on this last friday before i turn 30, i'm doing everything i can to not think about the fact that i'm going to be OLD. well, at least that's what my younger self considers that age to be.

i can remember 13 years ago when i was so upset that i didn't already have a recording contract.

man, i knew nothing then.

but even so, there's a large part of me that really wishes that that had been a reality for me. i'm curious as to what that would have looked like. but then i think about the experiences that i've had since then that have indeed been priceless.

the fact now that i can easily see that i'm a work in progress. and that i wouldn't be happy if i wasn't continually being a project of my own being. consistently trying to refine and define what i've come to know as the essence of ME.

30 years.

i look and see that i'm still in love with music. in love with the talents that are so God breathed it's crazy and knowing that i have to cultivate them so they continue to flourish. 16 year old me realized that he knew so little about music, but didn't know what that meant.

to be honest i still don't know what that means. and i still know so little.

but i do know that i've grown.

i look and see that i have a propensity for loving people - usually to the point of wearing myself thin - in an organizational manner more often than not.

but even with that, i somehow feel very alone just as well.

when i was younger (by that this time i mean up to last year) i figured that by now i'd be married, probably with a kid by now.

not happening in four days.

at this point, i'm hard-pressed to find a date for anything that i may want to do with... you know... a date.

at this point though - and why i found myself wanting to mark this somehow - i hope to continue to age gracefully. really, that's more than good enough for me.

i know that my days are finite. i don't know when they will end. so i will continue to do what i love and be who i am. all the while i'll be refining and defining more and more.

i'll reach whatever is set for me when the time comes.

until then---


yup. another post on the internet about Chik-Fil-A is a brewing. [WARNING: this may be LONG.]

i'm not saying i've posted about them before. i have, however, written quite a lot about what this post is really going to touch on: Christians failing Christianity. Chik-Fil-A is just my vessel this time and, obviously, super relevant at the moment. i'll take the easy chance when i can.

quick background for those that don't know: i grew up in the church... not just in it, but heavily involved. in the church band, performing special music, helping lead my youth group, AWANAS, etc., and continued this through college, and am now finally back with a church i can call home. my faith is an important part of my life and fellowship with those that share in the Christian faith is an important part of it for me.

however, something about my upbringing that may differ from how a lot of people that proclaim Christianity is they didn't have a mother like mine that pushed her children to question and critically think about things we were told to believe in or that were to be construed as fact. (fun fact: my father wasn't as much of a fan of this...)

that being said, i'll move on.

the 'battle of the chicken sandwich' has brought much ire upon our faith (that and all the other atrocities that have been proclaimed in the name of Christ, but i digress) and much of the backlash from both sides are wildly out of hand.

my first reaction to the statements made by Chik-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy were not really of shock that he believes them - as he's very much so from the Bible belt - but that he would say them at all. i mean, even i know that's a subject to avoid when you're top brass - it's quite a tender spot everywhere in the world.

then there's another part of me that thinks, 'well, he's standing up for his own personal beliefs, which is what he was asked about. his company doesn't actually reflect any of these beliefs outside of their fine service to ANYONE and EVERYONE and (i assume) fine treatment of their employees without discrimination.' from there i decided 'no harm, no foul but people are going to blow this up like crazy.'

and that they did.

in the midst of that explosion there has been quite a many things said on both sides that were spot on, some just funny/ridiculous, and some that were definitely far off the mark. (i will refrain from these details, as i'm sure you can find them everywhere if you look on twitter, tumblr, reddit, facebook, etc...) but after the weekend - of which i wasn't glued to a computer nor even my phone as much as normal (thankfully) - i come back to a facebook post from a friend that was a link to upworthy.com. watch the videos if you have time. they're not long.

the one thing that i took from Ms. Pearce is that Chik-Fil-A actually gives money to organizations that lobby for anti-gay policy!

this was the first bit of important information that i'd gotten out of this battle. as far as i'm concerned, this now means that i've supported these same organizations every time i've purchased a delicious Chik-Fil-a sandwich!

now, as you may recall, i started this whole thing about me - of course. my choices (and non-choices) growing up regarding my faith and a lot of the people that i choose to associate myself with. i've long shied away from being considered one of the "Christian kids" because they were radically different in their beliefs from me. a lot of things that they believed (and still believe) were drastically different and, in my studies, even contradictory to what we should be believing in. a lot of that comes from the "do as your told" or "believe what i (the parent) believe" or "respect your elders/your elders are always right" ideas that have permeated just about any culture over the years. with religion (and i'll say especially Christianity because i know more about it), this has always been dangerous. remember learning about the Dark Ages/Middle Ages and the subsequent Protestant Reformation? heck, let's go back to the start of the whole thing: some dude (practically named our equivalent of "John" - super generic - claiming to be the Son of God and God at the same time though he was totally born to this "virgin" chick in a freaking manger coz they didn't get to the town in time to find a place to stay) telling the people of a more than ancient religion that he was there to be their salvation.

though i believe it, i will admit that it sounds crazy. don't get me started on everything else out there though... anyway, moving forward...

what i'm saying here is that someone had to stand up within the faith to change anything. and even with that there was still much dissent. Martin Luther realized that the biggest weapon (why did they have a weapon anyway?) that the Catholic church was using to hold power was keeping knowledge from the people. the commoners were unable to learn anything about the religion being forced on them other than what the laity told them was right. they couldn't read the Bible: there wasn't mass production of it nor was it in the common language - or even in the original language by that time. (it's similar to what our government and big businesses try to do now with their policies, but once again, i digress.)

all the people that vote Republican just because that's what their pastor told them to, their husband told them to, or because "that's just what Christians do" OR the people that vote Democrat just because that's what the environment wants, because "i'm in college and/or am young" all fit into this same category. who and what you support says a lot about who you are as a person.

i still firmly support everyone doing what i had to do for a project that did in college in which the professor made us write out things that we believed. obviously not things like "i believe Spain will win the Cup again" but things that are pertinent to how you live your life. (i probably have a post on this somewhere back in the archives... back in 2001... i wonder how different they might be now...) doing this involves understanding why you believe these things, which then also requires a bit of research and thinking about what you value.

this means doing some questioning over and over again!

i'm not implying that there aren't authorities on many of the things that we choose to hold dear, and i'm definitely not saying to ignore them. but if you find something of a contradiction you should believe in your own ability to reason that (hopefully) you've been honing in during your schooling and living live as a youngster.

it's astounding to me that people can earn a Bachelors Degree in the US and still not be able to think for themselves.

because i openly support my rights as a black man, the rights of my sister to be a manager at her job, and the rights of anyone else to live in the US, abide by the constitutional laws of the land, and build their life as they see fit. i must, in turn, support the right of Mr. Cathy to be anti-gay, and the rights of every gay, lesbian, and bi person out there wanting to have all the same rights that i enjoy according to the state. it doesn't matter what i personally believe. there is no difference. there can be no exception clause. separation of church and state, people!

"give to Caesar what is Caesars..."

here's most of an article i read today from another friends fb post that i thought made some great points... more than i want to just excerpt from:

1. This isn’t simply about marriage. Shocker, right? It’s extremely frustrating that same-sex marriage is the great continental divide. People are judged according to how they stand on this issue, as if no other issue matters. Did you know that a person can be for same-sex marriage and still be homophobic? Did you know that a person can be against same-sex marriage and be gay? We all get categorized very quickly based on the marriage issue and maybe that’s not fair. But here’s what you should know:

- In 29 states in America today, my partner of 18 years, Cody, or I could be fired for being gay. Period. No questions asked. One of those states is Louisiana, our home state. We live in self-imposed exile from beloved homeland, family, and friends, in part, because of this legal restriction on our ability to live our lives together.

- In 75 countries in the world, being gay is illegal. In many, the penalty is life in prison. These are countries we can’t openly visit. In 9 countries, being gay is punishable by death. In many others, violence against gays is tacitly accepted by the authorities. These are countries where we would be killed. Killed.

- Two organizations that work very hard to maintain this status quo and roll back any protections that we may have are the Family Research Council and the Marriage & Family Foundation. For example, the Family Research council leadership has officially stated that same-gender-loving behavior should be criminalized in this country. They draw their pay, in part, from the donations of companies like Chick-Fil-A. Both groups have also done “missionary” work abroad that served to strengthen and promote criminalization of same-sex relations.

- Chick-Fil-A has given roughly $5M to these organizations to support their work.

- Chick-Fil-A’s money comes from the profits they make when you purchase their products.

2. This isn’t about mutual tolerance because there’s nothing mutual about it. If we agree to disagree on this issue, you walk away a full member of this society and I don’t. There is no “live and let live” on this issue because Dan Cathy is spending millions to very specifically NOT let me live. I’m not trying to do that to him.

Asking for “mutual tolerance” on this like running up to a bully beating a kid to death on the playground and scolding them both for not getting along. I’m not trying to dissolve Mr. Cathy’s marriage or make his sex illegal. I’m not trying to make him a second-class citizen, or get him killed. He’s doing that to me, folks; I’m just fighting back.

All your life, you’re told to stand up to bullies, but when WE do it, we’re told WE are the ones being intolerant? Well, okay. Yes. I refuse to tolerate getting my ass kicked. “Guilty as charged.”

But what are you guilty of? When you see a bully beating up a smaller kid and you don’t take a side, then you ARE taking a side. You’re siding with the bully. And when you cheer him on, you’re revealing something about your own character that really is a shame.

3. This isn’t about Jesus. I have a lot of Christian friends. Most of them are of the liberal variety, it’s true, but even this concept seems lost on some of you. Most of them are pro-LGBT rights. Pro-gay and Pro-Christ are NOT mutually exclusive. They never have been, in the history of Christianity, though it’s been difficult at times. It’s not impossible to be both.

If someone is telling you it is, then maybe you should wonder why they’d do that. I see divorced Christians, remarried Christians, drug addict Christians. I see people with WWJD bracelets bumping and grinding on TV and raking in millions to do it. I see greedy, rapacious, vengeful people who are Christians. And these people are accepted in the Church, and the Church does very little to combat them. Sometimes it seems like being gay is the ONLY thing certain modern Christian movements won’t allow. Why’s that, I wonder?

Jesus had almost nothing to say about sexual behavior of any kind. He was too busy teaching more important things. Empathy is at the heart of his teachings. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Remember that? It’s in red. So let’s examine that:

4. If things were reversed, I’d stand up for you.

Please think about this: How would you feel if KFC came out tomorrow and said they were spending money against equality for Asian Americans, or African Americans, or religious people? Really. Think about it. What would you do? How would you feel? How would you feel if, after their announcement, there was a big increase in KFC sales and I was all over Facebook supporting KFC. Please stop reading right now and imagine this. I’m serious.

You can stop now because it’s ludicrous. It would never happen.

Oh, I don’t mean the part about KFC being against some group. That COULD happen. I mean the part about me supporting them. Let me tell you something, and you can damn well believe it: I’d sign on for the boycott IMMEDIATELY.

Why? Well, because I believe in equality for all people, that’s why. But also, personally, from the bottom of my heart: because you are my friend, and I don’t willingly support people who harm you for just being you. How could I? How could I, really? But, more importantly for our purposes, how could you?

Seriously, how could you? What has Chick-Fil-A ever done for you? Sold you some fatty chicken at a ridiculous mark-up? Made you chuckle at semi-literate cartoon cows? You mean more to me than KFC possibly could. If I, in turn, don’t mean more to you than a chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A–if my life, my quality of life, and my dignity are such afterthoughts to you that you’d not only refuse the boycott, but go out of your way to support someone who was hurting me? if I let this stand, if I don’t stand up to the bullies and if I let my friends egg the bullies on, what does that make me?

Well, it makes me a Chikin.

Yeah, so suddenly it is cause for anger, ridiculous or not.

But I’m not going to stop being Facebook friends with anyone over this issue.

Instead, I will remain. And, when you see my face with my partner’s in my profile, maybe you will examine not simply what your opinions are about gay people, or gay marriage, or the first amendment, even; maybe you’ll examine not merely your opinions but your values. What is friendship to you? What is loyalty? How important are human life and dignity to you? Are they more important than fitting in with your social group? Are they more important than loyalty to a corporate brand, or a political party, or some misguided church teaching?

That’s why we’re so angry. This is personal for us. There are times in your life when you have the opportunity to stand up for your friends. When you let that opportunity pass, your friends notice. It doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, but it diminishes you, and it diminishes the friendship. That’s how it is, no matter what the issue or what the venue.

So stand up. Stand up for us. Do the right thing. You don’t have to agree with us on everything, but repudiate Chick-Fil-A. Unlike them on Facebook. Withdraw your support for them. Join us in the boycott. If you can’t do that, then please ask yourself whether I’m your friend. In fact, ask yourself whether anyone is.

This is all I have to say. If you’d like to debate the issue further, I’ll do it, but I’m not going to go around and around on the same points. If you’re just going to repeat yourself, save us both some time. If you haven’t taken the time to actually read this carefully and actually consider carefully what I’ve said, then I see no reason to waste further words.

The ball is in your court. Again, I urge you to do the right thing.

- Wayne Self
Twitter: @owldolatrous
Facebook: facebook.com/owldolatrous
original post: owldolatrous.com

thank you, Mr. Self.

my point is, think for yourself. if you are actually against the legal rights of any subset of our humanity then you're probably not who i'm talking to here, and you may have wasted a good 10 minutes of your time. if you aren't, consider the fact that we live in a country that was founded on the principles of freedom of thought and beliefs meaning not one of them was greater than another.

because of my new intel, i won't be eating at Chik-Fil-A until i know my purchase there does not go towards the diminished rights of citizens.

until then---


i'm in need of a disappearing act.

the thing is, if i employ the help of an assistant, then it's not quite disappearing is it?

until then---


as of last week i've began putting my left foot forward.

up until now, my front foot has always been my right. i mean, i'm not choosing favorites, but it seems like doing anything else is something that could be construed as a bad thing.

this comes up as i switched the side that put my guitar effects pedals from my right to my left. for those of you that know a bit about rock guitar playing, most right-handed guitarist are prone to this left side setup due to it's easing the power stance situation; you don't have to switch your feet back and forth, which can be meddlesome. i've delayed this move because my right foot has always been my best foot: my more accurate and preferred foot for football; i ride goofy-footed skateboarding and snowboarding putting my right foot forward; gas and brake; etc.

such a silly list.

but fact is, it's a welcome change. my left foot has always been strong in its support and my right wouldn't be the same without it. really, who's to say that my left wasn't my best all along?

so many times i've heard 'put your best foot forward.' it's cliche but ever true. but i have found it to be a shame that we don't always know which foot is actually the best foot. where the steps are actually leading us. what that foot looks like to others. so although all of this came from a silly, yet important change in my musical routine, the idea of my other foot possibly being the best foot in another persons eyes, or maybe even my own, is invaluable.

at this point, my left was just undervalued. but maybe it simply has been the best all along.

i can freely admit that i may have been going about things all wrong!

this is a frequent thought.

but now i will begin to put a different foot forward. and it looks promising.

until then---


i think that i've forgotten what it means to be a friend. i'm so self-absorbed that i know that i've neglected many things about friendship that i feel are extremely important to me. so this is an apology (at least to those that read this n'er updated blog):

i'm often chasing my goals. my dreams that i've had since i was young. back then when i made all of the real decisions for my future, laying the groundwork for who i would become today. i didn't choose to become musically inclined but i did choose to follow that inclination to the bitter middle - where i find myself now.

at least that's where i hope i am.

i guess it could be the end, but then i'd really have nothing left.

at least that what i'd figure anyone would think when they've been headed towards a career for 15 years that hasn't ever materialized. failure after failure bringing about only mere flashes of real advancement but realizing that thought i may have moved forward one step, everyone else has moved twelve.

then you get to thinking 'why can't i at least move, say, eight for so many's twelve? is it me? is it my associates? where's my error?'

gotta love that spiral. it's epic.

in an era where patience is no longer a virtue but rather a death warrant, i've easily missed so many opportunities waiting for people, moments, or funding. yet i'm constantly told to 'wait for my time; it'll come.'

this advent sucks.

i've been waiting too long and not acting enough. so many windows have closed. doors once opened are now shut. people pass without so much as a 'hello.' oh yeah, that's just the bigotry in Orange County. but can i blame that?

of course i can. it's a part of the spiral.

why can't we spiral upwards?

my point is, maybe i'm not hungry enough. maybe i don't have the desire needed to make my passion a reality. i'm too soft and too patient. too not what anyone cares about - and yet not enough to satisfy the hipster kids. i don't know how to network. i don't know how to make money. you all seem to have figured it out and left me behind. and although i'm happy that you've all achieved so many of your goal in career and family, it's lonely back here staring up at all you've done.

very lonely.

maybe it can be a fire starter.

maybe it'll just dig me deeper.

but this is why i apologize: if i were you and had made it where you are, i'd probably leave me here too.

it's hard to stop a stubborn man looking to dig his own grave.

until then---


ThouGHts WHIlE StarinG at A Wall

while putting up the Christmas lights at my place of work (a house if you didn't know... and not mine), i saw a random space between the property i was on and the property next door. of course, i immediately got to the questions "who owns that? is that no man's land?" aside from the fact that i thought about this rather oft-used phrase 'no-man's land' for the first time as land that no one owned and not just as land out in the middle of nowhere, it got me to thinking. why wouldn't the phrase have been this is "God's land?"

people always got to be so negative, ha.

until then---


i'm doing this survey for USA Ultimate (formerly Ultimate Players Association) since i am a paying member, and it's kind of bad. it's like one of those situations where they're trying to lead you to say something that they want you to rather than get a genuine response (those have a specific name, but i'm at a loss as to what they are called. could just be a Leading Question, but that seems too easy.), among other things as well.
so here's a written response that i gave them, and though it's not nasty or bitter or anything controversial, i thought it'd be good to post. (the bold is from the survey, non-bold is my response.)

Since your response to the previous question suggested that you don't feel that these six goals provide the right direction for USA Ultimate...

How would you change, or add to, these six goals (shown below) to ensure USA Ultimate is headed in the right direction? (please be specific!)

1. Increase the visibility of Ultimate
2. Grow youth, college, and league Ultimate
3. Organize the highest quality US competitive events
4. Achieve sustained excellence of Team USA
5. Celebrate and uphold Spirit of the Game, as well as USA Ultimate’s core values
6. Govern the organization to ensure stability and excellence

i'm mainly concerned with what it means to "govern the organization to ensure stability and excellence." This directly relates to the other goals listed above. To keep things relevant with the problems people see in our federal government, i don't think that any of the USAU members really knows where our fees go. We have to pay for tournaments, travel, accommodations, etc. so other than a quarterly (maybe) magazine where do they go?

The increased viability (1), and spread of the game (2) are related to the same concerns. If the people that you already have as members are not sold on what you actually provide, then it's hard to spread the game with USAU having knowledge of it. The game is awesome (unquestionably) but it's played in pockets that don't use USAU at all, and this will continue. I find that part of the charm is that it's not a highly visible sport but yet you can play it at a super high level and be recognized worldwide. Kind of amazing. So if making the game more visible takes that away, i don't want it.

until then---