Saturday, November 29, 2008

before i go to bed

This is from an essay Albert Einstein wrote in 1949.

"I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society."

Monday, November 24, 2008

i don't think i'm ever gonna figure it out

My opinion on humanity is open to a myriad of influence, I think I'm still pretty impressionable, even at 27. I thought that these might be my "obstinate" years, but that is not happening. the complex engine of my existence is paradoxical because even though my limbs and brain, eyes and heart, liver and spirit are functioning in a grotesque union, trying my best to follow that vague and illusive will. I still feel that there is unity in the compartments of my body. At any given moment my heart may be working over time, all the while my brain is dormant, and my eyes are not penetrating. I want to give myself more credit than Descartes may offer. I don't think I can reduce myself to just one body and one soul, there has to be more involved, because my conflicts and contradictions would indicate a complexity. The confusions and misleadings are too multi-dimensional and over lapping to come from merely two bullying sources. I can offer the metaphor of that lone sailor, isolated on his boat at the mercy of ocean currents. Frames of reference are only illusions. I never know where I am. I was reading over all of these blogs I've posted in the last two years and I feel as though I've grown less interesting, and there are many reasons I could give for me feeling this way. Obsessions and the revelation that the older I grow, the less I know. The more books I read, the further I travel away, not only from the truth I was desiring, but further from any truth at all. The Post Modern Truth. Everyone has their family, everyone has their friends, their colleagues, their congregation, and all of these can provide some degree of insulation, but when one goes to bed at night, that insulation is lifted. There is a constant isolation..I hesitate to call it loneliness. One can be surrounded by loved ones and friends, yet, in a way, one is in constant spiritual isolation. It's silly to confess to a priest, as if only through a verbal confession to a "divine medium" does one become aware of those events in which one transgressed the law of God or even common courtesy. I'm made dizzy by the swirling distractions which are the result of the external world as much as they a result of internal meandering and travel. Kierkegaard talks about the value and necessity of "remaining at faith" and not going beyond faith. Going beyond faith refers to the leap (which I think is unavoidable) that takes into a deeper search for reason, justification, justice, logical approaches, the scientific, a universal ethic. It focuses on the irony in which that search for a rational truth leads you further from any truth at all. I think that can be a valuable idea, at least something I can keep in mind. Cutting yourself off at the knees to keep a naive but honest joy in your heart. It's a hard thing for me to understand, but I think there is some value in that idea. I continue to be surprised and provoked, challenged. I am constantly pushed to re-evaluate myself in relation to how I view the tragedy and enigmatic current of love in my surrounding world. How can one ignore so much as to not be burdened by the question? I am not interested in books which claim to know how to find comfort in God, because awareness of God is a complete shift and things break down before they build up, and I can't see things any other way right now. To be honest with yourself in relation to God is never something I could imagine bringing comfort to a restless mind, and an experienced heart.

"I am quite sure that the difficulty does not lie in the fact that men are not in earnest. This is simply not the fact. All around us Christians are wearing themselves out in trying to be better. The amount of spiritual longing in the world--in the hearts of unnumbered thousands of men and women in whom we should never suspect it; among the wise and thoughtful; among the young and gay, who seldom assuage and never betray their thirst--this is one of the most wonderful and touching facts of life. It is not more heart that is needed, but more light; not more force, but a wiser direction to be given to very real energies already there."--Henry Drummond

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I was a fan of MAE before I joined.

We have a new DVD up for pre-order. The DVD provides an in-depth look at Mae's first full length release Destination:Beautiful. Check out Jacob's blog for words inspired by the release and its significance to us. Also, go here to pre-order the DVD. It's worth it. I was not in the band when this CD was released, I joined them only road a few months later. I was fortunate enough to join the band in an infant state as far as their touring career was concerned. It's interesting that the songs on Destination:Beautiful were recorded over a fairly long period of time in relation to how fast the songs evolved while on the road. The creative process that unfolds in the studio is nothing like the creative process that unfolds and evolves on while on tour. Considering how amazing I feel Destination:Beautiful is, I consider myself lucky to be involved with these songs in any capacity, let alone the confidence the band has instilled in me to infuse myself into the evolution of these songs as they have continued to be performed over the last 5 years. When D:B was released, I had already been touring full time for 2 years or so, and I had been in a band for most of my high school and college life. When my old band got the chance to tour with MAE, the name had already been floating around and everyone was already regarding the band in a very promising manner. I remember the first time I ever saw them, it was the first day of the tour and we were in Columbus Ohio, at a venue called Migard Comics (I hope I spelled that right). I was impressed immediately, and at the point in my life, I already had my own developing way of identifying talent by very small, seemingly arbitrary characteristics. In the case of MAE, it was Jacob's drum groove which he played while the band set up to play, and then I was sold when I heard the All Deliberate Speed. The combination of Dave's appreciation of good music and his ability to absorb influence in a modest manner while still retaining his creative independence was not lost on me, because I see it misused so often. The band's naivety, the region of the country in which they formed and wrote their music, the influence of Mark, Rob, and Jacob, the life they live they had lived and the music they loved growing up, everything ended up being a lovely amalgamation of talent, desire, love and the blessing of a curious isolation from the storm of mediocrity that seemed to be slowly closing it's fist on a once creatively fresh music movement. I was a fan of Destination:Beautiful before I was a part of the band. Needless to say, I was very excited when I was given the opportunity to engage. I feel strange writing, what is turning out to be, a tribute to the band I've been a part of for the past 5 years. Although, it's important to remember why I wanted to be a part of MAE in the first place, and I'm proud to say that those characteristics which drew me to the band, and those characteristics that encouraged me to talk to Dave that night in Orlando and ask him to consider me for filling in after Matt left, those characteristics still drive what we do as a band. We've lived a whole lot in the last 5 years, and the fact that our philosophy on music has been constantly challenged and has constantly evolved, we have never made decisions based on anything other than what our hearts and collective minds led us to make. Regardless of the outcome, the motivations have been nothing but honest, and honesty in music is what I hold most valuable. Thank you for listening. You should buy the DVD, it is look back to the past as much as it is an exploration of the present, and a glimpse into the future of MAE.

"if ever I should seem to take for granted this lovely life that I have been handed, darling don't just stand there, come knock me around"

Monday, November 10, 2008


I'm getting tired of hearing about the "sanctity" of marriage in America.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

current readings

I recently finished these books:

The Wordy Shipmates--Sarah Vowell
Fear and Trembling--Kierkegaard (well, to be honest, I didn't finish it completely, but I read a large portion of it and my interest was taken by other books so I put this one on hold for a bit)

and I am currently reading the following books:

Works of Love-Kierkegaard
The Greatest Thing In the World-Henry Drummond

I just bought a book the other day called "Desiring God." It's by a preacher named John Piper who heads up a mega church in Minnesota. It was in the "Christian Inspiration" section at Barnes and Noble. I usually steer clear of that section of the store. I am always at odds with those best selling Christian books that talk about finding" comfort" in God, if anyone wishes me to expound on that statement, please let me know. Anyway, John Piper....he's a calvinist, and my curiosity has gotten the best of me. So, those books should explain my subject matter of late, and it will probably continue that way. Nothing else it all too thought consuming for me, nor does anything else seem to important.

Friday, November 07, 2008

boy in the bubble

i will always have my dad to thank for my love for paul simon (amongst countless other things i owe to him and my mother). This song brings me to the point of tears, it's amazing how poignant a short little boy from New Jersey can be.

It was a slow day,
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road,
There was a bright light,
A shattering of shop windows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio,
These are the days of miracle and wonder,
This is the long distance call,
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all,
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky,
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby don't cry
Don't cry,


It was a dry wind,
And it swept across the desert
And it curled into the circle of birth,
And the dead sand,
Falling on the children
The mothers and the fathers
And the automatic earth,
These are the days of miracle and wonder,
This is the long distance call,
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all o-yeah,
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky,
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby don't cry
Don't cry


It's a turn-around jump shot
It's everybody jump start
It's, every generation throws a hero up the pop charts,
Medicine is magical and magical is art think of
The Boy in the Bubble
And the baby with the baboon heart

And I believe
These are the days of lasers in the jungle,
Lasers in the jungle somewhere,
Staccato signals of constant information,
A loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires and baby,
These are the days of miracle and wonder,
This is the long distance call,
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all o-yeah,
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky,
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby don't cry
Don't cry don't cry

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

this unfamiliar pride.

For the past year or so, and actually starting back in 2004 when Barack Obama made his first major appearance onto the mainstream political scene, he has always been praised for his oratory skills, and at the same time, that ability was dismissed, or isolated as a skill that has nothing to do with his performance. In addition, the constant criticism was sounded based on his lack experience. I agree that someone's ability to speak doesn't necessarily cross over to executive performance. Although, I think it's important not to dismiss his ability, nor do I think it's accurate to say he is merely a "good speaker" and ignore what he has accomplished. This accomplishment is not the obvious, it is not the monumental fact that he is the first African American President elected to office. I'm talking about his ability to inspire. This inspiration is not restricted to urban communities, it is not restricted young college kids, it is not restricted to the middle class or the labor unions, it is not restricted to the United States, it has truly affected the world. Regardless of who you supported for the last 8 years, it is obvious that the state of our nation is, arguably, at its lowest point since I've been alive. The economy is suffering, the american dream has all but vanished in light of the urgency to stay in our houses and pay our medical bills, job loss, record deficit, two wars and a global reputation that has steadily declined to a point of embarrassment (and I am not pointing the ideological finger) Out of this dire straight came Barack Obama, who captured and harnessed this illusive and dwindling inspiration, he found that ghost like muse which all of us have somewhere inside us, but can be so hidden and trampled, it is hard for us to see or feel. He saw it in us. For those of you that do read my blog, you will all agree that I am not the most positive person when it comes to the big picture of America, but at the same time, I fully recognize the reality of the human spirit and our resilience. Obama found that, and he was humble and focused and he truly believed. He presents a challenge to me, because he has looked my cynicism, the whole nations cynicism, right in the eye, and he is an example of that human spirit, and what I am confidently identifying as the AMERICAN spirit, not the american dream. There is pride in America again, not that misguided tragically nationalistic pride that is defined by state lines, and national borders, or political ideology, and association, but the proud proclamation, the resurfacing of national unity, community , enthusiasm of an ALL INCLUSIVE AMERICA. It's the american ideal. I realize that this is just the beginning and that Obama has yet to prove himself, and not for one second should our scrutiny wane. Although, this election was truly historic. Record voter turnout, a convincing victory which showed the world we are serious about bringing something fresh to the world stage, and regaining our position as an example of hope, not irrational fear. Watching images from across the country was indescribable. Watching M.L. King's sister witness her brothers' cause realized. Hearing a 98 year old black man describe his euphoria about seeing an African American President Elect. I can't play it cool during this historical happening. I am truly emotional and truly euphoric, and spending last night in Philadelphia was amazing. Being at a bar and seeing everyone glued to the TV while Obama gave his acceptance speech. I included some excerpts below. I am still a cynic, but at times when I can see the hard evidence of the human spirit, the american ideal; when I can feel that strange sense of pride in who America truly is, it is enough to force me to, at the very least, take a step back. Hey Obama, don't screw this up!

From Obama's speech last night"

"So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. "

"This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one thats on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. Shes a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old."

"Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America."

"Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day."

"It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generations apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory."

a beautiful day

It was a very good night. There are very few words.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rise and Shine and Vote

I'm excited today. I woke up at 5:30 AM and I drove down to my local precinct, stood in the rain for almost two hours and finally got to cast my ballot. It was wonderful and I can't tell you how excited I am that I was lucky enough to participate in this election. I'm really hoping I'm on the winning side this time, I been going through a rough patch for the past 8 years! There was a fairly long line considering the weather and the location of the precinct, a small suburb. I was pretty surprised, but I knew I had to get there early. Everyone please please please go and vote today, suck it up and wait in the lines. I'm headed to Philadelphia now to celebrate (or mourn, depending on who wins :-). I'm glad this election is finally ending today and I cross my fingers for an OBAMA/BIDEN administration.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

XO and the black crowes

I'm a big Elliott Smith fan, so every time I find myself in Dallas or Portland or LA, I tend to listen to his music and have a drink of Johnny Walker Red. A small "tip of the hat" I suppose. He grew up in Denton, just north of Dallas, and he lived in Portland when he was in Heatmiser,and he also lived in LA for a while. So anyway, I'm actually listening to him right now, all of this albums on shuffle. We played a show in Dallas yesterday and then went to an after party at the Granada theater, it was a whole lot of fun. We became fast friends with the gentlemen in a band from Tyler Texas called Homer Hiccolm and the Rocketboys. I might have that name wrong by a few letters, and if so, I apologize. They are a very very good band. Anyway, the Black Crowes played at this after party, but they were done by the time we arrived, but, since some of us have long hair and beards (I had a wig on) some of the drunk middle aged men and women mistook us for members of the Black Crowes, and we gladly played along. A gentlemen pointed me out on the dance floor, he told me I played a great show and then he mentioned that I was "shacking up with Goldie Hawn's daughter", priceless.