Friday, December 26, 2008

"I will kill you and cut off your head!!!"

This is one of my favorite quotes. For me, it symbolizes strength and determination in the face of great adversity. It was spoken by King David when he was but a youth before he battled Goliath.

The quote can be found in 1 Samuel 17. I think David and Goliath is a misunderstood story. It somehow has become simply a forerunner to Rudy, a "root for the underdog" kind of thing. When you take the story in context, it has a much greater meaning.

Let's set the stage. The Israelites and Philistines are locked in a military clash. At this particular time, there is a standstill. The Philistines have a warrior that is the stuff of legends: Goliath. He makes Chuck Norris look like a little girl (or little boy for the PC among you). He literally stood over 9 ft. tall. Every day of the standstill he would offer to fight any Israelite one-on-one. Whoever won in the duel would claim victory for his entire nation. The Israelites were understandably terrified. Death was almost certain for the man who faced Goliath, so no one took him up on his offer for forty days.

Enter David.

David is a shepard boy at the time. He visits his brothers who are "at war" and hears Goliath's boastful challenge. David's anger is immediately kindled. He is ticked that Goliath is defaming the name of God in his taunts and offers to fight Goliath himself. After the leaders realize that David is serious, they prep him for battle. He is given the sword and shield of King Saul. After a few steps he realizes the new armor makes him clumsy. He sheds them and walks out to meet Goliath with nothing but a pouch full of stones and a sling.

Goliath sees David coming and begins to chide the Israelites for sending out a youth to take him on. When he is done, David says this:

"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands."

That is intense. What is even more intense is the next line...

"When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground." The story goes on to say that David then took Goliath's own sword from his unconscious body and cut off his head with it.

David RAN toward the battle. This is not some feel-good Disney story where a bunch of misfits get slaughtered in the preseason by the league favorites but "stick it out" to beat them in a thrilling buzzer beater in the closing seconds of the championship game. This is LeBron James dunking on your aging grandfather (or grandmother for the PC out there).

David was not intimidated by the challenge in front of him because he had great assurance in the character of God. David ran to vanquish evil in a selfless manner. That is how I want to live my life. Run with intensity to battle my problems, be they physical, spiritual, occupational, musical, whatever. I hope you will do the same.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My First Encounter with a REAL ROCKSTAR!!

This past week I flew home to Charlotte for Christmas time. I flew out of Burbank, which is smaller, closer, and more efficient than Los Angeles International. It is also quite a bit more expensive, but I scored some Frequent Flier miles, so that didn't matter...thanks Mom.

As I am walking toward my gate, I see a rather familiar looking person to my left. Not familiar as in "I have met you before," but familiar as in "I have seen you on CD covers, magazines, and on stage before."

I thought this guy was merely a look-alike, surely the guy I was thinking ok was not in Burbank Airport.

I get on the plane, find my seat, and proceed to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As the plane fills, I see the same guy sit one seat to the left and one seat ahead of me. We are on a very small plane, maybe 60 seats, and he is definitely in arm reaching distance from me.

For the next hour or so, I am battling in my brain with whether or not this guy is the frontman of one of my favorite bands, whose album sales have exceeded 50 million. My staring must have been intense because every once in a while he would break away from his iPhone to shoot a sideways glance at me. I would quickly gaze down at Harry Potter, only to resume my gaze a moment later.

Nope, it's not him. Can't be. He probably has his own jet. But then he reaches up and his sleeve drops slightly. I see his right wrist which is engulfed in flames of ink. It is him!

No, it's not him. Too small. But it could be...how can I know? I know he's married, that could be his wife...

For a brief moment, I think about asking him point blank: "Are you Chester?" But that would be awkward now that I have stared at him for an hour and he has caught me at least 4 times. I decide to memorize the blue tattoo on his right pinky finger and get a good look at his wife. Some simple Google image searching should show me whether or not this was actually Chester Bennington.

I get home, and find this, proof that I was sitting very near Chester Bennington, singer of Linkin Park.

I wish I could say I talked with him and gleaned valuable insight into the music industry, then let him hear some demos on the iPod and traded e-mails. Nope. I got nervous. What would I say? It's easier to be the weird kid with the mustache reading Harry Potter.

Chester, if you read this, my name is Chad. Nice to meet you. I don't always have mustaches. I want to go on tour and tune your guitars. Or just pre-open your water bottles so that the plastic perforations are broken before you go on. Anything. I think you're great.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Facial Hair Extravaganza

This weekend I went on a retreat with my church here in LA. Over the course of the weekend, i sported several facial hair styles. I have no picture of stage 1, which was just a beard.

This first photo I like to call the "Van Buren"

Angle 2


Then I moved onto the simple 'stache with some nice big sideburns. Which are hard to see in this, but you get the idea.


I was hoping to get some points for comedy with all this. However, I learned an important lesson. Familiarity precedes humor. You might laugh at this because you see the pictures and say, "Oh, that Chad. He's so silly." But it doesn't have quite the same effect when you shake hands with a person for the first time rockin' the Van Buren. On the plus side, at least 10% of "Los Angelenians" have weird facial hair, so I was in good company. I actually got some new numbers for the ol' cellular. Kss, Kss.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Video Tour

So, some of you might know this, but I have moved. I lived in the beautiful suburb of La Canada when I first got to Cali, and I have sinced moved into Van Nuys. Which is right next to North Hollywood. Anyhoo, it's a sweet little pad and is as cheap as Chapel Hill. Too good to be true? Well, Van Nuys can get pretty ghetto. It is full of people like myself trying to be artists but don't make any money.

I live with three other guys. Two UNC alumni and a fella I met out here. It's a fun house. Our house has a pool and I live in the pool house out back. So, I have no plumbing, but the room is huge and it's great to play music in loud without disturbing others too loudly.

But enough talk. I made this little video to give you guys an up close and personal tour.

The first track in the video is a song from my forthcoming album ("Who is who.....") and the second track is a song I am recording for a client. Huzzah!

Enjoy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Men Like Trees

Prelogue:

For starters, I have a new song up at MySpace. Second, I oft wonder when blogging whether I should do blog more or less often. Is it too conceited to think that people might check my blog every other day or so, only to be let down when no new material is up? Or perhaps people only check every month or so, in which case there might be a wealth of Chad's life in words that would be left unread between visits. But I digress...

Main Entree:

I was reading the other day in the Gospel of Mark and came across a peculiar passage. Now, many passages of Scripture are peculiar. For some, the entirety of Scripture is peculiar and strange, as is the idea of God being a man and rising from the dead. For others, the Scriptures make sense and provide a living metaphor for why our hearts and souls both ache and rejoice in this fallen world. I am in the latter group. So, to those who also fall into the latter group, I offer Mark 8:22-26 for your consideration. In this passage, a blind man is brought to Jesus. Jesus first leads the man away from the public (8:23 - And he took the blind man by the hand and out of the village.) and then proceeds to heal the man. He spits on his eyes (gross, but better than surgery, amen?) and lays his hands over the man's eyes. The first time around, Jesus asks the man, "Do you see anything?" The reply: "I see men, but they look like trees, walking."

Weird? It is to me. Often Jesus will heal people in public or pose questions/problems in public so that a learning point can be made. In this particular case, the man is away from the public. Once he says he sees "men like trees," Jesus lays his hands on him again and he sees everything clearly. It seems to me that there is no purpose for the double healing, seeing as Jesus could have healed him correctly the first time. So I am have been wondering for a while the purpose of this "take two" healing. Is it a botched healing? Is there a message for the blind man? For us?

Postscript:

I am working on a video tour of my new house. It is incredible. The house, not the video. Hopefully I will get it up here by the weekend, so check back then.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Did we win?!?!?!

Tonight was the first UNC basketball season opener, and I was very excited. My housemates and I set the DVR to record the game on two channels lest one not work right, and decided upon 8 o'clock as game time. We start the game and are enjoying watching our beloved Tar Heels give the Wildcats a workout. With 1:26 left to go, freshman Tyler Zeller gets fouled. He rises from the floor clutching his wrist. The replay comes on, and suddenly stops as Zeller rises in the hair for the one-handed flush. A small dialog box asks us whether or not we would like to keep the recording.

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! We didn't record the last 1:26 of the game because it went past 8PM PST. I know we won, but it was disheartening nonetheless. Oh well, a lesson learned.

After a watching most of the Heels victory, I spent the night watching videos of drummers on YouTube. I have decided on one that you simply must watch, even if you are not a musician. If you are, you may be ashamed that you are probably at least 10 years older than this kid and he owns you.




I believe that video was made in the late 80's, the "kid" now has his own website, jacobarmen.com

Enjoy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Prop 8 Update

It has been almost three weeks since the election, and a lot of animosity and uncertainty surrounds Proposition 8. I put up a post earlier on the subject, feel free to peruse it. Several folks have asked for an update from a Californian's point of view, so this is it.

I originally said that I would vote against Prop 8 (thus voting against the ban of gay marriage) because I think the State should award citizens equal rights. That actually might not be the case. I discovered since then that civil unions can be awarded to homosexual couples. In light of this, I probably would have voted for Prop 8. Although I can understand the equality argument, I believe that upholding the sanctity of marriage is important, especially when the opponents of Prop 8 already have the same "rights" as heterosexual citizens. It is essentially arguing for a different name of something that exists.

Prop 8 passed in California, and even passed in LA county. Immediately all types of petitions, protests, and rallies flared up complaining about the legality of a proposition. Seems to me those things should have been taken care of BEFORE the whole election. Anyhoo...

It seems as if this issue is here to stay. No one has changed sides; opponents of Prop 8 are taking to the streets and complaining about their rights being infringed upon. Others are frustrated that the wishes of the majority are not being respected and are tired of the whole ordeal. I am sick of seeing it in the papers, personally. For now, the California media has bigger and more important issues to deal with in the sweeping wildfires across California. If you haven't heard of these, look them up. It's actually pretty scary; visibility was about 1 mile today on the freeway, which was a good 20 miles from the fire. Just crazy, crazy stuff. The whole city smells like a campsite.

Hope you all are well, thanks for reading. I just moved into a new house and only got internet today. I will be uploading a video tour shorty. Get excited.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Song Posted!!

I am excited!! I have been hard at work lately on my solo album. It's been tough to stay motivated, but things are really starting to come together. Most of the songs are standard rock stuff, but as you know I am a fan of the electronica. So I tried the wrestle the two genres into a cool-but-not-too-weird song. You can be the judge on how well I did...

The song is posted over on my MySpace and it's titled "The Cry Of One Afflicted." NOTE: Bonus points for anyone who can determine where the song came from.

You should go listen to it now. And then again. And then make Facebook posts about it and text your friends and all that goodness. Seriously. It's a good song.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween and Proposition 8

Halloween was a night that started terribly and end up wonderfully. I was invited to a party where by a friend I met at church. I was planning on going, and then my friend realized she had to work and wouldn't be able to go. No biggie, I'll just crash the party and make friends. So I dress up as Terry Langner, freelance security guard, and head to the party. I arrive, then sat in my car for an hour because I realized, "I might not know anyone in there. And that would be weird." I listened to UnderOath at extreme volumes, it helped a little.

After sulking in my car I headed over to a house where some guys and gals from UNC live. I know them through random mutual friends and I had been to the house once before. It was a great time, I met lots of new people, got to know the UNC folks a little better and really enjoyed myself. It helped that there was loud music and a strobe light.

One guy had a genius costume -- a propeller made of cardboard and aluminum foil with "8" written on it. Prop 8. Which is utterly hilarious.

For you non-Californians (which is probably everyone), Prop 8 is going to be voted on Tuesday. If it passes, then the State Constitution will be amended to legally define marriage as a heterosexual union. This is in response to a court case a while back where the judge's ruling allowed gay marriage in California.

So, how should I vote on this matter? You might think that being a Christian, I would obviously want the bill to pass. But I am not so sure how I feel about that. Should we vote based on our moral convictions or our sense of justice and fairness? The campaign against Prop 8 states, "Regardless of how you feel about marriage, it's wrong to eliminate others' rights." And I agree.

"But Chad, marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church! And homosexuality is explicitly condemned in Scripture!" Yes, these things are true and I believe them. I do not think that Churches should officiate and endorse homosexuality, whether in lifestyle or marriage. But I also believe in the Separation of Church and State. And sine the State does not hold marriage up as a spiritual union, then why shouldn't they allow gay marriage? Furthermore, if we are to make laws that reflect the morality of Scripture, then it logically follows that all sinning should be outlawed. It should be illegal to drink and chew and go with girls that do. JK JK, lol. But seriously, a campaign should be started to make Christianity the official religion of the United States. And we all know that that is just ridiculous.

So, I welcome your thoughts and opinions. Let's hear 'em.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Met A Famous Person(s)

Finally, it has happened. I had a conversation with a famous person. In fact, he was lost and I was able to help him get back en route. So, who is this famous person? Erm...well...I'm not really sure. Let me explain.

I was leaving Starbucks when an middle-aged black man flags me down.

Unidentified Famous Person: "Excuse me, do you know this area?"
Me: "Well, I'm pretty new, but I know this area. What are you looking for?"
UFP: "I'm looking for Fair Oaks Ave (pulls out Blackberry with a Map on screen)
Me: "Ok, I know exactly where that is. Go to this light, take a left, hop on the 210 and it should be a few exits down."
UFP: "Thank you!"
Me: "No Problem."

UFP walks off, but before getting in his vehicle, turns toward me again and calls out, "Hey do you like football?"

I am a little caught off guard, and say, "Yea, I like it."

The man walks over to me again and holds out his right hand as if he wants some dap. I chuckle and begin to oblige, when I notice something glistening. The UFP wasn't offering dap at all, but rather showing me a piece of jewelry. On his right pinky was a huge right, with the words "Oakland Raiders...National Champions." It was surrounded by diamonds and probably cost more than my car. He asked me, "What does that say? What does it say?"
"Uh, national champions?"
"That's right!! Whooooo!"
He then walked off and got in his car as I just stood there like, "What just happened?"

Unfortunately, I did not get his name. But a quick Google search shows that the Raiders were the league champs in 1967, 1976, 1980, and 1983. I have a feeling this guy was on either the '80 or '83 team. He was also rocking a USC sweater vest. So, if there are any black men who went to USC and then won a championship with the Raiders in 1980 or 1983, they could possibly be my new friend.

Oh, and you know the fat kid with red hair from the sandlot and the big green? He came in Starbucks the other day. I called out his drink, "I got a Venti Vanilla Latte for a washup." No one laughed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lucky Boy Burritos

OK, so I would like to introduce you all to one of my favorite things about LA: Lucky Boy Burritos. It's a little place over in Pasadena where you walk up to the counter outside and give your order to a middle-aged man who rapidly completes the transaction and is already working on the next one before you can say "thanks" and get your change back in your pocket.

The most famous burrito there is the breakfast burrito. Packed with eggs, hash browns, cheese, and your choice of bacon, sausage, chorizo, or other meats, the breakfast burrito is a grease lover's dream.

These things are HUGE. For real, you can easily just eat half and save the other half for later. But in my own opinion, greasy food just tastes best when you finish everything on your place then lay down for an hour. Ahhhh....

The Lucky Boy Burrito is a symbol of unhealthy people giving it to the man: in this case, the man is a health-obsessed LA. It is somewhat of a haven for me, and I can't wait to take anyone who may come and visit there. You will not be disappointed.

I have attached some pictures below of the breakfast burrito. This is exactly one half of a full burrito. My index finger is there for scaling purposes only.


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Face Kick

I cried today. I literally laughed so hard at my friend Nick Burns' pictures that my eyes got a little wet and I had to blink a lot and stare at the ceiling to make it go away.

These pictures are just so good, they must be shared with you. They are from his blog, which you can check out in the links to the right. I will post a little excerpt for you

----------------------

One last thing. For the last few months we have been honing our skills at the ‘Action Shot.’ I think we have finally perfected the technique. I’d like to call this series “Face Kick: Paris”

Enjoy.


















Face Kick Under Eiffel Tower



















Face Kick: Louve (notice guy in background, priceless)

























Arc de Face Kick




















Face Kick at Night

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Stage Outfit

I found the perfect stage outfit.

Check it out.

May the force be with you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Relativism, or the dangers of entitlement

Tonight I went to a demonstration of SONAR 8, which is the recording software I use. The latest version just came out and is really great. After the session, I was talking with some other guys about recording and the software, when one fella tells me that he is not going to buy version 8.

"See, the last one I bought was version 6. But I have version 7, but the mute buttons are all f***ed up. If you delete once section it deletes the whole clip. And they didn't even f***ing fix it in 8. F*** it, I'm not gonna buy that until they fix it."

So this guy illegally downloaded version 7, then claims he will not buy version 8 because the software bugs from version 7 have not been addressed in version 8. I thought to myself, "How incredible. This guy is pissed about something he stole not working correctly, then claiming he won't support the company because they didn't fix it. He wasn't even supporting them in the first place because he stole their flagship product."

I wish that I could say I am immune to software piracy. That would not be true. I downloaded a two-week trial of a drum program for a Nine PM album. The album went past two weeks, and I downloaded the full program to finish the album, which we actually never finished. And I downloaded Photoshop one time, but that was silly because I do not know how to use Photoshop. And then I let a friend install it. But she has a lisp because of her lip ring, so I feel bad for her.

Anyways, what I am saying is that this guy's ridiculous sense of entitlement to "a working program" that he stole and the relativistic view on the whole ordeal was provoking for me. And I am going to go through my computer and wipe out all of those programs so I can not be hypocritical blogger. And for those of you interested in recording, let this blow your mind:

SONAR V-Studio

Monday, October 13, 2008

Definitely Want To Check This Out

Hey friends, so I have some things I'm pretty excited about and wanted to share them with you.

First off, I am finally getting paid to produce! That's right, I met a cool guy and great singer songwriter up here, and we are going to be working on putting together some songs for him. I pretty excited about that, I will put up some samples when we actually start recording.

Next, I did a little bit of graphic designing on my page. I made that nice little header image you see at the top thanks to some inspiration from my graphic mentor, Nick Burns.

Finally, I am putting together a solo debut album. I have about 6 - 7 songs that I have been playing around with for a few months (and some even years) and I am going to use this opportunity of ample free time to finish writing them and record them. This is really exciting for me, and I am hoping to have the album done and ready to sale by the time I visit NC for Christmas. So those of you who would like a copy, go ahead and sell some of that stock and get yourself a few bucks.

I have put together a little video below with some clips of the music and recording process of the first tune, "Sympathy."


NOTE: YouTube audio quality is crap on this, and for some reason it summed it in mono. I promise better things await you on the CD version...


PS - I thought I would include a list of upcoming blog titles to perhaps whet your appetite for the coming weeks...

1) "Lucky Boy Burritos," or "Delicious Grease Bombs," or "How The South Invaded LA."

2) Jesus and Men Like Trees

3) Train Wrecks = Breasts

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Birth Certificates and other thoughts

Lots of stuff going on over here in Cali. Unfortunately is mostly in my head at this point, but when things start to take form I will update you. But for now, four things.

1) Birth Certificates are weird. What is their purpose..

"Hi, I'm here to apply for a job."
"OK, I need your Driver's license, your social, and your birth certificate."
"Oh, uh, okay. Here they are."
"Where is the certificate?"
"What do you mean, I'm confused..."
"Your birth certificate. How will I know you were born?"
"..."
"You know, the piece of paper saying you were born?"
"No no, I know. Yea, I know. It's just that, well, I mean that's dumb. Of course I was born. I'm right here."
"No, you see, I need the paper."
"Yea, but you don't need the paper. Here I am, born and everything."
"But your not really born yet."
"Whatever, this is dumb. I'm leaving."

NOTE: That was not born out of personal experience looking for a job...

2) Nural
I met a cool guy the other day "in a band." Half of LA is in a band, so it's not that impressive. Until I asked what band. His name is Charley and he plays guitar in Nural. And they are actually pretty freakin' good. He was telling me stores about playing Halo with the guys from UnderOath and Emory on the Warped Tour. Awesome

3) Re-re-re-Remix!!
I met Timbaland the other day. He asked me to remix the smash hit "Apologize." So I did, with a little help from my friend Tha Goose.
Enjoy.




4) October 7

October 7 would have been Jason's 23rd birthday. (For those unfamiliar with Jason Ray, I invite you to read this). Anyhoo, I wanted to post another "good times" story with ol' Ray ray. So I will, and I have a special surprise at the end...get pumped.

The setting: The 118 Band Room
The situation: Last minute Nine PM practice before Ray Ray had to go.

Jason: Alright, one more song and I gotta roll.
Erik: Yea, me too
Nick: Let's go through "The Distance"
J: Ok, let's do it.

NARRATOR: "The Distance," a popular song by Cake, begins with vocals. A bassline soon follows, after which the drums and guitar come in. The vocal is as follows: "Reluctantly crouched at the starting line. Engines pumping and thumping in time...

J: Reluctantly crouched at the...

*CRACK*
(Everyone stares at Chad, who just hit the snare drum early on purpose to be funny. Or a jerk. Depends on your perspective.)

J: *Clears throat* Reluctantly crouch...

*CRACK. 3 seconds of awkward silence*

J: You done?
Chad: Haha, yea. I'm done.

J: Reluctant...

*CRACK*

(Simultaneously)
J: Dammit Chad, I swear...
E: C'mon dude, stop being such a jackass!
N: *Shakes head in disapproval

C: Haha, ok, ok, I'm done. Promise
J: Rel...

*CRACK*

J: THAT'S IT, I'M DONE!! *Yanks out mic cord and storms off*
E: Damn it Chad. *Rips out bass cable and walks out*
N: Hmm, yep. *Rips out guitar cable, turns out lights as he leaves*
C: *Laughing* Guys, c'mon. I'm sorry. I'm SORRY! I'm done, I promise. Yooo!


Yep, and that's that. And we always sucked at that song.
And now, what you have all been waiting for. I found a little sound byte of Ray talking. We had the digital tapes rolling while Jason was warming up one day, and we caught him "singing along" to My Ordinary, as well as some other strange vocal exercises. I made it into a video with some of my favorites pictures of Ray Ray.

Enjoy.

video

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Witty Title Here

So I'm really overwhelmed right now. I feel as if I am "not good enough" in every area of my life at the present moment. I have spent the past week going to different functions around the community and at church to try and meet people. It has gone well as far as meeting people, but meeting people does not equal making friends. Maybe down the road, but right now I am beginning to realize how incredibly lonely big cities can be.

I have also spent the week trying to get a job. I have applied to audio tech places, architect offices, entertainment groups, and coffee shops. I did get a job at Starbucks, which I am somewhat excited about, but it is a bit disappointing to be turned down in so many other places.

Along with the job hunt, I have been trying to figure out where to live and with whom. And how in the world I am going to pay for the first month's rent and a ridiculous security deposit.

I went to a concert this past weekend, and it was just painfully obvious how much work I have ahead of me to be even close to a professional performer. It takes a lot more than just jumping on a stage with your friends and playing for a room full of your friends. Professional groups are tight, they don't miss a beat. And they have great gear. I have a real nice guitar, but a subpar amp. I record stuff on a great laptop, but have a lil dinky mixer for my sound card and a wal-mart boombox for my speakers. Lately I have been around with people with really, really nice stuff. Amps that cost more than the resale value of The Lex. Dudes with two or three professional synth-keyboards. Sparkly blue DW kits with nice shiny Paiste cymbals. I just feel out of place with my lil' 50-watt modeling amp.

Perhaps I'm just overly sentimental tonight. I know that it's really not all that bad. I mean, adjustment time is to be expected when moving to a city where you know nobody, which was a choice I made. And there plenty of clowns out there with Marshall stacks that can barely play some Nirvana songs and a slowed-down version of the "Sweet Child O' Mine" intro guitar lick. And all my friends back home have been really encouraging and done well on keeping in touch with me, and I have met some cool people here as well that I probably will get close to. And I still have 4 1/2 books of Harry Potter bliss to discover. But for some reason I just felt a little down tonight about the current circumstances, and decided to blog it to the world. Normally I am against such seemingly meaningless and pity-party-ish things of this nature. And maybe tomorrow morning I will wake up, chide myself for posting this, and then delete it.

Oh, also today I played ultimate frisbee for about 2 1/2 hours. It was crazy. And it was all guys I didn't know so I couldn't slack like I normally do in anything athletic. Afterwards, I got a Subway sub and felt good about my healthy Sunday. Then I drank a whole 2 liter of Mountain Dew. Dumb.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Harry Potter

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!! DO NOT READ IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BECOME A HARRY POTTER FANATIC LIKE MYSELF!!!

Over the course of the last few weeks, I have fallen in love with Harry Potter. It's just fantastic. I watched the first movie while packing up my things in NC, which was the first encounter I had with HP. I was hooked. I watched the second movie the next night, and watched the entire series within a few days of being in CA.

For those who don't know, there are 7 books. As of now, there are 5 movies, with the other three (they are splitting book 7 into 2 films) coming out over the next few years. However, I could not simply wait this long to see what happens to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Draco (ugh), Hagrid, etc.

So, I am in the process of going through the books. I read books 1 and 2, then skipped to 6. I had only begun 6 when I was chided for my impatience by a friend and have thus started book 3.

My heart aches to tell of this next part. I was searching the web the other day and ended up on a site with random / funny t-shirts. I found one that had lots of stuff written on it. One line said, "Tyler Durden isn't real." I quickly realized this shirt "gave away" the endings to lots of popular books/movies/etc. I recognized most of them and gave a little laugh, until my eyes read this:

"Snape kills Dumbledore."

Say it ain't so. Albus Dumbledore, the beloved and wise headmaster of Hogwarts School Of Wizardy, betrayed by the evil-yet-for-some-reason-I-believe-he-is-ok-in-the-end Professor of Potions Severin Snape. I was crushed. I told this to my host family, who are also HP fans. They tried to comfort me, but it was of no use. But all is not lost; I found out Dumbledore dies in book 6, so I will still have lots of surprise in 7.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Terrible, terrible things have happened in California...

My friends, a horrible thing happened to me tonight. I shudder upon remembering the details, but the world must know. The blog must go on...

So I am working on a jam in my room, amp cranked. I lay down a few tracks, get a nice little beat going, then realize I am hungry. Real hungry. I decide to give my ears a short break from the sonic pounding and shimmy on into the kitchen. I decide upon some toast. Then I think to myself, "how wonderful it would be to have some cream cheese and jelly." So, I rummage through the refridgerator...YES! BOTH ITEMS! A quick glance at the cream cheese assures it is of the regular variety. And the jelly? None other than Smuckers Strawberry. Mmmmm...

I grab my toast out of the toaster (ahh, so THAT'S where the name came from...), secure a knife and pop open the cream cheese.

OH THE HORROR!!!

Sprinkled throughout the cheese spread is revolting chunks of vegetable. Another glance at the tub, and it still says Regular. But next to the regular it says "Chives and Onions" WTF?! Why would it say REGULAR and CHIVES AND ONIONS. Those are two different things. It's like saying, "Hey, here is a normal Toyota Camry. Except with no engine. But it's still normal." No, that guy is an idiot. Regular does not equal Chives and Onions.

I am in the house alone at this point and let out an audible sigh of defeat. "Oh no. Now what?" My sorrow was so great at that moment that nothing could delight me. Not even if Kiera Knightly and Halle Berry showed up and had a girl fight over who loved me more. Well, actually, let's not be ridiculous. Kiera and Halle > Regular cream cheese. But if only ONE of them showed up, I still think I would be pretty sad.

Thanks to my college degree, I'm a quick thinker and able to problem solve on the spot. So I decide to smother the toast in Smucker's and make a little jelly sandwhich. I complimented the sandwich with some apple sauce.

The good news? I have a JAM stored up on this ol' computer of mine. Still in the early phases, but I'm pretty excited about it. I'm hoping to have an EP with 5 - 6 songs by Christmas time, so all of you North Carolina folks, go ahead and put aside $5. You know your gonna want one.



P.S. - For other horrible tales of snacking and dining gone wrong, check out Julian's blog about the incident with the sandwich making. Highly entertaining.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wordle Up

So, the first weekend LA is complete. I have already gone on my first retreat, made bunches of new acquaintances who could turn into friends, have some job offers, and a possible audition with a somewhat successful local band. Not bad for the first week.

But I am super excited about next weekend, because I will be seeing (drum roll....) SHINY TOY GUNS! Yes, that's right. My band obsession for the moment. They are amazing. The Shinys are playing Friday night in San Diego with Jonezetta, another band that I happen to fancy. Should be a great show. Then I have to drive back to LA, because I have to take the CBEST at 8 AM the next morning.

What's the CBEST, you ask? The test that I must take and pass if I want to substitute teach in LA. Which I do. I feel like it will just be all around fun and good experience.

One last thing. I have discovered a fabulous website thanks to Brian Turney

Wordle

It takes the words you enter and makes them into a fabolous word picture. Here is some my newest work:



Bonus points for anyone who can discover what the image is a picture of.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Good/Funny News

So the job search is officially underway. Right now I am writing a resume to be an MC at weddings.



By weddings I mean Bar Mitzvahs. Whatever man, they pay GOOD down here in SoCal. I'm talking like $300 per Bar Mitzvah. I can play some Matisyahu, bring it on.




Aaaaaaand, for everyone who thinks that Christian Music isn't any good, check this out:

Best Musical Performance Ever. Seriously.

Much love from Cali. Or as Tupac would say,

CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALIFOOOORNIA LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bad News

So, I was working on a sweet video of the Road Trip and having a bit of trouble putting in a picture. So i opened up the folder of pictures on my computer to investigate. Somewhere along the line, I dragged that folder into my Trash. Further along that same line, I emptied the trash. Permanently. Forever. A week's worth of videos and pictures, gone and digitally scrambled for my children never to enjoy.

I also just signed up for the CBEST, a test required by CA for substitute teachers. I decided it would be a good idea to brush up on my skills. I stumbled across this problem:

"Jim can fill a pool carrying buckets of water in 30 minutes. Sue can do the same job in 45 minutes. Tony can do the same job in 1 ½ hours. How quickly can all three fill the pool together? "

It took me about an hour to figure out how to do this. And even then I had to enlist the help of a Google search. So, this is my challenge. Respond with the correct answer, WITHOUT cheating like me. Good luck.

PS - If anyone knows how to undelete stuff that has been deleted permanently, holler at me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Check It

Got some fresh music for you kids out there...

The Urban Sophisticates

Some of you already know about this group. They have a new album dropping really soon, and the tracks on the site are just great. I wish I was on the East Coast for one of the shows. Oh well, at least I got MySpace.

Seriously, they are phenomenal. Go listen to them and buy the album. Then send it to me so I can have a copy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Magic J in LA

So i was driving through Beverly Hills today, and I see an orange Maserati to my right. Behind the ridiculously tinted windows, a large black man with a bald head was leaning back in his seat chatting on a phone. The large man? Magic Johnson. I'm 83% sure it was him. It looked exactly what Magic Johnson would look like behind ridiculously tinted windows.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hooray for smog!

I am finally in LA. It is quite overwhelming. I woke up today and realized that I have lots of tasks to accomplish (find housing, a job, some friends, a band, famous people, a place with good fried chicken, etc.) but it is very tough to do when you don't know where to go. Or even who to ask about where to go.

Anyhoo, Turney and I explored a little bit of LA today. We drove down Sunset Blvd, saw about 15 girls that could have been Paris Hilton, drove alongside numerous Bentleys and a Lamborghini, and played in the Pacific Ocean. And then we watched Harry Potter 4 (I'm an addict.)

We have lots of great pictures and videos and stories and a song from the road trip which will be put up in the near future. But for now, just wanted to check in and let everyone know we got here safe.

Here is a little "teaser" pic from the grand canyon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

1000 down, 2000 to go.

We are 1/3 of the distance through the road trip. "We" would be me and my friend Brian Turney, who destroyed me last week in Fantasy Football. Lame.

We are currently sitting in a Starbucks in Little Rock, Arkansas deciding whether Hurricane Ike is nasty enough to detour our journey through Texas. I think we are going to do it. I mean, driving through a hurricane is a pretty good story to tell your grandkids, amen?

Two nights ago we stayed with Chris Cline. You may not know him, but Chris is a country music star. He was a finalist on CMT's "Can You Duet." Which may not seem like a big deal to you if you don't like country music. But Nashville is Chris' playground. We went out into the city to see some places and Chris took us to a little music club called 12th and Porter. The doorman stops us and asks for IDs. Chris says a few magic words, and voila, we are in for free. It was incredible. Inside we ran into some of my favorite rockstars, "The War."


(R to L: Chris Cline, Rick Seibold, Ya Boi, Daniel Goans, Scott Cash)

This happened several times that night. Chris shakes a few hands, kisses a few babies, and we are hanging out with Nashville's elite. What a rockstar.

We got some great video and pictures from the trip that will be posted later. Teaser: The famous Timbaland dance is making a return. Julian, Erik: get excited.

Peace.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It Begins!!

Friends,

I have officially left Concord / Chapel Hill / North Carolina. Right now I am stopped up at Snowbird to pick up Brian Turney. We will head out to Nashville to crash for the night, then onward. We shall be arriving in the city on Sept 15.

My car is jammed full of stuff. I managed to fit everything I could possibly need into my car. Three guitars, a keyboard, amp, sound system, a box of books, and several bags of clothes.

Let's do this.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rainy Monday

First, the update: I officially have a place to live. I would list the address, but that's scary. So, suffice it to say it is techinically in La Canada Flintridge, which is north of LA. Mapquest it, it's great. It's a cool setup, I'll be living with a family that is part of the YoungLife network. Gotta love it.

I am still working on two videos. You would think a Media Production major with no job could pull off some videos. Nope, not this guy. But soon enough. And they will hopefully be cool.

Today it was rainy. And it was Monday, hence the title. Rain is a funny thing. I mean, it puts people in weird moods. Pay attention next time it rains for a good while. People just get pissed. I was at a UNC Basketball game one time and it was raining real heavy when the game let out. People were really angry. Cussing, yelling, stampeding over each other. It was like someone had destroyed their car while they were inside. I'm thinking, “It's water. This is ridiculous.” I like to embrace the rain. It can even be fun. It's like a pool, but in the air. Think about it...

In honor of rainy days, you should check out this sweet video by one of my favorites, Shiny Toy Guns:
Rainy Monday

Fun Fact: The Shiny's are from LA. Possible collab? Hoping so.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I Can See You...

So thanks to the wonders of the internet, I can tell how many people are looking at my website. Which is great, but I feel this pressure now to keep posting stuff. Which I'm fine with.

So, this post is pretty insignificant, except for the part where I tell you about my next post, which will be uber-significant, so be on the lookout for that.

Also, I had a really funny idea for a video today that I will try to make while I'm bored with nothing to do here at home. When it is done, I will put it up here.

Oh yea, so lots of people tell me, "hey i know someone in LA. you should call him/her!" if your one of those people, e-mail me RIGHT NOW with that person's name / number / reason why I would want to talk to them. networking people, it's the way of the rockstar.

In the meantime, two of my bestest friends are traveling the world. Check out their journey here: brokein90days.blogspot.com

it's awesome. thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Life Essay

So my friend is putting together a bunch of essays from her friends about their life at the present moment. I thought I would share mine here for you all.

---

I'm tired. I would even say exhausted. The kind of tired where you lose all focus and stare off into a haze whenever you sit down. It's because I am working at a camp this summer. Except for this past week, I didn't work at camp. Instead, I worked at (another) camp...

Let me explain. I am a part of the summer staff at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters (SWO), a Christian camp in Andrews, North Carolina. But for this past week I was a volunteer leader at SharpTop Cove, a YoungLife camp in Jasper, Georgia. Yep, that's right. A 23-year old with a debt-free degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working for $125 a week. I don't even want to see what that calculates to hourly. It wasn't always this way. I spent ten months working for Gurlitz Architectural Group, a legit “real job.” I had to dress up, bathe regularly, and pretend that I liked semi-fancy overpriced Indian restaurants better than my beloved Bojangles. The office job was great, and if I desired to be an architect, it would have been the jackpot. But I don't want to be an architect; I want to be a rock star. So, I packed up my things, said my goodbye to Chapel Hill, and moved up to SWO for the summer. SWO has a special place in my heart; it is where I began my journey as a Christian and has consistently been a place of great encouragement and joy. Therefore, I decided to work there one last time before really striking out in the fall in search of “rockstardom.” But this is not about the future; it's about the present. And presently, I am doing a lot of thinqking.

I have been thinking about happiness. What are those things that make me happy? Brownies and ice cream, my dog Rocky, convertibles on warm days, people who dance to music, mustaches on young men (creepy...), headshots / melee kills on Halo, motorcycles, techno music, Bojangles' biscuits, Bojangles' sweet tea, anything else by Bojangles, Zaxby's, laughing until my stomach hurts, wearing pajamas until lunchtime on the weekends, making baked goods with friends for friends, skipping in fields whilst running my hands through the blooming flowers around me, and making lists of seemingly meaningful but in reality pointless things that I can put on Facebook so people can supposedly learn about who I am through my “interests.”

But seriously, what makes me happy? Music. Rocking out. I love everything about music, whether it's jamming with my boys Nick and Erik at Cat's Cradle or the “Band Room,” recording dumb songs with my friend Grant, getting my face melted by some sweet local band, or just blaring it in my car. It really does make me happy, and some of the fondest memories I have are those when I was playing songs that I helped to create on stage with my best friends. But there is one problem...

This happiness is fleeting. It's awesome when the amps are roaring, but what happens when the show is over? The reality of life comes back. The things that make us happy can so easily be made nothing. I love Zaxby's and Bojangles, but all it takes is a sore throat or upset stomach and it's not even good. I love my dog Rocky, but sometimes he takes a slam in his cage and I gotta clean that junk up in the morning. The truth is that what we think of as “happiness” is more often than not a fleeting and deceptive emotion.

I have also been thinking about joy. Joy and happiness are not synonymous, and this fact was made clear to me last week at SharpTop Cove. I was a leader of some guys from inner city Durham. The whole camp was filled with kids from the streets of various big cities around the country. The stories they had made my heart break. One particular friend of mine has only known his father outside of prison bars for two years and now he’s serving several life sentences and will most likely be incarcerated for the rest of his son's life. Another guy prefers not to even connect with his father because of the way he treats his mother (and the mothers of his other five children). They have turned to the street life for an escape: violence, drugs, promiscuity, and even gang activity, all in the search for happiness and, ultimately, joy.

It was a hard week for me. There were moments of great fun and laughter, but for much of the time it was hard. Hard to be confronted with the fact that I have a cushy life that I do not deserve, hard to try and relate to them all week, hard to be confronted with the fact that these guys have such tough situations at a young age, and hard to think that there are stories out there that are far worse than the ones told to me. Though there was not much “happiness” for me this week, I had great joy. I had joy in the fact that I was able to communicate hope to them; hope that flows from faith in Jesus Christ.

My goal was not to tell them to grit their teeth and work hard, that one day they could make it out of the hood, live in a nice house, have a stable family, and a nice bank account. Those things don't matter in the end. What a disappointment it would be to gain those things, only to realize they can only promise fleeting happiness! No, my goal was not to help them achieve these things. My goal was to point them to Christ, and that gave me joy.

I have also been thinking about my agenda. How do I want to spend my life? I will pursue both happiness and joy. I will enjoy my life as much as possible; as I move away from North Carolina and pursue a career as a professional musician I will enjoy every note and drop of sweat along the way. But when those things fail me (or succeed wildly), when bad things happen and life throws me curves, I know that I have deep joy. I have my identity and my joy and my security in Christ, and I will share that with others. SharpTop was such a blessing to me that I have decided to be involved in urban youth ministry wherever I end up, that I may multiply my joy in sharing the hope of the Gospel with those who have lives vastly different from mine. With those who I may not be able to relate to, but who I care about and want to see changed. I find that far more fulfilling and valuable than a nice salary and a retirement plan.

So, as for my life right now, I am hoping and dreaming and planning on a grand and adventurous future. A future that is filled with face-melting guitar solos, CD release shows, crowded tour buses, and good times. A future filled with new youthful urban friends, street ball games, Michael Jackson dance parties, and real talk about life, hope, and Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Prosperity Gospel

This is a video that we show to all the students that go through camp.

It's pretty self-explanatory, but for those wondering: The "Prosperity Gospel" is the idea that followers of God either earn or deserve blessings in the form of health, safety, or material posessions.

It can be found here:
Prosperity Gospel

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

FirstShow LastShow

I had a sweet chance to rock out the other night. I formed a band with some friends up here at summer camp. We were just gonna learn and play some cover songs for our friends. We named the band “FirstShow LastShow,” and it was a huge success. We made some t-shirts to sell and made over $600, which was all given to a family with financial burdens that we are committed to helping. Since I am the “soundman” up at camp this summer, I got to set everything up and get all the levels right. We also had some sweet lights and my man Brian Turney made a Flash video for the intro. It was crazy.

My fellow were rockers were Matt Chauta (lead VOX and guitar), Thomas Macinnes (bass and guitar), and John Creger (drums). We made some sweet fliers and took some band promo shots. Then on show night, we all got rockstar-styled up. Which ended up with me having the sides of my head cut real short and one long bang that hangs over my eye. Then we all put on eyeliner and looked real emo. It was then that I discovered why so many artists dress up and have stage personas – its fun. It made it so much easier to jump around and get into it. It's like Halloween for those in their mid-twenties. So I still have a really weird haircut and I'm trying to figure out what to do. I have two weddings between now and the move to LA. One of them I can pull off the rockstar haircut. But the other, I am a groomsmen, so we will see. I would like to keep it and figure out a way to make it look legit rockstar. Although all of my friends are gonna make fun of me when they see it. Oh well.

I will put up some pictures once I get some. For now, I will attach the flier. Check the mad photoshop skills.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Shoes and Broken Toes

So i bought some of these, Vibram FiveFingers

They are great, and I enjoyed them. For the two days that my foot fit in it. Early this morning I stubbed the heck out of my left pinky toe on a railroad tie. I wanted to blurt expletives but I didn't because the little kiddies at camp were around. Anyhoo, I thought it might just be dislocated because it could still move some. So this guy pulled on it. bad idea, it really hurt. that did make me scream expletives. So, I go to the doctor. Takes three hours, and he tells me the X-ray machine is broke, sends me to the hospital. Three hours later, they say I did, in fact, break my toe. Which I knew, I was just trying to get that workers comp to pay for it. Which it did.

Mission successful.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Cell Phone Numbers, or NFL Blitz on 64

On Friday night at camp, we had 12 hours of silence. During these hours, each small group (4 or 5 guys or girls) had shifts where they would wake up and pray over the camp and read Scripture for an hour. It was a refreshing time for me, and I was able to lots of meditation and thinking.

I spent a lot of time in the memorial garden. Last year, four of the Snowbird staff died in an auto accident in the middle of the summer. A father of a staff member put together this really nice memorial garden on campus. It has huge stone benches with the four names engraved in them. I had met one of the staff members very briefly, but I didn't know him very well. Even so, I was able to grieve for my friend who died last year, Jason Ray. In fact, while I was sitting in that garden, I was finally able to delete his phone number from my cell phone. I don't know if it's normal or not to keep numbers like that for this long, but I am glad I finally deleted it. I think it will bring a deeper level of healing.

Most of you who read this at this point probably knew Jason, or at least know what happened to him and our connections. For those for don't (and for those who did), I am going to recount some of my favorite “Jason Stories” here and in further posts. The first will deal with the Nick Burn's bonus room, a sleepover with “the band,” and several games of NFL Blitz on N64. Erik and Nick know what I'm talking about...

So, as was custom, we would go to Nick's house to play music and hang out in high school. On one particular weekend, we decided to just sleep over at Nick's house. Now, we all know Nick is not a huge gamer. Unless it's Dark Summit, or that terrible Bruce Willis game. Anyways, somehow a copy of NFL Blitz and an N64 ended up in his bonus room. We would have some intense games on this. Jason HATED losing. He also loved the virtual version of Mike Alstott. (On a sidenote, if someone from Midway reads this, you made Mike Alstott WAAAAY too good in that game. I mean seriously, he's Mike Alstott. Not Barry Sanders) Alstott would break at least one tackle a play. Which was frustrating. This is on top of the fact that Blitz is a game intentionally designed to be frustrating because it threw in plenty of controversial fumbles and interceptions to keep the game close. All this amounted to a game that was about 70% skill and 30% luck.

So, we fire up the ol' 64. Jason of course picks the Bucs. I liked to play w/ either the Packers or Cowboys, depending on my mood. I don't remember who I picked for this round of challenges, but whoever it was, they were on their A game. Because I beat Jason soundly in Game 1. He's pissed, wants to play again. So we play again. And again, I come out the solid victor. Now, two consecutive victories in Blitz is not unheard of, but not too common. Three in a row, getting that is like a running riot in Halo. It's basically affirmation that you are sick nasty wit it. So, after defeat number 2, Jason wants to play again. He's pissed at this point. To the point where it's funny to all of us, but we don't say anything. The third game starts at 1:40 in the morning hours. I switch teams because I am bored of beating him. I think the first two were the Packers, then game 3 I went w/ the boys from Dallas.

I don't remember the details of the game, or else I would outline them. There were plenty of moments where both of were yelling at the 64 for bullcrap plays. But, in the closing seconds, I think I took the ball from Ray and just kept it long enough to pull out the win. 3-0 for the evening. Jason is furious. I mean, really mad. He stands up, hurls the controller to the ground, and walks out of the room. We laugh, and go downstairs. I am expecting to see him sitting by the bar with some water or something. Oh no, he stormed out of Nick's house and walked home (which was right down the street.) Straight up left. The next morning, he comes over at about 10 and we are up eating some cereal. He walks in, gives the signature “What's up” and sits down. We look around for a minute, then Erik, Nick, and I just start laughing. Oh man, it was great.

So the point of this story is I will destroy you in NFL Blitz. Bring it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Summa Summa Time

Long time no post. That's because I have been wicked busy up at Snowbird Wilderness Outfitters. It's located in Andrews, NC (aka the middle of nowhere) and is an amazing place. Each summer, thousands of kids come here with their church groups and are challenged both spiritually and physically. I don't think I have been around people who resemble community and the body of Christ like SWO staff. This summer I work "Puddle Jumping," which is playing in swimming holes in the Nantahala River, and I will also work at the 3-Man swing, which is a swing that swings 3 men. Or women. It's great. I'm also the sound man, which is fun.

I'm missing Chapel Hill, but I am really excited for this season of my life. The teaching here is superb and very honest, and it's fun to not have a real job yet still make money. Plus people here are buying rockstar t-shirts like crazy.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hey, are you guys gonna play some cover songs?

So I rocked out one last time with my boys on Saturday at the Wild Wing Cafe in Raleigh. It was great. It was three hours of mostly cover tunes. We played our favorites, including "Don't Forget Me" by the Chili Peppers. (If you haven't heard it, listen to it now. Incredible.) It was probably the 5th song of the night. When we got done, one of the bartenders comes up to me and says, "Hey are you guys gonna play some cover songs?" I looked at him like an idiot, because every song we had played so far was a cover song.

Also there was this guy at the bar who could whistle really, really loud. Like, he would whistle while we were playing and I could hear him. He almost got kicked out because he whistled so loud. Afterwards, he comes up to us and tells us how great we were. He then decided to whistle at one of the bartenders, who responded, "I'm busy, I'll be with you in a minute. And don't ever whistle at me again. Ever."

Good times. RIP Nine PM

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Sticks and Stones and Mean Words

Time for the fresh-out-college-kid-criticizes-American-culture-and-society post. I was listening to G105 the other morning. (NOTE: My iPod tape adaptor broke, forcing me listen to the radio. Although I enjoy the morning show, I thought I would try to save some face for those top 40-haters out there). They have a segment where people call in and talk about their dilemma. This woman calls in all upset, because she doesn’t know what to do with her boyfriend and husband. Yes, she has both. She left her husband (but not divorced), and moved in with another guy. Then she calls in crying about how she loves her husband so much and he’s perfect and she doesn’t know how to leave her boyfriend because he already has some depression problems and she doesn’t want to hurt his feelings, yadda yadda yadda.

I was in disbelief. There are so many problems I see in that. The first is that the sanctity of marriage has almost gone down the tubes in America. What started a religious and spiritual covenant (it’s the truth like it or not) which was meant to bind two people in the most intimate and serious way has become something that people enter into with far too less planned commitment. I mean, most vows say “until death do us part.” That’s freakin intense. Imagine looking for a college roommate. Think of how serious some people take that. For a year long thing. What if was like, “Hey man, you trying to move into Mangum dorm?” “Maybe, how long you living there?” “Until one of us dies dude.” Crazy. I don’t think people have that mindset as much entering marriage. The numbers vary, but pretty consistently I hear that 50% of marriages in America end in divorce. So sad.

The other issue here is “not wanting to hurt feelings.” It seems to me that emotionalism has run rampant. People often express their thoughts as “I feel like…” Think about it; should you trust your feelings? Ask my housemates, all it takes to wildly alter my mood is either a stellar or piss poor game of Halo on-line. I mean, if I own some rocket-hugging noob with a battle rifle in The Pit, I’m jacked. But if I miss what should have been an easy takedown with the shotgun and get a sticky right in the face, I’m furious. We actually have a piece of acoustic foam near the X-Box that I can hit in my moments of rage so I don’t do something dumb like punching the wall. I know, I need to work on it. But I digress. All that to show the treachery of “living by your emotions.” And people are especially wary of others’ emotions. Now I’m not saying to just have no disregard for people and be a total clown about it. But in situations like this, when the lady already knows what she wants to (and should) do, she just needs to do it. For the most part, people are big boys and girls. They can take it. Just tell them the truth.

Well, this post didn’t really end up where I thought it would. But I’m tired of typing. Sorry if that hurts your feelings; get over it. Kidding. Or am I?

The Problem of Pain and Suffering

I suppose it’s time for some deep thoughts…

I spent some time yesterday reading a blog-debate between two New Testament scholars. Bart Ehrman is a professer at UNC, very smart, and a born-again-but-then-gave-it-up Christian-turned-Agnostic. I had a class with him, it was amazing. N.T. Wright is a Bishop in the Church of England. Both are prolific writers and know way more about the New Testament than I thought possible. They debated “the problem of evil/pain/suffering,” which you can read here.

I consider myself to have a decent hold of the intellectual side of my theology. I have read some “classic” by Lewis, Packer, Piper, Tozer, etc., and have had stimulating theological conversation and have heard both the problems and solutions for the big questions of the faith. However, as I read Ehrman’s first post, I found myself being very persuaded and agreeing with most of the the things he said. Then I read Wright’s response, in which I found myself persuaded again. This went on through the entirety of the debate; each post’s argument seemed to both (for the most part) persuade and humble me, as I found myself being exposed to new thoughts that sounded good.

My aim here is not to spill my intellectual guts for you, but rather to highlight the frailty of logic and reason. The scholars were arguing for vastly different things, yet supported them with arguments that seemed very solid and thought out. But isn’t truth by definition exclusive? As in my past experiences with viewing/reading debates, I am alarmed at how easily my own mind can latch onto an argument and run with it, then embrace something totally different 5 minutes later, especially concerning spiritual things.

While in the end I agree with the majority of Wright’s stances, one must admit there are still challenges to human logic presented in Scripture and the story of God and his people. I am thankful that my hope rests not on my ability to think, reason, or argue, but to trust and believe in the omniscient Christ.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Comical Comics

So, i found this amazing website where you can create comic-book versions of yourself and friends, then make up comics. It's a great time waster. It's at bitstrips.com

Check out my first pieces of work...





Funny side note: when attempting to send these pics to my housemates, I accidentally attached my 2007 Federal Tax Return instead of the picture. So, if I'm the victim of identity theft in the future, I know who to go after...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Farewell Show


I'm in a band right now, Nine PM Traffic, and quite frankly, we rock. Which brings me to the saddest post to date: we will be having our final show on May 3. It's in Chapel Hill and on a Saturday at 9:00PM (clever, I know), so if you can make it you should! It's at PT's Grill (formerly Lucy's) near Frankin St, and its all ages and FREE!!!

It's going to be great time. I hope to see lots of friendly faces there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The "Notice"

I gave my three week-ish notice to my boss last Friday. Crazy; time flies when your having fun, amen?

For those of you who didn't know, I have been working at Gurlitz Architectural Group since July 2007. It's been great; most people are surprised I went to UNC and ended up at an architectural firm. I have been able to do lots of cool things; draw plans, model buildings in 3-D, learn Photoshopping and web coding skills. The co-workers there were really cool too, except none of them like Bojangles or Maroon 5. Lame. One time this guy there named Adam said I was his hero. He hearts me. I always said, if I wanted to be an architect, then I had hit the jackpot. But I want to be a rockstar. So, off to LA I go. I am hoping to use the skills I learned here to get some part-time drafting work in the big city that will pay a little better than the alternatives. We shall see.

To further illustrate the greatness of Gurlitz, I shall tell this tale of mine. After telling Richard (the boss-man) I was leaving, he began to tell me about a guy in LA that was a client of ours (we built the office for the Sugar Hill record label, home to Nickel Creek.) He was helping me network literally 2 minutes after I gave him my notice! And another guy knows the bass player for Dave Matthews Band. Cha-ching. DollaBills in the bank.

So, in a nutshell, goodbye Gurlitz. Thanks for everything. I'll see you when I sell out RBC Center!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tattoos and T-Shirts Pt. 2


Here is the tattoo. It is the Greek word for grace, which looks like xapis and is pronounced charis.

Tattoos and T-Shirts



I got the bug. The tattoo bug. I now have gotten 3 tattoos in less than a year (although two of them were part of the same "picture.")

My latest one is on my left forearm. I expect most folks to not like it. I also expect most folks to lie to me and say that they do, or just avoid the subject. Like they don't notice a 5inch block of blue and black ink on my arm. Thats ok though, because I like it. You can feel free to not like it. I might not like something about you, like your face or your car. But we're still friends.

I also am selling T-Shirts to fund my trip to LA. I have no shame about that; gas is expensive, and so is LA, so I will take all the help I can get. Holler at me if you want one. I think I can attach pictures to this thing, so if I can, I will attach a picture of both the tat and the shirt.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Why I'm (the blog) Here

Hi friends, welcome to my blog. Not gonna lie, it's a little weird to write a blog. Kind of presumptuous to write about myself. Plus I don't really know what to write about. Deep, dark secrets? Dumb, shallow humor? Time will tell...

But I digress. Why did I start a blog, you ask? Because that way I can write about all the crazy things in my life and people can read about it and stay updated at their leisure. Because those who would like to stalk can do it without freaking me out, and I can pretend that those who I wish would stalk me are actually reading it too.

Why is it called the local rockstar? Because names are hard to think of, and I like this one, so I went with it. And hopefully it will become ironic as I become a global rockstar.

For those of you who don't know, I am packing my bags and leaving the beautiful state of NC for the...umm...LA. What is LA's nickname? It would be useful to know in situations like this. But anyhoo, I am headed out there in September with my guitar, some clothes, some books, and other necessities, like Halo 3. It is my goal to become a professional musician.

Most people's reaction to this is, "Whoa, that's awesome!" Except TJ Lockwood, who told me I was an idiot for not sticking around with Nick Burns. But TJ thinks that Dave Grohl sucks, so his opinion instantly means less than everyone elses. Anyways, for those of you who want to see how it ends up, this is where you can do that.


Alright, I'm done. Thanks for reading.
--DollaBills