Monday, December 11, 2006

I am alive...

I am alive. And well. But busy. It is finals, and I am slowly being destroyed by stacks of books and papers to write. Fear not, I shall return, victorious.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Little Less Frustration, A Little More Action Please...

Gar. Just... gar. I'm feeling kinda frustrated right now, for many reasons. Primarily because my truck isn't working. Yeah, the one I just bought in February. It is now just a useless pretty piece of metal sitting in front of my apartment. I'm ready to sell it, I'm tired of hassling with a vehicle that should work. I think it's a battery cable problem, but I have no real clue. All I know is it isn't working, and the guy I know and trust to work on it is 6 hours and 400 miles away.

I never realized how much of a hassle it is being without a vehicle. I was lucky enough (or rather I worked enough to save up enough money) to have bought my own vehicle by the time I was able to drive, and have had one ever since. Now, of course, I still have one. It just doesn't want to work.

Anyway, I really feel for anyone who doesn't have the resources to own their own vehicle. It's a total pain- I either have to rely on friends to get me to work, or I can hassle with MARTA. Either way, I've lost a lot of convenience and a lot of time.

Enough ranting. Think positive.

Had a New Testament test today, and I feel okay about it, especially considering the amount of studying I was able to squeeze in yesterday. Many of my friends were nervous and worried about it, but I was practically approaching a state of apathy about it. I guess I'm just calm and relaxed, I don't let minor things like a test bother me. I've never been one to get worked up over tests. I find myself often telling people "You know, in 5 years, you won't even remember this test." In the big scheme of things, a single test in a single class is incredibly small.

Let's see, what else is going on?

Oh! The youth group went to a corn maze and then played paintball on Saturday. The corn maze was okay, but the paintball was AMAZING! I had a great time. I'm now seriously thinking about getting a paintball gun. I can't wait to go back. It was my first time playing, and I have to say that I think I did okay for a rookie. I got shot a few times (and it hurt much less than I had heard it would), and I got a few kills. My best shot all day was in our next-to-last match. I was on one end of the field, and I popped up over a dirt bunker. I spotted an opponent clear across the field as he popped up from behind a bunker. I took one shot, and hit him right in the mouth. It was incredible. Good times, indeed.

Other than that, not much is going on. Just the daily grind of class, study, write, read, work, sleep repeat.

Alright, enough for now. I have to go watch a movie ("As Good As It Gets") for my Ecclesiastes class. I'll write more later this week.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Birthdays and Dreams and Other Things...

I know, I know. I said I'd update more often. And of course, I haven't. But I'm here now, and I have a little something to say.

A little something.

Haha... I'll be here all week. Tip your waitstaff. Try the veal, it's delicious.

But seriously-

Tuesday was my birthday. I'm 24 now. I'm old. I had a good birthday- skipped my first class, had dinner with several of my friends that evening. My family sent me a big ole box o' gifts. I spent quite a bit of time reflecting on my 24 years (I'll get into that later).

Catalyst Conference was pretty cool. I enjoyed it quite a bit. The speakers were for the most part good (and some were great), the music was good, and it was rather fun. Let's see, what all did we do? I was involved in the world's largest pillowfight (10,000 people), we assaulted the national dodgeball champions; a good time was had by all.

Speakerwise, my favorites were Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz), Marcus Buckingham (a British guy who worked for the Gallup organization), and Kevin Carroll (who worked for Nike as a creative genius, essentially).

Miller talked about how the church needs to not merely confront culture, but rather be on the leading edge of shaping and influencing culture, while at the same time getting past it's own issues and really being the church. Or at least that's what I got out of it.

Buckingham, coming from a business background, spoke about being a better leader, about how the most important task a leader faces is turning a person's talent into performance. To do that, he said leaders need to find what unique strengths a person has and figure out how to capitalize on that strength.

Of all the speakers, I think Kevin Carroll really struck me the most. He talked about the value of play, and how it leads to creativity. He talked about how, as children get older, society tends to squeeze out the creative mind and spirit every kids has, and in so doing, really hinders our ability to be creative later in life. He also talked about how important it was for us to dream. Not sleep-type dreams, but dreams we (should) have for our lives. Big, ridiculous, sky-high dreams that seem unreachable. He also talked about how kids view the world: they see everything as a first. They are fascinated with life, and that feeds creativity.

Essentially, he encouraged us to dream. To play. To look at the world as a child. To me, it was the most important thing anyone said at the conference. And it caused me to really think about my dreams, what I see in life.

So, my dreams in life have been on my mind a lot as of late. I've been known to dream big on occasion. Of course, too often I surrender those dreams to the circumstances around me- school, money, etc. It seems that when things heat up, the tangible stuff is easier to grasp, and the elusive quality of dreams causes them to slip right through my hands. It's frustrating, really.

I used to think that I had to develop this detailed plan for my life, that my future steps were being laid out before me through my current actions. I worked (somewhat) hard in high school to get into a good school on a full scholarship. I had a very serious relationship with a girl who I thought I was going to marry. I went to college. I worked (somewhat) hard once I decided I wanted to pursue further education. Now I'm in seminary/grad school in order to become a youth minister/possibly a professor.

But the more I think about it, the more I feel God doesn't want me (us) to focus so much on my (our) plans, my (our) details, my (our) small little world(s). It's funny- I didn't get that full scholarship for undergrad. I broke up with the girl I was engaged to. I slacked my first two years of undergrad, and only applied myself over my last two years (and even then, I know I could have worked harder). I'm in school still (and this time I am applying myself. Maybe not as much as I could, but more than I did in undergrad). I'm single. I'm 6 hours away from what I have called home for 24 years now. I moved here and I didn't know a single person. It's been a very interesting few years. Many of my short term dreams did not come true.

The plan I had all figured out came apart at the seams.

I think God wants us to enjoy life, to enjoy the world we have. I'm not saying we shouldn't plan, or that we should not work to make this world better- I think God calls us to do those things. I am not proposing rampant hedonism. But I think, I believe, that God wants us to both enjoy life and to work at making the world a better place.

I've been reading Ecclesiastes for a couple of months now (due to studying it for class). Repeated throughout the book is the idea to simply eat, drink, and find joy in your toil, because it is all going to end. The stones that we stack will fall, and the sand will cover them. The stuff we acquire we cannot keep. The fleeting joys we seek in this world are insufficient. The plans we make do not come to fruition. In the end, after all has fallen away, broken and tattered, all that remains is God.

A lot of people might find that disconcerting. But personally, it gives me great comfort. To quote Thrice (one of my favorite bands EVER)

"I know one day,
All our scars will disappear,
Like the stars at dawn

And all of our pain,
Will fade away when morning comes

And on that day
When we look backwards we will see,
That everything is changed

And all of our trials,
Will be as milestones on the way." -"For Miles"

(Thrice's album Vheissu, from which this song comes, is, I think, the soundtrack for my life so far. It's a great album and I recommend it to anyone.)

I know that all that is wrong in this world, all the pain, all the suffering, will one day be made right. I know that it is my responsibilty to work at this (though not to assume I can do it on my own). I know that, one day, our scars will fade. That helps.

Okay, I hate to make anyone depressed, and I'm drifting from my point. But I find it interestingly funny how some things that I find extremely comforting really bother some people and upset them.

Back to dreams...

Tuesday was my birthday, as I mentioned before. I always get reflective around my birthday. So that's why this entry has been both long and intense. But it's definitely something I needed to say. Besides, I promised you more than just updates of what my days are like. So, in the vein of dreaming and reflectiveness and so on, I have been dreaming.

I realize my two main focuses in this post seem contrary to each other. I say dreaming is important, and yet I rambled about how I think God doesn't want us to plan out our lives. But I feel the two are not opposites. I think God wants us to dream, to dream big even. I wonder- did God not dream big when creating this whole universe?

But dreaming is not a business plan. Dreaming is not detail oriented. Dreams are fuzzy. They are blurry and jumbled and confusing. In essence, dreams are us. And we are, in some sense, the summation of our dreams.

I hope you dream.


Monday, October 02, 2006

Yeah, nothing.

I tried to think of something worth writing here. I really did.

But the thoughts would not come. They are elsewhere, probably running freely, frolicking around like I imagine thoughts do when they're avoiding their job- which would be to manifest themselves in my mind so that I may transfer them from mind to paper (or bytes, as the case may be), and you may enjoy them.

Not happening. This whole "updating more often" thing is going to be difficult if I can't think of anything to write. Maybe I've got writer's block. Of course, one has to be some manner of a writer before that can happen, I believe.

So, on that note, I'll end this. Maybe tomorrow something will come to me while sitting bored in class.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

I gotta start updating more...

Yeah, sorry about that. It's been a little while since the last update.

Short recap: School happens.

Back into the swing of things, I now realize how little time I have. If I'm not in class, I'm reading for class. If I'm not doing that, I'm working at church. If not at church, I'm probably asleep. Wedged in there are random segments usually occupied by friends. That seems to be my current day-to-day cycle. I usually forget all about this thing.

This week was, well, kinda crappy. On Tuesday I was walking to class, stepped off the edge of the sidewalk and fell flat on my face. Just...BAM! I landed awkwardly and nearly dislocated my shoulder. To top it off, I broke my phone. So that sucked.

Tuesday night I was actually going to go to IHOP with some friends. Got in my car, tried to turn the key... nothing. Stinkin' thing wouldn't start. This is the third time it has happened. It made me angry. So I messed with it for about 30 minutes. Getting nowhere, I decided to call it a night, so that I wouldn't get totally frustrated and push the thing off a cliff.

Woke up late Wednesday morning, and missed the shuttle to class. So, I was walking back to my apartment. Decided to try the truck, merely for curiosity's sake. It started right up. It's like the miraculous car-fixing fairy came by during the night. Anyway, I decided to drive to class, when on the way, the truck died. I was able to get it started, and I drove it back to my apartment (definitely missing class). So I spent the day reading for class and doing homework.

Wednesday night was good. Our SHIFT meeting went well, and it only took a couple hours. Now we have a good plan which should help shorten our Wednesday night meetings.

Spent the better part of this afternoon building a bookshelf and cleaning my room. It was a mess. I could barely walk through the place. My mom's obsessive cleanliness must have passed on to me- the mess was really starting to bother me. Now, the room is clean. And I have a bookshelf, which means no more random piles of books all over the floor.

Looking ahead- the Catalyst conference is this week- Wednesday through Friday. I'm really looking forward to that, for several reasons. Primarily, it will be an excellent opportunity to hear some great speakers and hopefully learn something. For those who don't know, Catalyst is for young church/religious leaders. They bring in relevant authors, teachers, church people, etc. to talk about all kinds of stuff. Secondly, it will get me out of school for a couple of days, and I'll get to hang out with some people from Briarlake, which is something I miss quite a bit. I'm definitely looking forward to the latter half of this week. Not so much the first half, since I have to do all my work for the week in advance, since I won't be in class on Thursday or Friday.

So that's what is going on, and what will be going on.

I'm really going to try to be more consistent in updating this, as a challenge to myself. And as a reward to all my loyal fans- all two of you...haha.

I think I'll try to update maybe late tomorrow (since I'll be at church all day and most of the night) or Monday. Maybe I'll have something to talk about instead of just telling you what I've been doing. I need a muse...


Friday, September 08, 2006

My future homelessness and other assorted musings...

Yeah, so I'm going to be homeless soon.

Emory has "other plans" for Turner Village starting July, 2007. Which means I've gotta find somewhere else to live for next school year (I'm cool this year). It would have been REALLY nice if they would have told me this before I signed a lease for this year. I would have went ahead and moved somewhere to get it over with. ARGH! I'm just frustrated right now, about this housing crap, and school stuff, and just other stuff.

School started on Tuesday. It's going to be an intense semester. Essentially, the only classes I am taking this semester are requirements- I've got Intro to New Testament, Systematic Theology, Ecclesiastes, Intro to Judaism and Con Ed. Notice the lack of youth ministry-related courses. That's kind of a bummer. Oh well. C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas?

Anyway, I'm still getting back into the school flow, which is in no way related to the ill flow I have when I step to the mic... wait. What? Yeah... sorry. I'm trying to get used to reading, and writing papers, and going to class. All that stuff they expect you to do in grad school. Who's idea was that, by the way? I'm ready to be done with school. I'm ready to get into a full-time youth ministry position. But, I've got two more years here, and I plan on making the best of them. I'm at one of the top schools in the country, both Emory and Candler, so I just need to be thankful for the opportunity, even if it does seem ridiculous at times.

SHIFT is going well. We've had a great couple of events, and I have a feeling this Sunday is going to be great as well. We've got all kinds of good plans. Of course, it means nothing if God's not working there. But I feel God has been, and will continue to be, there. We've all been praying for SHIFT and Momentum, and so far it's been awesome. So for those of you who read this, keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Let's see, what else is new? Got a new roommate. Todd. We have a lot in common, and we act quite a bit alike. We're going to get along pretty well. He's a cool cat.

Mentally, I've been lost in thought as of late, my mind working overtime trying to figure some things out. I don't even know. Thought I had it figured out, now I'm not so sure. So many things are beyond my control (Obscure and vague, I know. Just let me keep this one to myself).

As an aside, my Ecclesiastes class is going to be good for me I think. When I read the book, I feel like I could have written it. I can feel the author's frustration with the way things are, his angst when he says "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless," (or "Vanity" depending on the translation. Both are accurate). It just seems like no matter how much I try, no matter how hard I work, things don't ever seem to work out. I was looking at some lyrics from Thrice the other day, and the song "Stare at the Sun" stuck out. The chorus goes like so:

"'Cause I am due for a miracle
I'm waiting for a sign
I'll stare straight into the sun
And I won't close my eyes
Till I understand or go blind"

I feel like I need God to do something in my life (notice "I feel like I need," not "I know I need"), something miraculous. Things are going well. This summer was awesome, and I learned so much, and I was able to do so much with the youth. All that was excellent. It really was. I loved it, and it's the main reason I don't want to go back to school. But all that stuff was somewhat external. I don't know; my thoughts on this are running as I type. I just feel like I could use something in my life; I feel a void, an incompleteness, like a huge part of me is just missing. Hmm...

Back to Ecclesiastes... yeah, this class will be awesome. The professor is brilliant (most of them are at Candler. Brilliant, but strange.), and he's funny. And I love the subject. So, hopefully that all adds up to me reaching a deeper, tripartite understanding: more understanding of God, of the book, and of myself.

Alright. I've babbled long enough. No one is reading anymore...haha. I kid, I kid. To anyone who does read, I appreciate it. Feel free to leave me a note, to call me out on something, whatever. Let me know what you think.

Until next time.


Monday, August 21, 2006


Man it's been a long time since I posted. Here's a short recap- after we got back from New Orleans, we had a week or two, then went to camp, which was pretty good. After camp, I've been mostly working on painting and renovating the youth building at church, which meant many 12+ hour days (like probably 15 in a 20 day span). Lots of hours...

That project is close to done, however, and I've spent the last couple of weeks working on our new stuff for the upcoming school year. We're doing two new worship services/experiences for our youth- SHIFT, for high school and college, and MOMENTUM, for middle school. So I've been working on that quite a bit (with a team of about 12 students and leaders). We had a big prayer meeting Saturday night to pray for SHIFT, MOMENTUM, the new school year, etc. We just spent like an hour praying that everyone who came would feel God's presence at SHIFT, etc. It was awesome. That brings us to last night...

Last night was the first SHIFT service. I was at church working with the team all day yesterday. We had a crew completely redesign the gym where we hold Sunday morning services. We had like 200 candles and rugs and stuff. We had an awesome band, and Alfred (my boss and the student minister), spoke. It seemed like the whole thing was just hanging by a thread all afternoon as we were working on stuff; things just weren't clicking for me (by the way, I'm serving as the quasi-director for this service, so I'm sort of responsible if it doesnt work).

But fortunately, it all came together, and I really think it went great. I felt God's presence there, and I think many of the students were shocked as well. It was something completely different for them, and from talking to them afterwards, I really think they liked it a lot.

I'm still kinda wired from the service. I was so excited about the way things turned out. I don't really know what to say about it, other than it was incredible. Now, we have to plan the next one...haha.

The band played the song "Everything" by Lifehouse last night, and it was amazing. I love this song. Here's some of the words:

"And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this?

Cause you're all I want
You're all I need
You're everything... everything"

(You may have heard this song on Smallville, by the way)

That's kind of the way I feel right now. Just, how can I stand here amidst the wonderous creation God has made, and not be moved by it? How can I be at a worship service where 30-40 kids are praising God and not be moved by it? It's powerful, and anyone who thinks otherwise is missing out. It was awesome, as in awe-inspiring. Right now, I'm just realizing that God is incredible, and I just don't know what to say.

So, that's what's been going on with me as of late. Well, some of it anyway. There are other cool things going on. We'll just leave it at that for now...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Pics from New Orleans, as promised

Here are the some pics from my recent mission trip to New Orleans, as promised. The construction ones are obviously from the worksite. The destruction ones are from the Lower 9th, and I'm posting them only because I want to keep it in people's minds how bad the devastation was, and still is. There is still a lot of work to be done. Then there are some other, random pics from the trip. Here you go...

There you go. Like I said before, it was an awesome trip, and now I get to look forward to camp. We leave this coming Sunday, and return that Thursday night. I'm definitely excited. This will actually be my first youth camp experience. I've been to other camps (4-H, stuff like that) but never a camp focused on one's spiritual life. So this Student Life camp should be an interesting experience.

Alright, it's lunch time. Peace...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

I need words...

Wow. Just wow.

For those of you who don't know, I just spent the last week in New Orleans on a mission trip with the youth at Briarlake, and we just got back tonight.

To be honest, I am almost speechless. I simply don't have many of the words right now to explain. About the devastation- I can talk about that. It's bad. I saw houses completely flipped upside down, cars destroyed, just destruction on more destruction. But here and there are signs of hope, the faintest breaths of a city coming back to life.

We worked with Habitat for Humanity and the Baptist Crossroads project. The Crossroads project was actually being planned before Katrina, and after the hurricanes and floods, it was expanded. The current plan is to build 79 houses in the 9th ward (where some of the the worst flooding was). Our group worked all week, doing everything from organizing materials, tools and supplies, to acutally framing up houses and so forth. It was hot. It was difficult. It was amazing. I'll talk about that later, and I'll post some pictures once I get my camera back.

But what most moved me was the transformation and growth that took place in our group. This was my first big event with this group, and I was very curious as to how it would work out. And this is where I am close to speechless. I could talk and try to say how amazing it was, but I wouldn't do it justice; I would really only insult what happened. I don't want to cheapen the work with too many uselss words. This explanation will fall short of what I want to say. Essentially, it was a very powerful experience for me, and for many of the group. It really reconnected me with something that I feel has been missing in my life for too long now, and that would be feeling God's presence. Last night we had a foot washing ceremony, and it was the first time I have felt God, I mean really felt like God was there, in a long, long time. I broke down. I bawled. It was just so powerful to see these youth and leaders bowing humbly before one another and washing each other's feet. It is such a connecting, sincere experience. The leaders started off by washing the feet of the youth, and then the youth were invited to wash the feet of people that had affected them throughout the week.

Let me tell you, it was one of the most...just... I guess humbling, touching, and heartening experiences of my entire life, to have some of these youth, my youth, come to me and wash my feet. It felt like God was reaching into my chest and wrenching my heart, pumping the blood and life through me. And it was equally powerful for me to wash the feet of these kids who I had seen work so hard, who I had seen give so much of themselves for something bigger than themselves. It was moving. So moving.

And now that I am back, I miss them. I am sitting here in my apartment, and I feel their absence, literally feel it around me. I wait to hear the sound of them running down the hall to go play four-square. I miss them sitting around talking. I miss sharing life with them. And it hurts. But it's a good hurt. Right now, I am just amazed at God's power and majesty. How God can take something so simply as driving a nail, or packing a board, or riding in a van together, or washing each other's feet, and turn it into something great, something awe-inspiring, something so sincere. I'm crying right now simply by remembering it. The youth were awesome. The trip was great. But God is so much better than any of that. And for me, that is powerful.

I suppose I could continue rambling on, but it isn't going to help. Maybe I will have words later. For now, I'll steal some from David Crowder...

"And He set me on fire,
And I am burning alive.

With His breath in my lungs
I am coming undone.

And I cannot hold it in
And remain composed.

Love's taken over me
And so I propose
Letting myself go.

I am letting myself go.

You are my joy.
You are my joy.
You are my joy.
You are my joy.

I need to catch my breath,
I need to.
I need to catch my breath,
Give me a moment now.

I'm laughing so hard..."

Right now, I'm alive. I feel better than I have in a long, long time. And, like everything else, I owe it all to the awesomeness of God. I only wish I could explain...

Monday, June 05, 2006

I love this job...

Just got back a little while ago from my first day on the job at Briarlake, which is going to be a lot of fun, almost too much- right, like that's even possible. Emily and I even get our own cubicle...haha. Basically, we just come in late, do whatever needs to be done, and then hang out with the kids.

We spent 2.5 hours today at a staff meeting, then touring the "campus" and goofing off. I played some drums, Emily rolled around on roller skates, Alfred harassed maintenance men (good natured-ly, of course). Good times all around. This is definitely going to be the most fun job I've ever had. And they might want to continue paying us throughout the next school year (maybe?) which would be sweet. I love my job.

I went home last week for graduations, Transy's and my sister's. It's hard to imagine that I graduated last year! It seems like yesterday. And it seems like yesterday I was just meeting the people in this graduating class. Crazy. Time does indeed fly. Anyway, home was good. Got to see the family (which I probably won't be able to do again until late August), and several Transy peoples. It still doesn't seem possible that people like the first FUPpers I "led" are graduated. As well as others. And my sister, that's crazy too! Now she's going on to college, which makes me rather proud of her. She hates school. But I think it will be very good for her.

Alright, I'm going to go play some video games or do something useless. It's what I do best.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The zombie apocalypse and trying to be a good listener...

So, I was goofing off this morning (imagine that), and stumbled across a wonderful time waster for anyone who likes zombies (and honestly, who wouldn't?)- is a turn based game wherein one creates a character and tries to survive a zombie apocalypse. So, being the fan of games, zombies, survivalism, and apocalypses that I am, I decided to play. You're very limited in what you can do, but it seemed like a good way to waste a few minutes each day. I probably will, anyway.

Going home Friday, for Transy's graduation, and then staying through 6/3 to see my sister graduate from high school. I'll be in Lexington this weekend, possibly getting a group together to go see X-Men 3 on Friday night, if anyone is interested. You know how to find me...

What have I been up to since the last update you (don't) ask? Well, absolutely nothing productive, that's for sure. I spend my days playing video games, reading, watching movies, and wasting time on the internet. I did talk to Alfred (at Briarlake), and I start that job on 6/4. Looking forward to doing something productive. Well, let me rephrase that- I look forward to being productive in that context, not so much being productive in general.

I've also spent a lot of time talking to people about relationships- break-ups, fights, etc. It seems like a great many of the people I know (from Transy, Emory, everywhere) are having some difficult times. So, I try to be a good friend and listen to them, and maybe even help them through it. But most of the time I feel useless, because there isn't anything I can do, other than listen. I don't really like feeling useless. In situations like this, however, listening and trying to be some source of comfort is pretty much all I can do. I wish I had the ability to make things right. I'd be rich (and of course, I would be helping people, which is honestly much more important). I hope my "help" has been just that- some help.

I find I am often someone that people turn to when they need to talk. I'm not really sure why that is- I'm no expert, I'm not much of a talker, and my advice is often just common sense. I suppose I make people feel comfortable, or so I am told. To be honest, when people come to me for advice, I'm usually just worried I'll say something stupid that causes more problems (which has happened on occasion). Of course, I do want to work with youth, and dealing with problems is a big part of that, so I suppose all the times people come to me for advice is good practice for that...haha. But, I care about the people who come to me, even if I feel unqualified. I try to help.

Ok, enough of that. I suppose I should get back to my busy schedule, so much to do, so little time. I love being at school with nothing to do. Those were always some of the best times at Transy, and I can see that trend continuing here...


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Yet another boring update...

It's been a long time since my last update- end of semester press and all. Lots of paper writing and reading. But on the bright side, I am done with forced academic work until September, leaving me free to engage in much more useful and beneficial stuff- that is, non-forced academic work. Translation- stuff in which I have an actual vested interest, namely working with the youth group at Briarlake, and "independent study."

I've already started reading some of the stuff I want to read this summer. Today I found a copy of "Fight Club" at a local used book store, so I'm about 3/4 the way done with that. I love that book, and the movie.

What else have I been up to? I spent a little over a week at home, visiting people at Transy and spending time with the fam. After finishing up my work for the semester (including a marathon session that resulted in 35 pages or writing in 2 days), Iturned the papers in and bolted for my old Kentucky home, God's country. I spent a few days at Transy, and was able to see just about everyone I intended to see, and even got some "bonus time" with people I didn't expect to see, including but not limited to Jon and Hutch (shout out). Good times. Then I went home, and did the family thing, also good times (for the most part).

Now I have two weeks here to do basically nothing, which I find to be glorious. The only thing I really need to do is get in touch with the people at Briarlake to set up when I will be starting, and to find out more about what exactly I will be doing. Other than that, nothing. It's going to be wonderful.

So, now that the boring recap of my actions is complete, I suppose I should talk about something of substance. Hmm... yeah, I got nothin'. I've never been accused of having substance anyway, other than the physical. I'll think about it and get back to you. Seeing as how my schedule has cleared up, I imagine I'll be updating this more often, so the two or three of you who actually read this can get pumped about that! I am Jack's wasted sarcasm and self-deprecating humor.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

On Battery, both academic and actual

The end of the semester approaches, silent and stalking like a ninja, and at the same time loud and aggressive like some sort of rabid lion intent on devouring my flesh. It's quiet because it snuck up on me, and yet now it is yelling in my ear to do one of the many papers I have to do. Between now and 5/4, I have to write about 35 pages worth of stuff, and maybe take an Old Testament test. Academic battery. Candler should plead guilty and hope for a lesser sentence.

As far as "actually" actually goes, I was not assaulted. My battery on the new ride crapped out. I was heading out for Pigeon Forge this morning, going to visit the fam for a day as they were at Rod Runs (a huge classic car show/meeting/whatever). Went to turn the engine over, and got nothin'. Grrr... I am Jack's consistent frustration when things do not work. I really hate it when things do not work. I just got this car like two months ago. Given, the battery was old, but I was hoping it gained new life at the prospect of being owned by someone who would love it and take care of it.

My affections were spurned.

So, I spent about 5 hours total messing with it. I started by checking the connections. I unhooked all the stuff, allowed the computer to reset, etc. No luck. Tried to jump it, nothing. Finally, I conned a friend into taking me to get the battery charged. Props by the way to Derek "D-Rob" Robinette for helping a fellow Kentucky boy out. You are a gentleman and a scholar, even though you are deserting us for Asbury next year. It's okay though, you are getting married. I'll allow it. Sometimes, I too wish I was home in KY, for sure.

Eventually, I got the thing working (courtesy of a new deluxe-top-of-the-line-three-year-warrantee battery) though not in time to really have a chance to drive the 4 hours to the Forge and fight all the traffic there. So, no family visit for me. At least I'll be seeing them in two weeks, so it isn't an extraordinary loss, just a delay.

Other than that, things are going well. No luck on the zombie game. It's okay- people will come around. And if they don't, Michael, Tory and I (and probably others) at least will be prepared for the invasion. I will survive when the zombies rise!

Let's see, anything else of note? Oh, had a friend (Katie Bartlett) come visit Candler, I tried to convince her to come here next year (HINT HINT, if you're reading). That was fun. Good times. She got to meet some Candler people, and I'm not quite sure that was a good thing....haha. I kid, I kid. So we'll see how that pans out. It would be really nice to have someone here I know from back home. That would be cool. So, any of you out there interested in graduate education in Religion, Theology, Ministry, etc. let me know. I can put in some good words, and I'll give you a personal tour.

Alright, enough babbling. I think I'm going to go watch a movie....mmm....movies. I love movies.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Zombies. Humans. Awesomeness.

So I ran across this site from a link on It's a game similar to "Assassins" (popular on college campuses, involving "killing" target people) in execution (pun intended); that is it's a live-action simulation of sorts involving "zombies" and humans, along with nerf weapons [Disclaimer- this is not my original idea. Props and all that go to Brad Sappington, Chris Weed, and Jim Segedy for the game. I have no idea who they are, but they put it together] . Now I have another goal to add to my list of things to do before I die (maybe a topic for another post): I want to play this game.

It needs a few modifications I think, such as the inclusion of headshots as a manner of stopping the zombies to give the humans a chance of "winning" (instead of just surviving as long as they can), to be a true reflection of zombie-ness, but overall it looks like a lot of fun. I'm already working on rules to make it more interesting (at least in my mind). So, if you're reading this and you think it would be fun or you have ideas, let me know. I'm open to any insight.

Other than that excitement, not much is going on. I registered this week for classes for the fall. I'm taking New Testament with Luke Timothy Johnson (noted Biblical scholar), Systematic Theology with Don Saliers (noted professor as well), Con Ed II (at Briarlake Baptist, see previous posts), and right now I am enrolled in both Intro to Judaism and "A Skeptic in Scripture: Ecclesiastes," one of which I will be dropping and replacing with a course on Buddhism in the undergraduate religion department. I'm really looking forward to the undergrad course, because I enjoyed the Buddhism course I had at Transy (with the wonderful Dr. Trina Jones), and I am interested in seeing how it stacks up to my undergrad experience at Transy. But overall the schedule looks good. I may end up dropping both Judaism and Ecclesiastes, I'm not sure if I want to do the 5 course semester again. I feel like I'm always in class this semester, and while it isn't overly difficult, I'd just prefer less time in class (meaning fewer assignments). I'd be fine just going to classes. It's those silly papers and tests that bore me.

Non-school-wise, it's been a dull few weeks. Not much going on, no one seems to want to hang out, due to being busy, lazy, etc. I'll leave the reasons to choice, though I have my suspicions. I haven't really hung out with a big group of people in a while. I see people here and there, go out with a couple people now and then, but I'm one who enjoys a larger group at times too. And that's not happening, for various reasons. I guess I just got really spoiled at Transy, always having a million people coming by the room, going places, hanging out, etc. I lost count of how many people I found sleeping in "The Lounge" over the course of my time there. It was cool being so close to people. I miss living on the hall: no hall frisbee or Tag-bombing or Barbie ball here. I miss two out of three there....haha. And I don't get to set things on fire here, or throw microwaves and other junk out the windows (at most it's a two-story drop). Oh well...

Enough whining. Summer break is almost here, and I have big plans for that. I'm going to a lot of Braves games, I'm going to build a trebuchet (not full-scale sadly- I don't think I can legally build siege weaponry on campus, which in my opinion is a total drag), I'm going to read for fun, I'm going to play some video games, I'm going to work on my book. And most importantly, I'm hopefully going to be working with youth again. Still waiting to iron out all the details for the summer stuff at Briarlake. I'd like to get those ironed out ASAP so I can look for another part time job (since sadly the Briarlake position is only 15 hours/week). I'm thinking maybe a bookstore (thanks to Jon Clark for the idea). Who knows?

I think that should cover it for now. Oh, one more thing: my fraternity brothers won Campus Sing (also known as Greek Sing at a lot of places) again, which is like, I'm not sure, probably at least 3 years in a row, if not more. The theme was "One Hit Wonders," and you can see video of them rocking it out here: We're the ones in the lower left corner (Delta Sigma Phi). Congrats also to the lovely ladies of Phi Mu, who won the sorority competition, and to everyone involved. I'm sure together we all raised hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of food. End shameless plug.

Until next time, remember: stay calm, carry lots of ammo, keep moving and aim for their heads...

Friday, March 31, 2006

I've decided to write a book...

Yep. That's the plan. I'm going to write a book.

"And what is the topic of said book?" you might ask, and right you would be to ask. I haven't quite figured out all the specifics, but I think it's going to cover my college and grad school years, a sort of short-term autobiography consisting of whatever I can remember and coherently organize into something remotely resembling book form. I'm thinking it will center on my experiences in higher education (or more likely, the stuff I learned outside of class with the veneer of an actual educational process), how an ambitious, driven overachiever cast aside his dreams of world domination-through-entrepreneurship and opened his eyes to something remarkably different and beautiful.

This idea just sort of hit me tonight, although I think it's been brewing for a while. I've thought often about writing as a career (or at least a second job- I gotta eat, you know?). I actually tried to start writing a book the summer between my junior and senior years of undergrad. I didn't stick with it. At that point, I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do post-graduation, and I think the beginnings of that failed pursuit (the book, not graduating- I did that) were an attempt to figure some things out. I figured them out, so I do not consider the time spent a total loss. It served its purpose.

To that end, this book will serve as a way for me to reflect upon what will be 7 years of college education and experience by the time it is done, to make some sense out of things, to have a little fun, and to begin to formulate a coherent theology (in the future, I'm thinking of constructing a systematic theology- yet another book idea. First, I should probably take Systematics, and some other theology courses). I think I'll interweave stories from my college years with relevant links to my past and with theories and ideas. At least that's the general concept for now. I reserve the right to change this format without notice...haha.

So, that's what has been on my mind this evening. I may even use posts here as parts of the text. I haven't thought it all out yet. Primarily, I hope it will help me figure some things out. Hopefully it will be useful for others as well.

Friday, March 24, 2006

MuteMath in Concert, or How I learned to stop worrying and love the Keytar

I went to see MuteMath in concert last night, with Greg and Patrick (one of Greg's friends and a pretty cool guy despite that fact...oh, burn). I think between the two of them, they knew half the crowd. It was crazy.

Anyway, I was excited to see the 'Math in concert. I've been following their career since the Earthsuit days (a couple of the band members were formerly in Earthuit before MuteMath), and I've always loved the sound. Earthsuit had almost a "reggae-rock with a fistful of rap" feel. MuteMath has a more "electro-synth rock meets U2" sorta thing going on. Both are incredible. Paul Meany, the lead singer for the two bands, is an extremely talented musician. Actually, all the guys in MuteMath were great.

The show was great. The opening bands, The Futurists and The Working Title, weren't bad. But MuteMath rocked it hard. It was crazy intense, with the band members operating in some sort of amorphous, pulsating awesomeness. The bassist was playing both his bass and a bass drum, Paul rocked a keytar and a piano, the drummer played everything from his drums to various parts of the set. It was awesome.

So, in response to the music of MuteMath, I've been inspired to buy a keytar and learn to play it. Eventually, I want to have enough instruments and equipment to record my own music: I've got the bass, need to get some drums, keytar, guitar, etc. A cowbell. Gotta have more cowbell! And of course stuff to record with. Whenever I settle down and get a real place, I plan on making a home studio and creating some of my own music. I've got a long way to go. I should probably learn to actually read music first. That's a good place to start. But, if you know of anyone with a keytar for sale, let me know. I've been watching on eBay, and tomorrow I plan on going to some music stores to see if I can find one.

I guess that's all for now. I think I'll go watch a movie and enjoy a nice, peaceful evening alone...ha.

I am Jack's one-man band...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Fantasy Fight Club...

"How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?"
-Tyler Durden

I was watching Fight Club the other day, and it reminded me of the numerous conversations (mainly in Transy's cafeteria over long dinners) that all started with "So, who would win in a fight between..." Those were some great debates, though they often ended with no clear winner. Anyone who has ever pondered the merits of Batman versus Superman, or Lincoln's long arms versus the resourcefullness of MacGyver (or any other random pairing of combatants) knows about that which I am speaking. A fight is so simple, just two (or more) people (or whatever) going at it. It's intriguing to me anyway, who would win. How we fight (be it physical or whatever) tells a great deal about us. Plus I'd just love to know who would win in a battle between the Justice League and the X-men, because I am a superhero fan.

Wouldn't it be cool to have some sort of Fantasy Fight Club wherein we could pit two entities against each other to see who would win? There used to be a website that did something like this (, as well as I think it would be interesting anyway. Maybe that's because I am a big dork. Anyway, my friends and I spent numerous hours debating the merits of various battles. It doesn't even have to be two people (see: rottweiler vs. rottweiler's weight in chihuahuas ) So much fun. Hopefully I can entice some people here at Emory into these type of discussions...

I mean, who wouldn't want to see, say He-Man vs. Optimus Prime, or Einstein vs. Edison? Imagine the possibilities! It doesn't even have to make sense. If only there were some way to do this, some sort of online virtual reality fight generator, capable of quantifying and comparing opponents. We could even use it to stop wars: instead of people killing each other, just have the countries plug in some stats to the computer, and see where it goes! (This idea is related to my paintball war idea: instead of real guns, just use paintball guns. Last one standing wins. As an added bonus, paintball-related deaths have to be significantly less than war-related deaths!)

Yes, I realize this is completely flawed and ridiculous. Work with me here!

I think it would be amazing. If this were a reality, I'd probably never leave my apartment. The possibilities are endless...

Enough of that rambling. Although it would be really cool. Anyone reading this, feel free to leave your dream matches in the comments!

Spring Break was good. Went to the new Georgia Aquarium, the Zoo, the Coke Museum. Good times. Got quasi-lost just about everytime we went out, but never so lost as to not be able to get back on our own, so that's good. Josh and I went crazy at the Coke Museum (poor Colleen had to put up with us. Sorry 'bout that one), when our comedic minds combine...we are...probably loud and annoying. But funny.

Now it's back to the real world. Papers. Class. Reading. Studying. Working. I need to figure out what Scripture I am going to use for my Old Testament exegesis paper. That might be a good start.

The semester is about half way over, which is amazing. This school year has gone by so fast. I'm almost a third of the way done with the program here. Wow. Dang. I should really figure out what in the world I'm going to do after I graduate. Gah! I think I'll just retire. That sounds good.

That's enough rambling for now. Just wanted to let everyone know what has been on my mind as of late (and as you can see, it is nothing productive). Again, feel free to leave your dream matches in the comments! I'm off to figure out whether Zwingli could take Luther in a cage match...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

WOO! Spring Break is here...

Finally. After a long week, Spring Break is finally here.

So, to recap the week...

I was supposed to hear from the people at Briarlake on Monday. I didn't. Instead I spent the entire day doing homework for the week, so I could study for my Old Testament test on Thursday.

Went to class on Tuesday, nothing eventful. Spent Tuesday night and all Wednesday studying (except for a few hours for class Wed. night). Still no word from Briarlake. I am Jack's confusion.

Thursday morning. Cram session for Old Testament, a test over 15 different prophets. Gah. Too much information. Anyway, as I'm outlining an essay about the gendered metaphors in Hosea 1-2, Jeremiah 2-3, and Ezekiel 16, I get the call...

Good news! They want me for Con Ed. And they want me for the summer. And they want to pay me. I am Jack's rampant enthusiasm. I'm going to meet with them soon to iron out some details, so more on that as it develops.

1:00pm. Zero Hour. Prophecy in Israel, here I come. We begin, and I look over the test. Nothing too crazy. I rush through, barely finish the exam. Overall, I feel very good about it.

Thursday was great.

Spring Break began Friday afternoon, after working at my current Con Ed site. I've just been relaxing, hanging out with some people, etc. Spent the better part of today cleaning. I'm about to go to the airport and pick up Colleen, who is spending Spring Break here in A-Town. We're gonna go to the new Georgia Aquarium on Monday, and the Coke Museum some time next week. It should be a blast.

So, it's been a great, but busy week. I'm sure everyone is thrilled with the excitement that has been my last few entries. I'll try to come up with something a little more intruiging soon...

Off to the airport. Let's pray I don't get lost...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Rise Up...and more

I went to my first NBA game last night, to see the Atlanta Hawks (Rise up!) play the Sacramento Kings. Greg (a Candler friend of mine, for you non-Emory people) scored some free tickets from a friend of his (thanks Matt), so we went to support A-town. Since I don't have an NBA team that I really care about, I think I'm going to adopt the Hawks. And the Braves, since I don't really have a MBL team either. I forgot my camera, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures...idiot.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, from haranguing Ron Artest ("Ron-Ron eats babies!") to watching a young Hawks team play together(seriously, they've only got a couple of players with more than 4 years experience in the NBA). And the Hawks have no viable big man, although crowd favorite (by crowd I mean Greg and I) Zaza Pachulia was trying. I was hoping to see Artest flip out again and then we would have a riot, which would have been my first riot too. Sadly, I did not succeed in my endeavours to incite a riot. Maybe next time. I want to get tear gassed. Wait. No.

Let's see, what else interesting happened this week. Oh, Tuesday was a great day. I started it off well by actually getting up relatively early. I went to meet with the student minister, Alfred (he's not a "student," he is in charge of ministering to students) at Briarlake, the church I have been attending and hope to work with this summer and next year. The meeting went well, I think. I hope I made an accurate presentation of how much I want to work there. I really liked Alfred, he seemed very laid-back and friendly, but I could see a fire in his eyes about working with youth, which was one of the things I always look for in youth ministers. I REALLY want to work there this summer. And wouldn't you know it, they REALLY need people for this summer. Someone to help do some planning stuff, go on the many trips, help with the administrative side of things, etc. I can do all of those things. I was a business major and I've worked for 5 or 6 years in clerical-type positions: I can definitely "push paper" with the best of them.

I really and sincerely hope this works out. I'm tired of jobs in which I have no real interest. I want to have a job where I feel like I am actually doing something. Actually helping. Actually ministering. I wonder if the position at Briarlake this summer will be a paid position. Let me clarify- this is not a "I want to make a ton of money to do nothing" sort of thing- I work hard, and will work hard. I only wonder if it will be paid because I HAVE to have a paying job this summer. I haven't had a real paying job since I graduated from Transy. If I don't make some money this summer, I won't be able to stay in school. That is a sad but true fact. If this job is not paying, I'll have to get another one, 40 hours a week, which will severely limit the amount of stuff I'll be able to do at Briarlake, i.e. I won't be able to go on any of the mission trips or fun trips or anything that would require me to miss work. I simply won't be able to devote the time I want and can give to them. And that will suck. So, I hope that this could be a paid position (it doesn't even have to be much. It could even be a salary or stipend, and then they could have all the time I have to give. They could monopolize me for a summer and I would love it. I'd just need a few days over the summer to see the fam at some point). Honestly, I would/could do it for say, around $3,500, give or take. While that seems like a lot, I would be willing to help full-time for about 3.5 months. So, 40 hours a week for 14 weeks is 560 hours. $3,500 over 560 hours is $6.25 an hour. It's cheap! I'm cheap...? And that's just 40 hours a week. I would be giving more- especially on the mission trip (24/7), etc. To be honest, it's pretty close to a bargain. Plus, I'll (hopefully) be giving them at least 5 hours a week for an entire school year following this summer for Con Ed.

Man, I really hope this works out. My motivation is to work with the youth group. I want to get involved, I want to help. I want to get into some ministry. But despite my motivations, the bills must be paid. And if I cannot pay them, I cannot stay in school. Which will prevent me from getting an education and being an actual educated youth minister (sorry, personal bias coming through- I STRONGLY believe youth ministers need at least an equal education to full pastors. I'll rant about that some other time). So, to summarize, I want to work full time at Briarlake. But I simply cannot do it for free, which I hate. I can volunteer a few hours a week for free. But if I want to really be involved on a substantive basis, unfortunately I'll have to make some money. I don't like money. I really don't, which is extremely weird for a former business major to say. But it's true. I do not like money.

The people at Briarlake are supposed to get back to me on Monday about Con Ed. I can do that for free, no problem. In fact, I'd rather do that for free. I'll have to talk to them about this summer at some point soon, so if they cannot do it (which I would understand- it's hard to find money like that), I'll have time to find another job. And if I have to find another job, I guess I'lll just suck it up and do it. And I'll just volunteer as much time as I can at Briarlake. But I would love, absolutely love, to not have to do that. I've been praying it all works out so I can give the church my time, not some job I won't really care for. I'd appreciate your prayers too, if anyone happens to actually read this.

I have a passion to work at Briarlake, a passion to get involved in their youth ministry. It's been a while since I've had a real passion for anything. There have been things that I've really enjoyed, things I like. I'm not ridiculing or discounting anything I've done lately, but it's been some time since something has hit me like this. Actually, I guess it has been since I last did FUP (the First-Year Urban Program, for you non-Transy people. It's a weeklong service project that I was involved with at Transy, until they decided they did not want me. That's also another story...haha), or even the summer I volunteered to be the quasi-interim youth minister at Forks of Elkhorn (my home church). The people here at Candler have yet to see me doing anyhing about which I am passionate. All my Transy people out there know how I can get some times. I love doing something about which I am passionate. That last sentence seems rather obvious. Maybe I should say I feel the most alive, the most useful, the most real, when I'm doing something I feel actually matters. That's it.

Now, I just hope I can express this to Tommy and Alfred, and whoever is involved in the personnel stuff at Briarlake. I want to be able to give them all I can. I need to be able to give them all I can. I need to feel alive.

I feel these waters stirring within me...

Monday, February 27, 2006

I got nothin'...

Yep. Nothing. I should be reading for class, but I cannot seem to focus on it. I am Jack's lack of motivation. It's stuff I've read before, so should I fail to read it again by 6:30pm tomorrow, I'll probably be okay. Speaking of class, I spent a while today writing a paper about my vision of youth ministry as interpreted through a metaphor. It was an interesting process. I eventually settled on youth ministry as an orchestra, which was an okay idea, I suppose. But writing the paper was a great experience (and how often can I say that about writing a paper?) and allowed me to really think about what I envision for my youth ministry. I did a similar project last semester, but I had to tweak the vision a bit to make it fit in with the rest of the paper.

Anyway, it got me thinking about what I want to do with my life. I've got all kinds of ideas, ranging from teaching to going into the music biz. I want to do so many things. I want to be a rock star. I want to teach. I want to start my own record label. I want to start a youth-oriented club. I want to do this and that, yadda yadda. Ideas that may be ridiculous, ideas that may be brilliant. But none of that is really important. I need to figure out not what I want to do, but rather what I should do. Someone very wise once told me, "It's not a matter of finding what you want to do with your life, what job you're supposed to have. It's about your relationship with God." That makes some sense to me. But I want a convergence of the two. I want to find a vocation that enhances my relationship with God while allowing me to help youth do the same. I think that's a noble desire- to have what I want to do be in line with what I should do. Now it's about figuring that out.

Enough metaphysical rambling.

On a practical level, I need to find a job for the summer, so I can start paying off the 'Blazer. I'd really love to work at Briarlake over the summer, maybe working with the youth group. But I'd even work in the office or whatever they needed, just so I can get really acquainted with the church as a whole. Whatever it is, I gotta make some money, that's for sure. I really enjoy Briarlake- I really like the services there, especially the music. I'm actually meeting with Alfred Burgess, the student minister, tomorrow to talk about doing my Con Ed (for you non-Candler people, that's like my fieldwork/on the job training) there next year. I talked to Tommy, the lead pastor, and he seemed really enthused about it. So, I think that'll be an awesome experience, assuming we can work it all out. I've been praying about it for a while now.


The music blog is now up and running, complete with the initial entry. I chose Project 86's "Wordsmith Legacy" since it is the namesake of the new blog. I think it's appropriate. I'm already mentally compiling a list of songs at which to look. Ideally I'll bring in a wide variety of music to analyze. I think the first one went well. Hopefully people will take a look at it (not-so-subtle proverbial "hint-hint, wink-wink, nudge-nudge" if you know what I'm saying). Comment, disagree, complain, provide alternate views, agree, whatever. I'm looking for it all. You don't even have to like the type of music. It's more a lyrical look than anything.

Enough shameless self-promotion.

I think that's about all I have to say for now. Oh, I discovered a new website recently. If you like video games, or web comics, or web comics about video games, check out: It's pretty funny. Occasionally a bit foul-mouthed, but hey, aren't we all at times? Thanks to Amy for enlightening me as to this comedic delicacy.

That is all.

Je suis le roi de fromage.


Saturday, February 25, 2006

On Music, Lyrics, and Meaning

It's been a few days since the last update. Translation: nothing very interesting has transpired. Class. Read. Write. Sleep. Eat. Work. So, rather uneventful.

Went to dinner with a couple of friends last night. Watched "The Village" and "Mighty Ducks 3" which is an interesting dichotomy. Watched the UK game this afternoon with the only other Kentuckian I know here. That was I guess as good a loss as I could reasonably imagine. They played well and had a shot to win it. But they didn't. C'est la vie, n'est-ce pas? Just got back from dinner with a couple friends, and now I'm updating. Translation: my life is not very interesting. I'm surprisingly okay with that.

But, I've been looking for a productive outlet for my boredom as of late. I've seen all my movies, and I can't really buy more right now- the fundage is going toward the new ride. I'm too tired of reading for class to read much for fun. So I've been spending a lot of time here, emptying my mind into the ether.

In that vein, I've decided to start a separate blog to cover one of my other significant interests: music. Namely, lyrics and meaning, or at least what they mean to me. You can find it at:

The title is taken, appropriately, from a song title from one of my favorite bands: Project 86. The song "Wordsmith Legacy" is on their newest album "...And The Rest Will Follow." If you like exquisitely sculpted music and lyrics in the hardcore manner, this is a band you need to check out. They rock. Hard.

Anyway, this new blog will be where one may find my take on artists, albums and songs, as well as anything else related to the music industry that peaks my interest. I've been writing songs for the past few years, keeping them pretty much to myself. Maybe I'll get really brave and post and discuss them on this new blog. Most of them are rather personal, and would probably need some explanation for them to make the most sense. We'll see about that. I've been interested in the music business for many years now, and one of my career goals is to work in the biz, at least for a while. I'd eventually like to open my own record label. That's another story. Back to the new blog...the plan is to post some lyrics and follow them with my viewpoint. Please feel free to comment with your own insights. That's a big part of why I'm doing this. And continue to comment here on the rest of my mundane but wonderful existence.

I suppose I should get started. But what song should be the first to go up? That merits some thought...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My new toy...*cue schoolgirl-esque giggle*

This is my new baby...
It's a 2001 Chevy Blazer, dark blue in color, custom leather interior, power everything, sunroof, 4x4, cd player, power and heated seats, Onstar*, more buttons than I know what to do with. It has the Trailblazer package, which is why it has all the gadgets. They only made this package (which was a forerunner to the 2002 Trailblazer) for a short while. So, it's somewhat rare. It is essentially a top of the line Blazer with features that were transfered into the Trailblazer namesake. Here's another view:

I'm planning on doing some slight modifications. It needs some things to really make it stand out and draw attention to it's awesomness. I'm thinking either tube running boards or rocker bars, grille guard, chrome fender trim, chrome door handles all around, billet grille, fog lights, some serious window tinting, rear spoiler, new front air dam. Some custom wheels eventually. I'm sort of considering installing a DVD player. And that's just the "looks."I haven't even considered what I'm going to do to the perfomance part. I'm thinking I need some more horses...

Here's part of the leather. This insignia is on each of the headrests:

If it did not look so good, I'd definitely replace the headrests with ones that have a DVD player installed. But I really like the leather and its highlights. So, maybe the DVD player can mount to the roof and flip down.

So, this is what will probably be occupying a great deal of my free time in the upcoming months, as I first figure out what all I want to do to it, and also how I'm going to pay for it all. I need to get a job now something serious...

Weekend Update...complete with report card and kung-fu grip

So, I'm rather excited at the moment. Before I get to why, here's what happened this weekend.

My trip started off somewhat crappily, as I left Thursday evening after 4.5 hours of class. I was tired. Loaded up the Corolla and sent its four cylinders of fury northward. Playlist for the trip home, in case anyone wants to know what music I listened to on this road trip:
  • Thrice- Vhiessu
  • Mixtape of assorted raptastic goodness
  • Relient K- Mmhmm
  • Mixtape of quasi-angry rock
  • Kids in the Way- Apparitions of Melody
  • Gorillaz- Demon Days
  • DMB- Everyday
Got home at about 1 am. Went to bed. Friday was uneventful, just hanging out with the family. Friday night we went bowling with our church league. I ended up substituting for someone who was absent. I bowled the worst 3-game series I can remember. Never broke 100. It was bad. Weekend rating about a C at this point.

Got up Saturday morning, feeling rather good. I had planned on spending my entire Saturday at Transylvania University, visiting all my Transy people. About a mile from my house, I hit a patch of snowy-icy destruction and hit a guardrail. No amount of damage to me. Unknown amount of damage to my car. Turned around and went back home to examine the damage. Busted bumper, partially shattered headlight, dented front and rear quarter panels. Essentially, a couple thousand dollars of damage. Those of you who know me, know my car should I say this...hmmm "seen better days." Called the parents and told them. They took a look at it. Decision: possibly unsafe to drive. Plans to visit Transy: shattered like the dreams of small children. Spent the rest of the day discussing options with parents and looking around for a new ride. Test drove some things, but nothing fantastic. Weekend grade: F.

Sunday, went to church. Had dinner with the family. Sat around. Then got inspired and went to Transy on a whim. Visited my "wife" (fulfilling my marital duties so to speak...giggity, giggity, giggity. Alright.), her roomie (and my long-time friend), some of my fraternity brothers, friends, etc. (in no particular order- please, no one be offended...haha.) Finally able to eat some quality pizza, finally able to see my Transy people (just not for long enough). Weekend steadily improving. Still no decision about how I'm getting back to Atlanta. Or my status as the owner of a functional vehicle. Weekend grade: B-.

Monday, got up and had a strategy session with the 'rents. Mom would man the phones and find out about insurance stuff, rental cars, etc. Dad and I would go looking for potential suitors (cars, not people, silly.). We decided to try Lawrenceburg, KY, first, and then head to Lex Vegas. On the outskirts of Lawrenceburg was a small dealership. We pulled in and I saw several interesting vehicles, including a 2002 Lexus RX330. Cried because I'm quasi-broke. Not really.

Then, I spotted her. She was beautiful. The heavens rang out in an immaculate chorus. A 2001 Chevy Blazer with the Trailblazer package. I examined her, looking for flaws I knew would ruin my ability to purchase said beauty. Condition of vehicle: excellent. Price: manageable. Hmm....could it be? Oh yeah. I bought it. I am now the proud owner of a 2001 Chevy Blazer/Trailblazer/big old pile of awesome. For more info, see the next post. Weekend final grade: A+.

Got up this morning and drove my new toy back to Atlanta. I am pleased. My weekend went from bad to worse to incredible. I was able to accomplish everything I intended: see the fam, celebrate Dad's birthday, visit some friends, eat some Slice of Chicago pizza, and some I never imagined: having a wreck, buying a car. Overall, an awesome weekend.

Now, I'm back in the ATL with a new ride just waiting to be "pimped" as the current parlance goes. I'm already making plans...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

You Can't Go Home Again...

You know, I'm not sure what I think of that statement. You can go home again. It's just that home is not the same.

For example, I am leaving Thursday evening after class to drive home. Dad's 49th birthday is on Tuesday. I have class so I can't be there on the actual day, hence the weekend sojourn back to My Old Kentucky Home. Gonna go see the family, go to church, etc. But I'm rather excited about visiting my people in Lex Vegas on Saturday. So y'all best be ready. Of course, none of you read this. I just started it today (well technically yesterday, it is about 1:00am).

Going home now isn't really going home anymore. I have an apartment here. I pay rent here. This is where I live- peace up, A-Town down. Now, going "home" is really going to the location formerly known as home. Cue Prince-esque symbol. Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm getting at here. I just spent the past hour and a half or so talking to some friends about Transy. Really, I was just bragging. Good natured bragging of course. For all it's flaws, Transy is an awesome place. I got to enlighten these friends on topics ranging from the time I knocked myself out in the midst of the warzone that was 1st Clay, to sincerely missing my fraternity brothers, and many things in between. I'm usually not one to just open up and yak about my past, but tonight it just felt right to do so. So I did. We sat around reminiscing about our respective colleges, which brought back a lot of good memories.

All of this got me thinking: I miss Transy more than I thought I would. This place is good, don't get me wrong. I like it here, I have friends here, and this is definitely where I am supposed to be, but Transy was the place where I always felt the most comfortable. There's no place like Transy, and there are no people like Transy people. Transy is home.

And now, I get to go back and visit. For that, I am grateful. I'm looking forward to hiking up to 4th Davis and feeling "this is where I belong." I don't feel that anywhere else (of course, excluding my actual home with my family- that's an entirely different, but good, feeling).

Tomorrow, I am heading for home. Saturday, I'll be there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Okay, kids, let's talk about Valentine's Day...

Ahh Valentine's Day...that most lovely of holidays where we all express our love and affection for our significant others.

You know what? Why do we need a day to do this? Honestly? I blame Hallmark, who is definitely operating in conjunction with the chocolate and flower industries.

You know who else I blame? Men. Yes. That's right. I blame my gender. If we weren't (typically) so oblivious to what's going on around us, we wouldn't have to be subject to the pressure of V-Day. And trust me ladies, for guys V-Day is like preparing for war. You have to arm yourself (see: candy/flowers/etc.), develop a strategy (dinner plans, whatever), and then fight hard to simply survive (not tick off your mate). If you don't, well, let's just say it's not fun times.

So, now that I know you are all begging for more of my's what I think we, as men, should do.

If we hate the pressure and build up of V-day so much, why not do smaller things throughout the year? Honestly, take out the trash a few times, call her randomly and tell her how you feel, send her a letter (yeah, those things you actually write out and put in the mail. You know they still send those things, right?), etc. and you'll be pure money, man. I think if we were all just a little more attentive, then if we were to maybe fail a little bit on Valentine's Day, we would not be casualties of this tragic war. Instead, we would have built up some credit or leverage or however you want to see it. You mess up on Valentine's Day? Just remind her of the time you sent her that (crappy) poem you wrote just for her. Or the times you called her for no reason. There, now instead of being executed by the firing squad (read: her when she tells her friends how you botched Valentine's day), you'll have done some damage control. Maybe you'll just lose a finger or something.

That is all.

For now...

And so it begins...

I think it may be time. Time to simply say whatever is on my mind. So that's what I plan on doing here. It may be utterly ridiculous, or entirely serious. Who knows? I don't. I'm going to try to just let all this come out, just let it flow from mind to fingers to the realm of "the 'Net." We'll see how that works out.

Worse case scenario, I'll type this stuff and no one will read it. Maybe that's not all that bad. Yeah, probably not. So, real worst case scenario, I'll post something that stirs up some mysterious and elusive character from my past who hunts me down and turns me into his or her own second skin, Buffalo-Bill style. IT PUTS THE LOTION ON THE SKIN! Yeah, that's probably the worst case.

Best case scenario, I change the world. For the better, obviously. Yeah, that's probably as good as it could get.

So...this is it. Time for it all to begin. I click "publish," and it's all out there. Awesome. I am Jack's wavering indecision.


Wake, dead man, wake...