photobomb 2010

So this morning I woke up and made the mistake of checking out before I did anything.  The first story I found was this one about a church in Florida planning a Quran-burning event.

G'head.  Give it a read.

Now, this isn't very Chookooloonks-y for me to say, but I have to be honest:  reading that article sent me blind with rage.  I started sputtering to Marcus about everything that was wrong with this, and ranting and raving and generally being completely incoherent.  But then, eventually, my apoplexia subsided, and I was left with only one thought:

Something needed to be done about this.

A couple of tweets later, and an idea was formed:  we should photobomb the churchI've mentioned before how I really believe in the power of photography.  I believe that more than anything else, this church needs to receive a message that its mission should always and eternally be one of peace.  Much as we did with your amazing images for the children's hospital at the end of last year, I would love to collect your photographs with images of peace, complete with a message of peace written on the back, package them in one giant box, and send it to the church.  A big huge box of goodness, making it very clear that we are in vehement disagreement with the policies and position of the church.

Are you with me?

I hope so.  And if you are, here's how it would work:

1.  Print a photo of yours -- one that depicts an image of peace.  It can be of anything -- your favourite pet, a flower, a sunset, whatever.  You can print one or more, or lots of prints of one image, or lots of prints of lots of images -- seriously, the more images, the merrier.  It just needs to convey an emotion of peace (and for some inspiration, I just happen to have a Flickr set of my favourite peace images -- seriously, it can be of anything so long as it makes you feel peaceful.)  Whatever.  It's up to you.  Please, no smaller than 4"x6", and no larger than 8"x10".   And seriously:  this doesn't have to be professional quality -- just pick a photo you've taken that you love and that feels peaceful

2.  On the back of the photograph, write a simple message of peace.  I'll leave it to you to decide what you want to say, but it can be something like the following:

Give peace a chance.

Do not engage in behaviour that typifies the actions you claim to hate.

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Love always wins.

Any simple phrase or sentence.  Some caveats:

a) Under no circumstances are you to write a message of hate, anger or even passive-aggressivenessWhile I totally understand the temptation to write something angry, or even backhanded ("I feel sorry for you" "I'm sorry you're so close-minded and hate-filled"), the point of this exercise is to spread love and peace, not anger.  The point is to make them think, rather that shut them off.  In other words, please try to rise above for this exercise.  I'll be going through all of the photographs to make sure that the messages are all positive, and removing the ones that aren't.

b)  If you want to use a quote, even if it's from a particular religious book or culture, by all means, do it -- regardless of the origin or faith.  The only rule is (a) above (e.g., "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," is fine.  "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," is not.) 

c)  You do not have to sign your name or give any identifying information.  The point of this is more the message that is coming from the outer world, not to give them data to find out who you are.

3.  Send your photo(s) to me postmarked no later than August 25th, 2010, to the following address:

Karen Walrond -- Chookooloonks

650 W. Bough, Suite 150-108

Houston, Texas  77024

United States of America

and I'll box up all of the images and messages and mail them to the church myself, to arrive prior to September 11th, the date of their planned event.

4.  If you're not comfortable sending a photograph, but you're crafty, you can participate too!  Just send your handmade card (or cards!) to the above address.  Seriously, a construction-paper heart with a handwritten note would do the trick.

5.  If you live outside the United States, but want to join in, I'd love to have you.  Even though this is an American church, the sentiments we are trying to convey are global.  I'd love if you'd join us.

Now, keep in mind: I have no illusions about trying to change the church's mind about what they're planning -- in fact, I'm pretty convinced that they're probably going to go ahead with it, no matter what we send.  It's entirely likely that they might not even open up the box or read the cards.  But what if one person -- just one -- reads one of the cards in the box, and starts questioning the hate-filled actions of the church?

If that happens, in my book, our photobomb will have been a success.

I do hope you'll join me.  I can't wait to see what you send.

random thoughts: beauty and light

"To love beauty is to see light."

~ Victor Hugo

When I first started taking photographs, I remember a much more experienced photographer telling me that in order to take a good shot, I had to "see the light."  "When you can see the light," he said, "you'll have understood what it takes to be a decent photographer."

I remember hating this.  What light? I thought with exasperation. There's just light, and I see it!  What does that mean, 'see the light'?  What is he talking about? How do you 'see the light'?

Of course, my friend wasn't just talking about acknowledging the light exists; he meant that I should be mindful of the light -- is it golden? Blue? White light? Is it coming in at an angle? Is it merely ambient light, or tightly focused? Are there shadows, or reflections? Once I had assessed the light, I could adjust my camera settings accordingly, to capture the light and image as authentically as possible.

He was right, of course -- in order to take a technically good shot, it makes sense for the photographer to be mindful of the light.  But now, after having photographed many faces, I've learned that there's another light to be mindful of: it's the light that animates.  In my experience, before taking a portrait, it makes sense to assess the surrounding light, but once you look through the viewfinder, it's equally important to look for that spark, that flash of someone's spirit that will inevitably cross her face, and capture that.

It's not easy.  You have to be very quick on your shutter.

But when you succeed, it's totally worth it.

* * * * * * *

On another note:  I recently made some changes to the Beauty of Different page.  Feel free to check it out, and even add to your blog reader, if you're so moved.  As we get close to the publication date of the book, I'm planning for a lot of goodness to start appearing over there.

And on that note, have a great weekend everyone. 


Image:  Photographed with my Nikon D300 and 50mm lens


Song: Say hey (I love you) by Michael Franti & Spearhead

love thursday: i am enough

"Though on paper I appeared to have a good life, the truth was that I was positively miserable.  And so, in my usual studious and analytical form, I sat down and took stock of my life.  I tried to figure out what it was that was making me so unhappy, and how it could even be possible that I was unhappy, even though I Did Everything I Was Supposed to Do.  Then one day, it finally dawned on me:

I could not have been put on this Earth to work this hard at being an individual."


My friend Tracey Clark has started this really great thing on her site:  the I Am Enough Collaborative, where she invites writers to declare that they are enough by sharing their words and images. 

I was really honoured when Tracey asked me to contribute, and the above passage is from my essay.  Please feel free to click over to read it in its entirety.

And Happy Love Thursday, everyone.  Show yourself some love: take time today to claim the indisputable fact that you are enough.

Image:  Photographed with my Nikon D300, 50mm lens.


Song:  Nature boy, as performed by Pomplamoose (below).

list #4: things that confuse me


1.  The difference between cosmology and astronomy (although I do know the difference between cosmetology and astrology).

2.  How airplanes fly. Yes, yes, I know, "thrust" ... whatever, planes are heavy, man.  They should not be able to fly.

3.  "Cold Stream" by Cy Twombly.  I love art.  I even love modern art.  Moreover, there are a couple of works by Cy Twombly that I quite like. But this particular piece, try as I might, I just don't get.

4.  Those bathtubs in the Cialis ads.  Their significance totally escapes me.

5.  Why I keep trying to figure out the significance of the bathtubs in the Cialis ads.

6.  Bungee jumping.

7.  Licorice.


* * * * * * * 

Completely unrelated:  at the end of next week, I plan on being in New York City for the annual BlogHer conference.  On the last night, Saturday, August 7, several of my favourite bloggers and I are going to be getting together at a bar called The Volstead, for an old school meet-up.  You know, we're just going to hang.  Chillax.  Lime, as we say in Trinidad.

And if you happen to be in New York next week, we'd love for you to join us. There's not going to be any sponsors or swag or free food or free drinks or any real purpose, other than just an opportunity to connect. 

If this sounds like fun to you, the details are here. Perhaps I'll see you there?


Image:  Photographed with my Nikon D300 and my 50mm.


Song: Makeda by Les Nubians

setpoint: happy

I've been thinking a lot about happiness setpoints lately. 

You know how you have some friends who are always cheery, no matter what?  These are the kinds of people who leave you gapemouthed when they say things like, "I have cancer, but you know what?  I've noticed that I have a really renewed appreciation for life.  I'm squeezing all the good out of every day these days."   As unbelievable as these types of people can be, I usually love being around them.  I just feel energized being in their presence.

And then there are others who seem to always find the doom and gloom in everything.  These are the ones who say, "Sure, it's a pretty day, but I bet the train will be late again."  Nothing ever seems to please them, and even though they may be kind and good and their hearts are in the right place, they're often a complete drain to be around. 

In the first case, I like to think that those people have pretty high happiness setpoints -- of course, they get down, or sad, or angry, but generally they bounce back quickly, and are able to see the bright side of dark situations.  In the second case, I think those people have really low setpoints:  they're so busy wallowing in their misery, that they often miss the good in their lives.  And I think in both instances, these are just how people approach life naturally:  it's genetic.  It's just the way they are.


I'd like to think that there's a way to help shift your happiness setpoint in a more positive direction (and I bet this bestselling author would agree with me).  I think, much in the same way that I believe that love is both an emotion and a decision, I believe that happiness is an emotion and a decision as well. I think taking care to focus on happiness, making a concerted effort to create circumstances for happiness to fluorish, is sort of imperative for ... well, happiness. Further, I think that by creating a habit of "happiness focus," when things all go pear-shaped, you've already got the tools at your disposal to help negotiate out of dark times.

So.  It's important to focus on happiness.  The trick is figuring out how to do it

Gretchen's book has tons of cool tips, of course; however, I'm of the opinion that ultimately, we're going to do what we want, and not do what we don't want (for example, Gretchen is a big proponent of closet organization and making up the bed daily, which is all well and good; however, I promise you while I have very good intentions, I just don't think I have it in me.  I'll keep trying).  Nonetheless, my failings notwithstanding, if you're looking for concrete tips, her book is a great place to start.

In my case, I'm sort of a hybrid:  I'm highly sensitive, and am quick to be hurt or impatient or angry, but on the flip side, it's rare that I stay hurt or impatient or angry.  Still, I can't help but notice than in the last couple of years, I've become far happier than I've been in the past -- and I've always been a pretty happy (albeit sensitive) person.  So today I thought I'd sort of codify what I've done that has helped make me happy:

1.  I put myself on a media diet. I found that nothing could put me in a foul mood more than sitting through half-an-hour (or an hour) of news every day.  So I never watch the news on television, and rarely read the local newspaper.  It's not that I don't stay up on current events -- but honestly, I do it via Twitter, watching the CNN breaking news Twitter feed or the Breaking News Twitter feed.  I find out what's going on in the world in 140 characters or less -- if it sounds interesting, I click on the links to read more.  But doing this keeps me from having to watch the hours upon hours of murders and rapes and injuries to children that seem to be all over the local news these days; furthermore, I'm not sure how my life is enriched by learning about these awful things.  So I don't.

Also:  I quite vigorously cull my social media reading, so that 98% of what I read in blogs or twitter or other social media sites is funny, positive, uplifting or informative.  There seems to be a trend in social media where much of the content is actually complaining, masked in snarky, often mean or bitter humour -- I began to realize that if I read these sites (no matter how talented the writer), it affected my outlook on life in a tangible, visceral way.  So I stopped reading them, opting instead blogs with a better outlook on life. 

I'm a firm believer that "I am what I ingest," and that includes what I read and watch.  It's important for my own health

2.  I did a journaling exercise where I wrote down everything that I love to do, to figure out the direction I wanted to take my career.  It's one of the best things I've ever done for myself, and I highly recommend it, even if you have no intention of making a career move.  It's a great way to keep a compass bearing on happiness for your future professional life.

3.  I wrote my life list.  I've written before how transformational this has been for me, because it pushes me to ensure that I fill my life with moments of joy -- some of them really intense, others really small and special.  The beauty of life lists is that it's all so very personal:  things like bungee jumping will never make it onto my list because I can't imagine anything more unpleasant; however, it might make it on yours, because you find it exhilarating.  If you're considering making one, please consider this my urging you to go ahead and do it (and I have my tips for writing one right here).

4.  And finally, I made a hobby I love a daily practice.  Becoming a photoblogger has been one of the best decisions that I made with regard to my happiness:  it forces me to slow down and focus on the beauty in my life every single day.  Similarly, I've been really good about journaling every day -- it's a way that I can get my head together before I start each morning. 

But the thing is:  I love doing both of these things.  They may not work for you, if you're not into photography or journaling.  Perhaps blogging is your thing, or knitting, or reading books, or doing jigsaw puzzles, or meditating, or making art, or making music, or running, or dancing or ... whatever.  The thing is that you should take something you love and make it a daily habit, even if you can only squeeze in 15 minutes of it.  It will make you happy, I promise.

So anyway, that's what I did.  And it really, really worked.  I hope you'll take some pointed steps to making (and keeping) yourself happy in your own lives -- but be sure to do it in a personal, joy-filled, non-chore-like way.  Simply make sure to do what makes you happy as frequently as you can. 

Even so, even after writing all of this, I can't help but remember a tweet I came across from the awesome Dr. Miggy the other day:



And on that note, go be happy, everyone.


Image:  Photographed on my kitchen table with my Nikon D300 and 50mm lens.  Because fresh cut flowers make me happy.


Song: Closer to fine by Indigo Girls

the art of doing nothing

One of the dangers of working on your own, of course, is the fact that often, you never have a full day off:  there's always something that needs to be done, an email that needs to be sent, some notes that need to be taken.  But today, I promised myself that I would get a whole lot of nothing done today.

For the most part, I did a pretty good job of it.  Oh, I did send out a few work-related emails, but mostly I sat.  And journaled.  And made it through tons of movies.

And watched my daughter idly balance herself along the curb.




I need to get a lot more nothing done next weekend, too.


Images:  Photographed with my Nikon D300 and 50mm lens.

SongBlackbird, as performed by Dionne FarrisBest cover of a Beatles song ever.

bonus shot: after the sleepover

Image:  Photographed with Nikon D300 and 50mm lens.


Song:  So, inspired by the very sweet Pam Mandel of Nerd's Eye View and this very cool NPR segment, I asked my husband to buy me a ukulele for my birthday.

When I did, his expression was pretty close to the one that's probably on your face right now.

But he eventually agreed.  And so last week, on my 43rd birthday, Marcus presented me with a ukulele.

The video below is my very first song.  A warning:  despite having taken piano for many years, guitar lessons for about 2 months when I was 12, and singing in a choir when I was in college, I am nowhere near proficient on this thing.  It's only been 7 days, after all.   You click on this video at your own risk.

And so, without further ado, me, performing "You've Got A Friend in Me."  With deep, heartfelt apologies to Randy Newman.

P.S.  Very special thanks (or blame) to Pam for helping Marcus pick out the ukulele.  I love it.

P.P.S.  I have taken to calling this instrument my "chookoolele."  For obvious reasons.

P.P.P.S.  This is all in furtherance of number 103 of my life list.

bonus friday chookooloonks update: number 104, photograph a corpse flower in bloom? CHECK.

FunkWatch 2010 is now complete. 

All indications online this morning were that the flower had finally bloomed.  I sent a message to my friend Erin that I was coming to the museum to see the flower, and she immediately texted me back.

"Um, when you come?  Be sure to wear clothes you don't mind losing.  I went to see it about 30 minutes ago, and I can still smell it on my clothes."


I looked down.  I was wearing a dress that I'd purchased about 10 years ago, but it's one of my favourites, and still looked rather new.  I quickly changed into a dress I bought at Target a month ago for about $12.

"Thanks for the tip," I texted back.  "I've changed.  I'm on my way."

When I got to the museum, Erin met me in the Grand Hall.  "Can you smell it?" 


"People in my office say they can't smell me, but I sure can.  You can't smell it?"

I sniffed her.  She smelt clean and fresh.

"You smell awesome.  I can't smell anything but your perfume."

"It must just be in my nose, then.  I just can't get it out of my nose."

We began walking to the exhibit.  "It's that bad?"

"Well, it was pretty bad this morning," she said.  As we neared the exhibit, she stopped short.  "There.  Do you smell that?"

I inhaled deeply.  "I ... think so?"

"Oh, you'll know so when we get out of the elevator," she said, as we walked in.  There were two people in the elevator ahead of us.  One was a woman with a cart full of cleaning chemicals.  She looked at me and rolled her eyes. 

"God, it's so bad," she said.

"Really?" I said. "It's that bad?"

The guy next to me murmured.  "Yes. It's that bad."

I turned to look at him, and jumped.  "Oh my God!" I said.  "You have a gas mask?"

"I'm a cameraman for one of the local news stations," he said, pulling the mask to his face. "I've been here since 4 in the morning.  Here," he said, holding out a small vial.  "Do you want some menthol?  It'll help."

"No, it's okay," I smiled.  "I want to get the full effect."

The door to the elevator opened.

And I inhaled.

I smelled it. 

It smelt like ... a dumpster.  It smelt like ... dirty socks.

It sort of smelt like the men's locker room in a very old YMCA at the end of the day.

But honestly?  It wasn't the scent of evil that I'd built myself up into believing it would be.

I started taking pictures, trying to get as close to the flower as I could get.  After about 2 minutes, though, I couldn't detect a smell at all.  I'd totally gotten used to it.  I've always had a pretty keen sense of smell, so this surprised me; but it's entirely possible I was catching the flower at the early part of its smell cycle, so perhaps it got worse as it got later in the day.

After I took enough photographs, I asked Zac the Horticulturalist (who is now quite the internet celebrity) if he would allow me to take his photograph for my 1000 faces project.  He's incredibly charming (and, bless him, incredibly tired), and he showed me the cigars ("It's a bloom!") and the leis that patrons of the museum were bringing to him all morning. 

"You must be just so thrilled," I said.

"I really am," he smiled.


And for the record, he smelt great.


Images:  Photographed with my Nikon D300 and my 24-85mm lens -- which, of course, decided that it wasn't going to focus once I arrived at the museum, so I had to go manual.  Oh well.  It's old.


SongAin't it funky by James Brown


friday chookooloonks life list update: number 56, taste 700 teas

I grew up in a tea-drinking family.  This is not shocking.  In Trinidad, we're tea drinkers:  generally breakfast tea, liberally embellished with milk and sugar, just as any good former British colonists would drink it.  My parents drank Lipton's -- the most plentiful brand in Trinidad grocery stores -- and so I, from about the age of about 6 onward, drank Lipton's as well.

With lots of milk and sugar.

At the age of 33, on the eve of moving to England, I quelled any nerves that I might have had moving to a foreign country by comforting myself with the thought that I had grown up in a country that had many British ways.  After all, I drank tea! With lots of milk! And sugar!  Surely that was practically like knowing all the words to "God Save the Queen!"

When I arrived in England, I discovered, of course, that it was nothing like Trinidad, and it took me a good while to get settled into a social circle.  I was likely far more excited than I should've been the first time my first British friend came over to my house.

"Would you like a cup of tea?" I said eagerly, as we came in from the cold, damp day.*

"Sure," he said.

I reached for my box of Lipton's.

"Uh, what the bloody hell is that?" he asked, aghast.

"Ummm... tea?"

"That," he said pointedly, "is not TEA.  That is dirty water.  Please tell me you drink tea other than Lipton's."

"Dude, it's Lipton's.  That's pretty generic tea, isn't it?"

"It's swill."

"Well, what do you drink?"

"Anything but Lipton's."

"Like?"  I was beginning to get annoyed.

"Well, like PG Tips, for one."

"Never heard of it."

"It's what most British families drink.  Your average, common tea.  But," he said, "it's better than that," pointing at my disgraced box of Lipton's.  "I'll just have water."

Needless to say, soon after this encounter, I went to the store and bought a box of PG Tips.  To be honest, I didn't really notice much of a difference in taste. But, I figured, since English friends were going to expect PG Tips, then PG Tips I was going to drink.

Months later, I returned to Houston to visit my parents.  "Do you want a cup of tea?" my mom offered.

"Sure, thanks."

She made a cup of Lipton's for me, my first in a while.  I took a huge gulp.

And I almost spat it out.

Suddenly, I could taste a huge difference between PG Tips and Lipton's, and I've never been able to go back.  In Houston, PG Tips is often only available in specialty grocery stores, and if we're lucky, we can find it in the import section of our supermarket.  It costs an unreasonable amount of money (our British friends are always shocked), but with as much tea as we drink around here, we pay the money to get our PG Tips.  We beg friends who are coming to visit from Britain to bring us as many boxes as they can cram in their suitcases.  And when we return to England to visit Marcus' family, we stock up before coming back. 

Needless to say, Marcus and I have already begun teaching Alex to drink her tea.  We prepare it very weakly for her.

With lots of milk and sugar. 

Of course.


* Which could've been any particular day, since every day I lived in England was a cold, damp day. 


Images:  Photo of PG Tips box and our kitchen table, complete with steaming hot PG Tips (with milk! and sugar!) in a mug Marcus painted, taken with my Nikon D300 and 50mm lens. This is my fourth cup of tea in furtherance of number 56 on my life list:  taste 700 teas (Godhelpme).


Song: Right as rain by Adele


love thursday: on community and corpse flowers

Photographed yesterday, around 1:23 p.m.

You thought I'd forgotten, didn't you?

Not a chance.  I've been as obsessed with the blooming of the corpse flower at the Houston Museum of Natural Science as ever; I have, however, done you the favour of not obsessing about it here, on Chookooloonks.  Lois (the corpse flower) is taking her own sweet time blooming:  as you can see above, she's starting to open up a bit, but she's still not at full bloom.  And so we continue to wait. 

While I've been waiting (and obsessing), I've had a lot of time to think about Lois, and everything that is going on around her.  I mean, if you think about it, Lois is sort of the ultimate Beauty of Different.  Let's face it:  she's sort of odd-looking.  When I learned her Latin name, Amorphophallus Titanum means, literally, "giant misshapen penis," my reaction wasn't so much, "poor thing," as it was, "oh, well, of course." Couple this with the fact that at some point she's going to start smelling like a two-month-old forgotten murder scene, logic would dictate that people would be giving this puppy a wide berth.

And yet, that's not what's happening.  Crowds have been forming daily just to catch a glimpse of her, and she hasn't even opened up yet.  For those who are not in Houston, thousands of people have been watching her progress on the live camera feed around the clock -- so much so, in fact, that the museum had to increase the bandwidth, then brought in experts from Rice University to increase the bandwidth again, and I'm told that the bandwidth is on the verge of being exceeded yet again -- and keep in mind, this flower hasn't done anything yet.  If Lois isn't a prime example of how much people love Different, particularly when they know that Different will be done well and with gusto, then really, I don't know what is.

The second thing I've been thinking about is actually related to the throngs of people who are obsessing along with me.  I've always felt like Houston is one of the most underestimated cities of the United States:  it's the fourth largest in the country (and some are speculating that the results of this year's census will likely catapult it over Chicago into third place), and yet Dallas (in a meagre 9th place) always seems to get higher billing in the media.  What has always struck me about Houston though, and what's surprising given the city's size, is how quickly the community rallies together -- and not just in times of need (as in the case of 2008's Hurricane Ike, when impromptu potluck dinners and extension cords to generators crisscrossed neighbourhoods all over town), but also in times of silly joy, like this.  It's entirely possible that people are just happy to focus on something other than wars and oil spills and political-parties-sniping-at-other-political-parties; but whatever, it doesn't matter:  the local news is ending on "Lois-Watch" stories, Houstonians are urging the flower to bloom on Twitter, and guests to the museum are waiving to each other on the live camera.  Even people outside of Houston are wishing Houstonians luck -- over a flower.  And while this is happening, it's almost easy to imagine that we live in a small town, where people like each other and look out for each other, and cheer each other on.  It's enough to make you really happy to live here.

Thirdly, I would be remiss if I didn't give huge, huge props to Zac the Horticulturalist and the entire Museum of Natural Science team.  They have been AH-MAY-ZING.  Not only have they been doing daily updates on their blog and Twitter streams, they have also -- get this -- stayed open twenty-four hours a day for a few days, so that the crowds can come see this once-in-a-lifetime plant at their leisure.  And even though the museum employees must be dead on their feet with fatigue (seriously, I'm not sure how Zac is still upright), they continue to do this with huge smiles, friendly explanations, and seriously great attitudes.  You guys are world class, and you make those of us who live in Houston proud.

And finally, a special shout-out to the astonishingly charming Erin, the Director of Online Media at the museum ...

... who has graciously offered to be my host each time I've stopped by (entirely on my own accord, by the way, and with very little prior notice to Erin).  She has answered my inane questions, and even gotten Zac's attention when my ridiculous questions bordered on the botanically criminal.  Even more wonderfully, she let me take a photograph of that lovely face of hers for my 1000 faces project.  She's a true gem.

And on that note, Happy Love Thursday, everyone.  I'm going to keep an eye on Lois, so that I can take a photo of her in full bloom; but in the meantime, may you look around at your community today -- your family, your neighbours, your work community or your town -- and feel happy.


Images:  Photographed with my Nikon D300 and my 24-85 mm lens.


Song1 in 10 by Cameron Rafati.  Cameron is an emerging artist and a new Twitter follower -- and on exploring his site, I loved his voice so much I thought I'd share. His new album drops August 14, 2010.