Monday, December 20, 2010

The Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise: Washington Caps 2010/2011 So Far

It’s been an interesting season for the Washington Capitals so far. The team hit 10 wins in only 14 games, better then last season, and the best start in team history. Despite not playing well the guys in red did what they did last year, won. Well, at least until recently. Having jumped out to lead in the South East division, the Caps, who have struggled all season to consistently score, lost 8 straight. While they managed to pick up a couple points during the losing streak, they also managed to give up a lot of ground and dropped to third in the South East behind Atlanta and Tampa Bay. While the losing streak is now over, a 3-2 victory on the road against Ottawa, the team is steal struggling to look like the team that won the Presidents Trophy last year.

There’s been a lot of criticism of this team all year. With Varly sidelined with an injury to start the season off the Caps put all their net minding responsibilities on Michel Neuvirth, who responded great. While the offense hasn’t been clicking, minus two 7 goal performances against the Rangers and Flames, the Caps goaltending and defense has stepped up big time.

While Neuvy has cooled down over the past month, he was hot to start the season. His glove was snagging anything near the net and he made great save after great save to help give the Caps a lot of close, low scoring wins early. With Varlamov out the team turned to Brayden Holtby to step in as Neuvy’s backup. Holtby’s starts were inconsistent. There were flashes of great talent from Holtby but inexperience showed. Holtby’s had better starts down in Hershey since he was sent back down but he’s still been inconsistent between the pipes. A year or two in the AHL will really help is development in something special.

Varlamov came back from injury and look spectacular. He looked like the Varly that everyone feel in love with during the Rangers and Penguins series of the 08/09 season. The question of who would be in net for the Capitals seemed to be answered. They have 2 strong goaltenders, and while Varlamov has shown himself to be the better of the two, you have confidence with either one of them in net. While I still questions some of Neuvy’s puck handling behind the net and both goalies give up way to many soft goals, I don’t think the team will go out and look for a veteran goaltender.

The offseason saw Bruce Boudreau try to help the teams biggest weakness, defense. We all knew the team could fly down the ice and score at will but they couldn’t play defense last year. The penalty kill wasn’t very good and the Caps won too many 6-5/5-4 games. Two many goals allowed and late in the season and in the playoffs you could directly point to defensive breakdowns that lead to easy goals for Caps opponents.

The first month and half/two months of the season we watched a different Caps team play. We saw the team play defense and play defense well. While complaints flew about how the offense was broken, the defense went unnoticed. The Capitals penalty kill went the first 7 or 8 games with a perfect PK and was playing lights out. The Caps were 3 strong lines to start the season, Green and Shultz, Alzner and Carlson, and Poti and Erskine. The team even went out and traded Fleischmann to the Avalanche to acquire Scott Hannan, a big stay at home defensemen.

The biggest issue with the defense is they’ve been so injury plagued the last 2 months that it’s been hard to remain consistent. Poti was out a couple weeks, followed by Green. And while they got Hannan, injuries haven’t allowed for lines to develop and gel. Hannan has played with a different player in just about every game since joining the team. While John Erskine has turned into a solid player for the Caps, Tyler Sloan still sucks. Sloan’s play this season has been woeful and his injury/flu recently has, sadly, been welcome. Jeff Shultz has also been out with a broken thumb and will be out for the 4-5 weeks. While there are 6 solid defenders in DC, Tyler Sloan in reserve, and Brian Fahey always a phone call away in Hershey, anymore injuries on the defensive side of the puck and things could get bad quick.

Now to the offensive side of the ice… The Capitals forwards should be grateful for solid net minding and good defensive play this year. Winning games 2-1 in overtime is not really Washington Capitals’ hockey. It’s certainly not been the Caps way of winning since Boudreau took over as coach. But struggle they have. They dropped the season opener and responded by murdering the Rangers in a 7-2 game. But then for the next month the Caps couldn’t score. The team did nothing on the power play early on. It was almost as if the last couple of years were a fluke. And then the Caps played Calgary and again put up 7 goals and took a statement win. Their offense was back and their power play was working… For a little while. The Caps had a couple of solid weeks in November where they returned to form. They were scoring 4 goals a game and while their defense struggled in that stretch, the team was mostly playing well.

The team’s inability to score goals early in the season and over their recent 8 game losing streak, points to a real problem. While their victory against Ottawa saw the team score twice in 44 seconds in the first 2 minutes of the second period, something we had yet to see this year, the offensive production overall just hasn’t been there. And part of that goes back to last season’s playoff disappointment and the way Montreal played the Caps.

Teams are doing a good job getting sticks on the puck. Anytime the Caps are on the offensive attack teams are finding a way to block shots and passes, and break any sustained pressure or momentum. On top of that, the Caps have become real lazy with their passing. Too many blind backward passes to nobody, or passes side to side that are easily picked off. The Caps have had one, maybe two, good passing games this season. The other thing is teams are doing a great job of double and triple teaming Alex Ovechkin. He hasn’t been successful breaking free from pressure and scoring like he has in past years. While this has opened things up for Backstrom and Semin at points this season, if those guys aren’t hitting the mark it doesn’t matter.

No bounces have gone the Caps way and they seem to be getting teams and goaltenders best performances each time they hit the ice, and that’s to be expected. Tim Thomas was lights out against the Caps going 3-1 in their 4 games this year. The great, pretty, clean shots the Caps made all last year haven’t found their way to the back of the net this season and so the game needs to change. Mike Knuble, Eric Fehr and Brooks Laich have to be solid and have to know their role of playing in front of the net. On those first two lines the Caps really need a guy to stand in front of the net, screen the goalie, and get the dirty goals. Sydney Crosby’s first couple of seasons were spent in front of the net just collecting rebounds and putting them in the net. The Caps need to be a better rebounding team and find a way to take multiple wacks at the puck, like they did against Ottawa. This one shot and done nonsense that’s been happening all season has to stop.

The other thing the Caps need to improve on is their power play. 0-8 in a loss to the Florida Panthers…. 0-8. That can’t happen. The power play hasn’t looked good, even when it’s worked. The Capitals have struggle to get the puck in deep and keep long, sustained pressure with lots of shots, that result in goals. They spend too much time passing, waiting for the perfect shot that they miss chances to just get the puck in front of the net and take swings at it. All this passing is frustrating and it creates, once a game, an odd man, shorthanded rush for the other team. I tweet about it every game and I’m tired of it.

The Caps now have a win after 8 straight losses and hopefully that monkey is off their back. With two games against Pittsburgh coming up, one of them the Winter Classic, and HBO soon to be gone from the locker, I hope this team can build off their win against the Senators and start scoring again. I still believe this team can make and advance in the playoffs and I’m glad this losing streak happened now and not in March.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Joy Ride

Back in the beginning of August I posted a blog about the journey through my music collection. At that point I had just started and was only at the early stages of going through the A section. While at the beginning of November I'm about to finish the C's. I will start in the D's tomorrow probably. In this process I've learned that I don't like Pavement. Sorry to all my indie friendly friends and readers but Pavement isn't my cup of tea. So there you go, my little update of sorts.

Next 5 records i the cue:

The Clash - Cut the Crap
The Deal - Cut Throat
Ceasefire - Cycle of Unbelief
Breakfast with Amy - Dad
Bison BC - Dark Ages

Monday, October 25, 2010

Goodbye Beard

Shaving is a weird thing. It's like instant regret when you take the beard from your face. After a great three month relationship with my beard I shaved it off this morning. I have to get my drivers license renewed and figured I should be clean shaven for the picture. So i took the beard off. My face feels naked. I look weird. I mean, if I leave the beard off I'll get used to it and all will be normal again but having the spent the last couple of months with a hairy face, my clean shaven appearance is weird to me. I look young... Odd.

Here are random pictures of me and the beard. Maybe no shave November will bring a new bearded relationship.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Minor Joys

You know what's better then having a beer with your brother? Having a beer with your sister.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

When A Step of Faith Becomes 40 Years In the Desert: A Faith Journey

The Bible doesn't always paint a complete picture for the stories it tells and so we read them with a disconnected spirit. Frustration and disappointment don't always find themselves as emotions or thoughts of the people whose lives are being told. Even when it is, the conversation is just being read and their tones and inflections are lost. And I think that causes us to misread the bible or skip over things that would give more perspective into our own lives when we read the Bible.

I know Moses had to be just completely heartbroken when he heard he wouldn't get to see the Promise Land. Because it takes 5 minutes to read we don't take into account that it took Joseph many, many years to get where God had promised him. The Bible is full of stories where faith is a journey and getting to where you're going takes a while. Taking a step in faith is often preached but they never mention that taking one step is going to lead to more steps.

So here I am. In December I decided that it was time to move on from my job and when we came back after the holiday break I put in my resignation and at the end of January I was out of work. I had felt a handful of times before God calling me to step out and leave but I hadn't. But through a lot of praying and confirming words that I heard I decided to trust in God and quit my job with nothing on the horizon. And 9 months later I'm still out of work.

God has blessed me and taken care of me. My bills have been paid every month and I know I have tons of people praying for me and praying that God will open the right door. The problem is I'm not always praying those prayers. I would love to be singing songs of praise in the jail cell but too often I'm complaining in the desert. And I know I'm complaining in the desert because I complain to God about my complaining. Praise is lacking, complaining is at a premium.

The other issue is the Job problem. When Job was hit with affliction, his friends came in with all sorts of opinions and advice for him. In times of struggle and famine people will always come to you with advice and their words on how to fix your situation. The problem is it's not always advice worth listening to. I've heard everything from God hasn't blessed with a job because of sin in my life and if I would just stop sinning then things would open up for me. I've been told quitting wasn't God's will for me and that's why he hasn't provided a job. I've been told flat out that I'm just a big idiot for quitting my job without anything else lined up. And not entertaining that advice is hard. When nothing is happening in your favor, you get discouraged and sometimes you believe bad advice.

I don't regret leaving my job. I feel that even if that wasn't God's plan, he's awesome enough to come through and provide and he has provided and I need to spend more time praising and being thankful for what God has done as opposed to complaining about what hasn't happened.

My brother took a leap of faith and moved from Maryland to Wisconsin to start a youth group/young adult ministry for a church campus out there. And while he's been working on that, the church has been slow going in getting him on the payroll. But my brother's connected with a lot of people and has an opportunity to work with Campus Life out there. His leap of faith hasn't landed him right where he thought it would but God has been good to my brother's faithfulness and opened a door for him. I know it took a long time for Bobby to find work and I know there was a lot of disappointment along the way, but I also know my brother spent a lot of time praising instead of complaining.

So here I am in the desert waiting to see the Promise Land, with full knowledge that I need to turn my complaining into praise. I didn't expect that my step of faith would turn into 40 years in the wilderness but that happens. Many of the stories in the bible are journeys, we just don't always read them as such.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

2010-2011 Washington Capitals Preview

We are one week away from the start of the NHL season. Next Friday (10.8) the Caps kick off their quest for the Cup.

The Caps 09-10 run ended in extreme disappointment as they blew a 3-1 lead to the Montreal Canadians and failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs. It was still a tremendous season for the Caps, the best regular season in team history, but their playoff performance brought a lot of questions to mind. Can Bruce Boudreau get this team to the finals and win a cup? How come Semin and Green completely disappear when the playoffs start? Do the Caps need defensive help? Is their goaltending good enough?

The offseason saw minor changes to the Caps lineup. Theodore was not resigned. Belanger was also not brought back. Backstrom signed a mega deal that will keep him a Cap for the next 10 years. Semin, Fehr, and Fleischmann were all resigned. They brought in DJ King as an enforcer. A handful of small signings but the Caps are really looking to keep their core group of players in tact and bring up players who helped Hershey win the Calder Cup last year. So where do they stand?

Offensively you can't argue that the Caps are pound for pound, the best offensive team in the NHL. Ovie, Backstrom, and Knuble on the front line is probably the second best first line in all of hockey (only the Blackhawks with Kane, Sharp, and Toews is better). The Caps are a solid 4 lines deep and I agree with Andrew Gordon (Caps Forward) that they could probably send out 2 teams and both be pretty good. The Caps probably won't storm through the NHL like they did last year but they could. 2 years ago they jumped out to a huge lead in the East early in the season but stepped off the pedal and gave up a lot of ground late in the year. Last year they never took their foot off the pedal and crushed everyone in the East. They won't dominate in the same way this year but they will clearly win their division and be in the top 3 , if not the top seed in the East.

Defensively the Caps still didn't go get that big bruising defensemen that all fans would've liked to see them get. They are better on the defensive front though. Having Karl Alzner and John Carlson in DC for the entire season makes their defensive lines better. Green and Shultz line 1, Alzner and Carlson line 2. Line 3 is iffy. They kept John Erskine, who made fans cringe every time he hit the ice. Tyler Sloan is their weakest defender. Defense isn't his natural position and it shows. Tom Poti is still strong on line 3 but if he ever gets hurt an Erskine/Sloan line is bad. They did bring in Fahey and McNeil but it's yet to be seen how they play out.

Goaltending might be more of an issue this year. Although I have faith that Varly and Neuvirth can get it done, Varly already has a minor injury. Holtby is supposed to carry the load in Hershey and although they brought in another netminder on a twoway contract, I'm starting to question whether or not Varly can go a whole season. Yes, Neuvirth is good enough if the Caps score like madmen and the more experience the better he'll be. Antti Niemi was available for most of the summer and I wish the Caps had picked him up. Varly is solid come playoff time but if he gets hurt early in the season goaltending is going to be a huge issue for the Caps.

So where do they go? On the offensive front the Caps will be crazy good this year. We know if they have to score 5 or 6 goals a game to win they can. I wouldn't be surprised if the Caps traded Semin or Flash at the deadline. Both of those players signed 1 year deals and if you have to go out and get a defensemen or veteran goalie for the playoffs Semin is great trade bate.

The defense will be better. They have to be. Carlson and Alzner is a line that will help improve the defense from the get go. It's a solid line you didn't have last year and having that frees Poti for the third line, which makes that third line better. Like I said, I can still see them seeing a need for a big bruising defender to help them in the playoffs. The defense might be really solid this year and McPhee might not make that trade. But if the Caps have a ton of 5-4, 4-3 games this year, they'll need another blue liner.

Goaltending is up in the air for me. I like Varly a lot and Neuvy proved himself in Hershey last year. Neuvirth is a better prospect then Varlamov which made me think Neuvirth could be traded this year (because Holtby is a better prospect then both of him and after a year in Hershey, he'll be a full time Cap next year). But they just gave Neuvy an extension... So I don't know if that means Varly could be traded, or they're set with what they have. I could see the Caps trading for a goaltender with experience for the playoffs but it's not essential that they do so. If you look at the goaltenders last season, only Nabkov and Brodeur were proven vets and Brodeur got bounced in the first round. Niemi was a young goalie, Boston went with Rask and did well. Experience is good for the bench and the Caps had experience last year. It's time for the young guys to prove themselves.

The Caps will win their division this year and make the playoffs again. Games will be more spread out because there's no 2 week break mid-season this year and that will give players more rest and help for minor injuries. Ovie will get back to playing like Ovie did before the second (or third, I can't remember) suspension. The Caps need to make a serious playoff push this year. Anything less then the Eastern Conference finals is unacceptable. I don't think Gabby can last as coach if they get bounced in the first round again. Even if the Caps don't completely destroy and dominate the regular season like they did last year, I think the team will be more focused and concerned about their playoff performance when that times comes then they were last year. The Caps got cold at the end of the regular season last year and couldn't beat Halak when it mattered. I don't think that will happen this year.

Most notable game: January 1st. Winter Classic vs the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Spend $5, Help a Good Cause

Wrench In the Works broke up the other day. They have some merch left over and have put it on sale with all proceeds going to Project: AK-47.

Project: AK-47 is a team of people who are always ready to invade the next hopeless situation for children in armed conflict. Our staff members on the ground are nationals who are committed to rescuing and restoring the lives of children who otherwise would only know lives of violence and exploitation. We also do a fair share of raising awareness and advocacy for these children, but we don't stop there. We can't stop there. And we hope that you won't either.

If you're interested you can see Wrench in The Works merch here or you can learn more about Project: AK-47 here

Monday, September 27, 2010

We Dreamed In Heist

So I was out of the country last week. My trip produced a bunch of thoughts that I will share in a completely random post full of utter nonsense. So... let's have fun.

Interstate 95 has more cars traveling on it from Canada then one would think. This isn't the first time I've noticed this but my last two trips on 95 I've noticed a high volume of cars from Ontario and Quebec on the interstate.

The state of Florida has more license plate variations then I thoughts were possible. I counted close to 24 different plates but there might have been more. It's nuts. I didn't know there were that many custom plates available for one state... but good job Florida. Giving the people options

My passport photo is terrible. It's really bad. I'm reminded of Schemer from Shining Time Station anytime I look at it. (Does anyone even remember that show?)

War Inc is an incredible movie and I'm ashamed I don't own it on dvd. Caught the movie at a hotel in Florida and I loved it. Reminded me of Gross Point blank. This will be a dvd purchase. Movie was great!

I finally saw The Blindside. The movie was good. Not as great as people said it was. I missed the first 15-30 minutes though... I later caught the start of the movie but it was in Spanish. I got the gist of what was happening but I feel like the language barrier messed with the emotional weight of what was happening.

7 days with no communication with my girlfriend is too much. That can't happen again.

I also watched The Invention of Lying. I heard that movie wasn't so great but I thought it was funny.

It is hot in Mexico and I think I should stop sending my resume to places that are so hot. I dislike the weather in the summer and why would I want to live somewhere where it was hot all the time? That sounds like a terrible idea.

My Spanish is no good.

There are more billboards for South of the Border in North Carolina heading south on 95 then there are in South Carolina heading north.

I watched cricket for a week. It took pretty much the entire week but I now think I understand the sport of cricket. That's right, a week out of the country and even though it was cricket, I still watched ESPN every day.

I could eat a steak and baked potato everyday.

Having a beard is enough to have the customs agent ask if you were born in the USA.

I sail very poorly

My musical selection for the week.

Anberlin - Blueprints For the Black Market
Anberlin - Never Take Friendship Personal
The Glorious Unseen - Tonight The Stars Speak
Hammock - CHasing After Shadows... Living With the Ghost
Haste the Day - Attack of the Wolf King
Haste the Day - Dreamer
A Hope For Home - Realis
House of Heroes - Suburba
Living Sacrifice - The Infinite Order
N.I.V. - Flesh and Blood
N.I.V. - Tipping The Scales
Norma Jean - Meridional
Project 86 - Songs to Burn Your Bridges By
Thrice - Beggars
Wrench in the Works - Decrease/Increase
Wrench in the Works - Lost Art of Heaping Coal

That's it. I'm glad to be back home.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Blame It On the Holy Rollers

So I had a great time Friday night seeing Advent and Sleeping Giant. Both bands were amazing and both have a great heart for what they're doing. Both bands were very honest as to their faith and why they play music and what they want to see. Sleeping Giant was very open about the hardcore scene being a place to come and worship God in a different way from conventional church that, a place where some might be more comfortable worshipping, and being able to worship in their own way. Sleeping Giant even played two "worship" songs, ending their set with Oh Praise Him (their version of course).

Honesty is nice and both Advent and Sleeping Giant are two of the most honest bands I've seen in the scene for many years. While I will always respect bands that don't preach and let their music and actions speak for themselves, the scene needs bands who want nothing more then to see people come to Jesus and have true, real relationship with him.

Here's a video fo Sleeping Giant. You can see me enjoying myself. (I'm the guy with the beard in the NIV shirt).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Story Time - Linthicum Heights

So my drive down to see Advent and Sleeping Giant on Friday prompted a memory, which is kind of funny, kind of embarrassing, and should be shared with the class.

I went to a lot of shows and saw a lot of bands in high school. The first show I ever went to on my own when I could drive was Norma Jean and mewithoutYou at Linthicum Heights Methodist church (where the show Friday was). Got there fine, went inside, paid, and enjoyed the show. The opening bands were alright. Vanderbilt played, as they always did. mewithoutYou played a shortened set, as Aaron was sick. I still thought it was a solid set. Norma Jean took the stage and got about 30 seconds into their song when the power went out. Power came back on, they started over and 30 seconds in the power went out. Power came back, they started for a third time, got about a minute in and then power to the block went out. End of their set, end of the night.

I stayed around for 20 minutes or so making conversation with bands and fans a like but the power wasn't going to be coming back on so I bolted. It's an easy trip. You get on 695 and take that to 70, which takes you back home. Simple. An easy 45-50 minute trip. But for some reason my 16 year old brain had it in my head that I needed to take 195 home. I took a random exit, got on something, took another sketchy exit and ended up on 95 north headed to New York.

I knew I had made a mistake when I hit the toll. I did not have the money to pay the toll. My hope was that the toll attendant would feel bad for me that I had messed up that she would just let me through. Now she did tell me how I could get back to where I needed to go but I still had to pay the toll. So I started counting out pennies. Luckily the guy in the car behind me asked if I was lost and then offered to pay my toll. Great guy. So I went through the toll, got back onto 695 and made it home.

There were no travel issues on Friday.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Gang Signs

I'm going to see Sleeping Giant and Advent tonight. I'm super excited for this show. I've only seen Sleeping Giant once (at the last Facedown Fest in like 07) and they were amazing. I've never seen Advent (missed their set when they came through town with Demon Hunter).

My goal is to stay in the loop with the local hardcore scene and get to more shows. Kobra Klutch does a great job of booking shows and getting bands to Maryland and I want to get back into going to the hardcore shows. Maybe not like I used to in high school when I was going every weekend but I want to be more frequent in attendance and showing support for bands and music I love. I mean music is my passion and my life.

Over the last 8 months or so I've really redeveloped my passion for christian music, christian hardcore and metal to be exact. Running the music blog I've noticed I've really started covering a lot of metal and hardcore. I mean it helps that the Facedown Family has been killing with their 2010 releases. It seems like every album they put out is on point and awesome. I've gone back and and really dug into the Facedown Records discography. There's a lot of killer stuff on that label.

For whatever reason from my senior year of high school until really when I went to Facedown Fest I was really out of the hardcore/metal scene. I got really into emo, indie rock, and post rock/ambient music after high school and really didn't involve myself with hardcore anymore. Whatever the reasoning, my passion for heavy music was diminished. I just called it getting older but whatever. I would hear songs and albums I liked but never really dove in and involved myself.

And the scene has changed since I was in high school. Hardcore shows in the day were always at VFW Halls or church basements. Every now and then the bigger bands you'd see at Ottobar or some other small bar in town but you'd mostly go to the local Knights of Columbus, take $5 and a canned good and see 5 hardcore bands. It was awesome.

Now, because of myspace or Hot Topic or just the ever changing landscape of music, metal and hardcore acts have more exposure. Christian bands have a lot more exposure and are more popular now a days. Underoath, As I Lay Dying, Norma Jean, Demon Hunter, and a slew of others are really big not just in christian circles but in normal metal circles. Which is awesome. Yes, christian bands have always toured with non christian acts but it's different nowadays. All the shows are in legit venues and some bands have huge followings and the cost of seeing your favorite band could be $30+.

I imagine it can be tough on parents trying to monitor their kids musical intake. If your son or daughter is a fan of Underoath and they go see them live, they're also going to be exposed to some band that's not christian that I know parents will have an issue with. I know I saw tons of non christian bands in high school at scows I went to but their were a lot of straight up all christian tours. Once a month I could go to Mt Oak church and get a great christian hardcore or punk rock show. Those seem to be fewer and fewer in the hardcore scene these days (although Scream The Prayer is a great summer metal tour).

But l always see shows with christian hardcore acts in places that I didn't think still put on shows. And like I said, Kobra Klutch does an excellent job getting Facedown artist to Maryland and providing hardcore shows for fans and a place where local young bands can play. And I want to do a better job at getting to these shows and showing my support.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Brian McLaren on Worship

Great stuff from Brian

LA Ink

So I was watching LA Ink last night for the first time in a while. I used to be a huge fan of the show but I had fallen off the wagon after 2 seasons. AT the end of season two when Kat called things off with Orby, I dropped off. I think I caught the first episode of season three but that was it.

The first 2 seasons were really good. Season 1 was the best because it was mostly about the shop and tattoos. Corey, Hannah, And Kim were all great tattoo artist (I would never let Kat tattoo me. I think she's terrible.) Season 2 things started to derail. There were more, random, artist in the shop and Kat's personal life started to overtake what the show was about. It was still a good chunk about the tattoos and the three real artists in the shop continued to kill it with each piece they did. The last couple episodes of Season 2 dealt with Hannah really having issues being in LA and not in Chicago with her daughter and whether or not she would come back to the shop.

Season 3 started and there was no Hannah and no Kim. So two thirds of the reason I watched were now gone. But Corey was still there. Anyway, my schedule or tv watching priorities changed and LA Ink got lost in the shuffle.

So what did I miss... From the episodes I've caught here and there, the show became less about tattoos and more about Real Housewife style drama and fighting. And I hate that stuff. A handful of tattoo artist came into the shop and didn't work out and they ended up at American Electric (a second shop the show is now following). They do have a great new british tattoo artist, Dan Smith (whose band The Dear and Departed are awesome). There was a shop manager who caused a lot of drama between Kat and Corey which ended with Corey leaving High Voltage. Major bummer.

But I guess season 4 has just started and there have only been two episodes, which I've now seen both. Corey came back to Kat and they talked through some stuff and Corey said he'd like to come back. Weeks go by and Kat herself doesn't contact Corey and he decides that what's best for him is to just stay away from High Voltage. The good news is it looks like Corey is going to take his appointments to American Electric and work there and thus still be on the show.

Will I continue watching the show... Maybe. I wish it would be more about the tattoos because that's really what I care about. I will probably watch next week. Here are two videos of some awesome Corey Miller tattoos.

And Hannah tattooing Tim from As I Lay Dying

Monday, August 30, 2010

Soapbox Time!!! - Love The Way You Lie

So yesterday I was in the car with Car and she had the radio on and the new Eminem single came on the radio. I have been blessed to have not heard this song until yesterday and listening to the song I got upset. I will now explain why.

The song is called Love the Way You Lie and it's about an abusive relationship. I guess the point is that the girl or both parties can't get out of the relationship because they're so in love that the beatings can be overlooked... I'm not 100% certain because some of the lyrics were hard to make out but I think I got the gist of what was happening in the song.

The song features Rihanna... Which I think makes her an idiot. I don't know if enough people have forgotten that, what a year ago, she was beaten black and blue by Chris Brown. Why would she agree to do this song? Why did the people around her let her do this song? It seems like a bad move. Yes, you need to stay relevant and always have something on the radio as a pop star. Yes, she got paid to the song. Yes, it's a hit. But doesn't the song point to an issue to her as a person? At some point she didn't have a conversation with herself where she said I can't do this song because of what happened to me and the message behind the song? Does she really not care?

Why do girls stay with guys who treat them poorly? There's a difference between someone with a bad boy image and a jackass. If a guy treats a girl badly and she doesn't stand up for herself or leave him, she is telling him his behavior is ok and that's wrong. Ladies, you deserve to be treated with respect and love and if you're not getting that, you should leave the guy you're with. We've come a long way since the old testament. There's no reason for a girl to be treated like garbage and take it.

It's a serious problem in America. The fact the girls were defending Chris Brown for having beat Rihanna blows my mind. Chris Brown should be jail. But instead, he faced community service, put out a record which people bought and loved and is in a new movie. The celebrity get out of jail free card is nonsense.

Guys are disrespectful, unfaithful, abusive, unloving, uncaring and yet still that can always manage to find girlfriends or keep the girls they're with.

(Side note, if a guy ever claims he has to masturbate because it's what guys do, that's a lie. He doesn't have to. Im nearly 26 and I've never masturbated. Your boyfriend doesn't have to and girls, you should let him.)

Girls, if you're in an abusive relationship, or just a bad relationship, you DESERVE and CAN find and do better.

On the same topic, I can't believe the record label let this be a single. I don't care that the song features two hot artist, or that it's catchy. I know record labels aren't really the moral compass of the world but the content of the song should have stricken it from being released a single.

It's sad the millions of teenagers are going to be singing this song without giving a second thought to the words coming out their mouth. It's despicable.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Punk Rock Bed Intruder

Ethan Luck from Relient K, Hayley Williams from Paramore, and Jordan Pundik from New Found Glory created a punk rock version of the Bed Intruder song. The song is still pretty entertaining even if you haven't seen the Bed Intruder video.

Here's the original

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Finger, Two Dots Then Me

I've been a fan of Derrick Brown for a couple years now. He sang for the band The John Wilkes Kissing Booth and then later for All Black Cinema. He's also a killer poet.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010



3 hours ago FSFofficial on twitter posted a link to their website with this video.

Spring 2011 from dashboardforever127 on Vimeo.

Now there have been a lot of band reunions that I have been extremely excited about and many reunion tours and shows that I have attended or will attend (some I'm pissed that I will have to miss). A lot of my favorite bands have reunited and I love it.


A Tale of Woe

So I have a problem at the moment. My mouth is salty. Yes, this sounds silly, or dumb, or crazy but it's true and it's affecting my life. I ate some yummy chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream yesterday... And it was salty. My coffee this morning... Salty. Everything I eat is salty. There is just a general salty taste in my mouth at all times. And it sucks.

I don't know the cause... But I have a guess.

I started using whitening toothpaste and mouthwash to help my teeth out a little. I drink a lot of coffee and tea and the color of my teeth were suffering a little. So I switched my toothpaste and mouthwash. I've used the Scope whitening mouthwash before and I don't remember it leaving this terrible salty taste in my mouth. But I've never used the Crest 3d whitening toothpaste. I don't know if it's the combo of the two of them, or just one component but I think the whitening products are affecting how I taste things.

Yes, they have helped my teeth look whiter, but they are ruining ice cream. I'd rather have yellow teeth.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

God Save the Foolish Kings

This is my favorite song of 2010 so far.

Floating Away On Endless Seas

I'm currently listening to And The Shallow Waters Aflutter With the Wind, a brand new Echo Broke Alone song. I've started writing and recording the new album. My goal is to have it out by the winter of 2010 at the latest. Yes, 2 Echo Broke Alone records in 2010. It's pretty exciting. Listening to the song earlier gave me the inspiration for the title of the new record, which is going to be Floating Away On Endless Seas. The album is inspired by the poetry of Robert Frost. That's all the news for now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I love you

There's a story in Messy Spirituality by Mike Yaconelli that I want to share on this blog. I've never read the book but last weekend Bryan Yarbrough of Anchor Church shared this story at Revolution and it hit me so hard and had just this instant impact that I have to share it.

There was a youth group that every month went to visit this retirement center once a month. One of the guys that volunteered, Darrel, would avoid going to the retirement home. He wasn't comfortable with elderly people so he didn't go. One time everyone in the youth group got the flu and he had to go. He stood along the back wall while they held a church service for seniors. During the service he felt somebody reach up and take his hand. He looked down to see an old man in a wheelchair, very mouth open and not very with it. He just stood there and not sure what to do so he just stood there holding his hand. Over time he found out his name was Oliver. He wondered if Oliver could even hear or was aware of what was happening. But each time Oliver would be rolled in and before he knew it Oliver would take his hand. But he found himself enjoying it and would go every month and take Oliver's hand. He had made a connection. One week as he was leaving he said "I have to go now Oliver. I love you. I'll see you soon." As he left he couldn't figure out why he had said that. It was very odd. But it became a constant thing where every time he would leave he would say, I have to go now, I love you." One week he came in and the service happened and Oliver wasn't there. He found a nurse and asked where Oliver was and the nurse led him to Oliver's room. And Oliver laid in his bed with his eyes closed and his breathing was heavy and Darrel knew that Oliver was dying. So he went in and sat next to Oliver and took his hand. He sat there not saying anything. It came time for him to go and he said I have to go now. I love you. He turned around with tears in his eyes and almost ran over a women coming into the room. He said I'm sorry I didn't see you. She said I've been waiting for you. I'm Oliver's granddaughter. She said, my grandfather and I have always been close so when I heard he was dying I came right away. The nurses said he wasn't talking but he talked to me. He talking very softly so I put my ear down and said what was that grandfather? He opened his eyes and said "Please say goodbye to Jesus for me." And she said what are you talking about. And he said every month Jesus comes and sits with me and holds my hand.

When Brian told this story I had to stop the video message so I could cry. Such a simple action that touched my heart.

YOu can hear Brian tell the story here. The story is at the 7 minute mark.

Hipster Christianity

There's a pretty interesting article at the Wall Street Journal's website called "The Perils of Hipster Christianity" by Brett McCracken (and I guess the articles ties into his new book). The piece is about how when kids leave for college, they're also leaving church, and how the church has tried to combat that by being "cool". McCracken actually has a lot of good points and I agree with a lot of what he says to a degree. I do love his ending statement.

"As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don't want cool as much as we want real.

If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it's easy or trendy or popular. It's because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It's because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It's not because we want more of the same."

And this article has me interested in reading his book. Because although there are good points, I think a lot of his statements are misguided. While I agree that quoting Stephen Colbert or Lady Gaga during a sermon is lame, and yes, a church sponsored screening of No Country for Old Men doesn't seem right, is there a need to attack fashion? If the pastor is wearing skinny jeans or has a certain haircut, is that really a gimmick or is he just keeping up with the times? People change their fashion styles all the time and it's not like I think we're seeing a lot of pastors over 35 rocking skinny jeans in church.

I don't know if attacking churches for using technology is fair. A younger breed of pastors and churches are most certainly going to use technology to help them do church. The younger generation has been raised on technology and I don't know if using it in creative new ways during church is a bad thing.

I can't really address his comments about just being shocking for the sake of pushing the envelope because I don't really know anything about the churches he's talking about. I will say Rob Bell's Sex God was much less about sex then I thought it would be. And honestly, the title did it's job. It got me to pick up the book and buy it. It's good marketing. The book was good and not as sex focused as I thought it would be. I don't know if McCracken read the book or not. If he hasn't, it's not fair for him to use that as an example. And I also don't think there's anything wrong with honest talk about sex in the church. It's needed.

I'm interested in reading the book and hoping to really get a better explanation into McCracken's thoughts. The article isn't really expansive on anything he brings up and I guess that's not really the point. But it did get me interested in the book.

You can read the article here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 1 - High Fidelity

"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

The very first words in High Fidelity give you just a little bit of perspective into what you're about to watch. John Cusack as the pathetic underdog Rob Gordon. The first time I watched High Fidelity I loved it. I mean half the movie is spent in a record store. High Fidelity is probably Jack Black's best film to date. He kills Let's Get It On at the end of the film. It's just great.

This movie started an unhealthy obsession with John Cusack that still stands today. High Fidelity is a move I'll put on when I'm bored, when I'm feeling bad about my life, or when I just need a good laugh. I love the movie. I know every line by heart, which bugs anyone I watch the movie with. Congratulations to High Fidelity. You are my favorite movie!

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 2 - The Incredibles

My top 2 movies are almost interchangeable and may differ depending on what day you ask me. But for this I'm giving The Incredibles the number 2 spot.

I instantly loved The Incredibles. I mean, it was a super hero movie! I was instantly taken back to my childhood. I loved watching any and all things Batman related growing up. I consumed super heroes. Comics books, movies, tv shows, toys. So The Incredibles was an instant hit in my book. This was the movie that really got me into Pixar. Although they had done great movies before it, The Incredibles was just a different movie experience for me.

The Incredibles is funny. Edna Mode (as voiced by director Brad Bird) is a great character. The banter between Frozone and his wife is great. It's a well written movie that, like all Pixar films, has so much heart. It's a great story, it's a great movie. It was the first time PIxar had done a movie that was a complete human cast/story. It was an amazing advance in technical animation, which you don't notice watching the movie because it's so enjoyable.

I have Incredible movie posters, an Incredibles t-shirt, an Incredible's piggy bank, and I will one day steal the Incredible's cookie jar that my sister and brother-in-law have.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 3 - Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino is a mad scientist. When he first started directing films his objective seemed to be to deconstruct stories and but them together in a way that was entertaining and made the watcher pay close attention. Watching Reservoir Dogs for the first time, I spent the first part of the movie scratching my head.Pulp Fiction was a movie deconstructed and put back together all out of whack, and that's what makes it a great movie. I can't even imagine watching Pulp Fiction in chronological order.

Pulp Fiction is funny and violent. A perfect combination. It's not over the top in it's violence, but the visuals when violence is taking place are perfect. Samuel L Jackson was born to play Jules. It's probably plagued his career a little but I feel he doesn't mind. There are far too many memorable scene to comment on. I love Pulp Fiction! A Great Movie!

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 4 - Casablanca

I love Humphrey Bogart. The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre are both fantastic films. But Casablanca is my favorite Bogart film. It's not your typical love story but it works. Girl leaves boy. Boy starts nightclub. Girl returns married. Boy and girl kiss. Girl wants to stay with boy. Boy sends her away. It's not that simple but you get the gist.

The movie has classic status and it should. The acting is top notch and the story is killer. It's got a bunch of great one liners. Plus, how hot is Ingrid Bergman in the movie? She was seriously stunning. If you've never seen Casablanca... what's wrong with you?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 5 - The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock is the master of horror films. Hitchcock didn't need gore and blood. He didn't need to make the lighting super dark and he didn't need to be really suspenseful. Hitchcock just played on basic human fears. Hitchcock films were usually situations that weren't out of the realm of possibility. A man thinks he witnesses his neighbor kill his wife and dump the body and his fight to prove that the neighbor did do it. A man's best friend is a rapist and murderer. These things could happen to anybody any day.

And the Birds is my favorite of all the Hitchcock films. My sister has never seen the Birds. If she saw the Birds she wouldn't sleep for months. She is scared of birds and watching a movie where birds attack people would probably ruin her life. I on the other hand love the movie. Birds don't scare me and an organized bird attack is highly unlikely but the idea that a disease or something could cause animals to go crazy and just start attacking people in nuts. The scene where the birds attack the school children is crazy!

Although The Birds is old and looks old and visually isn't really anything to gawk over, the idea is too strong and the way the movie plays on basic human fear is too good.

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 6 - Toy Story

In 1995 Pixar released their first full length feature film Toy Story to the world. At age 11 I could quote the entire film and at nearly 26 I still can. Toy Story was the beginning of my favorite film company. It would trigger a love affair with Pixar that continues to this day.

Toy Story holds up very well. Before Toy Story 3 was released I had watched the first movie about a dozen times. It doesn't get old. A story of dealing with rejection and change. It's about old friends and making new friends. It's a great movie.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 7 - A Beautiful Mind

I was a senior in high school when A Beautiful Mind came out in theaters. I loved the movie. I saw it in theaters 5 times, possibly 6. Russell Crowe was brilliant in the movie. Gladiator got me to see this movie and I was glad I did. Like Toy Story 3, the story in A Beautiful Mind is so good you can't help but be enthralled the entire film.

It's a fantastic story of redemption. A fall from grace into tragedy with a character willing to do whatever it takes to overcome his obstacles and trails and in the end finds his redemption. You're so happy for Russell Crowe's character at the end that when they laid the pens down, I cried. It was a touching moment and a great way to end such a great movie.

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 8 - Enter the Dragon

I love martial art films. In junior high my dad would take my brothers and I to see the latest Jackie Chan films. I remember watching marathons of Kung Fu on the weekends or the earlier morning 1970's samurai films, the poorly overdubbed ones. Even watching Martial Law with Sammo Hung on Saturday (or Sunday) nights. There is nothing better then a good karate movie.

Enter the Dragon takes the cake. It's Bruce F-ing Lee! Nobody is more badass than Bruce Lee. Chuck Norris wouldn't even mess with Bruce Lee. Yes Enter the Dragon is dated when you watch it now but isn't that part of the charm to the movie? The great opening with Jim Kelly and the awesome wannabe Shaft funk playing! The fight scenes are incredible. The over the top sound design for each and every punch. I wanted to be Bruce Lee when I was a kid. I still want to be Bruce Lee!!!

Bruce Lee died way too soon but that might only add to his legacy. Enter the Dragon is a great movie.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 9 - Wayne's World

SNL didn't have many winners when it came to converting skits to movies. Wayne's World was clearly the best. The movie was hilarious in junior high when I first saw it and it's a move that will still have me laughing hard to this day. Michael Myers and Dana Carvey were never funnier.

I love the multiple endings (the Scooby Doo ending is a nice touch). When Stacey rides her bike into the car and bites it is so freaking funny. Wane's World is a comedy that holds up. My girlfriend hates the movie but I say it's really freaking funny.

Top 10 Favorite Movies: 10 - Toy Story 3

Yes, it's a new movie but it was good enough to be in my top 10. I'm sure over time, this movie will probably climb higher on the list but it sits at 10 today. I love the original Toy Story and while Toy Story 2 was a good film, it wasn't on the same level as the first. Toy Story 3 was on par with the first.

Toy Story 3 has everything a good movie should. Action, drama, tension, romance, a dilemma, and a happy ending. Toy Story 3 had me on the edge of my seat. When our gang of beloved toys is slowing headed towards the fire with the trash I was about to lose it. They all held hands and decided that their final moment was going to spent with each other, friends. I was about to standup in the theater and yell at the creative minds at Pixar. They were about to ruin many a 20 somethings childhood and were going to scar new fans forever. For that moment I truly believed that this would be the last of Buzz and Woody. But alas the pizza planet aliens save the day and our heroes.

Woody is a great hero. Instead of going home to Andy to go off to college, Woody heads back to Sunnyside to save his friends. And then at the end of the movie, instead of letting his friends be put in the attic while Andy heads to college with Woody, Woody does what's right, and has Andy give his toys to Bonnie, so they can continue to live a happy life and provide entertainment for a new kid.

I've only seen it twice. I'm hoping to see it again before it leaves theaters. I love the movie.

Top 10

I've decided to take some time this week and blog about my Top 10 favorite movies of all time. It should be awesome. 9 and 10 coming later today.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

All the Footprints You've Ever Left and the Fear Expecting Ahead

So I guess August is the month I will be blogging again...

I'm going through my itunes library alphabetically by album. I had been going through alphabetically by artist but album is way more interesting. I nearly 59 days worth of music in my library. 125 GB of music and growing every day. I collect a lot of band's catalogs. I like to have entire discographies. But I'm trying to cut down my library a little bit. Helmet is a good band. Meantime is great album. Aftertaste on the other hand I don't really enjoy. So instead of coming to a band where I know I like some albums and I skip around on songs and don't delete anything, I can now listen to Aftertaste and realize that I don't like that record and delete from my library.

The other advantage to listening to my library alphabetically by album is it's a more diverse playlist. I had a stretch where I listened to Strongarm, Calibretto 13, The OC Supertones, BoySetsFire, and Sigur Ros. That's a lot of good bands, ranging lots of genres. It doesn't get stale.

It'll be a big challenge going through my library. I'm currently still in A. I have a lot of listening ahead of me.

Why Prop 8 Being Overturned Upsets Me

So Prop 8 was overturned in California today. Now I've been vocal on this blog about my support for some form of gay rights, whether it's marriage or something else. I think the discrimination is wrong and I would like to see things change in some fashion.

But this is the second time a gay marriage ban has been lifted in California. Twice now the people of California have voted against gay marriage being legal and twice now a judge has decided that what the people want is wrong. And my problem is this gets into a grey area for me. If you want gay marriage to be upheld and legal in the state, then don't put it on the ballot for people to vote against it. Because I have a feeling that if this makes a ballot again, gay marriage will be banned in California for a third time.

The problem I have is this takes away the people's vote and what the majority in the state of California want. What's to stop other issues from being overturned by a judge? I hate to think that voting doesn't matter if a judge or group of people decide I don't know what's best. I don't always know what's best for the country or state or city, but if you put an issue on a ballot and the people vote one way on it, what the people want should be upheld and not overturned by a judge.

That is all. I will step off my soapbox.

I want to sail around the world

Probably my biggest inspiration is the open seas and the idea of sailing. So much so that I tattooed a ship and lighthouse on my arm. I love the idea of being able to explore the world. In the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie the characters talk a lot about being in love with the sea and the freedom sailing gives them. I like that concept.


While I've covered a lot of hockey on this blog and I my love for the Caps strong, I'm a fan of football and the Redskins. SO I'm going to post some thoughts on the biggest name this offseason and training, Albert Haynesworth.

I didn't like the signing of Albert from the get go. It was too much money for a guy who hadn't played an entire season in 6 years. Plus, giving a guy that much money to come and play in the dysfunctional mad house that was the Redskins last year... Not good. And of course, Albert got hurt, often. He pulled himself out of plays whenever he did play because after one play he had to suck oxygen.

So a new GM and coaching staff comes in over the offseason and the entire team shows up to OTAs and all the offseason training. Even Clinton Portis showed up and has worked hard and kept his mouth shut. But ALbert took his 20 million dollar check and never bothered to show in Ashburn to Redskins Park and train. So he was warned that if he didn't show up at 50% or more of the offseason training sessions and mini-camps that he would have to take a conditioning test when we did arrive at training camp. If he failed, he couldn't practice.

And that's where we today. Day 7 of training camp and Albert hasn't practiced yet. He took the conditioning test twice and failed. He's been sitting out with a "sore knee" since Saturday. And my thought it the Skins need to just take the salary cap it and cut the guy. What good is he? Mike Shanahan needs to continue to not let Albert practice until he passes the test. If his knee is really sore that means he took a conditioning test twice and is injured. Not a good sign for the season. I don't want someone who is a guaranteed injury this season. If he's not really hurt and is just being a bitch about taking the test, that's not a guy you want on your team. Sorry folks, the Skins defense, and team as a whole, is far better off with Haynesworth not on the team. He's a super distraction. Thank God for Brett Favre retirement nonsense to make Haynesworth a side note on Sports Center this morning.

My hope is that Shanahan doesn't give in and let Albert practice with passing the conditioning test. At some point the Skins are going to take away his money and maybe that will get Albert on the field.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


So I saw Inception today. Way latter then everyone else but I finally got to the theater and saw it. And to be honest, it left me kind of empty. It was good and I certainly enjoyed it to an extent but I didn't think it was brilliant or the greatest movie ever made. And I think to really grasp it I need to see it again. Visually it had some cool moments and the fight scenes were pretty cool. The anti-gravity fight scene in the hotel was spectacular.

But the story left too much to be desired. As a story it was disappointing. I feel like I've been reading too much Donald Miller lately because all that I could think about the movie was how hollow the story was. Their wasn't any depth to the film. There was no real reason to route for the characters or feel for them in any way. The "plot twists" you could pretty much see coming. I thought that what story the movie had was stretched so far over the movie that it was a disservice. When we get to critical backstory points, we're an hour and a half to two hours into the film.

I wish there had been more time taken to explain... well everything. You're thrown into the middle of a story where bits and pieces are revealed throughout the film to give you just enough of an insight into your main character. And although we know what's driving DeCaprio's character, I don't feel like I was ever given a real reason to truly care if they pulled the job off or not.

I might have to find time to see this movie again... But I don't know if I really want to.

Up was a great movie. The best of 09 and it should've won Best Picture. Here's a mash-up trailer.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Season 8 has Begun!

So Season 8 of Project Runway premiered last night. I would call Project Runway a guilty pleasure show but it's not. I absolutely love it. And based off what I saw last night, this season looks like it'll be pretty good. It looks like they have some good designers and more importantly, they have some great characters.

I have to say that season 7 was pretty awesome and Seth Aaron winning was the right call (he was the best designer from the start). I have some high hopes for this year. I haven't even picked a favorite yet. I started watching halfway through season 2 and have been hooked ever since. It's a great show. My favorite designer... Kenley Collins. But only because I was madly in lover with her (even if she was a bitch on the show).

I hope for a good season.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Work of Art

I don't love reality tv but there are a handful of shows that I have to watch (Project Runway and Top Chef). But I've started to get drawn into Bravo's latest offering Work of Art, Next Great Artist. I don't think any of the artist are that great... on the show.

See, although you might not always be inspired on Project Runway, you can always make a dress. Top Chef is food. Cooking under pressure is hard and yes, you might miss the mark but you can cook without being inspired. Art on the other hand... it's a tough one. You can't be show a car or a beautiful scenery and be told to be inspired and create great art.

Yes, I get that the point of these shows is to see how people perform and create under pressure and that's part of what makes them the next great whatever. But I still feel like art is different. Even if you have a strong concept, you still only have limited hours to create your art and the viewer often left looking at concepts and ideas that within the time crunch just looking like bad art. Winning pieces are often the best translated concept but to often I just feel like I'm looking at shitty art.

So what inspires creation of any form? And shouldn't christians be making better art. I mean, isn't the beauty of the sunset going to affect the person who believes that God holds in all order and has created this sunset as a reminder of who he is in a deeper and more meaningful way then someone who just appreciates the sunset? Isn't the power of salvation and the romance of the gospel of Christ so compelling and such a wonderful thing, that those whose call themselves sons and daughters of the living God, who have been given his creative spirit, can do nothing but create the most beautiful of paintings and songs and poems as pure worship to the God who loves and created them? Shouldn't we be overflowing with inspiration?

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Advent is probably my favorite current hardcore band. Naked and Cold is a great Spirit Filled Hardcore record. This is the song Revival.

There is a light in my heart. The catalyst to ignite the spark. There is a name on my tongue. Immanuel, God with us. There is a cry from deep within our broken hearts for You to meet us here. And as we gather in this place, Lord send your spirit to ignite the flames of Revival. REVIVAL. God send REVIVAL. There is an Almighty King. His love endures. He makes righteous everything. He voice controls the seas. Lion of Judah, Prince of Peace. There is a name above all names Jesus Christ, King of Kings and as we gather in his name, strongholds will fall in the wake of the flames of REVIVAL. REVIVAL.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Serial Sleepers

So I don't sleep. I want to sleep. I'm tired as hell most nights when my head hits the pillow. The problem is once my head hits the pillow. Falling asleep is hard. Why is it so hard? Do normal people have issues sleeping? Sometimes I fall asleep just fine. But then I wake up like an hour or so later and can't get back to sleep. It sucks. I'd take drugs to help me sleep but I would like to not be addicted to sleeping pills and honestly I'd like to be able to sleep like a normal person. But I can't. And it sucks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Christians are actually called to rebellion"

Indie Vision Music posted a great interview with Ted Bond, lead singer from Craig's Brother, last night. Here's a small excerpt;

"The only difference is that I am more convinced than ever. I think when we first started the band I had this view that Christian music was somehow less sincere. I think often it is, but what I’ve come to realize is that being a Christian gives me a specific cultural vantage point that is powerful and worth leveraging. When it comes to ethical issues, Christians are speaking from within a 2000 year old tradition that has had profound influence on western culture. Whether or not the culture we live in likes us, or what we think about morality, when we say something about it, they pay attention. That means that when I step out as a Christian and a Punk rocker, I am more easily engaged by the listener, Christian or not, than if I were to step out as only a Punk Rocker.

Just to be clear the central message of CB for Christians has been that we have failed to use Christian music as the mission field we want to claim it is. That is, it is a different audience that attends a Christian Punk show than the one that attends a secular show. This is not the case everywhere, but mostly that is what I have observed. The reason for this is not because the world has rejected the church, but vice versa, the church does not want to participate in the culture of the world. Rock and Roll, and especially Punk is dangerous. There’s sex and drugs and violence and Christians are mostly just plain afraid of that stuff. So instead of teaching our youth, who would be punks, to go out into the world and represent Christ by being different, we have made a safer version within the confines of what we can control. We have brought the punk into church while leaving the punkers out. I think that’s a shame.

Of course participating in the culture of the world means writing music that non-Christians would want to listen to, and that means that you can’t write songs that speak in Christian-ese, and church lingo (though I have to admit I break my own rule by mentioning “the fall” twice on the new album). It also means you are held to a higher standard of quality. For us that’s what its all about. The standard is the highest standard ever; it’s the glory of God. We want to be the band that’s so good that the non-Christian can’t help but love it even if they hate God."

So Ted talks about 2 things that I absolutely love. First he talks about a higher standard of quality in music (he discusses this more in the interview). For a while christian music was really a breeding ground for shitty wannabe bands. Christian music was just an alternative source for christian kids who couldn't (or wouldn't) listen to secular music. If there was a non-christian band you liked, there was a less talented crappy christian version. Of course there were bands with talent and were making quality records but for a period of time, and even still to an extent, Christian labels were signing bands that sounded like the current trend and popular bands in the non-christian music scene.

This has gotten better over the years as bands like Underoath, As I Lay Dying, Flyleaf, Anberlin, Norma Jean, Emery, and a slew of other bands have found a lot of success in the secular music world. And artist like Owl City and The Fray, who are christians, have had tons of success and most people don't know they're christians.

The second thing Ted talks about that has been a pet peeve of mine. Look, I loved the christian hardcore/punk rock clubs and churches that put on shows when I was in junior high and high school. Without the Cave and Mt Oak church, I wouldn't have spent my high school years going to shows and being an active part of the hardcore and punk rock scene. But the idea that christian rock as a ministry when they only play in churches has always rubbed me the wrong way. And yes, I know people will go see shows at churches if bands they like are playing, or just because they like being part of the scene, but the impact isn't the same.

I know youth groups have changed the landscape of the average christian teen has changed since I went to high school but I know there's still a lot of in this world, not of it that has the church creating their own version everything. Yes the scene has changed and you're really hard pressed to find christian bands only touring with other christian bands, only playing churches. Even the big all christian tours have moved into the club scene, so this point is probably less relevant now a days, but it stuck to this aging punk rocker.

You can read the entire interview here

And if you want to hear a classic christian punk record, you should get Craig's Brother's "Lost at Sea."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I could put your car on blocks...

So my brothers are part of an internship at their church. On Thursday night the guys had a "camp" out at my parents house. The girls decided it would be funny to show up late at night and prank the boys. The girls were major failures. Instead of showing up with water balloons or shaving cream or something useful, the girls, who were loud and weren't very good at hiding, showed up with ice. It was a pour attempt at a prank and in the end the guys did a better job of scaring the girls.

So the boys decided the next morning that they needed to get the girls back. I was around and I was an encourager. It sounded like a good idea to me. Pranks are always awesome. My first idea was of course to take one of the girl's cars and put it on blocks. The guys weren't interested in such an extreme idea and just wrapped a bunch of cars in saran wrap.

When I was in high school I was pretty good at the whole prank thing. We had some minor tp wars in the day. I remember a car covered in soap before it was tped in the winter. There was the famous chocolate sauce all over the kitchen counters... That was a good one. We never put a car on blocks but there was a deflated tire once. I mean, my friends and me were stupid in high school. Racing from one friends house to church during rush hour... not smart. And other things that aren't to be mentioned (I don't want to give anyone any ideas).

A random post.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Getting tattoos is for idiots

That's my latest ink you're looking at above. The shading on my Lighthouse is complete. My next appointment is in February and that will complete my ship at sea and protective lighthouse tattoo. It's going to be so beast when it's done.

I told Carley that I hate the pain I go through getting tattoos and the under part of my arm hurt pretty bad. I mean getting it done hurt but the drive home my arm felt like it was on fire. It's like instant regret. And knowing that to do the color that part of my arm is going to have to be hit again and I have two pieces that will take on the under part of my left arm makes me not want to continue to get tattoos. But the pain has faded and when it's healed and awesome looking I will forget about the pain and continue to pay Jason to put me in pain and make me a little less attractive to part of the world.

Yes, having tattoos is awesome. Yes, I'll be ugly when I'm 70 and my tattoos will be all saggy and gross. But I think I look good now and I enjoy having tattoos.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lose Your Mind

Team USA beat Algeria! In the 91st minute Landon Donovan scored to give the US a 1-0 lead and that was enough for them to win the game. Team USA wins Group C and moves on to play another day.

When Donovan scored, I lost my mind. You would've thought I had scored the goal. I was yelling at the top of my lungs, jumping up and down. I think I even did a backflip. I have never celebrated any sports moment the way I had celebrated that goal. I don't think I've ever celebrated anything at all in life the way I celebrated that goal. I had lost my mind and in pure joy and happiness, I went nuts.

And then I said this aloud; "I wish I celebrated the things of God the way I celebrated that goal."

Instant conviction. I had to stop what I was doing and pray for forgiveness. It's not that celebrating the goal and victory was a bad thing. It's just that my excitement for God and the things in doing in my life never gets to a point where I lose my mind and go nuts. And God wants us to go nuts. David was so excited about what God was doing that he got naked and danced in praise before the Lord.

God deserves credit for being awesome. God is way more awesome that Landon Donovan's goal and way more memorable and forever then the USA winning today. He deserves a lose your mind celebration every once in a while. He deserves to celebrated and praised way more then he is.