Monthly Archives: July 2010

Pre-E-historic

I found a piece of what possibly inspired the internet at a used bookstore today. It’s probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever purchased with human currency.

Maybe one day we will discover that time is not a flat line, but is also round like the earth.

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Wait, wait Kid, come back…

…I’ll let you eat at my place anytime.

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…except sometimes you can’t.

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Motion At Last

If you subtract the amount of minutes that you spend rethinking your life, and convert it to actually living, you would probably be able to explore every option you were considering in the first place.

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One of my favorite musician artists Sleeping At Last have recently announced their launch of a new project called Yearbook. Instead of making a new album, they’ve decided to release three completely new songs as digital mini EPs every month for 12 months, exhausting new boundaries of their creative capabilities, and their “only criteria being that these songs will be something we can be proud of.” They stated in their extended blog about the project that Hans Zimmer decided to go into film composing instead of being in his rock band because they usually sat around discussing the music they wanted to make/should make/ could make rather than actually playing and creating it. Sleeping At Last have decided that they wanted to cut out a little of the time consuming business side of being in a band, and just commit to generating the music they love to write.

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The business side of film has scared me temporarily into a deeply rooted desire to stay away from it’s bureaucratic twisted system for a while. I still need to create stories, and I will still try to find ways to do that, even if it is in small portions. A poem. A photo. I am trying to take pictures almost daily in an effort to put forth art into the world and cut out the business side. I try not to produce or “publish” anything that I am not proud of and (most recently) that I don’t feel people will not be able to understand. To me, art is an invitation and angle on love, because it is the most universal form of communication. Love, in most relational cases, cannot exist without communication, and sometimes, art is a way to communicate things that cannot be stated in more systematic mediums.

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In my experience, everyone knows how to talk. Few people are willing to go out and actually create. I have a friend who spent a lot of his life learning how to think and observe. Then he decided it didn’t do him much good to not also be creating and interacting. He writes stories now, and makes relationships and interacts and engages the real and the profoundly and physically, tangibly, spiritually important.

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This band is onto something. They are sick of the conversation of action without seeing fruit. Maybe this year I will decide to do a Yearbook project of my own. Five poems, Three photos, A short film… every month, who knows. Maybe I’ll find friends to help. Maybe we can be excited about things that are happening, and that have been accomplished, rather than what might be. We can celebrate victory instead of just constantly and only hoping happily and safely and somewhat nervously for the future. All I know is that if I don’t work my hands until they are raw, they will shrivel, unused, in the shade over misty words about what is awesome and what is not awesome. What we should do someday. What: yeah, we totally could do that… someday. This kingdom is not one of talk but of action and it belongs not to the timid but to violent men. This ground is cursed. You need to fight the earth to eat the grain. You need to bleed on your camera, your pen, your typewriter, your calculator, your programming software, your stethoscope, your dictionary, your sketchbook, your diary, your dancefloor, your microphone, your instrument, your graph paper, your kitchen knife, your earth. You need to bleed. And art, in this dark and broken world, can be earth and a gardenfeed for love, which is the most endangered and precious resource we have ever received by the grace of heaven. I think it’s about time I acted like it, and started something and finished it and repeated the process, releasing the art I have stored inside of me instead of hoarding it like a storybook dragon who hibernates in caves waiting for the world to change or burn.

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I can blog with the limbs of angels, but if I have not love, I am nothing.

Hey kid…

… how about some eternal life?
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…except eventually you’ll die.
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The American Rag

Yesterday the governor of Hawaii announced her decision to veto a hastily packaged civil rights bill, claiming that it was not up to one person to make a choice that affects so many people in such a passionate way, and she would rather leave it to all the people of Hawaii to decide this for themselves as a whole, and not a selected few members of a committee.

Of course the traditional marriage supporters were happy, and of course the gay and lesbian rights organizations were not. Some groups want to boycott visiting Hawaii. A lot of dumb things were said on both sides. It’s a difficult issue, and one that I have my stance on which I will not discuss in this post, but it’s a stance to which no vote exists that will cater to it, and maybe none ever will.

But I did see one thing that made me strangely upset: A bunch of churchgoers were singing worship songs outside of the capital before and after the decision was announced, and it makes me feel that some of us have lost the point.

We have in our minds what we believe to be right about the world and morality, based on the teachings of Jesus through the Bible. Some evangelicals think that the American government is perhaps the best way to spread a worldview or policy to the largest number of people in this nation as possible, and thus the best way to spread their version of what they believe is Christian and right to the most amount of people, thus doing a good work for the kingdom.

It seems like some of us are seeking control and power rather than submission and obedience. Our agenda has shifted to have power and influence over many people through policy, rather than a humble submission to the will of God for our own lives. We assume that the hands and feet of Christ are already perfect enough to function without the head or other parts of the Body, and we go off on bold pragmatic political crusades to do “real good” while our hearts are busy seeking instantly gratifying justice which we can see done by the hands of men, rather than renewing our minds to be like God’s by listening, following him daily, and loving our neighbors, even and perhaps especially if they are holding a rainbow flag. It seems like we have more faith in the government to create justice and redemption rather than God. We fear government making a policy which we don’t agree with into law, even more than we fear an Almighty Creator with faith that he will take care of his children no matter what the text is on bills in a white house.

In America, we have the freedom to say what we feel is right to the government. Everyone knows this. We blow thousands of dollars of paper and colored powder in the air every year to make sure we remember. But there is no day to celebrate the independence that we have from the slavery of not only men’s power over us, but also the lust of power over other men. We are free from their mastery because God is our master, and we submit to his authority in order to make this real and tangible. If we try to become masters of others, then they become masters over us, in the fact that the lust for a power over them that only God can have will never quite be in reach. Even if this power is to have them do “the will of God,” our good intentions, imperfectly executed have enslaved us. I don’t see very many people blowing fireworks over the freedom we have as a result of submitting to the law of love. Just the freedom to have the power of speech and influence to offices and pulpits which directly influence the masses, all of which will one day crumble.

In this way, sometimes political pragmatism, especially when successful to our favor, can lead to nationalism, which can lead to the idolatry of government. Not in all cases, but sometimes. It’s a terribly attractive golden calf, especially when it’s functioning as a maker of laws which supposedly are laws which “Jesus would pass.” It’s come to the point where I would wholeheartedly support the separation of church and state, if only to let some people understand the difference and between God and government.

This sign

… is stacked.

Meaning both that it is literally physically stacked and that it is funny for at minimum 7 individual reasons.

(Personal apologies if you were not mentally or spiritually ready to see the most terribly named massage parlor in all of existence.)

The Things that Still Are: Vol. 2

Third post of July 4th. More good things that still are:

1. Not exactly good but I guess America still can justify burning thousands of dollars over the mere fact that hell, we CAN, rather than getting themselves out of an impossible debt, or feeding kids in other countries, or maybe even our own country. But at least people are using freedom for a lot of good things still.

2. I still have a literary crush on Dave Eggers. I had to take a break from the blisteringly sardonic and depressing Galapagos by the genius we call Kurt Vonnegut, and decided for some tasty little tidbits from Dave’s short story collection, How We Are Hungry. Somehow, he has figured out how to write drugs.

3. Hayao Miyazaki films are still good after their third viewing years later. In fact they might even get better with time. I just watched Spirited Away with my family instead of Independence Day today, and personally, I think that it is a near perfect film, and maybe one of the most beautiful, wild, creative and unrestricted piece of art ever created by mankind. Actually, yes, they definitely get better with time. By a lot.

4. Playing music with other people is still one of the greatest gifts God has bestowed upon humans. I got to play with Eunice and Taylor this sunday and it felt like dancing on air and immortal at war. If Eunice is not my favorite living female vocalist on this earth, she’s definitely one of them, and I always feel privileged to get to see Taylor’s numerous and ever slightly hidden talents manifest up close.

5. Lovedrug are still awesome. Their third album The Sucker Punch Show, left much to be desired, one of which being a remotely tolerable taste in your mouth after hearing even one line of half the lyrics. Their recent EPs have been restoring my attachment to the band, especially the first one, EP – I. It features extremely simplistic and stripped down instrument parts in what seems to be intentional minimalism to memorable and satisfying effect and Michael Shephard’s vocals sound as sharp as ever. The lyrics are back to normal and have creative yet relatable themes instead of the strange and abrasive sex-fluid metaphors featured on Sucker Punch. EP – II has not yet left nearly as strong an impression on me as it’s predecessor (since getting it, I have not bee able to take EP – I out of my playlist rotation) but hopefully it’ll grow on me as Everything Starts Where It Ends did.

6. People at my church including my brother still get cool prophecies and words from God. Yeah, for real man. I’m practicing talking and listening myself. It’s like starbucks with a friend, except lifechanging.

7. I still like M. Night Shyamalan. As for reasons why I could stomach The Last Airbender, you might have to ask me later, or wait for another blog post. Until then, I recommend the Haterade with the oven roasted salty balls.