Sunday, June 27, 2004

Genuine panhandler

Hey everybody! It's been a while since I've posted on here, I've been really busy, but It's good to be here again.

Last week I spent some time down at the beach. It was really fun. The water is warming up quickly and I stayed in a sweet hotel. Anyway, Shane (my little brother) wanted to go down to the board walk with our guitars and try to make some money. So we went to Rehobeth, set up, and started rocking out together. We'd been playing for a few minutes and made 80 cents when a cop spotted us. He came over and and told us that we needed to shut our guitar cases and stop trying to get money. He told us that "In the eyes of the law you are panhandling" He was a pretty nice guy though and he let us keep on playing.

We kept on jamming, and the policeman kept a close eye on us. He followed us wherever we went and would stand about 20 feet away trying to act like he wasn't noticing us. Two kids came up and listened to us play a song. We got to talking to them and they saw the policeman. They were like "Is he watching you? You're not allowed to make money are you? Well you're playing good music, keep on rocking" Then before they turned to leave they shook our hands and slipped us each a dollar.

All told, we made $7 and change in about an hour, bought two enormous ice cream cones, and had a fun time.

Friday, June 25, 2004

The other side of the coin... Destiny?

Hey everybody. I started a new job. I am working full time in Graphic Design. It may be a temporary position, or it may be more long-term. Only time will tell. I have been working very hard and really enjoying myself. After going to that Mac Design Conference, it is so cool to work with this stuff all day every day. Anyway, now it is my lunchbreak and I am going to write on here for a little bit.

I have been thinking a lot recently about fate. I guess that for this little thought I am going to share, It doesn't matter whether you believe in fate, predestination, total free will, or anything else... The main point is the same regardless of what you believe.

After Ian got in his car crash, a lot of people gave him a rough time and lectured him about being more careful about listening to the voice of God. They said that God was telling Ian (and everyone else involved) not to carry out the whole camping plan. They said that all of the different things that almost stopped Ian from going or almost changed his path were all God's ways of trying to get Ian to do something else so that he wouldn't get in the crash. Lots of people seemed to think that the accident was the terrible end result that God was trying to help Ian avoid, but since Ian didn't heed the warnings, he crashed, and hence he failed. I don't necessarily see it that way.

In my opinion, the whole accident was not that bad... considering what could have happened. Nobody got killed or even really hurt (a head on collision usually does not end that way). The only negative result was that 2 cars got crunched up. Cars are just stuff. They can be replaced (besides, one was mine, and MY insurance is paying for the other one, so I am the one who would be upset if the situation warranted that). The whole thing could have been much worse. Ian could have run over the girl and killed her... they both could have broken their necks... the cars could have caught on fire... and that is all stuff that could have made the accident itself worse. Maybe the accident was God's way of stopping Ian and Guapo from going to the pine barrens as planned and then getting murdered upon arrival, or getting in a worse accident along the way (I am not trying to be morbid, but there are lots and lots of worse things that could have happened that night).

So my point is this... Rather than be upset about what did happen, why not look on the bright side? It could have been much worse. Maybe God was protecting Ian and Guapo from someting truely bad.

You really can't play the "What if" game with something like this. What if Ian had gone to a different store for Raman Noodles?... What if he had Gone to Guapo's before the store?... None of this would have happened right? Maybe... or maybe not. Nobody will ever know. If even the smallest detail about the night had been changed before the accident, things would have been WAY different. They could have been much better or much worse.

The movie The Butterfly Effect is all about somebody who travels back in time and tries to correct errors in the past so that his and his friends' lives turn out better in the future (the movie is based on chaos theory). He does not forsee the effect that his actions will have. Literally the wording of a single sentence or the choice one makes in a fraction of a second can effect the rest of their life and the lives of those around them. The movie did a fantastic job of portraying how the littlest decisions have hugely unforseeable consequences. It is really interesting and very well done. I reccomend it to anyone who can stomach it, but let me just warn everyone that it is ROUGH (there is a lot of strong violence, language, sex, nudity, abuse, etc... I know it sounds terrible, but it makes up for those things if you can look past them).

Ian told me that he felt almost as though something terrible was bound to happen that night. He narrowly escaped a much worse accident, he almost picked up a kid walking onthe side of the road but then didn't when he had a vision of that kid shooting him in the face. Maybe something was bound to happen... maybe God was trying to protect Ian from the accident and Ian didn't listen... or maybe the accident really was not all that bad when compared to what could have happened. We will never know. What I do know that my brother is alive and unhurt, so I am happy. I'll take that and be thankful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Ian's song and going to England

Look what I received today:

Hi. My name is [deleted by Jason to protect privacy] and I am looking for the lyrics and the music to your song Living the dream. We want to use it as a mission service. We are reaching out to the disabled and poor of the world and would like to bring them into our church. When I try to listen to it on my computer it is very hard to understand. If I can purchase a CD please contact me.
                                                            Thanks, Jan


We don't have a song called "Living the dream" and I guessed (which she confirmed) that she meant Ian's song about poverty. Anyway, way to go Ian.

By the way, she left a phone number and she's from Indiana.

I'm leaving for England tonight to attend the wedding of a friend since I was very young. Just me and Darby, so no kids. We'll miss them tremendously, but it will be fun to be alone for that long.

First we'll be staying in Devon, here, for 2 nights:


Then we're going to be spending 2 nights in a 400 year old stone cottage on a cliff overlooking the ocean in Cornwall (wow):



And finally we're spending our last night in London, which will hopefully be great. . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Lies of Michael Moore

Video is such a powerful medium, and I will see the film, but it's important to know that it consists of a bunch of lies, that unless you take the time to think, seems to make a compelling argument. ..
He's a Upper East Side Millionaire who pretends to be one of the working people, who's made tons of his money by exploiting the tragedy of Columbine. . . Yes he's talented and entertaining and occasionally makes a good point, but he doesn't fight fair or honest or even logically.

Monday, June 21, 2004

White Clay Creek

For father's day, we celebrated by indulging in what my daughter calls the "Family Tradition" (Which is kind of funny, since this was only the second time we'd done it!). This is when we all go to the Landenberg Store, where they still sell penny candy!, each fill up a small bag with a dollar, sit on a nearby bridge for a while, then go for a walk on a trail along the White Clay Creek. It really is wonderful, and if heaven consisted solely of such things, I honestly would not be disappointed.

You know, the trail is beautiful. If it were transported -- identically -- into some faraway exotic land, like Isla Majeras or Belize, I'd instantly be overwhelmed with it's beauty. Yet, since it's about 10 minutes from when I live, it's tempting to overlook it's beauty. I have to work to overcome this temptation and appreciate it for what it is, a knock-out.


The bridge we sit on (at an interesting angle).


Invariably, feet get muddy.


A purple flower. (Obviously, I'm not a botanist or I'd have a more technical explanation.)


As good as it gets


Ladybug on a leaf


High grass along the path


A wood stump left after the tree falls


Love this reflection

Sunday, June 20, 2004

why all the pain?

Today we were celebrating father's day at my wife's parent's house. We were in their backyard, with a campfire going, real nice scene. A tiny baby bunny darts from the woods into the yard, adorable and tiny. My daughter is delighted and runs towards it. Then it's clear something is not right. The bunny is running around in circles, desperately moving, trying to get away from something. It's head is tilted permanently to the side. Around and around, and then it collapses, and dies. It was running from it's own pain, trying to escape the suffering.

My daughter was extremely sad. Why? She asks? Why did the bunny have to die? Why was it in so much pain?

And right now, I really don't have an answer. Pain and death are just so sad. I know we live in an imperfect world, and whether you're talking holocausts or dead bunnies, the implications of that imperfection can be horrible. I know many philosophical reasons for the existence of pain -- it's used to strengthen, it exists because of the fall, it alarms you to when something is wrong, etc etc. But why did the bunny have pain??? I know there are answers to all this, but gosh when you see the death of a bunny through such innovent naive eyes they don't do much for you.

I'm reminded now though of a news segment I saw of a girl with the rarest of diseases -- the inability to feel any pain whatsoever. She had to wear goggles because she had already poked one eye out, a helmet because she continually hit her head. Her skin was scarred from incessant scratching, her legs broken and healed crooked from falls. The lack of pain meant she would continue to harm herself. So of course I can see how, in a world where things can be broken and damaged, pain might actually be a gift.

But that poor bunny in so much pain, and then dead. It just seems so. . . meaningless. My daughter is right, it is so sad.

Friday, June 18, 2004

What sets us apart?

I love reading a good paperback book at the beach, and having just spent nearly a week there, I got to finish Footprints of God, a fairly interesting book about the implications of Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Theory, and religion (oh yeah, it's actually a thriller. .. a pretty well written one, the theology part is pretty. . . uh . . . well let's just say it's kind of weak.)

In the book, the scientists use a "Super MRI" which can scan a human brain and then create a perfectly detailed model of all of a person's memories, knowledge, urges, and instincts. Then they work really hard to create a computer powerful enough to store all of this stuff, and -- viola! -- they have in some way eternally extended a person. Yes, there is eternal life! Only now the "person" can learn stuff in seconds, process knowledge in seconds -- and is now "superior" to the original person.

Of course this premise begs a billion questions, and it's a thought-provoking book. The one idea that the book really raised with me was this: I know that a human and a computer are somehow distinctly different. And even if it was possible to "backup" all of our memories, our knowledge, and urges, and instincts to a computer, and then have that computer proceed logically based on that stored information -- to me that computer is not now human. But why?

To be human is more than possessing "human" intelligence. We don't need a fictional supercomputer to demonstrate this -- chimps are "smarter" -- utilizing logic and problem solving, etc -- than human babies, yet aren't more "human" than babies. Mentally challenged individuals -- who are lacking in their logical and intellectual abilities -- are no less "human" than was Aristotle.

You can't say it's the intellect.

Is it emotions? Artificial Intelligence researchers consistently have the hardest time creating emotions in computers. .. and it's been said that humans are the only animals that cry (actually, a lot of animals will cry -- in an effort to elicit an immediate response, but humans probably are the only ones that weep -- ie crying for the sake of being sad, of mourning). But you can find other kinds of emotions all over the animal kingdom -- anger, sadness, happiness, jealousy, etc. . . so I'd say it doesn't really set us apart very well.

What about creativity? There are animals that kind of "create" things -- like spiders and spiderwebs; birds and their songs, etc. But you can certainly argue that these are more just the carrying out of the instictual programming within, not a truly new creation, in the sense that humans consider creativity. Spiders have been around for a long time, and the "technology" of webspinning hasn't changed substantially. Yet look at the human advances in flight in the last 100 years. Bird songs, while beautiful, are also fairly predictable. Compare them to the wide diversity you find in "human music" -- from Blues to Classical to Rock to Pop to Motown to Disco to Folk and all the subgenres within. Clearly, humans have a special kind of creativity. I know it's been discovered that humans aren't the only animals that use tools, as was previously believed, but they are the only kind of animal that come out with brand new kinds of tools every year, more and more advanced.

But could a super computer, somehow loaded with all of the "principles of creativity," be as creative of humans? Maybe, but then I would argue that if it did, it's creativity was a reflection of the human creativity that created it, not really possessing any essential creativity that it possessed itself.

But still, you'd have to argue that from all appearances, that super computer was creative. I don't think you can say it's creativity alone that sets humans apart. Plus, again, there are many humans that for some reason or other, are not from appearances creative at all. Are they not human?

What can I conclude then? I think I'm going to have to reach outside the bounds of the material for an answer. . . the definitve answer doesn't exist in the material world.

I think it's spirit. It's the breath of God. Consciousness, emotions, and creativity all are pathways of the spirit, so I think that's why all of these things are clues to what sets us apart. But really they are just symptoms of what truly makes us different. If one does not believe in spirit, I think a natural, logical conclusion is that we really aren't all that different from the animals or the computers, at least not qualitatively so. To put it another way, if someone wants to believe that humans are different than computers or animals, then you have to believe in more than the material world. . . Am I missing something?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

I really am back now.

I am now back in town for a while. I had a couple of great trips, but it is nice to be back here. I like it out here where we live.

I went to a big graphic design conference out in Chicago a couple of weeks ago (Mac Design 2). It was so awesome, I can't even describe how fun it was to be there. There were about a thousand other computer nerds there who all love to create things with computers. It was so cool. There were graphic design superstars there (people were literally crowding around and asking them for autographs. I bet you didn't know there was such a thing as a graphic design superstar). I went to three days of workshops on photo-editing programs, digital video, and web design. About half way through the conference I had a pretty cool realization. The people at the conference all work in marketing, web design, magazines, hollywood, and other agencies that create visual art (there were lots of people there who do art for the sake of art as well... just for fun). Anyway, I realized, "Wow, these are literally the people who make the world around us look the way it does." The people at that conference designed the appearance of things from magazine covers, to food wrappers, to billboards. I felt very lucky to spend 3 days learning fromm all of them. I got all charged up to come back and start practicing everything I learned. I have so much fun with that stuff.

So that is the short version of the first part of my trip. I will tell you about some adventures that came after that, but all in good time. Bye.

Now this is interesting. . .

Look what I got in my inbox today:
Hello,

Heard your song “All our Hands” on Download.com and loved it. I work at an advertising agency in Dallas, Texas and we’re looking for 5-10 unsigned artists to contribute to a compilation cd that’s part of a music themed sales education tool for a large mobile phone maker. It will be distributed to about 800 sales associates at wireless stores around the country and the cd will have info on where to find more of the artists music/info. I’d love for you to be a part of this if you’re interested. Let me know as soon as you can, we’ have to produce the cds this week. Also if you have an questions, of course.

Thanks,
Rob
--
Rob Johnson
Creative Group Head
Firehouse
16200 Addison Road, No.247
Addison, TX 75001


Now this one doesn't seem nearly as sneaky and shady as "brighter life records" -- so I'm getting some more details. . .

Saturday, June 12, 2004

I'm Back... Almost

Hey Everyone! I'm back from my trip to Chicago and Canada. I had a great time doing all that I did while I was away. I won't tell any stories now because am tired and I need to go to bed. I'll tell you about my trip later. I am home for a few hours now and then I am leaving again in the morning, but I will be home again in a few short days. I'll put up a real post then. I miss this web-log.



I am really sorry for all of you car crashers. That is some crazy stuff. I am glad to know that you are all safe though. That is what really matters. However, you should know that I drove 800 miles in the rain today and I didn't crash (but I did almost run over a procupine).

Friday, June 11, 2004

This is getting freaky....

Tonight I went over to someone's house to hang out with a few friends. Well a good friend of mine from church had to leave early because her parents had given her a time to be home by. I left about 20 minutes after she did. On the way home I noticed some hazard lights flashing in the distance. As I slowed down I noticed that it was her van that had it's hazards on. It's a horrible feeling to recognize a car that's just been in an accident. Someone rearended her as she was turning off 896. The good news is that she's pretty much fine. Something that I didn't notice until right after I had left was that I didn't see another car. I think they might have run. This, in addition to the people not stopping for my accident makes me feel pretty crappy about the world.

Ian, me, and now another of my friends.....pretty strange

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Another Funny Story from Jason

I am a total lame duck in my current corporate job. I'm officially laid off (voluntarily) starting July 1st -- so that I can concentrate on writing screenplays in preparation for film school, working on the band stuff, and making money through graphic design and photography and videography. But I still need to support my boss, and this is a stressful time for her as we are merging with another company and we have multiple meetings with the company we're merging with.

So I'm at one of these meetings, trying to "act engaged" but truly not caring about what people are saying. (Think it's hard concentrating and caring about financial database schemas when it's part of your job -- try caring when you know you're never going to work with them again!) It's a very large meeting, probably about 25 people stuffed into this conference room, another 6-7 dialed in via a conference phone.

I'm kind of zoned out, thinking about the amount of money being spent in salary on this one meeting. Let's see, average salary of 80K a year means basically $40 an hour, times the 32 people who are spending their time here. That's. . . $1280 being spent on this one meeting. . . is this meeting worth that much money? Probably not. OK, definitely not. Anyway, this is what I'm thinking about when I realize that people are looking at this diagram that has been scrawled on a white board behind me. . . and I realize that I'm probably in the way to some extent.

Trying to be polite, I shift my chair to the left, so that I'm out of the way. Unbeknownst to me, the cord connecting the conference phone to the wall is UNDER MY CHAIR, and my shifting motion unplugs it. . . Noticing this, I try to smoothly replug it without anyone knowing. Of course as soon as I plug it back in, there is an incredibly loud "BEEP" emited by the phone. And then the leader of the meeting says to the phone, "Hello, are you guys still there?" No answer. I've disconnected everyone and brought this high powered meeting to a screeching halt.

"What happened?" just about everyone asks. Turning a bright red, I sheepishly admit that I unplugged the phone accidentally. When we try to dial the phone back in the conference call, we are locked out. 10 MINUTES go by trying to undo my one act of supposed politeness. . . oh well.

Status Report. . .

Between the 5 members of the Look Machine, we live some very busy lives. Oh my goodness, even Ian has a full time job now! No lie, last night at practice he said something about stopping by my house "after work," and I realized I had never heard him say anything like that. We also have a large amount of wanderlust.

Last year, Collin went to Thailand for a month (or more?), and right now he's somewhere in Canada. On June 16th, Ian is going somewhere for a week (I don't think he even knows yet), and then going to NEPAL for the whole month of August. I'm going to England and either Scotland or France between June 23rd and July 1st. . . Isaiah goes to New York state just about whenever he can, and David goes down the east coast regularly. Looming in the horizon of the Look Machine's life is Collin's desire to travel the world for a whole year (yes, one who year, probably in a year, if we don't make it by then) and my plans to likely move to either LA or NYC to attend film school (again, giving the Look Machine it's chance to hit first).

Between all of our busy lives, it can get frustrating trying to schedule the amount of practices and shows that a band needs. Case in point: we're going to be recording a full length on July 6th, 7th, 8th and 13th, 14th, 15th. Those dates are safe. However, we learned alot on how to polish a song when working on our Target Sessions, and need to apply that same treatment to our other songs. Plus we have some partially formed songs that we still need to work on. OK, so it's a month prior, we have time right?

Wrong! Starting a week ago, there is NO TIME until July 2nd that all 5 members will be in town. Not one day. We practiced last night without Collin (great practice by the way. . . ) and next week will be without me and Collin. Then the week after that will be without Ian, then the week after that without me. So our plan is to practice all day on July 3rd, then actually to practice all day on July 6th as well and start recording on July 7th. And we have that show on July 16th too, where we'd like to work up some of the new songs and some fun cover songs too. Hopefully it will all work out, and it's fun working on everything, and I think we're actually remarkably good at working on stuff when not everyone is around.

Last night we worked on Ian's new song (posted previously on the weblog), and it's really sounding fantastic. Adding the bass and drums, and some more arrangements really punched it up -- can't wait to hear what guitar magic Collin will be adding. We then revisited Congregation, and rearranged that one a little too to make it exponentially better. I even gave Ian a guitar idea that he was happy with, and make the second verse more diverse.

All in all it's a good creative time for the Look Machine, and it's definitely the best band I've ever been in. I think we've put a lot of work into growing as musicians and we're kind of forging a new sound, which is fun. I love the music that is played, would listen to it and enjoy it if I weren't in the band. I hope it catches on because I don't want it to end.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Please promote our show!

If you would be willing, please print out this flier and post it in postable places, such as on telephone poles and places like that. We would love you for it.

Not so much to get people to the show, but just because it will be ver cool to see posters with our bands name on it posted in places. . . kind of like places that look like this

Monday, June 07, 2004

Cornucopia

First, as I'm sure everyone has heard by now, Creed has broken up. The singer will go his own way, the rest of the band will create a new band. . . Hmm. . . is it just me or maybe was the problem the singer? Why is it always the singer?

Anyway, now that Creed is defunct, I think there is an opening for another spiritually tinged rock band with a messianic egotistical vocalist. . . anyone know any bands that fit that bill? :-) If only Collin were our lead singer, that would be us to a "T". . .

Seriously though, it never ceases to amaze me how bands that have "made it" let it all slip away. . . over what? Guys, you sold 28 Million records, whatever drama you had between you, talk it out! There are people who work in jobs they hate, with people they despise, for 25K a year, and you are giving up this great gig because Scott is a little arrogant??? I just don't get it.

On to other things. . .

Michael Moore's new film, Farenheit 911, has a trailer posted online. This film is going to be a thorn in Bush's side. And, if it's anything like Moore's other work, it's probably hugely entertaining and incredibly manipulative. Make sure to look up and research for yourself whatever he claims, because often he's being sneaky. . . But wow that's a great trailer, the man has talent. Too bad he doesn't feel the need to be honest with that talent.

All these car accidents have me thinking -- is it worth it? Or do the Amish have it right. .. I mean who cares if we can travel so fast, if we're risking injury and death. I guess it is, but for people who die or get seriously injured, it certainly is not. . .

Sunday, June 06, 2004

2 Down, only 3 left.

Guess what I just did guys? We must be a band of bad drivers or something. Anyway, on the way to church this morning I wrecked my truck. That stupid new stop sign on 896 by the Hill's auction always surprises me. This time I was half asleep (it was 7:20) and really not paying attention.

It was raining at the time, and my truck is horrible in the rain. It always slides out. I would have just blown the stop sign (like Jason did on the way home from practice one time), but there was a car pulling out. I managed to miss the car, but not the fence and the telephone pole. My truck wrapped itself pretty neatly around the pole, shattered the window and windshield, and totally caved in my door.

The thing that really made me mad was the fact that the people in the car I missed just kept on driving after I ran into the pole. I'm also kind of ticked at myself cause it was a really nice 4runner, and I love 4runners almost as much as I like girls. I'm looking forward to getting a full sized truck though.

The rest of the band please be careful, we've only got a few cars left that arn't wrecked.


On a Lighter Note

After the accident (see below) I slept until almost noon. I got up and spent thee day just hanging out, making phone calls, and sitting around. Guapo and I decided to try the whole camping thing again. Once again we strapped a canoe onto the roof, and this time we took my parents van to the beach.

The ocean this time of year is frigid. We swam anyhow, it's pretty fun when the beach is empty. We spent the night fishing for sharks, watching thunderstorms roll across the bay, and watching the full moon shine on the crashing waves. It would have been pretty romantic if Guapo was a female (named Bonita), or at least a lot better looking.

The next day we took the canoe into the ocean. It was pretty awesome. We put in in the Delaware Bay and went out around Cape Henlopen into the ocean. My aluminum canoe is made strictly for lakes, so it takes some pretty tricky maneuvering to stay afloat in the ocean. The tide was going out, so there was a current that looked like a serious river flowing out into the ocean. We kept ourselves between that current and the breakers and stayed relatively dry.

As soon as we got back to our starting point we saw a search helicopter fly very low over the point to the place in the ocean where we had just been. It got there, kind of circled around and then made a few passes over the bay and flew away. It was pretty exciting.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Understanding in a Car

Isn't it funny, how quickly life can change? Isn't it amazing how big of an impact two seconds can make?

I just finished school last week. I have my graduation this Friday night. So there was a week of summer with nothing planned, warm weather and no work. Guapo and I decieded to go camping, I borrowed Collin's Ford Explorer, tied a canoe on top, and at 11:30 PM set out on a trip to the Pine Barrons for a river trip.

Something didn't feel right. It was dark and raining, we were starting a long trip to a rather dangerous area. I started praying outloud, in the car. I said, "God, something isn't right, and I don't know what it is, but I'm sure you do. So if you don't mind helping me out a little bit here that would be great." I thought for a minute, " should I go back?" But for some reason, I felt like I should keep going.

I was headed to Guapo's house to pick him up but I made a quick stop at Acme to stock up on our staple camping food, Ramen Noodles. Right on the front of the store was a huge sign, saying "open 24 hours, 7 days a week." Which turned out to be a lie. I walked around and tried all of the doors, getting soaked in the rain, before I finally found a tiny little sign reading "Holiday hours, 7 AM to 10 PM. I got in the car and left, soaked to the bone but with my spirits high and dry.

I was pulling out of the shopping center, and got confused at a stop light. It was a dumb mix up between a green light and a green arrow in a turn only lane. Anyway, I never even knew I was mixed up until I felt and heard a terrible crash and saw a flash of light like an explosion. I was confused, I thought I had been following the law, I thought I was driving responsibly, but I looked and over the crumpled hood of Collin's Explorer I saw a smashed and smoking car. My headlights shone in through the broked windshield and I saw a girl trapped behind an airbag.

It's impossible to put those feelings into words. there's a sudden sinking in the stomach, and unused adrenaline makes your legs shaky. I wanted so badly to wake up, but I knew that I wasn't dreaming. It's a feeling of helplessness, and a feeling of "What have I done?" I grabbed the door handle, and tried to get out, the door was stuck but I got it open enough to squeeze through. I ran over to the other car. The wheel was hanging off, the windshield broken, the whole front end demolished. Inside I could hear the girl sobbing. I got in the passenger side and Said "I'm so sorry! Are you ok?" She was sobbing and over and over she said "I'm not OK, this was my Grandfather's car, I'm not ok, my neck hurts, I'm not ok!

I stood there, in the dark rainy intersection, surrounded by countless policemen who wouldn't let me make a phone call, and watched as the girl was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, and as my brother's totalled car was towed away.

I was miraculously entirely fine. I came out without a scratch or a bruse, I refused to go to the hospital but did manage to score nearly a world record for hight blood pressure. (It's always high when I'm nervous, and if you want to know it was 184 over 100)

So now I'm left with an odd mixture of feelings. On one hand there are the obvious horrible feelings you get after screwing up peoples lives that in no way deserved it. On the other hand, I'm just glad to be alive, glad to be unharmed. I quickly realized how much people care about me and hhow nice they are. Collin called, and sounded totally cheerful and happy. He was just like "dude, I'm just glad you're ok. Don't worrry about the car, it's just stuff and stuff doesn't matter. What does matter is you and you're fine and that's really something to be thankful for." He's trying to not even let me pay for it. (If you're wondering he's deffinately one of the nicest people God ever created). My friend with the very least money of anybody I know sent me a letter saying "look, if you need anything, just let me know, I'll help you in any way can, and I'll give you money" Laura was over at my house with flowers as soon as I got out of bed just to hang out and let me know that I have a friend.

Somehow I have a feeling, something good is going to come out of this. Maybe something good is already coming out of it... I don't know. Maybe this happened for a reason, maybe I'll learn something. Thanks for taking time to read my story. Have a good night!

Shirts and Hoodies are now For Sale Online

You can find them here.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Upcoming Concerts

We're still trying to get something together between June 14th and June 17th, with Boy Sets Fire, maybe at the George Wilson Center is Newark. Not confirmed yet though.

What is confirmed is that we will be playing a show with a band yet to be announced at the Everett Theatre in Middletown, DE on July 16th. It's going to be a great show, and please circle the date now! We'd love help promoting it, so let us know if you'd like to help at all.

A well thought out article

In looking for more information to try to figure out my opinion on the Iraq War situation, I came across this excellent article which makes some pretty excellent points, the most compelling one being:
There is a compelling logic to the argument that the primary source of frustration among Arabs in the Middle East is a sense of powerlessness. Trapped in a region littered with authoritarian and corrupt regimes, they are encouraged by these regimes and their Islamic critics to blame their situation on Israel and the United States. This is an ideal environment for fomenting terrorism. Creating an open society in Iraq would put the lie to this kind of hate-mongering.

To be sure, democracy promotion is far from easy. Indeed, regime change in the Middle East looks like a lousy, rotten policy option for addressing the root causes of terrorism, until one considers the alternatives--appeasement or muddling through. The latter option was essentially the pre-9/11 position of the United States and its allies, and has been found wanting. Appeasement or isolation has the same benefits and costs that the strategy had in the 1930s: It buys short-term solace but raises the long-term costs of facing a stronger and potentially undeterrable adversary.

For all their criticism of Bush's grand strategy, Europeans and left-wingers have offered very little in the way of alternatives to his vision. Some say that American soft power could bring about change in the Middle East. But decades of alternately coddling, cajoling, and ostracizing Arab despots has not led to liberalization or democratization. We have showered Egypt with aid, but have succeeded only in propping up an authoritarian monster in Hosni Mubarak. We have tried to isolate Syria, but have only strengthened that country's anti-American credentials. Maybe U.S. soft power is part of the solution to the Middle East's woes, but soft power alone cannot accomplish our desired ends.

Know the facts

As we're heading deeper into this election season, we're bound to see many ads and hear many claims from both sides. I think it's important, regardless of which side you're leaning towards, to know the facts, and where the spin and hype is distorting the truth. I've found a web site that claims to be non-partisan (and appears to me to be fairly evenhanded), and examines the claims made by politician.

Check it out:
www.FactCheck.org

Man, why do all politicians have to lie? Could an honest one ever actually be elected?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Call me

Collin, I need to get hold of you. Call me asap please. Thanks.

The rest of you, I'm sorry read something else.