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Daily Rantings

Neil Convery

Well, I guess I'm going to give this a shot. I don't know how many of you will really care to read this on a regular basis, but I think I'll do it anyway. Don't expect this to get updated everyday though. If I'm doing good it will be up dated two or three times a week. That is if I'm doing really good. Anyway... I hope you enjoy! E-mail me!


05/07/03
"I Know Nothing"

I know nothing. Well, at least that is how it seems. Maybe I'm just fickle, I hope not. I'd rather attribute my ever changing mind to growing as a person. Becoming more rounded and more grounded as an individual. I don't know...

If you've read this site for any amount of time, I think you would quickly realize two things about me. I love Politics and I have Faith in Christ. I thank God for the Faith (the Gift) because everything else seems to change with the wind. Believe it or not, at one point in my life I was registered a republican. I still think they got it right on some things, but that quickly changed and I quickly registered Independent. Well...Bob Casey needed some help here last primary and I went Democrat (Got to support that Living Wage issue). Anyway...It just amazes me how much of a fool we often make ourselves out to be when we talk so strongly about subjective things, about things that definitely should have opposing and differing views.

Neil

Reading List:
"Desiring God" by John Piper
"The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"" by C.S.Lewis

Listening List:
"Druken Lullabyes" Flogging Molly
"Reherals for Departure" Damian Jurado
"It's Hard to Find a Friend" Pedro The Lion
"Wake Up and Smell the Coffee" Cranberries


10/23/02
"Good Times"

Ahh...Work is over! It is really hard to explaing how good it feels to be off work and at home right now. Anyway...As I walked in the door, I noticed that I had a couple messages on my answering machine. That made me kind of happy. It is nice to know that people think about you sometimes. Well...the first message the caller just hung up and didn't leave a message (Oh well...It was probably just some telemarketer.). The second one was from one of the local candidates for state representative asking for a vote. So again...another dumb message. Obviosly I'm let down at this point... I thought people were thinking of my wife and I...but nah...just people trying to get something from us or neglecting to leave a message at all... Alas, I checked the last message. Yes! Yes...that is a voice I know. Boom...The third message ended up being a old friend from High School. Man did that message take me back. In my mind, I experienced my last two years of high school all over again and this time in the matter of 30 seconds. It was an old friend. Not a best friend by any means, but still, someone I felt dang comfortable around and had a lot of good times with. Someone I played in bands with, went to shows with, heck even wrote this zine with. Anyway...That made my day...and I thought I'd share it with you...

Neil

Reading List:
"Cash" by Johny Cash

Listening List:
"It's Hard to Find a Friend" Pedro The Lion


1/30/02
"The Dream and Leadership"

This past Monday I attended a lecture by Kevin Powell at Clarion University. Normally these things that are sponsored by the school don’t catch my attention, but the topic being spoke on was “Looking for Martin: Are Dr. King and His Dream Still Relevant” and that got me interested. I was interested on hearing what he would have to say about that. Especially since I believe that a very large majority of our population believes that institutionalized racism is no longer a problem in America. Anyway…My going to that speech is why I’m writing this rant. It was awesome and dang it, it was moving. As you can see, it has moved me to write.

Dr. King… What a man! What a leader! Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one individual that I do not believe that this nation will ever forget. He has been implanted into the conscious of the American people and I believe that he is one man that time will not take away from our memory. Many streets, schools and social institutions from cities all across America carry his name as a reminder to us all of his life and his death. There is very little question that we will not forget about him. But the question is… What will we remember? Will we remember that he was the recipient of a Noble Peace Prize? Will we remember that he was a leader in one of the greatest movements of people this nation has ever seen? Will we remember his commitment to using non-violent civil disobedience as his weapon? Maybe we will remember that he was killed by an assassins bullet? Could we with time still remember that he was strongly and outspokenly against the Vietnam War? At the least, we should remember a sound-bite from his “I Have a Dream” speech. All of these things I think we will surely remember. Our history books may just glance over his stance on the Vietnam War, but these things will be remembered.

One of the hardest things for us to remember, I think will be the fact that this was just a mere man. Flesh and Blood like you and me. No doubt he was a great leader, but I do not believe that he did any more than respond to his reality the best way he knew how. He saw with his own eyes those whom this nation calls upon to serve and protect, beat down young men and young women because they were trying to attain their God given rights to be recognized and treated as a human being. They experienced the stinging blows of the club, the cutting bites of dogs, and the humiliation of being denied their personhood all because they were trying to bring justice and equality to this land. Dr. King could look back and hear history tell him that for the past 130 years the African-American people had been denied of what was promised to them, and even more, for the past 300 plus years they had been denied what they fully deserved. He had heard flocks of people tell him that the time was not now and that he should wait, all a long knowing fully well that wait almost always meant never. He was a man who saw oppression and was sick of allowing it to have its way with the African American people. He wanted justice. He wanted freedom and true freedom for himself and his people. But again, He was just a man who responded the best way that he knew how to all that he knew was wrong.

Dr. King was an incredible individual. As a leader he heard the call and moved forward to accept it. There is no doubt about this. But by us recognizing the greatness of this individual, does that prohibit us from seeing him as a whole person? What I mean is, is he more than a symbol, is he more than a sound-bite to us? Are we capable of believing that this man smoked cigarettes? A man that devoted his life to the cause of freedom and true freedom, could smoke cigarettes? Are we able to believe that this man could be accused of being unfaithful in his marriage? Yes… This is a common man like you and me. Are we able to believe that this great leader struggled with his self esteem? Yes…Martin Luther King Jr. was a man. Just like you and me.

“So what is your point?” you ask. Listen and look around right now. Where are our leaders? Again, Where are our leaders? Why is it that there is no one standing up, no one answering the call? Is it that all our problems are fixed? I don’t think so… I don’t think they are at all. Do we still have poverty? And tell me, why is it that our welfare system simply maintains poverty and does very little, and maybe nothing to pull individuals out of poverty? Are there still structural educational barriers between black and white, city and the suburbs? Yes there is. And the list can go on. Why do we not have leaders, and what I mean is real leaders anymore? Leaders who are deeply concerned and deeply rooted in the issues of the people.

Is it because we are afraid that leaders must be blameless? Is it because we expect leaders to be stripped of all the vices that come a long with being human and we know that we can’t live up to that? This is my fear. MLK was an incredible man, but he was simply, just a man! Is that great leader so much different than you and I? Are we afraid of exposing ourselves by standing on that soap box and rallying the people for a noble cause? Are we afraid of speaking at all? Maybe we are, and that is fine. There will be others to do that for us. To be a leader, not everyone has to be the speaker. You look and you will see, MLK was not alone in leading the marches that he did. He was surrounded by what could be considered a whole staff of leaders who did what King did not, or could not. We all have different gifts. Maybe yours is organizing a meeting, a rally, an event for that soap box preacher to speak at. Leadership can be so many different things. It can be promoting the event by creating flyers, hitting the street and getting the word out. Heck…It can be as simple and as little as saying to your friends, “Hey…Let’s go check out that guy/girl who is speaking tonight.” I mean…If your gift is writing, then for the love of what is good, WRITE! In that you will be raising the conscious of the people. Do what you are enabled to do! Do you catch what I’m saying? There is still work to be done. Let us not allow our comfort or our apathy lead us to do nothing in this world… Are you willing? Are we willing to become the leaders that we should be? The time is now! Let us not hesitate!

Listen, That is all I got for this… I just really want to encourage you to check out this web-page. It contains a number of his speeches, which I’d really like you to seriously read. How many of us can say that we have honestly read or heard the “I Have A Dream” speech in its entirety. And even more, the man spoke a lot more than just that one time. Read as many of those speeches as you can. Make sure you check out “Beyond Vietnam” as well. Anyway, I just thought it might be helpful to take a look at the man whom we take a day each year to remember.

MLK Online

In Christ,
Neil

Reading List:
"Kropotkin" by Miller
"Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven" by Smith


01/28/02
"What's been going on"

Dang...I haven't written on here for a while. I figure I should leave you guys with a little bit of an update on this section so here we go.

For the two of you who have been wondering what I've been up to since 12/01...well...Let's see... Over Christmas break I worked for a telephone book distibution company. As simple as that sounds, it was really quite an experience. I heard more Spanish in that one week of temporary employment than I've heard in my entire life. The guys working with me were all from down South, mainly Miami. One was originally from Columbia, one from Cuba and one from the Dominican Republic. Let me tell you, they worked their butts off...not only that, but they brought in some nice money. The one guy brought in $100,000 last year! Isn't that crazy? I mean here is the job, you do one of two things, either break your back unloading Truck after Truck of their skids of Telephone books, or you actually go out on runs. Basically the money is in the runs, so that is what these guys tried to do most often.

Anyway...after break, I came back up here to school. I started up my crappy job at the local discount retail shop up here. So that sucks, but in addition to that, I got a job as a Social Science Tutor at the school, I'm pretty pumped about that. Ummm...and that my friends is basically my life right now. School, work, and that is it.

I was fortunate enought to get out of town this weekend though. Friday my band had a show at IUP with just some awesome bands. We got there late (Sorry Dave...) and got to catch the last half of this awesome, awesome band called the Mad Cows. I'm serious, I was really, really into them. They were the kind of band that both Hardcore and Punk kids can dig pretty easily. After them we played. When we were done, Broken Free played there set. Now, I know I've said it in the past, but keep your eye's out for these guys. They just rock. They picked up a new singer and a new guitarist, but they are gonna mesh just fine. ANyway, after them the Psuedo Hero's played. That was another band that kind of caught my attention pretty well. It was a very good show, with some great bands. The only thing that bothered me about the whole night, was a couple things I saw happen in the crowd. Now hear me out.... GIRLS!!! BECOMING THE SCENE SLUT IS NOT A GOOD THING! I don't get it. I really don't get it and it kind of breaks my heart in a way. There were two girls there that, I don't know, might have been 17, and they were just letting these pricks feel them up. One guy would grab her butt, another her breasts, and another, well...you know... I'm really not trying to sit in a seat of judgement here and condemn these people either, it is just it really makes me sad. What have these guys done, what have WE done to make a girl feel like she needs to just pass herself around like that. If it is for anything other than for the sheer sensation then I think we are all mistaken. I think they feel like they are getting attention and therefore some sort of respect from some of the scenesters. Let me correct that for everyone. THE SCENE SLUT is not respected by those boys, they do nothing but use her and allow her to think what she may about the situation. Man...I don't know...I'm done with that topic...

Anyway...so tonight I posted up the first part to "An Anarchist Critique of the Global Economy." I really hope you guys check that out. I'm not putting that up, because I'm an Anarchist. That is something I'm not. I am posting it because I believe it provides an excellent critique of what is going on with the whole idea of globalization. It provides information that I don't think we often see. I'm not putting it up to convert anyone to believe anything, but I do want it on this page to empower you with knowledge that you may not have now about a very important issue. Please check it out and use the message board to discuss it.

Well...that is all I got tonight. I need to hit the sack... I have class at 9:30 tomorrow. Crap! Later...

Reading List:
"Father's and Sons" by Ivan Turgenev
"Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing To Heaven" by James Bryan Smith

Play List:
"The Times They are a Changin" Bob Dylan
"Over the James" Avail
"D.L.T.B.G.Y.D." the Toasters
Fat Boys


12/01/01
"Dance Party"

Heck yeah! Yesterday was a dang good day. We had a show down at IUP last night. It was with two punk bands. They were both all right... The first, well I don't know... some of the stuff sounded like it would have been cool 20 years a go, but now, it almost sounded a little cheesy, but other than that, they were all right. And the other band, well they were definitely talented. They sounded like...hmmm.... well...MxPx....Anyway... So we played our set. It was just dang fun. I mean, there are sometimes we play and it is just like, all right, lets get this over with. But, I don't know, it was just fun... Sometimes it goes like that. That is not what made yesterday good though.

You see, As a band, we use to hang out all the time. I'm serious...Every friggin day we hung out. We'd sit out on the front porch. Then go skate. After that, we'd go practice. The guys would start writing a song and I'd go listen to the Descendents. After they put a song together, they'd come up and we'd all just sit around listening to punk rock albums. Then we'd go practice again. It was kind of rediculous. But regardless... We loved it. I loved it, and I guess that was what it was all about. It was friendship. Friendship even more than the music, and it's still that way. The day it stops being that way is the day this starts to suck real bad. So anyway, yesterday was good because I got to seriously hang out with the guys and some other old friends. It was just like old times. Old times, only a little modernized. You see...This venue we played last night. Well we have this really dumb ritual that goes a long with playing there. After the show...We harass the guy who set it up to put on music we can dance to. Anymore, he just knows (And he just rocks in the process, but that is besides the point...). When the last band stops, he puts on some dang prom style dance music. You know..."Pump up the Jam..." "I Will Survive..." "Celebrate Good Times, Come on..." Yeah...Just the most un punk rock music you could ever ask to listen to. But that is what we do. And we dance all friggin night. I do want you to know that this is the only place that I'll be caught dead dancing at... at all. I mean, it is just not me. But at that place, at those times... I make a dang fool of myself. Heck...We dance until there is no one left at all. At that point, it becomes wrestling matches and the all mighty steam roller event. I don't know... Yeah...I guess this just seems like the most incredibly lame stuff that a Hardcore band could do. But hey! It's us, you know. I mean...We've never been about posturing in any way shape or form. But anyways, yesterday was a good day. I want that to happen more often.

You want to hear another wonderful thing that just made yesterday rock. I got the confirmation from Dave that BROKEN FREE is going to keep playing despite members leaving. I'm not joking... Despite, Two AWESOME kids leaving that band...They are gonna rock. They are with out a doubt one of my favorite up and coming bands. One of the few bands any more that still seems passionate about what they are doing. One of the few bands that dares to be a little original with their sound. And dang...their message. How many bands anymore does it seem like they are socially conscious of what is going on at all. I can't name many, but Broken Free plays hardcore the way it should be played... with a conscious. I can't wait to see where they go with these new members...

All right, I guess that is it for this little ditty. oh...oops...Dang another awesome thing from yesterday was just seeing a member of the IUP Family... You should have seen it. When our old guitarist use to go there, there was this dang family there. When you went there, you just felt it. You know that they had something special and you wanted to be a part of it. Well... Anyway... Yesterday, Kristen was at the show. It was good seeing her. Always fun and a dang good friend.

All right... I'm out...

Reading Material:
"Kropotkin"- by Martin A. Miller
"An Anarchist Critique of the Global Economy"- ?

Play List:
Face to Face
Ignite-"A Place Called Home"
Cause for Alarm-"Beneath the Wheel"
Hudson Falcons-"Desperation and Revolution"
Eric Clapton-"Unplugged"


10/27/01
"The Beef!"

Last night we had a show down in Butler, PA. The band that opened up played a Weezer cover. It made me happy. The band was called Blue Lights. They needed to practice more before playing, but besides being a little sloppy, the thought was good. Anyway, the band that closed the show and in that played for about 6 other kids than myself was called something like "Aurora" or something like that. DANG were they good. They were just really, really tight. They played that whole tech/death metal sound that normally I don't get into at all. But these guys are just really talented. Anyway, after that, I went over to my friends house for the night.

This morning my mom gave me a ride back up here to school. Seeing that I had nothing better to do all day than sit here at my computer and work on the page, I decided I'd go to My school's last home football game of the season. So...me and one of my friends up here walked over to the stadium. When we got there we spotted a handful of people we knew up in the bleachers. So we went up to be with them. They happened to be sitting right behind the band. Well...at the time we sat down, none of that band was in the bleachers except for one kid. So there was this whole empty space of where the band was suppose to be and then one guy sitting in the middle of it all.

Now, this guy obviously loved his football. He honestly cheered more than everyone else there. Not only that, but I think he could have taken on any soccer mom, any high school football fan, and any Hardcore singer in the state for being the most vocal. Heck, I think he could have beat the Cleavlend Brown's Dog Pound in a cheering contest if he had to. And there is no doubt he would if they were playing his mighty Clarion Golden Eagles or whatever the heck our symbol is.

I mean, o.k...here is an example of this guys dedication. This guy was not your muscle bound ex-high school jock. He was clearly a band kid from the start. To put it plain, a very over-weight and short band kid. Do you think this bothered him. No, not one bit. Matter of fact, he went so far as to allow himself to go under the nick name of "Beef." He down right encouraged it by shouting something like "Can you smell what the beef is cooking" or something like that, I don't know. Anyway, so...about the third quarter, the beef shouts out something like, "I KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS! DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS?" To this the band responds "The Wave." So...now I'm totally interested. This guy had my respect as it was, but now he was going to go down there and try and start the wave. To do this, he waddle's on down from the stands to the very first section of stands. I couldn't really here the guy, but I could sure see him. He was going absolutely crazy trying to get the crowd worked up. In the process he was working his face into a bright red, but that is besides the point. So he gets the crowd pumped and then takes off running down a long the bleachers. I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT! I never expected that. I mean this guy was all by himself. He wasn't being egged on by anyone but himself. So, anyway, as he runs down a long the bleachers everyone starts doing the wave. That is until he gets down to the other end. This is where he came into enemy territory. All the sudden, our hero starts going absolutely nuts. It was hilarious. There was the "Beef" taunting a whole section of fans. He screamed! He pounded his chest. Heck, the kid turned around for the section to see the back of his jacket which had the name of our school on it and he started pointing at it and flexing like we were world champs. It was hilarious. And the thing about it is that he wasn't smiling. He was dead serious. I mean obviously he was having fun, but it was serious buisness. You know, I could see anyone doing what he was doing, if they were smiling and joking around. Just teasing or something. But no... the "Beef" was straight up a serious, serious fan.

Well anyway, we lost in over time after missing a point after attempt. I really felt bad for the kicker. I'm sure he felt really bad. I don't even know if it was really his fault. It looked like a bad hold, but I'm sure he'll catch all the blame. Who knows? I hope people go easy on them.

I'm sure at this, the "Beef" was very dissapointed though. And I really don't blame him, it was a close game that came down to one play, and we lost out. Oh...well... I do want to leave him with one good thing though. That is since he brightened my day so, I'm awarding the "Beef" the fan of the game award. That is right. Mr. Beef This award is for you. You and all the other "Beef's" out there today. Freezing your butt off watching your favorite team lose, but still giving it all and ticking off everyone within 5 rows of you. You've earned it. You are the reason why football stays fun even when it sucks.

Music:
the Undecided-s/t
Ignite-"A Place Called Home"
Pedro the Lion
Social Distortion-"White Light, White Heat, White Trash"

Reading:
Rivethead- by Ben Hamper


10/25/01
"Labor and the Environment"

Well dang... I finally got this article I've been working on finished. Right now I'm letting a couple different people read over it before I post it on the site. It is titled "The problem with free trade" and I'm really excited about getting on here. I think I'll put it onto the politics now page. I'm having so many people read over it before I put it on here because, 1) My grammer sucks, and 2)I want people to look over my examples and main points to assure me I'm not conveying anything false with this. I'm kind of proud of it so far. I am a little afraid though. It talks a lot of environmental issues. This is not the big problem. The problem is that I don't want people to get the wrong impression that all I care about is clean air and stuff like that. Although, very, very important and it is a priority and something I value, it is not my first priority.

Let me give you an example. My father works at AK Steel down in Butler. He worked there when it was still called Armco. My Grandfather worked there before him, and I'm sure his father and his father did the same or something close to it. My whole friggin family that lives around here is blue-collar. With that comes a whole lot of pride. I don't know how to explain it. My Dad has busted his butt down there just so I wouldn't have too. When I first entered college it was just creeping in my vains. "You don't belong here." "Don't deny who you are." "Go Blue Collar." Kind of funny, but it is also kind of true. Now, I know when it comes down to it, I'm going do what I got to do and if that would mean doing my time down at the melt shop or whatever, I'd do it. JUST LIKE I'm sure the vast majority of the men and women down there now did. I don't deny for a second that I'd probably hate my job. But, there has always been something about it. I am the son of a machinest. Now, because I know that the only reason he busted his butt so bad, was so I wouldn't have to, I decided to at least ride this whole college thing out and then go from there. Besides anymore the shop wouldn't take some scrub like me. You got to have experience and I'll have nothing to show but a degree. Anyway, my point is whether or not I am part of that labor force or not, when it comes to issues and values, I am all about labor and that is where my interest mainly lies. Although the environment is a noble cause and something very much worth fighting for, Labor is my concern. You see there was an add being run across the bridge down down that had the picture of two dead fish a long the creek side and had the words. "AK STEEL! YOU NEED TO CLEAN UP YOUR ACT!" or something to that affect. Now...granted, heck yeah AK Steel needs to clean up their mess and stop polluting the friggin creek. But I'm sorry, if it comes down between my Dad and the people he works with getting a pay check and the fish. I'll take the pay check. AK should be kept accountable, but only in a way that is not going to jeopordize these guys jobs. You know what I mean.

It would be simple too. There are things that can be done and should be forced upon AK to clean up their pollution. I don't deny that. Heck if they don't do that they are still messing with quality of living conditions for many people in the community. I believe Labor and Environment need to harmonize. I don't know how it would look, but it needs to happen. Both need to be responsive to the issues that each present. The environment needs addressed, so do issues with labor. They need to work with each other, not against.

Music:
Pedro the Lion
Social Distortion-"White Light, White Heat, White Trash"

Reading:
Rivethead- by Ben Hamper


10/23/01
"A Rainy Day and a Skateboard"

It is about 4:00 right now. I'm sitting at my roomates computer just trying to use my time in a semi-constructive way until my 5:00 Geography class. On my way back to my apartment today it was raining, which kind of sucked, but I'm in no way in the worse now because of it, so I guess it wasn't so bad. Anyway, as I was walking a long our back alley to get here, I heard the rumbling of a skateboard behind me. I thought to myself, "What the crap is someone riding a skateboard in the middle of the rain for?" So I turned around and sure enough here comes some 14/15 year old kid riding his skateboard down the middle of the alley. Now, I never skated as a teenager, But it seems like every one of my friends did. So I had my share of time trying to skateboard. This meant I spent a lot of time on my friggin butt. Now for about a month or two when I was 16 I wanted to skate so bad that I was always out there, and at first it was rain or shine. Now, I wasn't a moron so it took me just once out in the rain to realize that didn't work to well.

I was out on my friends driveway one afternoon and it was raining. He had this stone stairway that was just perfect for us to ollie on and off of. Well at least it worked well enough when they didn't have the fun box kicking. (Which I could never get on to anyway. I sucked) So anyway, my friends weren't stupid they had been skating long enough to realize that it wasn't the smartest thing to be skating in the rain. Well anyway, I was determined to get something down. I was sick of sitting on the curb as all my friends were doing their thing. So... there I am just trying to get the dang board to stay with me as my feet left it. That was hard enough in itself for me. So I'm out there just trying to get this whole Ollie down (Which I never did.). I fell probably twice doing that. It didn't hurt or anything so I figured I was sick of that, I'd try for the stair way. So, I wheel off for the step and amazingly somehow I ended where I was suppose to be. ON TOP OF THE STEP!!!!

It was amazing. I mean, you got too understand. I sucked, I mean... really sucked. So, getting up on to that step was what I thought was the start of something good. I figured, hey I got up all right, I'll trying again. So...I set my self up again about 15 feet away and start skating to it again. I was coming in at an angle, which I did every other time, well...this time I went up like I did every other time that I didn't make it on to the step. This brought the front wheels to the top of the step and left the back two on the ground. (Man...I stunk.) Now because the step was completely wet from the rain instead of just stopping right there, my board slides down the step completely pulling my one foot with it. (My other foot was on the ground. Again, I stunk.) This caused me to completey just fall to the ground in the most uncoordinated clusmy fashing I could have possibly fallen. My legs go into the widest split I ever did my butt lands on the edge of the step and my back hits up against this stone wall. At that point, I thought life sucked. Needless to say, I didn't skate in the rain anymore.

I guess it was kind of nice seeing that kid today. I doubt he knows it, but he just put me down memory lane and it brought back a lot of faces that I don't think about much anymore. Heck I havn't seen most of them since I was 17. You know, Back then a vast majority of the Punk/hardcore kids skated. It was safe to say that if you saw a kid with a skateboard you'd probably see them at the next local show. Now, I don't know if the kids know anything punk rock besides your radio friendly punk rock jock band (ex. Blink,Fenix, you know what I'm getting at.). I mean, back then the kids listened to friggin Social Distortion, the Descendents, Face to Face, Sick of it All, Biohazard, heck I guess even NOFX. Now it is what? Korn? Blink? What? I guess it has just changed, I don't know.

Although, I'm not dogging kids in to that stuff. You got to start somewhere. I started with Macbre and Ministry. I just wonder if being involved with Hardcore and Punk Rock means the same thing to the kids coming in now, as it did to me (us?). I guess in a lot of ways I hope it doesn't. That is just me though.

Music:
Pedro the Lion
Social Distortion-"White Light, White Heat, White Trash"
Stretch Arm Strong-"Rituals of Life"
B.B. King/John Lee Hooker-"Back to Back"
Taj Mahal-"Phantom Blues"

Reading:
Rivethead- by Ben Hamper
The Jungle- by Upton Sinclair


09/21/01
"My Back Porch, Drunk Boys, and Flashing Lights"

Last night was kind of interesting. All my friends were at a party next door when I got back from my fiance's house. So, seeing that I was bored and lonely, I thought I'd stop in, see what all the hoopla was about. Well...Everyone that was there just rocks, but I found very quickly I wasn't in the sit around at a party kind of mood. It wasn't the people, it wasn't really anything besides I didn't feel like much of a people person last night. Anyway, so I left. I came back here and seeing nothing better to do, I picked up my guitar and went out on to the back porch. Besides having to deal with the chilly weather it was beautiful out there. I don't know what it is about that deck, but I love it. I don't know how many nights this summer I just sat out there trying to absorb this small town night into my skin. Yeah...I guess there was one annoyance last night. That is, we live one block from the biggest bar in town. On Thursday night I guess it is the place to be. It is interesting really. I just sit, play my guitar and watch everyone go to get their fill. On their way in there is always one or two groups that has some cocky guy in the group trying to impress some chica in his group. In attempt to show everyone in the group that he's the man he'll make some rediculously dumb remark like "Rock On DUDE!" Or even better the completely pointless "HEY...HAHAHA" Now when they are leaving the bar and not walking to the bar, these remarks mean something completly different. They are normally loaded and follow up these comments with some attempt at dialogue. Normally it is "How long have you been playing," or "I once new this guy who had this band." But that is just fun so it adds to the night, not so much annoys me. Anyway, back to my point about last night.

So I'm out there playing my guitar and I take my eyes from the street, stand up and decide I'm going to watch the stars a little. Well, as anyone and everyone does when they look at the sky at night, I saw a set of flashing lights and quickly decided I was looking at a plane. Then of course all my thoughts went back to Sept.11. Well anyway, I took my eyes from those lights and found another set. I thought to myself I wouldn't be caught dead flying the night that Bush addressed the members of the house stating exactly who we were after and thought that the people in those planes must be either really brave or in dire need of transportation by plane. As I was thinking that I found another set of flashing lights. At this point it was just like wow. As I turned around with my eyes to the sky I was just like, "What the heck." When I turned around their was three more sets of flashing lights exactly like the others I saw and one set that was definitly flashing in a different pattern.

Of course my mind starts racing in every direction that it shouldn't. Just then one of my room mates came back to the deck. After he counted all 7 planes my other room mate came out and did the same. Well...I couldn't figure it out for the longest time. They were just circling clarion over and over again. We followed them more than a couple times as they just kept circling little old Clarion, PA.

At this point I think my best guess is that they were planes from some base around here just doing drills and practicing or whatever. You know, getting some more air time before they go over. I don't know. I think the one plane with a different set of flashing lights was most probably a commerical jet because he flew a completely different pattern than the rest. Anyway, it was just kind of wierd and I thought I'd share it with you. It is not often I see planes circling above my apartment.

Music:
Ann Beretta-"Bitter Tounges"
Buju Banton-"Inna Heights"
Buju Banton-"'Til Shiloh"
Pedro the Lion-
Ignite-"A Place Called Home"


09/20/01

Today I just wasted about my whole day trying to get some pictures up for the web-page. After getting my disc stuck in the computer (By the way, it is still there.), I finally got my 4 pictures into my directory. Now, not only does it suck that my disc is still across campus stuck in some computer, but even more it has two articles that are almost finished that I was writing for the zine. The one had to deal with the problems with "Free Trade" and Globalization, while the other one has to deal with the issue of abortion and the idea of choice. I'm kind of excited to finish them both. But as it is, they seem to not be at my disposal right now. Anyway, so I'm a little peeved about that. That is all.

Music:
Weezer-"Blue"
Weezer-"Green"


9/13/01

Well another day has come and another day has gone. For about a month now I had it on my calander that I would be in Pittsburgh tonight to go see Pedro the Lion. I really hope that I will not regret this too much, but tonight I will not be at that concert. I don't really have the best of reasons either. One is my transportation to the show is a little shaky and the other is that I'd make a basket case out of my fiance if I did go. All is not lost though. Tonight there will be a free movie and discussion up town about globalization and the world bank and such. I wanted to go to that anyway. I'm not sure how to feel about all that and I'm not sure what is desired by those who are going to protest. So... tonight I'm going to get myself a little edumacation on all this. Should be good.

Music:
Avail-"Over the James"
CIV-"Set Your Goals"
Neil Young-"Harvest"
the Cranberries-"To the Faithful Departed"

Reading:
The Jungle- by Upton Sinclair
An Anarchist Critique of the Global Economy
The Economist


9/12/01

What words are there to say. The dictionary is not sufficient enough to explain the range of emotions that we've experienced over the past two days. It is rather amazing actually. For the first time in the longest time, it seems that we've bit hit with a heavy dose of awareness. There was not a TV on campus today that did not have something about the Terrorism in NYC and D.C. on. Not only that, but every lobby was packed full with students crowding to find out what was going on. So, I guess if we had to find something good to pull from all this crap, we could point out that this may have awoken a large majority of our population to events going on outside of thier hometown to things going on in this world.

Anyway, Yesterday I had class at 11:00 so of course, I slept as long as I could. A little after 10:00 my roomate comes knocking at my door to tell me the world trade center was just struck by two jets. Later in the day the numbers started to come in. I'm not sure how accurate they are, but regardless it was slightly numbing. Not paralyzing, but still a little shocking. Not so much, that someone would dare do this to the United States, but just that it would be done to so many innocent people.

One of the first things I wanted to know was WHY they would choose to do this. Why they would choose the World Trade Center. I guess the Pentagon is an understandable target, but why the World Trade Center. I don't have the answer to any of this. My thoughts on it are that they couldn't have picked a better symbol of America's role in the global economy and they were striking at that idea, but I don't know.

Many people don't understand how certain Arab people could possibly be rejoicing and applauding these actions. I don't understand it really either. Although the saying does go "Misery Loves Company" and I guess this tends to bring out the worst in mankind. You see, So many people do not understand why there is a wall between the Western world and the Middle East. That, I think is due to no interest in history. (Now, I have an interest in history, but I'll freely admit that I don't have all the facts straight.)If I'm not mistaken (And please correct me if I am.), I think it could be traced back to the first world war. I would not be surprised in the least if it could be taken back to the Crusades, but I'm fairly clueless on that procession. Anyway, during the first world war, the French and English were fairly clueless on how to fight on the desert sands of N.Africa. In order to learn, they were in many cases taught by N.Africans or people who were at one point part of the ottoman empire. In return the French and English promised that at the end of the war they would help these arab peoples establish a huge empire that would expand from the Middle East across N.Africa. Well, as we can now see that did not happen and instead they were broken up into many smaller countries. This tended to make many people quite bitter. The same thing happened at the end of the second world war. Only to add to this injury western nations helped Isreal establish themselves as a nation. This was done by taking land that Palestinians were occuping and splitting it into two. Of course this would not make the Arab peoples to happy and has further seperated the West from the middle east.

Anyway...with all that said, it looks like these are definitely being called acts of "war." What that really means, I'm not sure. But I can guess that we will be making some kind of military action in the near future. Towards whom, I do not know.

There will be a prayer vigil here tonight over at the stadium. There were two yesterday that I attended. It seems that we are moving in the right direction with this. Just as long as those prayers are not just words, but that they are the starting point for our action. Our action to respond to those in need, and our action to show mercy where mercy should be given. Last it should be the starting point of our movement towards meeting justice with just means. I hope that the prayers of this community will reflect that tonight.


8/30/01

So, School is back in session. I'm not real sure how to feel about it either. Oh well, it doesn't matter either way. This is my last year. (Thank goodness.) Hopefully I'll stay focused enough to get out of here. I started my internship this week as well. Now, I'm pumped about that. I'm working out of the office of Representative McIlhattan. He is the state representative for Clarion County (and parts of Armstrong) in PA. So far it has been awesome. I have a lot of stuff to learn though. Anyway...Besides school stuff that I have to look forward to, PEDRO THE LION is coming Sept. 13th!!!! Heck yeah... Me and a busload of my friend are headed down for that. I havn't been this excited for a show in a long time. I don't know what it is either. I'm usually not into this kind of stuff. But, from the moment I heard Pedro I was hooked.

Besides that, My Fiance and I are planning a Corn Roast. It should be fun. I'm sure the majority of you reading this have no idea what a corn roast is and that is just kind of funny to me. I don't know if it is just a tradition of my family or a tradition of the area my mom was raised or what. But anyway, It will be fun. We are inviting a whole slew of people. Besides that, not much going on. I'm trying to find a job. Just cross your fingers with me that I don't end up at fast food again. UGHH!!!


8/21/01
"Jocks and Freaks"

Dad went nuts this week. He went and got tickets for two different Pirates games for me and him. We went to one of them tonight. It was awesome. It is just funny. From as far back as I can remember up until I was 13 or 14 Baseball was my love. Then I found punk rock and it was just like I quit all that stuff. It is kind of stupid now, looking back at it, but hey, that is what happened. You know how it is. Kids who play sports equal jocks and that is undoubtably a bad thing right? I mean if all the punks at your school say so, well then they have to be right, don't they? No, of course they aren't right. But, I mean, I do know what all of us were rebelling from when we deemed all jocks as bad. It is the attitude and the stigma and for goodness sakes we were embracing the conflict. When I was in Junior High we still had the Jocks and the Freaks. It was a lot like the book "the Outsiders." Everyday there was some kind of tension and a lot of kids just got thrown into the opposing groups whether they wanted to or not you know. Me, well, in 8th grade I listened to some Metallica and Macabre. But I never really identified with the leather jacket, combat boot wearing, "Freaks." I never dressed the part, plus I liked other music like nirvana, Bob Seager, and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. It wasn't until 9th grade that I really found out about Hardcore and Punk Rock. So, anyway, I kind of road the fence between the "Jocks" and the "Freaks." (It is funny though, back then, it seemed that if you weren't a "Freak" then by all means you must be a jock. hehe) When I then started inching closer and closer to the leather jacket kids, well... it just became natural. "Better kill the jock in me." You know what I mean. Pretty rediculous. Anyway, by the time I got into Hardcore and Punk people didn't talk much about the Jocks and the freaks anymore. It was just kind of "Us" and "Them." Still just about as rediculous as "Jocks" and "Freaks."

Anyway, so here I am again. Back where I started. Listening to Counter Culture music and loving sports. It is beautiful. (Although with the Ramones being played at just about every sports event you can go to, it is not that big of a deal anymore.) I'm sure my credibility is shot now with some people, but I could really care less. If our music scene has anything to do with individuality then it should allow for freedom in more than just musical taste. Punk Rock should not confine our tastes and the things that make us happy. I think in the end it just gives us a different perspective upon it. I don't know... I'm no authority on punk rock and I don't try to be.

I know this is kind of a silly topic to write on, but it was just something I was thinking about and I wanted to write it down. I don't expect it to be any kind of big revelation to anybody and if anyone feels I just wasted their time, please except my apologies. I guess I didn't expect much out of this to connect with many people, but maybe we'll get lucky. :)

Sites I've been visting today:
Decapolis
Buzz Grinder
Corn Zine

Music:
Broken Free
Chasing Tomorrow
7th Star


8/09/01
Well... I just finished my last final. Thanks goodness! Early Western Civilization is now done. Time to move on to the History of American Labor (Hist. class I start this fall.)!

Tomorrow I leave for Myrtle Beach. It is going to be nice to actually have a break from school. I don't really know what to expect though. I heard it is just like a city at the beach. That should be interesting. My Fiance's family is taking me. It is so incredibly nice of them to do so and I'm really looking forward to it. Although, I'm not going to be able to update this thing for about a week. Don't get all upset. I promise I'll continue it as soon as we get back. :)

I've been working on writing an article for F.L.Y. It should be interesting once I get it finished. I don't know what you guys are going to think of it, but hey, it has been on my mind. I'll give you a little hint. It has to deal with the concept of choice (when dealing with abortion) and also and probably more importantly when an individual has the moral right to choose if they will kill another individual. I don't know how it is going to go over or even finish as of now. I'm pulling a lot from my ethics class and the style of writing we used there. It can be hard to get use to. Oh well!

Anyway, I'm at work again. Only 2 1/2 more hours of this shift and then 2 hours tonight. Kind of sucky shifts. I can't complain though. I don't do much here. On my two hour break, I guess I have to pack up. We are leaving for Erin's house tonight. That will be interesting. I don't think they know we are coming yet. hehe... I love those guys... Well... I think that is all for today. I won't update this again until next week. Until then, Go out and pick up "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis. I'm reading that right now. When I get back, we'll discuss. So far, it is pretty dang interesting.

Sites I've been visting today:
Decapolis
Buzz Grinder
the Undecided

Music:
Nothing- I'm at work. hehe...


8/08/01
One day left till summer session is over and 2 1/2 weeks till fall session. Oh well. You can't get the best of scenario's all the time. So, I should be writing my paper on the influence and effects of religion on early western civilization right now. But, I'm not. I'm completely unmotivated. I guess I better get motivated. At least before 10:00 tomorrow morning. So much crap to do, and not all that much time to do it.

I got glasses yesterday. I was in such dire need of these things. Finally I have them. Although, my eyes I feel are violently reacting to the fact that they can see now without me having to strain my whole face. Actually before I got these, I was probably a pretty funny sight for my teachers and kids in my class. I sat up front in both my Hist. and Geog. class. I had to. Even with being in the front I couldn't read their writing. It is no wonder the kids around me would huff and puff as I raised my hand for them to clarify something. Oh well... I have them now. Aren't you excited!

Just a half hour longer for my shift here at work. I work in the periodicals section of the library at Clarion University. It is actually a pretty cool job. Besides checking in journals, putting newspapers on the racks, and putting the security tape into bound journals, I can basically do what I want. Heck, without this job this summer, I don't know if I would have been able to keep up with Friends Like You. Normally if I don't have work to do for the library, and I'm caught up with my homework and updating F.L.Y., then I'm reading. Mostly books, but there are a couple journals here that I've been reading on a regular basis this summer. The Economist is the one that I've read the most. Dang good Magazine, but dang expensive. It is like $125 for a years subscription. That is nuts! Anyway... I've gone long enough with this entry. I doubt more than a handful of you will read this far, but if you do, thanks... and I hope you enjoy this new addition to the site!



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