Monday, April 30, 2007

Mitch Hedberg, Jr.

This dude Demetri Martin is a pretty stinkin' funny guy.

If you have emusic, look him up.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What We Call The News.

This pretty much hits the nail on the head.

A Week Observed

These past weeks have been some of the craziest of my life.

I can't believe it's almost finished and I'm probably going to graduate. Believe me, I've had my doubts. I doubted a whole lot.

This past Friday I had my orals for the School of Communication. I passed everything, except, ironically, the Mass Comm. part. Luckily, it's just three or four questions that I have to retake this Wednesday.

The same Friday I had a pretty hefty paper due for History of Theology.

And recently I've been feeling pretty sick. It seems this past week more times than not i've been taking some sort of medicine to combat this intense headache and neck ache. (I wonder why we can combine "head" and "ache" to create one word, but not "neck" and "ache")

I hate these posts where they're pretty much just comprised of complaints. Here's an old editorial I wrote a long time ago. Many of you probably know, that I do in fact own a cell phone now.

“Okay, so, who doesn’t own a cellphone?”

I would reluctantly have to raise my hand. It is true that I am one of the few still not in the droves of used airwaves and low signals. In the past I was fine with that. When cell phones became first introduced I laughed it away like other unnecessary commodities of living—much like automatic toilet flushers, peanut butter and jelly in the same jar, microwavable dinners, candle snuffers, instant coffee (which never really is that fast), and so on. I reduced cellular phones to nothing more than a fad and never thought I would ever think of needing one.

Now, of course, while working not only here in Toccoa but at a restaurant an hour away, and having school here at TFC, there are so many times where I need a phone, but have to go home or to work simply to use one. There is nothing more annoying than having to drive home to simply use the phone and nothing more.

For now, while I lack a cell phone, I have reverted to answering my wallet. If a phone rings nearby, or everyone around me is chatting on a phone, I pull out my wallet and “answer” it—in order to feel special, like one of the gang.

Yes, I am that pathetic.

Despite needing a cell phone, I still have my reservations. Although I did not see the movie, and neither did many of America, the movie Cellular has gotten me rethinking my needs for a cellular phone. What if, by some odd chance, I get a call from a lady who is about to be killed? I already have enough stress with school and work and life.

A much smaller problem I would have with it is the fact of just figuring the thing out. I have little knowledge of the actual methods of using a cell phone, and I am pretty illiterate when I try to borrow a friend’s phone. I even remember a similar circumstance where a friend rushed up to me to show off his new phone. It was one of those phones with a keyboard and one that plays all of those cool games and so on. He went on and on about all of the features. I finally get around to asking him how the phone works, and his simple response is, “Oh, uh, I don’t know.”

Another problem I would have is with the ringtones. There are so many different sound and songs that you can hear, telling you to answer the phone, but sometimes I fear that I would have difficulty answering, given the song that may be playing. If I had my ringtone to any song by Switchfoot, I fear that I would rather listen to the song than actually answer the phone. I would be too awed by the music, that any desire to see who was calling would escape me.

I guess all in all it is a very good idea to have a cellular phone handy in case of emergencies. I just have to get past all of my weakness to admit that I am more materialistic that I would like and need one.

Where am I going with this article? Ladies, please stop calling my wallet.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nature and the Wreck

Hey guys.

If you can, be praying for Beth and my sister, Rebecca. Both were in a small car accident yesterday on their way to World Relief. This person rear-ended the crap out of them. Both are okay, just really banged up and sore. And the Honda is now missing a trunk. Only pictures can do justice.

But Beth and Rebecca have positive outlook on things; it was a bonding experience for them. :-)

Also, why do birds have weird names? I just noticed some incredibly strange bird names yesterday:

Red-breasted Nuthatch.
Crested Titmouse.

To Toccoa Falls College campus internet users, I apologize if this page is censored.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Daniel's Birthday

Today is my brother Daniel Leverett's birthday. He's 12.

He's definitely one of the coolest kids I know. :-D

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

An Old Editorial of Mine, Part One

It's a little updated, but yeah.

It always cracks me up when I see the new healthy options at fast food restaurants. The salads are not so bad, but it is all of those low-carb items or the ability to replace fries or a drink with a healthier component that gets me. What is so laughable about the low-carbohydrate meals is that there is nothing incredible or novel about it. For the most part it is simply a couple of leaves of lettuce replacing the bun on a sandwich. Drive by the actual posters boasting pictures of these innovative burgers at the various restaurants and try not to point and laugh. You will find that it is not possible.
The biggest problem I have with all of this is that if I were actually looking for a healthy place to eat for me or my children (if I had any) I would avoid fast food restaurants in the same sense that I would avoid a doughnut shop if I was trying to go to a place to exercise. In fact, not only would I avoid a fast food joint, I would flee from it. Restaurants, especially those that have you in and out in thirty seconds, are not in existence for our health. It is there for our convenience. Giving healthy choices and eliminating the larger sizes are nothing but a waste of time. Remember Wendy's recent attempt at offering fruit bowls? Well, neither does anybody else; they were on and off the menu faster than you could eat a banana. People asked for it, and when it was available didn't buy it. So Wendy's stopped selling it. People will continue to eat the unhealthy items regardless of what else is offered. We are not going to the restaurant anticipating our meal to help our diet plan. In fact, I have grown quite fond of feeling my arteries clog as I eat.
In all actuality, the restaurants are only looking out for themselves in the process. They do not hold it past the handful of morons that will sue those restaurants for making them fat (which makes just about as much sense as suing the sun for giving you sunburn).
I am sure you have noticed those handfuls already making a dent in the justice system by suing fast food joints for various banal reasons. It is not surprising that the likes of McDonald’s has already started to make healthy items, because of lawsuits and the recent documentary, Super Size Me.
What I do not understand is why McDonald’s is getting so defensive about it. They should boast about being an unhealthy restaurant. People go knowing full well that the restaurant is not only going to in no way going to solve their health needs, but in fact make it all the more worse. Kids go there for the fries, not the ability to swap it out with an apple. It is those lawsuits and health nuts that are putting a tarnish on a perfectly good unhealthy restaurant.

That being said, I like the fact that healthier options at restaurants are offered; it just seems that we shouldn't be demanding it. Were at a FAST FOOD crappo restaurant.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ever Been Fired?

I sure have.

I got fired a little over a year ago. It was, in my mind, one of the worst things that could happen to me. It was a decent job, but a better stepping stone to place on my eventual resume. Actually, it was a great job for what I was doing, but a bad job because it paid so VERY little for what I did. And I did a lot.

But one day, I made a mistake. Not a particularly bad or big mistake, just one that management felt they needed to "take care of the problem" for one of their sponsors. I had messed up with the potential to make a big sponsor angry. Someone needed to get the axe.

So I was fired.

I felt crushed. I felt like I had poured my life and devotion into this job, and I felt unrecognized for it. I couldn't believe it. Beth was with me at the time, and knew how crushed I was. So we decided to do something crazy. I had a few days until school started back for the spring semester, and suddenly I had some free time. We decided to take a random road trip, going to Savannah. It was one of the most enjoyable times, simply because for the first time in years, I had no responsibilities. No job, no school, no nothing. As scary as it was at first, I got past the fear; I would find another job, things would work out. They always do.

I haven't felt more free since then.

Friday, April 13, 2007


I couldn't believe this.


What in the world happened the other night at the Toccoa City Commission? We're still scratching our heads.

In case you haven't heard, Toccoa commissioners voted 3-1 last week to change the city's rules on who could and could not sell alcohol within the city limits. Commissioner Ferrell Morgan's amendment requires, quote, "all holders of ABC licenses, both the store owner and manager, to be U.S. citizens." This means that if you're from another country, and you aren't a naturalized American citizen, you can't sell beer in Toccoa, even if you're living here legally.

Several things about Commissioner Morgan's amendment were puzzling. It wasn't on the agenda, so no one could have spoken against it if they'd wanted to. Commissioner Morgan offered it during the reports portion of the meeting, which isn't the usual time for such motions to be offered. Commissioner Billy Chism clearly hadn't heard a thing about it before the meeting, and said the commission should run it by the city attorney before taking any action. Morgan replied that he'd already checked into it, and the rest of the commission seemed satisfied to leave it at that. Ultimately, Morgan cut off debate and called the question, and the final vote was 3-1. Chism cast the only "no" vote.

This is a case where the "why" of a decision is clearly more important than the "what." Morgan acknowledged that he knew of no problems with regard to legal aliens selling alcohol in the city, and offered the motion as a sort of pre-emptive strike against such problems.

There may be a very good argument for restricting ABC licenses to United States citizens only. If such an argument exists, no one made it last Monday. Why not?

As it was, it looked like Billy Chism had been excluded from a debate that had already occurred somewhere else, somewhere out of the public's earshot. As it was, it had all the earmarks of a deal brokered beforehand; Commissioner Pavliscsak certainly seemed to be on the same page as Commissioner Morgan, and neither of the other commissioners said anything before the votes were counted.

We don't want to believe that our city commissioners are having substantive policy debates outside of meetings. If they did have such debates, and we could have heard them, maybe we'd all understand why they voted they way they did. In the absence of such a debate, every city resident has reason to be skeptical.

We don't want to believe that any of our commissioners are being used by local business owners in a move to drive out competitors who don't happen to be from this country.

We don't want to believe that this was simply a bit of anti-immigrant prejudice enshrined in law.

We don't want to believe any of these things. We hate to speculate. But a vacuum of information is just like any other vacuum: Things will rush to fill it. By creating this particular information vacuum, the city commission has invited speculation, by us and by every other Toccoa resident.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

An Orthodox Easter

Now, I have nothing against the "Emergent Church" (other than the name of course, because "Emergent" seems to imply a 'better' sort of progression, but whatever). I think, if the doctrine is sound, any creative method of doing church is acceptable. I think one of the reasons that church attendance seems to be waning is the fact that we've stuck with what generations in the past have done, and it isn't relevant any longer (for the most part). I can see a definite need for some sort of alternative.

But I can also see the other side. And by 'other' side, I mean the EXACT OPPOSITE. I was very fortunate this Easter to attend an Eastern Orthodox service. Beth had gone to a service last year in Moscow, and we both were kind of tired of the same-old same-old.

The liturgy began at 11:30 p.m. Saturday night, with readings and prayers until midnight. At exactly midnight the lights and candles went out. Everything was silent. For a few minutes we stood in darkness, symbolizing the death of Jesus Christ. After a few minutes each person there received a candle which was lit and we then went outside the church. The priest locked the doors to the church and we walked around the church three times before congregating at the front doors again. The priest proclaimed, in Greek, Russian and English (although not at the same time, of course): "Christ has risen!" to which the congregation replied (in the respective language): "Indeed, He has risen!"

The priest flung open the doors, still chanting the line and us congregation replying. This first thirty minutes was incredible. It was beautiful. It was amazing. EVERYTHING that we did had purpose and meaning. There was some sort of significance to EVERYTHING that happened.

To me, both the Emerging Church, in which we abandon the rules, regulation and tradition, and Eastern Orthodoxy, in which every single thing that is done is something that's been done since the beginning, everything has purpose and meaning and significance, have some sort of validity. The only problem I have is when either side criticizes the opposing viewpoint. Both sides are valid. The Emergent Church is completely necessary when it comes to reaching unbelievers. It works to show that worshipping God is not simply what's been done in the past. It shows that when it comes to worshipping God, it's how we live our lives, how we love others, and not simply what we do.

But the Orthodox Church is also just as valid. Instead of a rejection of tradition, it is an embracing of it. What is more powerful than knowing that over a thousand years ago believers were doing the exact same thing that they are doing now? How awesome is it to know that everything that takes place in the service, the reading, the chants, the prayers, the motions, everything has some sort of purpose?

All I can say is next Easter, I hope to be at St. Timothy's again.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Switchfoot video - Awakening

What a pleasant suprise.

Bright Eyes - Cassadaga Review

Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst has been compared to both a goat and a modern-day Bob Dylan. Although I disagree with both assertions, he leans much closer to the latter comparison on his newest album, "Cassadaga." The goat comparisons, admittedly, weren't far off. His early albums like "Fevers and Mirrors" and "Letting Off The Happiness," despite amazing lyrics, were unstructured, not always greatly produced, and just seemed like the screams, shouts, and rants of an emo-kid. Some people got it, some didn't.

With his 2003 album "Lifted, or, The Story Is In the Soil, Keep Your Ears To The Ground" something happened. This, in my opinion was a watershed record, and he still has yet to completely live up to this album. In it's entirety it's one of the most perfect albums I have ever heard, and tells this grand narrative of Oberst's exploits in living the "nothing is truth." In the end of the CD it left him in a hospital bed from a drug and alcohol overdose.

Dual-released "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning," and "Digital Ash In a Digital Urn," seemed like a likely following to "Lifted." In "Digital Ash", as the title implies, deals mainly with contemplations of death and what happens afterwards. "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" seemed like this search for meaning and not necessarily a rejection of it. Both albums were incredible. Production was much different, much more polished, and so on.

And now after a couple years comes "Cassadaga." The title of the album is taken from a small town in Florida, that is a very "spiritual" town where psychics and mystic lives. Oberst visited the town and was inspired enough to title his CD after it. The first track off the album, "Clairaudients (Kill Or Be Killed)," seemed reminiscent of "Lifted"s first song, "The Big Picture." There's talking to begin the album that slowly leads into the song. After that, the album takes off, only to sputter once or twice before riding off in the distance. "Four Winds" and "If The Brakeman Turns My Way" are superb tracks, the first sounding more country than anything else on the album.

The fourth track, "Hot Knives," is probably my favorite off the album so far. One of the best lines is in this song: "I've made love, yeah I've been f*cked -- so what." It seems this and another soon to be mentioned line make an adequate description of this album. When many artists, especially in the emo/indie genre like to stick with the same problems that they have album after album after album, Oberst truly writes about what he is going through, and intends on figuring things out. His problems have changed, his attitude has changed (for the most part), and this can clearly be shown.

The most skippable track for me at the moment is the next song on the CD: "Make a Plan to Love Me." It's just not my style I guess.

"Soul Singer In a Session Band," "Classic Cars," "Middleman," and "Cleanse Song," are all beatifully written and scored songstories. I find myself having to listen to them over and over again to get new meaning, hear lyrics that I might have missed, and so on. "No One Would Riot For Less," is a chilling song about the frailty of life and living and the futility of war. It seems like a departure from the rest of the album, but at the same time it seems to fit perfectly.

"Coat Check Dream Song" is odd. But good.

"I Must Belong Somewhere" is a charming song that is a HUGE departure from his previous works, in "Lifted" and so on. It's often encouraging to hear Oberst change and realize that there is some sort of purpose, some sort of belonging.

Last and most definitely not least, "Lime Tree" is a song I dreamed about recently in a very creepy nightmare. This song is interesting, especially after the previous track. It sounds like it's someone trying to reconcile both sides, purpose and randomness, the "known and the unkown." It's a chilling reminder that we don't have answers, but we do have hope, but we can't know anything for sure, that there's life and death at the same time. And oddly, but almost perfectly, when it seems like there's more to say, more song to be sung, Oberst ends it with "I felt lost and found with every step I took."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

They’ll find some common ground
In which to wage a war
If you are in the way,
“You’re just collateral” they’ll say
But you’re the one they’re aiming for.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Week of Campus Preview.

Campus Preview. I like to compare Campus Preview to the time when your parents tell you to clean up the house and your room because guests will be over. Everything is cleaned and dusted and swept, but after the guests leave things go back to normal--everything just gets messy again. It's kind of this dishonest representation of school, but we do things like that all the time. Make-up or better grooming skills to impress a person we might be interested in. Driving the speed limit around police officers. Writing on blogs like these in attempts to sound important. We always want to appear like we know what we are doing, that we're somehow better than we really are. I guess that's okay.

That's completely not what I want to talk about though. This week has to be the busiest and craziest week I've ever had during college. From a week ago Sunday my regular schedule began at 8 in the morning and did not let up until around midnight or two in the morning. Sunday, it was working from 6-12, then filming a video for campus preview from 3-5, then editing it from 5-nearly midnight.

Monday I had classes at 8, 11, 1, then I worked at Harris until 5, then worked at WRAF until 12, but worked on the campus preview video until around two.

The days lasted and lasted, and I couldn't be happier that things are over with. I helped out with multiple videos, and didn't mind it at all, but it was so overwhelming. Thank you to everyone who helped me relax whenever possible.

This week I'm going to try my hardest to relax a little more.