Link: Finding Christ in the Classics: Wiz n Liz

Head over to for a post I did comparing the early 90s game Wiz n Liz to one of Christ's parables. A very timely game since the goal is to rescue rabbits and Easter is just a few days away!

Episode II: Picking apart Frozen (4-15-14)

In episode two, we look at the movie Frozen, talk the new water aerobics class we signed up for, and dustin's new MAME cabinet!

Our intro music belongs to Smooth McGroove, and the outro music is the Aquatic Ruins Zone music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

Click here to listen.

SiriusXM's sucker punch

Those of you who are familiar with Allicia and I know how instrumental satellite radio was in bringing us together. We met because we both listened to The Catholic Channel. Without SiriusXM, I would not have a wife or daughter.

Needless to say, I have great enthusiasm for SiriusXM, and aside from their assist in the marriage department, they have great programming. One of the reasons I love their service is because it gives me music that I don't get on normal radio, in a package that is far more convenient than other internet-streaming sites (I don't want to pay for a gigantic data plan to support internet radio in the car).

There's Classic Vinyl, which is great for people like me who love classic rock from the early 70s and beforehand (on terrestrial radio you get that but it's often mixed in with 80s bands like Guns n Roses, whom I'm not a big fan of). B.B. King's Bluesville has great old and new blues music, and I really dig Outlaw and Prime Country.

There's another station I love dearly though, and that's 40s on 4. It plays a lot of great stuff from the mid 1930s all throughout the 1940s, and that's definitely something I can't get anywhere else, unless I buy specific albums. It's one of the reasons I adore the Fallout series of games so much, as they use a lot of music from this era inside the game. The Ink Spots, Billie Holliday, and Bob Crosby are just a handful of artists that are on the Fallout soundtrack and the 40s on 4 station.

40s on 4 helps put me to sleep, which isn't an easy task as I work third shift, and our curtains don't completely block out the sun. It's great, relaxing music. So imagine my horror when I went to bed Friday morning, turned on the Sirius XM radio by the bed, and found Billy Joel instead.

'I must be on the wrong channel," I thought to myself and hit the favorite button 6 again. Still, Billy Joel. What in the world has happened to my radio?

Turns out, Sirius XM decided to turn 40s on 4 into the Billy Joel channel for three months. Three months without the Ink Spots? Unacceptable. I dig Billy Joel's River of Dreams album, but not at the expense of one of my favorite radio stations for a quarter of a year!

Sirius XM has a bunch of empty channel slots that Billy Joel could have fit in (18, 73, the list goes on and on). Why take away big band music? Yes it's just three months, but when the solution seems obviously easy, it's unacceptable to take away a complete genre not represented on other stations. We already lose 40s on 4 from Black Friday to January 1 in lieu of Christmas music, and now I have to give it up again?

I took to Twitter and voiced my frustration. The stock answer myself and several others kept getting was, "Well 40s on 4's normal programming is online and it's streaming!"

1. I'm not always near a computer. I can't stream easily in my car.
2. I have a Windows Phone. There is no SiriusXM app for Windows Phone. Why, I have no idea.

It is maddening, because the solution seems legitimately simple. Put Billy Joel onto a different channel. If he HAS to be in the single digits, as a friend suggested on Twitter, why not make him channel 7 or 8, as the 70s and 80s corresponds with his style of music. Or, move Sirius Hits 1 to channel 1 (why it is on 2 I have no idea), the 20 on 20 channel to 2, and use channel 3 for artist-specific channels like this. This option would make a ton of money for SiriusXM. If you're Lady Gaga, One Direction, or (insert popular band here), and you have an upcoming album, how great would it be to buy a whole weekend where your music alone is heard on channel 3, right next to the pop stations? You could even run specials. Give indie bands a discount to get their music front and center. Genius!

I've just given SiriusXM an idea that would net them a ton of money without the outrage. Where's the job application form?

Did I say outrage? You bet. Go to the SiriusXM Facebook page and you'll see that I'm not alone. Every story they post, even unrelated ones to Billy Joel, is filled with comments asking why they're doing this. There are so many posts from angry people, many allegedly cancelling their subscriptions or threatening to do so by April 10 (we have two radios, and I have no problem axing the one in the bedroom to send a message to SiriusXM).

I feel like SiriusXM sucker punched me on this one. I've spent years telling people how great of a service it is, because you truly get a wide variety of music and entertaining talk, not to mention all the sports games. But this just seems like the beginning of the end for that. First they take away the 40s on 4. Then what? Do we get rid of the 50s and 60s stations when agents and handlers of big artists demand specific slots to advertise themselves? So much for commercial free music. I'd rather hear 20 second ads in-between songs than lose the songs altogether.

It is beyond ridiculous and it makes me sad that a company I love dearly would do this to it's listeners without really giving us a solid explanation. And if SiriusXM continues to ignore the people hijacking it's social media and flooding it's inboxes with angry letters, we could be seeing a really epic PR meltdown in the making.

Just give me back Billie Holiday, and nobody gets hurt.

Episode I: The Debut of The Catholic Lovebirds (3-24-14)

Allicia and I started a podcast! We hope to bring it to you every two weeks. If the people want more, maybe we'll go to once a week!

In this episode, we talk about Dustin's list of enjoyable PBS Kids shows, plus a rude woman at Mass.

Thank you to Smooth McGroove for letting us use the intro song, Tetris A. He's at

The outro music is the Jungle stage from the Sega CD version of Popful Mail.

Here is the mp3:

The top 7 tolerable shows on PBS Kids

 Peg + Cat

I have a daughter who is two. I do not have cable. So we watch a lot of PBS.

Some of the shows are great. Some of them annoy me to no end. Here are my top seven shows that I can watch with her without losing my mind. Note that Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is not on the list, as it isn't carried by our local PBS station. If it was, it'd be number one easily.

1. Peg + Cat
2. Word Girl
3. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
4. Clifford the Big Red Dog
5. Wild Kratts
6. Sesame Street
7. Arthur

Peg +Cat has the most adorable theme song ever. The two main characters, Peg and Cat, are the most likeable on kid's tv. It's produced by the Fred Rogers company and it teaches math (something we sorely need more of in this country). The animation is very creative, and using graph paper as the background is a very nice touch. This is one of my favorite shows on TV period, and I'd watch every episode even if I had no children.

Word Girl is a fun kid-friendly super hero spoof. A lot of fun humor that adults will appreciate, and the main character reminds me of my good friend @nerdwriter.

Growing up a Mr. Rogers fan, I love Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I like that these characters live on for new generations to enjoy, and hearing Jason Mraz do the theme song in the season 1 finale gave me a whole new appreciation for him.

And being a John Ritter fan, I had to include Clifford the Big Red Dog (the late Ritter provided Clifford's voice). The stories don't grab me the way the previous three shows do, but it's a kid's show and that's to be expected. Still, it's really faithful to the book, and I appreciate that.

Wild Kratts is silly fun. A lot of real-world footage of animals is fun to look at, and it's the one show I watch on PBS Kids that I learn something new from each episode.

I'm not a huge fan of the 3D animated segments that Sesame Street has for Abby Cadabby and Bert and Ernie, but the show still holds up well. I don't despise Elmo the way others do, so I understand those who can't stand Sesame Street due to Elmo's presence. Controversial personal life allegations aside, Being Elmo was a fantastic documentary.

The guest stars on Arthur are nice. And it gives me some nostalgia for my childhood, as it's been on the air since 1996. Some of the secondary characters like Buster can be very annoying, and the stories seem a little too generic, but anything featuring an animated Fred Rogers is ok in my book.

I did not include Callilou on this list. Callilou is a horrible cartoon, and it's painfully obvious that the writers either don't have experience dealing with children, or they check those experiences at the door each morning before starting work. I refuse to let my child watch this stupid show.

Coming back shouldnt be harder than leaving in the first place.

An open letter to women who have left the Catholic Church:
We want to invite you to come talk with us, and we are excited to meet you! Just like you, we are daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers; students, professionals, and stay-at-home moms. We are teenagers, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, and beyond. We are from many walks of life and from diverse backgrounds, but we share a common faith - one we want to invite you to revisit.
Some of us have been away from the Church, and by one way or another we've come back. Some of us never left - but that doesn't mean we’ve never questioned nor been confused. Some of us were raised outside of the Church, and made the decision to join as adults. In one way or another, each one of us has come to know and love Christ in the Catholic Church - and in keeping with Pope Francis’ request we want to share that love and joy with you.

Being Catholic isn’t easy, and we’ll be the first to tell you that we aren’t perfect; we have many planks in our own eyes to worry about. Our faith embraces paradoxes, challenges our culture's values, and makes us feel uncomfortable when we are called to examine our actions and our motivations. But - as you already know - just because something is challenging does not mean it is not worthwhile.

We know that you are intelligent and capable. We believe that you deserve answers to your questions, and explanations for the teachings with which you're struggling. We’ve all struggled with various aspects of our faith, but we aren’t here to judge or condemn you. We simply want to listen to what you’re feeling. We want to understand what is making you uncertain about being part of our Catholic faith. We want to help you find the answers and explanations that helped bring us home. We want to meet you, we want to hear about your experience, and most importantly, we want to invite you back.

Feel free to email any of us with questions or concerns you may have about the Church, her teachings, or what reversion means. If you’re not ready to bare your soul to complete strangers, we’d love to direct you to sites that helped us (and still help us) as we discerned our calling in life.
Wherever you are, whatever you believe, know that we are praying for you. You are our sister - another woman navigating a challenging world. We look forward to talking with you!
In The Peace and Love of Christ,

The members of #cathsorority

The Doctor at the Crucifixion

Certainly a fixed point in time.

A little fun with Photoshop. In the fictional world of Doctor Who, why couldn't he be at the Crucifixion of Christ? He did mention that he was there for the birth of Christ in the episode "Voyage of the Damned." I might do another one of these at some point, with The Doctor in different historical places.

I Wore a Mantilla Sunday

So I'm doing two posts in one. My good friends at Call Her Happy and Fine Linen and Purple both have awesome link-ups going on this week.(click their names to visit!)

Fine Linen and Purple do a link-up every week called What I Wore Sunday. Pretty self explanatory.
Jenna at Call Her Happy is doing a Mantilla/Veiling Link-up.

I never remember to do WIWS because I don't always like taking photos of myself but I have been meaning to try out veiling for quite some time now.

So here are some thoughts and a photo of me out to dinner tonight. I didn't take a "church wear" photo because I forgot again.
I'm the one in the white shirt with the purple scarf that doubles as a head cover during mass

Sometimes I feel intimidated by people who veil. It is a very traditional thing to do and I am not a very traditional girl. I love the idea of this link up because it puts a modern spin on the resources available to those who have questions about wearing a head cover at church.   I found some brochures that give information about veiling. They must be 50 years old. To be honest I found some of it to be demeaning and condescending.  You can make your own conclusions about them though.

So you probably want to know two things: Why I would wear a veil at church and how it felt.

Why:  Here's the deal, men are asked to uncover their heads our of respect, well women have the option of covering their head out of respect.  It is something that is done in several other well established religions (orthodox Jewish women and Muslim women cover their heads)  I find a lot of similarities to Catholicism in those religions.  Nuns do it all the time, they *used* to do it at Mass, my mom was raised protestant and remembers wearing what she called a 'doily' on her head.  I really could stand to have a little more reverence in my life so if covering my head for an hour a week helps me get there then I might keep it up.

How: How did it feel to veil? Well, I can tell you I've had a lot of false starts. I even put the veil on for a fraction of a second the week before and totally chickened out.  I had a lot of apprehension because I do think about people looking at me and wondering why I would cover my head at mass. This week I decided I didn't care what they thought of me, this is about what God thinks of me.  I also had a secret weapon this week.  My husband.  He is awesome. He totally supports me in whatever I decide about veiling. He doesn't give me any flack about chickening out and he supports me when I ask if I look ok! He wasn't with me last week and it made it a lot harder to pull that scarf up over my head. This week he was there and it felt great having his support.

I was worried about our toddler, she's feisty. Lately she has been going to the nursery during mass. This time we went to a later mass but God must have known my heart because she fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep through more than half of the mass. Which means, I could cover my head without her pulling it down.  She didn't actually grab at it when she was awake, but shifting her from hip to hip made it harder to keep on. 

I got no negative comments. I didn't necessarily feel any more pious than usual, but I think that comes with doing this as a practice and not just a one off.  I think I'll give it another shot!

God Bless!

Friday Quick Takes #8

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!

--- 1 ---

I spent money this week.
For those following my "The Year of Living With What We Have" series this is clearly contradictory.
I tried to stick to things we needed instead of things I wanted, but ended up with a few of both.

--- 2 ---

Lucy had her 18month check up today.
She's doing fabulously.
We don't need to worry about her not talking with ANYONE else, as long as she is talking with us and is clearly understood.

--- 3 ---

We're going to start potty-training.
I was going to start today, but she is in a FOUL mood and I really wasn't feeling excited about the idea of dragging her to the bathroom!

--- 4 ---

I crafted this week. Made a pin board for hanging art to dry or to display.
It worked great for Lucy's fingerpaints (that I needed in #1 above since I didn't want to use food coloring like all the "homemade fingerpaints" on pinterest require.
I take issue with food coloring since it stains EVERY.SINGLE.TIME I use it.

--- 5 ---

Dustin has been working an overnight shift.
It's hard on both of us.
I would prefer to get to work a little earlier than I have been but with one car we don't have much choice.
It is hard to spend time together, but we were chosen to do a TV Talk Show about BONES so we'll have at least 90minuts to spend together every monday!
Ccheck out for more info and we'll probably have a full length blogpost about it soon.

--- 6 ---

Lucy has been trying to climb in and out of her dolly stroller this week.
It's adorable and nervewracking at the same time.
She can only fit one foot in the front of the stroller, I am terrified she will fall and break her ankle.
he is not concerned with this possible outcome.

--- 7 ---

Everyone should go listen to the new Jars of Clay album.
It is awesome.
It has some fresh sound and awesome lyrics.
If you've never listened to them, or didn't like them before I URGE you to check this album out.
My favorite lyric so far is "made you a ringtone with a voice that sounds like mine saying 'the boy of dreams is calling' when I'm calling" and "Don't know enough about love so we make it up"
$2 off coupon for In-stores or on-line:
You can preview it here. CLICK!

19 Days of Jars of Clay: No 12-3

On Aug. 27, Jars of Clay will release a new album called Inland. To pass the time, I am going to count down my favorite 19 Jars of Clay songs.

Agree? Disagree? That's fine. This isn't a concrete list, and I'm sure if you made a good case for my rankings being out of sync, I'd admit my own fault. But I'm judging these based on my history with the band and what sounds good to me. The most important thing, dear listener, is to get your hands on this music and listen for yourself.

If they changed my life, I'm sure they'll at least sound great in your stereo.

Here we go!

Oh wow, what happened to me? I was chugging along just fine with posting one per day, then nearly two weeks go by and no posts! Actually, it's the fact that I have a new job! Working overnight, and that schedule took some getting used to, so my normal activities took a huge hit.

No matter now, because I'm able to bring you  most of the countdown in one spot, with some brief notes on each song. Then Sunday and Monday, you get number 2 and number 1. Fair deal, right?

12. Love Came Down

Probably my favorite song around Christmas time (and year round, according to this newspaper article!). I didn't even know this was an actual Christmas song when I first heard it. The music video actually makes this song better than it is. Baby Jesus and a flying taco!

11. Light Gives Heat

Beautiful song, mostly due to the inclusion of the African Children's Choir. The song is a love song to the most poverty-stricken people on that continent. And with Jars of Clay being very heavily involved in Blood:Water Mission, whose goal is to bring clean water to Africa, the song actually has some weight to it rather than just being lip service.

10. Crazy Times

Remember how I listened to Overjoyed nonstop during my parents divorce? Consider this one to be part two in that trilogy. I listened to this song in particular so much when I got The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for the N64 back in 1998 that the two things are forever intertwined in my head: I can't play the game without this song, and I can't listen to this song without thinking of the game.

9. Fade to Grey

This is just a fun little song, with very haunting lyrics (and the favorite song of my most recent Dustin Faber Show co-host, Fr. Darryl Millette). The organ and strings sell this song to me.

8. Nobody Loves Me Like You

And part three in the trilogy of Jars of Clay helps Dustin cope with his parents divorce. Musically, I think this is the most beautiful thing that Jars of Clay has ever done. When I hear this song, especially the beginning, I just picture myself walking through a beautiful forest or field, birds singing and perfect weather. Anytime a song can put you in a completely different place, the artist has done something right.

7. Flood

Their big mainstream hit! And it's not even in my top five (the songs ahead of it have more replayability than this one). Still, I remember going to Super Summer in 1997, and hearing it blaring over the speakers before evening worship started. Chuck Owens and I both agreed: This song was amazing! It was the second time I'd ever heard a song in a Christian setting that sounded good outside of church (dc Talk's Jesus is Still Alright having the distinction as the first). If you can track down the Adrian Belew remix, it replaces the acoustic guitars with electric, but the original still holds a special spot in my life.

6. God Will Lift Up Your Head

This song really meant more to me recently when I was applying for a job for a certain church group. I nailed my interview, and felt VERY strong about my chances at getting the job. It seemed like everything was lined up for this to work out. And it didn't. And that was a huge bummer. As motivation, I have their rejection letter (sent three weeks late mind you) framed above my desk, with a copy of the lyrics to this song. No matter what comes along, God will lift up my head.

5. Boys (Lesson One)

Based on my experiences with this song, it should probably be number one. From a music and lyric standpoint, it's top five. From my personal standpoint alone, it's the greatest song ever. Why the contrast? I like the four songs ahead of this more just when listening to them on my iPod or stereo. However, this is the song that I danced with my mother to at my wedding reception, telling her that when I needed it the most, she always had a hundred reasons that showed me how much she loved me (paraphrasing the lyrics there). And when my daughter Lucy was born, this was the first song she ever heard. Daddy sang it to her when she was one day old.
What a great, great memory I'll never forget.

4. No Greater Love

Amazing, how the best song on The Shelter, the album filled with guest-spots from the best that Christian music has to offer, is the one that Jars did by themselves. This song makes me think of Blessed Mother Teresa immediately, to which Dan Haseltine thought was fitting.
Musically, I really enjoy the piano throughout the song and the guitar riff that leads into the chorus. This just a nearly perfect song.

3. Liquid

While Flood may have gotten me interested in the band, Liquid is the song that kept me a fan. For some reason, I thought the Flood song I heard was Liquid when I first put the CD in. An honest mistake: they're talking about swimming int he song, and here's something called Liquid. But it wasn't Flood. It was something better.

Something amazing. When that string section hits, my God, it was the most amazing thing I'd ever heard. The Gregorian chant is used perfectly, but the only gripe I have with this song is that the drums are criminally underused: 1:06 to 1:15 is my favorite nine seconds in any song, but you never hear that drum solo again. You can hear it through the rest of the song, but not as loudly.

The lyrics are a great way to convey Christ's love without sounding too preachy (arms nailed down, are you telling me something, eyes turned out, are you looking for someone).

If anything, you could say that this reeks too much of 1990s rock music, and perhaps that's true. It does feel kind of dated, as great as it sounds. You're not going to be able to play this for a middle school kid in hopes that they'll get turned on to the band. Fortunately, the cover on Live at Gray Matters feels more up to date while retaining what makes the song great, namely the strings (I can't stand the cover they did for Furthermore though, as it was slowed down big time and ruins what was great about the song in the first place, which is an upbeat sound and a great string section).

Tomorrow, you get number two in the countdown, I promise.