Motorcycle Diaries/My Second Favorite Block in the World–

i am currently in L.A. and yesterday we had a day off. i went to go check out the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries” and i really loved it. i can’t really think up any critique or analysis other than to say i though the movie was really well done. i went to see it at a theater in hollywood called the arclight, which is my favorite theater ever. it’s kinda pricey, but it always shows great movies and there is never anyone who talks or kicks your chair during the movie. plus, they serve beer in the lobby. the arclight happens to sit next door to the largest independent record store in the world, amoeba records. it is an amazing record store that can be overwhelming at times, but it’s truly a fun place to go if you love music of any kinds. i picked up a dvd by the talking heads called “stop making sense”, an album by the band spiritualized called “let it come down”, and the soundtrack from the motorcycle diaries, which was fantastic.

it was just nice to have a day off, enjoy the things that i love so much; movies and music. and for it to all be in walking distance is just that much more ideal. aside from my own block where my house sits, this is my favorite block in the world.

John Stewart Makes America Better–

i don’t know if any of you saw john stewart on cnn’s crossfire. i actually didn’t see it but i did read the transcript here. i love john stewart for saying what needed to be said about how shows like crossfire are bad for american democracy and that they “hurt america”. he does end up calling tucker carlson a “dick”, which i might not have done, but i have to admit….it did make me smile.


it’s been a while since i posted. i am totally burnt at the moment and am not really finding myself fired up or inspired by much at the moment. the last few weeks have been incredibly busy and insanely stressful. needless to say, work has picked up and i have symbolically been cut off from the slow lane and have swerved recklessly into the fast lane.

throughout the last few weeks i feel i am being pulled by two opposing directions. shouting in my ear on one shoulder is the voice of commercialism, ambition, money, stress, career, fear, egotism, fame, exhaustion. on the other shoulder i hear a voice whispering reminders of selflessness, contentment, friends, free time, restful sleep, relaxation, humility. i know we all deal with this, in more ways than we care to remember. i guess it just bums me out that we all have to constantly fight this battle. people look at me and think i am living the american dream or i am successful in some way, but it just seems to make life worse. or maybe i am just being ungrateful for the way i have been blessed so far in life.

i really want to take what God has given me in this life and do with it what pleases him, but i often find myself chasing after what i “deserve” or what those around me tell me is “mine”, as opposed to enjoying what’s right under my nose. i really do feel like God is telling me something, but it’s hard to hear over the loud buzzing of my fear and ego tripping…and mine goes to eleven.

if any of you see me, just slap me and tell me to quit trippin’.

Hearing it Again for the First Time…Without Words–

So Brian Wilson recently released a new album (that i highly recommend) called “smile”. the story of this album is very interesting and i feel a certain connection with it as i was a little bit of a fly on the wall during a small portion of the recording of it. i was a very tiny, hard of hearing fly, but a fly none the less. i had a chance to work at a studio that happened to be where the beach boys did much of their work. their album “pet sounds” was done there, along with many other works. while we were there, brian wilson was working in another room down the hall, recording in order to finish up this very album. one of the most bizarre experiences of my life was sitting in our control room and hearing someone walk in the door behind us. we look back and it’s none other than the man himself…..”hey, my name is brian (no shit)…..i used to work in this room a lot, just checking in.” and with that he left.

we were pretty floored, humbled, honored to have just been in the same building, but to have him walk in, as if he were intruding on us? whatever, that guy owns that room for all we care.

so that brings me to today, i have been waiting to get this record, especially after i had done some interviewing around the studio to see what he has been working on. i gave it my first listen, and it was truly one of those moments as a musician where you just want to quit…..”i give up”. it’s just a beautiful album and one that deserves everyone ear. when i was a boy, i heard the beach boys and it made me thirst for orange soda. now i hear it and it means something else entirely. the talent and beauty of brian wilson and the beach boys (except for the debacle that was “kokomo”) is something that has been redefined in my adulthood. we all know “good vibrations” and “god only knows” but we don’t remember the greatness, the beauty until we revisit and REALLY listen and allow ourselves to take it in on a totally different level.

i guess my love for the beach boys is reflective of my love for Christ. we all know the bible verses, the same prayers we always pray, the same songs we sing…..all by heart. but there are those moments when our eyes, ears, and hearts are a little bit more open…..we recognize the beauty that we so often just kind of gloss over. we know Jesus’ greatest hits by hearts. we have read the liner notes and memorized all his gigs and set lists….but when do we just see him for who he was? when we let all the outside elements just float away and we are left with this amazing picture of greatness, perfection, absolute beauty.

the first song on smile is titled “our prayer”. there are no words, just a chorus of voices, in harmony. no need to explain, no points to make….just an offering of the beauty that a group of human voices, singing together, can make. as i listened for the first time, i knew these voices where a gift from God, and they were singing back in prayer. it brought a big smile to my face and i coulnd’t help but feel that God was smiling along with me.

thanks brian.

Howard Stern…..Watch Out!!!–

so today i stumbled on a weird opportunity. we had a radio interview today at kroq in nyc. the studio where we did the interview was the same studio where howard stern does his radio show. the funny thing is the green room we used was the same green room used for howard’s show as well. our guitar tech, henry, is a HUGE howard stern fan and he was clearly giddy, on cloud nine. he was acting much like tucker carlson would act if he were hanging out with dubya in the white house. holly and ava came to the station with me so it ended up that my wife and daughter hung out for a few hours in a room where we weren’t really trying to imagine the different “incidences” that may or may not have occurred in that room in the past. i was really hoping the stripper vibe wouldn’t rub off on ava. what did i have to fear, it’s just a room right? anyway, yes, that’s a picture of me sitting at howards stern’s radio desk. i couldn’t resist.

I Heart New York–

i am in the middle of packing for nyc tonight. we leave tomorrow and i am really looking forward to going back there. i was remembering my very first visit to nyc. i was in a van driving up the new jersey turnpike and i could see the twin towers in the distance, getting bigger and bigger as we neared. i was in awe. they were the first objects of nyc city that my eyes had ever spied. i love going back to nyc, but it’s always bitter sweet without the towers. we talk a lot about 9/11 and the tragedy of losing so many fellow citizens, rightly so….us losing them has been devastating. but i personally don’t really ever think of losing the towers. maybe it’s because i am not living in new york, out of sight/out of mind. i half way expect them to be there whenever go back. it’s like i forget they are gone until i see the skyline and it all comes back.

i remember visiting ground zero when they were still in clean up mode and it was just so dark, i haven’t been back since. i’ll play it by ear this time, but i think i will visit the site this week. maybe i’ll take the girls with me as well. we’ll see i guess….. it’s just all too sad.

Interaction with Morality–

i posted this on tim samoff’s blog that i frequently check out. i’ve been meaning to write regarding this kind of stuff on here anyway, but as it usually is with me, i am more apt to write in response than kick it off myself:

i find it fascinating that many believers who use the Jesus’ word of “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” as an instruction for us to obey the law and to make sure we do “our christian duty” and vote. but when it comes to the law that makes abortion legal (or any law that doesn’t go along with their beliefs), that same scripture suddenly doesn’t apply.

i am not a expert on the roman law of Jesus’ day, but i would bet there were some pretty archaic and offensive laws on the books (especially from our perspective of free citizens in a democratic society). laws that would make us protest in outrage. but we really don’t see Jesus trying to bring change by getting a petition signed or lobbying with the lawmakers for his cause. he somehow finds a less obvious and more difficult but highly more effective way of bringing change.

it’s a lot easier for us to just fall back on lawmaking and legislation to get our way with moral issues. we trick ourselves into thinking we are making a true difference by merely voting for a certain candidate, protesting a planned parenthood, or putting a guilt trip bumper sticker on your car for all those abortionist to read and take note. these methods are mere cop outs, so we can feel good about how we are fighting the good fight and that we are “making a difference” in this immoral world.

imagine Jesus in John 8. what if instead of showing mercy to the adulteress, he went to the town lawmakers to plead for new/harsher/stricter laws for adulterers? that would be so…….not like Jesus.

Jesus does show us a way to deal with immorality, but his methods are much more dirty and messy and uncomfortable. we can’t hang, so we give up, or don’t even try. instead we end up telling everyone why they are wrong, we study our christian coalition voting guides, we stress about the ten commandments that are removed from the courthouse. and we wonder why we live in such an “immoral” world.(end of post)

continued thoughts……

why is it so hard? maybe we just love being comfortable. maybe we are just fixated on alarm systems, gated communities, the “good” part of town (i’m guilty as charged on all accounts). i was reminded today by my pastor that being close to Christ does not mean being safe, or comfortable. that’s not his concern. doesn’t that just fly in the face of everything that it means to be a white american male in the suburbs with a good job and a volvo wagon? it’s scary, but somehow, i love Jesus all the more for that. maybe i need to truly see what it is to do those things i wouldn’t imagine doing. going places i wouldn’t imagine going. reaching out to people i wouldn’t normally come within 10 feet of. or simply saying “hello” to people as they pass by on the street on a regular basis, of which i never do because then God forbid, i might actually end up having a conversation with a complete stranger. i didn’t sign up for that when i got baptized at 5 years old…..i just wanted to drink the grape juice at church service. but i guess that’s just another blog entry waiting to happen.