Tuesday, December 28, 2010

snow summit


First time up two years
I might have a couple bruised ribs
A fun time for all.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

merry christmas!

In Newport Beach, the rich people put on a Christmas parade for each other. On the water. With their yachts as floats. And they have Ferraris. More than one. Because you need to own one before they let you buy one new. What a life.

Full set on Flickr.

Picture 021

Picture 060

Picture 065

Picture 139

Picture 149

Picture 154

Picture 196

Picture 213

Picture 215

Monday, December 13, 2010

what could have been

This weekend I went on a bike ride and stumbled upon a building that looked familiar.

I was last here three and a half years ago for an interview, about the same time I interviewed for my current job. They both called me with offers in the same hour if you believe that. I turned down this company and have been working with the other ever since.

I rode around the neighborhood a bit and couldn't help but wonder what life would be if I chose differently. Different coworkers, different commute, different restaurants for lunch. Could it have affected my bigger life decisions? It could have, but it is pointless and impossible to speculate. Life is what it is, and if there is a bigger plan for it all, we are all caught in it for better or for worse. Still, it is fun to wonder what could have been...

Friday, December 10, 2010

hardest days

This guy was playing in a bar on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, 8 or so years ago. I bought one of his CDs. Good stuff.

The hardest days are the ones that I must spend away
And leave you in your ocean home
The hardest times are the ones that I can't ease my mind
To know it's the miles that are tearing us apart
Not the lack of love left in our hearts
Oh, hardest days

The hardest nights are the ones I try with all my might
To close my eyes and fade away
And wake up to the hardest days
The hardest words are the ones that I have never heard
Of why it is you went away
These are words you did not say
Oh, hardest days

The hardest nights are the ones I try with all my might
To close my eyes and fade away
And wake up to the hardest days
Oh, hardest days

Paul Hayward - "Hardest Days"

Thursday, December 9, 2010

download away

All tracks uploaded! Listen right here or get MP3 with the down arrow at the right of each track.

Or go to the source.

01 - Concrete River by soldiersandcivilians

02 - The Long Way Home by soldiersandcivilians

03 - The Good Fight by soldiersandcivilians

04 - New York to LA by soldiersandcivilians

05 - There is Time by soldiersandcivilians

06 - Sail the Sea by soldiersandcivilians

Special thanks to the friends who contributed to this project. You guys are awesome!

Leo - Drums
Chi - Vocals on "There is Time"
Daniel - Electric Guitar on "There is Time"
Camille - Design and Artwork

Friday, December 3, 2010

it begins

Started to give out CDs. Dropped a few off a couple nights ago and just stopped by the Post Office this morning.


If you want one, please get me your mailing address or let me know when you're free if you're local. Will post tracks for streaming and download in a couple weeks.

Stay tuned....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

it's done

It's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done it's done.

It's done. The hard part anyway.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

to hug a porcupine

Please read if you have some time:

Absolutely heartbreaking article. Tragic and not for the faint of heart, but gripping and real. Fairly disturbing, so don't read if you are not willing to be shaken. It is difficult to comprehend the ugliness that people are capable of and the price others pay for it. We live in a broken world and no one is innocent. Sometimes there are no answers. Can we live with that and not lose hope?

I would love to hear some of your reactions. I imagine that some will be mighty confused.

[image via]

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

studio setup

I feel like I've been wasting my Flickr account, so I took a few pics around the apartment of my recording setup. It's also nice to get something out, because it feels like I've been working on these six tracks forever. It's almost ready, I'm just filling in some last cracks. Whenever I manage to fill a big crack, I always find a few smaller cracks that need filling. I guess that's how it goes.

My friend had these awesome monitors in storage while his garage studio is under construction. He let me borrow them. Much better than computer speakers let me tell you. Decent set of cans hanging on the left as well.

mixer and effects
16 channel Mackie mixer I got off craigslist a while a go. A bit overkill for me, but oh well, it was cheap. Guitar effects hanging out in the rear.

Microphones used. Two large diaphragm condensers and the good ol' SM57. My company makes the one in the middle :)

main recording guitars
These two got the most use on this project. Both cheapies and both bought online.

drum set full
The drumset. Fearing noise complaints, I replaced the drum heads with mesh heads and pieced together a few things so the drums are electronic and silent. Cymbals are still loud though. But low frequencies travel through walls more readily. Right?

snare drum with trigger
Closeup of the triggered snare. The black drum head is a screen door like material. That red piece senses the vibration of the stick hitting the drum and sends a signal to a controller you can barely see at the top of the picture, mounted to the bass drum. The controller has drum sounds programmed into it and you can plug it into a speaker or mixer or headphones.

Friday, November 5, 2010

oh gosh decisions

So after much wrestling, I ended up deciding not to get that VW tomorrow in Phoenix. Sooo stressful. I even got a cashier's check for the amount we agreed on already, just to tell him I'm going to hold off indefinitely. Feel kinda bad about bailing on the guy, but reading about the problems with that particular engine design freaked me out. Especially because it would be the most expensive thing I have ever bought. For now I am going to just drive my dad's '98 Avalon, and he might just get a newer car for himself. Gosh I don't know why spending money stresses me out so much.

On a different note, my friend let me borrow his freaking awesome studio monitors. They are like bigger than my monitor and take up half my desk. Pretty awesome.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

pass no pass

Been calling, emailing, and test driving. Here's a couple interesting ones that I drove but ended up being to rough for a daily driver.

1971 Mercedes 280SE
Gorgeous classy car. Stately is a good word for it. Great body, almost no rust, but too many broken interior bits, no maintenance history, no paperwork. Alleged mechanic's car. Drove a lot better than I was expecting it to. Didn't really trust the seller though. Was a lot dirtier than in the picture. Having been burned by old cars with unknown histories, I know that a good deal can quickly turn into a huge headache. Can't afford that right now.

1983 Delorean DMC-12
Deloreans are epic. What an attention getter. I wasn't expecting this one to be practical as an only car, but I had to check it out. Who knows? Sitting in it feels like sitting in a space ship. They were after all designed to compete with the Ferrari's and Porsche's of its day. Poor visibility, heavy clutch, very little trunk space. I could live with that, except this one hasn't been registered since 1994 and would probably need a few thousand dollars' work put into it. There was literally a puddle in the passenger foot well. Surprisingly, it started right up and seemed to run really well. If I only had a garage to work on it in, it would be an awesome second car. Oh well.

2004 Volkswagen Golf TDI
I actually just settled on a price for this VW Golf TDI in Phoenix. Did my homework on it and everything seems to check out. Gonna drive out there on Saturday, and hopefully it looks as good in person. Never bought a car sight unseen before but the seller seems trustworthy. Look out for another wanderings post early next week...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

eye strain

Between work, looking through car listings, looking through job listings and editing music, my eyes have been pretty tired this last week. Half seriously applying to jobs overseas and on the other side of the Mississippi. Oh! You know what's weird? You know how on craigslist, they list 100 ads at a time in a given category? Well for the cars section, by the time you finish browsing one set and hit the "See next 100," you see half the set from before on the next page. That's how many ads are posted every few minutes. I guess there's a lot of cars in LA.

Monday, October 25, 2010

progress is exciting

Woo! Making progress. Halfway done with the last track. The light at the end of the tunnel is poking through.

Got first draft of the artwork and it is looking mighty fine. Also getting some mixing help this week from that friend I mentioned. Hope you guys enjoy this stuff when it's finished. Exciting stuff friends...

Friday, October 22, 2010

car is dead

It finally kicked the bucket.

I have been dealing with cooling issues for quite a while, without finding a real solution to the issue. BMWs are notorious for their weak cooling systems. I forgot to replace the radiator cap after adding coolant yesterday and by the time I figured it out, a whole bunch of air had been sucked into the radiator. I didn't realize this until I left work to meet a friend for dinner when the temperature gauge nosed into the danger zone.

Pulling into a Taco Bell parking lot off of a busy section of Sepulveda in Manhattan Beach, I pulled the hood off and leaned it against the chain link fence. In order to purge the air out of the radiator, you have to apply pressure to the system and force it all out of a bleed valve. The normal way to do this is by running the engine after letting it cool. The fast way is to pressurize the radiator manually. With your mouth. I was definitely not in the mood for the normal way. It must have been an odd sight to see an Asian man bent over the front of a BMW with the hood off, blowing into the radiator. It worked though.

Made it to dinner late but happy the car was running well. Headed off to small group after that, but noticed white smoke billowing from the tailpipe. Crap. The heat probably killed the headgasket. That's a pretty major repair for a car worth less than the tires it's riding on. Oh well, at least it was running.

Later that night, around 11, I tried to leave but it wasn't happening. No crank, no jumpstart, no nothing. Engine seemed like it was seized. Crap crap. Got a ride home and biked to work in the morning. Gave in and asked my mom for a ride after work to see if a push start would work. That's where you get a stalled car with a manual transmission moving and pop the clutch to start it, when the starter or battery is dead. No luck. Give up. One last try with the key and....a sputter! Okayyy, try jumping it again. LIFE! And more smoke. Lots of it. But life nonetheless.

Limped it to my parents house. 20 miles. Through Friday afternoon traffic. In LA. Every time we slowed down, the temp needle would shoot toward the red. Plus my mom, following behind, doesn't look before she changes lanes. Not the most carefree afternoon. Made it after an hour on pins and needles. Whew. Pretty sure that car is never gonna move under its own power again. Borrowing my dad's car for now. What should I get? This is a stressful decision for me. So many choices...

A- Same car (swap nice parts)
B- Older, cooler BMW
C- Pickup truck (utility?)
D- Motorcycle (coooool, but danger)
E- Volkswagen TDI (50 mpg woot!)
F- Classic American something or other
G- Bike it all day every day
H- Porsche 914
I- Ratty old Beetle
J- Don't say Honda Accord

(I realize you don't care about geeky car stuff. Even though it might get you out of a tough situation some day. Or save your life. And lots of money. You'll just keep a friend around who knows that stuff. And call him when you have car problems. He's okay with that.)

(I also realize that I spend more energy than I would like to on this stuff. Every time I swear it off, it comes creeping back eventually. I can't help it. It's just cool stuff. Gotta get to work somehow. Might as well do it with some style.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

forest home

Pretty awesome setting for a retreat. Dare I say nicer than Pine Valley?

Picture 028

Picture 121

Picture 173

Full set on Flickr

Saturday, October 9, 2010

santa monica place

If you've been in West LA in the last few years, you've probably been to 3rd Street in Santa Monica and seen the ugly construction adjacent to it. There were redoing the old mall there, and apparently it just reopened. They're calling it Santa Monica Place. It's...beautiful. Tons of metal and glass. All open construction with top tier stores. Which means no stores that I would actually shop at. But I've always found malls to be good places to study or read or just people watch. Check it out if you're ever in the area.

Friday, October 8, 2010

between 7:30 and 4:00...

...I am usually quite bored. That is all.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Making a lot of progress on the new music lately. Did a couple recording sessions with a drummer friend (real drums!) and in the middle of editing those tracks. Was able to partially convert my acoustic drums into an electronic drums to make the recording simpler (and quieter for the neighbors). Maybe will post something on that later.

Got an artist friend to do some album artwork. Once I'm satisfied with the arrangements and timings, gonna take it to a friend for some final mixing. It will be nice to get a fresh set of ears, mine are kinda tired from listening to the same tracks over and over. Thankful for friends. Hard to stay motivated working on a longish term project alone.

So I guess I have begun to like these 6 tracks enough to put some effort into distribution, if you can call it that. Just planning to give it all out for free once it's done. Let me know if you want a CD. Gonna mail it out to people who are far away. I'll probably have it up for streaming and download somewhere also.

Monday, October 4, 2010

almost lost it

Barely avoided disaster yesterday.

I've been spending a good amount of hours lately working on the new recordings and it's been pretty productive the last few weeks. After a few hours editing last night, I went to delete some folders off a USB drive but hasty fingers deleted my main recording folder, skipping the Recycle Bin because of the size of it (almost 20 GB). When I realized what I did, I kinda freaked out for like 10 minutes because I knew my backups were more than a month old. That was like 30 hours of hard work . I called a friend to pray for me and got my head back on straight. Figured there might be a way to recover the files and some searching uncovered a handful of free programs. Turns out that when you delete files, they don't disappear off the drive, they just become invisible to Windows (or OSX). As long as you don't overwrite the data, it's pretty simple to recover it. I was able to save all of my deleted files. Soooo thankful. Gotta remember my priorities though, it's not the end of the world even if I did lose it all. Will remember to backup more frequently now.

If you are ever stuck in a similar situation, don't panic. Check backups and recycle bin. If it's still not there, download Recuva right away and scan for your deleted files. It's completely free and easy to use. I'm gonna send them a few dollars, cuz they deserve it.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

There is probably no Christian to whom God has not given the uplifting experience of genuine Christian community at least once in his life. But in this world such experiences can be no more than a gracious extra beyond the daily bread of Christian community life. We have no claim upon such experiences, and we do not live with other Christians for the sake of acquiring them. It is not the experience of Christian brotherhood, but solid and certain faith in brotherhood that holds us together. That God has acted and wants to act upon us all, this we see in faith as God's greatest gift, this makes us glad and happy, but it also makes us ready to forego all such experiences when God at times does not grant them. We are bound together by faith, not by experience.

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "Life Together"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

you are not alone in your suffering...

O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.
Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!
For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit: I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves.

You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape; my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call upon you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you.

Do you work wonders for the dead?
Do the departed rise up to praise you?
Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

But I, O Lord, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O Lord, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.

-Psalm 88
The darkness of men is sometimes deep, but never black beyond redemption. Even the most desperate of cries has a voice and is not ignored by the Almighty. He not only knows the depth of affliction, He has become affliction for our sake. This is our only hope.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

marathon over

Picture 140

Last wedding of the year I think. This one was fun to photograph :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

new music?

Been working on recording some new stuff for a while, but I'm just about out of steam...

Four and a half songs done at the moment, three more I can start on, but lacking much motivation. What should I do? I would like to put together a nice CD package to mail out, but 4 songs seems like not enough to warrant the effort and money.

Should I just release what I have online in MP3? What format is easiest for you to listen to? It's not professional quality or anything, but I have sunk a good amount of time and energy into it. I really hate promoting myself.

Could really just use some encouragement, if anyone still reads this...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday, August 20, 2010


I am posting this from a moving bus which is apparently equipped with wireless Internet. On my way from Washington DC to Newark. First time riding Greyhound. It's good to get away from the grind. Some new wedding pics coming soon, along with star pics from Joshua tree last weekend. Still working on the new album as well, it's slow going...

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a little lunchtime reading...

Been feeling a bit dry and stagnant. Waiting for the next steps....
"God's impressions within and his word without are always corroborated by his providence around, and we should quietly wait until those three focus into one point...If you do not know what you ought to do, stand still until you do. And when the time comes for action, circumstances, like glowworms, will sparkle along your path; and you will become so sure that you are right, when God's three witnesses concur, that you could not be surer though an angel beckoned you on."

"The circumstances of our daily life are to us an infallible indication of God's will, when they concur with the inward promptings of the spirit and with the Word of God. So long as they are stationary, wait. When you must act, they will open, and a way will be made through oceans and rivers, wastes and rocks."

-Frederick B. Meyer, The Secret of Guidance
[via Dallas Willard, Hearing God]

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

another deferral

Um. So I got another letter from Washington letting me know that I'm still in limbo. At this point, I am unable to make the September leave date that I have been preparing for since late last year. I do feel a bit disappointed, but not as much as I expected, considering the circumstances. Seems like LA will be my home for a little longer, though I am developing a new appreciation for the City of Angels. Starting to weigh other options....Any ideas? Stay here till retirement?

group pic
Serve the City 2010. I'm on the right. I got cut off.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

o for a closer walk with god

O fire of God, come burn in me;
Renew a holy passion,
Till Christ my deepest longing be,
My never-failing fountain,
My never failing fountain.

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed,
How sweet the memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whatever that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Serene and calm my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

-William Cowper, Stuart Townend, & Keith Getty

Monday, July 26, 2010


Been waiting on an important letter from Washington...

hanging out
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

we are the eggmen 7
Music in the Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo

Click pictures for full resolution and sets @flickr

Friday, July 16, 2010

the kids aren't alright

His parents loved to argue. Well, maybe they didn't love to, but they sure had gotten a lot of practice at it. He must have learned a lot about arguing from them. When he was little, he would join in, just so they wouldn't be alone in the company of yelling and tears. He would scream until his little voice went hoarse and cry until his little eyes refused to release tears. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. Sometimes they would stop fighting for a while and tell him that it wasn't his fault, that he was more important than whatever they were disagreeing upon. Sometimes they wouldn't. The two big voices and one little voice screaming in unison was quite a cacophony to behold. Once in a while, a smashed glass or a hole in the wall would bring a night's exertion to a close. He wondered what the neighbors thought, or if they cared at all. As he grew older, he learned to retreat when the voices rose, like his younger brother had always done. Sometimes, he thought that his brother learned things faster than him. Closed doors and television muffled most of the noise, but he would still cry to himself until silence blanketed the night. Stay together for the kids, they deserve a normal childhood.

It was different during college. Better, maybe. Being a little further away helped. His parents seemed to get along better. Maybe they had more space to figure things out. Teenagers around the house are stressful after all. Still, empty nest syndrome led to many phone calls and frequent weekend visits. Once every few months, though, he would open the door to a tension so thick that he could suffocate in it. They would pretend that everything was fine. They would go out to lunch and ask how classes were going, about dorm life. Smile, with honey in their voices. But their stiff interaction and dead eyes gave them away as plain as day. It wasn't fine. He wanted to scream. Sometimes he did. "Stop pretending!" It was worse than the yelling and crying. At least that stuff was real. Now they were just camouflaging their wounds with mud. Smile for the kids, they aren't home that much anymore.

He doesn't want to hide anymore. He never did. He still prefers to stand in the middle of the highway until traffic dies down or crushes him. On the worst days, he thinks he'd rather be crushed. At least he wouldn't have to worry about the tornado just around the bend, waiting to tear things apart. But anything is better than pretending. Pretending is building a castle in the sand. Pretending is putting on a thicker jacket and thinking you are bulletproof. No one wants to pretend, but dodging bullets is tiring. It's easier to close the door, turn on the television, and pretend that all is right with the world. He still curls up and cries silently to himself until silence blankets the night. Pull it together for the kids, you're the grown up now.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I just bought a pro account of flickr :)

Here's some stuff from the weekend. Never took fireworks shots before, but I think these turned out pretty well...kinda hard work though heh.

View the full set slideshow!

Picture 150

Picture 163

Picture 104

Thursday, July 1, 2010

couple randoms

1. Two nights ago I was awoken in the middle of the night by a loud voice telling me to step out with my hands up. I was very confused for a minute until I got my wits about me and noticed the red and blue flashing lights outside. Turns out a police chase ended right outside my window and a standoff was going down. Dude didn't wanna get out of his truck. Cops had their guns drawn and their commands blaring through the PA. Standoff lasted about 15 minutes. I couldn't go back to sleep so I snapped some pics.

2. Yesterday, there was some traffic on the 405, so I took surface streets. Sitting next to a dumpster along a back alley shortcut, a familiar shape caught my eye. I slowed down for a closer look, and sure enough, it was a guitar amplifier, a head like the ones that sit on top of massive speaker cabinets you see at concerts, vacuum tubes in place and all. I thought it might be a good future project or at least an interesting piece of junk, so I grabbed it and too it home. Thing must weigh 50 pounds. Dusty and full of cobwebs, I fully expected this child of the 80s to blow up when plugged in. After some speaker pops and fiddling, darn thing powers up! Sounds bloody good too! Not sure what to do with it, it's definitely loud enough to get me in trouble...

It's a Laney AOR Pro Lead 100 if anyone cares

Friday, June 25, 2010

paper cd case

Need to mail a CD or DVD?
Envelopes and bubble mailers are expensive.
Just origami it.

Mailed a photo DVD this way yesterday.
I hope it gets there safely...


Wednesday, June 23, 2010


maybe God works in seasons
and this winter He has made
you a snowfall covering dead branches

even if spring must come to melt
you away, know that you have helped
make coldness bearable

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


...life is frustrating. All the worse when one has to face the music alone.
Well...not alone, but yeah....alone.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

the mountain of fear and the mountain of joy

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded; "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned." The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear."

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

-Hebrews 12:18-24, TNIV

Friday, June 18, 2010

longish term project

On a recent road trip, my friend's iPod queued up some music that I had recorded with some friends a few years ago. We recorded it on my equipment but I had never gotten a copy of the CD. The raw files are still on my computer, but I don't have the software to listen to it anymore. I had actually completely forgotten about it, but hearing it again sparked a tiny flame of motivation in me.

I have been half heatedly dredging up some of the better stuff I've written over the last couple years with the intention of doing more serious recordings. A good chunk of that stuff has appeared on this blog as quick webcam videos. It's going alright, but I go back and forth between being pleased with a track and hating my singing voice. Recording and mixing are very time intensive processes that tends to bring out the critical perfectionist in me. We'll see how it goes, but I'm hoping to have a CD full of material finished eventually. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

living together

"We thank God for giving us brethren who live by His call, by His forgiveness, by His promise. We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what He does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough: brothers, who will go on living with us through sin and need under the blessing of His grace? Is the divine gift of Christian fellowship anything less than this, any day, even the most difficult and distressing day? Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together- the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ."

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Sunday, June 6, 2010

may your voice

May your voice cry bodily out of my chest
May your tears fill my eyes for your children oppressed
May your feet carry me 'till I come to your rest
May your light illumine my inky darkness

I was led to the garden, I knelt there and wept
And I shook like a leaf in a rainstorm
And I heaved my sin up
Against your forgiveness
For who am I but a seed amongst thorns

It caught on the cross in whose shadow I crept
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, I long for your rest

-Isaac Watters

Monday, May 24, 2010

what already?

I caught myself trying to write something profound yesterday while I really wanted to be engrossed in prayer. Fail. Here's what came out:
I am sitting in the food court at the mall on a Sunday afternoon. It is nearing that golden hour when the sun streaming in though the skylit ceiling mixes with the artificial lamps in a way that it is difficult to tell which is which. Justin Beiber is singing on the multiple overhead flat screen TVs. The catchy pop complements the din of fast food cooking and shoppers shopping.

Who am I?
I was pondering identity and what it means to find your identity in Christ. I think we can only discover our own character against the backdrop of His. It is a fool's errand to search for an identity apart from God. We have no worth, no value, no significance, in and of ourselves. Even the terrifying creatures of heaven, much more than mere flesh and blood like us, cower before His throne.
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created to have their being."
Revelations 4:9-11

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Dear Blog,

This is post number two-hundred-one in you. In the last two-and-a-half years, you have become many things to me. You have been a soapbox to proclaim with, a pulpit to preach from, a stage to perform on, an ear to complain to, and a community that is never more than an internet connection away.

But looking inward with honest eyes, I fear I may have at times made you a substitute for Someone Else who also wants to be all those things to me. The response from you is just so tangible, what with your comments system, post count, and verbatim memory of everything I bring to you. You allow the world to glimpse a portion of me, however profound or superficial I choose to be.

It is a farce.

You, Blog, and your Followers, see only what I let you see, filtered through lenses of social and spiritual correctness. It is easy for me to hide from you the conflict in my heart and the weaknesses that envelop me daily. Your 'edit post' button haunts me.

For all the advantages that you offer, dear friend, you will never know more of me than what I allow you to know. You will never see the full reality of my truly flawed character. This Someone Else, for all his lacking in tangibility and instant gratification, intimately knows my ugliness, yet will never recoil. He is deserving of my best because he loves me at my worst.

I am unsure of how this will affect our relationship in the future, but I need you to know that it is easy for me to make of you more than what you should be. You are only one of many immediately attractive alternatives to the only source of lasting comfort and acceptance. I regret to follow-up the previous letter with one of such a somber tone, but I hope you understand the gravity of what is at stake. My hope is that you would support my pursuit of a greater good.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

kinda cool work stuff

Review of a LCD camera-top monitor I designed:

They used the same setup to film the House season finale airing May 17.
Here's a pic of the rig they used.

This new thing won a couple awards at the NAB show a month ago in Vegas.

Pretty rewarding.

Monday, May 10, 2010

sherlock holmes, pre hollywood

It was a September evening and not yet seven o'clock, but the day had been a dreary one, and a dense drizzly fog lay low upon the great city. Mud-coloured clouds drooped sadly over the muddy streets. Down the Strand the lamps were but misty splotches of diffused light which threw a feeble circular glimmer upon the slimy pavement. The yellow glare from the shop-windows steamed out into the steamy, vaporous air and threw a murky, shifting radiance across the crowded thoroughfare. There was, to my mind, something eerie and ghostlike in the endless procession of faces which flitted across these narrow bars of light - sad faces and glad, haggard and merry. Like all humankind, they flitted from the gloom into the light and so back into the gloom once more. I am not subject to impressions, but the dull, heavy evening, with the strange business upon which we were engaged, combined to make me nervous and depressed. I could see from Miss Morstan's manner that she was suffering from the same feeling.

-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Sign of Four"

Friday, May 7, 2010

an overdue update

Dear Blog,

I'm sorry old friend, I have been neglecting you. You see, life has been somewhat busy yet somewhat uneventful at the same time and rather than bore you with the details, I have chosen to remain silent. However, there are a couple things that might peak your interest as of late. I was able to spend some quality time with Car last weekend and bandaged up his recent injury as best as I could. Please see the enclosed Photograph of his progress. I hope to work with him again soon to make sure he's alright for his future travels.

The test results from Doctor came back and he wants to order another Test. Furthermore, he called me yesterday to tell me they do not take my Insurance any longer, and that I must be redirected to another Doctor for the Test. This is one of those situations which is mostly out of my control, which require mostly just Trust and Patience. I am sorry to report, however, that Patience is wearing a bit thin.

I have been long awaiting the opportunity to return to my beloved Guitar. As it is, I manage to steal only a few minutes with her here and there. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Inspiration to to bless our holy union.

Send my warmest regards to your Followers, and keep in touch my friend.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

i forgot how much i like fiction

Both the children were looking up into the Lion's face as he spoke these words. And all at once (they never knew exactly how it happened) the face seemed to be a sea of tossing gold in which they were floating, and such a sweetness and power rolled about them and over them and entered them that they felt they had never really been happy or wise or good, or even alive and awake, before. And the memory of that moment stayed with them always, so that as long as they both lived, if ever they were sad or afraid or angry, the thought of all that golden goodness, and the feeling that it was still there, quite close, just round some corner or just behind some door, would come back and make them sure, deep down inside, that all was well.
-C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew

Monday, April 26, 2010

an africa update

I finally stopped putting off those phone calls and got my retest pushed up. Just dropped off the sample this morning. It is once again out of my hands. Also have a Peace Corps dinner this weekend where the current nominees meet each other and returnees. Not sure what to expect, but a former coworker from UCLA who is going gives high praise.

On another note, I am realizing once again how obsessed I am with managing everything. I feel unsettled when things are not in order. I'll rip things apart if they are just slightly out of alignment. Hence things like this. Must worry less, rejoice more. Less Martha, more Mary.

P.S. - Yums.

P.P.S. - Read this blog. Buy these pretties.

psalm 56

He counts the sorrows of his saints,
Our groans affect his ears;
He keeps a book for my complaints,
A bottle for my tears.
Sons of violence, sons of lies
Devour my life, O Lord
But as my hourly dangers rise,
My refuge is thy Word.

When to thy throne I raise my cry,
The wicked fear and flee
So swift is prayer to reach the sky,
So near is God to me.
O, most holy, just and true,
In thee I place my trust
Nor will I fear what man can do
The offspring of the dust.

Thy solemn vows are on me Lord,
Thou shalt receive my praise;
I sing, "How faithful is thy Word,
How righteous all thy ways!"
Thou hast saved my soul from death,
O set they prisoner free!
That heart and hand, and every breath,
May be employed for thee.

-Isaac Watts, 1719

Monday, April 19, 2010

the stripping away of confidences

I fail.

Sometimes the crunch of sheet metal articulates frustration better than words.

A million things are swirling around my brain, but none of it cohesive enough to express. I try very hard to be perfect. It's quite tiring. Thankful for people who love me as I am. Sorry for the emo.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

love or kindness

There is kindness in Love: but Love and kindness are not coterminous, and when kindness is separated from the other elements of Love, it involves a certain fundamental indifference to its object, and even something like contempt of it. Kindness consents very readily to the removal of its object - we have all met people whose kindness to animals is constantly leading them to kill animals lest they should suffer. Kindness, merely as such, cares not whether its object becomes good or bad, provided only that it escapes suffering. As Scripture points out, it is bastards who are spoiled: the legitimate sons, who are to carry on the family tradition, are punished.

It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes. If God is Love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness. And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt. He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.

-C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Sunday, April 11, 2010

none other lamb

None other lamb, none other name
No hope in all the earth or sea
No hiding place from guilt and shame
None but thee.

My faith burns low, my hope burns low
Yet my desire cries out in me
The thunder of its want and woe
Cries to thee.

Lord, thou art life, though I be dead
Love's fire thou art when cold I be
No place have I to lay my head
None but thee.

None other lamb, none other name
None other hope in heaven or earth or sea
None other hiding place from guilt or shame
None beside thee.

-Christina Rossetti, "None Other Lamb"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

cutting it close

I received a response from my local recruiter:
August 11th is the dead last date that you need to be medically cleared and invited. So, it seems like this will be OK as long as the test can be complete in July, giving the medical office about two weeks to clear you. No need to stress at this point!
Yet stress we shall. I need to call the medical office in DC to see if I can get the dates pushed up. I am dreading having to talk to all the doctors again.

On a lighter note, this is wonderful:

Stormtroopers: "Armored shock troops of the Empire"

Camouflage #3

[363 more]

Sunday, April 4, 2010

khristos voskrese

Easter service was wonderful. Not that we should ever go beyond the cross, but Protestant (or Evangelical?) Christianity is great at proclaiming the death and crucifixion of Christ, but it is sometimes lacking in proclaiming the resurrection. I myself tend to be more comfortable with the sorrow of Good Friday than the rejoicing of Easter Sunday. Must rejoice more.
Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
Jeremiah 29:7

Thursday, April 1, 2010

words in motion

You feel what you feel.
think what you think.
do what you do.

What I
feel is difficult to express.
What I
think is not always what I feel.
What I
do matters but does not define me.

Monday, March 29, 2010


The review of my medical records for Peace Corps came in the mail...

They are deferring the evaluation until July, pending a retest of one of the laboratory tests. One of the tests showed a slight irregularity for someone my age. The doctor wasn't worried about it, he just wanted to monitor it and retest in 6 months. It didn't seem like a big deal, but apparently Peace Corps is very thorough.

So if my medical evaluation doesn't go through until July, will I still be able to leave in September? Will I have to change programs and maybe go to a different region? Will I be able to go at all? For a long time, I have been planning my life around a departure date in September. At the very least, this news keeps me flexible and on my toes, and not relying on my own plans. My experience tells me that God likes to make me sweat a little.

I am fairly surrendered about everything, and a later departure date may work out for the best. It's just difficult to deal with such a large commitment when so little is certain. And the prospect of another round of doctor's appointments does not excite me. Maybe more news after I make some phone calls.
"Good things take time, but great things happen all at once."
-Rat Race

Thursday, March 25, 2010

tee hee

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
While I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Psalm 27:13-14, NLT

Starting to believe this again...


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

if we are the body...

Now if the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

1 Corinthians 12:15-31, TNIV

Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon his shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life;
I know that it is finished.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

give me jesus

Deeply unsatisfied with my singing on the last video. This one's a little better. I tried lowering the levels to kill the popping, but it's still a fail. I forgot about this song for a while, but rediscovered it recently and am enjoying its simplicity.

Friday, March 19, 2010

legacies and the internet

Not sure who might appreciate this, but I find it to be a beautiful piece of writing from an unexpected source. A unique reflection on our technological dependence and the fragility of life. Read it here. I warn you, it won't make sense at first. Just keep reading. Apologies for the pretentiousness.

Here's an excerpt:
The Cloud is just the internet. And the internet is just a bunch of hard drives.

The internet is really good at replicating discrete bits of self-contained data. There are probably a few million copies of any given Loretta Lynn song out on all the hard drives of the world, because lots of people care about Loretta Lynn.

But my photos on Flickr only live on a few hard drives in the world. The hard drives in the database servers. The hard drives in the networked-attached storage devices that are used to backup the database servers. A few of the pictures are on my friends' hard drives, but not most of them, and certainly not the complete collection.

When I die my Flickr Pro account will expire and a large percentage of my photos—girlfriends, family, vacations, my dog—will disappear from public view. They'll sit on Flickr's hard drives until Flickr goes out of business or loses the data.

Someone might send Flickr my death certificate, prove that I'm gone. Flickr might even give them access to those photos, should one of my friends even think to gain it. But more likely no one will even think to look. Part of my trivial legacy will go dark, sleeping quietly on a handful of hard drives.

-Joel Johnson, Gizmodo


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

high above

Found a really cool ambient setting while messing with my delay and reverb pedals. Sounds amazing in person. Plugging the mixer into the mic input of my laptop kinda overwhelms it, so it came out a bit distorted. And I'm not sure where the weird clicking is coming from. This is a Phil Wickham song that I've been enjoying quite a lot. I kinda miss extended praise sets and leading worship.

Monday, March 15, 2010

spring forward is death

I forgot to change the time on my alarm clock after getting back home last night. Spent 24 hours in the car. It was worth it. What a fun weekend. Five people going in different directions on different schedules. Conflicts here and there. But when it came down to it, we left together and we returned together. Felt kinda like a family.

Pics as promised, click to enlarge as always.
Many more on Facebook....