Archive for October, 2004

Lessons form the Moon

Posted by on Thursday, 28 October, 2004

Yesterday I was leaving school rather late, and I glanced up to see a small sliver of moon. This struck me as odd, because I was certain that the moon had been nearly full the night before. Then I recalled some mention earlier this week of an eclipse.

I walked on through the parking lot. Although it was not raining at that time, it had been raining off and on throughout the day, and I had the hood of my jacket up, which dramatically decreases my field of vision. After walking for a time toward my car, I glanced up again. I was momentarily surprised, then embarrassed to discover that the moon was not where I was looking for it. Without consciously thinking about it, I had been expecting the moon to be directly over the spot in the parking lot where I had first seen it, and I was now looking for it somewhat behind me, when it was actually in the exact same place relative to me that it had been before.

Did you really think that you could walk so far that the moon could not keep up? Foolish mortal.

So, narrowed vision, partially obscured, looking in the wrong place, yet, the moon is still there, exactly where it was before. Those with ears should hear.

Here’s another song that’s NOT about Jesus Christ…

Posted by on Thursday, 28 October, 2004

I have occasionally alluded to, but never fully explained, the fact that I used to be a musician.

I own a number of guitars. There was a time when I even knew how to play them. A friend that I have roomed with off and on over the years plays bass, and we fancied ourselves as rockstars and wrote a number of songs under the moniker Less is More. We did try playing with a drummer for a time, but eventually gave up on him due to what you might call a “fundamental inability to get on the same page.” That relationship probably officially ended when we preformed our one and only public appearance without bothering to tell him about it. That “performance” was at an open mic night at a local coffee house, where we had previously seen a band that seemed to introduce every other song with, “Here’s another song about Jesus Christ,” and it became a joke that we should introduce all of our songs in the negative. (And God looked down at me and said, “Heehee, I want that one.”) Anyway, not long thereafter, my roommate moved to Colorado to pursue other dreams, which happened to coincide with when I began to explore Christianity.

On my first discovery of Christian radio, I was amazed at how upbeat the “positive alternative” really was. My songs, though not particularly dishonoring to God, were all so very dark and depressing, that I felt it might be best to retire them. As Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful” (1 Cor 10:23). Whatever else could be said, that particular style of music was not helpful, and so I put all my guitars away in the closet so that they could “think about what they had done.”

A few years previously, I had visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in that great tribute to sin and decadence, a devout agnostic at the time, I said to myself, “If there really is a Devil, then surely he must be responsible for THIS.” So I was initially quite impressed with Christian rock. Here they were, reclaiming the Devil’s music in the name of the Lord. I mean, “Christian Rock” is a pun anyway- I would think that the Devil has got to be kicking himself over that one.

Then I found a web page devoted to denouncing Christian Rock. Claiming to be a former rock enthusiast himself, he went into great detail on the evils of Contemporary Christian Music, and some of the specific transgressions of some of the more popular CCM artists. His argument was that it was not about the words, it was the music itself. Music undeniably has the power to move people, and he was convinced that this was moving people away from God, regardless of the lyrics. The point was really driven home when I read a review of the most recent Kutless album in a Christian music magazine which actually stated, “Some of the words are hard to make out unless you read the liner notes, but what kind of rock album would it be if you could understand all [of] the lyrics?” So, who cares what they’re saying, these guys rock?

One day the DJ on the Christian Radio station announced that artist Jeremy Camp was either engaged to or had married the lead singer of another Christian band, the Benjamin Gate. She then commented, “She’s a lucky girl.” I found it interesting that she did not say, “There’re lucky to have found each other,” or “I hope they are are happy together,” or anything of the sort, implying that she did not feel that Jeremy Camp was a lucky guy. I further inferred that this was because she wanted to marry him herself. Do you think they had ever actually met, and she respected him as a Godly man? Or really, just because he’s a rockstar?

Though I did think that some of his analysis was rather extreme, I was pretty much in agreement with this web page. Unfortunately, he ruined the entire thing in the conclusion by stating that he welcomed anyone to refute any of his arguments as long as they provided scripture reference, from the King James Version only. Oh, so you’re one of those people.

Is Christian rock really taking something profane and making it holy? One might make the same claim for “Christian porn.” Anyway, I could not come to a conclusion on this issue, so I decided to refrain from playing until I did.

Interestingly enough, I was surprised to discover in a book that I already owned, that The Edge, guitar player for the band U2 and heavy influence on my own guitar playing, actually debated quitting the band very early in their career, because he did not think that the rock and roll life style was appropriate for a devout Christian. (I guess he got over it.) There has been a great deal of criticism over whether or not U2 is a Christian band. I find it interesting that the Christian radio stations do not play U2, but they do play several cover versions of U2 songs. What I ultimately realized was that while many of their songs are about God, they don’t actually glorify God. Oh, you mean, kind of like this web site? [QUIET YOU!]

Ahem, so anyway, for the past couple of months I have felt a strong draw to return to my music. So far, I have not yet determined whether this is the urging of God, or really just me slipping back into old ways.

Because I Can

Posted by on Saturday, 23 October, 2004

For those who are not heavily into the Apple scene, all new Macs ship with a program called Garageband, which allows people with no musical ability whatsoever to create whole songs by piecing together pre-recorded loops, and it automatically adjusts their key and tempo to match.

So, a few weeks ago, just to familiairze myself with the program, I put together this country/trip hop song, because I felt that particular genre was sadly underrepresented in the current music scene. (That’s just one of several inside jokes in this song.) I did not write a single note of this, (and I even downloaded the vocal sample) but I’m putting it up anyway, because, well, because I can.

Utsukushiki Mononi Tuite Katarimasho

Posted by on Thursday, 21 October, 2004

“Say something about beauty”–the Ungame

She has a smile that would make wise men do foolish things… and I am not a wise man.

That’s not particularly relevant to anything, but it’s been in my head for awhile. I thought it had a nice ring to it but it didn’t fit into any of my other postings.

Tim, I can’t help but notice that your blog now has a flower on it.

Yeah well, I had planned to make my own template when I first started this. I even took an online crash course in CSS, only to discover that I didn’t have any design ideas. So until I get around to that, here’s this nice water lily. ‘Cause it’s raining.

Speaking of Songs About October…

Posted by on Monday, 18 October, 2004

Here’s one. I wrote this song about five years ago. It was among those I had abandoned for being too depressing, but, well, today it just seems appropriate.

The Art of Letting Go


We’re growing colder

And the days and the nights

Are getting sober

You and me

He and she

With nothing in between

Autumn chill

Midnight thrill

REM, and Halloween

Winter, Spring

Summer again

And nothing’s changed…

… But everything

The sun’s gone down

It’s twilight now

As the whole world fades to black

Asleep at the wheel

Feeling things I shouldn’t feel

I burned the bridge, but I’m swimming back

If there’s an art of letting go

It’s trick I’d like to know

If there’s an art of letting go

It’s trick I’d like to know

[well i guess i can’t complain- she taught me how to lie]

[i let her slip away, i didn’t even try]

If there’s an art of letting go

It’s trick I’d like to know

October Sunday

Posted by on Sunday, 17 October, 2004

I always hated Sundays. Growing up, it was supposed to be a weekend; a day off, like Saturday. Only it never was, because I had to do homework and chores and whatever else before Monday. Later in life, I had a job where I had to work on Sundays. It was only for three hours, but it was right in the middle of the day, so I couldn’t make any big plans, and I was only making minimum wage at the time anyway, so it was pretty much a wasted day for about twenty bucks. So Sundays always felt like a rip off.

I liked October. Maybe it was just that the shortening days interacted in such a way with my schedule that it seemed to be twilight a lot longer than in other months. October is a little gloomy but not really cold, and, to me at least, it seemed to have a perpetual sense in the air of old things passing and new things beginning– a surreal time, like when you are on the edge between waking and sleeping and reality mixes with dreams in strange ways.

At one point, I wanted to write a song called “October Sunday” to try and capture the contrast of my least favorite day with my favorite month.

Well, times change. They don’t even have Autumn in Phoenix, and somehow, it just hasn’t really been the same since I came back. For the past year or so, Sunday has become my favorite day of the week.

It was raining when I woke up this morning. Since there was no food in the house, I went for a short walk in the drizzle to the grocery store around the corner. There was the peculiar smell of fire mixed with rain- very surreal. October Sunday. On days like this, I wish I was a rockstar.


Posted by on Friday, 15 October, 2004

The most common response I seem to get to this page is that people have no idea what I’m talking about. I can’t help but wonder, is that unusual?

In a rare moment of clarity, I thought I would explain a few things, X-Files style.

A Scarecaster is something like a Telecaster, custom made for a scarecrow. So that should pretty much clear everything up then, right? Good. Let’s talk about something else now.

I was recently asked what my biggest regret was. So I thought about it. Then I thought some more. And some more. Finally it hit me, and I responded, “Taking too long to think things over.” It would have been a joke if only it was not so true. I have a bad history of thinking too much, trying to look at something from every possible perspective, and taking so long to figure out what to do that I usually end up doing nothing at all and miss the opportunity entirely.

So, what the heck happened to me on [hold on a second…] September 27th? Well nothing happened to me exactly… I was at school and I saw something that took me quite by surprise and managed to trigger some old memories. I was hit with a profound blast of missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams and spent the next few days drowning in waves of old memories. Then I came to my senses.

I have been wondering if anyone with modest math skills would recognize that I have been a Christian for slightly over a year, yet I just declared that I have learned nothing at all for the last two. Now obviously I must have learned something. In all truth, the past couple of years have probably been the most enlightening of my whole life. However, when I had come to my senses, I realized that I was well on my way to duplicating a predicament that I have been in before. So how much have I really learned if I’m still making the same old mistakes? What good is knowledge if it doesn’t translate into practical wisdom?

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,

but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

–Proverbs 1.7

So, I trust that raises more questions than it answers. If it makes anyone feel better, I’m not really sure what “Chasing Ghosts” is about either.

Brave Nude World

Posted by on Thursday, 14 October, 2004

Awhile back I heard something on the radio about “separation of church and state” and was inspired to write this story. I gave it to one friend to read. At the time I was going for straight up shock value so I gave it to him with no explanation whatsoever. I don’t know if he missed the analogy I was trying to make and was just incredibly disturbed that I would write such a thing, or he just thought it was stupid, but he never mentioned it again and I let it go.

I happened to be thinking about it again recently and thought I would go ahead and post it. I admit, it’s a pretty lame story but hopefully you can at least see the point I was trying to make.

The Dress Code.

There was an old and prominent Institution. The Institution had many strict and unfair rules, and there was much dissatisfaction. Convinced that the flaws within the Institution were insurmountable, a small group decided to leave the Institution to establish their own Institution.

The founders met to draft a charter for the New Institute. They carefully reviewed all of the rules of the Old Institute, and created their own rules to reflect their new attitudes. One man, who felt stifled by the obligation to wear a coat and tie at all times, boldly declared, “There shall be no dress code!” Many others agreed, and it was written into the rules.

Some of the men continued to wear their coats and ties. Others gratefully did not. Though some of the formally dressed men may have been seen to look upon their casually dressed contemporaries with slight disdain, the people were generally comfortable, and most agreed that it was a good rule.

Time passed.

One day, a man decided to wear jeans. Even many of the casual dressers considered this to be inappropriate. Yet they all agreed, “There shall be no dress code,” so no one said anything. In fact, no one spoke to him at all that day. The next day he wore trousers, like everyone else.

The New Institute had grown considerably, and there were many young members who had never known the Old Institute. Talk began to circulate among some of the younger members. “It isn’t right,” they said, “There’s still a de facto dress code in effect.” So they began to wear jeans, and pull-over shirts without collars, and even tennis shoes.

The original founders had long since retired. The current leaders were uncomfortable with these new attitudes. They debated, they argued, but the rules were clear, “There shall be no dress code.”

Soon there were ponchos, saris, caftans and kilts, and their diversity was applauded. Others wore t-shirts, shorts, sandals and sweats, while those who had not even abandoned their ties were increasingly regarded with scorn. One man came in a dress and high heels. “This has gone too far, there is too much distraction!” The leaders cried. “This certainly is not what the founders intended!” But the people insisted, “There shall be no dress code!”

A man arrived in his underwear. He was immediately sent home, certainly common decency must still apply. His fellows grew livid. “‘There shall be no dress code!’ We can wear whatever we please, even nothing at all!” So they began doing just that.

Many were shocked and disgusted, and they lost respect for the leaders’ ability to maintain order. They began establishing private dress codes within their offices and departments. “You can’t do that!” people protested, “There shall be no dress code!” But the leaders refused to take action.

Animosity grew. As the time went on, and the old leaders retired, the undressed slowly became more prominent and powerful in the Institute, until eventually, the majority of the leaders agreed with them. They called all the people together and declared, “There shall be no dress code, so take off your clothes!”

Wisdomly Challenged

Posted by on Wednesday, 6 October, 2004

Once upon a time, I was the Equipment Manager for a small (non-travelling) circus. It was my job, technically, to “oversee” the set up and tear down of various circus apparati. Frequently, I would stand back and watch as someone did something completely wrong, and then, once they got to that “I have no idea how this works” point, I would come over to show them the right way.

Now, I did this for purely selfish reasons. I really don’t like to talk to people, so if I simply waited until they realized on their own that their way did not work, it spared me the trouble of having to explain why we do not do things that way, and made them far more receptive to the proper way of doing things, so the whole conversation was much shorter. Also, I would occasionally be surprised that their way actually did work, and I would do it that way myself from then on.

Interestingly enough, God is the same way. Not that God is lazy, antisocial, or has anything to learn from us, but for whatever reason, He will let us do something completely wrong for as long as it takes for us to figure it out on our own. Then when you are flush out of ideas, you may be surprised to find that God was standing there patiently watching the whole time.

I bring this up because I recently came to the realization that the only important thing that I have really learned in the past two years is that I have learned nothing at all.

Today though, I’m feeling optimistic. Maybe it’s because I have “F5/6” written on the back of my hand, and I’m confident that, at the end of the day, I will actually be able to find my !@#$%^& car.

I still prefer the term “Fool.”

Eulogy for a Scarecrow

Posted by on Sunday, 3 October, 2004

Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak;

they have to be carried, for they cannot walk.

Be not afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good.

— Jeremiah 10.5

Long story short, a Scarecrow is simply a straw man, hung on a cross, to ward off Blackbirds.

Another interesting feature of scarecrows is that they feel no pain…

For a long time I had planned to make a computer animated mini-rock opera called Dark World about the origins of the Scarecrow. However, I kept postponing this project for years until such a time when my musical ability and my almost nonexistent computer animation skills were up to the task. Ultimately, I got no further than a partial list of song titles, two of which actually have lyrics (somewhere) and some fragments of music.

A number of years ago I realized that the Dark World was not a very healthy mindset to live in and gave up on the whole thing, at which point the Scarecrow became simply my “rockstar” name. Having given that up, all that remains is a simple four letter abbreviation that unfortunately, people often misinterpret as mildly offensive. (It probably doesn’t help that I have, on occasion, facetiously declared my email address to mean “Screw Earthlink!”)

I thought it fitting to end with the last lyrics ever penned by the artist known as Scarecrow. This brief piece had the working title, “What Might Have Been,” but was never actually set to music.


As we grow older…

… we want different things

And in the days that follow…

… nothing’s the same

For no one cares…

… what used to be

And no one knows…

… what might have been

‘Cause a chance like that only happens…

… Once