Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What have we become...

2 hours ago a gunman opened fire in the Westroads Mall here in Omaha. As of right now everyone I know is safe, but names have yet to be released. I do know that one of my friends was there and witnessed everything from the beginning. As stunned as we can be everytime something like this happens in our country, it never compares to what it's like when it happens close to home. What have we become? Can we really look at this country and continue to say we're doing ok without God?

There are 2 things I know for sure.

1. I refuse to live in fear.

2. I refuse to accept that this is just the way it is.

We can make a difference. We can make a change. We cannot allow this to continue.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I was finally able to put up my Christmas tree yesterday. If you know me, this is actually a really long time to wait. I was supposed to put it up the weekend of Thanksgiving, but the band ended up finding out on Saturday about a show we were supposed to play on Sunday and I wasn’t able to get to it.

My tree isn’t anything special. I picked it up at Wal-Mart for $20 a few years back. None of the guys in my house had enough for a tree themself so I figured I’d treat everyone. I’ve still got and use all the cheap little ornaments I bought for it. There was nothing sentimental about them when I bought them, but over the last couple years they’ve started to become so.

This is my absolute favorite time of year. I know there are a lot of people who complain about Christmas being “over-commercialized” and hate the holiday because of it. While I agree with them, I don’t share their sentiment. Everything is over-commercialized these days from music to church to Nascar, but it’s what YOU make of it that matters.

As a Christian, the biggest reason I’m thankful for the season is obvious. The reason it’s my favorite time of year though has to do with family. For as long as I can remember, Christmas has been the time for my family to get closer (and not just while opening dozens of presents). I remember years where we didn’t know if we’d have enough money for gas to drive around and look at Christmas lights, not enough for a Christmas tree, and not enough for lots of expensive presents. Come to think of it, despite the lack of packages underneath the 1-foot tall Christmas tree, the Christmas I’m referring too is probably one of the fondest memories of my life. Christmas with my family taught me that giving really is better than receiving and that there are more important things in life than things.

When I listen to Anberlin it inspires me to want to change the world. When I go to church I find my faith growing stronger. I don’t really watch Nascar, but I’m sure if I loved Dale Earnhardt Jr. he would inspire me in some way. The Christmas season inspires me to be a better person. I’m positive that if any of the ba-humbugs out there would use the time they spend complaining to, I don’t know, feed the homeless, buy presents for needy children (though that would, God forbid, feed the consumerism), or even call a friend who they know is going through a hard time or who they haven't spoken to in a long time, that the Christmas season would take on a whole new meaning for them. If that might be you, give it a try. I think you’d be surprised. I promise I won' tell anyone.

PS Another thing I love about Christmas is drinking a peppermint mocha while reading by the fire as it’s snowing outside.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


It was a sunny day in Kansas and the small town carnival we just finished playing had been a success. Everyone was in a great mood. After the show, each of the guys went their own direction with their significant others and we decided to meet in an hour to get things loaded up. Mindy had come along with me and we had driven separate. We were going to be leaving before everyone else. While we were wandering I happened to bump into my Pastor from Omaha. I wasn't quite sure what he was doing down here, but after saying "hi" I forget to ask. After some cotten candy we headed back to my Blazer and started loading up the equipment. Soon enough it was starting to get dark and we were headed out.

About an hour down the road we decide we are hungry and want to stop to get something to eat. We'd had enough of restaurants and fast food so we decide to swing into the local grocery store to get something healthy. I pull into a parking spot and shut off the truck. I stretch and we sit in the truck talking for a couple minutes before heading in. The next thing I know, through the gap above the equipment piled in back, I can see flashing lights behind us. To my surprise there's also a police officer standing next to my window. He taps on it with his flash light. Not knowing what on earth I could have done, I roll down the window and stammer "Uhhh, is this not a parking spot?" "No your fine," he says, "but we've recently had a brash of killings in the area and we still haven't found the killer. You shouldn't just be sitting here like this. Lots of people are getting shot in the head." "We were just going to get something to eat," I say, frightened at this point, "is it ok if we run in real quick and grab something before we take off?" "Yeah that would be fine," he says, "but hurry up."

That's when he notices the equipment in the back of the truck. After examining it through the window with his flashlight he tells me he needs to search it. I pop open the rear window and start unloading stuff. As I pull out a suitcase, the merch box falls and pops open, spilling money everywhere. The cop picks up a hundred dollar bill and looks at me. "I'm in a band," I sputter, "and my bass player and drummer were supposed to put that in the money bag." He silently puts the cash back down. After further examination he tells me it's ok to load everything back up and that I'm free to go. I do exactly that. I'm not staying in this town any longer.

Finally everything is loaded except for one last suitcase. I thank the officer and extend my hand to shake his. He stands their stiffly, looking at me through his aviator sunglasses. That's when I notice what's going on around me. The streets are completely empty, the grocery store isn't even open and the flashing lights that I thought were police lights are really coming from a tow truck in a parking lot behind us. I slowly look back at the police officer. He's no longer wearing his sun-glasses and has taken off his hat. He's staring at me with evil eyes, his hair is wildly messy in the wind. His grin is crooked and menacing. I slowly look towards the gun on his hip and his hand quickly moves to draw it from the holster. I grab my suitcase and thrust it in front of my face, hoping to deflect the bullet first and defend myself second. That's when the officer shoves the gun to my hip and pulls the trigger.

My life flashes before my eyes as I envision the bullet tearing through my flesh and shattering my hip bone. I'll never walk again I think to myself as I'm falling to the ground.

I wake up gasping from my dream. It had been a toy gun. I remember that much. When he had pulled the trigger it was only a toy gun. It had made the "bang" sound and I had really thought I was being shot, but I wasn't and the cop laughed.

My heart is racing. I try to fall back asleep but it's impossible. I decide to roll over and try again, but feel I should check the clock first.

It's 5:03 am. The exact time to get up for work. My alarm never went off. Typically it's set for 4:27 and I hit snooze until around 5:00, but that didn't happen cause it had never been set. I stumble out of bed and try to make sense of it all. It's not until several hours later, after I get to work on time, that I'm able to shake the panicked feeling. I still wonder if there's more to understand.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Justice has been served... Amen!!!

I just read the news and I couldn't be happier. According to, the Westboro Baptist Church has finally gotten a small taste of what is coming to them. If you aren't aware of of who this group is, they're the ones who travel around and actually protest soldiers funerals with signs saying things like "Thank God for dead soldiers" and "God Hates Fags." Finally somebody sued them and won. Finally a lawsuit that I feel is well deserved. The settlement was for $11.9 million to be paid to the father of soldier who's funeral was protested. My only further hope is that many many others follow suit and put this group out of commission completely.

As much as I want to see swift and terrible revenge carried out upon these people, I know that this feeling is not right. Justice has been served and for that I am greatful. The only other judgement needed is that which they will incur when they leave this life. A judgement that can just as easily be reversed if between now and then they repent of their sins and truly ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.

Even though they are hate mongers who shame and defile the name of Jesus, He loves each and every one of them as infinately as He loves me. He is just as willing to forgive them as He has forgiven me. In God's eyes, my sin is just as terrible as theirs.

It's not the easiest pill to swallow, but when digested you begin to understand why it was prescribed.


Monday, October 1, 2007

Tattoo have and to hold

Once again I've joined the ranks of the newly tattooed. It's funny, considering that all I've seen lately is how the popularity of tattoo removal is exploding. It's been about 6 years since my last tat, so if it's only a phase of mine, it's lasting a long time. I got my first one when I was 18 and I still don't regret it. Actually, it's become such a part of me that I hardly see it in the mirror anymore.

My dad actually forbade me to get a tattoo for many years, saying that he'd disown me if I did. Strangely enough, I was ok with that. My dad was cool enough to sign for me to pierce my ears, and he let me quit all the sports I was playing so that I could spend more time playing guitar (which is all I really cared about at the time). Besides, I didn't even really want or like them for a long time. As 18 crept closer though, and the idea of going to college was becoming a reality, the idea of a tattoo became more appealing. Finally I decided I wanted one and drew up my design. Then, because I was a respectful son, I sat my dad down to talk to him about it. Once again my dad surprised me with his support. It wasn't until several months later that I surprised him with the actual tattoo (the morning I was leaving for college, I guess I still believed he might murder me). We'll see what he thinks of my latest one considering it's my most daring to date, and nearly impossible to hide.

Since that day I've been back to the tattoo parlor 3 times for a total of 4 tattoos (6 depending on your definition of a single tattoo). I doubt the latest will be my last. I held off getting tattoos for a long time because I couldn't justify paying for a tattoo when I was having trouble paying rent and buying food. Any extra income went for amps and guitars.

I get tattoos because they stand as a marker in time. If I would have gotten one because everyone else was doing it, I would have regretted it a long time ago. The girl who got the butterfly on her lower back, or the guy who got the tribal arm band (that doesn't meet in the back) because everyone else was doing it, are the people who are getting them removed. Now that they're 30 and a little more saggy or no longer playing football, that tattoo means nothing. They realize as they look back at their high school pictures with the baggy jeans and flannel shirts that their "love" for the tattoo has faded, just like their love for the grunge look.

But then there's the 70 year old man who's got a wrinkly blue anchor on his forearm. He wears it as proudly as the day he got it, even though you can only make out the shape and none of the detail. He'd never think about having it removed because there's a story behind it that he'd love to tell you. "Got this in Okinawa back in 53' with my Navy buddies. I still get together with Topper and Scrugs about twice a year. Scrugs has grandkids. I never thought ol' Scrugs would find any woman that would keep him for more than a week. Stupid as a brick that Scrugs, but his grandkids are brilliant."

This is the kind of tattoo wearer I want to be and that's why I only get tattoos for memorable moments in my life; most recently my wedding (I'd be happy to tell you the story). For a vow that is supposed to last for life, what better memorabilia (at least in my opinion) than ink that will last for life. I guess the point can be made that less than 50% of marriages last these days, so why risk a tattoo. I'm convinced though, that the people getting divorced are the same people that are getting tattoos removed. If you can't commit to a small patch of colored skin that you decided at one point would last forever, how can you ever expect to commit to a living, breathing human who can hurt and fail you?

Unfortunately, divorces these days are easier than tattoo removal, but as for me and my household, we will have neither.

Do I think that everyone thinking about getting married should go out and get a tattoo? Not at all. But I think you can see the parallel.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Love, or a lack thereof

I leave tomorrow to get married.

I met Mindy (who's name I haven't yet mentioned in this blog) 3 and a half years ago. It was an awkward first meeting to say the least. Awkward enough that it took a year of chasing to convince her I was worth dating. It was 2 and a half years ago that she finally said she would be my girlfriend, and about 6 months since she said she'd marry me.

I write tonight because I want a record of what I'm about to say, because what I'm about to say cannot be taken lightly on my part.

This week has been an amazing week. A week that has finally made clear many things that God has been calling me to do, but that I have been ignoring.

I've been a Christian now for several years, but for the most part I've been a Christian in appearance and reputation. Don't get me wrong, I don't question my salvation. If I would have died a year ago, I would have gone to be with Jesus. On the other hand, I am realizing that through the last couple years, God has been working in my heart, and my flesh has not kept up. I apologize if that sounds "churchy," but that's really the only way I could think to put it.

It boils down to this; I do not love as Jesus has called me to love, I do not trust Jesus the way that I should, and I am not walking the path that God is calling me to walk.

I am getting married in 4 days to a woman I know God has set apart as precious and holy for me, so I must and will from now on, love her as I am supposed too. It's sad to say that I am so far detached from truly loving (and not just loving with strings attached) that I have to physically demand myself to do it, but I'm afraid that's what it has come to. This week has shown me what it is to truly love, and I choose tonight to bury my selfish love and love Mindy the way the Christ loves the church.

Then there's odediance. Mindy said to me the other day "I fell in love with your smile, but I never see it anymore." She was right. I come home from a day at work, where I'm considered talented and intelligent, and where I make a descent amount of money and I can't even muster up the slightest smile. The only time I seem to smile is when I'm on the road with the band. I know I'm called to ministry in the band, but I'm realizing now that I am called to ministry beyond the band as well, and this is where trust comes in.

I have never truly trusted God with my finances. I understand finances and enjoy the study of money and how it works, and the thought of not having it scares me. Enough so, that I hold on to a job that is damaging my life and my relationships because it comes with a good paycheck. I do want to mention that I feel this job was a blessing, and I believe God gave it to me for a purpose, but now that it has fulfilled this purpose, I will soon be called to leave it and with less "security," venture into a life of full time ministry.

A life I don't necessarily feel qualified for...

but I'm not the judge of that.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Life, Commodities and Todd in general

Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was typing my tour diary blog, and now that I look at it, that was more than 2 weeks ago. Come to think of it though, absolutely everything in my life has been moving this fast lately. 2007 has been a huge year. More has happened this year than the last 5 years put together and I've still got nearly 1/3rd of it left to go.

I doubt there will be much of a point to this blog other than it's helping me take my mind off studying for a couple minutes. While on tour a couple weeks ago I got a call from work, and the promotion I had interviewed for actually came through. It was a good feeling, but it came with several large books and a difficult test to pass. I've made it through the books at this point, and about 10 practice tests, now I'm just re-reading and re-testing. The real test is on Wednesday. Once passed I'll be a licensed Commodities Broker. I know, it sounds boring, and trust me it is compared to playing music and touring, but in a strange way I love it. I imagine there's a good reason I'm working so hard at this on top of working so hard with the band and working so hard to maintain my relationship with my fiance'. It's daunting, but there's a purpose.

The days are counting down until the wedding. We stressed all this weekend that Hurricane Dean was going to destroy Jamaica before we were able to visit, but it seems that everything should be ok. The island is still intact. I can't imagine the amount of stress relief it will be to finally be finished with this test and then finally finished with the wedding. I probably won't know what to do with myself, but you know what that leads to... lots and lots of writing.

The band finally secured a new lead singer. I don't think it was ever officially announced that Jared was leaving the band, but that's ok. We didn't really want to make a big deal of it. I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish with Jared these last 4 years. We wouldn't be here without him. He's a good friend and a good person and he will be missed. I'm happy that he's following his calling, even though it is calling him away from the band.

Todd Laird is going to be stepping up to the mic for us from now on.
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I'm very excited about this. Todd was actually one of my guitar heroes in the early days of playing and really inspired me to be the player that I am today. I saw him in the band "Simple Truth" when I was a sophomore in high school and thought he was amazing. Somehow through God's devine intervention, nearly 10 years later, we happened to meet at a church service. From there things progressed and when the lead singer position opened up, Todd was interested. I see great potential in this pairing and I think huge things are ahead for Fate of Angels. Who'd have thought God would make our paths cross again all these years later. I've got to believe that it's for a greater purpose. I just can't wait to see what that higher purpose is.

Thanks for reading.

Next time, I'll make the blog worth your while...

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A week late... (tour diary)

It was exactly one week ago that I was laying in my bed in North Carolina, realizing that today was the end of one of the greatest experiences of my life. Soon after I would fall asleep. When I awoke, there would be one last show, one last chance to hang out with the kids and then it was time to pack up and head home, back to a life of schedules, money making and chores. But what an amazing trip it had been.

It started late on a Tuesday night. The guys were supposed to be at my place around 10:00 pm, but as it typically goes, they didn't get there till about midnight. I had planned in advance though for this to happen, and took the extra 2 hours to take one last nap on my couch. Eventually they showed up, we loaded up, and we were off.

I drove the first shift, and slept as soon as I was done. Later I was woken up just outside Chicago. We'd already driven through Iowa (so I didn't miss much while I was asleep). We ate a quick breakfast and set out to finish off Illinois. Soon we found ourselves in Indiana, and then thanks to a wrong turn by Anthony, in Michigan. The detour only cost us about 10 minutes and we were back on track and cruising through Ohio. Before we knew it we were driving through Pennsylvania. I woke up to see Philidelphia and then our first destination, New Jersey, 26 hours later. After a stop for directions at the nearest Wawa (go to New Jersey, you'll understand quickly) we found ourselves at Mt. Misery, in the very woods where the legend of the New Jersey Devil originated. We didn't let this bother us though and we were soon fast asleep...

...for a couple hours at least. We woke up early the next morning so that we could take a field trip to Surf City, New Jersey and for a couple of us including myself, see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. The day couldn't have been much better. The water was cold, but the experience was unforgettable. After three hours in the drink we headed to Boulevard Clams, soggy and sunburnt, for a seafood lunch. Later that night was the first night of work.

After the show we slept another night at Mt. Misery and soon headed out on our next quest; to see the Statue of Liberty. I can now officially tell you from experience that driving a 15 passenger van while pulling a 6x12 trailer through the busy streets of Newark, New Jersey is not something I want to do again. We did accomplish our goal and got a good look at Lady Liberty, but only from the back. Since we were running out of time, we decided to come back the next day for a better view. It was off to our next show. Luckily we left early. The trip to the next destination, which was supposed to take an hour ended up taking 3 because we were fortunate enough to hit New York City, Friday afternoon rush hour. We made it just in time and the show went off without a hitch.

The next morning it was time to get to the meat and potatoes of this journey; New York City. We were going to do it all and do it quick cause we had to play another show that night. We started out at the World Trade Center. It was a very humbling experience to stand in the crater of the buildings I watched fall on TV 6 years ago. Why they haven't been rebuilt yet I still don't fully understand. After that it was off to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, then to Broadway, 5th Avenue, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty again. We hit it all in 6 hours, and then it was off to pick up John at the airport before we headed of to the next show.

We played that night knowing full well what lay ahead for us. The next show was the next evening, and we were 12 hours away from it. After we loaded up that night it was back to the hotel for showers and then on the road one more time, this time to North Carolina. On the way we hit Delaware, Maryland, Viriginia and decided it would be fun to tour Washington DC at 5 am. We took in all the sights, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Monument, The White House, The Capital building. Another thing that I can now say from experience is that Washington DC police don't like a 15 passenger van pulling a 6x12 trailer around the city at 5 am. After a couple verbal warnings that we were not where we were supposed to be, we decided it best to simply move along.

By the next afternoon we were at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in the US). This is where we would spend the rest of the tour, playing twice a day for groups of kids from all of the South Eastern parts of the US and playing volleyball, basketball, and ping pong in the free time between sets. This turned into the highlight of the trip. The kids at these camps were amazing. We felt so welcomed and appreciated. We even had the opportunity to write a song with a group of kids. It ended up practically turning into a camp anthem and we played it every session after it was written. We may even have the opportunity to record it for the next album. We'll just have to see.

And this is where I was, one week ago this evening, laying in bed, thinking about heading home, looking forward to seeing my fiance again, and my doggie Henry, but knowing that one of my biggest adventures to date was drawing to an end. The next day we played on last time and loaded up. We headed off into Tennessee and made a quick stop in Nashville to meet with our manager. Then it was off through Kentucky, where we watched a semi truck blow a tire at 75 mph and later a car full of teen-agers race past us only to lose control and do a 360 into the ditch. Soon it was Illinois again and then Missouri, and finally back home at 8 am, just in time to make it to work at 9 am.

In the 2 weeks we were on tour I had the opportunity to see 8 new states, swim in the ocean for the first time, tour New York City and Washigton DC within a 24 hour period, and play music for hundreds of kids. There was one point on stage where I remember just looking out at everything and saying to God, Thank you. Thank you for all of this. Who would have ever thought I'd be able to come this far. I still think he's got a lot in store for me. The next adventure starts next month when I do another couple things for the first time. I'll tell you more on that when the time comes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Who knew making a salad was so fun AND those "Ziplock" Commercials are true!!!

So it's Tuesday July 17 and I've been rushing around all day trying to get things around to leave on tour tonight. The band is headed out to New Jersey to play a couple camps and then to North Carolina to play a couple camps. I've been looking forward to this trip for quite a while even though it's going to be ultra complicated and fairly stressful. What else is new though.

So at lunch time I was feeling health and money conscious. When I'm headed out on the road for a week or two I never pick up groceries cause they'd just sit in the fridge and go bad. Because of this I usually eat more fast food than normal which reminds me that I don't have a lot of money and also makes me think about gaining more weight. Luckily my fiance is going to be living in my house while I'm away so that she can take care of Henry, my basset hound.

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Well since my fiance was going to be moving in she had already started stocking my fridge with her kinds of food. Girls eat strange things like fruit, vegetables, and chicken (as compared to my diet of coffee, ego waffles, and cereal). Since I had already eaten the last of my waffles and cereal, I decided to tap into her food reserves in the fridge. There was lettuce, leftover grilled chicken, salad dressing and cheese. I seem to remember eating something in a restaurant that had these ingredients. Yes, actually I used to make them when I worked at Applebees. A chicken ceaser salad! Not only is it free, it's probably healthy.

Once the menu has been decided on, I commence the wrangling up of a bag to put the ingredients in and shake them up (like I've seen on TV in those salad dressing commercials). As I'm doing this I think back to those ZipLock commercials where they put spaghetti sauce in a ZipLock bag and a generic back and then threaten to hold it over someone's head, and then make them choose which bag they really want to use. They were pretty intense commercials, but it's just advertising right?

Once the ingredients are in the bag, I commence the shaking (I like the word commence cause it makes me feel like a fighter pilot.) 2 seconds into the shaking, the zip seal of the bag pops open like ZipLock warned me it would if I used a generic bag instead of their name brand. The salad and chicken and dressing and cheese flips out of the bag in every direction. All over me, the counter, the floor, and mostly on the dog, who was faithfully at my side at the time of the salad making.

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Thankfully Henry was helpful in cleaning the mess off the floor, though he didn't seem to realize he had salad dressing all over him that I later had to clean off. I salvaged what was left on the counter and ate that for lunch.

I'm pretty sure Henry will get excited from now on when I make a salad, and I'm pretty sure that from now on I'm buy Zip Lock brand zipper bags.

Friday, July 6, 2007

I'll be praying for you...

I've heard it said that the lie that gets told most often is "I'll be praying for you." I think of this almost every time I tell someone I'll pray for them, knowing that I really won't. Recently I've made it a point to say a quick prayer shortly after I tell someone this, just so that I won't have told a complete lie. I'm also working hard at remembering to do it at least once more within the next week. It's still just so difficult.

I don't know why it's so hard to pray for other people. I'm sure it's got something to do with the fact that we human beings are focused on ourselves and rarely do anything that that doesn't give us some sort of immediate gratification. Praying for someone is cumbersome. I'd rather be thinking about what I'm going to have for dinner later tonight, what's going to happen on Grey's Anatomy, or if that smell is coming from me. Praying gets in the way. It's a shame though, cause if anything, this world could use a lot more prayer and I'll tell you why.

I've read that a good way to look at the God to human relationship is like a piece of paper with a line drawn on it.


The paper resembles God and the line resembles our life path. We exist at one small point on the line. This point is constantly moving forward but can never move backwards. The line has a beginning and an end. God on the other hand, as the piece of paper, is dwelling in our past, present and future, all at once. He is omnipotent. Not only is He every place, He is every instance. He is helping me through stuggles as a 5, 10, 30, and 50 year old at the same "time" he helps me through struggles tonight. This makes His grace and forgiveness even more amazing to me considering He is witnessing the total summation of my sin from the past, present, and future constantly; from the beginning (is there such a thing?) into eternity.

With that being said, my mind is numb. I've never considered myself a theologian, so this may just be the ramblings of a mis-informed fool. But if this correct, is it possible that I can pray for someone or something, or a certain instance from my past and have it mean the same as if I had done it back then? God is not constrained by time, and if prayers are direct communication with God, the whole God, and not just a tiny section, then really, my prayers should echo throughout eternity, for all eternity, past, present, and future, simply because that's what God is.

For me, this puts a new perspective on prayer. For someone so concerned with leaving a mark on this tiny world, I find it exhilarating that a simple prayer can leave a mark on eternity.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Greatest and Worst Feeling I've Experienced

I just got back from an amazing week in Montana. The band was there to lead worship and help out with a camp. The 15 hour trip up was eventful, with the van on the verge of overheating the whole time and then hitting a deer somewhere in South Dakota, but once we arrived, I knew it was all worth it. The scenery of Montana is breath taking. They don't call it "the big sky state" for nothing. The camp was located in a valley between two timber covered mountains and was overlooked by the majestic Mt. Holly. The weather was a perfect 60-70 degrees and the sky was almost always bright blue with white puffy clouds hanging lazily.

As with most camps that I've taken part in over the years the feeling of community was amazing, only attainable in a week long camp. Friends become better friends, enemies become acquaintances, and everyone gets closer to God than they have the entire year. Usually this "high" trickles down over the year as you are once again implanted back into the real world, but the feeling that you've accomplished something, that you actually experienced God in a way you are rarely able too is wonderful. That combined with the new people you've met and may never see again once the camp is over, leaves a terrible sense of longing once your back home.

It's the greatest and worst feeling I've ever experienced.

Part of it is due to my nature. I'm a drifter at heart. I was telling Jared yesterday, I've never been gone long enough to actually miss home. I miss my fiance and that's about it. Having to come home after a week of exploring, playing music, seeing new places and meeting new people, to go back to the dull beige of my office cubicle always feels like a sock in the stomach. I do realize that the current band trips are basically suspended reality and we're only capable of taking them comfortably thanks to my beige office cubicle. Still I can't help but think that even if the money wasn't as good and there was more of a financial strain, I'd still be happier on the road, doing what I feel I'm called to do. I just have to figure out how to get there.

For now I take solace in knowing that I will be traveling at least 1000 miles away from home every month until the end of the year, one of those trips being to Jamaica to marry my fiance. I'll be seeing at least 7 new states, and the ocean for the first time as well traveling outside of the country for the first time. Actually 2 or 3 oceans if I'm lucky. I'll still have to work, but now that I think about it, it's not that bad.

Here's the video blog I made for the Montana trip.

Josh's Montana Video Blog

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Estate

My fiance and I visited an estate sale this weekend. For those of you wondering what this is, it's about as simple as the name. Someone is selling their estate, exerything in their home. Everything is pulled out from the shelves and cupboards and priced. Many times the owner has passed away or is simply moving into an assisted living establishment where they can't take all of their stuff. We enjoy perusing such sales as we are young and own relatively little and have recently bought a house which is practicaly bare. We also don't like paying full price for new things and an estate sale is a good place to find well taken care of furnishings for low prices.

As with everything I encounter these days though, this estate sale got me thinking. The sale we visited wasn't really that great, for us anyway. There was nothing we were interested in and we were done in less than 10 minutes. That being said, there were hundreds and hundreds of items for sale in this house. Clothes, dishes, train sets, buttons, VHS tapes, trinkets and furniture just to start. Needless to say, this is one of the smaller estate sales I've been too. What got me thinking was how much value we Americans place on stuff. We go to work everyday and sell ourselves for a per-hour dollar amount. Rarely do we do this because it brings us fulfillment or joy but because it gives a means by which to amass stuff. We drive to work everyday to make about enough to buy a car and fill up with gas every week so that we can drive to work everyday. Anything we make beyond that, or even money we don't actually have is spent on stuff. Clothes, dishes, train sets, buttons, DVDs, trinkets and furniture, that if lucky, will end up someday in an estate sale to be passed over by a younger, hipper generation.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my stuff just as much as anyone else. I have a house and am in the process of filling it with stuff. On the other hand though, I do try and keep the right mind set in which I own my stuff and my stuff doesn't own me. It's a hard line to walk. It's not very tight and everybody tries to tell you it's the wrong one, but how often is the crowd actually right?

Friday, May 18, 2007


If you were to ask me, as I sit here today, what it is that causes me the most mental distress, I would honestly have to answer it is that I am losing my hair and will eventually be bald; That the crown of my head has approximately half the amount of hair that the sides have and that there is a small patch of noticeably thinning hair in the front and center of my mop that is slowly but surely growing larger. It is the first thing I notice in the morning and the last thing I see before going to bed. I have even dreamt about it.

Considering the state of the world we live in, as I sit here today, I find this rather pitiful.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Bagman

I pass the bagman about every other day. He's usually on the street next to the bank on my drive to work. I call him the bagman not only because he's homeless, but because he's covered from head to toe in plastic bags. The only exposed skin are his hands and face; His beard is dread-locked and he's usually talking to himself. He carries with him a bundle of cardboard boxes which I guess may actually be his home. His attention is usually directed to the back of a cereal box which he is reading. From what I can tell it's always been the same cereal box.

I wonder what it was in his life that put him here on the street corner reading the back of the same cereal box day after day. Was he born with a mental illness that has given him struggles his entire life? Is he a war vet that witnessed atrocities we cannot truly conceive? Did his father abuse him? Is he a meth addict that has burnt his mind out with a pipe? If this is the case, I wonder if his suppliers ever laugh at him and his situation and continue to take what ever money he can scrounge up to buy his next fix.

I'm not sure why God has put this person on my heart. I've known several "regular" homeless people and have never given them a second thought. There's the woman who would wait for me to get out of my car so she could ask for 75 cents to ride the bus. There's another woman who always wants me to take her to another town saying that her boyfriend is beating her and makes me feel guilty when I don't. There is the bike man who is always riding his rickety bike around Council Bluffs. I remember them, but I've never really wanted to know them. I'm very interested in knowing the Bagman. I wonder if he likes coffee. I could take him coffee on Friday mornings and try and converse, not as a person trying to show charity, but as a person simply trying to be friendly.

I don't know if I'll muster up enough courage to talk to him anytime soon. My schedule is conveniently busy and time for such a gesture is hard to come by.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

One thing

What is one thing I can do today to not think about myself?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


The following is an article written by a friend and was recently published on He's a much better writer than I and I really enjoyed the article. Thought you might as well.

The MySpace-ination of Community
Friday, May 4th, 2007By Jon Reisinger
Earl, Roy, and the rest of the old guys meet down at the barbershop, play checkers and throw back a lemonade. It’s the American ideal at its finest: like hot apple pie, baseball and the Dream Team winning the Olympics. But times have changed, right? Now, we have cars with air conditioning, portable telephones and indoor plumbing. The pedestrian days of yesteryear with outhouses are gone. Yet, could it be that besides breeding E. coli, those outhouses somehow also bred community?
A new age of clichés has dawned. We have the internet with all its ones and zeros, and shockingly, community is thriving again…online. Although you never see someone you know walking on the street, you’ll see the same screen names in your little viral communes. As big a nerd as I am, I think I have around seventy “friends” on MySpace and only three of them are inanimate objects.
So the question becomes, will there ever be a flesh and blood community space again? Will there ever be a place that people gather together? There is that “third place” that sociologists refer to: a place that friends get together other than work and home. But now we are outsourcing to “third place” dot-com. We are pushing reality further away from ourselves onto the TV and computer. Porch swings became a thing of the past as they are replaced by laptops that can steal wireless internet signals.
I went to a supposedly cutting edge housing development called, The Village Gardens, on the outskirts of Lincoln, Nebraska. The developers are desperately trying to return the “community feel” to a neighborhood. All the garages will face into back alleys; there won’t be any back yards; and there will be a Whole Foods. Not sure how the Whole Foods plays into the mix, but it was important enough for the realtor to mention it in the same breath as “community.” Perhaps he was hoping I was an over-paying, veggie-eating communist with knack panache for back alleys. He was right.
I don’t know what it is about paying $5.95 for a carrot, but when I do do this, I love sitting in the park and playing fetch with other peoples’ dogs. Somehow, Whole Foods equals community. And we poor folk are screwed.
The current move away from “real” community makes me think that Xanga, Facebook, and MySpace really suck. I know this is the new cool idea that has replaced the initial thought of MySpace being cocaine. But after finding all my high school classmates and asking random hot chicks to be my friend, the slickness of virtual life has worn off.
It’s like an alternate reality where rules of civil goodness don’t apply. Not only can you bash someone’s ideas, but you can do it with absolutely no fear of retribution. I have literally had someone steam roll me in real life and then ask me to be her friend on MySpace. It’s the virtual version of, “Let’s not date, but will you take me to the prom?” Seriously?
Don’t get me wrong; I love a free stinky couch as much as the next person, which is probably why a site like has become so massive. His list is in every state and in fifty countries. And while this virtual bulletin board has a huge following and is technologically superior to the garage sale, I wonder if we have lost something. Gone are the days of face-to-face banter and barter. Admittedly, I find this online garage sale rather handy when it comes to fixing a vintage motorcycle. Because really, I don’t want your random selection of ’87 Kawasaki parts unless I can somehow get them without seeing you.
I can’t even watch football with real people. Why? Oh yeah, because I don’t have a fantasy football team. What happened to the teams that actually exist? Can’t we just get back to the good old days of drinking beer, eating nachos and riding the Bears bandwagon together? A deeper fear yet: that football in the park could be replaced by Madden ’08 with some kid in Beijing.
I just finished a book by the pastor of a large church in Seattle. He cusses. There, now you’ve put two and two together. Anyway, he talks about trying to build a church bigger than 150 people. His congregation gets pissed that he would try to do that. Why? Their concern for community. Although the church was doing great things, the congregation was terrified of growth. They feared that if they got bigger, they wouldn’t know everyone and a sense of community would be lost. They had blindly stumbled upon community and now suddenly someone was threatening it.
They aren’t alone. There seems to be an interesting trend. Church has become one of the only places that community exists. Fortunately, some very wealthy old dudes, named Hybels and MacArthur, realized that Christians need to clump together in little clusters. We have small groups. We have Bible studies. We meet in coffee shops. We can even get together to lose weight for Jesus. And they do this because Christians love people; real people, not screen names with the occasional avatar.
Perhaps, we are moving away from real community. The fact remains that people want to be loved for more than their pimped out MySpace page. And the church can do that. It’s interesting that after two thousand years, they can know us by our love again.
So how ’bout it guys? Wanna stop playing Xbox Live and meet me in the park for football? We could take up an offering and get some carrots too.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Humble Thyself

You can have no greater sign of a confirmed pride than when you think you are humble enough.

-William Law

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Looking at this painting has made me happy as of late. The artist is none other than my own brother. Jake Kidney.

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I wrote a letter to my mom today. I'm not sure why I feel the need to post it, other than I think it's the most honest I've been with my family for a long time. I have this "solid rock" complex where I feel I need to come off stronger than I am. I hope I'm breaking that down, cause I'm not really that strong at all.

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Hey there, sorry I haven't written. Work has been extremely busy and taxing these last few weeks. _______ and I hardly even get a chance to write each other anymore. Things are going ok around here. It's been a pretty tough month in general though. With work being busy, and the stuff getting stolen, not to mention the little struggles with the band, car troubles, the stress of trying to plan a wedding, and trying to work on the house and live a "normal" life, I think it's all starting to catch up. I got to a point where I realized there was nothing I enjoyed in the day any longer, nothing to want to wake up for. Everything had become work and I got no rest anytime. That's partly my fault, cause I had to let it get that way, but I've been working through it. I've been getting up early all this week and taking time to watch the sun come up and read and think. There are times when it seems I've got so much to do, that if I take any time to reflect and be quiet, I feel irresponsible. I'm realizing now how important it is and these last couple mornings have been very refreshing. I look forward to going to sleep so that I can wake up and have my quiet time.

I'm glad you've at least got your house for a little while and I'm hoping you can find what you're looking for in another house. I know the house hasn't been the best to live in, but I remember how excited you were when you first moved in. Just remember how big of a blessing it was.

I've been struggling with the idea of keeping my job. I'm not going to quit any time soon, but it really has started to control my life and I don't like that. I almost cringe every time they give me a raise cause it makes it that much harder to leave and it looks more more irresponsible to the world if I did. I've been so troubled with that in conjunction with everything else going on that I've been starting to make mistakes at work, which makes it even less enjoyable. Failing has never been one of my strong points. I think there will be a turn around soon and I'll be feeling better about it. Conversion happens in a little over a week and I'm sure that is going to be a terrible time, but I'll make it through. I just have to remember how big of a blessing it was to get this job in the first place. I know I'm not meant to stay here for the rest of my life, but the education is has given me, and the finances it has allowed me have definitely put me in a better place. I think once I can snap this losing streak I'll feel much better.

Anyway, yeah, the pic I sent you last night was of landscaping. I think _______ might be sending more pics later. Her mom had a friend come down and do the work for me as a gift. I really looks nice. I got all the trim for the living room cut and painted and it will be going on this weekend. The Offut air show is this weekend too. If you guys are free on Saturday it might be something fun to do.

I still plan on coming to Grandma's for memorial day weekend, though I have no idea what weekend that actually is. I don't think we have any shows but even if we do I can make it for at least a day.

Well, I need to get around for work. Love you.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007


The day started with another early rising. Coffee, the sun, and words on a page greeted me before the stress of the day could consume me. This really set the mood for the rest of the morning. No rush, no stress, just beauty. This morning was different than others though because I would soon be driving to work with my fiance'. Her car has been breaking down continually and was in the shop again, so as soon as I was ready for work I headed off to pick her up. It was nice to start the day in conversation with a person who was actually interested in what I had to say and didn't just need something from me.

Soon I was at work and back to the daily grind, but the day was a bit brighter because it had started off so well. Before I knew it, 10 hours had passed and she was there to pick me up.

We went directly to the grocery store to pick up groceries for the week and while we were there decided to pick up ingredients for a nice dinner for the evening. On the way home we picked up a movie for after dinner. When we got home I commenced chopping the tomatos for brucietta and she started the pasta. We opened a bottle of Shiraz and enjoyed each other's company as we sipped and snacked. When the pasta was done we sat and ate and enjoyed each other's company and conversation.

By the time we had finished it was 9:30 and too late to start a movie. We ended the night dozing on the couch.

I can't believe how much I've missed this. I've ruined plenty of nights that could have been just like these with the way I acted. I would be grouchy after work, impatient at the grocery store, non-conversational and cold on the drive home, and un-helpful with dinner. I don't know why I feel the need to act this way.

I understand that there will be times in the future when I will once again be a jerk. I wish this wasn't the case, but I know myself. I'll act like a fool and forget about everything I wrote today. There will be arguments and hurtful things said. This is unavoidable. This is relationship.

But today I can revel in the wonder of last night. A night that enveloped nearly everything I have looked forward to in a relationship. I look forward to many more nights just like this.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Man in the Mirror

One of my greatest annoyances in life would have to be selfish people. People who cannot look beyond their own nose to see the needs of other people, to give instead of always receiving.

At my work I deal with selfish people every single day. I want this, I need that, I DESERVE more. It drives me crazy and the more I deal with it, the more I realize I'm just like them.

I have become my own greatest annoyance.

When did the world become about me? What makes me so special? I know my inner thoughts. I know my true nature. I above anyone should realize that I am least among the least and should never be considered a model, yet my world seems to be focused on me and what I want.

I'm not quite sure how I got here. I know it's human nature to be selfish, but I don't remember ever feeling as "me centered" as I do these days. Regardless of how it happened, the one thing I am certain is that it needs to stop.

The first step to recovery will be to stop the thoughts that tell me I am important, accomplished, or somehow special in some way. The goal is not to become self loathing by any means, but to reach a level of humilty which is congruent to my significance in the universe. I was put here with a definite purpose by the creator of the universe so I am not insignificant, but there are also billions upon billions of other beings who have been placed in this universe with a definite purpose, so I am no more and no less significant then any one of them.

The next step will be to start fulfilling the purpose for which I was placed here. Music is one facet of my purpose, and I am living that the best I can, but this can't be the only focus. For a long time now it has been. In the persuit of music I have neglected many of the other facets of my purpose such as charity, community, and devoted worship.

When one is consumed with one's own self, one misses out on what is truly beautiful in the world.

I can only speak from my own experience and it may not relate, but if the world seems dull and shallow you may want to start exercising your mind's eye by looking beyond your own metphorical mirror.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Dead and Sleeping....

I woke up early this morning. Not as early as I had planned, but 30 minutes earlier than normal, which is an achievement for me. Typically I wake up around 6:45 in order to leave for work at 7:05. It doesn't leave much room for error, but I've never had much motivation to wake up any earlier.

Lately it feels as if my life is alternating between 2 states of conciousness;

dead and sleeping....

I wake up in the morning with nothing to look forward to but performing the day's tasks. They give me no mental stimulation beyond that which is required to perform at a minimum level. I trudge through the day the best I can, and by the evening, when I may actually have time to do something I enjoy such as spending time with my fiance', writing music, or reading a book, I have no mental capacity left. Even these times are few and far between as every night seems to be filled with more and more to do.

I realize it sounds as if I live a drab existance and am generally unhappy with life, but this is not the case. I'm simply exhausted, and I feel that the problem lies in my inability to live up to one of my own mottos; "Everything in moderation."

Life can easily be consumed with mundane tasks that this world deems important. Society seems to be screaming at us that it is our responsibility to make as much money and have as many "things" as possible. To live up to this standard we give up dreams to work high paying jobs we don't like so that we can buy things we don't need to impress a society that doesn't know what's best for us. I must admit that despite my efforts for simplification, I have fallen prey to this mindset.

My biggest err in judgement actually happened slowly over a long period of time. Only now that it has consumed my life am I able to see how it first began to creep in. In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains how everyone is centered around 7 or 8 traits that truly define them as a person and in order to remain balanced, they must actively seek to nurture those traits and not become distracted with the frivolous things that life is constantly throwing at us. For me I would say the top 4 things that would define me are my relationship with my fiance', an artistic nature, an introspective mindset and the goals of an entreprenuer. The problem arose when I started replacing the activities that nourished these traits with activities that nourished mere busy-ness. When I started working as a stock broker on top of working at Starbucks, all the time I used to spend reading, writing and thinking was spent studying for my Series 7 exam and working an extra 30 hours a week. The stress of the job and the hours I spent at work distanced me from my fiance' and strained the relationship. I became less introspective, less artistic and increasingly focused on the bottom line. As soon as the bottom line was my focus, I began losing the joy I use to experience day to day. The music that used to make me feel accomplished now made me feel like a failure because I was not yet able to make a living at it. The obsession to make a full time living as a musician soon started straining relationships in the band which in turn conjured more feelings of failure.

My life has become a routine which services someone else's goals, ignores what is important to me, and is starting to increasingly diminish my health and happiness...

...but I woke up early this morning. I read un-interrupted for the first time in a long time. I watched the sun come up and sipped my coffee at my leisure and not between words on a phone call. I reflected for the most refreshing 20 minutes I've had in months. I look forward to waking up in the morning tomorrow, even earlier. I'll watch the sunrise again, read more CS Lewis, and enjoy my coffee. I'm still not going to like coming to work, but I'm hoping that if I can at least start to focus on what is important and needed in my life rather than the rat race, my dislike for my job will slowly be replaced by the joy that I will be allowing to resurface.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thought of the day

"...what people fail to realize is that all achievements are eventually surpassed, records are broken, reputations fade, and tributes are forgotten... you were not put on earth to be remembered, you were put here to prepare for eternity."

I don't have the time these days to actually read the books, and it bothers me immensely, but I do get small blurbs of time to read others' thoughts who have had time to read the books. So thanks Stephen for today's inspiration.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Currently Listening too...

So here's what I'm listening too the most the last month or so. Yeah, I realize it's not the coolest, most indy playlist you may have ever seen, but I enjoy it. When I actually have time to seek out unknown bands, I'll start doing it, but until then, I guess I'll just have to keep listening to what's semi-popular.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

2007: Year of the Rock

and I don't mean AC/DC.

In the last 2 months, 2 of my good friends have gotten engaged, and my best friend for the last 7 years was married this weekend. I used to be terrified of marriage, and honestly still was until Chad was married this weekend. It's probably a good thing finally overcame this considering I myself am getting married in September.

It used to be that I was so pre-occupied with the band that any interference to me felt like the death of the band. I remember seeing my old band instructor shred on guitar and tell stories about touring, and I asked him why he quit. He said he met his wife and wanted to spend as much time with her as he could. Then there was my guitar instructor, who was on his 3rd wife. He said he'd known hundreds of guitarists who had been ruined by a woman, because women always want their hand held and that doesn't leave you enough hands for your guitar. So I hardened myself. Nothing was going to get in the way of my guitar playing.

Then I met Emily. Emily was a 5'10" model with blonde hair and green eyes. Suddenly my hardness melted away and soon I forgot about my guitar and my ambition to be a rocker. She didn't ask me too, I just did. I made plans to go back to school, become a pilot, and buy an engagement ring. Then she dumped me. After a year and a half she dumped me. It hurt, but I wasn't scarred. I did however make the decision to never let a woman get in the way again.

I soon dropped out of school and started the Livingstons and lived a miserably happy life. No attachments, just the music. It was great and lonely, just like I thought it should be. I was content, perfectly content... until Mindy came into the picture. It was my summer of 80 concerts and there was one week where I saw her at 4. I later made of fool of myself in front of her at church and she avoided me for months, but then, at one of our shows, she talked to me, and we ended up talking all night. It was great, but not enough for her. She refused to date me for an entire year. Finally after a lot of hard work, she finally came around and accepted my plea to be my girlfriend. That was 2 and a half years ago.

I haven't been an easy man to love. I didn't melt for her like I melted for Emily. I was still cold, hard and career focused. I was afraid, even after the year long persuit, that she would some how try to take everything away from me. I knew her, and knew that she wouldn't, but I had hardened myself so completely that it took a lot to soften me up again. For some reason though, she stuck by me. I really don't know why. I'm not that good looking, I'm kinda boring and am really just mediocre all around. Beyond that she's just way too good for me to begin with. But for some reason she has stuck by me and she's made me realize, that despite what I was "taught" in the past, a good woman can help you on your journey and not just get in the way.

I look forward to this big step that my friends and I are all taking. I'm sure it won't make things any easier, but it's not like anything has ever come easy with this band. Who knows, maybe the women that are joining our ranks will be the ones who finally push us hard enough get where we're going. Maybe us guys aren't tough enough by ourselves. We'll just have to see.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Well, if there is any class to criminals, we seemed to have acquired gentleman criminals. The police found the trailer yesterday and it was just fine, save the equipment that was stolen from inside. The thieves did in fact leave us the merch and lights which was thoughtful of them. If I ever meet them, I'll thank them for that right after I give them a special, personal thanking for the gear that is still missing.

We'll consider the merch that we recovered "miracle merch" or "born again" merch; delivered from the hands of evil.

I'm starting to re-consider my neighborhood. For the first month I lived there, there was not a single problem, but then the trailer was stolen, and then some creepy guy parked his car outside my house and sat there for an hour while my fiance was inside alone and just looked at my house. Then on Monday, as I was rolling in from work, I noticed a brand new Tahoe parked out in the street that had minutes before been attacked with a baseball bat, glass everywhere, tires slashed. There was another car nearby with a brick through the rear windshield and a bunch of people yelling at each other. I called the cops for the 2nd time in 3 days. I may end up flipping the house and getting the heck out.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Friday the 13th

So the luck continues.

Our trailer was stolen with about $13,000 worth of gear inside.

They didn't get anything of mine, but that doesn't really matter much. It still sucks.

Drama Queen aside, I can safely say that Friday, April 13th 2007 was the worst day that this life has ever dealt me.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

All Sponsered Up

Well I finally got the chance to plug in my new amp, and I must say, even under less than ideal conditions, it freaking screams. Most of my equipment is in the trailer in Lincoln though, including my Les Paul, so I haven’t really been able to tweak it yet, but that will happen Saturday. I’ll give you the juicy details when I have them.

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I’m officially the only person in Nebraska to own a Splawn amp. I guess that makes me the spokesman. I’m hoping I can get the news out and maybe make Scott a few more sales around the area and try to make my sponsorship worth his while.

I’m now officially sponsored by Curt Mangan strings as well. That’s pretty cool. They’re better strings then I’ve been playing, and they’re about half price now that I’m sponsored.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A Strange Occurance

So something happened today that hasn't happened in a long time. It used to be that I would be working my manufacturing job and my brain would be so bored that I would just start writing compositions in my head; full songs, lyrics, chords, melodies and everything. Even though I hated the job, it was always good if I needed a song cause I was inspired every day. Now that I work in a job that uses every part of my brain for 10 hours a day, the inspiration is rarely there. There’s no brain power left. Well today, since I wasn’t taking calls, my mind started to wander and the next thing I knew I was singing a melody line in my head and couldn’t shake it. It was a good feeling. I’m going home tonight to write it all down and then I’ll decide if it’s worth presenting to the band. Whether it is or not, at least I was finally inspired. Soon I’ll be back on the phone and the inspiration will be blocked out once again, but eventually I’ll be “simplifying” and that should give me more room for some thought power again.

I got the amp last night but due to circumstances I haven’t been able to set it up or play it yet. That comes tonight. There will be pics up soon. I can’t wait.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Gathering Dust

One thing I’ve never been able to do well is stand still. Not necessarily in church or at school, or for a picture, but with where I’m at in my life. This year has been a huge year of change, and most would consider my life to be full steam ahead. I work full time as a stock broker, I just got engaged and bought my own house, not to mention driving thousands of miles and playing show after show with my band. I seem to be living the American Dream, yet I can’t help but to feel discontent. I’m moving so fast that it feels strangely like I’m standing still. I don’t have enough time for my fiancé, to write music, to practice, to do anything I enjoy. I’m exhausted most of the time and any ounce of creativity I may have started out the day with was burned out trying to keep a client happy on the phone. I seem to be striving only to meet the bottom line and I don’t know how much longer I can stand it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll remain responsible regardless, but I feel a great need for simplification. I’m looking forward to finding it.

On a lousy note, I’ve been trying since Friday to get my new Splawn Amp from Fed Ex. It has been a thorn. Maybe by Wednesday I’ll have a happy story for you all about the amp that changed my life.

On a positive note, I haven’t had to take phone calls the last few weeks and have listened to probably 100 new bands while testing systems at work. Can anyone say inspiration?!? Not to mention I started playing piano again yesterday. I swear I’m going to learn that instrument if it’s the last thing I do.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I guess I should have figured it out when the bird flew over the entire music festival audience and crapped directly on MY head.

Or maybe the time I got TWO flat tires on ONE trip to visit my folks in South Dakota.

Or maybe, just maybe, I would have figured it out when my brakes failed causing me to rear-end a nuero surgeon on my way home for Christmas break who in turn sued me for about $30,000.

As bright as I think I am, it's taken me this long to come to the conclusion that I'm not blessed with this thing called luck, and not only am I unlucky, but I am contagious.

Fate of Angels seems to be most succeptable to my disease...

Ever since this band started it's been nothing but one unfortunate mis-hap after another. It's actually quite humorous now that I start to think about it. One of the first major cases I can think of was a trip to Kansas. This trip, we decided to borrow a trailer from a friend so that we wouldn't have to take more than one vehicle. It was a good idea, until I saw the size of the trailer. It was massive; absolutely too large to be pulled by Anthony's 6 cylinder Ford Explorer, but we hitched it up anyway and took off down I-80. We stopped about an hour later in York to grab something to eat, and when we came back out to the truck, the transmission was pouring out transmission fluid. I should have trusted my gut instinct and just taken the extra vehicle in the first place, but once again, I chose wrong. The only thing we could think of was to call and and say we couldn't make the show. We dialed up our friends "After the Order" and broke the bad news to them. They wanted us to play the show bad enough though that they conviced us to just grab our guitars and whatever we could fit in the truck and come down and use their amps and drums, and play the show anyway. We concluded that the truck would survive the rest of the 5 hour trip as long as we weren't pulling the trailer, so we quick locked up the trailer at a gas station and jumped back on the road.

You'd think that that would have been enough for one bad day to throw at us, but that was hardly the case.

About 2 hours down the road, we realized that if we didn't hurry up, we'd be late for the show and the whole trip would be pointless, so Anthony picked up the pace.

5 minutes later we were stopped on the side of the road, and the friendly Kansas state trooper was writing Anthony an $80 ticket. Now we were even more behind schedule. Just what we needed.

As if that wasn't enough, about 30 minutes down the road, Anthony looked down at the gas gauge and decided it was time to get gas.

5 minutes later, we were all praying that we could coast long enough to make the top of the hill so that we could roll another quarter mile down-hill to the gas station.

The first stroke of luck that day was that we made the top of the hill and we didn't have to do any pushing.

Once we were filled up, we jumped back on the road and made the rest of the trip with relative ease. We arrived just in time to plug in our guitars and play the show.

The rest of the night went fine. The show was fun and the trip home was uneventful (though Anthony's transmission bit the dust the next week).

I've said on numerous occasions, that it feels as if we've got cords around our ankles. That we're like a dog on a chain, and the chain is only so long. We start running just to get yanked back by our throat.

But then I think how far we really have come from where we started. For every 2 steps back we had to take, we would take 3 more steps forward, and through the years those tiny steps forward have started to take us places.

So here's to the destroyed vehicles,
the big shows that got rained out,
our drummer being sent off to war,
the blown speakers,
getting stuck in the mud,
30,000 people walking away before we had a chance to perform,
the trip to the wrong airport,
the forgotten merch and cymbals,
the broken relationships,
the alternator that caught fire,
the 6 channel board with six inch main speakers,
the wedding rehearsal cancellation,
getting lost on the way to the show,
the outdoor show we played while it was snowing,
the outdoor show we played in the middle of a tornadic thunderstorm,
renting a venue and having only 5 people show up,
the shows we never got paid for,
the friends who didn't come like they said they would,
our radio promoter who fell in a man-hole and broke his leg.

For the bands that have come and gone while we've stayed together.

Like Jared wrote in The Friction, "Throw downs with this world are never easy to win, nothing worthwhile in this life has ever been.

For some reason were still here and I don't suspect we'll be going away any time soon.