Thursday, June 30, 2005

Blogger Overhaul

I've been cleaning up my blog today. Some of the links we're dead just because the people rarely ever post anymore. ::Thumbs down to them::

I plan on doing more cleaning and link adding. Check it out. You might be on my link page!

I also added a link to my myspace profile. I'm not as secretive as some ::cough cough:: Magazine Man ::cough cough:: .

Anyway, I'm off!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

England - Mark Overeem

When I woke up this morning I was a little confused and very disappointed. I just thought to myself, "It was another dream." I think my dreams like playing tricks on me, but then again they can play tricks on me all night, every night if it means that I get to be there.

There being England.

I went to England back in 2002. I stayed there for three and a half months. I also spent time in Budapest, Hungary for two months on that trip as well. I was studying with a mission organization called YWAM. Our time in England was the classroom portion of the school. Hungary was the outreach.

I don’t think I’ll ever realize how much those five and a half months changed my life. I’ve been home for over three years now and I still feel like I talk and think about it everyday. I probably had some of my happiest times there along with probably the hardest and most depressing, with one in particular.

When I showed up to England on that typical dreary Sunday Morning I didn’t know a soul. When I left I knew I had made some life long friends. To be quite honest, I’d have to say that I probably wouldn’t have ever really hung out with any of those people if I hadn’t been put in a situation where I had to.

The first nine weeks I was in England were amazing. We were finishing up our class room time and were planning our outreaches. Everyone was pretty excited to go to another country and get involved in whatever they had for us to do there.

Then the unexpected happened…

I woke up on a Sunday morning and half of the school (there were only 24 of us) had left to go to London for a service they were doing there. I currently had four roommates, Mark from Holland, Andy from England and Tim from Canada, but Mark and I didn’t go to London with the group.

We decided to get up and go to church with one of the staff members. We had a good time hanging out at church. It was a pretty laid back church so they had donuts and milk for everyone. We just sat in the back and enjoyed the service.

After church, we had lunch back at the base with the others who hadn’t gone to London. For some reason, Mark and I ended up back in our room hanging out when lunch was over. Our room was on the third and top floor of the school. Right outside our window you could actually climb out and sit on the roof. The staff didn’t like us doing that considering we could fall to our death and it would just be a very messy situation.

Mark and I climbed out there anyway. I was very cautious going out there because I’m afraid of heights, but it didn’t bother Mark at all. He thought it was pretty funny that it bothered me so much. I just looked at him and said, “I’m afraid to die.” “Why are you afraid to die, John?” Mark asked. I replied with a pretty honest answer, “I have faith that I know what’s going to happen to me when I die, but you won’t ever know until it happens.” He agreed with me.

Mark and I goofed off in the room for a few more minutes before I decided to go to the Pub with a small group of the students. Mark wanted to go for a run. So we parted ways.

That was the last time that I ever saw Mark.

Times like these make me wish I had said something lasting and meaningful, but I probably didn't say anything intelligent.

Anyway,

While we were at the pub, the bar tender told us that someone had collapsed on the side of the road. The person fit Mark’s description. We decided to call the base and find out if Mark was around. He was no where to be found so the base leader went to the hospital to see if he could find out if that really was Mark that had collapsed.

Charlie, our base leader was gone for a very long time. He finally showed up later that evening and called us all into one of the class rooms for a meeting. You could’ve heard a pin drop in that room. Charlie wasted no time and went right into it.

“Mark did collapse today on the side of the road…and he died.”

Those words still haunt me.

I can still feel the lightning bolt shooting down my spine and exploding in my heels.

I couldn’t believe that the guy who I hung out with all day suddenly died! How could that happen? He was fine just a few hours earlier.

They did an autopsy on Mark and they never found a cause of death.

That was probably one of the saddest events in my life during what was supposed to be one of the best times of my life, but that’s life. That’s reality.

We all had a hard time coping with Mark’s death. He was a school favorite. Everyone liked Mark. He could always make you laugh. His brutal honesty could hurt your feelings, but you always knew that Mark always meant what he said in love. That’s just the way Dutch people are. They don’t beat around the bush.

Mark was supposed to be on our outreach team to Hungary so we definitely had a missing piece on our team, but we decided not to let the circumstances keep us down. Instead, we celebrated Mark’s life and chose to dwell on the positive effect he had on us.

In closing, one of the best memories I have about living in England was actually the night Mark passed away. A few of us were hanging out and talking about all that had happened that day. Then each person started pouring out story after story of something hilarious that Mark had said or done. It was amazing to me how many lives Mark had touched in such an astonishing way. Whether it was through his generosity or just through a humorous, but encouraging word he would pass along to you through out the day. As we started wrapping up our story time I noticed that our small group of four or five had turned into basically our whole school.

We all had huge grins on our faces and our sides we're killing us from laughter and joy, but deep down there was a deep sorrow that we all still carry with us to this day.

Something else that I carry with me is that Mark's Death did not keep us down, but in one of our darkest hours we found strength through the memories of our loss.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Chuck Klosterman on the Man in Black.

"Here is the easiest way to explain the genius of Johnny Cash: Singing from the perspective of a convicted murderer in the song "Folsom Prison Blues", Cash is struck by the pangs of regret when he sits in his cell and hears a distant train whistle. This is because people on that train are "probably drinkin' coffee." And this is why Cash seems completely credible as a felon: He doesn't want freedom or friendship or Jesus or a new lawyer. He wants coffee."

"Within the mind of a killer,complex feelings are eerily simple. This is why killers can shoot men in Reno just to watch them die, and the rest of us usually can't."

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This is probably one of the best books I've ever read that explained post modernism in a humorous and simple way. Granted, alot of it is kind of far fetched an exggerated, but who's life isn't?

Seriously though, check this book out. Chuck actually uses the 1980's Lakers - Celtics rivalry as a metaphor for all of America.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

System mal-fuck-up!

Not sure what the hell happened on my last post, but just highlight it and you can read it.

Check out the Malcolm Gladwell and Ryan Adams links!

Seriously...

You'll thank me later.

Lazy Sunday Recommendations!

If I'm ever going to blog a road trip or a certain situation or event that took place I better do it shortly after it happened or I lose information or just plain lose interest in writing about it.

I've been kicking around some idea's in my head about creating a faith-based curriculum or training ground for people who have faith in God, but aren't your typical church person like myself.

I need to do some brain storming with some people that I've sat under before who I respect and who aren't Jesus Freaks. I want to create something that helps Jesus freaks be able to relate to society and make a positive difference in the lives of those around them. I see the church turn alot of people off. It seems that alot of times the church only wants to help others under the condition that they will hopefully convert one day.

I have an idea: unconditional love

How about we treat others with love and respect regardless of their spiritual background. Maybe, just maybe we should befriend others without any preconceived notions of telling them that whatever they think is wrong and they should blindly jump into some weird religion because it will save them from hell.

Just a thought.


On a different note, I read an amazing article today by Malcom Gladwell. He's a sociological genius. You should check him out!


He has a New York Times Archive of all of his articles.
ANNALS OF PSYCHOLOGY is the one I read today. It's mind-boggling.

I've been currently listening to Ryan Adams and The Cardinals as well.

Check them out! You won't be disappointed.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Get Radically Nostalgic Road Trip 2005 - Day 1

I've been meaning to post for quite some time now, but I've been so out of it lately. Not to mention that Comcast delayed my blogging. Anyway, Lets get to the road trip.

Destination:

Northern Kentucky (outside of Cincinnati)

Objective:

Get Nostalgic with Two of my best friends and whoever else wants to join in.

The Journey men:

Johnny (Yes, this is the first time most of you have ever seen me. So I'm putting up the most ridiculous of pictures.)

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Walker (His first name is Jon as well, but we'll keep it as Walker so there won't be any confusion.)

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The man who was waiting at the end of the Journey:

Raymond Philip Geier

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Every year I usually take a trip to Cincinnati. I grew up there from age 8 to 16. My best friend Ray Lived there as well for some time, but moved out to L.A. a couple of years ago. When I go to Cincinnati it's most likely to visit Ray. I end up very bitter and bored if I go up there without him. You know how it goes with best friends, we could be in the desert with out any water and have a good time. So hanging out in Cincy is a breeze.

This year I convinced my friend (Jon) Walker to go with me. Ray and Walker know each other and are friends too. So Walker could only magnify the fun. We took off around 1pm on Wednesday Afternoon and showed up around 7pm. Cincy should be a 7-8 hour drive, but I rarely stop and I go about 80-90 the whole time. I hate the drive. We did create the road trip name and brainstorm about what trouble we were going to get in though.

Once we got into town we stopped over at Ray's Sister's house and met up with him. We had our usual gay love ritual (hugs). (no, we're not gay.) We then ate some Mexican food and started catching up and planning for the night. We decided on going to a local bar called "Woody's". I'm not sure how I feel about the name, but I was up for anything. Walker and I just needed some alcohol in our systems. We were starting to have withdrawls.

We decided that it would be a good idea to invite all of our childhood friends out with us this night so we could catch up. People showed up that I hadn't seen in 8 years. It was awesome though to see people talking and hanging out who, even though they live in the same town, never see each other.

Everything was going perfectly until the karaoke man showed up. I've never in my life sang Karaoke, but after 5 beers it seemed like a good idea at the time. Walker is a singer in a pop punk band so this isn't a big deal for him, but in my case it was huge. The good Lord did not bless me with a good singing voice. I should be in broadcasting. My voice is deep and booming and can carry through thick walls. Just ask my mom. She used to always yell at me at night for talking because she could here it in her sleep.

Anyway, we decide that we're both going to do it. Walker chooses "Basket Case" by Green day. He was a little nervous going up, but he was a hit. The redneck bartender even liked him. I think his exact words were "Damn, he can sing some Green Day." I was up next with a horrible decision to sing a rap song.

My intoxicated thought process was that if I rapped I wouldn't have to sing. I do know some rap songs and for some reason T.I.'s "Rubber band Man" seemed like the song for me. I was wrong. You never realize how fast rappers really are until you have to sing their song karaoke style. Holy Shit it was fast. Also after getting up there and have the Karaoke man restart the song I realized that I don't really know the words to this song, but only the chorus.

I was horrible, but I made all of my childhood friends laugh. They loved it and that's what counts.

This should be the end of the story, but I have to confess I tried to redeem myself after Walker sang Maroon Five's "This Love". Of course, Walker rocked the Mic! I tried to rap "Real Slim Shady" by Eminem. Someone should've slapped me. It was fucking awful, but yet entertaining especially when I started making up new lyrics to the song about being drunk. I think I even managed to sign up for a third song, but I was out of it.

Proof that Walker rocks hard - he looks like he's trying to eat the mic here though.

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I don't recall much more of that night, but it definitely went down in the record books for being Radically Nostalgic!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Two Words.

Fuck Comcast!!

I recently moved into a radical 50's style townhome in Decatur(Atlanta), GA. The place is glorious. I love everything about it. Except for the fact that Comcast scheduled the cable guy on the wrong day so we've been without the internet for the last week. I'm not as mad as I'm displaying through these words, but it's still annoying. I've been reading alot and watching more of my movies that I've needed to watch. So that's been good.

In other news, I'm going on a road trip today with my best friend Jon Walker to go and visit another one of my best friends Ray Geier in Cincinnati. I grew up in Cincinnati. I'm not a big fan of the place. The best part about Cincinnati is Skyline Chili and leaving. We're going to have a good time though. I only go up there when Ray is in town because he got the hell out of there as well.

More later.

It's time to hit the road!