10.31.2006

the funniest site i've read in quite some time

here's the link

what you wanna do is check out any posts here. the ones i specifically endorse as "really, really funny..i mean f%#^ing funny. (see? it's so funny it made me swear, almost. the letters i censored were a-r-t.)

my favorite sports team hugged eachother last night

i'm not smart enough to understand


trust me, you won't be sorry

sounds like a great book

i'm sort of a quitter-reader. i've got an impressive list of books i've started reading, but usually get distracted about 3 quarters of the way through. so please feel free to read this book and give me a synopsis. otherwise i'll enjoy the first 75% of the book sometime soon.

THE MYTH OF A CHRISTIAN NATION: How The Quest for Political Power is Destroying The Church

Dr. Gregory Boyd


Dr. Boyd states in his introduction that this book is the result of a sermon series he preached in 2004 titled, " The Cross and The Sword", in reaction to growing pressure being placed upon him to endorse political candidates and thier policies from the pulpit. Dr. Boyd has since been branded a heretic by many for his refusal to bow to the will of his church and board members as they desired for him to use his pastoral clout to make political endorsements. The naive assumption that if you dont vote for the party that best matches God's Biblical Mandates equals your abandoning your faith and betraying God is tackled decisively by Dr. Boyd.

some quality linkage (and i don't mean sausage)

i got to this site cause it was linked from spitbox, a new must read for me. i'm thinking that transitionpete may become so as well.

so check out this list of responses from hollywood squares courtesy of transition pete. it reminds me that some celebrities used to be clever and have some other claim to fame besides over-sized body parts and/or a life resembling the kind of train wreck that makes you want to wretch and yet you can't look away from.

my first guitar lesson



yesterday, i took my first ever actual guitar lesson. the guy i'm studying with is bruce bishop, who has forgotten more about music than i'll ever know and can make the guitar sing in ways that i thought were only possible with camera tricks and overdubbing. we ended up spending about 3 hours together by the time we got done catching up and talking about this and that. we sat in the front room of the house he and his wife are still building and watched the deer through the windows, 10 feet away, eating clover.

i've been playing guitar for like 10+ years now which makes me older than my image of myself, and yet this is the first lesson i've taken. when i was younger i would've been very proud of that, but now it just sort of seems like time wasted, or at least not maximized. why should i spend a bunch of time figuring out what someone could have showed me in 5 minutes and i could've been practicing? i guess this is just the way it goes with youth. we do what we think is best for the reasons that make sense to us. then ten years down the road we see ourselves in a whole different light.

well, i'll post links to stuff i record henceforth with my new knowledge of the guitar. meanwhile, here's some of the old knowledge at work.

10.30.2006

what's the deal with aids?

i had a great conversation with a buddy this morning about an Oprah episode he watched recently. apparently the topic was hiv/aids and the fact tha we need to raise awareness that it is killing so many people. ironically, the panel of guest included magic johnson and a handful of other people who were hiv+ but were still living fine and apparently pretty healthy. it makes me wonder why, if one wants to raise awareness that a disease is killing many people, would one parade a bunch of healthy-looking people across the stage. wouldn't you want to bring people face to face with the atrocity that's happening?

my friend's contention is that the situation is thus because aids is a primarily political issue, not a health issue. he believes that because of its ties to the homosexual community, it is taboo to show the ugly side of aids. i wonder. i would love to meet and talk to some people who have aids and are dying. i want to know why i never see them on the news or "special interest" exposes. i want to know why, if it's really such a big problem, are we so insulated from it.

i wonder if the people who are dying from aids would be better taken care of if aids were a health issue instead of a political issue? i wonder if we'd continue to talk out both sides of our mouth as a society (one side: sex is okay as long as it feels right; promiscuity is only bad if you get caught. second side: aids is a huge problem; we need to do whatever we can to stop it) if we were living with people who were experiencing it, not just shown the beautiful people who are surviving so bravely because of the new antiretrovirals that merck is pushing this month.

these are questions i intend to research. these thoughts are only my preliminary ideas and have no basis in research or fact, necessarily. they're just what i think. as i find out more, i';ll post it and hopefully get some feedback.

10.29.2006

daylight wastings time

well, my one chance this year to get an extra hour of action or sleep (sleep was the preferred option at this point in my life) and i blew it. i heard a reminder on the radio earlier in the week that it was time to "fall back" with the clocks on saturday night. but then forgot, as well as my buddy david. so we ended up going to breakfast at 6:30am when we found out that it was actually 5:30am. it was a time, but i'm exhausted now so i'm going to bed. it's only 9:41, but 9:41 is the new 10:41.

10.28.2006

the stumble button

ironically, i stumbled onto a page on thursday that i initially mistook for a unique site and not the firefox extension that it was. it turns out, it's an extension called StumbleUpon. i installed it and opened up a beautiful world of haphazard enjoyment.

what it does is allow the user to customize their account, then when the "stumble" button is activated, it send the browser to one of the highly rated sites in one of the selected categories. as i selected my categories i found myself in a playful mood and checking boxes in categories that aren't a normal part of my preference set. what a blast! in the first use, i came across world-o-meters. check out the stat about the amount of money americans spend on diets. i also came across the evil bible which is a site all about how horrible the bible is. interesting stuff. coming from my perspective, it's hard to believe that people can misunderstand something so drastically, but then again, without context and looking at the big picture, i guess the assertions therein aren't that unreasonable. i haven't come across any christian sites yet, but i'm sure they'll pop up.

i found that i got sucked in pretty easily and before i knew it, 30 min was gone, so use carefully. but i can't wait until the next time i get to do some stumbling.

10.24.2006

we're LOST again

jen and i just got the last 2 discs of season 2 of lost from netflix and we're loving it. we got all into it earlier this year and then sort of got out for awhile. but we're back. this show is so good. the writing is spectacular, the cinemaography is breathtaking and the ciffhangers are as intense as daytime tv.

anywho, if you have never seen it, i'd recommend it. just be sure that you've always got the next episode on hand before you finish one.

10.22.2006

some music i've been loving

i had to post another this morning to reflect the most recent mp3 mix i made for in the car. it includes several bands i'm not terribly familiar with, some of which i've never listened to but somehow ended up in my itunes, i think through persuasive rhapsody pages.

so the highlights are as follows:

  1. Frou Frou: The album is "Details" and is spectacular. Their sound is reminiscent of Ivy which is another of my alltime favorites; sort of a down-tempo-meets-quality-pop thing. Check out track 10, "The Dumbing Down of Love," for some lilting vocals and smooth muted trumpets. The vocals overall are very notable: unique and beautiful.
  2. Grandaddy: Turns out these guys are pretty prolific, if their discography is any indication. I'm listening to Sumday and really digging it. My current favorites are track 2, "I'm on Standby," and track 8, "Saddest Vacant Lot in all the World." These guys are on the mellow side of indie rock with a vocal that has really grown on me.
  3. Glassbyrd: The album is "Open Wide This Window." These guys are the a sort of reconfiguration of The Choir and/or Common Children. (i can't remember and i can't find a website to tell me). they don't appear to have a website at all, which is extrememly disappointing, but they can write. Tracks 1, 2 and 7, "This Window," "Tonight (I Want to Live In Your World)," and "Mercy," respectively, are my current highlights. I really enjoy the smooth layers of guitars and how they cascade over my head like warm, thick rain.
  4. Gotan Project: I really have to be in the right mood to listen to lyricless music, but this album, "La Revancha Del Tango," is beautiful, if a bit repetitive, and changes up just enough to keep me involved. For an instrumental record, it's in my top 5.
reply with your recent favorites. i'm really in a discovering mood lately.

my new life slogan!

as i rolled into the office this morning at about 6:15, still in the process of becoming awake and alive (thank you Mortal) i realized that the idea of "living for tady" is what's getting kme into trouble (not to mention a lack of self-discipline, especially when it comes to watching late night Dave Chapelle comedy on Comedy Central) so as i suffer through today, or at least this morning, i'll be reminding myself of my new life slogan, (in hopes of it sticking beyond the first good night's sleep i get henceforth)
"live for today, rest for tomorrow"

holy crap, that's deep. thank you late night dave chapelle comedy.

oh, and i also realized once again this morning as i sat debating which shoes to wear, that i take myself way too seriously and am a much prouder person than i want people to think. i need to pass that epiphany on to my wife, who will help remind me of it at the times when i need it most (and it'll be the hardest for me to hear)

10.21.2006

almost first blood

i went to the local skatepark today as i have been for the past few weeks. i've been steadily progressing, even though i'm still almost always the worst skater there, and have been getting better and better at falling well so that it doesn't hurt so bad.

today was going smashingly. i did my first 50/50 and there were about 5 kids there under 10 who i could definitely out-skate. i think maybe i got a little too comfortable, because before i knew it, i went down hard on my knee and hand. in the big picture, it was still a pretty beningn wipe-out, but my hand is bruised and throbbing as i type. i'm just not quite the rubber band i was when i was younger.

10.20.2006

i never realized what an idiot i am

jen and i are housesitting for jen's folks and it is awesome!! the house is big, the hot tub is, well, hot and the tivo is my new best friend. man, i love technology. it's a little tough not having wireless internet throughout the house, but the home office is only 13 seconds away and i've got a connection.

watching tv has been fun these past few days as jen and i don't get any cable or satellite or anything at home. just netflix. (which we just joined and you can add me to your friends list with the email justin@cedarhillschurch.com) but i digress. the point is, as much as i love some of the shows i've seen, i've also been very disappointed in several: namely Date My Mom and Parental somethingorother (guidance? protection?) two shows on mtv that look like reality show, but depict a reality in which ALL of the participants appear to be socially arrogant, sex-obsessed,tactless, brainless and heartless idiots! the first few minutes of the first of these that i saw, i took it for a reality show in which there just happenned to be a larger-than-usual proportion of jerks:average people, but as my experience increased, my optimism decreased proportionally and i began to realize that these shows are not so-called reality, buyt carefully crafted and scripted, simultaneous temper tamtrums thrown by no less than 3 people who look, physically, to be grown up, but have apparently missed out on or intentionally avoided the benefit of any sort of personal growth that life makes available to a person over the years lived on this planet.

anyway, a couple shows into this, i also realized that not only were these people idiots, but i was inextricably drawn into the show, even as i chastised everyone who had any involvement whatsoever with such a heinous dung heap of entertainment. thus, i must admit to my own idiocy and banality while simultaneously plotting the catastrophic castration of the male participants on the production staff who okayed such a show. even though they've done their job wonderfully, considering that a person with such disdain for the subject matter still sat through an undisclosed # (at least 2) of episodes.

ironically, since i've got a tivo here, all commercials were skipped, so the joke's on them.

10.18.2006

WoW! I'm learning so much

here's a blog i read about a dude giving up playing the video game, World of Warcraft. I know many would condemn me for referring to WoW as a "video game" and not an MMORPG or whatever it is, but come on...
This blog is written by a guy who just got out of this whole thing.

10.17.2006

my wife is very impressive

this morning at about 3:15, i was awoke to the covers shifting from me to my wife. she was pulling the comforter off of me and i was getting cold.

"i need that," i said as i tugged the covers back over my shoulder, not really knowing whether she'd hear me or not.

"that's not the top," she replied sleepily.

i didn't know what she was talking about at first, but then as the sleep-fog cleared a touch more, i realized that she was telling me that the part of the comforter i was clinging to was actually the side and not the top and that the whole things had become twisted through the night. i relinquished my hold on the part i'd been clinging to and found that as she pulled, the comforter turned and i was greeted by a full dose of covering.

how did she know that? is there some texture that she detected that i could not? she's working on a whole other level there that i can't even begin to understand. what a woman!

10.16.2006

a monday in the truest sense of the reputation

so, it's been a bit of a rough day. the rhythm of the day eluded me until almost 11am, which means that i was about half as productive as i could be for almost half the day. bummer, 'cause i had a lot of stuff to get done today. i revised this video. (this is the old one)

and my monitor keeps crashing out on me. WHY!! i've spoken with Acer tech support and now am going to have to send my laptop in for repair, for which the turn-around time is a speedy 7-10 days. ouch! i'm still checking on some local repair options. i've got to admit, i probably wouldn't buy another acer laptop. this machine promised a lot more than it delivered, and i've been sub-impressed with the service. there's plenty more crap about today, but it's time to turn it around...

on the bright side, jen and ani stopped by after lunch. i have such an awesome family!! there's always plenty of venting to do, but there's also plenty to be thankful for. we are going over to jen's folks, larry & maryanne's, house tonight to work on the barn at the farm and then hang out for monday night football and eat tacos and drink beer. i love hanging out with the family. i miss having my folks and my brother closer to me, but jen's family is awesome. we're so blessed!!

10.15.2006

i need to get better at this

during a typical day, i'll have at least 2 or 3 ideas that, to me, seem blog-worthy. some bit of inspiration wil strike and i'll think, "this could make a good blog entry...people might be interested in a topic like this!"

unfortunately, neither focus nor, i'm totally blanking on this word...organization! are among my core strengths, which means that if i have an idea t, say, 3pm and don't get to a computer until 4pm (hell, 3:07 sometimes) that idea has a very slim chance of being recalled when it can be relayed to you.

hence, "i need to get better at this"

10.12.2006

2 semi-famous people in one day

so, i was walking out of home depot with ani, when i ran into an old friend named matt who was loading some sheets of drywall into the truck next to mine. i offered some assistance and we proceeded with the typical pleasantries you might expect to transpire when acquaintances are reacquainted. i told him about my family and the summer's trip to uganda and he filled me in on how he's building a recording studio (which us what the drywall is for.

as we were saying our goodbyes, i asked one final question about his job to which he informed me that he's got the week off because he recently won the $10,000 prize on america's funniest videos and is headed back for the taping of the $100,000 show. the video was of him with one of those electric dog collars.

then i spoke with my friend ryan townsed from the overdubs and found out that not only is his record available on cdbaby. com, but also available for purchase on itunes and soon the rest. for the itunes version, search "the overdubs" and look for the album title "here is where we are." the record is really worth picking up, especially since you can now go to itunes and get it digitally. way to go, ryan!!

10.09.2006

more ani grace action

here are a couple videos from Monday night in the bath. she was so adorable! AAHHHH!!


i'm such a judgemental jerk, but getting better

as i was driving to work this morning, a guy i know drove past me going the other way. he was driving a new truck. i don't know how new, but i know it's not the truck he used to drive. it was bigger and shinier than his previous truck.

i'm ashamed to say that my first response was to think, "shame on him...buying into the lie that he needs a bigger better truck just so that he can drive the 5 miles from home to work. the payment on that thing must be ridiculous. why does he want to get his family into suck ridiculous debt just for stupid truck?"

just as my judgemental vortex crescendoed, i realized, "hmmm...jen and i drive a pretty nice car, but it was a gift. maybe his truck was a gift. maybe he's been saving for a long time and paiod cash for it. maybe it was an inheritance." as my mind pondered the myriad explanations of how this guy (who as you may have guessed, wasn't my favorite person to begin with) could be driving this newer, bigger, better truck beside the reasons i disapporved of, i beagna to feel a sense of conviction.

"who am i to judge him? i don't know the story. i haven't even spoken with this guy in months. i don't know what he values. maybe debt is no big deal to him. maybe he's richer than i thought."

the point is that i was confronted with the ugliness of myself as i sat there in the car listening to the polyphonic spree. i'm glad the mirror was revealed to me for a moment this morning. it wsn't thie first time i entertained such thoughts, and i'm sure it won't be the last. i just pray that i get better and better at recognizing those ridiculous attitudes before they go on for so long.

10.06.2006

our lovely ani grace


jen was fluffing our freshly washed and dried comforter last night and ani was so excited to play. sometimes though, pleasue is followed by pain. poor girl. don't worry, she was fine in less than a minute when she got to open and close the microwave.

happy columbus day!

as we celebrate this most meaningful of national holidays, let's do so by commemorating the reason for the season. Christopher Columbus, while commonly credited with being the first european explorer to reach the americas, he wasn't that exactly. according to wikipedia, there is evidence of several explorers reaching the americas before columbus. as the rhyme goes, "in 14 hundred and 92, columbus sailed the ocean blue." this is true, but he didn't touch the mainland until his 3rd voyage in 1498. it turns out his claim to fame has more to do with his timing than his discovery.

anyway, we reality is a beautiful thing, if occassionally glossed over by our public school system.

for more info click here

10.05.2006

skate wreck

here's a video we shot at The GATE the other night and just happened to capture the moment whenclayton wang tweaks his elbow.

soy milk is a suspension


this morning i went through the normal routine of waking to ani's "mama?," going to the kitchen to make her a bottle and returning to bed to rest a few more precious minutes as she drinks. on my way to the kitchen jen informed me that i was to use the organic soy milk in the door, which is a departure from our normal use of organic whole milk.

"no sweat," i thought, "i'm on it."

i returned to deliver the bottle and then got up and went into the adjacent bathroom to blow my nose. as i was taking care of my nasal ogstruction, jen

"did you shake it?" jen asked.

"i shook the bottle after i heated it but not the milk in the container," i replied.

"you have to shake soy milk," she informed me.

huh, who knew soy milk was a suspension?

*author's note: in searching for a link to describe or define a suspension, i stumbled onto this one. hmmm.

10.04.2006

my friend nicola

jen and i were in seattle for a meeting and we met one of the most interesting and exciting people i've eer met. he's an artist who lived and worked in pioneer square in the heart of downtown seattle. he had a gallery a couple blocks from his apartment which he took us to on a couple occassions. the collection on display was a chronicle of his recent marital crisis, depicted in unique, dark and enthralling paintings. our initial meeting was happenstance and unexpected and yet we've spent more time with him than anyone else when we've been in the seattle area.

the last time i spoke with him, he was planning on going away for a while. he was going to come and stay with jen and i here in sandpoint for a couple weeks before he left, but he wanted to come before we left for africa this summer and before i knew it, we were gone and hadn't heard back from him. i think about him often, wondering where he is and what he's doing.

nicola capi/nelli, i hope youre well and thriving. i hope your relationship with god is a stronghold in our life that all other aspects of it can take their bearing from. i remember the night we went to a church gathering together and were admonished to not let our emotions disctate our lives. you were very moved. i wonder if you still think about that lesson. i remember playing guitar with you on the beach. i wonder if you still play music. i remember walking through downtown and visitng your favorite coffee shop. i wonder, do you still frequent there? do they still know your name? how are your kids? i'm ashamed that their names now escape me.

i hope to see you again soon. i hope that someday i'll search the web for "nicola carpi-nelli and find that you have reopened a gallery somewhere and your paintings are selling and people are talking about them. i hope that we get to take some more walks together, talking about God or girls or prescription medication or the places you go when you need to experience the reality of human suffering. i wonder how your the girls from your house that day are doing. did the one i taught the song to ever learn it? did she ever rearrange it as she promised? or was it really just the meth talking?

thanks for your friendship and the memories.

10.03.2006

venting redux


check out my friend Brian's blog. he has some great stuff to say about "christian" music. i just can't listen to that crap. i mean, there are a few gems in the genre, and i actually do believe that mos of them are trying to do something god, but come on!! my favorite commentary on christian music is south park's season 7, episode 9 entitled "christian rock hard." in this episode, cartman starts a christian rock band in order to reach his goal of making a platinum album before kyle does, only to find out that the best you can do in christian music is to go double-myrrh. he uses the throngs of people who are dying to buy anything that says "jesus" for purely financial gain. luckily, i'm sure that there aren't actually people in the christian music business calling it a ministry while making a mint.

and while i'm rolling, the "christian" music phenomenon is a cog in the larger wheel of religious commercialism and christian subculture wherein an artist, singer, speaker, or clothing designer can succeed with minimal talent; the only requirement seemingly being the ability to choose a hip font and spell j-e-s-u-s correctly. my favorite commentary on this is brian dannelly's "saved" which showcases the ugly side of cristian subculure while also giving the viewer a picture of what i believe is a christ-like perspective.

by the way, we've come up with a rule of thumb here in the office about "christian" industry. one can generally expect anything with a "christian" label to be half as good and twice as expensive as it would be without the "christian label.

a quick post script: it's come to my attention that this entry is pretty cynical and mch more harsh than is my custom. i was gonna change it, but it's what i was feeling when i wrote it, so i'm leaving it. please respond with any comments so we can dialogue about this issue.
-justin

10.02.2006

"ordinary life is pretty complex stuff"

sitting here on the couch watching "American Splendor" reminds me that there is a lot more to life than what i typically experience. not in a way like i'm dissatisfied, more like i don't want to forget about the world that i never interact with - a world where people work jobs they don't like, their social interactions are interesting nd don't seem like they've got it together. i like it. and yeah, i recognize that film isn't reality, but i saw into an open window to this world earlier at safeway. i stopped by after returning some overdue dvds to get jen a tiny container of ice cream to help her feel better. (she's sick) as i stood in line, a girl was talking to the clerk about her life.

"...so if i go to his house or his work or call him on the phone he's gonna call the cops on me," complained the girl as the clerk rang up the customer in front of me. "so i guess he lost his place to live and his place to work," implying that she was gonna take them from him, "you don't drop me and get away free. so i'm coming out to your place tonight? do you want me to bring the toy? (whatever that means) i have to go to gas-n-go because stuff's too expensive here."

the clerk finally chimed in, a bit defensively, as she was finishing up with the customer ahead of me, "well we got some stuff that's a good deal and some that's a little more expensive." i handed the clerk the tiny ice cream and began punching in my club card number so that i could save 31 cents. i opted out of the breast cancer donation since we're sponsoring some kids we met in africa. plus i guess i don't really trust the safeway corporation (or whatever conglomerate they're a part of). anyway, i think the clerk and the girl talking to her are a part of a world i never experience, if seemingly a little more base than the world of harvey & joyce pekar. i often wish that i could spend more energy being interesting and less energy being interested, but i'm not really in a world that goes in for that sort of thing usually. plus i really like being interested too, so i guess i'm in pretty good shape.

10.01.2006

Sunday morning

It'salmost 6:30 on Sunday morning and I'm getting ready to head over to the auditorium of CHC and start rehearsing the music for the morning. I've never been much of a morning person, but my commitments here have forced me to become one for a minimum of 1 day per week. The first couple years were torture and on 2 out of 3 of those mornings I seriously considered quitting this job because of the timefame. Now, 5 years into it, I'm still not a fan and I'd still love to find some other way to make our large group gatherings happen without having to be here at 6 on Sundays, but i guess I've just gotten used to it. Of course, it's only October and winter is the tough time, so we'll see how it goes.