Friday, December 18, 2009

Deck The Halls

Good Grief!!

It has been way too long since I have posted. My apologies.

And I must keep this short, lot to do today. I am headed to Utah in a few hours for a weekend-long drumming gig, then to NC for christmas.

But, I just finished some christmas music with my friends out here in LA!! It is free to download, hope you like it!

Get it here:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This ish is bananas

Yo friends,

so i had an awesome halloween. i DJed a party as a banana. enjoy the pics.



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Good Grief

It has been way too long since I have updated. I apologize.

This is my update, so Kenzie can stop bugging me about it.

I will do a fancy-schmancy video update this weekend so you can see my beautiful face.

In the meantime, check out this video I just finished:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


So, a year ago today (I think...give or take a few days) I was driving out of the Grand Canyon and making the final leg of my cross-country moving adventure. It is crazy to know I have been in LA for a whole year. I wanted to recount some of the more memorable events and facts here for you, I hope it is interesting.

-- First place I ate was In 'N Out in Glendale with Brian Turney. I did not know then the treasure that I had stumbled upon. It is very delicious. It is also where I met...

-- Vanessa. I have done what many in NC said was impossible; charm a beautiful lady. We have been dating for a few months now and it is great.

-- Saw Bill Cosby's house. Served coffee to both Stephen Perkins (drummer Jane's Addiction) and the guy who played bass in Fuel (bassist Fuel). And the fat kid with orange hair from all those movies like the Sandlot back in the day. Must still be doing well off royalties, he had an iPhone.

-- Sat across the aisle from Chester (vocalist Linkin Park) on a small plane to Pheonix. Was too involved in Harry Potter Book 6 and a little embarrased by my mustache and sweatpants to talk to him. Also, wasn't quite sure it was him. It was. Crap.

-- I have released two singles which have been heard by dozens. First, "DeFriend" recounts the tale of a young man distressed over breaking up with his girlfriend and having to de-friend her on Facebook. Next, Chase (aka YungPneumonia) spent a few days in LA which saw the creation of the long-awaited "BubbleGum Booty," which is just amazing. Both of those songs can be heard here.

-- I have also released an entire CD!! It contains songs I have been messing around with for years (a few of them were played with Nine PM), and also has some written here in LA. It was a blast to do an entire project on my own. You can find it on iTunes by clicking here.

-- I have played drums for three different groups, and played guitar with another group. Most notably, I played drums at the Whiskey A Go Go with my good friend Jeremy Graham (with whom I am playing again this Friday). It was a complete blast, and truly amazing to play at a venue with such a great system and knowledgeable techs. Cat's Cradle was great, but my monitor mix at the Whiskey was better than the Cradle's FOH. Awesome. I have played a total of 7 "real shows," along with playing at church and other places another handful of times.

-- Found an amazing church that combines the teaching and organization of the Summit with the community and relational aspect of Snowbird. And it is loaded with some of the most amazing musicians I have ever seen. Seriously, A-listers who get payed to tour with the biggest names in the industry, then come play for free at church.

-- Slowly realized that I really enjoy Los Angeles. Anything you want is 30 minutes away (or two hours in traffic). Beautiful beaches, huge mountains, live music, great food, etc.

-- Found some really great friends. Lookin' forward to spending the next year with them.

Here's to one!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Drum Roll Please....

....ladies and gentlemen, some great news.

The Album. Is. Available.

Yes, this very moment you can go and download your very own copy of what I have been working on for the last few months. It is a sweet moment for me to release, as well as a little nerve wracking, as I have never attempted real song writing or singing before. Oh well, let it go and see if it flies, right?

So, there are two places you can get it online. If you use iTunes to download music, you can go here: Chad on iTunes

You also have the option of buying it on Chad on

Both sites will let you review the record WITHOUT buying it, so if you have some free time you can go there and write great things about it.

Now I know some of you technologically challenged-folks don't like all this "MP3 nonsense" and just want your CD. That is coming to. I should have physical CD's (with some incredible artwork done by Nick Burns) in about a month. If you want one, I can mail you one. Or if you live in Concord, you could get one from my parent's house. I am sure we can work something out. The physical CDs are $10, whereas the downloads are $7.92, so with the recession and all I understand if you just go to iTunes.

Alright folks, that's it for me! I have had the flu the past couple days so I am going to retire to the bed here soon and try to feel better. Adios

Sunday, August 30, 2009

California Fire

This update is mainly for the Non-californian readers.

I don't know if they have news of the LA fires in NC, but you should look it up if you haven't heard. It is burning 30 square miles of forest right above La Canada, which is where I lived for the first month and half I moved here. It is the craziest thing I have ever seen; to be driving down the street on lunch break and look to the right and see 15 - 20 ft flames just a few miles away. I snapped some pictures on my camera to share, but they don't do it justice at all.

This is a shot from Pasadena, about 5 miles away from the blaze on Friday.

This is from the 101 Highway about 30 - 40 miles away from the fire. You can see the width of the smoke from this shot, and even this shot doesn't capture the magnitude of the smoke column.

Lastly, here is a video from the AP that shows some closer images. Only 5% contained; scary.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Just got back last night from a week of Young Life camping at Woodleaf. I absolutely love it; hanging out with kids for a week doing ridiculous things and talking deep things about life and faith. Incredible. Makes me wonder why I work the 9 - 5.

Hung out with some 15 - 16 year olds who have gone through stuff that I can't even imagine. I cried just hearing their stories, I think that is the first time that has happened to me. This world is janked up friends, if you trust anything here you will be disappointed.

That's it for now. I am getting anxious waiting for the CD to pop up in the iTunes store; as soon as it does I will let you know. I am also looking into breaking my way into the ringtone industry, as I have made some for friends here in Cali and they are loving it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

FB Fans

For all you facebookers, join my fan page!!

Local Rockstar

Monday, August 3, 2009

Done...for real.

Yes, you read that right friends. After a few months of being "done" and still tinkering, I decided to just bite the bullet. This past weekend I uploaded my songs to TuneCore, which will pass it on to iTunes. So, by September 12, 2009 you can download "Local Rockstar" to your computer for the ridiculously low price of $7.92.

I have made some good friends here in the area who are pretty knowledgeable about marketing and artist management, so I am going to try and hook up with them. Pretty exciting; now I can find some other musicians and go do what I moved to LA to do.

I have put three of the songs up on my MySpace page (along with some album artwork done by N. Burns) so check that out if you have some free time.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the new stuff.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Design

So, if this is at least your second visit to the blog, you will notice the silly emo picture of me is now gone from the top. That haircut was a good idea for maybe 3 minutes. Gross. Now my page is the proud home of a piece of Nick Burns' digital genius.

Anyways, things are excellent in my life right now. I mixed down the final tracks finally for the album today. All the recording and tweaking is done. Next week I am going to upload it to iTunes and start looking at options as far as CD pressing and artwork printing. Exciting times; I will upload a few of the tunes on MySpace as well so you can hear them in MySpace lo-fi glory. The extra time on the reocording was well worth it. I got to lay down a bunch of harmonies that really help the songs stand out, as well as take some good criticisms from friends who hear the "almost finished" versions from back in June.

Tonight I ran a "Dive In Movie" at a pool in Pasadena. I got paid pretty decent money to set up and then watch "Kung Fu Panda" on a 10.5' x 14' screen with Vanessa. Not too shabby, sure beats making lattes at 5 in the morning. Yuck.

I should be sleeping because it is 1:22 in the morning, but a few minutes ago I awoke to something crawling across my chest. It was a spider, so it gave me the heebies jeebies. Since I can't sleep, I thought I might as well update the blog.

Alright, that's all for me folks. Thanks for reading.

Oh yea, BubbleGum Booty is done and available for download here:

I have gotten quite a few requests for ringtones for that little diddy right there, so perhaps next time a spider crawls across me in the wee hours of morning I will make that happen.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chase comes to LA

Hey friends, so my bro came to LA for a few days on his way out to Sydney, Australia. The much hyped "BubbleGum Booty" finally became a reality. Check out the preview:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You should ALWAYS drive with your license!

So friends, I had other plans for this blog entry. But due to an unfortunate turn of events this evening, I have an exciting and gripping story to share instead.

Wednesday night is Bible Study night, which I always enjoy. I was coming home and had just pulled off the freeway when I noticed a cop car next to me at the light. We both turn left. I always get nervous when cops are behind me, especially in CA because I think they are going to pull me over for my NC license which was registered in September. Anyways, As I turn left I am looking in my mirror to watch his movements. I should have paid closer attention to the road, because I kept turning after arriving in my lane and crossed the double yellow line. About a mile later, the cop flashes his lights. As I mumble obscenities under my breath, I look for a good spot to pull over. It takes a bit and the cop is obviously annoyed because he shouts "Pull Over" at me from his cool cop megaphone thing.

As I pull over and park, I reach in the glove compartment for my registration. Check. I pat my pockets for my wallet. Not there. Check the compartment in the middle. Not there. Check beside the seats and the floorboard. Not there. Excellent. So the two police officers walk up and ask for my license. I explain that I left it at my friends house. They say they noticed I crossed the double yellow line, which is why I was pulled over. They then tell me they can impound my car because of it is registered in NC and I have been in CA for over 21 days. They then ask if I have been drinking. No. They don't believe me. They make me follow their finger with my eyes without moving my head. Dumb. Still don't believe me.

Get out of the car. Follow the finger again. Cop #1 - How many drinks have you had tonight? None. I can smell the alcohol on you. I haven't had anything to drink officer. Sit on the curb.

I sat on the side of the road for a few minutes while they did their police officer radio calling stuff. After a few minutes, they tell me that the registration checks out, and that I need to get it switched over to CA ASAP. They also warn me against driving without my license, and then let me go ticket free! Unbelievable!

After arriving at home, I call my friend Jeremy Graham to have him check his couch for my wallet. He can't find it, so I decide to check my car again. It was lying on the floorboard of the passenger seat the whole time. Crazy.

Tune in later this week to read the exciting story of how the new guy at work put a big dent in the van.

Monday, June 29, 2009


I just typed up a bunch of stuff to share in my exciting return to blogging, and lost it all. And now i just don't care enough to do it. Sad but true.

Tomorrow I hope to return with what should be a informing and exciting post.

Stay tuned friends

Monday, June 1, 2009

North Carolina, cmon and RAISE UP!

I am back in NC. As expected, I still absolutely love Bojangles, Zaxbys, and other frieds foods. I really like my friends. I don't like the weather. So stinkin' hot. I have sweated more in the last four days than I have since about February.

I walked around UNC's campus yesterday. I forgot how pretty it is; the grass is so green and huge trees everywhere. Definitely don't get that in LA very often.

As far as music stuff goes, I "finished" the album before I came home. After listening to the whole deal a few times through on the plane ride, I decided it needs a bit more work. Two weeks; three weeks max. I need to adjust some vocals on a tune and do a little more mixing. The whole thing is a little quiet and bass heavy. But it is VERY close. Nick Burns has made some excellent artwork, I am really excited about that. So, the timeline looks like this: Finish up my part by end of June. Have hard copies by late July. It should be online in the iTunes stores by mid-August.

Awesome. I can't wait for everyeone to hear what I have been working on.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Awesome Things

So I haven't posted in a while, thought I should update my dozens of faithful readers. Things have been awesome. I will enumerate them:

1) NEW JOB(S): I got a "real job." I set up sound and video systems for clients who rent through JD Audio Visual. It is right up my alley and the other co-workers are cool guys. I think I will learn a lot about sound gear, which will be great. The owners are Christians and supporters of Young Life, so I hopefully I will be able to go on weekend trips with their support. I also DJed a wedding and a prom in the last two weeks. Both went great and I got lots of good feedback. I booked two more weddings in October. It is really fun, I get paid well, and I love every song because I am the DJ. SUMMARY: My new job(s) is(are) awesome.

2) NEW MUSIC: As promised, I will have my 9-track debut CD available in about two weeks. I should finish my part in the next day or two of mixing, and Nick Burns has created some awesome artwork. After that, we send it off and wait for it to get back to us! I am excited about it, I think it is really good. It will eventually be on iTunes sometime late summer, but if you would like a hard copy, let me know. We will figure it out. SUMMARY: My new music is finished and awesome.

3) NEW GIRLFRIEND: Yes friends, you read that right. I have managed to find an awesome girl who seems to like me. Crazy, I know. Her name is Vanessa. She loves Jesus, is smart, makes me laugh, listens to great music, has a great singing voice, likes fast food, and is beautiful. SUMMARY: My new girlfriend is awesome.

Alright folks, so I am headed back to NC in a few days for a slew of weddings and hanging out. I am sure I will see some of you during that time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tough Realities

I agree with this video.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'm Unemployed-ish

Hi friends and faithful readers. Today's content will surely make my parents and you other parental-types cringe and tell me I should not do such foolish things. However, I probably passed that point a long time ago. Like when I got tattoos on my forearms and moved to California. Just so you know, Momma I tried to call you twice to tell you the news in person. Anyways, drum roll please: I quit my job at Starbucks today.

A quick story so you will sympathize with me. Friday night I was driving home from my friend's house around 10:30 pm, which was waaaay late because I had to wake up at 4 am on Saturday to get to my opening shift. Yuck. During that shift, I was asked to take over the drink-making after my break. There is a ridiculous line, the bar is a mess and I have two large cappucinos. For those of you who work at coffee shops (Melissa Turney), you know that the worse thing to have during rush time is a cappucino. And two large cappucinos? Even worse. So I finish the drinks, and go to hand them off. At this point I realize they should have been non-fat cappucinos; I used whole milk. I turn around, dump them out, and spin back around to make them again. As I spin, I knock over a full pitcher of hot 2% milk all over my apron and pants. Then a lady asks, "Excuse me, what is taking so long? Is there a nonfat latte back there?" I almost just quit right then. But I replied, "Sorry ma'am, it's all over my apron. It will just be one more moment."

Later in that same shift, a man comes in with a UNC hat. I am cleaning tables in the dining area and yell, "GO HEELS!" Turns out he is a 1996 grad. When I told him I was a grad from 2007, I realized that I need to move on. My parents didn't spend their hard-earned cash for me to come make minimum wage at 4:30 in the morning. So I quit. When I told the manager, he was cool with it. He actually said he was expecting this soon, because I "have got swagger and can probably do something better." So that was encouraging.

If your like my brother, you will ask: What are you going to do now? I'm not totally sure. I was already planning on quitting in late May, so that I could fly home to NC for a few weeks to visit and hang out with the hope that I would have found a job to come back to in the middle of June. That is still the hope, now I just have a lot more free time (and sleep) to find that new job. And I'm not totally cash-less. I got a recording gig and am DJing a wedding in May. Through those two avenues, I will actually make about 3x the money I would have if I stayed at Starbucks. I will also try to get two ore three subbing gigs during that time, so I feel pretty good about it.

For those who are still working the coffee shop grind, I will always have love for you. And I will not care if my latte doesn't have exactly a 1/4" of foam on the top. Or if my shot was 13 seconds old. And I will tip you well.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We Got A Kitten!

To answer a common question... yes I like dogs better. But cats are way easier, so that is the trade off here. Plus, we aren't supposed to have pets and cats are easier to hide / clean up after. Here is a video interview with our new friend "Rockstar."

By the way, that is my guitar amp he jumps up on. What a rockstar.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Over The Hill

I spend lots of time looking at bands' websites. Not only the "big bands" that I like, but every time I hear of a local artist I go to their MySpace. Each of these sites is linked to hundreds (if not thousands) of other bands' sites. Most of these are groups you have never heard of, and will never hear of. The majority of these groups have some type of merit; you may not like them, but somebody does.

On one hand it is encouraging to see so many groups out there chasing "the dream" and going on mini-tours and being able to make music. On the other hand, it is a little discouraging for me, because most of these jokers are young. Lot of teenagers, lot of early 20's. It makes me feel old, I am in my mid-20s now, and still haven't even got a full band together yet!

Don't get me wrong, I don't feel like I'm "too old" to make it. And it is nice that I have a college degree while alot of these kids just have their high school diploma. And I am really excited about my music. I have gotten some really great feedback from my friends out here in California. Most of them have never heard of Nine PM Traffic or any of my other musical endeavors, so it is always nice to see them surprised at my stuff, whether it's the recording quality achieved in a tiny bedroom or the song writing itself.

In other news, all the music is done for the album. I had vocals done on about 4 of the 5 songs, but I just bought a nice condenser mic for recording, so I might go back and just re-record them all to up the quality a bit. We shall see. At any rate, I should be able to meet my projected "release" date of middle to late May. Right in time for my visit back to NC. Awesome.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Cross = Foolishness

Christianity is absurd. It has taken me a long time to accept this fact. I think that while I was in school, my subconscious MO was to be a "cool guy." Thus, being a Christ follower would become cool by association. Maybe "cool" isn't the right word, "weird" is probably a better term. People think that Christianity is weird; they think that is is foolish. I believe Christianity, but do not want to be seen as weird or foolish.

This Easter I had a bit of a breakthrough. Perhaps you have already noticed, but Christianity is weird. It is foolish. It is crazy. At its core, it revolves around a man who was really God who was killed and rose again. That's absurd. I think that in the past I have often avoided discussing faith or other folks' belief systems because I didn't want them to think me foolish.

Being a Christ follower is foolishness, at least to those who aren't. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says, "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." The reality of the matter is this: if the Bible is truth, then it stands on its own feet and doesn't need any help defending itself. So what if people think it's crazy? Often truth is crazier than non-truth.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

we're so good!

Last night, UNC beat Villanova to advance to the NCAA national championship game against Michigan St. If you recall, UNC beat Michigan State in the same arena in 35 pts. This DOES NOT mean UNC will win by default tomorrow night. But it also doesn't mean that somehow Michigan State is a totally different team and will beat UNC by 35.

Those backing MSU are pointing out several facts about the December game: MSU was coming off a long streak of games and was very tired (4 games in 7 days I believe), and was missing several players due to injuries, including key bigman Suton. Now that they are rested and healthy down low, they are going to be a totally different team, right? Probably.

Here is what ESPN and other places don't mention: UNC was also coming off a streak of games (5 in 10 days, including a trip to Maui). The December game was only Hansbrough's 4th or 5th game back from an injury (a stress fracture? I can't remember...), and we wer also without Tyler Zeller, who was contributing double digit points up until his injury right before that game.

Michigan State will definitely be a different team. They have already knocked off some big names and the defending champs. They are the "underdog" and will play like it, not to mention the game is about 90 miles from their campus. They won't get beat by 35. However, UNC is also coming to play. This is the game Psycho T has dreamed about for 4 years, and it is the last chance for some of the other players to showcase their NBA potential (anyone see Green's 3 pointers from a few feet behind the arc last night?). UNC will not beat MSU by 35. They will beat them by 8.

You heard it here folks. UNC: 84 MSU: 76

Friday, April 3, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Biggest Fan

Everyone knows that imitation is the highest form of flattery. With that in mind, I would like to present you with some pictures. First, myself back in 2004:

For those who know my brother Chase, you know that he is also a crazy guy. Even so, he normally restrains from the "crazy hair / facial hair" tendencies that I exhibited through out college. But a few days ago, this is what he looked like:


Thursday, March 26, 2009


Today marks the 2 year anniversary of my friend Jason Ray's death. If you were fortunate enough to know him, hopefully you can look back like myself and laugh at his outrageous personality. If you didn't know him, all of the pictures, Googling, and stories on the internet can't capture who he was. It's a bit weird to be so far away from all of my friends who knew Jason; no one in Los Angeles knows him, aside from maybe seeing the ESPN special. So, tonight I am going to grab some Guinness and video chat with Erik and Nick from Concord. I can't wait, it's gonna be awesome!

I wrote a song a while back about Jason, and finally got around to recording it this morning. It's a little rough, just a single take into a stereo mix, so no chance to add any "studio magic," but I wanted to just get it down for what it is. You can listen to it here, I have posted the lyrics below:

Still I Believe

My eyes burn tonight as I walk past your empty room
I sit inside the silence left behind, and wonder why your gone so soon
And lately I've been too sad to cry, it seems that relief can't be found
But I remember the light and joy in your eyes; the way you would laugh out loud.

I could not believe what I'd been told. Only 21 - your hand has grown cold. Yet still I believe the Savior's peace you know, and a love as bold as life, and a life as bold as Christ.

Two years it's been since I've seen you my friend without a chance to say goodbye.
But when we meet again, there will be no more sin, no sorrow, nor reason to cry.

I could not believe what I'd been told. Only 21 - your hand has grown cold. Yet still I believe the Savior's peace you know, and a love as bold as life, and a life as bold as Christ.

You struggle no more, and victory is yours. Your hope's been realized.
Helpless in the flood, but through the gracious blood, you were brought to life.
And Christ says, "He is mine!"

Romans 8:1 - Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Your closed door reminds me...

I could not believe what I'd been told. Only 21 - your hand has grown cold. Yet still I believe the Savior's peace you know, and a love as bold as life, and a life as bold as Christ.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm a Professional!!

Saturday night I played again with Jeremy Graham. This time we got paid!!

We made 30 bucks. Total. And it cost $7 for me to park, so I made 50 cents. I'm thinking about giving Starbucks my two week notice.

Also, I posted a while back about a band called "Nural." They just released their new album on iTunes, it was produced by David Bendeth. Yeah, the guy who did Paramore and Underoath's latest albums. Not too shabby.

Anyways, Nural's new album is phenomenal. Check out the iTunes clips and download some tunes if you like what you hear.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rappers don't like me

My good friend Jeremiah Vaught is in the Los Angeles area for the next few days. Yesterday I gave him a tour of some of the finer sights in the city, including the walk of stars down in Hollywood. As we were walking through, a tall man holding a portable CD player and a stack of burned CDs approached us. He explained that he was a hip-hop artist who was going to be featured on BET next month, then asked if I could listen to 30 seconds of his music. I agree, and throw on the headphones. It was much better produced than I was expected for someone on the street. He hands me a burned CD of 20 tracks and asks if I can help him out with some money...

"Yea sure man, I am a struggling artist too, I don't mind helping you out."
(I pull out a dollar from my pocket)
"One dollar? Man, that's insulting! Can't you give me five?"
*With a sense of shock* "A dollar is insulting?"
"That's insulting man!"
"Well then, I'm sorry, but I'm not giving you five dollars. Here is your CD back."

A little later on I saw him giving the "insulting" speech to some high schoolers who obviously felt intimidated and gave him two dollars instead. What a clown.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Hiking Pics

So I spent a week in Utah hiking, and I came back without hurting myself, despite what Jay Spencer might think.

The trip was incredible. On Tuesday I drove out to Las Vegas to meet up with the rest of the crew, then headed out to Mt. Zion. We had some flight delay issues, so we got to the park too late to do any hiking that night. We just set up a camp and got some firewood, thanks to Erik's awesome hatchet and Fel's ninja sword. The next morning we headed out into the back country. We hiked in 1.8 miles with big backpacks, then dropped our packs and went exploring. It was lots of fun and slightly scary at times since the mountain was just red rocks which slipped out under your feet a lot. We hiked about 8 miles and climbed around 1,000 ft in elevation during the day. We came back to camp exhausted and hungry. We ate some delicious stew created by Matt Harrell, the real Bear Grylls.

The next morning we woke up and hiked out of the back country. We headed into town and rented some dry suits. We looked awesome (check the pics at the bottom) and proceeded to "The Narrows," a small slot canyon with a river running through it. The suits served to protect us from the 33 degree water. Brrr. We hiked up a few miles, then found an offshoot trail. That took us to a big pile of snow that we created a slide on. Awesome times. The suits were so tight that you could lay down and the air bubbles in the suit would let you float. Unless your Rob, then the water leaks down your neck hole that you didn't tighten and soaks your back.

Later that night we find another camp site and gather some firewood. While hacking at a fallen tree log we found, a ranger comes and tells us that gathering wood in a National Park is a felony, even dead wood. He threatens us with a fine, then is about to leave when he spots Fel's ninja sword. When asked what it is used for, Fels replies, "Oh, for cutting down trails." Genius. The ranger gives another lecture and further threatens us for the firewood and a "quiet hour" fine. Fortunately we were all passed out by quiet hour anyway.

We woke the next morning to find snow covering the ground. It sounds cool, unless you have actually slept in a tent covered in snow. It's not cool; it's freaking cold. We packed up the snow-covered camp, jumped in the cars, and made one last hike up Angel's Landing. An amazing view on top. To get there, they have chains driven into the ground for support. Probably not the smartest climb when snow is on the ground. About half of our crew dared to challenge the elements, including yours truly. We made it on top and it was probably the most incredible view I had. On the way down we had a big snowball fight. The trail was essentially a lot of switch backs and made ambush attacks plentiful. We even almost hit some strangers at one point.

After Angel's Landing, we got in the cars and headed back to Vegas. We stopped off at a friend of Tim and Fels where we took very necessary showers. We killed some time then went to Outback, where I had the most delicious steak known to man.

If you are more of a visual learner, check out the photo album from Erik and Nick:
Mancation 2008

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Hey friends, made it back from Utah without hurting myself. A big achievement. Breathtaking pictures of that to follow. For now, feast your eyes on some pretty nice photos taken at the Whiskey show.

More posts to follow.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Golden Day in the Big City

I turned 24 on February 24. My golden birthday. The actual day wasn't that great; I subbed for some at-risk youth again, only to come outside and find a parking ticket on my car. Yuck. Then I had band rehearsal until midnight, slept for three and half hours then had to be at Starbucks at 5 AM. Double yuck.

BUT, last night I went out with some friends to celebrate the b-day. It was fantastic! I am so blessed to already have a great group of friends in this city! I never would have imagined it could be this good only 6 months into the LA adventure. So, for those of you who read this and came out to Barney's, much love. For those that would have if they could have, much love.

This will be the last blog for about a week. On Tuesday I am headed to Utah with my NC homies to go camping for a week in Zion Nat'l Park. I am pumped. When I return, I will hopefully have some good footage of the Whiskey show to share.

I can't believe my LA debut is tomorrow night, and at the Whiskey! It's gonna be a rocking good time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fall Out Boy

My roomie just won free tickets to a festival w/ Fall Out Boy headlining. He can't go so I am taking them.

It bothers me when people sub-divide scales. Like when they say "7.5 out of 10," c'mon just say 7 or 8.

We had some mad rehearsal this past week for the show at the Whiskey. I also heard they are filming it, so we might have a video clip to upload here in the future. I am trying to figure out my wardrobe for the show; I gotta look fly in my LA debut!

Next week I am going to Utah for a week with my ol' roomies to hike and camp. I was slightly worried that someone might die, until I learned we recruited Matt Harrell for the trip. All is well now.

Finally, I would like to take a survey of my readership about age differences in dating. Let's use a hypothetical situation. Pretend someone is 9 or 10 years my junior, meaning they are 15 or 16. But they are really mature for their age. Sketchy? You be the judge.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This guy is pey-issed

I ganked this from Mark Nguyen, who ganked it from YouTube. Kind of like he ganked my old job. That man is pathetic and does nothing for himself. Anyways, at least he can find 2:24 of hilarious material on YouTube. Good job Mark.

Oh, Mark, I told you-know-who that you were slowly creeping closer to California in an attempt to seduce her and she immediately got in her car and drove to Canada. Sorry bro.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Julian called me yesterday about an hour after I posted my blog about him never calling me. He didn't read the blog, just wanted to call me. So props to him.

Grant, your still on my bad list.

I am sure most of you Facebookers are aware of the "25 Things" phenomenon. Normally I don't indulge in such things, but "the list" is amazing. I love reading my best friends' lists and I always laugh out loud so hard. I am going to compile a "best of" list for my next entry.

We got band rehearsal tonight. It will be the first time I have played a drum set at normal volumes for over 5 minutes since my arrival. Far too long. I am really, really excited.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Funny Things, The Crap List, Band Names

Funny Things:
Trent informed me today that the older gentleman in the picture I put up of him is his ex-girlfriend's day. That's why you de-tag after the breakup Trent.

The Crap List:
These people deserve to be publicly belittled for never calling me back.
Grant - I know your busy, but c'mon. But I doubt you read this, so I guess I will talk to you when I come home to Concord in May.
Julian - You at least tried. We played voicemail tag. But I tagged you last. Your it.

Band Names:
I don't know if I put this in the other post or not, but right now the working band names is "Polyester Red." Let's hear the reactions. I for one really like it. I will explain why later, but want to hear some thoughts based on the name alone. I mean, that is what the millions and millions of fans are going to have to do in a few years, amen?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Got A Gig


So Logan told me today that my blog was "falling off" because I don't post enough. I replied, "I just don't feel like many people read it." Then he told me that he reads it a lot, along with his sister and extended family. So, to Meagan and those crazy Dagleys in Tennessee, thanks for reading. I will try to post more often. I have plenty of stuff to write about, it just seems a little pretentious to write about it on my blog. Oh well, give the people what they want right? Right.

I finally got some cool stuff happening music wise. First off, I am trying to have my album done and ready to go my late May. That is definitely do-able if I just work hard. I have ten tracks planned; music is completely done on 8. I have about 20% of the vocals done, so it's just a matter of sitting down and doing it. I have gotten some pretty good feedback thus far from both strangers and friends on this stuff. Of course, my family loves it. But they have to; it's a requirement.

The most immediate excitement involves The Whiskey A Go Go. Yes, the famed club on the Sunset Strip. My friend Jeremy Graham is a bluesy rocker and needed a rhythm section, so I am playing the drums for him March 2. Should be lots of fun; there are a few other shows he has lined up, so as long as I am not a total clown on the set, I may get to play again with him.

As far as my own stuff, I am playing with a drummer named Trent (see below). He is a Starbucks co-worker. Though he doesn't admit it, he wants to be Aaron Gillespie (also see below). Which isn't a bad thing. I mean, he has the red hair and the 5 rolls down. I just gotta teach him to funk baby! Anyways, we have jammed a few times and are working on learning some of my stuff. It is sounding good.
Next up: Bass player.

Until next time, PEACE!!




Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Status Update

In today's high-tech world, there is no better way to let the world know how you feel without the awkward task of talking to people than the Facebook Status. It's a great thing.

Also, there is no better way to cap off a Wednesday night in February with a UNC smashing of Durham. That-a-way boys.

In honor of both the UNC victory and the Facebook Status revolution, I have decided to pick my favorite status' regarding tonight's game.

1) Robert Kancilia thinks Coach K should stick to his strategy of recruiting unathletic white guys.

2) Alex Fox there are seniors at duke who have spend some 10 months in a stupid [EDITED FOR CONTENT] tent just watch UNC kick their [EDITED FOR CONTENT] every time.

OK, so that is all I really have. But Rob's message away was worthy of a blog. Well done boys, well done.

Also, this man is my hero:

Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm so hardcore

Last night I went to watch my friend drum at the Whiskey, a well-respected venue here in LA LA land. There were nine bands. I only stayed for the first three (my friend played first.)

The second band to come on was a hardcore / post metal / whatever new genre label the kids use today. Basically, tune the guitars to D, chug along on open strings for the verse, throw in some double bass and screaming. Not really my thing. At any rate, the vast majority of the crowd was young kids, probably 15 - 20. The band themselves were probably 16. Crazy. I felt like a chaperon. They all looked like emo - goth kids. Tight clothes, dyed hair, big piercings, etc.

At one point, the band is playing a little breakdown section, and I decide to dance a little. Instead of "hardkore" dancing, I start to do a little hip shuffle. I keep the feet planted and swing my hips from side, all the while accenting my rhythm with jabbing my fingers in the air like little guns. It was funny. I did it for about 8 seconds.

Now, I know I have the tendency to exaggerate, but I kid you not, when I got done with my dancing, about 1/5 of the club was staring at me. They were mortified. The lead singer stopped singing and says, "Hey look at that guy!" Then a big dude from behind me came up to me and said, "Stop dancing!"

It was hilarious. I became the most hardcore person in the place because of my sweet dance moves. Ahh, kids these days...

I am getting a haircut this week. I am cutting off the emo-swoop. I am not emo nor hardcore. I just like to rock out, chyea!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Free Concert

Last night a local radio station had a free concert featuring Shiny Toy Guns, one of my favorite groups. It was at CityWalk by Universal Studios. It's like an amusement park, except there aren't any rides - only overpriced stores. Anyways, they had a big screen showing the game, and about 15 minutes after it ended, the Shinys take the stage. I was excited because it was the first time I had seen them since the new album dropped back in November. The sound was pretty bad though. I don't even think the snare drum or guitar amp was coming through the speakers. I barely had to raise my voice to talk to Andrew, who was right next to me.

Anyhoo, they did pretty good. They got a new female vocalist, who is not nearly as good as their old one. Her voice was pretty shot last night. However, the lead singer is just a beast and I aspire to have talent like him. He broke a string on his guitar last night, and whilst the roadie was off to the side trying to fix it, the keyboard player triggered the loop to start the next song. At which point the lead singer, named Chad, looks over at him and says, "I don't even have a guitar *$&#head." Good thing he is awesome, because he just ripped up the first part of the song without a guitar. All in all, it was a decent show. Sound could have been better, but it was free. I am looking forward to a proper club show by STG in the future.

I have some possible exciting music news too in the near future, yee haw.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yay Obama! Now what?!

I somehow failed to blog on what will be a political landmark in my own lifetime: Obama will be the first blackberry wielding President in the White House (joke copyright of Merlin Froyd).

I watched the inauguration, then didn't hear anything all last week because I have no newspaper around me and don't watch the news. I guess I should make a habit out of checking the news on the Internet. Seems wise. Anyways...

The headlines today are about Obama calling Congress to "put aside politics" while working on his stimulus plan. Sounds like lofty rhetoric at the onset, but when you think about it, it is kind of ludicrous. "Hey, never mind if you believe this plan is bad, we need to do something now, so get behind it!" Of course there are some practices in politics that probably aren't beneficial to the general public, like earmarks and the such. But part of the reason it takes legislation so long to pass is the fact that there are two or more sides to the issue that feel passionately about it. Telling them to "put that aside" in the name of getting work done could have disastrous results.

On a somewhat unrelated note, I think Obama's move to let states govern auto emissions was a significantly bad idea. It doesn't make fiscal sense for automakers to design cars to meet different emission benchmarks, so they will have to produce models that meet the highest benchmark (which will probably be California.) This cost will be delivered to consumers, who won't buy cars because they don't have any money.

I am not an Obama basher. Every administration has called for politics to be put aside, and the emissions deal might work out. However, I fear that the national and international community have put far too great expectations on Obama and his administration. If by 2010 all Americans are employed, the wars are all over, cars run on water and "the American dream," and the ice caps re-freeze, then most will be satisfied. However, I think many people are expecting more than any administration can accomplish in four years and will be let down. I hope I am wrong. I think it is good to a degree that Obama is not afraid to make big decisions early on; I hope they turn out to be beneficial.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Roomies

I have now spent close to three months in my new house in LA. I live with three other dudes, and I would like you all to meet them. I hope to give you a glimpse into each of their lives by showing a photo, discussing their day-to-day happenings, and conducting a brief analysis on their Wii skills.

I considered listing them in order of how much I liked them, but I think going alphabetical is a safer bet.

Roomie 1 - Andrew Mitchell

A UNC grad of 2007, Andrew moved to LA shortly after myself. He spent the summer in Alaska at some crazy fishing place where Karl Malone goes. All I know is that it was cold and they only use cash in Alaska. Andrew is a sick dancer and spends lots of time at Millennium Dance Complex in North Hollywood honing his moves. We have already decided that when I go on tour, he will be my hype man on stage if he isn't busy.
Andrew is on the job hunt and makes some cash doing audience tapings, film publicity, and other odd jobs. He lives in the converted dining room. Pros: it has a fireplace and a hidden closet. Cons: it has no lights, and the fireplace takes up a whole wall.
I must admit, Andrew is probably the best Wii player as far as Wii Sports and Wii Play goes. One half of the "Dream Team," Andrew is quite skilled at Wii Tanks (I am the other half). Unfortunately, Andrew can not compete in the quest for Hyrule because the three save slots in Zelda are already taken up.

Roomie 2 - Chris Garcia
Chris is an LA native. Andrew and I met him at church one night and said, "Hey, we just found this awesome house. Want to move in?" We were pretty much joking, and then he said yes, and we felt bad so we let him move in with us. It's ok, he isn't home much because he works a full-time job as a civil engineer. When he is home, he manages to fall asleep on the couch by 11 every night.
Chris' LA roots are a great asset to myself and the other roomies. He knows his way around the city, got a lot of sweet free furniture (some of it has termites, but that's ok...), and already has some cool friends from high school that kick it with us every once in a while.
Chris is the true owner of the Wii, but due to his busy schedule, he doesn't get to play as much. Therefore, he is no match for DollaBills in tanks, air hockey, or any other Wii competition. I slay him over and over. Sometimes I let him win because I am pretty sure his self-esteem is on the brink of destruction. Unless Chris is reading this. In that case, I have never let you win...

Roomie 3 - Sean McCracken
Sean is also a Tar Heel. He graduated in 2008 and then came out to LA with the Hollywood internship. I don't know what that is, and every time I ask Sean he gets angry and starts speaking in parseltongue. Sean had a terrible day job working for landlords running credit reports, which he quit last week. Some might call that a bad move in this current economy, but Sean is man of little spending. He probably provides the local Little Caeser's with the enough business by himself for the company to stay in the black.
Sean is an aspiring actor and recently got a spot with an agency trying to book commercials. Be sure to check out imdb for him in a couple of years. He also spends some time working film screenings for extra cash (in case he wants sausage and pepperoni on that Little Caesar's pizza).
Sean's Wii skills are formidable. Though a worthy back-up for the Dream Team, he is still coming off the bench when Andrew and Deezy Beezy are healthy. Furthermore, he accepted the default name "Epona" for his horse in Zelda. Rookie mistake. Everyone knows you need an awesome name like Rocky, Gustav, or FireBreather. Next time Sean, next time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Favor

Hi friends, I need a favor from you. I just set up a website to promote my production abilities out here in LA. It is a MySpace site, and we all know that the more friends you have on MySpace, the better it bodes for you in real life.

So, for those of my readers who have MySpace accounts, please friend me. In all honesty, my site (and therefore my business) will be more appealing if a total stranger sees 100 friends instead of 6.

the site can be found here:

Local Rockstar Productions

Mad props to Nick Burns for the sweet artwork.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rockstar Mentality

My good friend Nate sent me an interesting quote today from Chris Martin, leader of Coldplay:

"There's this glamorized ideal of arrested development in music particularly with Kurt Cobain and Morrison, and all the great fallen idols. There's this one side of you and and side of musical culture, which tells you that you're not supposed to move in your life at all. But if you look at the greatest artists, like Dylan, that's not true. The whole rock star myth, which is 40 years old and basically nonsense, has nothing to do with being a rock star. Everybody gets trashed and breaks things. By that standard, plummers and heating engineers are just as rock and roll as rock stars. You've gotta follow your own beliefs; it's all about freedom."

I think that is a great viewpoint. I have already met lots of people in CA who think that because I moved here to play music it naturally follows that my greatest ambitions are to play angry songs, drink lots of booze, and have lots of promiscuous sex. They are quite surprised when I reply that I spent the night playing Wii, or playing Scrabble (I got demolished last night), or singing 'Nsync karaoke.

I would love to have the success of Nirvana or the Doors. But I would also be happy with a one paragraph blurb on Wikipedia if it means I get to make good music and live the life I want to, pursuing freedom.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Little boy, little boy, little boy!!"

On my lunch break today I visited McDonald's. As I was enjoying my McNuggets, I noticed one patron who was in a particularly good mood. She was an old grandmotherly lady who was speaking to everyone she came across. Around this same time a mother and her child come walking out of the bathroom. This kid looks about 5 or 6. Old lady walks up to them and says, "Oh, hi little girl!!" The mom pulls her child away as she says, "It's a boy, little boy, little boy, little boy!"

I thought it was funny.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The World Is Broken

This story hurts to read, but I think it is important for those of who take our physical safety for granted.

It's from a journalist living in Gaza. The original version is here.


It was just before noon when I heard the first explosion. I rushed to my window and barely did I get there and look out when I was pushed back by the force and air pressure of another explosion. For a few moments I didn't understand but then I realized that Israeli promises of a wide-scale offensive against the Gaza Strip had materialized. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzpi Livni's statements following a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak the day before yesterday had not been empty threats after all.

What followed seems pretty much surreal at this point. Never had we imagined anything like this. It all happened so fast but the amount of death and destruction is inconceivable, even to me and I'm in the middle of it and a few hours have passed already passed.

Six locations were hit during the air raid on Gaza City. The images are probably not broadcasted on US news channels. There were piles and piles of bodies in the locations that were hit. As you looked at them you could see that a few of the young men were still alive, someone lifts a hand, and another raises his head. They probably died within moments because their bodies were burned, most had lost limbs, some of their guts were hanging out and they were all lying in pools of blood. Outside my home which is close to the two largest universities in Gaza, a missile fell on a large group of young men, university students. They'd been warned not to stand in groups as it makes them an easy target, but they were waiting for buses to take them home. Seven were killed, four students and three of our neighbors' kids, young men who were from the Rayes family and were best friends. As I'm writing this I can hear a funeral procession go by outside; I looked out the window a moment ago and it was the three Rayes boys. They spent all their time together when they were alive, they died together and now they are sharing the same funeral together. Nothing could stop my 14-year-old brother from rushing out to see the bodies of his friends laying in the street after they were killed. He hasn't spoken a word since.

What did Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert mean when he stated that we the people of Gaza weren't the enemy, that it was Hamas and Islamic Jihad which were being targeted? Was that statement made to infuriate us out of out our state of shock, to pacify any feelings of rage and revenge? To mock us? Were the scores of children on their way home from school and who are now among the dead and the injured, Hamas militants? A little further down my street about half an hour after the first strike, three schoolgirls happened to be passing by one of the locations when a missile struck the Preventative Security Headquarters building. The girls' bodies were torn into pieces and covered the street from one side to the other.

In all the locations, people are going through the dead, terrified of recognizing a family member among them. The streets are strewn with their bodies, their arms, legs, feet, some with shoes and some without. The city is in a state of alarm, panic and confusion, cell phones aren't working, hospitals and morgues are backed up and some of the dead are still lying in the streets with their families gathered around them, kissing their faces, holding on to them. Outside the destroyed buildings old men are kneeling on the ground, weeping. Their slim hopes of finding their sons still alive vanish after taking one look at what had become of their office buildings.

And even after the dead are identified, doctors are having a hard time gathering the right body parts in order to hand them over to their families. The hospital hallways look like a slaughterhouse. It's truly worse than any horror movie you could ever imagine. The floor is filled with blood, the injured are propped up against the walls or laid down on the floor, side by side with the dead. Doctors are working frantically and people with injuries that aren't life-threatening are sent home. A relative of mine was injured by a flying piece of glass from her living room window and she had deep cut right down the middle of her face. She was sent home; too many others needed more urgent medical attention. Her husband, a dentist, took her to his clinic and sewed up her face using local anesthesia.

More than 200 people dead in today's air raids. That means more than 200 funeral processions, a few today, most of them tomorrow, probably. To think that yesterday these families were worried about food and heat and electricity. At this point I think they -- actually all of us -- would gladly have had Hamas forever sign off every last basic right we've been calling for the last few months if it could have stopped this from ever having happened.

The bombing was very close to my home. Most of my extended family live in the area. My family is OK, but two of my uncles' homes were damaged,

We can rest easy, Gazans can mourn tonight. Israel is said to have promised not to wage any more air raids for now. People suspect that the next step will be targeted killings, which will inevitably means scores more of innocent bystanders whose fates have already been sealed.

Safa Joudeh is an master's candidate in public policy at Stony Brook University in the US. She returned to Gaza in September 2007 where she currently works as a freelance journalist.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Time Is Fiction

Each New Year somehow manages to fill people with hope for the future. This year, THIS YEAR, will be the one that we get our finances in order, stick to our diet and workout plan, go skydiving, up our cooking skills, etc. We normally decide to kick off our resolutions with a night of excessive drinking and staying up way past our bed time. But I digress...

The thought of 2009 gets me pumped up. I am excited because I have no clue what is going to happen. This is really the first year I can say that. Sure, we can't predict the future, but I had a basic idea of what was going to happen at the outset of past New Years. School, work, summer camp, etc. Ever since starting this whole Cali adventure, I really don't know what is going to happen.

I was spending some time wisely and responsibly tonight by scouring Facebook. I ran across some old friends from high school. It was interesting to see where they are now; places that no one could have guessed back in 1999 or 2003. It was even crazier to see pictures of some of my best friends who have accomplished so much in just a year. During the course of 2008, I watched some dear friends get married. I read blogs from my boys trekking across the world. I saw friends get weird piercings and tattoos. I laughed with those same friends as we talked about our parents' reaction to our "deviant behavior." (NOTE: My parents were really cool about my tattoos. Although Stan said he would kick me out of I got ear rings. Better find some couches to crash on in 2009 when I come back home. Just kidding. But seriously...)

In a nutshell, a lot of stuff happens in a year. Which means there is crazy potential for me out here in Cali. I have a growing friend network here now, I got my substitute teaching license (woohoo!) and I am meeting some musicians to jam around on some song ideas. Perhaps in 2010 I will be able to blog from my iPhone in the band van as we tour across the midwest, complaining about how gas prices are sucking the profits from the tour. That would be awesome.

Here's to 2009.

PS - The title, "Time Is Fiction," comes from a phenomenal album by Edison Glass. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Friday, January 2, 2009

"I went to LA and all I got was robbed!"

Last night I was killing time watching TV. I was planning on picking up my roomie Sean at LAX airport at 12:30 AM. My other roomie Chris gives me a call because he got split up with his friends down in Universal City. So, I decide to do a little tag-team taxi and pick up Chris on the way to get Sean.

I finally arrive at the corner where Chris was waiting for me. I see him talking with a rather large male who looks pretty distraught. Chris motions the man to the car and they both get in. Chris in the front and our new friend "J-Mack" in the back seat. Now, J-Mack has had quite a few drinks. On top of that, he keeps saying the cops just robbed him, taking all of his money and ID. We decide to give him a ride home on the way to the airport.

About 5 minutes into the ride, J-Mack somehow becomes convinced that Chris and I robbed him. Seriously. He is cussing at us and just getting angry. We try to talk to him rationally, but it isn't working. He starts telling us about how we are lucky he doesn't have a gun or he would shoot us for robbing him. He then says that when we drop him off, we are to wait in front of his house while gets his shotgun so that he can come back out and rob us. Tip for the crooks out there: Don't tell your "victims" your plans. Anyhoo, I am a little freaked out, but J-Mack is actually too drunk and incoherent to really do anything himself. I was just afraid he was going to direct us to some of his buddies house where we would have some trouble.

Anyway, we keep driving to try and find where J-Mack stays. At one point, he leans up and tries to open Chris' passenger door while we are in motion. We push him back down, and he mumbles something about throwing us out of our own car. By now I am frustrated because he is being totally un-cooperative. We stop at a gas station and try to let him out, which convinces him further we are "messing with him," and he won't get out.

On his directions, we drive to a little street with some modest houses. He rolls down the window and starts cat-calling at one house. After a short while, he gives up on this and directs us further down the street.

Eventually we arrive where he needs to go, after many empty threats of him choking us both out. At this point, Sean has been at the airport about 45 minutes already, and we are at least 10 miles away still. Once we arrive, J-Mack starts grabbing whatever he can in my car, talking about how he is gonna "rob us for taking his s***." Luckily, I had cleaned out my car that day, so all he got was a Starbucks apron covered in spoiled milk and a broken air pump for an air mattress. He steps out of the car, but continues to lean on the car and won't shut the door. At this point, I tell Chris to hold on to the open back door. I check the traffic lanes and floor it, swerving to not hit the parked car in front of me with the ajar back door. Luckily, J-Mack's reaction time was still pretty affected by the alcohol and I think we were already turning on the next street before he knew what had happened.

All in all, it was a pretty intense time. But it ended up OK. We got him to his home and have a great story to tell. A few weeks ago I grabbed an extra SB apron from the store, so perhaps this is karma.