Thursday, September 30, 2004

The First Debate

So far I'd have to say Bush is winning. This is a good format for him, you can tell he truly believes the things he is saying. Considering that 25% of likely voters say the debates could change their minds, it's important to have a good showing. Kerry looks and sounds like Lurch from the Addam's Family, and has the difficult task of defending a shifting sand of positions.

By the way Kerry, you said the tax cut went into the wealthiest American's pockets -- like yours. No Kerry, it was primarily an income tax cut, you live off of your ketchup mama's inheritance, which isn't income, it's just this nice huge nest egg, impervious to taxes. Taxes raised or lowered don't affect your life at all, unlike the true middle class, who actually have to have an income to survive, save, and invest.

All of the questions are about Iraq. Not to say they shouldn't be, but my goodness, there are other issues, you know?

Interesting

Today I rolled out of bed and walked outside to my car and drove to school. It was really cold this morning and raining pretty hard. I was following a guy driving a really nice blue corvette. First I thought "wow, nice car." Then I thought "wow he's got the top down." Low and behold, he's driving in the pouring down rain, on a chilly september morning, right behind a tractor trailer that was spraing water all over the place, and he's got the top down cruising along like it's the fourth of July.

So how is this relevant to the Look Machine? Well, it's probably not, but I thought it was interesting so I made the executive decision to make you read it. Wheather you think it's interesting or not is up to you, but it brightened up my rainy day just a bit.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

It's Raining... Hard

Today I had to walk to my car from school in the downpour which came from the remnants of the hurricane. I get on the railroad tracks that lead out of Newark and walk along them for quite some distance, till I get to Jason's old neighborhood where I park my car. You should have seen it. It was raining so hard that I could only see a little way ahead. It was flooding, and there was a river running down each side of the tracks. I was on a very long and skinny island.

Going home I tried one way, and had to turn back because the road was underwater. I found an open way and on the way home stopped at a park near my house to look at the flooded river. The water was up several feet, roaring and brown. I waded in till the water was up past my belt (that would be knee deep) and looked as the river spilled over its banks and ran through the woods.

I wanted to swim, but I thought it would be kinda stupid. I should have been home an hour ago and nobody knew where I was. They might be worried already, it's never smart to swim in a flood, so forget about doing it alone. I stood there, watching the water swirling all around, sweeping debris along with it, sheets of rain spraying along the surface which rose and fell in earth colored rapids. My common sense got the best of me, and I turned to leave... maybe.

I walked back to solid land, ripped off my shirt and jumped in. How often do you get a hurricane like this? This might be the last one this year, and who knows... by next year I might be a boring old man. The time was now!

The first step the water reached my knees, the second step it was over my head. I was in the current, accelerating like a race car, or maybe like one of the dead logs that just fell in. I had anticipated fast powerful water, but the currents were crazy. I was being thrown forward, then pulled backwards, pulled down. I was caught in a swirling eddy. I was wearing jeans and work boots, so swimming was difficult, but I paddled hard! I tore myself out of the current, and caught hold of a root that was sticking out of the bank. I pulled myself to safety and slithered and sloshed up out of the river.

Maybe some things aren't smart to do. It would have been safer to go straight home, but somehow it made me feel so much more alive. You feel so small when you are spinning out of control in a flooded river, and so happy when you get back to shore. I would do it again in a second. Maybe you could come too this time!

Monday, September 27, 2004

Product Review: Crest Brush Ups

Sometimes I pride myself on being an impulse buyer - I figure it's good for the economy. Being a marketer in my professional life, I can appreciate people who can be convinced into buying something that they didn't know existed the day before. Tonigh, while running myriad errands, I found myself at Giant Foodmarket at 10:30. Having purchased the requisite milk, eggs, water, and ice, I perused the "impulse buy" display. And there I saw them: Crest Brush-Ups.

I kind of like their odd commercials, the Chicago-like broadway homage to dental cleanliness ("Brush Brush Push AHHH" or whatever) where a bunch of young people in a subway (or some urban setting) brush their teeth with their fingers in perfectly choreagraphed synchronicity. Seeing the commercials, I decided to make the product an impulse buy at some point, mostly being I admire the spunk of whatever innovative employee at Crest who looked around and said, "Tootbrushes and Toothpaste, that's all we make here! Let's think a little bigger! I bet you people would love to brush their teeth with their fingers!"

It was such an impulsive purchase that I immediately forgot I had bought them, so I was once again pleasantly surprised upon arriving home and unpacking the groceries. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) I realized that my teeth were indeed in need of some cleaning, as my mouth was feeling a little grungy.

They come in individually wrapped packages. They kind of look like miniature oven mitts, but just the size and shape to fit on one finger, reaching down to the knuckle. I started brushing. Quite delightful. Very minty and sparkly. My teeth feel very clean. The instructions helpfully advise that you can also use them to brush your gums and tongue, so I did. Score! My mouth is a shrine of oral perfection.

Not wanting to be one of the dorks who carry a tootbrush and toothpaste around with me for midday brushes (yes, you know who you are!), this really is a great alternative to just chewing some gum for that just brushed feeling.

Couple of warnings. Do this ALONE, despite the advertisement that would suggest it's a communal activity. The drool factor cannot be overstated. You will drool. Unless you'd like to show this off, find some privacy. Also, the instructions boast about the brush-ups moisture proof consistency, promising that your finger will remain dry. LIES! My finger was as wet as one would expect it to be, considering it was in my mouth while I was drooling.

All in all, this may make the transition from impulse buy to "list buy." Good job, innovative Crest employee!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Disposable Socks

It's always been an ambition of mine to some day have enough money where I would never have to wash socks. That's right, take them out of the bag and wear them. That night, throw them away. Repeat process the next day. I know, I know, it's wasteful, right? OK, maybe I could have the Goodwill come and pick them up. . . but they'd have to be unwashed and unsorted - THAT is exactly the work i'm attempting to avoid.

See, it's just so nice to put a brand new pair of socks on every day. No searching for some non-existent pair, no being forced to wearing pairs that match "close enough."

And now I think maybe I've figured out a way to do this, even on a budget. While I was in Orlando, I didn't pack enough socks (couldn't find any pairs except for woolen hiking socks!), so I bought an economy sized pack of socks at a drugstore there. I think I paid $3.99 for 20 pairs. I'm still wearing new pairs! And while I'm not exactly throwing them away yet, I could. Think about it, that's only 20 cents a pair, a dime a sock! It would be like washing a paper towel or something.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Rock History is Made

An age has come to an end. The world tour is over. The Look Machine finished it up last night with their grand finale, a stunning sold out show at Eastern University. The attendance was astronomical! There was barely room to breath in the arena which was packed to capacity by the band, 5 or 6 people drinking cofffee and a whole lot of empty chairs. "we never could have dreamed of such an overwhelming response and so many dedicated fans!" rhapsodized Ian palkovitz, one of the band guitarists. "I always dreamed of being a rock star. Now that dream has come true... no, it's more than come true... quite frankly I'm lost for words... this is just incredible!"

I had the rare privelage of accompanying the band in their tour bus as they went to and from the show. The ride there was very exciting! U2, a sort of Irish rock band, just released a new single called "Vertigo" which the band enjoyed very much upon hearing it for the first time.

The ride home was even better, as Isaiah belted out soaring melodies in his stellar falsetto to all of the bands least favorite pop songs. The mood was excited and triumphant. "We left on this tour as an unheard of local band from the south eastern corner of PA, and now we return as rock gods." Said Ian. I failed to detect even a hint of meloncholy that this incredible time in the history of music was drawing to a close. The band is unwaveringly optimistic, and they look to the future with great excitement, not even considering the possiblility that their best days are behind them.

So what's next? This is the question that half of the world is asking. What can possibly match such accomplishments? Where can a carreer go from the top? What could possibly be better than perfect? "I can't speak for the rest of the band... or on second thought, yes I can." Said Ian, as I interviewd him in his "crib" in the hills of Pennsylvania. "We are going to rock harder and longer and better! Let's stick it to the man!!!"

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Things I've Never Done

I've never climbed mount everest, I've never eaten a dozen large pizza's in one sitting. I have never seen the sasquatch nor have I captured the loch ness monster. I have never found the cure for aids, I have never played a show for 10000 screaming fans. I have never detonated an atomic bomc, I have never met the president. I have never dropped a class, but i have dropped a guitar. I have never sung the national anthem at the top of my voice in a library. Contrary to unpopular belief, I have never sniffed a cows butt.

I have never stolen a fish from an Eskimo. I have never died, in fact, I don't think that I have ever even been terminally ill, except for once. I have never played rock paper scissors with president Bush, or even with Colin Powel. I have never been eaten by a shark, and I've never been chased by a dolphin. I have never run a marathon, and I've never even wanted to.

This list is not quite exhaustive, but it's a good start and I think that I have the notable things set forth.

Amp it Up

I bought an amp off of ebay the other day. It's a Fender Ultra Chorus, like the one Collin has. It's a 2x12 and has 135 watts (that's more watts than all of davids cousings). I have a really sweet vintage Fender Twin Reverb but it's too old and fragile to take around on our world tours. Josh Latshaw summed it up quite nicely when he said, "It's kind of like an old man. It's kind of annoying and breaks a lot, but you just really want to keep it around." So now I have "a good young man that can take all the abuse you can throw at it." Hopefully it gets here in one piece.

Just for fun

Here are some things that I have done in my life. This is not an exhaustive list of "things I have done in my life." It is just a random assortment. I am proud of some of them and less proud of others, but I truly have done all of the following:

I have eaten an entire large pizza by myself in one sitting. I once caught a live fish with my bare hands. I have dried my entire body with toilet paper because I was out of towels. I have eaten dog meat...knowingly. I have biked over 120 miles in a single day. I have watched 6 movies in a row. I have pee'd on the electric fence (by mistake of course).

I have played guitar until my fingers bled. I have ridden an elephant bareback for 2 hours. I have spent at least a month on 4 different continents. I have fallen down the stairs while attempting to ride my bike down them to impress someone. I have dropped classes in college because there were too many required texts. I have refused to buy the book for classes and still gotten an "A." I have been shot by 7 different BB guns and been shot at by a real gun. I have gotten every single car I have ever owned stuck in the mud. I have been pulled over for towing a sled behind my Jeep (with my Wife on the sled) and captured the entire incident on camera by leaving the tape rolling (we were shooting a really cool video). I have walked into a stranger's house without knocking because I thought that it was my friend's house.

I have climbed a water tower (I mean 3 water towers). I lived in a closet for 2 years. I have climbed onto the roof of a speeding train. I have climbed out the window, over the roof, and in the other window of a speeding car. I have fallen off of a moving car... it hurt. I have eaten cereal with Mountain Dew instead of milk. I have bungee-jumped off of a train bridge and touched the grass at the bottom (that one was REALLY dumb. Always measure the bungee). I have sneezed skittles out of my nose. I have played a concert with my fly open (oops). I have shocked myself with one of those punishing dog collars in order to empathize with an unruly puppy. I have nursed a rat back to health with a medicine dropper. I have canoed in the "flood of the century" and soaked in a hot-tub during a hurricane. I have been buried in my sleep by an unexpected blizzard while camping. I have eaten an entire bowl of Lucky Charms marshmallows. I have written very long and pointless (but true) posts to amuse myself because it is late and I am not tired. That is the end of my list.

I have done other things that are not on this list... like... brush my teeth with a stick, slept 14 hours non stop, and eaten an entire tube of Pringles in 5 minutes, but those things didn't make the list. Maybe I will make another list some other night.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Directions

Hey everybody! Here are directions to the show at Eastern:

First get to Eastern Univerisity. You can use the address below to get directions from where you are to the school.

Jammin Java is in Walton Hall (student center)
1300 Eagle Rd.
St. Davids, PA. 19087

When you turn into the main entrance of campus you
will stay straight on the road that swerves to the
left and then to the right again, at which point you
will be in the parking lot. You will see McInnis Hall
first, and you have to go behind that to find Walton.
Eastern isn't big, and anyone you ask will be able to
tell you where the Java is.

I hope to see you all there!

Correction, our time slot is now 9:30 untill 11:30. There are other people playing before us as well.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Thought of the day

Today I was listening to the radio and it said that when you die, God won't ask you what kind of car you drove, but rather how many times you used your car to drive someone that needed a ride. He won't care what cloths you wear, but he will care how many people you cloth. He won't care how many square feet you had in your house, he will ask how many people you invited into it. . .

Words to live by.

To extrapolate. . . I doubt God cares one bit how many records a band sells, or how high a single ranks. But he will care that we touch hearts and serve as a voice for him. . .

Sunday, September 19, 2004

1 Down 1 to Go

The world tour is half over. We had a good time playing at community day today! Thanks to everybody who came out!!! You are some really good fans, we couldn't ask for any better! More? Yeah, I think that we could ask for more fans some time, but I was personally really happy with the turn out today, so thanks. Thanks also to the people who bought shirts, and CD's and stuff, you rock.

Just a reminder. We are playing this coming Thursday at Eastern University at a coffee shop called Jammin 'n Java. The world renowned and internationally adored Shane Palkovitz will be going on around 8:30, then we'll play a nice long set, probably starting at about 9. I'm really excited about it. I think it's going to be a fun show. It's a small place, and hopefully we can pack it out.

Have a nice week!

Saturday, September 18, 2004

the Look Machine abhors Nazism

Just in case there is any confusion as a result of a certain commentor on our weblog, I wanted all regulars and newcomers here to know that, to a man, the Look Machine abhors the beliefs and actions of the Nazi movement, and all similiar groups.

Why and how? Well the reasons should be obvious, but just to be clear. . .

The central beliefs of Nazism were:

-- Racism * Especially anti-Semitism, which eventually culminated in the Holocaust.
* Anti-Slavism  
* Belief in the superiority of the German and Aryan/Nordic races.
from NationMaster.com

the Look Machine does not subscribe to the any kind of racism, and finds it absolutely disgusting. We believe in the equality of all humans, as they are all created by God, and due the dignity inherent to being created in the image of God. We believe that there is only one race -- the human race. We believe we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.

I personally know and love many Jewish people, and have a great respect and reverence for their culture and heritage. I support Israel's right to have their own homeland, and to defend that homeland.

-- Euthanasia and Eugenics with respect to "Racial Hygiene"
from NationMaster.com

the Look Machine is pro-life. Though this position may not be considered politically savvy in this current climate, we do not believe that there is such a thing as "lesser" lives that should or can be ended. We believe that regardless of sex, health, age (this includes too old or pre-birth age), race, or handicap a human life needs to be preserved. We strenously argue against those who would attempt to create a climate where the ending of any human life is acceptable. We are equally angered by those terrorists who have co-opted the pro-life movement and defined it by torturing women and shooting doctors in the back.

-- Anti-Marxism, Anti-Communism, Anti-Bolshevism


the Look Machine is not communist. . . so yeah on this one I guess we agree with Nazism. As does every other non-communist nation. However, even though we are not communist, we do recognize that pure capitalism is not the answer to proper distribution of wealth and care for the world's poor. We believe that great care should be taken to prevent the exploitation of the weaker ones in this world. Pure capitalism fails here.

-- The denial of democracy, with as a consequence the ending the existence of political parties, labour unions, and free press.


We affirm democracy as an imperfect yet workable solution to the governance of human affairs. We recognize that a democracy is only as strong as the people who partake in it, yet this is both a flaw and a great asset to the system. It is better than despotism, monarchism, or communism. Additionally, we see the need for labor unions to protect the workers against the potential avarice of the owners. And free press is one of the most cherished rights of a free and strong nation.

-- F hrerprinzip/belief in the leader (Responsibility up the ranks, and authority down the ranks.)


A leader serves. This is a foundational belief of Christianity, one that we all subscribe to. A leader is a servant of his or her nation, NOT the other way around. We firmly reject any notion that a free people should unquestioningly support their leader. A hallmark of a free, strong nation is free and strong dissent. In any endeavor where I personally lead, I actively discourage blind following. Accordingly, I will question Bush's lack of responsibility-taking for the torture in Iraq. A human that demands unconditional following is a despot, not a servant.

-- Social Darwinism


Social Darwinism applies Darwin's evolutionary theory -- particularly "survival of the fittest" -- to social policy. Cropping up in the writings of such authors as Spencer and Malthus, it basically argues that a population will eventually outgrow it's resources (food, land, water, jobs, etc) and at this point it's healthy and inevitable that the strong thrive while the weak perish. While this may be a cold physical reality in a world devoid of ethics or spirit, we believe that Christian charges to take care of the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the widows and the orphans among us are 100% antithetical to accepting this as an allowing outcome. We reject Social Darwinism, instead believing in the charge to care for the weaker among us.

-- Defence of Blood and Land (German: "Blut und Boden" - represented by the red and black colors in the Nazi flag)


We do not believe in the protection of "German blood," nor in any kind of "Uberman Blood" that need to be protected against infection from "lesser races." We do not believe in German Romanticism's concept of the strongs' imperative to dominate the weak as expressed in the writings of Nietzsche and the music of Wagner, among others. We do not believe in an "Uberman" at all. We reject such absurd thoughts and claims outright.

We affirm the right of different humans to marry and procreate, even if not of the exact same racial heritage. We do believe that a nation and its people have a right to defend their borders and their destiny against those who would seek to change these things forceably. Yet such a right does not allow a nation to imperialistically attack its neighbors as the Nazis did.

My apologies if this is kind of a "ok? why are you writing this? kind of post. . ." but I wanted to make clear that we in no way support Nazism in any shape or form it would take, and actively work to fight against the dangerous beliefs that they held.

Friday, September 17, 2004

World Tour!!!

Two states, Two Cities, Two Concerts, One Week! The Look Machine is shattering all of their previous records and giving it all they have. This is an incredible, daring new move for the band! Who would have immagined that their rise to fame would be this fast? Who ever could have believed that what started out as just five guys playing their hearts out could suddenly become something so amazing. In the words of an adoring fan, they are now "So much more than a rock band... they are an Entity!"

What started out as a local band in Newark has suddenly, inexplicabbly become a nation wide rock experience. One can scarcely live or breath in our global community without knowing just who the machine is. Their influence now reaches a breathetaking 50 miles from where they first began as they prepare to take Eastern University and Jammin' 'n Java by Force!!! World prepare!!!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Ian's New Song

Stinky Comcast, the modem they rent me conks out all the time. I'm now logged in only through some random neighbors wireless network called "linksys." Thank goodness for this kind neighbor who doesn't require a password to use his access. But unfortunately the connection is pretty weak, just 2 bars. .. so it's slow.

Had another good practice tonight, running through our set for Sunday and working through Ian's new song. It's very sweet and lovely, in my opinion, a gently flowing rumination on higher love. I like it alot, and it sticks with you. We'll be playing it on Sunday.

Hey, I'm up to 3 bars on the wireless connection! Thanks, unknown neighbor!

We're finally moving into the new house on Friday and Saturday. This is quite a time of transition for my little family. New house, new career for me, new school for my 5 year old daughter. . . everything seems kind of unfamiliar. But we'll get through it all with the strength of our love. I was thinking. . . it's kind of easy loving when people are "being themselves," (assuming that they aren't total wackadoos, of course), but the moments when love is really tested (and needed) are the moments when things get a bit extreme, or hurtful, or stressful, or difficult. . . And I'm fortunate to be surrounded by people with love that is stronger than death.

What am I Doing?

So I'm sitting here, and it's 1 am. What am I doing up at 1 am in the middle of the week? Maybe I am living large, going all out with the rock star life style. Maybe I am composing some sort high and ruminating song. Maybe I am watching a movie or going on a date or having an adventure. Maybe I am contemplating the mysteries of the universe. Maybe I am having a late night telephone conversation. Maybe I am so excited to be alive taht I can hardly sleep a wink.

No!

I am doing Precalculus. Yes, that's right. Thrilling isn't it? I am sitting here spilling my muddled brains over a tatteret piece of paper. What's so functional about functions? Isn't the range just a touch deranged? And who on earth designed the graphing calculator? I think that they were probably socially disfunctional and not good at communicating. God, please save me from this!!!

Monday, September 13, 2004

Back in Business

So as I am sure you all noticed (or at least I hope you did), I have been away for some time now. I was not, as it has been whispered, lying on the side of the road with my skull crushed in. I went backpacking in the white mountains with Lindsay. We were gone for 2 weeks and had the greatest time in the world. I needed a vacation affter a summer of doing nothing. It can really wear a body out you know... having so much free time.

Anyhow, after that I knew that it was time to buckle down and do some work, so I went to this graphic design conference in Orlando. It was a fantastic conference and I learned SOOOOO much. It was really exhausting though. We spent 3 days at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (I know, I am a workaholic). Riding all of those rides can do a number on you. The hurricane excape was great too.

Now, I actually am working. I am doing full time graphic design. I love it. Right now, it honestly feels like I am back in school. I had a summer off and now I spend my days learning new stuff. I don't really have a lot to say at the moment, but I thought that I would like to tell you that I am back on the log for real now.

Community Day and other Updates

I'll send an email at some point (when I remember how to do it). . . but wanted everyone to know that we are playing at Newark's Community Day this Sunday, at 10.30 AM in front of Evans Hall (that's the side of the Mall that is closer to the Library). We're definitely looking forward to it, hopefully a chance to pick up some new fans.

We were going to practice tonight and Wednesday, but then my sister in law went into labor and Darby is going to stay with her while the baby is born. .. so I'm stuck at home with the children. We'll practice Wednesday and Thursday now.

We're going to start moving into the new house tomorrow, the basement is finished and beautiful. The construction crew that did the work has 3 members of boysetsfire working for it, so it was kind of strange having such an incredible band that you respect alot working on your house -- but they did a great job on the basement as well. It's great having artists who are also skilled with construction working on your house, the results are beautiful. This house is just a gift, such a blessing.

Also, just to let you know, Collin and I are going to build a treehouse in the backyard of my new house. Maybe we could build one like this? -- that would be pretty incredible.

Anyone see that Eagles game yesterday? I know it's the Giants, and they look like they are in for a tough year. . . but wow their offense was explosive. I've never seen an Eagles team like that in my entire life. If only they had the defense from 3 years ago. . . Well, here's to expecting a Super Bowl appearance and likely having my heart ripped out. . . again!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Another Concert

Hey everybody! We're going to be having a concert at Eastern University on Thursday, September 23rd at a coffee shop called Jammin' and Java. I don't have a whole lot of specifics on it right now, but I'll keep you all posted.

That's good for us though, two concerts in one week! It must be a world record!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Drummers, the Opportunity of a Lifetime!

I go to the U of D these days. You know, it's at attempt at becoming an educated fellow. It's educational it a lot of ways too! Anyway, I was sitting around on campus eating lunch with a couple of old friends and reading a bulliten board. On it was a piece of paper that read:

"Wanted, drummer who doesn't suck too bad. Must have own set, and not suck too much but can't be too good either, because then he would blow us away. Influences should include but are not limited to... (a bunch of bands nobody has ever heard of) and if you like, listen to, or enjoy... [all of the bands that you have heard of, and even kind of like] then &#^% off, don't even bother!"


I just wanted to pass that along as a heads up, in case there are any drummers out there looking for a band. I would recomend it.

On a slightly different note, Jelousy Curve played a show outside on campus today. They were really good! It was cool to see them again and to know most of their songs. They are really good! Apparently they are playing at the Stone Balloon in Newark on October 9th if you are interested in seeing them.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Shane

My brother, Shane, has been working on a lot of music lately, and he's getting good! He's got a couple of rough recordings up on Pure Volume. Check it out! You should download his song called "Hopes of Life Lately" because, well, it's a good song.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Back in the Saddle

We got to practice as a full band tonight! Whew-hoo. . . it FELT (yes it was a feeling) good to play with the fellas. The basement was hot like a sauna, but we played like we had a crowd of thousands (good thing we didn't though, sometimes things were a little. . . shall we say, rusty?).

We're getting ready for our hour-long set at Newark Community Day on the 19th. Should be fun. Started working on a new song that sounds phenomenal. . . and makes us a very diverse band because it's very driving and very hard. Seriously, it's hard to believe that the same band would write this song and Wanderings. But then again, I love diverse bands. I haven't yet come up with a decent melody for it, but the rest of the group sounds incredible.

No matter what you do. . .

MyNym mentioned that if David was in POD, he wouldn't feel the need to prophesy against them as he does us. While I do appreciate POD and count myself as one of their fans (short for fanatic, by the way. .. ); Replacing our lyrics with theirs would perhaps assuage the wrath of MyNym, but it would only open us up to more "biblically based" attacks. Just out of curiousity, read these charges against POD that are actually rather thought-provoking. Not that I agree with them. . . but they do show that if you're out there in the public at all, there will always be people who will criticize you, normally using all kinds of scripture.

Monday, September 06, 2004

The Amazing Escape

We're sitting in our hotel in Orlando Friday night at around 6:00 PM, awaiting Hurricane Frances, drinking our complimentary Shirley Temples and gnawing on slightly stale pretzels. Glancing around, we see a very crowded lobby. We see through the windows a town that is shut down completely. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. AND, we see a report that Frances is taking her time, and really taking it slowly.

Suddenly, Collin says it. "We should just drive home now." It was one of those moments where a possibility begins to grow in potential. Yeah, I think, why not? The hurricane is continuing to delay itself, therefore probably delaying the reopening of the airport, stranding us longer. Away from wives and children who we want to see very badly. And the prospect of a number of days, without electricity, cramped together with the people crowding the lobby. . .

We have to check our options. How much more will it cost to drop our car off in Philly instead of Orlando? How long will it take us to get north of the hurricane? Oh man. .. and the gas situation. We only have a quarter tank.

Due to the hurricane, the car rental agency is waiving the additional fee. Check! Jacksonville is 2 hours away, and the hurricane won't be hitting that area hard. And Frances is moving only 4 MPH. Check! I think we could outcrawl this storm if we had to.

But the gas? Well. .. no answer there. Definitely not a "check." But Collin and I are optimistic to a fault sometimes. . . Optimistic as in, "Oh yeah the news says that there isn't any gas anywhere? Well, we'll find some somewhere." We have our friend Joe with us too. .. and he's not so confident. But while we're kind of lying around still mulling the decision, I jump up, clap and say, "LET'S Go!" It's 7:15.

10 minutes later we're all packed up and out the door.

The hotel staff can't believe it when we check out. "You're sure? You do know there's a hurricane coming? You realize there is a curfew on the streets?" Yes, yes, yes. .. we just want to go home, we tell them. We have people waiting for us. We're driving away from the hurricane, and away from the curfew.

Are we crazy? The looks on their faces tell us we are. We ignore them . ..

In the car and we're on the highway and on our way home.

Weather isn't yet bad, we're doing fine. Oh yeah, let's make sure to get gas, right? Hmmm. .. first exit. .. all 4 gas stations are EMPTY.

Not to worry, the next exit will have gas. EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY.

Down to a quarter tank. EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY.

Getting nearer to that terrible red zone that tells you you'd better pull over and find a gas station. Of course, it's assuming that these gas stations would actually have gas.

It's quiet. None of us are talking. None of us are saying the things that all of us are thinking. Not enough gas to get back to our Orlando hotel. We're now in Daytona Beach -- just miles from the coast, and a completely evacuated area for safety reasons. If we run out of gas, we're sharing a small white Oldsmobile for . .. how long? 12 hours? 24? 36?

EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY.

Joe asks, "Anybody have any plans?" I suggest finding a gas station that has gas. I'm the only one who laughs. (Someday they will realize how clever this was.) Collin suggest that should things get very desperate, we could siphon gas from a parked car and leave a twenty under the wipers. . . Yes, we are getting desperate.

There are no hotels in this area. You're not allowed in this area. There are no people in this area. This area is a ghost town waiting for disaster. And we're going to get stuck here.

EMPTY. EMPTY. EMPTY.

Oh, but wait, Collin looks out at one of the completely dark gas stations that we drove past because it looked abandoned. But he wants to check it out a little closer. He runs over to it. . . Comes running back with cautious optimism. Not all of the nozzles are covered and closed. One says it will still take cards.

We drive there, none of us really believing that this would be the one that worked. I slide the card in. . so far, good. It takes. And the nozzle into the car. . . pull the trigger. . . glorious gas! We are transformed into three fools, hooting and hollaring and slapping high fives in an empty, abandoned gas station. Thank you Lord. It's a gaseous miracle.

After this. .. no more hiccups. Wow, we were really rescued from a very bad situation. The roads were abandoned all the way until South Carolina. Fast driving and good times. . .I think we set a record, we were home and surprising our wives and children after just 12 hours of driving.

So there we are, no longer stranded in Florida, and with a pretty miraculous story too!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Outskirts of a Storm

Today was awesome! My favorite time in the world is right before a storm when it's windy and gray and you can just feel the excitement in the air. It's like anything could happen, at any time! Usually that feeling only lasts for about 5 or 10 minutes, then the storm comes right down on top of you, but somehow it was like that all day today! I don't think that the storm is really going to hit us up here in PA, but we got the best part of it anyhow!

I went outside tonight and walked around a little bit. The clouds had gone away, but the wind was still blowing, and there is a trace of that excitement lingering in the air. The stars are out so bright and the crickets and katydids are singing. It's like the perfect summer night!

Friday, September 03, 2004

Office Photos

Here is a different subject matter for some photos. . . the office. I took these on my last day.


Here is a pen shaped like a fish that was on our administrative assistant's desk.

There was a large rubber band ball at my desk -- I did not build it, but somehow I inherited it from someone that I cannot recall. It eventually lost all of it's elasticity and hardened, and then the rubber bands started to snap as they became brittle. Here is the ruins of that proud ball.

My mouse and mousepad. Depressing, huh?

Oftentimes in an office a random object, such as this paper towell roll, will be placed in a random spot, like on this table. Since nobody really uses the object or the location, and neither belong to anyone, the object will stay in this spot for a very long time. For instance, this paper towell had been here at least 2 weeks that I noticed.

At the Photoshop conference, one of the sessions I attended was about photo montages. This was a quick one I put together during the class, using my computer monitor at work, and a co-worker photographed during a meeting.

Too Bad for Them!

Right now Collin and Jason are stuck somewhere in Florida with some kind of nasty Hurricane about to rain on them, really hard. They went down there for a conference, but then the conference was canceled, as well as all flights out of Orlando. So they are trying to make a plan, but plans can be hard to make during hurricanes and mandatory evacuations. And evacuations can be equally hard to make, especially without transportation. Looks like the band just got smaller... at least for a while. I'm sure that they will be ok, they have an incredible knack for getting out of tough situations. Somehow they always seem to come out of them ahead too! So they will figure it out, and have fun doing it.

Ps. Have any of you been following the russian hostage story! It's confusing and aweful!!! It just ended in a bloody mess, and to tell the truth it's bothering me considerably.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

“As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.”

When I sharpen my knife, I get out the sharpener, oil it carefully, open my knife, find exactly the right angle, and begin to sharpen it by grinding it gently but firmly in a specific way. There are no sparks that fly, no sudden quck movements, no obnoxious noise. You see, it’s about planning, precision, carefulness, and a knowledge about both the knife and the sharpener.

When you take two pieces of iron and start banging them into each other they don’t get sharpened! Invariably they get chipped, dented, and broken. Sharpening is all about finding the right angle of approach, and doing it carefully. Arguing with other people is not going to sharpen their iron! It will hurt the people you argue with, and in one way or another it will damage you.

Even if this were not the case, I would rather fight with an army that used slightly dull swords but fought together as a unit for a common cause than in an army where everyone had deadly sharp swords that they kept swinging at each other attempting to sharpen them.

We all are searching for truth, (many of us have dedicated our lives to this goal) and we are finding it! However, all of us are flawed, and none of us understand and possess all of the complete and perfect truth. Granted, some are closer than others, but we are all far from perfection!

Let’s face it, everyone reading this weblog has a different and carefully constructed belief system. Many of us have irreconcilable doctrinal differences. We could argue until Jesus came back and none of our minds would be changed. I personally know and count among my closest friends a Catholic, and non-demonational evangelical protestant, a reformed Presbyterian, a Russian Orthodox monk, and yes even a Mormon. I do not doubt the salvation of a single one of these people. Are there differences? Yes! Are some of them absolutely wrong about some of the things they believe? Yes! Are all religions morally equivalent? No! But I will be the first to admit that I am flawed and I’m sure that I believe some things that are not true… is that grounds to be sent to Hell? We will see, the Lord Judges the heart.

Romans 10:9 states clearly: “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” I believe this verse with all of my heart. If you believe in free will or predestination… if you are convinced that Joseph Smith was a good guy, if you think that God answers prayers directed to Saints, you will be held accountable to God on the final day of judgment. He knows the whole truth, and he knows everything that is in a person’s heart. But I believe that if you Believe in and Love Jesus with all you heart, admitting and repenting of your sins, that that is what really counts!

Please! Can we lay aside our differences, and embrace each other as brothers and sisters! As Ecclesiastes states “there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” There is a time to debate, but there is also a time to look past our differences and see what we agree on! I believe that time is now. Also, I would submit that there is a proper place for everything. The fan website of a rock band is perhaps not the best place for endless and heated theological debate and argument. If any of you are interested in meeting with the band and discussing questions, concerns, or just having a spirited debate we would be more than happy to comply, but this is not the place.

The biggest reason that I am tired of this is because I see no good in it. I don’t think that any one has sharper “iron” as a result, but I do know that there is dissension and disunity as a result of all of these arguments. Jesus said “you will know a tree by its fruit” and the fruit of these discussions has been rather rotten.

If you read the Bible it is very clear that unity is one of the top priorities of Jesus. In John 17 Jesus is praying to the Father just before his death. He prays for all of the people who will come to believe in him later on. What is the first thing he says? “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father Just as you are in me and I am in you.” John 17:20. I understand that true unity is more than not arguing, but it’s a step in the right direction. As someone already said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” And as the body of Christ we need to stand, and stand strong!

We need to admit that saying things such as “Jeb, Jeb are you dead in the head” to an atheist asking questions, or “up your butt and around the corner” to a Christian trying to defend their faith are not the inspired words of God. I think that everyone involved in this debate has been judgmental of others, come across in harsh and sometimes cruel ways, and been guilty of not being “quick to listen” or “slow to speak.” I am asking everyone to end the endless debating! Please for the sake of unity, time, and common decency let’s stop!