Hillsong Live – Faith + Hope + Love

I’m so conditioned to expect mediocre releases from Hillsong that I was really taken aback while listening to their latest CD Faith + Hope + Love. This is by far the best Hillsong album in recent memory. I’m not sure what happened between the recording of this release and their previous effort,Across the Earth: Tear Down the Walls but the material is so much stronger this time around. Casual listeners may not notice a difference since the song arrangements and the overall sound mix are pretty typical for a Hillsongs recording. But the well crafted song structures and the depth of the lyrics take this Hillsong release to another level. And for a change of pace, a Brooke Fraser Ligertwood song isn’t the major highlight of the album. It’s a song by Jill McCloghry titled “We the Redeemed”. The powerful worship anthem will most likely be a congregation favorite for years to come. And there’s plenty more on the album for worship leaders to use with their respective teams.

Be sure to check out: “The First and The Last”, “For Your Name”, “Yahweh” and “The Wonder of Your Love” It’s also great to hear Darlene Zschech’s lovely voice again on “The Wonder of Your Love”. No longer the main worship pastor at Hillsong Church, Zschech has taken a lesser role on recent Hillsong recordings. Even so, there’s no replacing that remarkable voice of hers which will be forever linked as part of that classic “hillsong sound”.

The ever-changing web

This nicely done video trailer for the new search engine leapfish should remind us all of how the internet is a constantly changing environment. Just think back to the beginning of the decade. Not a lot of us were blogging back in those days. The web was made up of static webpages created by programs like Frontpage and Dreamweaver. In those days, search engines could get away with not re-checking certain sites for weeks since updates and changes were few and far between. But as broadband connections found its way to more and more homes, the internet integrated deeper into our daily lives. As blogging, youtube and social networking became mainstream, the flow of new web content exploded. sharing photos, videos and music have become as simple as sending email nowadays. And now with iPhones and the wireless web, updates on twitter and facebook are at our fingertips. With this constant flow of information coming and going, the internet has actually become the “living web”.

But how do we harness all this new information in “real-time”? Traditional search-engines aren’t currently geared toward real-time access. With twitter feeds and status updates, news can spread in an instant. A great example of this is how word spread on the web about Michael Jackson’s passing before traditional media made the announcement. We’re on the brink of a revolution. We just need some online tools to help access the speed of “now”.

Leapfish is the first that I’ve seen to merge traditional search with social networking. Their online portal integrates all the important tools that we use on a daily basis into one spot. Keep up with all your favorites including twitter feeds, flickr feeds, facebook and Digg without having to constantly surf to different sites. The search portal is definitely a step in the right direction. It’s fascinating to see how the ‘net has evolved over the years. Our lives have permanently changed because of it. I look forward to the next “game-changer” that’ll once again shake things up on the web.

DWTS Season 8 Finale - Shawn and Mark - Roast

I don’t know about you but I’m a bit tired of networks stretching the season finale shows to two hours. C’mon, sitting through nearly two hours worth of recaps and rehashes to simply find out who theDWTS Season 8 champs are, was a bit painful. So, as I had mentioned yesterday, Shawn and Mark did indeed win the competition. But it was definitely close. Apparently there was only 1% difference in viewer votes between the two final couples. I think the outcome might have been different if Cheryl and Gilles had done something other than that awfully dated “Flashdance” routine.

There were several awkward moments during the live telecast including some off-color jokes by Lawrence Taylor and Steve Wozniak forgetting how to do “the worm”. But the ultimate “cringe-fest” occurred during “The Roast” segment done by Jeffrey Ross. It’s definitely tame compared to a real Roast but still the harsh jokes make ya squirm just the same. heh.

Lost - Season Finale - The Incident

As a longtime Lost viewer, last night’s two hour season finale was a bit of a letdown. Yes, there were some questions answered including what happened to Bernard and Rose but wedging “Jacob” into everyone’s past lives felt a bit forced and awkward in a way. and don’t get me started on the the fist-fight between Sawyer & Jack and the shootout at the Dharma camp. Those two scenes (along with some others) simply felt like they were just milking the clock, trying to stretch the story into a two hour special. here are some random thoughts on last night’s show -

- It still seemed unnatural for Jack to decide to go through with the bombing of the Swan especially now that he revealed it was all because of Kate.

- And Juliet getting sucked down the shaft was sad but her motivation for going along with Jack was also a bit murky and underdeveloped.

- Learning that Jacob is just a man that doesn’t age (like Richard) wasn’t what I was expecting. sort of “meh” for me. I was actually distracted somewhat trying to remember where I’ve seen the actor (playing Jacob) before. It took me a while but Mark Pellegrino is best known as Rita’s ex-husband on Dexter.

- Oh, finding out Locke is actually quite dead was a nice twist. So I guess the living Locke isn’t Locke at all but “Man no. 2″ in the opening scene.

- and it appeared to me that Jacob was aware of Locke’s plan with Ben. So why didn’t Jacob put up a fight before Ben stabbed him? no struggle? for such a mystical figure, Jacob was pretty easy to kill. or can Jacob even be killed? hhmmmm…

- and the biggest downer of all - having to wait til 2010 for the next episode. so frustrating!