Archive for the ‘News’ Category

It’s Friday and we’re two weeks and one day away from the last show Bastion scheduled before his back went out!  If you haven’t marked it on your calendar, mark Saturday, April 28 at Mike & Joe’s in New Castle, IN now!  GRACE@ARMS will take the stage at 6pm!  Bastion’s got some more information (and the other guys have some fun thoughts, too):

Bastion:

Admission for the April 28 show is $5 (you get a scoop of ice cream and some other give-aways) BUT if you show your GRACE@ARMS Ancora card (the one where you put the stickers on it to get free G@A stuff) OR any other G@A card, then you get a dollar off the admission price!

Images of Grace at Arms' (GRACE@ARMS) various business, contact, and Ancora cards.  Artwork, "Ancora", and logos copyright Grace at Arms, Bastion Crider, and Greg Crider LLC.

Milo:

“It may be that those who do most, dream most.” – Stephen Butler Leacock

Cooper:

I just finished reading the final installment in the Hunger Games trilogy, and I find myself feeling kind of empty.  The books pull you in and nearly force you to keep turning the pages.  The last hundred pages or so left me wondering, “could this have been done differently?”  All in all, however, I loved these books and would recommend them to anyone.  Cheers!

It’s Friday and we’ve got news!  Bastion will be making a solo acoustic appearance at a several-band concert outside of Imagine Music in New Castle, IN, at 1:00pm on March 31 to support local businesses and charities!  We’ll be posting more information on facebook.com/graceatarms, but save the date!  Now, here’s the band:

Bastion:

I’ll make an official announcement if/when there’s something official to announce, but IF I/GRACE@ARMS had a solo/acoustic project coming out in January, which of our songs on YouTube would you like to see on there?

Vote for your favorites by either going to youtube.com/graceatarms and “Like”ing the songs you’d most like to hear (if you don’t have a YouTube account, they’re free) or by going to facebook.com/graceatarms and voting for songs in the Poll we posted!  If you do both, your vote counts twice.  Vote for as many songs as you’d like!

 (If my vote counted, I’d vote for “A Love Poem For Ghosts”!)

Milo:

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday completing part 1 of the national boards in optometry.  Now it’s time to relax [with me at the resort/casino in French Lick! – Bash]!

Cooper:

We are in the season of growing!  The grass is sprouting anew, trees are budding, and everyone and their buddy is crowding the weight room.  One observation I’ve made is that the best lat pull-down machine is never open!  If I have learned one thing in that place, it’s to circle that piece of equipment like a vulture.  That rant aside, it has been nice to work out more often and feel a little healthier.  Cheers!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) playing acoustic guitar in his home, Valhalla.
If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

It’s Friday (already?) and we’re back with more thoughts! Have a great weekend and, if you live near New Castle, Indiana, start getting ready for Bastion’s return from his back surgery and Grace@Arms’ return to the stage at a very special full-band concert at Mike & Joe’s (find the Facebook event here)!

Bastion:

I’ve been cranking out a lot of videos and chocolate pianos lately, so I think it’s time for a short news recap! This week:
1. The Lorax is in theaters and it’s amazing (and oh, so faithful to Dr. Seuss). My review is here.
2. GRACE@ARMS’ YouTube page is booming these days! We’ve had record hits this month, which top our record hits last month, which topped the record hits the month before. We’re growing! Thanks so much for watching, listening, and spreading the word! Feel free to help us turn this trend into the norm by sharing http://youtube.com/graceatarms !
3. My back continues to heal! I’m taking short trips to work and to other calm environments now and easing back into the swing of things. Thanks for all the support!
4. I’m putting in the order for the new Baseball shirts and Anniversary shirts today so they should be here soon! Thanks again to everyone who pre-ordered them–we can’t afford to make them without pre-orders so really; thanks, thanks, thanks!!!!
5.  I’ve also discovered Instagram recently so I’ve been playing with some old photos on my phone.  I’ve attached a few of Milo’s and my Maine vacation, my Halloween costume, and some other silliness to the end of this article.  Enjoy!

Milo:

“Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here, obedient to their laws, we lie.” – Epitaph on the Monument at Thermopylae

Cooper:

This week has been incredibly wild and crazy! Spring Break 2012! My week off has been spent with Raeanne, friends, and my new pastime. That pastime is the newly released Mass Effect 3! I’ve loved seeing some old friends and enjoying the time off.

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) making a funny face.Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in a suit, tie, scarf, and overcoat.Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) looking out over the ocean while on vacation in Lubec, Maine.Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) walking with a nurse's assistance after back surgery at the Naab Road Surgery Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) shows off his zombie costume in a mirror during Halloween 2012.A poster of Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in front of the movie screen at the Skyvue Drive-In in New Castle, Indiana.  All art, logos, and design by Bastion, copyright Grace at Arms, Bastion Crider, and Greg Crider LLC.

If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

The short version: the movie tells (or rather, includes) the complete and unadulterated story of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax in a fun, funny, beautiful, and generally unoffensive way.

A screen capture from the movie adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax cropped by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS).

The long version:

First of all, it’s obvious that the minds behind this movie loved The Lorax the way I did growing up.  From the first line of the movie (“I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.”) to the quote printed on the screen before the credits scroll over beautifully Seussy artwork (“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”), Dr. Seuss’ work is not only preserved, but respected and praised.

A Movie Within A Movie

Dr. Seuss book is too short and too simple to be made into a movie without adding a lot of material.  Fortunately, The Lorax, in it’s paper form, is about the Once-ler telling the story of the Lorax to a child.  Instead of trying to chop that story up, the movie-makers simply told a larger story around the original one.

The movie takes place in Thneedville, where everything is plastic and everyone is, generally, happy.  One boy, Ted Wiggins, through a series of events short enough not to be boring, finds his way to the Once-ler’s to hear the tale of the Lorax–which is punctuated by a few of Ted’s short adventures (also short enough not to be distracting)–before returning to Thneedville with the knowledge he’s gained in what almost felt like a “thank you” to Dr. Seuss for the impact his book clearly had on the writers.

Highlights (Essentially, the most Seussy parts!)

The movie is packed with Dr. Suess’ original language (Betty White’s description of the The Street of the Lifted Lorax is almost word for word with the book), as well as homages to other Seuss tales like Yertle the Turtle and his various books about Whoville.

The mix of “original Lorax” and “the movie around it” allowed the writers to do a very cool thing by making the little boy who hears the Once-ler’s story (they named him Ted Wiggins) take an active role in the movie.  As a person who’s felt the impact of my childhood love for The Lorax echo in my actions throughout the years, it was exciting to see the characters and the in-movie world change as a result of the lessons taught by the story–it also saves the movie from being forced into an “all hope is lost” style ending.

One last thing I loved about the movie, which I’ll discuss more in the next section, is that both the Lorax and the Once-ler were made far more compassionate and human without sacrificing their original characters.

The Lorax and the Once-ler, arm in arm in a screen capture from the movie adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, cropped by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS).

Industry/Environmentalist Controversy

Obviously, a review of The Lorax would be incomplete without addressing the light in which each side of this debate is portrayed.  This movie, like a fair and even divorce, should leave both sides satisfactorily unhappy and begrudgingly satisfied.

Both sides are depicted as hard-lined, but with the capacity (though not always the desire) to see each other’s sides.  They each use both noble and questionable tactics to get their way and, appropriately, a large portion of their disagreements are the result of misunderstanding each other’s tactics rather than hatred for each other.  Here’s a breakdown of the sides as they are portrayed:

ENVIRONMENT: 

The Lorax is just as shortish and oldish and brownish and mossy as in the original story and still speaks in a voice that is sharpish and bossy.  Pleasantly, though, he’s warmer to the Once-ler, urging “you’re better than this” rather than simply attacking him.  The Lorax’s real warning to the Once-ler, after the Once-ler has promised not to cut down any more trees but is suddenly faced with the opportunity to see everything he’s worked for become real, is that “a tree falls the way it leans.”  Worded for those who haven’t seen the movie yet; the danger isn’t in a single action (which often can’t be avoided), but rather in allowing yourself to ignore the impact of that action (and as a result, to perform that action again and again without thinking about it).
The trees, Swomee-Swans, Humming-Fish and Bar-ba-loots behave pretty much as nature does in real life–they interact with the Once-ler, at times fearful and at times appreciative, until they are destroyed.  They don’t fight.  They don’t shout their warnings over and over.  They don’t provide that “one last warning” before they’re gone.

INDUSTRY: 

The Once-ler, whose movie character stole my heart, is effectively trapped between own compassion and the demands of society and success.  As an aspiring artist with a dream I’m trying to sell, I really felt the Once-ler’s frustration as his thneed (for which he had worked so hard even though nobody believed was worthwhile) became popular and he was faced with the disgusting choice of “sacrifice your integrity to see your dream made real or throw away your life’s work for because you used to tell yourself you wouldn’t go that far to succeed.”
The Once-ler’s family, as well as the Once-ler (post-promise-breaking and rich-getting) are colder towards the environment, but are depicted as ignorant rather than evil.  Further, the consumers (the people of Thneedville) are kept ignorant to the amount of pollution that their consumerism is causing.  Pleasantly, their minds are changeable, though they require more than a simple, “change your ways!”

The Lorax and the Once-ler in the movie adaptation of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, cropped by bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS).

Other nice things:

The voice actors were great.  The movie was visually stunning and payed homage to Dr. Seuss original artwork.  The movie-in-a-movie aspect also gave kind of a past (original story) – present (Thneedville and it’s hard-to-break consumerism) – future (the opening of the consumer’s eyes to the lesson of the Lorax and the effort not to stop either side, but rather to compromise) aspect to the movie that provided a strong feeling of hope to the film.

Downsides:

I really have very little to say about the movie that’s negative.  The animation style caused me to feel at first like the character’s mouth-movements didn’t line up with their words as well as I’d like, but that either became less noticeable as the movie continued or I just got used to it.  Also, the songs at the beginning and end felt borderline preachy–an obvious danger in any message movie but one which the rest of the movie did a good job of avoiding.

Conclusion and recommendation:

I loved this movie.  As a from-the-time-I-could-read fan of the Lorax who can recite pages of the book from memory, I can say that I’m not only impressed by the movie-maker’s preservation of Dr. Seuss’ work, but I enjoyed the vast majority of their additions.  I would recommend this movie to anyone who has or has not read the book.

My only warning would be that the movie is fair and definitely paints a thorough picture of each side.  If you’ve got a chip on your shoulder, you’re going to be offended by something (because you’ve got a chip on your shoulder–not because the movie was obtuse).  If you don’t, though, then get ready for an exciting, moving, funny, and fun movie!

A Facebook page picture for Grace at Arms designed by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS).  All art, design, logos, and "I CAME HERE TO ROCK" are copyright Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms.
If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms). You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again. Keep rocking with all that you’ve got.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

Today, March 1, 2012, is the one year anniversary of the official release of Chrysalis, of the creation of graceatarms.com, and of the effective birth of GRACE@ARMS.

That which matters most:

THANK YOU.  Thank you to all of my followers, subscribers, and friends as well as all the fans, supporters, collaborators, and friends of GRACE@ARMS.  I’ve said it a thousand times in a thousand ways, but it can never be said enough:

This band isn’t a story about me.  It isn’t a window into my heart.  It is me.  It is my hope in the real world.  It is my heart on earth.  I’m grateful for every comment from every fan and I’m moved every time my music, my words, my art, and my hope connects with someone else’s heart.  I can thank you a thousand times, but I’ll never be able to convey the appreciation I feel for all of those who’ve helped me begin to make my ambitious dream real.

A Facebook banner designed for Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) by Bastion Crider, the front-man for Grace at Arms on February 29, 2012.  All art, logos, design, "@LIVE 2012", "@LIVE", and "B-Day" copyright Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms.

The Bitter and the Sweet:

Obviously, sitting at home waiting for my back surgery wounds to heal isn’t the way I had planned on spending the day. More so, I hadn’t planned on spending most of February huddled on my couch in a drug-induced stupor. As a result, this isn’t quite the day of concerts and celebrations, or even the planned-for-weeks blog entry, merchandise giveaway, and growth opportunity that I had imagined.

Nevertheless, my dream has been real for an entire year and in that time I’ve gone from editing tracks in my basement, telling myself over and over that someday someone would want to hear them, to selling albums internationally.

The question now, which I’d planned on pondering all month, is what to say to mark the occasion.

A Facebook page picture designed for Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) by Bastion Crider, the front-man for Grace at Arms on February 29, 2012.  All art, logos, design, "@LIVE 2012", "@LIVE", and "B-Day" copyright Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms.

Well, for starters, NEW T-SHIRT!!!!!!!!!

Where do Grace@Arms shirts come from? Essentially, I ask myself what I want to wear, and then I make it. This time, I wanted to cover both Grace@Arms birthday and my own (March 17–Bastion-Day, B-Day, or St. Patrick’s Day) in the same shirt. I also LOVE long sleeve t-shirts with writing on the sleeves. So basically, those ideas came together into this:

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) depicted as an embryo in a sonogram image with an Ancora (Grace at Arms' "Capital @" symbol) inside of his brain as part of the B-Day 2012 t-shirt from Grace@Arms.  Art by Bastion Crider, February 29, 2012.  All logos, images, art, design, "I CAME HERE TO ROCK", "B-DAY", and "Ancora" copyright Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms.

One drawback (well, I’m absorbing the drawback because I love this shirt and want people to be wearing it, so it’s really more of a deal or a sale than a drawback) to long sleeve shirts, shirts with more than one color, shirts with writing on the sleeves, or especially all at once, is that they cost more to make!

As a result, the birthday shirts will pre-order for $25 (IF there are any extras in the order, they’ll sell for $30) and will be available to pre-order ONLY until Sunday. That didn’t feel like a celebratory-enough deal, though, so I decided to release a special package for those interested:

1 Long Sleeve Birthday T-Shirt, 1 “Baseball” Tee, and 1 Chrysalis CD for $40

And we’ll get to the rest later…

Like I said, the anniversary crept up on me so the “year in the life” article will be showing up later, but in the mean time, I’ve revamped the band’s Facebook page, both of the new shirts are pre-orderable until Sunday, and our April 28 concert (the only G@A show on the horizon–thanks, back surgery) at Mike & Joe’s in New Castle, Indiana has been converted from an acoustic show to an electric show!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) depicted as an embryo in a sonogram image with an Ancora (Grace at Arms' "Capital @" symbol) inside of his brain.  Art by Bastion Crider, February 29, 2012.  All logos, images, art, design, "I CAME HERE TO ROCK", "B-DAY", and "Ancora" copyright Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms.

It’s been an incredible year and it’s about to be another one.  If you’re unfamiliar with GRACE@ARMS, you can find us on iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, and at our homepage, graceatarms.com (you can also find us just about everywhere else–just search for Grace@Arms or BastionAtArms).  You can also keep up to date with my blog, my art projects, my music, and my madness at my Facebook, Twitter, and my original blog at graceatarms.com/bastion.

Thanks and thanks again.  Keep rocking with all you are.
– Bastion, of Grace at Arms

If you missed Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, I’ve been battling the shards of an exploding disc in my spine.  When we left off, I was awaiting surgery and trying to survive a “no ibuprofen” mandate from my surgeon.

If you can’t sleep, just re-define “sleep.”

After two days of raging, spastic agony, I was too afraid to go to bed.  This turned out to be fortunate, though.  I resumed sleeping* against my pillow stack on my couch, which, combined with a steroid that was riding the needle the doctors had plunged into my spine a few days prior, got me back into a quasi-mobile state!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) pretending to sleep in the position in which he has had to sleep for several weeks on account of a back injury in February 2012.

I sit, I lean, I sit, I sleep*, I sit, I sleep*, I wake.

* “Sleeping” in this context means “sitting still for a long enough time that it’s safe to assume that I was unconscious for some period of time.”

If ignorance is bliss, distraction is at least peaceful.

Fortunately, I had plenty of friends and family visiting me over the week before surgery and, among other things, I was able to construct my chocolate piano!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) sitting behind the chocolate piano he built out of white, dark, and milk chocolate candy bars including Kit Kat bars, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Minis, Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream bars, and Hershey's Chocolate Bars in February 2012.

Okay, so you haven't seen this picture, but you HAVE seen the rest of them (if you haven't, just click on the picture).

Seriously, if you’ve found a way to this article but haven’t seen my chocolate piano, then you’re missing the good stuff!  For your sake, please go to facebook.com/graceatarmsbastion and become a fan.

Hack!  Hack that back!

Friday, February 24 finally rolled around and the story gets short from there:
1.  Dr. Jean-Pierre Mobasser, MD has Jesus-hands.
2.  He removed some scar tissue, disc fragments, and other junk and patched me up in under an hour.

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) lying on his bed in the Naab Road Surgery Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, following his back sugery performed by Dr. Jean-Pierre Mobasser, MD.

Me, still drugged, making myself comfortable post-surgery.

An hour and a half later, I was sitting in my mom’s car eating a Qdoba burrito and sending doped up texts to the handful of people whose names I could remember despite the anesthetics.

…and now… and more now… and more now…

So now, I’m healing.  Not only am I healing, but with a Tylenol and two ibuprofen, I feel closer to “painless” than I have in years.  The only battle I have left ahead of me (barring the unexpected) is patience.  I have to wait until I have healed completely before I go off and do anything stupid, no matter how stir crazy I get.

An image of Bastion Crider's head with his memories on fire designed, photographed, and edited by Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS) in December 2011.

This seemed like an appropriate time to bust out the image of my mind ablaze again.

Fortunately, madness is a good substitute for creativity!  Maybe Grace@Arms will see some new material as a result of this!  Thanks for the hopes and the prayers!  Hopefully, there will only be one more chapter in this story: my return to life as I knew it.

T-shirt update:

One benefit of the boredom and unusual schedule just manifested itself in that I woke after only a few hours of sleep, grabbed up an old photo of me, and fixed it so you can see what the new shirts will look like (note: this shirt doesn’t exist yet–I’m kind of proud of those Photoshop skills)! The pre-order ends on Sunday, so if you want this shirt, click the picture or just go to graceatarms.com/alive2012 and order it now!

Bastion Crider of Grace at Arms (Grace@Arms) wearing one of the new "baseball style" t-shirts for GRACE@ARMS' @LIVE 2012.  All photos, art, and logos copyright Bastion Crider, Greg Crider LLC, and Grace at Arms 2012.

The back says, "I CAME HERE TO ROCK"

If you missed Part 1 and Part 2, I’ve got an exploding disc in my spine that’s causing me all sorts of trouble.  When we left off, I had just received a “selective nerve root block” shot in my spine, which revealed that the source of my pain was, as we suspected, my S-1 nerve root (or as Dennis Green would say, “they are who we thought they were”).

Surgery Scheduling

After I reported the results of my procedure to my surgeon, Dr. Jean-Pierre Mobasser, we scheduled surgery for Friday, February 24 (this was about two weeks out at the time).  My back was in some serious pain, but I’ll take what I can get–that, and the combination or prescription drugs and about 3,000 mg of ibuprofen I was consuming each day was keeping the pain between a 1 and 3 (which was low enough to function and even occasionally go to work.

Random, but cool:

I got to view the images of my spine that were taken in the MRI!  I have no idea what these things show (I’m just praying this is actually my spine and not something inappropriate), but if you know how to read them, then this is what’s wrong:

An MRI image of Bastion Crider's (of Grace at Arms (GRACE@ARMS)) spine taken pre-surgery to investigate a problem with his S-1 sciatic nerve.

The End of Ibuprofen

Days have been passing and, while the majority of my time is spent in a leaning-to-the-side seated position, I’ve managed at least to post the V-Week videos I had filmed and keep up with a few other things.

Aaaaaaaaand then Thursday rolled around.  In order to make sure surgery goes smoothly, I’ve been instructed not to take any blood thinners (including ibuprofen) starting on Thursday.  As I said, 3,000+ mg of ibuprofen (along with other meds) had been keeping my pain between a 1 and a 3.  Needless to say, Thursday wasn’t fun and, by the time I limped to bed in a narcotic stupor, the lower left quarter of my body was throbbing and twitching in spastic pain.

6:15 am:

I woke this morning to agony that I would rate between an 8 and 9.  It hurt so bad that I couldn’t form coherent thoughts and found myself repeating the same clip of a memory from the night before over and over and over in my head as I stumbled and staggered to the medicine drawer.

I took my prescriptions (but no ibuprofen) and proceeded to writhe in bed and on the floor until 7:30 when my pain level decreased to the point that I could climb to my feet to check the clock, lament, and proceed to stagger (apparently standing is better for my back than sitting or lying down) about the house and let the pain level drop to about a six.

I laid down until 8:30, when I felt comfortable taking a second pain killer.  Cycling my prescriptions, I managed to keep my pain level between 2 and 5.  I’m not looking forward to going to bed tonight, but I’ll do it if it brings next Friday closer.

Thanks for reading!  I’ll be BACK with the doctor’s post-surgery predictions and then with the post-surgery rundown.  In the mean time, keep rocking (and rock extra hard for me)!