Friday, April 30, 2010

This is Piracy On At Least Two Different Levels

If you're reading this and in High School, come to camp. Seriously.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Things

I've been busy. But not the kind of busy you're thinking. Its a productive kind of busy. I've been making music a lot over the last week or so. I'm pretty excited about how its been going. Here's what i've been working on:

Can't Fix You

Gone (New Version)

Ballad of a Tension

(they're at myspace if those links don't work.)

The Tallest Man on Earth was a great show. I'll write more later about that, but its 1:18 AM and i've got to sleep.


* UPDATE: all those files are def. working now, and also available to download. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good Things

it's been a pretty eventful week. I reached, at one point, that place where you want to lay down and let everything just happen without you. I usually find myself somewhere in this familiar cycle of wandering then sin then pain then feeling sorry for myself then self realization then grace then identity then wandering. The first four steps had been lasting quite a while this time, and I was at a point where i didn't want to play the game any longer, somewhere between steps two and four i guess. Then, after a series of impacting conversations and realizations, God took me gently by the hand, and lovingly whispered in my ear, "shut the **** up."

Yesterday was incredible, weather wise. There was a crazy sunset-cloud overcast-falling rain combination that made the sky light up bright orange. It was beautiful, like "why the hell didn't i have my camera with me" beautiful. Augusta was blessed with 180 degrees of enormous rainbow that i stood and stared at for the better part of 15 minutes. Beautiful. I got to play soccer, found out i've lost weight, and got my FIFA 2010 World Cup ticket confirmation in the mail.) That, plus the euphoria of only having 19 days (and a wake up) left in Her Majesty's Navy, the tickets I have to see The Tallest Man on Earth (one of my new favorites,) and Omar going on a walk without fighting with me the whole way for the first time, have made all those petty annoyances that I spend my life whining about seem a lot less heavy. God has this way of holding me tightly as i kick and scream, and he's been at it again.

Two things I love (go ahead and click):
This, and
This (click on "Ballad of a Tension")

And, a third:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sir Omar Aloysius Shakur Davis the First (Loooong version)

I've started to notice that everything in my life is in some way or another becoming a spiritual metaphor for something else. It's a bit annoying, because I am faced daily with truths that I have easily brushed aside for so many years/ Sir Omar is no exception.

As Stated before, Ryan found him on the street; starving, sick, scared out of his mind. Every one of his bones was visible he was a rail. His tail was bruised and significant bald spots were clear evidence that he had been in several fights in his short life. Any time the resident Bulldog, Aeneas, would come near him, Omar would snap, flash his teeth, bark and chase Aeneas away. Luckily, Aeneas was gracious, mistaking the obvious aggression as an invitation to play. Any sudden movement pushed Omar to retreat, to put his tail between his legs and send his head as low to the ground as was possible. He was aggressive, sickly, starving, and hopelessly frightened of any other living thing.

Until you held him.

In my arms, he changed. He would wag his tail incessantly, and lick every part of exposed skin he could find. He was happy; ecstatic, even. He felt the love that he deserves when he climbed into my arms and tried to lick my face. He saw that love is real wen he fell asleep in my lap, knowing that he wouldn't be awakened by someone trying to hurt him or take from him; knowing that he didn't have to fight anymore. He didn't want to run and play or even eat or drink nearly as much as he wanted to be held. The embrace and the love that came with it were the only thing he craved.

And then I realized; this dog is me. This crying, frightened little puppy, that has known nothing but pain and neglect in four(ish) short months; this dog that was literally starving from lack of food, but emotionally starving from never knowing love; this dog that was filthy, covered in dirt and parasites; this dog that has been beaten, attacked, and taken advantage of; this dog that has probably stolen and killed and started just as many fights as he's been forced into; this dog that has spent his entire short life hiding and running from everything in it; this dog is me.

I've spent most of my life the same way. So often, I depend on my ability to uphold myself, to present myself as worthy of God's loving arms. But I fall so short, and it has left me steadily hungry, starving even, for those arms that I don't think I deserve. And, out of that self-condemnation, I fear the people around me. I try to protect myself from the rejection that I believe is imminent. I don't allow myself to be loved. I emerge loveless, hopeless, broken in half and scared to death of everyone around me. This dog is me.

But he's beautiful. And that's the thing; this dog is so beautiful. He's got some of the prettiest markings that a dog can ave. And he's alive and strong and worth so much. He's a little angel, and I love him with all of my heart. He has nothing to fear now, he won't ever know a hurtful blow, he won't ever know hunger or neglect again. He's beautiful. But he can't believe it. He has no point of reference to accept the fact that he is a valuable, beautiful creation.

But he knows it when he is held. All he is after is an embrace.

He's home now.

And I so desperately want the same to be true for me. All of my running, my leaving home has gone on for so long. I want to feel that same embrace and voice of home that Omar feels. I want all of the beauty and value I'm told I have to really be there. I want God to sit down on the porch and let me climb into his lap, just so that he can hold me. I want to know that I am loved and have it uproot my lifestyle and my relationships, and to instill immeasurable hope in me. He was lost, but now is found. He is home. How desperately do want to be home also.

This dog is me.

This naming process was a difficult one , because of all of this. I wanted him to have a name that was empowering , that held promises that he could claim as his own; that this dog is strong and lovely and valuable. That this little scared puppy had so much beauty and strength in him; that he's more than just a bastard stray that won't survive the summer.

So, here's the breakdown:

Sir - He's a knight, royalty n our family of dogs. He has a domain and a role and toys to lord.

Omar - G-Fresh suggested this one, which I really liked. It sounds a manly, regal kind of name. Also, Omar the Great was the most powerful and influential of the early Muslim rulers. He had a huge role in the spread of the ancient Islamic Empire into all of Persia and most of the Eastern Roman Empire. He was a baller.

Aloysius (al-lo-WISH-us) - As picked up on by Dad, after Thomas Aloysius Giholley, Lee Marvin's character in Donovan's Reef. He personifies the epitome of a scrappy, independent man to me. He's rough and unpolished, very dog-like

Shakur - Tupac, of course. This dog is as much from the streets as anyone can be. He's a thug, and needs a thug name. Pac's one of my favorites.

And that, in the longest form possible, is the deal with this dog.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Guy pt 2 (He Has A Name!)

Sir Omar Aloysius Shakur (Davis)

There's a lot more to that, spiritually speaking. I'll explain later. I'm not really in a spiritual mood today.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Guy

I have a dog. It all happened so fast, and went like this:

My room mate Ryan was walking to/from work downtown, and he saw this tiny, skin and bones puppy running through a courtyard. He tried to approach him, but the dog kept getting scared and running off. Eventually, Ryan cornered him, and the dog curled up in a ball. Once Ryan picked him up, however, the dog became really docile and friendly. Ryan could see that he had some injuries and, as stated before, was really malnourished. In a moment of compassion, Ryan carried him to his truck, and took him home. Once I got home, Ryan said something to the effect of, "do you want to take care of him?" To which I replied, after some deliberation, "Yes. Yes, I do."
And just like that, I've got a puppy. He's beautiful. We deduced that he is some kind of Bull-hound mix, and right around the 2-3 month old range. Given the breed, the area where the dog was roaming, and his general skiddish-ness, its obvious to us that he is the victim of neglect, and possibly some abuse. We figure that he's been in at least a few fights as well, as he hasn't reacted very well to Aeneas, the lovable but intellectually-not-all-there American Bulldog that Ryan has been raising for the last year. I'm pretty sure that tolerance will come with time, as he eventually realizes that he doesn't have to fight any more. He'll be going to the vet next week for shots, etc. I need to come up with something to name him. Any internet bound ideas? He's from the streets, so I'm thinking something thuggish, but he's also really sweet, so maybe we could go that way as well. Anyway, more on all of this later. Good things. And, pictures:

...and more on flickr.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Story Arcs, Vonnegut explained

I have come to the realization (with help) that I need to expand on my previous post. Kurt Vonnegut is on a short list of authors that I want to start reading. I bought Player Piano during my Dystopian literature phase but never finished it. Mostly, because I realized early on that the style in which the first chapter was written wasn't that of a casual novel i could dive straight into. I felt an inclination to explore Vonnegut in a little bit more detail, so as not to walk away from Player Piano with a bad taste in my mouth, not having been able to understand/appreciate his style. I don't know if that makes sense, but suffice it to say: he's on my list. I don't know a lot else about Kurt Vonnegut. Really only three things:

1. He wrote Slaughterhouse Five (and Player Piano,)
2. He had a big hand in this. (Which i saw for the first time at the Book Tavern downtown and started wanting right away...)
3. He's a hell of a lot smarter than I am.

And that's where i begin...

I guess this is a confession of sorts. Lord knows, I'm terrible at confession. But Vonnegut outlines a very serious fear that I have been running from for most of my life. He describes life as automatic; boring and routine. He says that stories are reserved for the fantastic, for movies and books and video games. Six month ago, I would have openly denied my status as a practioner of said lifestyle. But, looking back, I am exactly that. I have so often sold my story short for what is convenient and simple, what is easy and accessible. I've settled; out of fear, boredom, or general selfishness, for days and pursuits far less interesting and true than the ones that I have been created for. Vonnegut nails the idea in such a delicate yet assertively true manner; far better than I could.
I think that I'm starting to believe that our stories really CAN be better, more beautiful and more free when we submit to Jesus. He has these terrific plans to guide and lead and to give me hope and value and adventure in life. But, I've settled for far less for the entirety of my life. I may have been on the right track a couple of times, but distraction wins out so steadily. Though, I'm starting to grow tired of seeing that ancient fear of failure, and those voices that discourage the life within me, define and shape my story arc. Vonnegut's "life" might be real, but there is something more real and more true out there. Not to say that Jesus will "keep out all the sadness," as I don't think I can believe that (see below.) But, there is life in him: he even claims, "I AM the life," and "I have come that they (Mondo) might have life, and have it to the FULLEST" (John 14:6, John 10:10, respectively.) I've lived like Mr. Vonnegut describes. But I see beauty in breaking that mold that rings so true. I think its possible for Christ to move into my and our life and revolutionize, re-center, and refocus our sights and plot outlines on him and make space for his perfect love and plan for our lives. Our stories can be so much more than this:

But I don't let myself believe it. I don't put my timeline in God's loving hands and await what he brings my way. People that have given themselves up don't live life like that (^). And I don't have to either, I think. I'm a long ways off from figuring all of this out, but I'm trying just to hold on to the hope of something greater. I think that's it.
So there it is.

Monday, April 05, 2010

I like this

"Kurt Vonnegut at the Blackboard" via Lapham's Quarterly

or, more simplified and summarized

"Kurt Vonnegut Explains Drama" via Derek Sivers

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

Shameless Self-Promotion

New Song up on Myspace (I know.) It's not autobiographical at all. Lyrics below:

hang up the phone this moment
there's something important to speak
we're not alone though loneliness
still finds its way into me

this shining light
you're perfect
in all your assertions that we
could make it right
these curses
and lovely dispersion now free

listen in in close
the whistle of wind in the thistles and trees
they speak the truth
in language
thats foreign and strange both to you and to me

they say
how can we be lovers
as we crawl beneath the covers
there's no room for one another
we run away in ecstasy
you can not be taken
by advances i have made but
still there must be something greater
than the skin that has been holding me down

it's plain to see
this burning
our full stomachs turning on beat
you can't save me
from learning
the lessons that He has to teach

i want you here
your silence
your internal violence beneath
a shining smile
that's' glowing
it never stops flowing to me

it says

how can we be lovers
as we crawl beneath the covers
there's no room for one another
we run away in ecstasy
you can not be taken
by advances i have made but
still there must be something greater
than the skin that has been holding me down

walk away
it isn't right to stay
we might come back some day
but it's gonna take some time

this skin ha been holding me down