Wednesday, December 22, 2010

when your world is not stable/love is not convenient

the first semester of my senior year is over, and i am on track to graduate for spring 2011 and watch my world shift yet again.

i am 22 years old, and have gone through what feels to be 22 years of public education/schooling. Always trying to study, pass the tests, do good in the class...that stuff takes up a LOT of your time.

Between shifting schools (elementary, middle, high school, college), my friends have shifted too. At times I've been to blindsided to notice. I have shifted. In college, where I live changed almost every single year. It was not a stable time, there is no real chance to grow roots I feel like, in college, because once you are done you are expected to leave and move onto something else, and then something else. And it seems the only chance I will have to have something "stable" in my life will be when I either a) get a real job or b) get married...or a combination of both.

I don't really like that feeling. Don't get me wrong, I love traveling and stuff, but I like knowing that I am coming back home. And to me, the past four years I haven't really been able to be "home". Even my parents house, which I suppose is still my house, isn't really "home" anymore, as it is where I go only on vacations and whatnots from school.

I miss the feeling I had from elementary to high school of really having a "home". I really and truly do, and I hope to find it again someday.


Last week i sat down the girl I'm in love with and I told her:

"Listen, I know that you never, ever, not in a million years ever planned for a boy to be in love with you like this when you are just a junior in college. I know that you never planned to have such complicated feelings towards me because of it. I know that you never planned to think about a family, or marriage, or maybe even a serious relationship until after grad school. I am. [Name], love is not convenient. And I can honestly tell you I never, ever, imagined I would feel like this about anyone, especially someone who doesn't feel the same to me. But please don't pass up the opportunity for us to at least have a real relationship when you get back--simply because 'now is not the right time'. Sure, maybe you'll never love me, but I know that you've never even tried. And I know that my love for you is genuine and real and selfless and pure. I believe in us, and I have faith that this could be something absolutely amazing. And I KNOW that this love did not come at a convenient time, but I guess love is not the most convenient thing ever..."

I don't know if what I said got through to her on any level. I don't know if she will ever weigh the fact that she KNOWS with her whole right that I would never hurt her or leave her or forsake her and that I adore her on every single level possible, I don't know if she truly wondered if someone else will see her the same way I do.

I almost think that if she did, she would be on the same page as me--telling me that we should wait until she gets back to give this whole thing a fair go--even if she just really likes me right now and I love her.

This love, may very well be the only of its kind to ever step into her life, and I can say that in all honesty for many reasons. But if she denies what this could be because she is simply too scared of what she KNOWS it could be, and that the timing isn't the best, who am I to say otherwise?

I know that if she lets this go because of the inconvenience of the timing in her life, it will be the single greatest tragedy that has (and hopefully will ever) befall my life. Because I know that this could be a simply unbelievable relationship if she would just let go of the fact that this is not when she planned/wanted all of this to happen.

At this point, I honestly don't know the ending. I don't know what she'll choose. I just know that my heart is ready for that next step, and I love her, and I want that next step to be her.

But, I know that a month ago I almost moved on in my life, albeit, that was by simply forgetting that she exists. Again though, here we are. Falling right back into what she said she didn't want from the start. It's all so natural.

I just honestly know, in my heart, that she will end up regretting not giving this a chance because she didn't find this relationship to be convenient and on her time schedule as to where she wanted to be in life. I know that one day I'd be able to move on, and find someone who loves me and I will love them as much if not more than I love this girl right now. But I can't help but wonder if I too will always regret that she didn't give us a chance, and always wonder "what if" she did...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

the downside and upside of being a practicing communication major

For those of you who don't know, my major is Communications. For those of you who don't know much about the Communication major, we are taught how to critically analyze rhetorical artifacts (which is basically anything that is trying to convey a message). We are taught to take a hard look at the every day discourse that takes place in our lives; from conversations, to television, to politics, to advertisements, all the way down to things like social interworks of the internet.

I know that some people read my blog posts and are just like "Why does Chad always gotta be bringing the heavy?", "Why does Chad have to be so critical of so much?"?

I know that I have lost some friendships because of this mentality of wanting...of needing to be in an almost constant state of critical rhetorical analyzation. These people that have not understood why I feel the need to do this so often absolutely refuse to take a critical look at their surroundings, and are much happier going about their daily lives, not even beginning to understand the discourse that they surround themselves with. To people like that, it's being "negative" when I would examine the rhetoric of something or someone, to try and find what is really going on--as opposed to be being settled with the low involvement of a message and take it for "what it is".

I know that IPC (Interpersonal Communication) as my major used to be called is jokingly called "I Passed College" by some people outside of the Communication department. But to be sure, being a Communication major has taught me how to be a critical thinker far better than some other people I know and used to know who are far too content to be in Lala Land to take a step back and actually analyze the discourse of everything they're being fed, and everything they fill their life up with.

I would MUCH rather be trying to figure out the the underlying discourse for someone or something in my life, than just skip along through everything without even beginning to understand yourself or your surrounds as you should. I am not satisfied, like other people may be, to see the surface of something and be like "Oh, okay well that's obviously how it actually is"--because as I've learned in my classes, very rarely is something actually what it appears to be, and so I want to know the "Why" and the functions of this rhetorical object and just in general what is behind the surface.

I think it's disgusting that some people are naive enough to think that what is on the surface is all there is to something, including themselves. That people are too satisfied and unwilling to critically examine themselves to HONESTLY figure out "why" or "how" or ANYTHING.

So you will have to excuse me while I open up my mind and attempt to understand and figure out the world around me and what really pulls the strings while some other people are too busy just enjoying the puppet show and too naive to see the strings.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Celebrities Stop Updating Fans on Their Lives to Raise Money for HIV/AID's: The Commentary by Chet Early

Let me start this blog out by saying, I think people should, VERY much help out for causes they feel strongly for. I also think it is important to educate people of these different causes to raise awareness, money, and hopefully to stop whatever the cause is advocating change for. So PLEASE do VERY MUCH donate money to help fight AID's, child soldiers, clean water, etcetc!

I did not come here to critique "Buy Life" because of what it stands for in their cause.

I think a much stronger and more urgent critique can be found in how "Buy Life" functions, and what it means that such a campaign even exists. It has been said, that America is absolutely obsessed with the lives of celebrities. For one reason or another, people are drawn to finding out about their lives like mouthes to flames.

Just how bad is this obsession that we feel we need to know every second of the goings ons of our favorite celebrity? Well, according to "Buy Life", our obsession with these "digitally dead" celebrities is bad enough for people to donate $1,000,000 (A MILLION DOLLARS) just so they can continue on with reading their favorite famous persons Twitter post.

...So let me get this straight, these celebrities are taking away peoples opportunity to keep in digital touch with their lives, and think that people need these updates SO BADLY that they as a collective fan base, will donate ONE MILLION DOLLARS to get it back?


From a personal stand point, I find it insulting as a human being, and completely pathetic that these famous people think that people need to hear what is going on in their (the famous peoples lives), that they will donate money to a cause that--REALLY--is not even CLOSE to being the central focus of this charity.

"AID's? Yeah I heard it's bad, but I miss Lady Gaga's tweets, so I'll donate ten bucks--OMG I just have to know what she's been up to!"

Maybe the most interesting part of all of this, is that these celebrities believe that people are soo fixated on their lives, that the motivation to donate money to hear about their lives again, will be enough to raise one million dollars for HIV/AID's. So, I suppose the question is begged then, ARE people that obsessed over these peoples lives that they will feel so compelled to donate to HIV/AID's--but MOST importantly--so that they can see their favorite famous person Tweet and/or update their Facebook again.

While the intentions appear to be good, raising money for Keep a Child Alive (that's the foundation supporting this), what has become of people that they need to hear a scripted and half-assed speech from a celebrity speaking from a webcam, saying that they are going to withhold their "digital life" from you until a million dollars is donated to bring them "back to life" (oh, and ps AID's is a awful and terrible thing too)?

Are people that completely fixated on these people that they are going to donate one million dollars so they can hear back from them again? And if they are, what does that say about our culture? Why can't people use their own minds and see that they already SHOULD be donating to charity's--WITHOUT these "prizes" and half-assed incentives that can't even begin to do the urgency of the cause justice?

I feel like the proper reaction to the "Digital Death" campaign should be the following: "Of COURSE I will donate some money to HIV/AID's instead of eating out tonight, instead of going to a movie tonight, instead of going to the bars tonight, but I REFUSE to do it through this campaign. I could careless about the goings on in these celebrities lives and I find it insulting that they think myself and the world I live in is so obsessed with them that I would actually give that egotistical insensitive the time of day."

I am sure that people think that by using celebrities, their cause will gain more credibility. Whenever I see a cause using a famous person though, I almost automatically lose interest in the cause because suddenly the cause is less about what they are trying to help, and more about the person trying to help it. When people like Brad Pitt go to Africa to help with what-have-you, People Magazine is not covering the good works they did, they are covering: "did they enjoyed their time there? did they sleep with anyone there? was Angelina with him?"

I believe that campaigns such as those and "Digital Death" are starting at the wrong point. I don't believe people will ever truly care about any of these causes if the only reason they are interested in it is because their famous person tells them they should donate money.

We need to somehow find a way to chip at America's growing apathy for problems that are not their own/problems they are disconnected with--and truly reignite a sense of compassion. And compassion is started within someone's soul by being truly moved by an almost religious experience--NOT being moved because Justin Timberlake wants you to donate money based off the scripted and half-assed speech he gave into a web cam.

If you want people to care, you need to spark compassion in them, not fuel the celebrity obsessed culture we have.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

love is watching someone die

in summer of 2008, my grandmother, who i always called "Mimi" passed away within 12 days after going in for an appointment because she was feeling under the weather, only to find out that she had an extremely aggressive form of cancer that stole her away from us in a matter of less than two weeks.

death was not kind to her. i remember seeing her in the hospital with all of those tubes and wires on her and she was more than capable of talking and had her normal "don't you dare pity me" look on and was just as funny and feisty as ever.

the next time i recall seeing Mimi was in hospice, where she could barely move, barely talk, to anyone. she struggled to get the words "i love you" out to my sister and i when we left for what i didn't realize would be the last time i would ever hear those words escape her lips, and the last time i would see her when she still had life in her eyes before the funeral home.

i thought she was going to get better, almost for the shear fact that everything happened so fast that i didn't think it would be possible for her to go away so quickly. of course i was absolutely wrong and she was gone before i knew what was happening. she passed away when i was at the girl i was dating at the times house for the weekend. my mom called me and let me know the news and i shed a few tears, but other than that i thought i was doing just fine with the loss.

i got home whenever i did and went with my mom to my grandfather (Papa's) house the next day to see him. i was sort of nervous because i didn't know if he was going to be super sad and then i wasn't going to be. but my mom and i got there and the second he opened the door instead of my little grandmother, I burst into a fit of tears like a dam that just exploded and all the water was rushing out in a fury of sadness.

i had no idea that i would react this way until i saw my Papa, and until i did NOT see my Mimi. even writing this now i have watery eyes in the middle of the student union seeing her so much.

this was the first death in the family of someone i had pretty regular contact with, and the first time i could see the whole effects of death at takes taking the air out of the very room we were sitting in. it seemed that no one had time to process this event--it all just happened so damn fast.

almost three years have gone by now since she passed away, and while my family seems to have recovered, my Papa has never been the same. he never stays late after family dinners anymore, he doesn't joke nearly as much, i always got this vibe of sadness when i am around him. sadness that can not be filled by anyone other than the women he loved so so so much.

to me, that is amazing. to see that my Papa loved Mimi so much that literally when she died, a part of Papa died to. what an amazing kind of love. i wish i knew off hand how long they were together, but i know it was a really, really long time. they never divorced, no one ever left. they were together. are together. until death did them part.

and I think that is one of the most beautiful things i have ever been able to witness in my life. death cab for cutie has a lyric from a song called "what sarah said" and it simply says: "love is watching someone die, so who's gonna watch you die"? And that is exactly what my Papa did. he was right there for Mimi. right there next to her, loving her, sleeping in the hospice room in a chair next to her bed--refusing to leave her alone. he loved her more than i have ever seen anyone love prior to that.

Mimi's death completely changed Papa. a part of him is now gone with her, never to come back until he joins her in heaven--whenever that may be.

the power of their love astounds me. it terrifies me, it gives me hope. that is what i am striving for in my life, whenever i finally marry. to have a love so real and so selfless that when my wife passes, or i pass before my wife, that a part of myself is gone along with her--because that is how much of my heart she has.

my Papa and Mimi are an absolutely amazing example of that kind of agape love. my heart breaks for him every time i see him, but it also swells with joy to know how in love they must've been--to see that they really did "become one".

my hope is that i will be so changed when that point in my life know that i really did live to love another person with everything God gave me to love them with. i am sure that he is going through absolutely immeasurable hurt, but i am also sure that the joy and love he felt for and with Mimi was and is as equally as immeasurable.

"there is no safe investment. to love at all is to be vulnerable. love anything and your heart will most certainly be wronged, and possibly broken. you want to make sure keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one--not even to an animal. warp it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries avoid all entanglements, lock it up safe in a casket or a coffin of your selfishness. but in that casket; safe, dark, motionless, airless--it'll change. it will not be broken, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. to love is to be vulnerable. " --the frozen ocean

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Best Records of 2010

Best Records of 2010
(in no particular order)

About: In this blog, I have complied a list of my favorite records that have been released in 2010. Each title is followed by a review/quick thoughts on the record of sorts. Each band and album name have been linked to a song download, which is my favorite song off of the record. Not the whole record, just one song that I think speaks for the record the best. It's my hope that some of you check out an artist that you've never heard of and support some of this amazing music that has come to be in 2010--AND ASK FOR SOME FOR CHRISTMAS :-D

(note: the links had to be taken down because someone reported that i was 'breaking the law' with my downloads. this blog has now been taken down twice because someone said yet AGAIN that i have downloading links. USE YOUR EYES. THE DOWNLOADING LINKS ARE GONE STILL TAKING MY BLOG OFFLINE.)

Jonsi: Go
Genre: Baroque Pop/Ambient/Post-Rock
This is a late edition to this blog, but if I JUST found out about this record/artist a week ago. And if I had to pick a top 2010 record, this would have been it. I can not say enough about the beauty and just general greatness of Jonsi's "Go". If I would've known about it two weeks ago, it EASILY would've been my favorite album of 2010. Easily.

Circa Survive: Blue Sky Noise
Genre: Rock/Progressive/Ambient
When I hear that one of my favorite bands is getting sign to a major label, I always hold my breath in hopes that they don't totally destroy them (see: Anberlin, The Juliana Theory, Saosin, and The Ataris major label debut. With a sigh of relief, I can tell you that this is still the Circa Survive we have all grown to love. Anthony Green's voice sounds as strong and unique as ever, and with a major label comes some GREAT mixing of it. I feel like Green has always sounded pretty amazing, but there is a clarity to the mix of this record that their prior releases did not even come close to. This is might a perfect record though, mind you. Upon first listen I felt that the complex guitar parts that created such a different feel in their first two records aren't really hear with this one. As I started to read interviews about Blue Sky Noise, I found that what I thought was exactly true. Both guitarists went out of their way to make simpler parts to fit the new audience that they would be coming in contact to with their new found major label exposure. Regardless though, the guitars sound sound as good as ever, in particular on "Get Out", "Frozen Creek", and "The Longest Mile". Overall though, Blue Sky Noise is sure to please old Circa fans, as well as usher in a brand new line to be sucked in by Green's voice, and Crica's still uncommon (yet slightly watered down) musical structures.

S. Carey: All We Grow
Genre: Ambient/Chamber Pop/Indie Folk
Sean Carey is and was part of Justin Vernon's band Bon Iver. Enough said? Enough said. S. Carey's debut solo record All We Grow is easily in my top three favorite records of the year. I currently have a little over twenty-two days of music on my iTUNES. I listen to a lot of music. And this is (also) one of the most beautiful records I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Ever. I feel like I could write a ten page essay review on this record, and that one paragraph is not nearly going to do All We Grow justice. But I'm going to have to try. This record is gentle. This is a record that is in love with itself, not in a conceded way, it just is. This record is in love. From the absolutely phenomenal instrumentation, to S. Carey's voice that practically is singing in the tone of a lullaby, it is just beautiful. I would go as far to say that I like this record far more than I have liked either of the Bon Iver releases. That--is how much I dig this album. The mix is crystal clear, and yet is extremely textured, in particularly with the multiple vocal parts that tend to go on at any given time during a song. I am going to stop here, but it is safe to say that you should stop by iTUNES and pick up this album, put on a pair of headphones, wait for a rainy day, and fall in love with life and music all over again.

Isles and Glaciers: The Hearts of Lonely People
Genre: Post-Hardcore/Post-Rock
Normally, I'm not a fan of super groups. At all. But this year there were two bands that are super groups that put out absolutely amazing records. The first, being Gayngs, and the second being Isles and Glaciers. And you can tell that IAG packs quite a punch, with some amazing post-hardcore/whatever-core musicians contributing to it. Namely: Craig Owens, Jonny Craig, and Vic Fuentes. 3 super unique voices singing on the same tracks = huge win. A lot of programming = huge win. This record is GREAT to listen to in the headphones, especially for this sort of record. There is a lot going on at one time, a large part of which is the amazing programming parts on the album. Although, I don't listen to a lot of Vic's actual band stuff, I do listen to basically anything Owens and Craig is on, and I have to say that this is easily the best vocal performance I've ever heard from both of them. The lyrics reach near perfection too...again, probably has to do with 3 amazing song writers writing on the same songs. Not too mention, this record was about a year on the self before it was released, which I'm sure made a lot of time for perfection to occur on it. All I can really say about this record is if you are a fan of any of the 3 voices, or just generally super, SUPER good, catchy, and slightly emotional post-hardcore, you will not be disappointed in the least by Isles and Glaciers debut record.

Stars: The Five Ghosts
Genre: Indie Pop/Rock
First, let it be known that Stars is a way underrated band. Let it be known that Stars are really, really good. On their latest record, they only get better. Compared to their last album, that I was a huge fan of, this one dabbles a bit more in the electronic side on some songs. Which takes a little getting used to, especially if you usually don't like that kind of music, but once I got over that fact, The Five Ghosts is a super solid indie pop record. Both of their voices sound just as good as their prior releases, with the male singer doing his "sing/whisper" thing and the girl with, girly? Voice? Which is not a bad thing by ANY means, just pointing out that they chose to almost play it safe in that they switched up some of their music, but kept their vocal style pretty similar to their other stuff. Some of the record is really good for a cold winter day, while other parts are really good for a beautiful summer day. They use really great synth textures on some of their songs, which further drives home wether a song is for a winter or summer day.

The Graduate: Only Every Time
Genre: Indie Rock/Ambient
It took The Graduate almost over three years to come out with this record. After the label they were on kicked the can, they seemed to be totally in limbo, and all of their fans waited with held breath to see if they were going to stick it out or call it quits. Sure as your born, they stuck it out...and I am SO glad they did. This band truly has a unique sound, to the point where I can't really compare them accurately to any other band I know of. Their singer, Corey, has an amazing voice, and their guitar parts and tones and consistently candy to my ears. Their delay/ambient filled up-tempo rock songs are just so good. That's really all I can rightly say about them, because I am trying super hard to not underplay exactly how good these guys actually are...THAT'S how good they are. This is one of the few records I stayed up until midnight to grab off of iTUNES. I was too impatient to pre-order a copy and wait for it in the mail, or have it shipped to the local record store. I needed it in my hands the fastest way I knew how. The lyrics seem to revolve around Corey's relationship with his wife, which he had to constantly leave during the extremely long and strenuous writing process for this record--which, to me, is super awesome. This lyrics seem THAT much more genuine because of that...that this dude REALLY loves his lady is super awesome. As I already said, the guitar parts, along with the drum and keyboard (the bass seems to be sort of buried in the mix) are simply spot on and always super, SUPER tasteful. I could listen to their guitar tones and their guitar parts for seriously hours on end. Overall, if you like super refreshing, very listener-friendly rock and roll (yet very unique), this record is for you.

Jimmy Eat World: Invented
Genre: Alt Rock/Early Emo
Let me start off by being honest with you: I wasn't a huge advocate of JEW's last record Chase This Light. I thought it was good...but not amazing. I still can't put my finger on it, but there was something that simply didn't do it for me. Invented though, is a whole 'nother story. Invented is super great. There's not enough I can say about this record, other than saying it's simply a great, GREAT rock/early emo record. Jim's voice sounds as great as ever, and I would venture at say it's improved? Or maybe if it's not improved, there's a few songs where I feel like he switches up his singing style from previous releases- which to me, is refreshing (see: "Heart is Hard to Find", "Higher Devotion"). Although I have to say, I'm not at all a fan of the song "High Devotion", for some reason it just annoys me. I AM however, a huge fan of the production on this record. It just has this super bright/sunny sound to it. Also, I like that they continue to feature a girls voice on the record at times. It gives a really good contrast to Jim's voice.

Oceana: Clean Head [EP]
Genre: Post-Rock/Indie
Before the release of this EP, I had heard of this band in a few music circles I travel in, and I wrote them off as an "Rise Records" generic hardcore band. A week in October my friend was telling me that I should go to one of their shows, and I told him I don't think I would like them very much. Man, was I wrong. He explained to me how they totally changed their sound--and he was totally right. What started off as a hardcore band, now had totally transformed into a really sweet post-rock indie band (As Cities Burn anyone?). This EP is really, really, really good. I hold a huge soft spot in my heart for the singers voice, as it reminds me of my favorite singer Matthew Good, combined with the lead singer of As Cities Burn. The guitar and drum tones are really, really slick to. Not to mention, their drummer is super, super spot on--and even better live, if you can believe that. I hold two reservations about this record though: first, while the first track on the EP is pretty good, the rest of it blows that song out of the water. Secondly, the three songs after the first one sound like they are all 3 different parts of the same song. I almost finish they would've made them into one epic song...because they sound pretty similar, especially in the guitar progressions. Thankfully for them though, it's a really, really refreshing sounding progression so it works more or less 3 times over. If you were at all a fan of As Cities Burn's last record, you have no option but to pick this up and love it. Because it is awesome and practically like the step-child of that record.

Lazerbeak: Legend Recognize Legend
Genre: Indie/Alt/Hip-Hop
This is easily one of the freshest records of the year for me. When I was trying to figure out what to put as "genre", I honestly had no clue what I should write. Because honestly, Lazerbeak is all over the place. There's not really any rapping persae, but there are a lot beats? For those who don't know (or care to know?), Lazerbeak is part of the Doomtree collective, a rap group out of The Twin Cities. Usually he can be found making beats for people like Sims, Dessa, P.O.S., and all the like--I read somewhere that he has produced and recorded over 400 unique/different songs/beats? Wow. The guy is clearly a creative freight train. Anywho, this record is just that: super creative. His beats and lyrics are extremely different to the point of I can't really compare it to's all just super fresh sounding to me. The only reservation I have about Lazerbeak is his voice reminds me of the guy from Smash Mouth. If I don't think about that though, this is a really colorful and refreshing record for those who have an open mind to new sounds.

The Album Leaf: A Chorus of Storytellers
Genre: Instrumental/Ambient/Indie
I would like start this review by thanking my friend Eric MacDonald for introducing me to this band. I seriously do not know what I would listen to some times if I did not have this band to serenade my ear drums with their fantastic instrumental songs. The only gripe I have about this record, is that there is still a little singing in it. And whoever sings, is just absolutely terrible. He does not have a good voice-at all, and it just serves to detract from whatever is going on in the song. Therefore, what I have done is deleted every song that he sings on from my iTUNES library, so I don't have to bother skipping them anymore. Other than that, this is the best instrumental record I have ever heard (which I suppose isn't that many?). It creates a very, very emotional vibe with these "I'm going to cry if I hear those chords played again" chords. But I think that's amazing. For me, there are few greater feelings than that of being truly moved by music. From start to finish, aside from the songs where the dude sings on, I feel moved. I feel inspired and have this like feeling of "Everything is going to be okay" or "It's okay to fall in love, it's a beautiful thing". I know that sounds uber cheesy, but that's simply the best way I can describe this record (which might mean I'm just not very good at describing things)?

The Chariot: Long Live
Genre: Mathcore/Metalcore
The Chariot eats your favorite metal band during tea time, and then ravages any idea you had of what this latest record was going to be for dinner. This is easily one of the most furious metal records I have ever heard...that I'm pretty sure has ever come into being of recent? Long Live makes bands like Underoath, The Devil Wears Prada, even some of Norma Jean, look like they are toothless little puppy dogs. Lead singer Josh Scogin's screams are simply unbelievable, and are getting better, to the point of now you don't always have to look at his lyrics to understand what he's say. The album rips into you with "Evan Perks", and doesn't let you go until the ending chaos of "The King". This band, and this record, are very much that of the acquired taste.'s all just so chaotic. Next to no structure can be found in the music, lyrics, anything. It's sort of like "Melody? What the hell is a melody?". The song "The City" though, does feature a super cool melodic moment, which gives me goosebumps very time I hear it. I think the most fantastic thing about this band and Long Live is that for as chaotic as this record sounds, the band is very much on the same page--all the music sounds very cohesively chaotic. Which is super impressive for the several different parts that are found in each song.

Kanye West: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Genre: Hip-Hop
Say what you want about Kanye West's personality, but West has officially transcended main stream hip-hop as the world knows it. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is an absolutely phenomenal record as far as main stream hip-hop is concerned. Musically, West both produces and uses some of absolute best and freshest beats I have ever heard, which totally serves to set himself apart from other main stream hip-hop artists who think they're "the best". I don't even know how someone can begin to form that thought process after this record. I honestly don't. Lyrically, West is once again on his "A" game. Although I think one of the biggest downfalls of this record is the people he features. In particular, Pusha T. on "Runaway". I think "Runaway" is an amazing song, right up until Pusha drops a verse that almost sounds like he has absolutely nooo idea the message Kanye is trying to convey with the song--it's like he raps the TOTAL opposite of what Kanye is saying. Unlike a lot of people, I thought 808's and Heartbreak's an almost perfect album, and so I think this is a phenomenal progression. At times, I feel like Kanye is struggling with being honest about how he feels, but then realizes that he has to keep up his "street cred" so he reverts from time-to-time sounding like just another hip-hop artist (but that's like...less than 5% of the record). Honestly though, I can not give enough praise for how good this record is. If you like hip-hop, and can put the fact that Kanye--like MANY other famous people (as we seem to forget)--has a big ego, you NEED to get this record. Oh, and I think it is AWESOME that Bon Iver is featured on not one, but TWO songs "Monster" and "Lost in the World". Sooo happy for that dude, and mad props for Kanye to finding out about him too. Soooooo awesome. On a last note, I think any time Jay-Z is featured on a Kanye song, he TOTALLY also detracts from it--I think West is a faaar better rapper than Jay, and Jay's style just does NOT fit on these amazing songs.

Spring Offensive: The First of Many Dreams About Monsters [EP]
Genre: Indie/Rock/Alt
One 13 minute song can be considered an EP, right? Regardless, I found this band on an AbsolutePunk.Net Free Music Friday, where they had this song/EP listed as a free download, and it's just awesome. Spring Offensive find themselves very much in the vein of late Anathallo, with a bit more fire and passion. Oh, and you can understand the singers voice a lot better than Anathallo, which is a huge plus. This is a 3 (or 4 or 5?) part song, sown together by little sound clips in between which part. I love the lyrics a lot, because they are super poetic and just are overall really well written. I think my favorites parts of this song/EP are the first and last sections. Some very, very original stuff to come out of the UK. I can't wait to see and hear what these dudes do next.

Underoath: ø (Disambiuation)
Genre: Metalcore/Ambient
First thing first--Underoath is rarely ever the same band twice. Each of their records are a complete evolution and departure from the prior one (Brand New, 1997, among others, are bands that do that as well). If you would would put ø next to Lost in the Sound of Separation, there are times when you can't even tell it's the same band. And to address the elephant in the room: yes Aaron is gone, and he will be missed, but he is NOT missing from their new record. Between Spencer's surprisingly good singing, and Daniel Davison's in the pocket drumming, the singing and drumming of Aaron is but a fond yet distant memory. This is definitely the darkest record they have done, both lyrically and musically. Musically they seem to have started to implore more and more auxiliary percussion, which is super cool. The only reservation I have about this record, as I have had since Spencer started picking up the pen on Define the Great Line, is that it just seems (at points) lyrically weak, and recycled phrases from within this record and drawing from past albums too. I find that Spencer's strongest lyrics can be found in the slower songs on the record "Paper Lungs", and "Driftwood". Davison's drumming is spot on, as different as it is from Aaron's, it is much less complex, but it feels much more "in the pocket", and tries to flow with the song as opposed to being a highlight of it. This is turn draws much more attention to the guitar parts, but mainly to Spencer's vocals. ø succedes in evolving Underoath, and further setting them apart from their "peers". On another note, I think this record display's Chris (keyboardist) at his very best with his keyboard and programming parts.

Gayngs: Relayted
Genre: Indie Soft Rock
As much as I bash the 1980's for all the awful trends and music it produced, I can never help but be attracted to contemporary music that is reminiscent of the 80's, such as M83's record "Saturdays = Youth", and Gayngs debut record titled "Relayted". A 23 person indie music super group consisting of people such as Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), P.O.S., Michael Lewis (Andrew Bird), Dessa (Doomtree), along with 19 others I'm not hipster enough to know of. To put this record simply: it is a true tour de force of what music can be. I can not say enough how much I dig all the different people singing on this album. I think that is one major factor that keeps the whole listening experience totally fresh song after song after song, not to mention the really slick transitions the songs make from track to track. While I would consider this not a necessary "fat" mix, I feel the mix of the record lends itself to make it feel like it has a lot of depth, and the crazy amount of layering of voices is a great addition to this. Another aspect I totally love about this record is the undeniable texture it has to it. To me, it sounds much more like this was record on tape, as opposed to digital- which (I think) is absolutely great. While this is a polished record, there is just this...aesthetic to it that continues through out the entire listen. I think this can be found the most from the totally 80's guitar and drum tones that they use, along with the keyboard sounds. "Relayted" is everything that is good from the 80's put into one album, and is honestly one of the most original records I have heard in a very long time.

Lydia: Assailants
Genre: Indie/Ambient/Rock
Every year I feel like I come to write a review of a record, and utterly fail in even trying to be unbiased towards the release...because the band can simply do no wrong by me. Last year it was with Brand New's Daisy, and this year it is Lydia's latest and last record Assailants. After Mindy White quit the band, I was pretty bummed, because I loved the contrast between her and Leighton's voice. However, apparently Leighton can sing super high, because Mindy is hardly missed on this record. Lyrically those album very much sounds like a swan song...a lot of lines alluding to the end of the band, which was shortly announced before the release of this album. So that sort of makes sense. Mat Malpass's production is spot on with the bands sound, I can't tell you how happy I was they chose to work with him again (he recorded Illuminate too). Lyrically I feel like this is a bit weaker than their prior works, maybe that's because of such a strong lyrical feel trying to make a point to the listen of "Hey this is our last record, thanks so much for listen to us" sort of feel. Other than that, the ambient guitars, and Leighton's indescribable voice tie this record together to make it yet again another memorable Lydia experience.

PS yes i know this is a lot music that i think is "the best of 2010" but i totally stand by all of it. there was no possible way i could've narrowed that down to ten records. sooo much amazing music came out this year--NOT TO MENTION, i have actually BOUGHT 13/14 of these records. so thanks to The Gap for a nice job to give me the funds to actually support my favorite artists :-D and to be honest, it'll be years digging into some of these albums and to soak in the entire art. because that's how i love music to be. soo much to take away from it all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

why i don't/didn't like my time here at BGSU

My friend Abby says that I use my humor as a coping mechanism. She's exactly right. A lot of time I use my humor to create a noise (laughter) that is louder than the roar in my heart (regrets).

I regret too much. I am in a living situation, where, for all intensive purposes I live alone with three other people that are basically strangers that I couldn't have less of a connection to. With living alone, comes no community once you get home. I am left with myself, and far too often an overwhelming sense of loneliness and regret.

One of the biggest regrets that I have had to wade through these past 4 years is my choice of college. In high school, when it came time to sign up and look for a school to go to, I could not of cared less. I figured all college would be the same, so I just picked BGSU because that's where my parents went. This is one of the biggest mistakes of my entire life.

I can not explain in words how much I regret not looking at other schools, and in general, not GOING to another school. The four years I have spent at BGSU have been some of the most stressful and miserable of my entire life, and I am sure that a lot of this has to do with the fact that I don't want to be here. Albeit, I hate it here. Just when I think I find something worth while or a "reason" I picked BGSU, that reason gets it's legs kicked out and again I am left with regret.

I remember my youth minister saying that I should pray and seek wisdom about what school I should go to...which I didn't do. And yet again, regret beyond words not doing.

I am in a major that I very much enjoy (Communications), but I find myself in more lecture classes where I have to take exams, and get my ass kicked by exams, as OPPOSED TO GIVING SPEECHES. Public speaking, being a HUGE HUGE HUUUGE part of my major--and what I am most talented at, hence me choosing this as my major. So I am constantly under stress to get good grades in these lecture classes--classes that consist of 3 speeches, no papers. Just multiple choice exams. There is not a day that goes by that I don't not worry about my grades in those stupid lecture classes, and wonder why in the hell my classes are not more focused on PUBLIC SPEAKING. Hell, even paper writing would be amazing.

Now, you may be reading this thinking that I'm just lazy, and that's why I suck at exams. But I'd say you're dumb--because paper and speech writing takes just as much, if not MORE preparation then taking an exam. So clearly, it has nothing to do with laziness as much as it does sheer lack of test taking "talent".

Every time something goes wrong here at BGSU, I am reminded that I was the idiot that decided to not look at any other schools. Schools that I would probably have been a much better fit at--with the school, and with the community found at the school.

So now I am wasting/have wasted +3 years of my life, being at a school I wish I never would've went to.

I suppose you could look at this all as self fulfilling prophecy, that I say I am having a terrible time and hate this place, so I end up doing both. But the thing about it is, is I DON'T WANT TO BE MISERABLE. Who the does!? I take any chance I get to be around people I love and people I enjoy, they are my sanctuary at this place, even if that group of people is a fairly inconsistent one. I thank God though that I have met some of the people I have in school--a lot of it seemingly by chance, which makes me realize that God must know that sometimes I would much rather be hit by a bus than go to this school.

This is the last year I will be at BGSU. Hell or high water, I am getting out of here with my degree and sanity in tact. From the start of the school year I have been feeling this pressure in and around my heart that is screaming with every once of my being to "GET OUT OF HERE", before you end up anymore hurt and worse-off than you already are. Yet it seems I can't even listen to my own advice. Instead of severing ties, I find myself trying to hold on and even make one that I want to last my whole life--but I know I have to let go of before I lose my mind and I find myself with a heart that is broken and jaded beyond repair.

Everything in me wants to leave Bowling Green State University. I don't know what I will do next, but I believe that most anything will be better than the past +3 years of my life here. Because I can never figure out why I find myself hurt so much lately, and then I remember that (more than likely) I wasn't even supposed to go here in the first place. It's like I'm a character in a movie that never had a part written for me, so I am constantly trying to fit in and find where I belong--only to fail time and time and time again.

I am thankful for the people that I have met here that have kept me together and sane when I thought I was about to lose it. Even people that I have met not at the school, but in these past four years through things I've been involved with. Namely, my friend Abby. I am almost certain that I would of not made it through this past year if I had not known her, my friend Brian, and Bevan and a few other good people that have been there for me to call and literally cry to and just pour my heart out to. I do believe that God has given me those friendships because He sees and hears my heart cry out to Him so often that I just want to get out of here.

It is the hardest thing ever for me to not imagine what my life would've looked like at another school. At a school where I was actually supposed to go and fit in at. Because I know that it was not and is not BGSU.

I just hope so much that God will eventually clear my vision enough so that when I look back on my time at BGSU I won't just see and live in my regrets, but that He will bring the few lasting friendships I have made here to the focus, and that I can just forget everything and everyone else.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"The Wedding Song" Abby Wood

riyl: Dido, Regina Spektor, Feist

Abby: I've always found myself incapable of writing a "love song." So as we all get older, being asked to play for weddings of friends, I wasn't sure what exactly that should look like. Of course there are the mopey ballads and "I Swear's" of the world, but none of that seemed right. So I tried to start thinking about what love actually is.

I guess the conclusion was that without a doubt, I believe love is the most often misused word in the English language.

We "love" pizza. We "love" our friends. We'd "love" to go on vacation. For all our mentioning of it, I doubt that most of us ever really think about the implications of what we're saying. Love is complete and entire self sacrifice. Love is forgiveness, mercy, and honesty. It's the laying down of our lives, the things that we want or think we deserve, in the light of the beloved. It's basically the one thing that we're all looking for and can't seem to find within ourselves.

Love changes everything.

"First we were loved, now we love."

Chad: When Abby played this song at our friend Brian's wedding, I knew it had to be recorded and heard. So, of course I contacted her and asked her if I could record Brian's wedding song so people could have it. She said yes, and so on a Sunday night we met up for a few hours to record this song. This was a first for me for several reasons. Namely, this is the first song I've released that I recorded with my new Apogee ONE interface, as well as my first song finished off of Logic Express 9. It ran as smooth as I was hoping--the interface worked seamlessly as did LE9. Another first for me was that I was acting in a role of producer and recorder for a song that was not my own. I quickly learned that this is a very tricky spot to be in, because you want to help someone's song along, but you also want to keep into perspective the fact that it IS their song, and whatever they want done with it you have to abide. Thankfully Abby and I were on the same page for where we wanted her song to go, so that made things worlds easier. This was also the first song I ever attempted to master. It really does make a WORLD of difference for a song, when you master it. Not to say that I did anywhere NEAR to a good, or even decent job. But I did think it greatly improved how the song sounds. I really hope that I can find myself in the role of producer/recorder again soon. It's super amazing to help someone put their art into listenable form.

Monday, October 11, 2010

when love doesn't stop

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. I've done a lot of things that I am not even close to being proud of, and I've had a lot of expectations for my life that haven't come true.

I had a friend ask me "How does it feel that you're about to graduate college and you haven't found your wife yet?"

I responded to her a few weeks later when I had the guts to say it "You know, I may not of found my wife. But I fell in love with you. I am in love with you. And I think that, that brings me so much closer than anything I could've ever thought"

So she is right. I haven't found a girl who wants to marry me, or even a girl who loves me.

But what I did find is someone who I am in love with. I have found someone who I would do anything for. I am so thankful to just know her, and I am so thankful that I find so much joy in just sitting next to her, and talking with her. And despite all the problems that come with being in love with someone who isn't even interested in being in a relationship, God keeps letting love flow to her from my heart.

I know that if He did not want me to love her anymore, all He really would have to do is untie His end for it. But He doesn't. I know that I will stop loving her when He stops giving me the love to love her with.

So for now, I am in love with a girl who wants us to just be really good friends, but is the same girl that when she sees me, still really likes me. That is the same girl that finds joy in spending time with me too.

I wish I knew the stories ending. Sometimes I wish that God would stop filling my hands with this agape love to give to a person who simply is not interested in that right now. And yes it hurts more than I have ever hurt before sometimes--to be in this situation.

All I can do is pray that God protects me, and that God protects my vision for whomever it is that I will end up marrying. All I can do is pray that God protects the girl I am in love with--that if she never ever feels the same way for me, that she knows now that there is a person out there who loved her more than she will ever be able to know. I pray that God softens her heart to the idea of love, and through that she will not settle for a person that loves her less than I do right now.

This ending of what was never really a relationship has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. I know now that what is worse than being in love with someone that just really likes you, is being in love with a person that still really likes you but doesn't want either of us to show how we feel anymore. It is so hard to keep Love inside my chest. All I want to do is just buy her flowers and give her sweet kisses and help her with her homework and just be there for her.

But all I can do is rely on God and my friends to help me through all this, and be in constant prayer for her and myself. All I can do is try and just be friends with a girl that I would give the world to- just to make sure she was safe for the rest of her life.

Monday, September 20, 2010


i am in love with a girl who i'm pretty sure would could not careless if i called her tomorrow and said something like "i don't ever want to see you again". i'm pretty sure she would respond to that with "i'm sorry you feel that way, i'll see you around", get off the phone, and not have any second thoughts.

my reality is that i don't think this girl will ever love me, because i am simply not good enough for her.

my reality is that i feel this giant fear growing inside me that i will always be alone. that love is not for me. that i will never meet a girl who i am in love with, and who thinks that i am good enough for her love.

my reality is i would feel overjoyed if i could just stop right here. if this girl could be my last first kiss. but i doubt that's going to happen. i don't know why i'm still in the situation i'm in. i don't know why she keeps letting me love her, while she likes me. i can't help but wonder sometimes if in the back of her mind she is constantly trying to figure out the day to tell me she doesn't want to be a part of this anymore, and breaks my heart.

i think there is irony in that the girl that treated me the best, hands down, so far in my life, was the girl i dated throughout high school. the girl who i was an awful boyfriend to. all i did was take and take and take but i had not the slightest clue what it was just give, and to have joy in giving. but she did.

now i am stuck wondering if all of this is because i never gave back to her when i was in highschool. now i am stuck wondering what it is about me that makes a someone being in love with me next to impossible.

in my 21 years of living, i have had one consistent thought: how amazing it will be to be in (mutual) love with a girl, ask her to marry me, start a family with her, grow old and happy together.

now i am stuck wondering if God is somehow punishing me or not letting me have that because He knows how much I've valued that my whole life. maybe if i just did not care, i would find my dream. but how do i stop caring about something i have cared about and thought about and valued for so long?

why can't the girl i am in love with feel it in her heart that i am good enough for her, and love me back?

i have learned through this relationship that it does not matter how good you are to someone, how much love you give to them, how much you care about will never change the fact that they think you're just not good enough for them.

one of my greatest fears is to die unloved, unmarried, without a handsome son or beautiful daughter. i am terrified that my greatest fear is slowly coming true day by day by day.

Friday, September 17, 2010

"And my only hope is for their daughters to be loved"

I was talking with my friend "Amy" today at work about all sorts of things in life. One conversation led to another which led to another and all the sudden we were talking about "daddy issues". Namely, girls with "daddy issues".

(For future reference, please know that when I say "daddy issues" it is not a sarcastic thing or disrespectful or anything like that. I simply do not know a better way to put it)

There are few things that have broken my heart more than hearing stories of men being terrible fathers. Some, to the point of calling them "a dad" would be doing a disservice to all the other good and present fathers out there. I have met way too many girls in my life, that still suffer from their parents divorce--or rather, an absent father.

My friend "Amy" said that from her experiences with her life (she also had an absent father/man), and meeting other girls that have been in situations like her own, she had come to the conclusion that having a really crappy dad can result in two main traits.

1. The girl becomes clingy. She just wants to be loved, is looking for something to fill the void that her father left--wether she acknowledges this or not. She may tend to give too many guys too many chances.

2. The girl becomes jaded. She does not trust men, and is terrified to put her whole heart into a relationship. She is very skeptical to let herself be satisfied with someone in a relationship.

This was at about 4pm that we had this conversation, it is now midnight and I have been thinking about this nonstop since then. And, to a certain degree, from the girls I have met in my life that have been affected by crap fathers...I think "Amy" is right. We are talking about girls with a mostly absent father here, not all girls that come from divorced homes or anything like that. We're talking about girls without fathers that play an active role in their life.

It breaks my heart more than words can describe to have personally seen some of the scars that have been left on girls's hearts who's father is not active in their life. It kills me that men can be so freaking selfish to leave their beautiful daughters out in the cold, and not give a seconds thought to what might happen to their mentality because of their leaving and their absence.

But I believe that there is healing that can occur, by God, if you let it.

I do not mean to speak out of turn here, but I can imagine that having a father that is not in your life, that left your mother and you and your family, that barely ever calls you, that is basically nonexistent...would be one of the most devastating things that could ever happen to a person. In this case, a girl. Personalities change, grudges are built, wounds are open, nothing is good because nothing ever changes. Nothing gets better in this state of just leaving it all alone and trying to forget it exists.

I believe that, that is where God could intervene if a person were to let Him. With years, I'm sure these once surface wounds of the heart erode into chasms of the soul. Chasms that might make a girl quick to fill the void of her heart with temporary relationships, or chasms that might render a girl so cynical and doubtful of love that she is never satisfied to be with someone. I believe that God can heal these terrible things that those men did to their beautiful daughters.

I believe that letting God's love, grace, and mercy drown the wounds that their fathers left them, they can be made well again. They can learn to fill their void with grace, and peace, instead of relationships. They can learn to forgive, and have grace on their fathers, and begin to be able to simply give love a give it a chance to put your whole heart into something, and not too be scared to be satisfied with it.

Wounds like this are not something that can just sit unmended and you just wait for it to heal. A gunshot wound to the heart does not just stop bleeding, or close up by itself. It will bleed until there is no blood left.

Find grace. Find peace. Find forgiveness.

Because this is not the way it was supposed to be.

Friday, September 10, 2010

"or the first time I saw a cactus in Arizona--it was a religious experience"- Bradley Hathaway

Last night was one of the most insane nights of my life.

My (now former) band The Kaleidoscope, Brighter got to play at an outdoor show, with a really, REALLY nice dude named Shawn McDonald. The forecast said it was supposed to clear up, as it was raining cats and dogs earlier in the day when we were exploring the town. Needless to say, it did not. And someone, in their infinite wisdom decided we were going to trust the weather people who said it was supposed to clear up by the time the show started. It sort of did...but it was still doing some pretty heavy misting, and the ground was soaked. My TOMS were soaked. My feet were freezing.

As would be the history of our band, wires got crossed, and the sound guy (who seemed like he was having a really, really super awful day) did not realize that we weren't the "typical" rock band and that we needed a lot more than what he thought we did. That was sort of stressful, to have the sound guy...who is basically in charge of you sounding good to the crowd, not really liking you. I digress however.

My mind was filled with a lot of negative thought before we got on stage. Just super burdened, super weighed down. I knew that this isn't good for me to feel like this when I play on stage. Not that I play poorly, but just that I am entirely unable to have that joyful release that I usually do when I played with TKB.

I could sort of see the crowd from behind the stage, as we were waiting to go up, while the local radio station was doing what they do. It seemed like an alright size of people. Then I heard them announce our name and the next thing I knew I was walking up the super slippery wood stairs to the stage. I grabbed my guitar, did a quick tune, and jumped into our first song. About a minute into the first song I finally took a minute to pay attention to the crowd. I was aghast. This is going to sound so, so silly, but I felt like I was playing Warped Tour. There were far too many people out there for me to count. I would hear afterwards that it was easily over 300 people, and quite possibly over 400. This was insane to me.

I knew I had to put on a good show for them, so I attempted to channel the frustration going on in my head through my guitar/my playing. I hated that. I hated that while on stage I could not actually enjoy playing in front of soo many people. I hated that my mind was so bogged down with things that weren't even about the show, and that I was so distracted from it all. It was the worst feeling in the world. I turned to Brian, our drummer, and mouthed several times what kept popping into my head: "I need a religious experience". Any other time I would've told you that playing in front of so many people could've and would've, but tonight it was just noise to me.

I got off stage and was complimented for my energy and how "You were having so much fun!", "You looked so happy", etcetc. That made me feel even worse. That was easily the most dissengenuine performance of my entire life, and people thought I was having all this fun and I was so happy. When really I was channeling super, SUPER negative energy and felt absolutely terrible.

The rest of the night was pretty downhill from there for me. I took off to walk around campus, to not let my negative energy rub off on anyone else. Then I found this little circle, concrete a foot or so off the ground, with a place to sit that circled it. I took a seat on the cold and completely drenched concrete and just stared into the sky. I thought to God, "Give me a religious experience. I feel like hell right now. Give me a religious experience. If you know me, than show me. GIVE ME A RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE."

So I sat. I sat in the rain and then mist and then rain for over an hour on that concrete circle. I had no idea what to except. I doubted anything was going to happen. I was born a doubter I think. After an hour had past, I was like "Screw this. Nothing is going to happen, I'm freezing my butt off. I want to go and eat and go home and try and sleep. I want to leave here." I didn't leave though. I just kept sitting. I had no reason to. I knew that nothing was going to happen. I KNEW nothing could happen.

Next thing I know I here someone say "Hi! Do you want an umbrella?" I look up and these two girls were standing outside the circle looking at me.

"No thanks," I said "I'm waiting for a religious experience."

"Oh, we're sorry! We didn't mean to bother you. You thought you might've been praying, but you looked wet so we wanted to see if you needed an umbrella."

"It's cool, I'm fine! And it's no problem at all, who knows, you guys might be part of the religious experience that I'm waiting for."

"What's your name?" one of the girls asked.

I got off my circle and went to where the were, sitting indian style on the concrete still a little elevated from where they were standing outside of the other circle that surrounded the circle I was sitting. We started talking, they started talking to me about "love languages", a concept which I first hear of from my friend Eric. I think it might be a Bible College thing. We kept talking, and they started to address everything that was weighing me down. They didn't know me, they did not have a damn clue what was on my heart, what was going on in my life. Nothing. But they kept bringing up these things that I was thinking. It was insane. Insane. Then we both went our separate ways. Them not having a clue what just happened, me still trying to wrap my head around it.

I thought I just had a religious experience. I thought about this hours and hours and hours. I got very little sleep because of the conversation that took part, and what they said about what was on my heart (mind you, they had no idea what was on my heart...they honestly just kept talking, and I just kept listening). Then I realized I was missing the big picture. The conversation was not the most important part of what happened. The conversation was just an excuse for the event to occur.

What happened was a religious experience. What happened was I told God that I needed a religious experience. And He did. I believe that He used those two girls to talk about what was on mind and heart, to show that He knew what I was thinking and how I felt...that He is not deaf. He let me know that despite all my doubting, He is real, and He showed me.

I could've already gone back to the green room, I could've stayed with the band, I could've stopped elsewhere on campus, I could've just not played the show, these two girls could've not come out of wherever they did for whatever reason they did, these two girls could've talked about the movie they saw last week and how sweet it was, the show could've been moved inside to avoid the rain in which case I would've been elsewhere entirely.
The point is, a million different things could've happened to stop this experience from happening. But they didn't. I believe that God used those two girls, that conversation which was somehow about exactly what was weighing me down, to show me that He loves me and that He is listening.

Everything that was used was like a vessel. The two girls, what was weighing on my heart, the conversation about what was on my heart that they didn't even know about, the weather, "fate", were all vessels to give me what I asked for: a religious experience.

God knew that I was at my wits end. He knew how much I was doubting everything, He knew that I would at times wonder if He even existed. Then God answered that question.

That's not to say that my whole life has been changed, that I now believe everything that all my friends who abandoned me because of my doubts believe, that I have all the answers to all my questions, that me myself have changed...

All I know is that one of my questions was answered before I slipped too far into the dark. All I know is that I asked and was given. I knocked and the door was opened for me. I gave up and was helped. For the first time in my life, I surrendered what I knew and what I thought I knew, all my doubt and cynicism and waited for an answer, and was given one.

And that is all I know.