Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Site

I will not be using this blog anymore.

You can find me at


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's Been A While...

In my philosophy of relgion class, we are talking about God’s relation to time and our subsequent relation to free will, i.e. If God is everlasting, omniscient and has foreknowledge, that would mean that he knows when we are going to do something, and He can’t be wrong, how are we still free humans?

When I was a kid, I’d go out to our big backyard and use my imagination because I didn’t have any video games to play inside. I used to think about how God knows everything I do before I do it, and I’d try to do something he wouldn’t expect. I’d take take off sprinting or jump up and kick my leg wildly in the air. I’d yell out nonsensical phrases at random… “Hammashesha!” Nonsense. Absurdity. I was probably 10.

I’ve always been like that. Pushing the limits, testing the edges. I’ve always wanted to know things for myself. It’s not that I don’t listen to the wisdom of others who have gone before me; I do listen, but then I go and learn it for myself.

I’ve made A LOT of mistakes along the way. I’ve hurt a lot of people; I’ve hurt myself. I’ve faltered in my relationships with both of my F/fathers. And I want to apologize to everyone against whom I have sinned.

I’m just writing today to say that I feel like, by God’s grace, I’ve got my feet back on the ground. I had a little problem with drinking, and I kinda crawled into a cave, or let myself fall into a pit. But, again, with God’s strength, I’m making my way out and the Light looks beautiful. It hasn’t always been easy, but I don’t think that the best things in life are meant to be.

Monday, September 7, 2009

News from James&TheChasers

chris quit the band. read our blog here -->

hard to be your man is about to be our first 1000 plays song.

which is funny, because we are getting new mixes of the first three songs on our player very soon.

we're taking a little break from playing shows to reevaluate some things. i can promise you that i'm not gonna stop writing songs anytime soon.

happy labor day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Broken Door Closer

I sat in the coffee shop, where there was hot drinks and AC, which is a good combination, and I was not stranded but still felt unable to leave. Woman in bright blue shirt to my left, door repairman dead ahead, 12 O’clock, with a Tiger Woods hat and a Mario mustache, Levi jeans, 32 for length and waist. There was a bit of confusion when he first came in, see the too-cheerful girl at the cash register had her inner universe thrown off by his let’s-get-down-to-business sort of attitude; she did not know why he was here.

“I am here to fix a broken door closer,” he had said.

“To fix a broken door?” she had replied with a frightful, forced smile. She was so confused, why could this man be here, why isn’t he just ordering a drink, yes, yes, let’s just get you something to drink sweetheart, something to cool you down and we’ll get all this sorted out… she was quite confused, and our pal Mario was getting impatient.

“NO, I am here to fix a broken door CLOSER,” he responded, obviously annoyed, not even attempting to mask his condescending tone.

Words were exchanged, clouds were cleared, and the two were amicable enough after all… and Mario just made a loud, clanking noise.

“Sorry,” he said in my general direction, without looking up. I smiled, but without showing my coffee and cigarette-stained teeth.

Elderly couple at 11 O’clock, just now leaving must be in their 80s, out for their afternoon treat, a highlight in their day, a break between Oprah and Dr. Phil. The gentleman with his silver-grey hair combed over… and the door repairman is asked, “You doin’ alright today?”

“Alright’s the word,” he says sagaciously, “now if it would just cool down out there…” as he wipes the sweat from his freckled forehead. He has relaxed, loosened up, kinda made a fool of myself over there with all the clanging around, he’s thinking to himself.

And the elderly gentleman is heading towards the door in his peacock yellow button down short sleeved shirt, one of his favorites, and his pleated pants and light brown leather lace up dress shoes. He and his bride of a thousand years do not talk to each other much, she just reads the paper, catching up on local happenings, likes to stay involved, she’s always been that way he thinks, but he does not think it in an annoyed OR sentimental way, just a thought in his head, nothing more, lots of those lately, and he sips his coffee with the lid off and the steam shooting out like from the pipes of a mini-factory, right there in the palm of his hand.

And I wonder how they met and if they still love each other and if they used to fight all the time or if they were ever married to other people, and if so, where those people are now. Did they die? Was it just a divorce? And where are the kids, do they come to visit, to they come to reciprocate the love and care they received?

And at 10 O’clock, just making my way around the place, my eyes meet two women, and the one facing me has this aura about her, why yes, that silver Mercedes convertible in the parking lot is mine, why do you ask?... and she seems to be thinking that she is doing the other old woman a favor by getting coffee with her, seems sharper and more with it, laughs often, young at heart, bright and bold, has probably bossed her husband around in the past. She has the brightest blue eyes and short, white hair. But the other women, the one with her back to me, well she’s probably the same age, late 60s to early 70s, but she seems so much more aged. Has she seen more, been through more? Did her husband fight in the Vietnam War, perhaps was murdered, or came back, but shell-shocked when he did, has flashbacks almost nightly, been going on nearly 20 years now? What has this other women experienced that Mercedes woman hasn’t, with her plush suburban castle. What could she explain to me or give me advice about, what could I learn from her or she from me?

And then the woman in the blue to my left, 9 O’clock, I’m just rockin’ around the clock and then my prying eyes invade her, ripping her apart, just cause why not? She seems awfully uneasy, seems like she had told herself,

“Linda. You just need to gather your worries and go sort them out over a cup of coffee. You need this, Linda. You do.”

But now she’s here, and not sure what to expect, been sitting on the edge of her seat, looking around nervously, poignantly, in the breaks between filling out some sort of paperwork – food stamps, social security, health care? – she looks up the way I would imagine a single mother might, or just like some person who’s thinking terrible hard about something… the way I did before I wrote that last sentence – and she seems better than she did when she got here and I am happy for her.

And now she’s leaving and I think that means that I can too, now that I’ve lived through her and in her and helped her along, to solve the spider web of doubts in her head.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Making Connections

Why is it that every time I meet someone new, the first thing that person and I always try to do is find a connection?

It usually starts with the person I’m meeting (let’s call him Phil) asking me where I’m from.

“Little Rock”, I say.

Phil, after thinking hard for several seconds, looking around the room, stalling, stalling, come on, I know that I know someone from there he thinks, and then finally says that, okay, okay fine, he doesn’t know anyone from there. Oh, but don't worry, there is no cause for alarm. Phil has his next question ready. He - as we all have, voluntarily or not - has done this plenty of times before.

“So, what are you doing in Stillwater?” he asks, genially. This is still calm, relaxed. We are just shooting the breeze, just chewing the fat. Just a plain old Howdy partner, what’s yer name type of a deal. I’ve a feeling that Phil’s initial friendliness will lead to frustration, nay, not mere frustration; this could damn near drive the poor boy insane.

I tell him that I’m here to study at Oklahoma State University for a semester and that I have a couple of cousins who go to school here. His face lights up.

“Oh, really?” Phil responds, smiling. He is excited about the prospect of knowing my cousins, and subsequently, ending this absurd quest for a connection. Oh, but the road is long Phil, the road is so long. But the road is life. Let us press on, brother o’ mine.

“Yeah,” I shrug, still not optimistic. “Jeff Alaback? Tricia Alaback?” I feebly offer. With campus enrollment over 20,000, the chances are not looking good for our man Phil.

Not surprisingly, we’ve struck out again. I can tell just from looking at him. I rack my brain – as he pretends to rack his – for other possibilities. Aha! I think this might just do the trick.

“You know, Phil, I do know some people from Norman and Tulsa as well…” I add, almost condescendingly at this point, feeling like I’m read a nursery book to a three-year-old… and then little boy Jimmy said that he knew some people from Norman town... where the big boys play. Wow!

Firecrackers are exploding where Phil’s eyes used to be. They are hungry, ravenous, eager for something to satiate this sad seeking of a common ground.

“Who do you know for Norman?” Phil is not asking, Phil is commanding, much like that drill instructor from Full Metal Jacket, acting as if this is his final chance at a happy and successful life. He’s just doing his fraternal duty. Or so I thought. But slowly, oh so slowly, I see Phil’s face start to contort something awful. And that’s when I realize…

This is the crux of his creation. The magnum opus. We’re at Wimbledon, he, Roger Federer, I, Andy Roddick, and this is his chance to put me away. This has somehow morphed into a competition. I can feel it. I no longer want to make a connection with Phil. I want him to leave feeling empty, sad. I want this to torture him for the rest of his life, give him nightmares, make him wet the bed, even after he is married. I want him to wear diapers. I want this to be his Vietnam and I want flashbacks to happen every day until finally he can no longer take it and he feels compelled to take his own life, hoping that we can connect in heaven, with a common knowledge of its’ master, Jesus Christ.

I list off a couple of names, slowly, strategically, trying to prolong his suffering. Each name is a return in our tennis match, wearing him down, piece by piece, until finally he will crack, he will break and then underdog will walk away with a Grand Slam Title. He’s losing the color in his face. He knows it is over. And then, as I say the last name on my list - delivering what I believe will be a Muhammed-Ali knockout punch - Phil grits his teeth and produces a wry and knowing smile. Oh shit. I got cocky. I threw one last name in for good measure, hit the ball once more to his side of the court, and he has delivered, oh has he ever delivered, and I’ve got nothing, nothing at all. It’s a match. Federer has done it again. He is the champ.

Come to think of it, I suppose I don’t really mind. Phil, sir, our connection has been made. I will most likely never see you again. Have a wonderful life.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Summer has started.  Lots of changes so far; lots of things staying the same.  Jesus' love for me would be the one of the things that has stayed the same.   Lord knows I don't deserve it.

I'm waiting tables here:

I start my internship at KARN tomorrow:

I'm playing a festival next weekend and a show at Sticky Fingerz on the 21st.  Check out my band here:  

The band and I are hoping to record in the near future.  We're one song away from finishing our "Long Time Comin'" EP.  

I'm reading Breakfast of Champions, and I just finished Lullaby.  Vonnegut and Palahniuk, respectively.  Both are brilliant.  

This rainy Mother's Day afternoon calls for coffee and reading.  Thank you, grandma, grams, and mom, for all the ways you have been a blessing in my life.  


Friday, April 10, 2009

Summer Plans

I will be interning with KARN this summer!  


See ya!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"John, have you called Jason Blankenship yet?"

Today, my family and I went to Plymouth Plantation, where we met the master of the Mayflower and Governor William Bradford.  My, oh my.

On Monday, we went to the MOMA.  This shot looks down at a display by Martin Kippenberger, the current featured artist at the museum.

This photo is bad quality, but I wanted to show you what was probably my favorite work of art at the MOMA.  It's a Jackson Pollock called One: Number 31, 1950.  Runners-up include I am the Village by Chagall and Christina's World by the recently deceased Andrew Wyeth. 

Here's a shot from the Brooklyn Bridge, which we walked across on Sunday.  I love the Brooklyn Bridge.  I wrote a song about it yesterday.  Maybe I'll post it here eventually.

This is the view as we pulled away from the Battery Park area to go see the Statue of Liberty.

John and Dave hammin' it up on the boat ride over.  Yes, we were on a boat.

And here they are again, pointing to our nation's emblem of [endangered] liberty!

It's been a good couple of days.  We're doing a tour of downtown Boston tomorrow, and then heading home.  I'm excited to see Katy and my friends, and the band is taking pictures on Friday.  We've got our first show Saturday.  Should be a blast.  

Sorry it's been so long since I've updated!  Hope everyone is well!

P.S.  I forgot to show off my new glasses.  Whaddup Urban Outfitters.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Italian Cheese Bread is Ambrosia

Today has been good.  Let me tell you why.

I woke up at 7:15 and said, "Hmm... I don't think I'll go to class today."  I woke up at 8:15, called Katy to make sure that she was awake and she told me that she was proud of me for skipping class.  This is only my second time to do so this entire semester.  

I fell back asleep and woke up around 10:30.  I emailed my teachers to make sure that I have my bases covered and then I walked over to Dawson's room.  We looked at each other and just started laughing.  There's snow on the ground.  It's March 12th.  It was 80 degrees outside just the other day.  Hello, Arkansas.

Josh got up and we all came into my room to have a little pow-wow.  Eventually, we decided that pizza was a good idea, so I called Little Caesars and headed out the door.  Four pieces of Italian Cheese Bread and three pieces of pepperoni pizza later, we played some blitz.  I went 2-0, beating Dawson in double overtime.  Whaddup.

And now, I'm thinking about things that I need to do today, like go to work and do some school assignments.  No class tomorrow, of course, and Katy will be coming to see me!  Hooray.  I miss that girl.

On Saturday we're going to Memphis for Lacey's birthday.  We'll hit up the zoo, probably grab some BBQ and then head home.  Should be fun.

Productivity, here I come!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A few brief thoughts from this weekend:

1.  I serve an awesome and powerful God - He loves me more than I deserve to be loved and He forgives me when I don't deserve forgiveness.  
2.  I'm blessed with a beautiful and wonderful family - John and David were amazing in the play, Amy and Jack have given me a splendid little niece, Katie and Elliott have such a beautiful relationship, and my Mom and Dad care for and love me more than I can imagine.

3.  I'm also blessed with the best friends and girlfriend that a guy could ask for - they're loyal, honest, and encouraging.  I love them so much.  

4.  The body of Christ at Redeemer and Vintage Nxt are incredible and uplifting - the love of Christ is expressed in both of these communities of believers.  They mean the world to me.

It's late, and I should go to bed, but I just wanted to take and second and reflect on God's goodness.  I'd encourage you to do the same.  Be still, and know that He is God.

I hope you all have a wonderful Monday. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning! Oh, What a Beautiful Day!

I woke up this morning, had some nice conversation with my roomies (Josh is now a security guard!), and headed out the door in these:

I was making my way to McDonalds, where I retrieved this (I love the text on this bag... YOU WANT SAUSAGE?!):

I also went to Walgreens because I wanted some OJ (did anyone know that Walgreens has its own brand of OJ?  Pretty good, and only three bucks!):

I brought it all home and sat down at the table to eat, while reading this:

And now I'm listening to music again (The Explorers Club - check it out at  I'm chewing on an email from a close friend while spending some time talking to my best friend. What a great start to the day.

Later on, I'll shower and go to work for a bit.  Then I get to see this:
God is good.  Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Have Overcome the World

John 16:33 - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world."

The last part of that verse hit me hard as I read through it tonight.  Jesus truly overcame the world.  He overcame the temptation of materialism when He and Satan duked it out in the desert.  He overcame sin and lived a perfect life.  He died for our sins and rose again, conquering death and offering us hope of eternity with Him in Heaven.

I think about that - what Jesus did for me - and then I think about me.  I know that Jesus isn't looking for empty righteousness from me.  I know that He wants a relationship; He wants my heart.  I am ashamed to think of how much of my heart I give to things other than Jesus.  Even good things can become idols when they mean more to me than Jesus.  My relationships can become idols.  My possessions can become idols.  The talents God has blessed me with can become idols too.

While I think that the verse that talks about "storing up your treasures in Heaven" is overused and sometimes cliche, it's got so much truth to it.  Jesus didn't mean that we should stop trying to get joy from earthly things!  Indeed, I believe that Jesus wants us to enjoy life as much as possible.  However, we've got to keep in mind that everything in this life is temporal.  High schools, colleges and careers are all temporal.  Again, that doesn't mean that you should stop trying to do well in your endeavors.  What it does mean is that you shouldn't sweat the small stuff.  Jesus tells us to be anxious for nothing.  He takes care of the birds, so He'll definitely take care of us (Luke 12:22-34.)  

So, whether you lost your favorite shirt or failed your latest test, be at peace.  The things of this world will all perish some day.  This is not our home.  Heaven is our final destination.  

Live madly.  Love deeply.  Pursue Christ above all else.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Inaugural Address

Hello, fellow blogspotters!  My wonderful girlfriend made this site for me tonight, and I decided I should go ahead and get in on the action.

Life kind of feels like a scene out Kafka's "The Trial" right now.  I'm stuck in an institution that no one understands and where nothing of consequence happens.  I haven't missed a single class this semester, yet I don't feel as if I've learned much at all.  Good grades are coming easy, but I don't feel fulfilled when I get them.  I rarely read any of the five textbooks that I purchased for 200 or so dollars.  Work is slow - I put in 3 hours last week.  I'm tired of tagging promos, but thankful for the resume boost, and for the extra income on the side.  

All of that being said, I am in no way depressed.  I get frustrated and anxious some times, but I mostly happy these days.  God is moving in incredible ways in my life, my girlfriend's life and in the lives of my friends.  My pastor gave an incredible talk on Heaven two days ago and I, of course, had a paradoxical response.  I cried that night at church and the impetus for my tears was two-fold.  Firstly, I wept for the broken condition of our world - for the sinful nature of man and for hopeless souls across the planet.  I cried for unsaved friends and for violence, oppression, genocide, starvation and apathy.  I also wept because of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and in the saving power of his death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.  I don't deserve salvation and I can't do anything to earn it.  God's grace to a ragamuffin like me is inexplicable, scandalous and beautiful.  I cried because I long for, desire and crave Heaven, where everything will be made right!  I can't wait.  

In other news, I've been really excited about what's been going on musically in my life.  My band and I ( recorded in Austin, Arkansas, this past weekend and it was a blast.  I think God is making it clear to me that I should try and graduate in December and then move to Portland with the band.  I wanna try and make a living off of music for a few years.  If we can't do it, I'll have a degree to fall back on.  This I know for sure: I don't want to go to Grad/Law School - I want to try my hand at writing songs.

Here's a beautiful scripture to wrap up my post.  I think it fits nicely with what I said earlier about Heaven.  "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." -1st Peter 3:15-16

Love to all!