Monday, December 12, 2011

Music for Christmas

Hello, my avid readers (all two of you!). I've been blogging rather infrequently, but I hope to increase my blogging consistency in lieu of having more time due to the ending semester. Which was actually a pretty good one for me. Starting my second year at MAC, I found myself greeting a ton familiar faces--friends I had made because of classes, theater, and other such connections. I just wish there was more of me, so I could give my time as many of those friends as possible, but c'est la vie.

Anyway, Christmas is drawing nigh (and Hanukkah is a week from tomorrow!), but I haven't yet had my yearly surge of Christmas joy. It's something that sort of happens in my mind where I just think, "Man, this is Christmastime. How awesome!" And seriously, Christmas is the best holiday all year. I don't care where you live or what your religious beliefs are--nothing can top it (although Hanukkah comes close; Hanukkah could be a bad-ass holiday).

I'm particularly liking that I actually have an income this Christmas (I'm on the work study program for MAC's music department--got my first paycheck last Friday!), and I can go out buying gifts for people. I've been trying to mentally compile a Christmas shopping list of things to get my family and at least a few of my friends; again, I wish there was more of me to spend money on all my friends, but oh well.

What I'm not particularly liking is that I'm having a hard time imagining what I would like for Christmas. The same thing happened for my birthday (which was ten days ago today). I just didn't really know what to ask for. Maybe I'm just content with all that I have, or I figure if I want something I should just go get it myself. I don't know.

But I did have a realization. It occurred to me as I was in the green room waiting on the elevator. My friend Spencer was talking with the other theater kids there about the kind of music he was listening to lately. I wanted to pipe in and say something before I had to leave--the elevator was being particularly slow, anyway--but that's when my mind hit a wall. I tried thinking of the newest music I was most recently into, but nothing came to mind. The last musical kick I went on was when Thrice released Major/Minor, but that was almost a month and a half ago. Since then I've been recycling the same 2000+ songs in my iTunes library, hitting the shuffle button every time I plugged into my iPod, passively listening to whatever came up.

Finally the elevator door slid open, and I stepped inside asking myself, "Why haven't I been trying to find any new music?" Well, I wrestled with the question the rest of that day, and I realized that music just hasn't been that accessible to me for the past few months. I only recently started working in the music department, and up til then my funds had been draining slowly. I couldn't really afford to spend money on anything besides food and gasoline, so I had to give up buying any music for a while; I made an exception for Thrice's latest album because they're one of my top two favorite bands. Other than that, I've been in a musical drought.

But that brings me back to Christmas, and I realized what I want is music. For me, the easiest way to access music is by downloading it through iTunes (I'm such a good little boy, getting my music legally), so although iTunes gift cards have gotten a bad rap as being the I-didn't-know-what-else-to-get-you gift, some iTunes money would make my year. I even have my eye on a few albums that would be so much easier to find in an online store than at Wal-Mart.

So yeah. I don't want this blog to sound like I'm just pouting about what I want for Christmas, so let me conclude by drawing your attention to my blog's shiny new title! Ooh, ah! Okay, so all I did was take out a few words, but I like the change. The way the title was before, I always felt like it was too wordy, too cluttered. But now it's cleaner, more efficient, and hopefully easier to remember and more likable, too.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Golf Course Kamikaze: Hi, I'm Timmy

Deep within the oceans of YouTube, I found a legendary video of Golf Course Kamikaze playing the first song we ever wrote: Hi, I'm Timmy--AKA, The Timmy Song. There's even some pre- and post-song banter included. This was at a show in March earlier this year, the last one we played before our drummer Henry left for military basic training. Good times, good times.


The video was uploaded by a friend named Jason after being recorded in his basement; check out his YouTube channel thedeadpawns to hear his band and the countless others he records and helps out. He's done a lot for GCK, and I owe him more than a shout-out on a blog, but it'll have to do for now. Enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why I Should Stop Ignoring Facebook Chat Windows

So last night I was working on homework, or at least trying to--it's hard when all you want to do is update Twitter and make a good play in Words With Friends on Facebook. But as I was on Facebook, I get a chat notification from a kid named Ben, who is the little brother of my friend Adam. Last time he talked to me on Facebook, it was kind of an annoying conversation, and this time I was expecting the same thing, so I didn't reply back to him, didn't even open the window. I just closed Facebook and told myself I really should get back to my homework.

I just now opened Facebook a few minutes ago, and Ben wasn't online (he's no doubt in school right now), but the window was still there. I opened it to read the message, and it said, "happy early birthday."

I feel like a douche. :(

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spring 2012

I met with my adviser last week and set up my schedule for next semester at MAC. Here's what classes I'll be taking:

MWF
10:00-10:50  Foundations of Education
11:00-11:50  General Biology
12:00-12:50  Jazz Ensemble

TR
9:00-10:50  General Biology (lab)
11:00-12:15  General Psychology
2:00-2:50  Beginning Jazz Dance 2

A few things are different about this semester's schedule than for any of my previous semesters. For one, this is the first time I don't have a single English course in schedule. But once the semester gets started and I get an idea of how tough my work load is going to be, I might try to add one. There's a Creative Non-Fiction course I'd like to try, and Mr. Jaycox (my adviser) said he teaches a poetry course.

But the other major change is that I changed my major (DOHOHO!); I'm now getting an Associate of Arts in Teaching English, instead just an Associate of Arts in English alone. That's why I'm taking Foundations of Education this semester. It's also why I'll be at Mineral Area College even longer than I first anticipated. Before, I thought I could graduate during summer 2012, but with the extra education courses I have to cover, I won't get to graduate until at least next fall.

=/

But at least it's just a minor setback. And in the long run, getting a job with a teaching degree will be easier than getting a job without it. And next fall my friend Corey will be attending MAC, which is great because I haven't seen him much at all since we graduated high school. Plus, I have more time to set up courses that transfer to SEMO, which is where I want to go after MAC.

So hey, it looks like I've got a little bit of future lined up for me.
"We see 10 million commercials a day, and every day is the same life-killing chase for money, money and more money; the only thing that changes from minute to minute is that every tick of the clock brings with it another space-age vendor dreaming up some new way to try to sell you something or reach into your pocket."
 ~Matt Taibbi

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I Stopped Hearing Him

We used to have this dog named Bilbo. He was a dachshund/something-or-other (my mom found his dachshund mother when she was pregnant with Bilbo's litter, so we don't know what the father was), and he had fluffy white fur spotted black that made him look fatter than he really was. He was an adorable dog to look at, but he was a spoiled brat. He barked at literally everyone and everything that came anywhere near our house, including the people who have been living there. It's funny, because had a black splotch covering half his white face; if it were up to me, I'd have named him Two Face.

A few times we tried to give him away. But each time the potential new owner took him to their house, Bilbo terrorized their other pets and holed up in a corner somewhere without letting anyone go near him. That happened to two different people, the same exact story. After the second person, my dad started calling him Boomerang.

So, Bilbo pretty much became a fixture of the Morey household: the Dog Who Barked at Everyone. He would bark at me like I was a serial killer every time I came home from school, but I guess I got used to him. I'd park my car, step outside and walk halfway through our front yard when his signature woo-woo-woo-woo-woof! punched the silence, and he came running from around the back of the house to do nothing but yap at me. "Shut up, Bilbo, you see me every day!" I would say, as if he actually listened.

A few years ago (we had Bilbo for about four years, I think), he lost his voice for a week. Seriously. When he tried to bark, no sound came out but a hoarse whisper of a bark. Best week of my life.

In retrospect, that's probably when the tumor in his neck started to form. We noticed a lump on Bilbo's neck and took him to a veterinarian. Bilbo had the tumor surgically removed, and he was just fine afterward--and even though he started gaining weight, he was basically back to his rotten, bratty self.

For a few years, anyway. Recently his tumor started to reform, but the vet refused to operate on him again because he had to cut so close to Bilbo's throat last time. And rather than have Bilbo weather another winter, my mom and dad decided to put him down.

That was two weeks ago. I found out today. I hadn't even realized he was gone. I must have stopped noticing him bark a long time ago.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Taking Up Space?

Ever since Occupy Wall Street garnered media coverage I've grown more and more fascinated by it. From what I've read, it's a movement unlike any this country has seen for several generations. People of all ages, races, income levels, etc., are realizing the gross socioeconomic inequality they've been living under and they are coming together to demand justice. Some media outlets and political commentators are even calling Occupy Wall Street the liberal counterpart of the Tea Party, but OWS seems... different to me somehow. Either way, the movement catches me in wonder.

But a friend of mine says Occupy Wall Street is nothing but a bunch of stupid, ungrateful kids lashing out violently as a way to demand money they don't deserve. It's nothing like the Tea Party, he says, because they had a legitimate message (legitimate because he agreed with them?), and never used violence to get it across. He spoke with authority, but... he hasn't been to an Occupation anywhere--he's only going by what he hears on the news--most likely Fox News, too.

So how does he know? If he's never seen for himself the way Occupy Wall Streeters really act, asked them what they really want, where does he get the idea he knows more than I do about them? So this is my resolve: I have to attend an Occupation rally someday, and the closest is Occupy St. Louis. I want to see what it's about. I want a firsthand account. I want to decide for myself where I stand. I don't know when I'll go, I guess I have to make plans.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Sending hopeful thoughts!"

Few weeks ago my friend Tucker wrecked his truck, totaled it. He ended up recovering really well, doctors even cancelled the reconstructive surgery on his eye socket they thought was necessary. The guy's like Wolverine, I swear.

Back story's over. The day after the accident, I see a Facebook status informing the general public and asking friends to pray for Tucker's health. Okay, you're concerned, but what's an atheist supposed to say? He's a close friend of mine, and I'm supposed to leave a comment along the lines of "Oh, that's sad! Best wishes!"?

I hate feeling left out when people ask for prayer requests. Isn't there a more universal (and more real) way to ask for support in the face of adversity?

Obligatory Autumn Poem

Reds
and golds
Yellows
and oranges
Crimsons
and ambers

Leaves shine brightest
before dripping like rain
from trees

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'm working on an assignment for my Creative Writing class, a 5-10 page creative non-fiction piece. Sadly, this has nothing to do with it. But still, I like that I'm able to just flow and write whatever is coming to my head. I once heard it said that if you write only when you're inspired, you might make a good poet, but you'll never be a good prose writer. And that's how I'm starting to feel. I can't wait to get this prose piece over and done with so we can start working on poetry in class. I feel most proficient in poetry, having spent most of my writing efforts in putting together song lyrics. I don't write enough prose, and really I don't write enough in general. I don't read enough, either. I intend to start tonight, though. I have a journal for class; I might as well use it. I have to write a play as honors project, too. And it's due in a month. I should have been working on that more often than I have been, chipping away at it piece by piece, scene by scene. Again, I just need to write more, and write without any inhibitions. Banish the inner critic was our first lesson in Creative Writing. Invite him back in when you need to revise was the second. I haven't been following those lessons too well, but I'm getting better at it. Sadly, I think I'm gonna be up all night writing this paper. Oh well. Just wanted to get this off my mind so I could go back to working on it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

She's Nubs!

Back in 2003, the band NOFX released a song titled "She's Nubs" on their album The War on Errorism. Give it a listen while you're reading this blog, would you?


If you're paying attention to the lyrics, you'll realize that the song is an ode to a girl who attended the band's shows. A girl with nubs for limbs, attending a punk rock show; how badass is that? She even gets an awesome song written about her, and when I first heard the song several years ago, I guess it didn't hit me that this girl was a real person.

Then I was on Twitter today, and under the "Who to follow" sidebar, the user @NUBS416 is recommended to me. I usually ignore Twitter's follow suggestions, but what catches my attention is that @NUBS416 is followed by @FatMike_0f_Nofx. So I click her profile. It says her name is Talli Osborne, and her description reads:

Social Media Gal for Virgin Mobile by day - Singer of the Talliband by night!

Huh. I didn't know what to make of the Virgin Mobile part, but I'm always eager to check out punk bands, so I Googled the talliband (laughed out loud when the search engine asked if I meant "the taliban"), and found their Myspace page (you should give them a listen, they have a unique brand of acoustic punk guided by some absolutely beautiful female vocals).

The search result also turned up the following video. If you do nothing else with this blog, WATCH THE VIDEO.

Did your mind implode? Mine did.

Monday, August 29, 2011

First Sentence

You pick up the phone and someone says, "Hello. You're home, are you?" and with just these five words you know, although you haven't heard from him for ten years, that Uncle Ed is calling.
That was the first sentence of the chapter I started reading from my Creative Writing textbook today. Ed is a common name for an uncle to have (for anyone to have, really). I know that's why the author chose to use it. Not because everyone has an Uncle Ed, but because most everyone has an uncle who probably doesn't call that often, but whose mannerisms stick in our heads regardless. Ultimately, every reader should be able to relate to the sentence, whether their Uncle's name is Ed or Bo or Willie or George or what have you. And if your Uncle's name is Ed, then the connection between you and the sentence is even stronger.

However, the connection was lost on me, broken before it could reach me. I still understood the sentence's purpose, and why the author chose to use it, of course. It just wasn't the same. But hey, what are the chances of me taking this course, reading this book, two years after my Uncle Ed died?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backstabber

I found out what it's like to gossip on Friday. Not just to sit quietly in the room listening while a gossip conversation goes on, like I usually do. I straight up talked down on someone just because of the clothes they wore that day. And it wasn't like they were hideous clothes nobody should be seen in public wearing (as if that would justify gossip, anyway); the dress she wore Friday--albeit a tad more risque than her normal attire--well, she looked beautiful wearing it. Not slutty, which is what the stupid conversation was about.

I hate it when people gossip about someone else. And there is a difference between venting similar emotions with other people about someone else and talking shit about someone else just to reach the next rung on a social ladder. The former case, in moderation, can be a healthy way to sort out opinions of someone you're not sure about, I've found. But I was definitely committing the latter when her name came up in conversation, when one participant said her outfit screamed prostitute, when I commented on the irony of her beaded crucifix necklace for a chuckle at the table.

The laughter was brief, and the moment it subsided it dawned on me what I just did. Gossiped. On a friend. Someone I actually kinda liked a year ago. We didn't talk much over the summer (I never saw her, and her boyfriend definitely had more priority than me), but we'd bumped into each other a few times since classes at MAC started up this semester. We were still friends (she even remembered the little hand gesture I taught her, haha). In fact, earlier that Friday she told me she had missed me.

And that's what kills me.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

An Abrupt Halt

Every end is a beginning.
Where one road stops, new paths extend from it.

I didn't make it into the cast of The 39 Steps at MAC.
In my four-year theater career, this is the first play I didn't get a part in, of the twelve plays I auditioned for.

This is also the first play in my four-year theater career in which I am part of the backstage crew.
Chuck even asked me to be the stage manager.

Did you know that, in the United States, someone dies every thirteen seconds?
Every seven seconds, in the United States, someone is born.

Every end is a beginning.
Where one road stops, new paths extend from it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

'Mental Warfare' Preview

Going through the videos on my phone today, I uncovered a video clip for a song I've been piecing together for about a year now. I originally intended to blog the video after posting the video sample of 'Why Should We', but I must have forgotten to do it. Chances are I was swamped with school, homework, and play practices and never found the time to upload it. So, it sat in the backseat of my phone's SD card, waiting patiently for me to give it some fresh air.

So, here is the intro for 'Mental Warfare,' finally getting some daylight (though I didn't know that's what I would name the song when I recorded the video, haha).
video

EDIT: I also found a hilarious blooper from recording this video, haha.

video

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

In my dreams

I do a lot of running in my dreams.
Sometimes to chase something (or someone),
but more often to escape something
(or someone).

I always see people in my dreams.
Often it's the people I love,
or the people I used to.
Or maybe I still do,
but shouldn't.
I see Jenny from time to time.
Maybe it's just the people I miss.

I frequently become Spider-Man in my dreams.
Sometimes I save the day.
Other times I lose my powers.
Once, I was the villain, the monster.
I like it better when I'm the hero.

* * *

And these are just the dreams I remember
after waking up.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Unasleep

You know, I hate it when my house phone rings. It seriously annoys me. I mean, it interrupts what everyone in the house is doing just so the caller can talk to one person. It completely sucks. This is what individual cell phones are for: if someone wants to talk to me, they dial my number, my phone rings, and I'm the only one who has to worry about answering it. The whole family doesn't have to scramble to answer the phone just for one person, who isn't even around the house half the time. But while everyone in my house does own a personal cell phone (even if my dad rarely uses his), we don't have any cell service at our house, leaving us stuck with the landline.

That's what I started writing this blog about. I meant every word of it; living outside cell service and relying on a landline seriously bothers me. But then again, that's what bothers me? That's what I feel passionate about--who has to answer a damn phone? Why don't I feel this strongly about getting a job, or improving my writing, or making music? Why doesn't it bother me that funding for education is getting mowed down to save a failing economy while the fat cats responsible for the mess desperately cling to their cash? When did I let myself get sucked into this cynical, hipster-ish, I'm-too-cool-to-give-a-shit mindset?

I used to be on fire about the world around me. What happened? Did I grow up? Did I just get bored? I am getting older, but that should mean I'm growing wiser, and wisdom means having a better understanding of life, not thinking thinking I'm too mature to be as fiery as I was when I was young. Well, this is my wake-up call. It's time I realized how much life there truly is ahead of me.



Related video:

Friday, July 22, 2011

The First Time I Cried While Wearing Contact Lenses

I had forgotten
there was nothing before my
eyes my tears could stain.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

With God on Our Side and Guns in Our Hands

I know that it's technically the fifth of July right now, but before I go to sleep on Independence Day, I have to commemorate the occasion with a patriotic punk rock playlist. Youtube videos provided for your listening convenience.

Oh, and FYI...
Just a fair warning.

Perfect Government - NOFX

America - Agent Orange

I'm So Bored With the U.S.A. - The Clash

'Merican - The Descendents


Know Your Enemy - Rage Against the Machine

System of a Down - A.D.D.

American Jesus - Bad Religion

Blood Red, White, and Blue - Rise Against

Okay, so a few of those songs aren't technically "punk" (musically, Rage and System are closer to metal, but this isn't a genre fight). However, they still fit the theme here, a theme best described by song number four. Sure, the United States is a country of great things and great people, but it was also a place where "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave" was a joke--and in some ways, it still is today. So celebrate whatever comforts and freedoms you have as an American citizen, but think long about where you pledge your allegiances.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sketches

Earlier today on Twitter, the hashtag #ialwayswantedtobea was trending. So, I tweeted: "#Ialwayswantedtobea cartoonist when I was a little kid. Used to really love drawing." And that's true, drawing was my first love, going all the way back to my elementary school days when my friends and I drew Pokemon all the time. I kept up drawing for quite a few years, planning to be a cartoonist when I grew up. But after my freshman year in high school, I started picking up other interests (music, theater, girls) and I put my drawing talents to the side.

Coincidentally, I found some old cartoons of mine while I was cleaning my room today. They were sketches of some characters I planned on making my first comic out of. There were no dates on any of them, but I remember coming up with them sometime in my 7th grade year at Arcadia Valley. Take a look!


They're very anime, that's what I was into at the time. There was a sixth character, a girl named Sami, but I can't seem to find her original sketch, which sucks because she was probably my favorite to draw (she had interesting clothes!). The comic was supposed to center around Terry's life as a high schooler, and his various escapades with his best friend Josh, his twin sister Sherri, and eventually Sami (she was a new kid at school and slowly befriends Terry's friends). Derrick was the class bully, who especially liked picking on Terry and Josh. Kenneth was an older kid who hung out with Derrick, but wasn't really the bullying type. He had more a laissez-faire personality.

Writing about these characters makes me miss them. Maybe I'll revive the comic this summer. Until then, I'll try to find some more of my old sketches of these characters. I think I still have the first strip somewhere...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tattoo

The other day I was playing my guitar and singing some Golf Course Kamikaze songs (my local band started by my two younger brothers, my friend Henry, and I) when I had a revelation. One of our songs is called "King of Me," and as I was singing it, I realized that the title is eight letters long--just enough to be tattooed across my knuckles! That would make such a bad-ass tattoo! I thought. But as I looked down at the backs of my hands to visualize the tat, I also realized that it would look pretty weak on my scrawny little hands. So, I tossed the idea around and came up with this: placing it across the top of my back, just under my shoulders, and extending the phrase to You are not the king of me, completing a lyric from the song.

I haven't decided whether or not to actually get the tattoo. I'm an indecisive person, so getting something that permanent has never been too appealing to me. But now that I have an idea of something meaningful, something I'd actually want to stick with (King of Me is one of the first songs I ever wrote, a song I still love playing to this day, and I always want to remember the first band I was ever in), I'll consider getting the tattoo someday.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

About this dream I had...

I had a sad dream last night. I wish it had been real. Well, not the part where I got a ticket for parking handicap, but the part that led me to Chase. I took my ticket (for some reason it was a small metal placard with my misdemeanor written on it) to the motor vehicle office in Ironton to get it processed, and while I was sitting at a table waiting for my turn (it was a small two-person table, and I vaguely remember a homeless-looking guy sitting across from me, but he didn't say or do much of anything) Chase happened to walk in. He came up to me with something in his hand. It was a piece of paper, a small comic he had made, and I can't remember exactly what the comic looked like, I do remember it being very funny and very amusing. But somehow it looked familiar to me. Then I realized it was based off a rough cartoon I drew in our Statistics class our senior year of high school, one I thought I threw away or something. Chase said he found my cartoon while digging through his old drawings and liked it so much he decided to draw his own rendition of it, adding more details and his own Chase Lindley cartoon flourish. I told him his version was really good, and tried to awkwardly cover for my cartoon's poor quality by saying I had to draw it quickly and discreetly so Mrs. Spitzmiller wouldn't catch me. But Chase was still cool, he said he knew what that was like, haha.

After we both laughed at that, we both fell silent. I was still sitting in my chair at the table while Chase was standing over it. Neither of us were looking at the other, avoiding eye contact like two kids who had fought each other over something stupid and realized they need to apologize to the other, but can't figure out how. Okay, so that's a very specific analogy, but that's exactly how the moment in my dream felt to me.

Chase broke the silence first. He said something about how our cartoons were really cool when we worked together, and how much fun he remembered having when we drew them. I told him I was thinking the same thing. That's when Chase asked if I wanted to draw some cartoons with him sometime. I said yeah. And we didn't have to draw the whole time, we could play video games, make a funny video, ride bikes, whatever. And I said I'd love to. I looked up at Chase and noticed he was carrying something else under the papers. I was shocked when I saw my favorite sock hat, the dark gray one with two black bands around it, a fat one and a thin one; I had lost it a long time ago and thought I'd never see it again. Chase told me he found it and thought I might be looking for it. I told him I was glad to have it back.

I remember Chase and I eventually leaving the motor vehicle office, but the rest of the dream gets kind of fuzzy after that. It didn't relate much to my encounter with Chase, anyway. When I woke up and realized the whole thing was a dream, I felt sorrow wash over me. I really wish that dream had been real, even the parking ticket part. I've known for a long time that I miss talking to Chase, and being close friends with him like were our senior year. After we graduated, our relationship somehow came to be defined by arguments on Twitter and Facebook. Reflecting on those arguments, I realized they mostly centered around our increasingly diverging ideologies--me, a growing atheist and Chase, a growing Christian--and they were mostly instigated by me. In retrospect, it's not hard for me to see that debates about the existence of God and the legitimacy of evolution were stupid and not worth the bad blood between us now.

I miss Chase. I miss the good times we had our senior year. To me, the dream I had last night is a representation of my longing for that friendship. I guess I could just text him or something. Kind of afraid of how awkward it might be. Sigh... whatever.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm Free

Today during Footloose practice our choreographer Dawn taught the cast the dance for the song "I'm Free." It's a hard rock number that closes Act 1 with Ren convincing Bomont's teenagers to throw a party and fight to repeal the town's law against dancing. Our cast was getting the steps, but after our second run-through of the full song, our director Chuck wanted to see more acting in it. He didn't want to see a bunch of lifeless kids going through dance moves and singing empty words, which is pretty much what we were giving him. To help the cast find motivation for the song, Chuck asked us what we would think if he took away some of our freedoms. "Brittany, I'm taking away your driver's license," he said. "Ian, no staying up later than 10:00. Jimmy, no more music. What does that make you want to do? Rebel."
So I started thinking about that. He's right, I thought. I would want to rebel if those things were taken from me. But why? Then it dawned on me, if someone did take away my guitar, my saxophone, my iPod, my whole music collection, they still would not take the music out of me. And that's what the song is about. It's a declaration, a challenge to address the conflict between oppression and the innate desire for freedom. In the context of the play, it is where Ren and the kids finally say, "I'm sick of these rules! I'm not ashamed of having fun! I'm done obeying Reverend Shaw's laws--I'm free!" That is what Chuck wanted to see on our faces in this song. We ran the song one more time after his speech, and he told us we had much more emotion in it than our previous runs.
I left practice feeling confident about the song, but I started thinking about how it applies to real life. ...But then I sat here staring at my computer for an hour and this blog never got finished. I don't remember where I wanted to go with this paragraph, and I probably should have wrapped the blog up right there, but oh well. I'm tired of starting at this blog as just a draft. I guess I forget that these blogs don't have to be perfect, it's not like I have a job on the line if I write a mediocre update.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

An Observation on the Usage of Twitter

I've been using Twitter for barely a year now, and I'm hooked. I've found it's a great social networking alternative to Facebook. This is partially because a much smaller amount of my friends use Twitter than Facebook, and us tweetfolk understand the level of honesty you can use when there are fewer eyes watching you. My non-Twitter friends don't get it. They look at it and they see Facebook limited to nothing but status updates--no games, no pictures, no apps, nothing. Just saying whatever is on your mind. That simplicity, however, is what I fell in love with Twitter for. The 140-character updates do not limit thoughts and expressions. Rather, they remove the clutter of Facebook, giving the mind room for sharing its thoughts with whosoever happens to be listening. In effect, it creates a giant conversation among its users. A conversation anyone can join in at any time, from anywhere.*

But interesting things happen when flocks of people engage in running conversations through typewritten words on a computer screen. One social dynamic I've noticed in my Twitter experience is something I like to call the nameless response. Because each tweet goes out to all of a user's followers, they grant a person the freedom to speak honestly and openly to someone without having to address them. Simply put, if you don't say the person's name, you can say whatever you like about them.

At first, I used to condemn such tweeting, thinking that if you have a problem with someone, you should say it to their username, or don't say it at all. You might as well be gossiping about that person right in front of them. Besides, if you won't openly address someone over a website, why post something intended for them at all? As I said earlier, Twitter is like a giant, open-ended conversation; how then can anyone carry on the conversation if its participants are so vague nobody knows whom they are talking to or what they are are talking about? To some extent, I still maintain this conviction (see An Ode to 'You'). However, I'm beginning to see the value in the nameless response. Think about it: you can say anything, to anyone, and so long as you don't say their name, you can get away with it? Well, that sounds just sly enough to be totally worth it!

In fact, let's take a look at these nameless responses in action:

Last night on Twitter, in the advent of the trending hashtag #standforequality, which was intended to raise awareness and rally support for gay rights (particularly surrounding a bill in Uganda meant to criminalize homosexuality, I later found out), my friends and I executed a very interesting discussion about the topic. Not interesting in the subject matter, per se, but interesting in that nobody directly addressed anyone throughout the entirety of the conversation. It started when this was tweeted**: Oh, that's right! I forgot that Jesus advocated hate. It must have been someone else that showed love to the world. #sarcasm, harsh words no doubt a reply to the previous tweet*** and re-tweet of: #standforequality? #icantdothat. Not for gays.

Thus, the conversation had been initiated. Further contributions included very bitter #sarcasm, quoted Bible verses, reminders that Jesus loves everyone, confessions from the tweeters opposed to homosexuality that their sins eat at them more than anything else, a Tumblr post, and my own hippie-ish calls for human fellowship. All that, and the only time anyone directly mentioned someone was when a certain Grey's Anatomy enthusiast directed her friend to the 3:30 mark of this video.

But the fascinating thing about this conversation is that, despite the highly controversial and even personal subject matter, the fiery debate was kept to a minimum. Everyone was very honest in their opinions, but at the same time nobody was reduced to petty bickering and caps-lock shouting matches. That was when I realized the value of the nameless response. When you leave out the person's name, it removes the discomfort of actually confronting them, thus giving you the freedom to be as open with them as you desire. Granted, I don't really think anyone's opinions changed much after the conversation anyway, but I'd rather have that than have both sides hacked off and even more resistant to resolving their conflicts with each other.

All this being said, I still can't fully condone namelessly addressing someone you have a problem with. For one, it ruins a good conversation if all its participants are too coy to actually speak to each other, rather than simply at each other (and oh, do I hate coy, shallow, vague, and watery tweets). But also, it is better if people face each other and settle their differences, instead of letting indirect jibes boil the bad blood between them. I have known that there is a proper time and place for confronting issues head-on. But I realize now there is an appropriate time for indirectly addressing disputes, too. The wisdom is knowing which method is best for every new situation.



*For a more extensive (and much more well-written) discussion on the appeal of Twitter, read Roger Ebert's blog post about it, linked here.
**Since this blog is viewable at anyone's disposal, I chose to withhold the names (and usernames) of the relevant parties out of respect for their personal privacy.
***Several tweets preceding "#standforequality? #icantdothat. Not for gays" may have also incited the first response, but I feel like that one was the more likely trigger, especially after it was re-tweeted.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Window

Nose pressed against the glass,
hoping to get a closer view.
But still, the glass is there. I have not
fists strong enough to shatter it.
So I sit
on my side of the glass,
and peer into a world of friends,
neighbors, families--
a world I want to see myself in.
But I see myself only
in the reflection of the glass.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

friend






Un common,

(yet life
love
de(f)a(i)th
makes)

u(s
a)me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Airport

More destinations txting clean
martinis & dirty planes
Check-in through flt status,
Flying u worldwide
is change


I wrote this poem about two years ago in the St. Louis airport while I was waiting for the plane taking my school's art club to New York. I mentally cut-and-pasted the words from these three posters I was sitting next to and rearranged them.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"I'd tell you, but..."

When people ask me what kind of music I listen to, I don't often give a straight answer. "Oh, mostly rock music," I usually say. I want to say, boldly and plainly, "I listen to punk rock." But it never happens that way. I hesitate because I love relating to people through music, but very few people I meet listen to the same kind of music I do. I'm not sure the majority of my peers even know what punk rock is. And how does someone relate to a genre of music they know nothing about?

But what's worse than meeting people who don't recognize punk is meeting the ones who do--and dislike it. A genre defined by those using music to make political statements--usually radical left-wing statements--doesn't have a very good reputation in the music community of rural Missouri. To say I listen to punk sends messages like, "

...

Then again, why do I even care? When I started listening to punk, it was a manifestation of everything I secretly thought, but was too afraid to say:
how I hated bigotry and the unnecessary conflicts it caused;
how I always held logic as a virtue;
how I valued individuality and thinking for myself;
how I hated compromising myself to fit in with other people.
Have I forgotten these things? Why do I back down from sharing my music and the freedom I found in it? Maybe I take music too personally. And that fosters this fear of people disliking my personality if they dislike my music. But that contradicts what I fell in love with about the genre. I love what I listen to, and if someone doesn't share my taste for punk, it's their problem.


EDIT:
What's in a name? This is the song I borrowed the title of this blog from:

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Some new lyrics

These are some lyrics I found in an old notebook of mine. They are incomplete, but I will try to finish them in the near future and post the complete song, perhaps with audio!, if I figure out a good direction to take this song musically. But, here's what I have so far.


To those who truly understand
that we as people are the same,
And no matter what god dealt our hands,
we all are players in this game,
Well I just want
to let you know

That you don't have
to bleed for those
Who light up fires for a war
against all those whom they deplore.

Whoa-oh!
Diversity is not criminality.
Whoa-oh!
Unity is what we really need,
So take your hate and throw it away!

Who do you claim to be?
Where do you claim to stand?
Is it consistent with the damage you have wrought?


Currently, the song is title-less. I can't remember exactly when I started writing it, and I'm not entirely sure what the side notes in my notebook were getting at, haha. But, it sounds like I was making a statement about those who prefer opposition and confrontation rather than solidarity, so I'll play with these lyrics and try to come up with something good for you readers sometime soon.

Monday, March 28, 2011

'Why Am I Doing This?' or #100factsaboutme

All of my Twitter friends are doing this #100factsaboutme hashtag, so I figured I might as well try it, too. Not often you get to post this amount of honesty, I guess.

Whatever. Here goes nothing:

1. My favorite music is punk rock, but I always hesitate to tell people that.

2. My four favorite bands are Rise Against, Thrice, Bad Religion and Streetlight Manifesto. They all tie for first.

3. I just decided to write a blog out of fact #1.

4. I sing and play guitar for a punk rock band named Golf Course Kamikaze.

5. My best friend Henry Steele is GCK's drummer, and he leaves for basic training today.

6. But, in his last few weeks here, we played a kickass basement show, gathered all our friends for a movie night, and fought together in an awesome airsoft war.

7. I have to keep reminding myself that I'll see him again in June, or sometime around then.

8. I have a hard time opening up to other people. I like to tell myself it's because I have an independent nature, but I know it's mostly because I suck at socializing.

9. Ironically, I feel like I have a good stage presence.

10. I can't believe I'm seriously doing a #100factsaboutme.

11. By definition, I am an atheist, but I consider myself more of a Humanist.

12. My family raised me as a Christian, taking my family to several churches since we've lived out here in Missouri.

13. (For clarity, I was born in Virginia in 1991, and my family moved to Missouri in 1992.)

14. To this day, I still feel at home in the Arcadia Valley United Methodist Church, for the most part.

15. I don't know exactly when I stopped believing in God, but I know for certain I was an atheist by the middle of my sophomore year.

16. Funnily enough, I can vividly remember the first time I ever heard the word atheist.

17. 'Funnily enough' is one of my favorite expressions.

18. I'm flipping through Emily Gallaher's 100 Facts blog while typing my own.

19. Unrelated, I very much adore the ocean, and whales are my second-favorite animals.

20. The mink is my first favorite animal, a fact due entirely to a dream I had where several baby mink invaded my Honors English 3 classroom (and yes, the plural of mink is mink, not minks. I checked).

21. Ask me about my subtle knife dream.

22. Don't ask me about my subtle knife dream.

23. My favorite book is Catch-22. I read it my sophomore year after my mom had bought it for me on a whim. My first thought after reading the description on the back was, Wow Mom, thanks for getting me some cheap book I'll probably hate.

24. I want to be a writer.

25. However, the thought of writing an entire novel seems impossible to me right now. I'd rather stick with short stories and poetry. For now.

26. Speaking of poetry, I fell in love with it my junior year of high school. I was really into Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes.

27. I like incorporating poetry into my songwriting. It's a technique I picked up from Thrice's songs.

28. It just hit me that both poets in #26 were gay. O.O

29. Moving on, I'm not very film savvy at all. There are just so many movies I haven't seen.

30. These movies include Lord of the Rings (all three), The Hangover, Rocky, and many others. Seriously, name some movie that you think EVERYONE has seen, and I probably haven't seen it.

31. If I have a favorite movie, it's probably The Mask. And Jim Carrey is probably my favorite actor, too. And after re-watching the movie a week ago, I found out that it was Cameron Diaz's film debut.

32. I plan on using the previous sentence as my one bit of movie trivia.

33. I feel like I have a confusing set of siblings. If you didn't know, let me clear it up: I have two younger brothers, Matt and Joey, who are fraternal twins, and an older brother Philip.

35. I am roughly seven years younger than Philip and about a year and three months older than Matt and Joey.

36. I feel so lucky to have such loving parents. I rarely ever fight with them, and never do I feel like they don't give a shit about me or my brothers.

37. That's why it makes me sad for my friends who have difficult home lives. I feel guilty because it's like all I had to do get a stable, supportive family was get born.

38. I have a lot of issues like that, where I feel like I don't deserve half the fortunes I have, or that I'm too pathetic to deserve any more fortunes sometimes.

39. This number reminds me of the summer I went to New York for a week with my school's art club and we saw a Broadway production of The 39 Steps. That play was hilarious, and I'm super excited that Chuck is planning on directing it this Fall.

40. Also while in New York that year, I made friends with several kids from a school in Oregon. I miss them so much, and I want to visit them so bad someday.

41. My mom was born and raised in New York, and her immediate family still lives there. I get to visit my grandparents there every couple of years.

42. My mom's parents are the only grandparents I have. My dad's parents were both dead before my memory.

43. Actually, I visited my grandparents in New York during the summer of 2001, and even saw the Twin Towers before they were made historic.

44. I want to finish these facts before I go to sleep, but I really don't want to stay up this late...

45. I fell asleep after typing that last fact. It was about 1:15.

46. I like Twitter more than Facebook.

47. Whenever I curse on Twitter, I always wonder how my followers react, or at least my super Christian followers. It feels like I'm breaking some sort of taboo.

48. And now that both my parents are on Facebook (as well as some of my friends' parents), I never curse.

49. And yeah, I like calling them curse words instead of cuss words. Cuss just sounds too hillbilly to me.

50. I've never been drunk before, but I have had alcohol on several occasions.

51. Pajama jeans. Laugh all you want, I own a pair. Wore them in public once, and that's only because it was pajama day at MAC.

52. Dancing used to seem really stupid to me, but I'm starting to actually like it.

53. I'm just gonna go ahead and say it: I like Pokemon.

54. I used to be a fairly avid video gamer, but now I just don't have the time for video games. And that makes me sad.

55. It feels like I don't have time for anything but school anymore. Which makes me even more sad.

56. I first started playing bass guitar in eighth grade when my friend Brett Lester wanted to start a band. That band didn't pan out, haha.

57. A year later, I picked up my mom's acoustic guitar and I've been playing guitar ever since.

58. I was actually in a heavy metal band with Brett later in high school, after I actually got some skill with a guitar.

59. Honestly, I didn't really like metal back then, and I still don't today. It's not that I can't handle the screaming or heaviness, I just prefer punk rock.

60. I want to go into more detail about that, but I'll save it for the blog I promised in fact #3.

61. As of right now, the only person following me with their Blogger account is Deacon Seals, which I do appreciate. To the rest of you: thanks, jerks.

62. Sometimes I get jealous of my friends, simply because they live in a more social environment.

63. More specifically, I sometimes get jealous of my friends living in Park Hills, since they live so close to each other.

64. On a brighter note, I might be getting an apartment in Park Hills or Farmington or Bonne Terre, which will narrow that gap between me and all my friends in that area.

65. I can't believe I've actually gotten this far on the list without saying, "This is stupid, I quit."

66. Anything aimed specifically at teenagers--especially teens in love--annoys the sweet living crap out of me.

67. Until going to the Elmhurst Jazz Festival last month, I didn't fully appreciate jazz music. I think it was Matt Wilson's Arts & Crafts that changed my perception of jazz.

68. Now, I really do love jazz music, and I enjoy playing my saxophone, trying to find a oneness with it.

69 <-- I want to try that someday.

70. I feel slightly uncomfortable revealing that last fact.

71. I want to overcome my hesitation and indecisiveness.

72. The most fun I ever had acting in a play was my junior year when my school did The Good Doctor. Darn them horseflies.

73. I used to really suck at singing, but I feel like I've definitely gotten better over the years. The first time I knew I had some merit as a singer was when Mrs. Beard cast me as Seymour for Little Shop of Horrors.

74. As much as I loved being the lead in Little Shop, I still think I had more fun in the The Good Doctor.

75. One of my favorite characters I've ever portrayed in a play was Walter Mitty in A Thurber Carnival.

76. I don't really like popular music, and that makes me feel like a hipster, indie-kid bastard at times.

77. If I ever have the time, I would love to become a painter.

78. But, I already feel like I'm stretched too thin with writing, music, and theater.

79. I don't watch as much TV as I used to. I spend more of my time on the Internet now.

80. If I had to pick a favorite TV show, it's either Family Guy or The Office.

81. I even used to keep up with American Idol, but stopped watching it after about season 4 or 5.

82. I act out conversations in my head all the time. I try to imagine how I should say something, and how other people would respond.

83. I catch myself talking out loud while doing that, too.

84. I like having time where I can just walk around and think. I would drive around and think, but gas is expensive.

85. Many people have told me I should straighten my hair, and a few even said they would do it for me. Not one has ever followed through.

86. I wish Joe Strummer was still alive. It kills me that he died in my lifetime, and before I even appreciated him as a musician.

87. If I ever have a son, I want to name him Zane.

88. If I ever have a daughter, I'd like to name her Autumn.

89. I don't know if I can see myself getting married. That's a far-off thing to me.

90. I hate plans. I prefer spontaneity. That being said, I realize that you can't get shit done without planning.

91. I don't think I have any phobias. If I do, I haven't discovered it yet.

92. I wish I could learn to fly a plane someday.

93. Twilight is my favorite time of day, and one of my favorite words. Thanks for ruining it, Stephenie Meyer.

94. Kingdom Hearts is my favorite video game series. And I like Roxas more than Sora.

95. When I was in first grade, I went as Ash Ketchum for Halloween. So far, that has been my favorite Halloween costume, ever.

96. Pirates > Ninjas. Bring it.

97. And dragons > vampires and werewolves combined. Edward and Jacob have nothing on Saphira.

98. Luna Lovegood is my favorite Harry Potter character. I especially love the actress they chose for her in the movies.

99. I have so many emotions attached the song Swing Life Away.

100. Wait, I'm already done?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Links

We chase
different ends,
trying
to catch different
winds,

but have we made our destinations the same?

Are we all bound
like links
on a
rusted chain,
or just cars
on a speeding
train?
How long

until we collide with ourselves?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Point of View

Song I wrote a while ago and recently rediscovered. Sorry, no video preview this time.

"Point of View"

When your friends abandoned you,
I was there
I loved you when you felt
nobody cared

But still I feel as though I cried
those tears for you in vain...
The only trait I hold with pride,
you curse and scorn its name...

Did I not feel your distaste for me?
(I am a human, just like you!)
Do I not share the air you breathe?
(We're just the same, through and through!)
We're not so different,
you and me.

I fought with you against our toughest
enemies
I shared with you the sweetest of our
victories

But the highest of your moral goals,
I cannot be part of...
What you claim to hate the most
is everything I love...

Did I not feel your disdain for me?
(I am a human, just like you!)
Do I not share the pain you feel?
(It's just a different point of view!)

And when my heart
broke in two,
Did it not bleed
enough for you
To see that I feel
the things you do:

Love and hate;
Right and wrong;

I still have morals, just like you.

They don't come
from your God,

That doesn't make them any less true
to me.

Did I not feel your distaste for me?
Do I not share the air you breathe?
Have I not felt your disdain for me?
Do I not share the pain you feel?

We all suffer in this life;
This is how I explain my strife.
So what diverges me and you?
It's just a different point of view.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Does love come with morals?

Love is often a message we must learn to decode ourselves.


I'm making an attempt at Valentine's Day this year, so I won't have to spend it alone. There is a girl I like, a girl I might have a chance with (nobody reading this has ever met her, and you wouldn't recognize the name if I used it). I have been texting her lately, and she seems at least a little interested in me. There is a slight problem, though. She is still in high school (attending Aradia Valley--told you all you wouldn't know her), so the only way I can really get to see her is if I attend her church. Which I have done several times (and plan on doing tomorrow). I am even a member of her church's youth drama team. She does not know I am an atheist.

Last December she asked me if I could help her church's drama team do a Christmas performance. I hesitated, not wanting to get involved in church, but I agreed to help. Neglecting to mention I do not believe in God. This was an opportunity to get closer to her--why would I go and ruin it? Besides, how could I have told her?

I know it's not exactly honorable to infiltrate a church so I can woo one its members. I know that my (dis)beliefs could sabotage a relationship with this girl. I know it makes me a scoundrel. But this is a shot at love! If I continue pondering the morality of the situation, the opportunity to act on it will slip by. I know it's wrong, but I'm sick of backing down on the life I should be living.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beauty is...

I started this morning with an unfinished paper for my Comp II class. The assignment was to write a 1-2 page essay with each body paragraph beginning with the words "Beauty is..." I came to school today prepared to skip American History this morning so I could have it finished by 2:00 (which is when my Comp II class starts). Well, instead of skipping American History, I attended class and finished the paper during the hour I usually spend getting lunch. 'Cause I'm just a regular Superman like that. Anyway, I felt like sharing the stupid thing since it was so hard to write, so here it is. Notice that I (un)intentionally and (un)creatively left it untitled.


What makes a person beautiful? Is it physical characteristics—blonde hair, blue eyes, slim figure, and a well-formed face? Obviously these answers differ from person to person. Not all people find the same features attractive. And in any case, how fair is it to judge a person’s beauty solely on their looks? Doing so only demotes the concept to that age-old taunt, “Beauty is only skin-deep.” Rather, people exhibit beauty in ways that transcend outward appearances.

Beauty is more than physical appeal. It is not what magazines sell as beautiful. It cannot be found in the right products with the right brand names, purchased at the right stores. Beauty is not the girls buying into the latest trends, believing they can find their own beauty by imitating the cover girls of fashion magazines, slaving to become what pop culture deems beautiful. That is tragedy. Beauty is the girl who cancels all her subscriptions to fashion magazines when she realizes she does not need to resemble a super model to feel good about herself.

Beauty is in the ways people comfort each other. It is the glow of warmth felt by the cancer patient as her family holds her hand, reminding her they will never stop loving her, whether she makes it through the chemotherapy or not. It is the sense of togetherness felt at her funeral, inspired by the gathering of all the lives she ever left a mark on. It is the smile worn by the couple admiring their first child, and the smile worn again as they admire their first grandchild.

All people are capable of beauty. It may not manifest itself in the ways people anticipate, but not everyone gets to model for trendy magazines, and nor does anyone deserve to spend their youth in front of a camera. Such is the beauty that withers away with age, dimming slowly like a fire burning out. True beauty—the beauty of love between different lives—is what makes a person beautiful, and it never fades to black.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lioness

Caged and lonely lioness

With beauty so mysterious

I wish to set you free—

And I'll settle not for less


The cage that schisms you and me,

Do I hold its golden key?

Or must you be in pain

As I look on, helplessly?


Lioness—roar—once again!

For I can break the distance chain

That keeps us both apart,

That binds you to your barren plain


So weep not o'er your broken heart

It will be mended once we start

To share our loneliness

And love together, heart to heart



I actually wrote this a while back. It was sitting in my drafts of Facebook notes (did any of you recognize the font?) for quite a while, thought I'd dust off the cobwebs and finally publish it.