… sometimes there is just nothing better….

Currently listening to:         Radiohead – Discography (Mix)

What’s the sound track to your life?


So for those of you that don’t know, I attend an amazing church that teachs the word of God in it’s entirety, without misenterpratation, or opinion.  I have found this church to be the most unwavering, biblically accurate, family and member oriented church that I have ever attended.  Completely submissive to the authority of scripture.  You can find them on-line at…  http://www.faith-bible.net/.  Within this church there functions a tight knit group … a cell if you will…  of college age, young families, and even some members of the church that are young at heart.  This group is called Kaleo, you can find them on-line at… http://kaleo.ws/ .  I have had the pleasure of serving in this group for 3 yrs. now, and God has done some incredible things in my life through these people.  Within Kaleo there functions even smaller tight knit goups  …cells within a cell if you will…  These are the groups that we collectively call Theology labs.  If you haven’t guessed already, these are smaller bible studies that have  heavy doses of theology, apologetics, philosophy, and causation included in the studies.  The study is meant to be done prior, and when we get together it is more of a question directed discussion.  The group that I attend meets up at Andrew Jackso…  err..  Eric Cobbs place of residents.  This particular study tonight revolved around methods, and intended messages for gospel conversations with un believers, and was influenced from a message that Tim Keller preached entitled “Absolutism: Don’t We All Have To Find Truth For Ourselves?“.  Needless to say, I love getting into these discussions.  Anything that includes theology, philosophy, and the gospel turns my mind on like a revving engine.  The discussion was lively, and I felt that everyone was right on in how they were answering questions about how to challenge false beliefs, and break down peoples walls on the subject of absolutism, and relativism, and objections to the gospel.  It is so important to remember that we are not there to win intellectual battles, and sway people into belief.  Nor are we there to make them feel un intelligent, or inadequate.  We are there to plant seeds.  It is the Gospel that has authority to change mens hearts.  And it is Gods work that softens, molds, and recreates.  Yes our God is soveriegn, and he chooses whom should know him, and when.  We as christians are merely vessels which God uses to deliver the gospel.  However…..  that is a big responsibility, and learning how to softly challenge peoples objectives so that the gospel can actually get past their pre-concieved notions, and misguided objections, requires us to be able to answer such questions that are rooted in bad philosophy, and lies that our world sells as truths.  During our discussion tonight, a couple of thoughts came into my head….  one of which I have already talked about above.   The others I will share with you now.  We have some incredibly smart, gifted, and educated people in our group.  I am more than blessed by all of them.  Brian Renicke you are the man, I don’t know how I missed the fact that you majored in Philosophy.  Tommy Shamilton, you have an incredible understanding for someone just getting in to theology…  please speak up more.  Tori, always willing to make sure you(we) have complete understanding and focus on the gospel.  Also a big self realization tonight.  We were actually doing mock scenarios, and during one of these, Eric challenged us by pretending to be someone who basically said “Even if God is real, and even if hell is real, I don’t want to obey him.  I’d rather go to hell than have to worship a God.  I am fine on my own.  I shouldn’t have to”  During this scenario we had some good questions as a group, but in my mind I was thinking like this….      okay first you gotta handle the Absolute truth vs. relativism debate –> then Creation vs. Evolution –> then Jesus, saviour vs. misconception –>  then Bible, word of God vs. good book –> then you can give the Gospel message.  And while I was still on this mental train ride figuring out how to build this guy a beautiful, strong, unwavering, glorious, foundation of faith…    A very sweet, soft hearted girl who attends our TL by the name of Amy Sowa asked “So your saying that you wouldn’t want to worship a God that loved you so much that he sent his Son here to earth, totally innocent, spotless, blameless to die on a cross, be a sacrifice for your sins, give you a way to have a relationship with God, and save you from hell?”  And immediately I felt like the class dunce.  See where my mind was going was….

OBJECTION–?—blah——blah—?—theology—–selfimportantbabel—-?—?—-blah——blah—–philosophy—-?—selfsatisfying———blah——> GOSPEL

What Amy did was….


It’s like when NASA was trying to solve their instrument peoblem back in the 60’s…  see pens don’t work when theres no force of pressure (gravity) to move the ink.  So in a continued effort to do everything bigger, better, and before Russia, they spent millions of dollars designing a pen that could write in zero gravity, and was small enough to still be relevant as a pen.  Guess how the Russians solved this problem?               ….they told their cosmonauts to use a pencil.  Thank God for girls like this that remind me that the Gospel is the important part, and it is enough.  A great spirit filled night tonight.  Looking forward to sunday message and worship.  Muellers gonna bring it.

Also today I just found out about hipstamatic!!!!  Downloaded it immediately.  Dude!!! This is the best app I have seen in a year!  So stoked on this thing seriously!  We had a lot of fun with it at TL tonight.  And now for your visual enjoyment…


Currently listening to:         Thrice – The Alchemy Index vol. I&II Fire & Water

What’s the sound track to your life? 

It’s amazing how much people complain about living in Temecula (Really southern california in general).  I hear people go on and on about how there is absolutely nothing to do in Temecula, or Murrieta.  People have told me that they hate the people, hate the culture, hate the weather, hate the traffic….  they say that they are gonna move away and never come back, but these people have no idea how good they have it.  I love living in Temecula!!!  It’s beautiful, the weather is great, we live an hour away from everything! (Mountains, snow, beach, desert, lakes, rivers, and San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles are just close enough)   We are known for our wine, our Casino/Resort, and our western history.  Our city is very low crime, and is mostly middle-upper class, and young families.  Our valley is very green, and well maintained.  I have been here for 21 years now, and I can’t see a reason to ever move away.  Now before you classify me as a shut in, who doesn’t know any better…    Let me say..   I have seen a lot of the country.  In my younger years I toured with a music group (Which is a whole other post entirely!), and we spent time in 47 of the lower 48 states, parts of Canada, and on the border in Mexico.  I also lived for a short period of time in Idaho.  There is some beautiful country in the US, some great and wonderful sub cultures, and plenty of friendly folks, and great places to live.  There are plenty of places I could happily spend my days.  But out of all of them I love Southern Californian the most.  Let me make a few points…     some topics to discuss if I may….

1.  …and most important, it’s not where you are, it’s who your with.  Now I am not only refering specifically to wives, girlfriends, and significant others, and family, although they certainly qualify…  But also important are friends, groups that you are part of, and (Specifically for me) churchs.  See I believe the old saying is true that “You are who you surround yourself with”.  And if have any of those afformentioned things above here in SoCal, then why would you want to leave them?  I know personally, the relationships, and friendships I have took a lot of time, effort, and experiences that can’t be replicated, in order to build them to where they are now.  Starting over just seems foolish.  I know that for some, that is the exact reason to move away, but I tend to see those people change their minds as they mature.  Even if that means coming back.

2. When people get settled into an area, they tend to fall into a pattern of routine that doesn’t involve taking advantage of their locations.  I know myself that I tend to work, sleep, hang out at the same 10-12 places in town, repeat.  But when was the last time you went to the beach? Tried a new water sport? went to see a professional baseball, football, or basketball team play?  Gone to a concert?  Gone wine tasting?  Gone up into the mountains? Gone into Mexico?  Gone to an amusement park?  Gone snowboarding?  Think of all the cool things to do, landmarks to visit, and things to see between Mexico, and LA!!!  When was the last time you even ventured outside of your cities limits.

3.  Although we do have earthquakes, and big cities….   We are not a “Concentrated population”. Meaning our population is spread out over a much larger area than many other big cities.  This is beneficial for many reasons.  Think about it.

4.  I can walk outside in the dead of winter in a T-shirt and not freeze to death.

5.  We have marvelous entertainment.  All the big acts come through SoCal, and theirs lots of venues to see them at.

6. We have always had a strong music scene, art scene, and fashion scene.  And hard to find items, are usually obtainable here.

7.  It feels like home.

These are just a few of the reasons I can think of off the top of my head.  I personally try to spend time here in Temecula out in the Vineyards.  I think it’s the best part of Temecula, and it feels very peacefull, and relaxing just being out here.  Let me show you what I mean.

Currently listening to:       Circa Survive – On Letting Go

What’s the sound track to your life? 

Well at least new to me…    I have got to think about getting a new car in the next few months.  I basically drove my poor 4 runner into the ground, then hocked it for parts to some guy who thinks he is some how gonna repair a broken cam shaft, and bent rods for less than the car is worth.  So I was looking online, and I was dreaming about this…

But I more than likely will end up with something like this….

Curse my parents for bringing me up to be responsible, and understand priorities!!!!

PS That guy in the photo looks hard.  I don’t know if I could pull it off like he can.

Currently listening to:    Stone Temple Pilots – Purple

What’s the sound track to your life? 

So for any of those that don’t know me personally, my profession is in the Emergency Medical Field.  I work for a company that shall remain nameless (It should be pretty obvious for those who pay attention, but I can’t divulge the name because if any of the supervisors should see something on here that they don’t like, agree with, or classify as slander, or defamation, I could lose my job very quickly).  Anyways….    Because I am part time, I have to bid on various shifts, and piece them together to get in as much time on the clock as possible.  So last week I started a 72 hour shift (6 back to back 12 hr. shifts) on thursday morning, and I was feeling great.  I drove up to the north end deployment center, met up with my partner, and headed for our scheduled stand by down in Temecula.  Now a stand by shift is not a normal shift.  You don’t run calls, you stay at a scheduled place, either to provide medical coverage during events for insurance reasons, or to make presentations.  Our stand by event happened to be providing an in service demonstration during safety week at an elementary school (Summer school).  So from 8am-5pm, we went classroom, to classroom speaking with the students about when, and why they should call 911.  We also did some demos, put the monitor and oxygen on some of the students, showed them IV needles and catheters, and even showed them our IO gun.  Then we took them out to the ambulance (One of them got to ride on the stretcher), and let them get inside, turn the lights on, blow the siren, and speak into the PA.  This was such a blast!!!  I loved teaching the kids, and it is so good for them to get over their fear here in a non-emergency setting.    There were many special needs kids, and we gave them a lot of attention.  Lots of autistic, cerebral palsy, and developmentally disabled kids.  We figured that they would benefit the most, because they were more likely to run into us in an emergency setting.  After we got back to north end deployment, I hopped in my car and headed for south end deployment in menifee to start my next 12.  We only had a couple calls, but sleeping in the drivers seat killed my knees!!!  After that I headed up to Perris to start my next 12.  We got killed.  They were giving us our next calls while we were still in the hospital turning the last patient over!!!  9 calls in 12 hrs.  They had us taking calls in corona!  Weird calls too….  like some guy who was starting to get alzheimers so bad that he didn’t know who his wife was, and was trying to smother her with a pillow.  Or a Psych patient that when asked what was wrong?  replied with “Those bitches at the hospital don’t like me, so those doctors implanted snake eggs in me!!!  They’re poisonous! And they’re gonna kill me!”  When asked where, she pointed to her stomach, and her calfs (Seriously!?!?!?  How could I make this up?).  We even got a BLS transfer…   (BLS transfers are non-emergency, usually inter-facility transfers.  They are supposed to give them to BLS cars (Staffed with 2 EMT’s for non-emergency calls), but they will give them to paramedics when they don’t have enough BLS cars on shift.)  Now I worked a BLS car down in San Diego for the better part of a year, and I swore I would never work BLS again….   However, Paramedics hate BLS calls, so they will make the EMT run the whole call….. which is exactly what I had to do…   Now BLS wouldn’t be so bad if the paperwork wasn’t so herendous!!!  and of course this lady didn’t have, or remember any ID information, didn’t speak much english, and smelled like the back end of a horse, standing in a tuna cannery.  So after a very long 12 hrs.  I headed out to Lake Elsinore to start my next 12 hrs.  During the night we got a couple of calls, mostly cancels…..   BTW It’s not a good idea to insult a cops mother while he is holding a taser pointed at you…    We also had a frequent flyer, but that was about it for the night.  So I headed to the southern Lake Elsinore station to finish with a 24 hr. shift.  Luckily I got a 2 hr. nap in, but then the whole south county just blew up, and for the rest of the shift it was call after call.  So 2 frequent flyers, 2 chest pains, 1 heart attack, 1 pediatric respiratory failure, 3 car accidents, 1 dog bite, 1 allergic reaction, and 2 cancels later….  I finally got off.  Tired….  beaten….   broke off….  a little depressed…  with thoughts like these swirling through my slightly delerious head…  “Why would you live way up on the ortegas, 45 min. away from the nearest hospital, if you had a child with special needs?’, and “Why do they let stupid people own pitbulls?’, or “If you knew that you were allergic to peanuts, and you had an allergic reaction 3 yrs ago, did you really think that this time would be different?  Like your body was going to heal itself of allergies?”, and the most popular with EMS workers..  “If you started having this pain at 3pm yesterday, why the $@%$ did you wait till 3am to call 911?  Did you really think we would be awake, sitting by the radio, praying that you would call us and give our lives some meaning?”  I figure that I got about 12 hrs. of broken up sleep in those 72 hrs.  So after this lengthy.. long winded…  self centered rant….  I guess the summary would be,  I definately have a love / hate relationship with my job.  On one hand, I love helping people.  I also believe that biblically as men, if we have the mental fortitude, and physical strength to help people, then it is our God given responsibility to use the gifts he has given us to serve others.  And in my eyes, next to sharing the gospel, there is no better way to serve those in true need.  On the other hand, I would say that out of all the calls we get, only 8% – 10% are legitimate emergencies, and about half of those turned into emergencies because the patients didn’t take care of a medical problem when they had the chance.  Also the company I work for wouldn’t hesitate to throw their employees under the bus.  See their are plenty of people in line for my job, and my employer knows that I need them for experience, but I am very expendable.  So not only do they under pay all of their employees, but if you make a mistake…  your pretty much done.  I gotta say though, their is nothing like saving some ones  life.  I never get a high bigger than when we get a heart beat back from some one who was in full cardiac arrest, and not breathing!  Also…  I have seen things in this job, that others will never experience.  I guess that I just have to take the bad with the good, and remember that grace abounds.  It’s hard to remember to treat people with humility and love, when you haven’t slept in 2 days.

Currently listening to:     As Tall As Lions  –  Self Titled

Whats the sound track your life?    

Now when I mention MxPx, most people say “Oh yeah, I think I have one of their records…. Buffalo something…..” or, “I saw them play at the warped tour like 8 years ago!”. But my love for this band started a few months after their first release had just been put out. (Pokinatcha 1994). Which would have made me 13. Besides Greendays (Dookie), and The Offsprings (Smash), that was pretty much my introduction into Punk Rock. It opened a whole new chapter in my life. Suddenly I was aware that I didn’t have to listen to my parents music (Not saying The Eagles, Queen, Foriegner, and Chicago are bad music…. ok.. well Foreigner is, but most of the parents music is pretty rad) during long drives on vacation. This new found joy also led me to the holy grail which was a thing called “Grunge”, I found such treasures as Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl jam, The Melvins, Ween, Stone Temple Pilots, Temple of the Dog, The Screaming Trees, and even though they technically aren’t grunge, Weezer. I was also becoming proficient in the punk / ska scene, now listening to bands like Bad Religion, Nofx, Strung Out, Lagwagon, Blink 182, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, AFI, Less than Jake, No doubt, The Supertones, Rancid, The Descendents, and even some old school stuff like Minor Threat, and Black Flag. But I digress (Sorry I have a habit of getting on rants). MxPx was always a staple band for me, I listened to their music non-stop from 13-19. I have seen them live about 6 times now, and they have never dissapointed. Now as I got into the music scene, I got involved in the industry side, and also was part of some successful bands that sometimes shared the stage with this band. During my time in the industry I had the pleasure of meeting Mike, Tom, and Yuri several times, and they are just stand up guys. As I have gotten older I have been listening to MxPx less and less, because… well….. sometimes you just grow into another direction. Thats not to say that every now and then I don’t pop in Life in General and rock out…. Just not nearly as often. However this band was the sound track to my teen years. I have so many memories associated with this music, that I could never give up my still unopened CDs I have stashed away. So the summary of this non-sense would basically be.. I have a soft spot for MxPx.

So 1 week ago I get a call from my friend Kris Bonner (Who is the only friend I have left that still enjoys going to see punk, or ska shows), saying … “MxPx is playing an un announced show at the Hard Rock in vegas, and their drummer is quiting. This will be the last show with the original line-up. (I know that Andy was the original guitar player, but you know what I mean! Gosh why do you got to get hung up on the details!!!!) Let’s get tickets! We have to go!” So my answer was Yes, and YES!!


So on sunday July 18th, after Church, Kris Bonner, Tyler Anderson, and I left at 12:30 pm, and headed for Las Vegas. After a quick stop off at the Mad Greek for gyros (A traveling tradition), we arrived at the Hard Rock hotel around 4:45pm. We headed for will call, and were told that the doors would open that night at 9:30pm, the first band would start at 10:30pm, and MxPx would start at 11:30pm. So we headed back out to the casino floor wondering what to do with ourselves for the next 4 hrs. We headed to the round bar area in the center of the casino, and sat at the bar to watch the rest of the Cubs vs. Phillies game. I was delighted to find that it was happy hour, and the beers were only $2. Once the game ended we wondered around the casino looking at all the rock and roll memoribilia. Around 8pm. we left the Hard Rock, and went across the street to another of my favorite places to visit in Vegas.. The Hoffbrauhaus. For those who have never been, it’s like walking into Oktoberfest in Germany. Authentic German food, and beer. Everyone is seated at large tables with other patrons they have never met, inside of a large hall decorated in old world german style. They have a traditional german band that plays a mix of polka, and old german drinking songs, as everyone sings along with steins swinging in the air. We decided to split the Schnitzel, and potatoes, and Kris and I had 33oz. Dunkels (Such a great Beer). I was a little dissapointed this time around, as the band kept on playing contemporary, and country songs…. (Who wants to go to an old world german drinking hall and hear John Denver?)


Around 9:15 we headed back to the Hard Rock to get in line. We ended up being the 4th, 5th, and 6th in line, and were able to get center front row placement inside the venue. The venue was very small and intimate. Roughly about the size of the Roxy (400-500 seat), A couple of club like booths and tables around the out skirts, but mostly standing room only, with a small stage (About the size of the Chain Reaction stage), but excellent sound. Very trendy, and nicely decorated room. We patiently waited for the show to start, and conversed with others in the crowd.

About an hour later, the opening band hit the stage. I saw the Mesa Boogie Stiletto half stack, and the Hartke 8X10 on stage, and I started cringing. I was already starting to dread the opener. (Yes I am a gear snob, and yes I tend to judge bands by what kind of amps, guitars, and drumset they play!!! You can reprimand me all day, but 9/10 times I am right) The bands name was Sprocket, and they were terrible! They had no idea how to write songs. The guitar was way too loud, and his timing especially when chugging was way off. The bass player wasn’t bad, but he kept on playing solos with a little boss multi effects pedal set to add chorus, and it just didn’t fit. The drummer was obviously the most talented, but he was the kind of drummer who would rather twirl his sticks, flip them around his neck, make faces at the crowd, and lick his stick handles then play a solid beat. He would play these crazy fills, and great beats, but they were off time, and he could never seem to end his fills in time to come back into the song on tempo. This guy couldn’t sit in a pocket in a fabric store. So after being taxed 30 min. of my life…. yet again we waited.

MxPx hit the stage about 11:30pm. I was standing close enough to reach out and touch either Mike, or Tom. Mike announced…

“This is not a show, this is Yuris retirement party! This show is for him, which is why we only announced it to the fan club, and our family and freinds. You all may know that a long time ago we put out a record called Life In General, And that record was a big landmark for our band. That was the point in time that we went from being a little garage band – to being able to make a career out of being musicians. Something we still work on today. So in celebration of that time together, tonight we are going to play the Life In General record from start to finish!”

Yuri clicked off 1..2..3..4.. and they dove into “Middle name”, and memories came flooding back. They played every song to perfection!! Sounded so great! Mike announced “I am 33 yrs old now, and my mom does not still clean my room!” before tearing into “My Mom still cleans my room” They played fast, and ferociously through “Do your feet hurt?”, “Sometimes you have to ask yourself”, and “The Wonder years”, and I was right there singing lyrics that I forgot that I knew! Amazing how you can sing an entire record all the way through, and not even know you remembered it! They did an elongated intro then started “Move To Bremerton”. Afterwards they stated that they had never played some of these songs before, and actually had to re learn them in order to play them. They blew through “New York to Nowhere”, “Andrea”, “Your Problem my Emergency”, and then had Yuri come out and do the dance he did in the video during the bridge of “Chick Magnet”. Next came “Today is in my way”, “Sorry so sorry”, and “Doing Time”. They kind of stumbled through “Correct me if I am wrong”, and “Cristalena”. But finished strong with “Destroyed by You”, and “Southbound”. After that they said goodnight, but everyone stayed where they were for the encore. After 5 min. of chanting they came back out on stage and played “Secret Weapon”, and 1 new song that I didn’t recognize. Then they played “Responsibility”, and “I’m OK your OK”. Then they jumped into a cover song of “(I’m Gonna be) 500 miles” (Can’t remember for the life of me who originally did this song) and during the bridge they dropped into the chorus of “Surrender” by Cheap Trick. They’re setlist said that they were going to play “Let it Happen” next, but they must have run out of time, cause they said “This is our last one, and Yuri gets to pick it”. So after a quick count of “1,2,1,2,3,4” which signified his choice…. They’re absolutely tore into “Punk Rawk Show”!!!! So amazing. The show was epic. The end of an era. I was happy to be there to see it. It’s strange how oddly I feel attached to some bands, this was one of the concerts I was expecting to be so so… and it ended up being on some level a pretty emotional show for me. Congrats on your retirement Yuri Ruley. I agree, and respect your decisison to put the provision of your family first. You have been a part of so many peoples lives without even knowing it. We will miss you. Mike, and Tom, thanks for another great show.

So we left the Hard Rock at 3 am. And I drove the entire way home. Brutal. PS those 5 hr energy shots only work for 1 hr. That is some serious false advertising. Thanks Tyler for getting my ticket, and the new additions to my itunes! Mad props to Bonner for… being Bonner. Sorries go to Mike Pouwells for not informing him of our plight…

Currently listening to:     MxPx – Life In General

What’s the soundtrack to your life?

OK so let me start off this post by explaining a little bit about the way I think.  I sometimes get a little too wrapped up in my rants, but I think that this is really an important subject to talk about.  I strongly believe that music is a wonderfull, and beautiful language, that transcends all race, culture, and even species (I know what your thinking, species? really? Yes!  Haven’t you ever heard of the saying “Music soothes the savage beast”?  How many nights have you spent listening to the symphony of crickets, and cicadas in the plants around you?  And how many Angels have sung praises to God?  None of them are human.),  only confined by the human imagination.  I have more respect for musicians than almost any other group of people.  This is why I give music so much attention.

Now heres how serious I am about this.  I built a custom set of speakers using a mixture of bolt audio subs, Yamaha NS-10 speakers, and EV mid woofers/ horns.  I have it powered by a vintage 1970 all tube reciever running up to 200 watts.  So now I have studio quality sound w/ the exact same frequency response, and tonal quality.  I import my CD’s as .wavs, which does not lose any sound quality, and when I listen to music, I turn off my phone, darken the room, and make sure there are no distractions. 

Why is it that no one from our generation can even make it through one song?  What happened to the days when kids would get together just to listen to a new record?  Now music is so available that kids download it for free, put it on they’re phones and Ipod’s at a disgustingly compressed rate, and then ignore it!!!!   The Music deserves better!

Cuurently listening to :         The Apex Theory – S/T


What’s the soundtrack to your life?