybe it's that a lot of the artists that produce those kinds of songs talk only about God. Hey, He's important, but He's not on my mind 24/7. This particular album offers a balance of that and a few other subjects.

Overall, I recommend giving it a listen.


For those of you who don't spend much time on deviantART, a stamp is defined as "small graphics.... used to convey a message". Here are a few I've made using only my own templates.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Album Review For Offerings II:All I Have To Give

Artist:Third Day

Songwriters and composers:David & Carr, Tai Anderson, Mac Powell, Brad Avery, Mark Lee, Robin Pasley, Ben Pasley, Don Chaffer, Beaker, Steve Hindalong, Marc Byrd, Helen Lemmel, U2


Notes:Album art taken from the official site.

General thoughts:No, I don't have Offerings 1. Haven't even listened to it.

The cover doesn't lie about the worship part. Every song here is dedicated to God in some way. Typically, it's about either giving Him everything, or praising Him for being amazing.

And even though it's not a live album, you'll find a lot of songs recorded live. It would have been nice to get the versions that weren't.

Overall, fans of praise and worship might like it.

Things I Let Distract Me

Image credit:Nurasko at Wikimedia Commons

I could do so much if I actually put effort into it. Instead I get occupied by things like...

  • The internet:You knew this was going on the list, didn't you? And admit it, there has been at least one point in your life where you could say the same thing.
  • Food:Especially the unhealthy stuff.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Album Review:Rise


Songwriters and composers:John L. Cooper, Korey Cooper, Scott Stevens, Zac Maloy, Tom Douglas, David Hodges, Brian Howes, Joshua Hartzler

Genres:Hard rock

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General thoughts:So how is Skillet's newer stuff?

A handful of songs suffer from feeling generic. It's supposed to be a rock opera, but doesn't really work that part well. Plus, having an extra voice-over bit after the main song has ended gets annoying when you aren't listening to the album from beginning to end. But on the bright side, they do offer a few good tracks about determination and faith.

Overall, it isn't their best, but it's still worth a listen.

Weird, Sad, And Scary Stuff I Think About

  • What if our world is the setting for another world's fiction? Maybe we're all characters in some novel or TV show that people enjoy in a different universe.
  • Death. That is all.
  • What if most of our efforts to improve the world end up pointless? And what's worth doing versus forgetting about?
  • I should get more involved in politics. But I always hesitate because of the constant quarrels and the way we can't seem to let many decent people run things.
  • I've been making a lot of stuff late at night. Yes, including this.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

IWSG:March 2015

Ever had an idea, maybe a great idea, but once you actually get to writing it down, you can't get anywhere with it? What then? Do you back off for a while? Keep working on it?

Or maybe you want to say something about a particular issue, but are having trouble finding the specifics. One issue leads to a larger one, and eventually, you aren't sure what you're going to address. Do you stick with the smaller issue? Get down to the basics about the big one?

What do you do and have you done when that happens?

And just so you know, all you people over at Insecure Writer Support Group are awesome and thanks for having me.

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Lazy Poison

Need to move
Need to push
Need to work

Want to sleep
Would like to rest
Even thought it's all I'm doing

Keep forgetting things
And putting off what I do remember
The cycle continues on

© 2015 by M.R.R.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Album Review For Dubbed & Freq'd:A Remix Project


Songwriters and composers:Cary Barlowe, Toby McKeenhan, Aaron Rice, Jamie Moore, Dave Wyatt, Randy Crawford, Christopher Stevens, Jesse Frasure, Michael Ripoll, Tim Rosenau, Trevor Mcnevan

Genres:Pop, religious

Notes:Album art taken from the official site.

General thoughts:Because of the way he does his music, TobyMac is one of the few artists who actually makes decent remix albums. The majority of the songs sound much more technical than the originals. But a few use less common techniques to give the music a new sound (like a piano start to one track).

Some of the negatives include chipmunk speed vocals. How exactly am I supposed to take that seriously? It also turns some upbeat and fast-paced tracks into something much softer, which rarely ends in a satisfying result.

Overall, it's okay, but not something worth listening to over and over.

Stuff I've Been Thinking About

Image source:Open Clipart

I said I would be taking a few days off. At some point, it turned into the rest of the week. Anyway.

  • I need to do more research about spiritual and political issues, with the recent one I keep coming across being homosexuality.
  • I also need to find reliable sources of information for this sort of thing. It might be difficult considering how biased everyone is.
  • For a show that was ultimately aimed at children, Batman:The Animated Series had a lot of sympathetic villains (like Mr. Freeze or Harley Quinn) and some genuinely scary or monstrous ones (Joker comes to mind).