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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Speak No Feeling, No I Don't Believe You...

I am going to touch on something that has been in the back of my mind for quite a few days now which I have touched on with a Facebook note a few months ago.  Making an excuse for anything that follows, I will not do, because anything I say, I believe personally, and I have such a strong opposition to lies that you can be assured anything you read by way of me is genuine.

Having a support system in a time of tragedy or need is great and something we all need and appreciate from time to time, the problem is the insincere individuals who always seem to swarm to such gatherings.  When certain people in our lives who we have not spoken to in a significant amount of time hear of some issue we are having, they suddenly tend to show up to the comfort scene, not because they actually care, but because they feel obligated to do so.  Being completely honest with myself and any of you, religious people are the absolute, most unquestionably horrible when it comes to practicing this fallacy.  I can say that because I lived there.  I was unintentionally taught that by the church and practiced it regularly.  Showing sympathy to a situation is just fine and welcomed by those going through a particularly rough time, but the exaggerations of false support and empty promises of others tends to infuriate me.  If you only remember or "care" about someone when they are in a vulnerable state, you are telling a lie to them and yourself and taking steps for a selfish ego boost.  I am not saying this to judge and if you do not agree with me, I support that decision, but at the same time I ask that you reflect upon it because I am willing to bet you already have thought of a personal moment of this happening to you when tackling a serious issue or instance in life.  Empty gestures prove false relationships; remember that.

I said all of the former with the intention of bringing up an idea that follows the same path, but many of us seldom practice in a proper manner.  Why is it that we do not tell people what they mean to us without a motivated, personal reason?  Coming to someone to share condolences in a time of tragedy or discomfort is very easy because we are expected that much compassion if we are given the opportunity to experience human emotional connection with one another.  But, where were we before the "expected" instance of support occurred?  Did that person just not matter enough to us on any other day?

As I have told you all before, I feel my purpose in life was unfortunately lived out many years ago when it passed right by me and I am currently just taking the next necessary steps to survive whatever is next thrown into my direction on a daily basis.  People should be encouraged constantly and without shame.  Stepping forward to tell someone how wonderful they are and how much genuine care or love you have for them should not be limited to a holiday, life event, or bad circumstance.  I wish the world operated that simply and people could show a true sense of support to each other on a regular basis without any pretenses and without any expectations of returned gratitude.  Being thoughtful and encouraging without anything in mind for our own, personal gain has all but disappeared from the world, if it ever existed at all.  

There is a difference between actual, touching compassion for people and simply allowing yourself to be walked on by others.  Unfortunately that line has been blurred by us all and someone who cares more than the average human being is often attempted to be taken advantage of when their intentions never strayed from anything but genuine respect and thoughtfulness.  We are all guilty of abusing others just as much as we are all guilty of going into "thoughtful" situations with a reciprocal expectation of our own gain in mind.  

The whole meat of this blog was just to remind us all that we can actually show people they are appreciated for no reason other than wanting to do so.  Waiting for a certain date and time, or event to transpire is not necessary.  Knowing an individual inside and out before telling them you think they have great personal qualities is also not required, but unfortunately, we often have to give a pretty long preface to keep the other party from assuming we are going into that place for our own personal gain or a sustained, romantic interest in them.  

I want to do better.  I want to tell those I love and care about that I appreciate them, all they do, and who they are whenever I feel the need without being stared at or having them be under the assumption that I have another motive behind that action.  Also, I want to show the world that opening up and encouraging others with our words as well as actions does not mean we are vulnerable people and is not an invitation for them to stomp us down.  We need to get real and begin doing for everyone else a bit more.  Tell your friend she is beautiful and mean it without a romantic interest,  tell a new friend that you admire what they do in whatever capacity you see,  show appreciation and gratitude to someone you may have lost touch with and let them know they are still important and valued by you, for no other reason than saying so.  Most importantly of all...give selflessly and live more humbly so you can notice the sparkle in the eye of someone else instead of feeding your own psyche.

Grace and Peace,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Between The Raindrops With You

Currently, it is much too late for me to be awake.  Considering I did work on Saturday and woke up at my normal time because of that, I really should be sleeping now, but I am not.  The actual reason I am still awake is because I enjoy the rain too much.  

When I was growing up, I never really knew what it was like to sleep with the window open in my bedroom.  It just was not something anyone in my family did, or if I am wrong about that I certainly do not ever remember it.  When I moved out of my parents' house, the world of sleeping with an open window lead me to the obsession I have now.  If the temperature is above fifty-degrees and I am home, my bedroom window is open; doing so is as much a habit as turning on the light switch when I walk into the room.  The reason is partly fresh air (I hate recirculated air) but mostly the rain.  One of my favorite things in life is to hear rain falling outside.  Some people are soothed to sleep by the sound of rain or a small storm, but I am the opposite, as the noise keeps me up and gives me a strange sense of comfort;  as if my mind has more room to imagine and breathe.

Snow does not do it for me.  Snow is much too quiet, at least in the south.  Nobody in the southern states tend to venture anywhere or do anything if any amount of snow begins to stick to the ground.  Here is a picture of a car I once owned the last time it snowed here:

I may as well have been in the middle of the Alaskan tundra, because the entire world shuts down when this happen.  Snow here makes no noise when it falls.  It just floats down and sticks.  I tried to sit on my front porch and admire the snow once.  After I could no longer feel my extremities and also realized everything was far too quiet, I went back inside for the day.
I have nothing against snow as a form of being sort of pretty to look at and fun to play in for a certain amount of time, but snow cannot hold a candle to the effect rain has on me.  

Rain has a certain personality I just cannot escape because there are so many intricate aspects to it.  Everything a raindrop hits makes a different noise and when those small drops combine, they become a flowing body you can also hear.  I even enjoy the noise it makes when splashing through the tread on the tires of passing cars when I am laying in my bed.  All of this is very soothing to me and keeps me awake in a good way like nothing else does.  Something so simple and meaningless to most just so happens to be one of my favorite moments in life.  That probably sounds stupid to you.  Falling water should not have so much of an effect on someone, especially when it is causing sleep depravity.  I must be cut from a different material than most.
Look at this picture I took in my front yard the morning after it rained and tell me you cannot nearly smell it:
Or this grass in my back yard, even:

Did this blog entry serve a purpose?  Not really, but it made me happy.  The fact is rain has always been a reoccurring theme in my life for some reason; possibly because I spend so much time appreciating it.  I must often stop myself from mentioning it in every set of song lyrics I write, it shows up in my poems constantly, I make references to it in conversation, I usually get excited when I find out we will have afternoon or overnight rain, and it obviously tends to keep me up at night.  The science or method behind water droplets falling from the clouds does not interest me as much as the personality of it all.  For me, all of this is just another way that nature can speak to us as a means to not only hear what it has to say, but also feel and experience it.  Now, I invite you to carry on and think of me as insane, as  I listen to the last bit of rain move out of Metro Atlanta this morning.  

Grace and Peace,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Silvertone Mandolin Restoration

This is a restoration project that started about two years ago when my uncle Cecil told me he had a very old mandolin tucked away somewhere in his house.  His father in-law owned it and apparently played it very well, but passed away sometime in the 1990's.  Cecil's wife tucked his old mandolin away somewhere but passed away herself in 2005 and nobody knew exactly where it was.  He always told me that whenever he found that mandolin, he would give it to me because I play practically anything with strings and already owned two mandolins.  The two years passed by and I assumed he had forgotten about the instrument entirely, until he surprised me last week...

Tucked away in a back-bedroom closet and wrapped in an old bed sheet, he found this:
The picture above was taken less than an hour after he brought the mandolin over and gave it to me.  It was made by Silvertone and I cannot figure out a way to date it since it lacks a serial number, but from my research, it is from somewhere between the 1920's and 1950's.  The top is solid pine, the back, and sides are solid mahogany, and the neck is solid maple (painted) with a rosewood fret board.  This entire instrument was made by hand and the curves were steamed in a jig with raw cuts of wood.  You can tell by the way the frets are laid in the neck, the inconsistency of the binding, and the file marks in the hand-cut f-holes.  This is back when even the lower end mandolins and guitars were made by hand instead of on a machine in a factory.

All of the nitrocellulose (clear coat) is checked and cracked, there were a few small splits in the wood, but every joint and bit of binding is tight and true.  After spending decades in a hot closet, the entire mandolin was very dry, so before I did anything, I spent a few days humidifying it.  The color of the wood did change in some places on the top to a white, but this is all a part of the process and I decided to just leave it alone for the sake of character.  The frets in the above picture look awful and oxidized.  Every fret near the nut had flat spots from years of playing wear and none of them were level with each other.

After humidifying for two days, I started taking things apart.
(Sorry if some pictures are dark)
This is every piece of hardware and screw I removed.

You can see what I was talking about with the color change of the wood after humidifying.  It was a necessary evil because after a few days of moisture, the solid pine top went from brittle and cracking to strong and slightly pliable.  

The naked headstock with hand-rounded profiles.

D'addario mandolin strings are all I have ever used and until this same day, their EXP line was the only string set I would use on my Gibson Songwriter.  I am trying out Martin Silk and Steel strings on my Gibson at the moment and I will review them in a later blog.

The nut is made of actual bone, as they should be but often are not.  I had to remove it and modify the the grooves to get everything set up properly, but there really is not a good way to document that.  At this point I have already leveled and polished the frets to get everything lined up and get rid of the flat spots worn on 1-3.  My trick for stringing these is to position the string you are changing and then clamp it to the neck at the seventh fret with a capo to keep it from moving around on you.  I did have to remove the adjustments from the wooden bridge completely to get the string action low enough, and also shim the neck forward on the body, but there was not much to show as far as pictures are concerned, so I did not take any.  

Here is a close up of the bone nut I had to do some carving on.  Notice the shine on the first fret.  You can still see a tiny bit of a flat spot, but it does not buzz or catch the string.

Another shot showing the leveled and polished frets.  I conditioned the fret board with oil soap and will use bore oil on it from now forward to keep it moisturized.

A shot from the upper-register frets to the nut.  The string spacing is now spot on and the action is very low.  

I gave the headstock a good cleaning with oil soap and then gave it a good, long hand rubbing.  The painted logo came back nicely.  I think doing a full-cosmetic restoration on this would destroy it's character, so I wanted to do it the justice of being a great playing instrument, leaving the years of wear and scars intact.  I recently did a full cosmetic restoration on a mandolin, but it was not vintage, so doing such a thing did not ruin it.

I cleaned and lubricated the tuners, but left the patina on the steel body and brass gears.  The knobs themselves look like they spent their entire life in a bar full of cigarette smoke, so bleaching them never came to mind.  People pay big money to have new instrument plastics "relic-ed" but this is the real thing.

This is the back and I did not do a thing to it other than clean it.  The belt buckle scars are memories from anyone who owned it or played it over the years.  I can tell it was well-used and admired by someone or a few people just judging by the beauty marks, so I left it alone.

A finished look from the bottom-up.  I did do some very light sanding on the top to level out the rough bits of nitrocellulose so it would not chip when I applied the oil to it.  Again, the white parts are not from sanding, but simply what happened to the neglected finish after being exposed to a humid environment for a few days.

The end result is a solid, but beaten up and well-used mandolin that has character and a long history of unknown stories behind it.  I can honestly say that this mandolin plays much more smoothly than the other two I have owned and sounds incredible.  There is not a dead note/fret in any position and the only money invested in it was a set of new strings, the rest of my investment was dedication and time.  One day I will post up an audio clip of how this old Silvertone sounds.  It is a great instrument and I am happy to see it live on once again in my own hands.

Grace and Peace,

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/drewcoustic
Email:  drewcoustic@gmail.com

Friday, April 26, 2013

No Longer Being In The Good Graces Of Women

This blog will most likely not consist of anything you have a preconceived notion of thinking after reading the title.  I will, however, warn you that two of the pictures to follow are somewhat graphic in nature;  you have been warned.  

Sometimes life events can drastically alter the way we think about things, but more often than something that severe, the off-kilter happenings tend to alter our mood.  In general I am a fairly happy person, but sometimes I have little things going on that change my mood and make me say things I otherwise would not.  I speak of nothing severe, and I am not one to lash out in most cases, but the past two weeks have been a bit different.  After many days of pondering whether or not I should make a blog about this, I decided to take the plunge.  Not being entirely certain of this idea, but in order to keep things viable in case I did feel the need to publicize it, I have taken pictures along the way.  This gets a little deeper than the last few, so hold on a bit tightly.

We have this stuff in the world that floats around in the air from plants wanting to reproduce, and we call it pollen.  If you have read any of my other posts, you know I sometimes get allergies.  
Maybe you cannot see it clearly, but check out the Thunderbird's nice coating of the yellow stuff:

This season, allergies bothered me and caused a flare up for about three days when the pollen first arrived, but since then, I have not had a single symptom.  Sometimes my body just works that way and I can go an entire spring without any problem, but the following spring could land me in misery;  this is just how it has been for me the past few years.  All was good and well until three weeks ago.

One morning, about three weeks ago, I stood up from my bed after waking for the day and nearly blacked out.  My vision went blank momentarily and I had to sit down while my head took time to stop spinning.  I thought nothing of what had happened until I crouched down later on in the day and stood up, only to have the same thing happen again.  What you do not know is that I also have Anemia.  I am supposed to take an iron supplement daily, but I had run out of the pills and skipped them for a few weeks, and therefore assumed this was the issue.  A week later, after getting back on track with my iron supplement, nothing had changed and I felt as if things were getting worse; they were.
*Graphic Photos To Follow*

An entire week of being dizzy and such while standing up had passed by and I had not seen a doctor or told anyone other than a select few people.  Then I woke up one morning and tasted blood in my mouth.  Sometime overnight, my nose had started bleeding and ended up in my mouth;  I had blood all over my lips and everything.  Nose bleeds have always been very rare for me, and I did not connect it to my current dizzy situation until it began happening everyday and sometimes multiple times in a day.  This started two weeks ago and is still going.  Earlier in the week, I sent my friend in Seattle a picture of my bloodfest and she responded with this:

Yes, she is still mad that I have not had this thing looked at.  What pictures did I send her?  Well, here are two:
I keep baby wipes in my house at all times for nose blowing or whatever, so that is what this is.  And no, it is not a "section" of a baby wipe, this is the entire thing, from corner to corner.  That is a lot of blood, and it was still coming out at this point.
To show a little more realism without explaining how it happened exactly, here is some more on my thumb.  
When the bleeding finally stops, it is usually a darker red, like this.  

This happens daily, sometimes twice.  Why?  I do not know.  Is it tied to my dizzy-blackout spells?  Again, I do not know.  But what I do know is I told my sister about all of this during a phone call last night and the following is a part of the wonderful text message conversation that followed.  (The one I cut out *whoops* said "Go to the doctor!"):
Now I have angered two women who apparently care about me because I will not go to the doctor.  That, my friends is how you can fall out of favor.  Whatever health thing is happening must be why my mood has been sort of up and down lately.  I feel perfectly fine other than the dizzy-standing-nose-pouring-blood all the time nonsense, but I think it has been altering my demeanor and the way I react to people.

Now, you are probably wondering: "When are you going to the doctor?".  Other than the moments of my friend, sister, and mother telling me I probably should, it had not crossed my mind again until I started typing this blog.  I have recently lost over sixty pounds, so I do have a care and concern for my physical state in some ways, but when it comes to the potential of a major problem, I do not seem to care as much, and never really have.  I am not afraid of doctors by any means; actually, my PCP is a really good-looking, young woman, is fun to talk to, and is passionate about her job.  So, I like her quite a bit, but I just do not want to know if I have a problem or if this is some silly little happening that does not matter.  All I know is that I am still getting dizzy and my nose is still bleeding and this is not allergies and I do not feel sick.  For some reason I am okay with that.  Am I somehow romanticizing the unknown?  I have no idea.  But what I have right now are two angry women and a mom telling me to go to the doctor to figure out something I am just as content not knowing.  What I do know is that I will not allow any of this weird bloody and dizzy mess to have an effect on my mood and the stupid things that have been coming out of my mouth as of late anymore.  All of that is too tiring for me.  Excuse me while I sneeze...crap.

Grace and Peace,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sometimes Simple Can Be Hard...

I had a thought run across my brain a few days ago, and I really hope that thought is wrong.  You see, I  was thinking in the sort of daze I usually do on a daily basis and wondered if a person's interesting attributes have anything to do with the content on their iPhone (Android too, whatever).  Then I picked mine up and saw this:

Yes, that is it.  You are seeing everything I have on my iPhone and if you will notice, there are no more pages to swipe to.  At that moment, I was really hoping I was incorrect in my idea, because if your iPhone content has anything to do with how interesting you are, I must be the most boring twenty-seven year old on earth.  The only thing you can tell about me from this screenshot is that I play guitar (who doesn't?) and that I prefer the 24-hour clock, because I am THAT cool...I even picked up my mom's phone when I saw her later that day and she had folders, upon apps, upon other apps, missed calls, unopened emails, etc.  Yay...

The more I began thinking about this, the more I CONTINUED to think about it and started on a path of how much I have changed over the past two years.  There was a moment in time where I was pretty big into the idea of keeping current with everything I owned and living in the world of the disposable.  Then, something happened inside of me and my outlook changed quite a bit.  
Take this, for example:

The picture above is the tail-end of a 1976 Ford Bronco that is owned by my uncle.  He bought it brand new off the lot in 1976.  And by "he bought" I mean he saw it on the lot while coming home from work one day, gave my dad the cash and told asked him to go buy it for him.  This is a testament to proper maintenance on a vehicle, because, if you cannot tell, this thing is in nearly mint condition.  In the current day, we like to buy a brand new car and keep it for a few years, trade it in (get ripped off) and make payments on a new car for the rest of our lives.  I almost lived in the world of a car payment a few years ago, but decided against taking the plunge.  Thinking back to the example of the Bronco, I am happy everything worked out that way.  I am much more content with keeping something in good shape and using it until it falls apart than still having to pay for it while it is falling apart.  I also have no intentions of ever owning another vehicle built after 1980 for this very reason.

We throw away too many things for my liking now a days.  For instance, what the heck is this?
Or this?

I cannot tell if the first picture is racist or just weird, but for the sake of my own clarity, I will claim the latter.  We treat cars, clothing, computers, phones, even tools and lawn mowers just like the two products above;  things we can use as simple entertainment for a time and throw away.  We do not build or distribute anything that has a lasting intention of more than a short while anymore.  Planned Obsolescence is taking over in many ways and we are buying products with an increasingly shorter usable life.  Now, I am not preaching, but some things are getting fairly off-key here, you must admit.  This generation has nothing to pass onto the next as far as originality is concerned and I am not a huge fan of that.  Our parent's generation is currently fixing up antique Coca-Cola machines, restoring old cars, and bringing new life to furniture from the generation before them.  The generation that follows our's will not be able to restore Ikea furniture, cars with hundreds of sensors, or Zack Morris' cell phone.  Speaking of old things, I was given this to restore just the other day:

The picture above is a Silvertone mandolin.  This was from the hand-made era of sometime between 1920 and 1950, but the craftsmen did not use serial numbers back then for this brand, so I really have no clue.  This mandolin sat in the back of a closet, wrapped in a bedsheet for decades and guess what?  After I finish humidifying it and put a little elbow-grease into it, I bet this little thing will sound and play better than a new one that is mass-produced overseas and sold for a premium price here.  This old instrument has belt buckle scars all over the back of it, chips, cracks, finish-checking, and loads of memories in it's DNA. I love it.

There are limitations to stepping back in time for practicality, however.  Do I think we should go back to boiling up some good-old fashioned horse glue over using the stuff off the shelf in a bottle?
  No, I cannot say that I would go that far, but apparently some people do.  You can even buy the cauldron to...do whatever it is you do to turn it from animal chunks into glue...
I took these pictures at a specialty woodworking tool shop, by the way.  I never use stock or image-searched pictures on my blog.

What I am saying is that I have become increasingly simple as compared to who I was a few years ago. Does this mean I value-shop clothes at cheap retailers?  No.  Does this mean I refuse to eat at nice restaurants?  No, but I have cut back on how often I do.  At the end of the day, I have just realized that I have a deeper desire to invest myself into the old way of thinking as well as doing.  Why buy something new if you can restore or re-purpose it?  Why finance a Prius that will last you a few years when you can buy a classic car and make it factory-new for less than half the money?  Why not hold a piece of musical history in your hands and breathe new life into it so that it can once again breathe new life through you?  

I know this idea does not work for everyone and I know some people do not have the personal abilities to restore bits of the past or re-purpose certain items to save money and curb the manufacturing of new things, but you never know unless you give it a try.  I would be happy to teach you the little bit I know in any of this if it will help you in some way.  I just get a certain amount of enjoyment and pride out of knowing I created or fixed something instead of buying it new now, which is the opposite of who I was a few years back; you know, back when I had more apps on my iPhone and was a much more interesting person.  

Hey, look!  A grassy yard to play in!

Grace and Peace,

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/drewcoustic
Email:  drewcoustic@gmail.com

Sunday, April 21, 2013

And Then There Was Death...

    In light of the recent events in Boston and realizing just how short life is, I wanted to post this "Note" I wrote on my Facebook page back in December as a blog here so it could be read on a different platform.  The timing seems appropriate as we all have no idea when the end could be for us.  A bomber or mass murderer could approach us in any situation, permanently changing our own lives and the lives of those we love.  Less dramatically, we could be taken away because of someone else's honest mistake, or simply die for any number of reasons.  Hold those you love close.  We are in dangerous and very unstable times...

Monday, December 10th, 2012

    Everyday we are given a big blessing when we wake up... Yeah, that is all... If you wake up, it is a blessing. What would have happened if you did not have the opportunity to wake up? Well, we do not really know, now, do we? (If I would stop answering my own questions with other questions I fabricated, these things would be easier to follow, wouldn't they? Ha, get it? Crap...) The important thing to realize daily, when you wake up, is that you are not guaranteed to wake up again tomorrow. For what it is worth, you are not guaranteed anything because you could somehow fall over dead even before you roll out of bed. So, to recap: You are guaranteed no time frame of life, and you only have one chance at making it count. Life looks a little more scary when you put it that way.
     Take a glance at me, for example. Before I continue, do not take any part of what I am about to say the wrong way or read into it incorrectly, especially the next sentence. As a child, I somehow arrived at a conclusion that I would not make it to thirty years old. Why? I really could not tell you, but the thought has been in the back of my mind since then. I look back at some of the things I have done in my life and I can make a little more sense of that idea. Nothing I have done has been with the expectation of fulfilling a death wish, but I have done more stupid or dangerous things than most other people I know. I have cheated death in ways only very few people know, either because they were participating or with me at the time (For the record, we're not talking about drugs; I have never had anything to do with them). Some things were intentional, some were not; most happened before I was twenty five years old. I have done a few things that have made my own mother cringe to the point of nearly having a heart attack, whether it happened in front of her, or was a prior even I told her about. It happens that way for me. Jumping out of an airplane with approved safety gear and little chance of error is one thing, cheating death is entirely different. There is a reason I mentioned all of this. Hold on.
     Just as I alluded to before, life is a very, very small drop in the bucket of eternity. I have had many people I know in my life pass away, a few unexpectedly, a few in which I was well aware of what was to come. For me, the turning point was watching someone very close to me die unexpectedly who was also close to me in age. Throwing on a facade of strength was what everyone else saw, but in the farther ends of my brain, something about that experience bothered me for a very long time. My world became somewhat murky for a few years, whether anyone else could see it or not. I was not mad at the nature of the world, I definitely was not mad at God for letting that happen, but something changed in me and I never realized what it was. I stopped caring about many things and even many people. This lasted for a few years. That was until the day I realized the only thing you can do in those situations is to move forward and be sure to tell people their value to you.
     You see, we complicate things. Work is always complicated, the way we project ourselves to others is complicated, dating is complicated, your own opinions are complicated. Maybe we should just take a step back and put all of that complication out of our heads for a while. Maybe we should focus on the people who matter in our lives and tell them how much we love and appreciate them. Hey, maybe I am just an idiot who lives in some strange bubble world. I can tell you this though: the more expressive in appreciation I have become to the people who matter to me, the better I feel on a daily basis. I just wish I had put more thought into doing so before I lost those I did forever. I would not recommend taking my initial approach.  At least I know that if something happened and I did not make it through another day, I would be content with where I am.

Grace and Peace,

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Don't Get Offended If I Seem Absent-Minded...

    Sometimes you are the leader, sometimes you are the follower. I constantly wonder why we are required to wear different faces situationally. Sure, we do follow the unspoken rule of there being a time and a place for every action and the way in which we all react to certain things, but do we often take this too far? Acting like someone we are not for any reason does not sit very well with me, though it was a role I played often in the past.
    Have you ever noticed how someone can act all confident and arrogant on social media, but when you see them in person, they are not that way at all? I know someone very much like this who will speak their mind about anything and often look very foolish in the process from the confines of the internet. However, if you were to see him/her in public, you would be greeted with the most shy and socially disconnected person you have ever met. (Don't worry, you don't know who I am talking about). I hate situations like this because they seem to be destroying us and the way we communicate with each other for the sake of reality.
    There have been very outspoken authors in the past who wrote amazing literature for the masses to read and touched many lives for the better or worse who were nothing at all like their pen names personified in the real world. This is nothing new and has been going on for centuries; often coming from the minds of some very brilliant people, though this is not the same as the issue we are having today. The authors in the literary sense were using their writing as a well-thought-out form of expression in the only way they knew how to. When you do something so time consuming as writing a book, you put much thought into what is going down on the pages and authors will re-read what they write numerous times to be sure everything is translating properly from their mind into text. There is a big difference between being expressive on social media as opposed to drafting a novel. Let me explain.
    While an author tends to spend elongated periods of time making sure their writings are proper and expressive, the average social media “expressionist” is simply hiding and putting on a role as someone they are not in the real world for a sense of perceived, momentary brilliance. I am not judging anyone for acting this way, because if I am I must point the finger at myself first; I have been that person, and it took me a few years to figure out just what a terrible, childish existence that world really holds. We expose ourselves far too much and we do not at all know what the future holds for this activity, which is what has scared me away from it in a way. Things that everyone did collectively as being socially normal in the past more often than not had really hard ramifications following closely after. Smoking was just fine, because everyone else was doing it at one point. Fast food was just an easy way to eat lunch until we found out the majority of this “food” was synthetic. Asbestos was the insulator of choice for homes because everyone thought it was great until cancer came into the picture.
    Do you see what I mean? We fool ourselves into thinking that just because everyone else on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram is posting up multiple times each day that we should as well. We share, and share, and share, often under the persona of someone we really are not. This is done to make our lives look more interesting than they actually are or use words or pictures as a way to boost our egos because we know people will click that “like” button or leave a comment if we play those emotional strings just right. Again, I am not judging at all, and have no problem with throwing a random blurb or picture up on social media (heck, I'm doing it RIGHT NOW) but we need to all be more careful about what it is we are posting online. Baby albums were for private, family moments when I was a kid, now they are on Facebook, permanently...forever...(we don't need anymore naked babies on Facebook). Embarrassing comments, pictures or videos we post for the world to see can very well come back to haunt us decades down the road. Private or not, if you put it on the internet, it is out there for the long haul.
    All of these reasons are why I have picked life-blogging over Facebook. By nature, I believe I am a writer, so the more thought I put into my content, the less likely I will receive backlash for anything I happen to post. Putting up a status is easy and can often come back to slap you in the face if you are not paying attention. Being sarcastic and judgmental to others on a whim because something they put online makes your blood boil in the moment can be pretty harmful; I have had to stop myself numerous times. None of this is worth it to me anymore. I want to be who I am, on my own terms. I want to be remembered as one person, a never a separate identity from my true character. No longer will I play a role for anyone, because I like consistency, and being the same person regardless of the situation.

Grace and Peace,

Current Song: Bloc Party - This Modern Love

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Silent Devotion. I Know You Know What I Mean...


    We live in a world of speed and instant gratification.  Everyone wants to jump on the boat of the most exciting thing they can possibly do instead of being what is commonly perceived as boring or not enthusing enough for our time investment.  Pictures pop up on social media of all the exciting things our friends seem to be doing and seeing this makes us long and lust for an instant sense of adventure.  Doing activities like this is great and I am all for it, but sometimes an extreme adventure is not the answer we are looking for.
    I love adventures and excitement as much as the next guy and if I were of the bragging variety, I would start compiling a list of my experiences for you all to steep over and potentially use to find me more interesting;  but that is not who I am.  You are probably wondering just where I am going with all of this nonsensical rambling, so I will come right out and say it.  If you spend your life only seeking out the more exciting and rambunctious endeavors, you will most likely come out disappointed and possibly miss something more important.  Why would I say something so depressing?  It is not, and I will tell you why.
    We are all busy people living our busy lives and often not making the most of them in nurturing ways.  What I mean by this is that we have sort of stopped paying attention to the events and people that can make us just as fulfilled as a skydiving trip or bungee jump.  Everyday we are greeted with little moments and opportunities to interject happiness into our own lives, the lives of those we love, and the lives of those we have not even met which can all but change the course of the world for the better.  Something as simple as running errands can be made into an amazing adventure if you allow it be so.  
    You have to find your core, those few people who make you feel a certain way about yourself and also allow you to see the world in ways a simple acquaintance just cannot.  We all need those specific people in our lives who give us a sense of happiness and internal joy from them simply being in the same room as us or running a few errands together.  As cheesy as this may sound, happiness reflected between yourself and those you care about in public can be contagious and intoxicating to anyone who sees it showing on your face or within your actions.  
    Have you ever seen two people you do not know spending time together in public and just been able to tell that they have a connection to each other in some special way?  I am not even talking about romance, because the physical side is easy to lust, show, or fake so everyone notices (and usually says "Ew, gross").  The true glow and happiness between yourself and someone else can be an unintentional inspiration to other people.  Having joy in what you do because of who you are with and fully invested in is huge; even if the activity is not something you would normally do or enjoy on your own.  People do notice these attributes from the outside and will often react to them more than you realize.  These more simple processes in life mean as much, if not more than doing something physically thrilling or dangerous.
    There are not nearly enough of us who have a solid investment in the lives of those whom we otherwise consider as important.  The people who make the biggest impact on our lives do not often even realize they are doing so, just as we do not realize what a positive impact our simple glowing presence together can have on total strangers.  Sometimes we need to make one of these noticing strangers laugh.  Sometimes we need to make each other laugh.  Sometimes we need to listen to the other person cry.  Sometimes we need to hold their hand.  Sometimes we need to give an opinion to them.  Sometimes we just need to be in the same room to feel the shared warmth of each other and know that everything is right.  I value these moments, the talks, the life lessons, the love, the smiles, and even the tears more than any amount of thrill-seeking I have ever done.  You find your delicate few, the few that matter, and regardless of what you do together, there is nowhere else you would rather be.  

Grace and Peace,

Current Song:  The xx - Angels

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Pollen Is Just Fantastic...

Back to the pollen discussion from two blogs ago, the daily count here in Metro Atlanta has nearly reached the 8,000 mark.  Those with allergies are indoors, in misery, and those who do not have them are out and about getting blanketed with yellow powder.  Luckily, my personal and selective hellish allergies have gone on hiatus and I do not feel the effects anymore as I did initially.  I even made an effort to mow my lawn today!  
Check it out:
It still has not reached the fully green stage yet, but after the storm two nights ago, it should turn nicely in a few days.

If you want to hear some music while you read the rest of this, click this video and listen to the guitar remix I did on the Krewella song "Alive":

The whole pollen situation is not bugging my allergies anymore, (for now) but I did get it all over myself and my nice, freshly-painted mower, as well as in my lungs, hair, clothes, shoes, and I think I ate some of it too.

Yuck.  The sad thing is, I still have the back yard to go.

But on a better note, my flowers have bloomed, thanks to the pollen.  Sometimes you need to endure some crap in order to get an attractive result, right?
Then again, if that is true, maybe I should start wearing make-up...No.

As I said before, we had some crazy storms here with tornado warnings, flash floods, high winds, and the lot of everything else that comes with such weather.  When things like this happen, I generally ignore them and go about what I am doing.  Hiding out in the basement, expecting something to tragic to go down is not at all my forte, so I just leave a television on in the background and carry on.  My mother hates my method of minimal caution because I say things like this:
One day, I will make her crazy.  Mark my words...

Tiffany, on the other hand, would rather not be bothered by anything when she is sleeping:
A burning hatred lurks deep within those squinty-eyes.

This is completely out of order, but I made something the other day, forgot to post it here and wanted to show it off.  We always had boxes of necessary screws scattered around the shop for pocket holes and assembly.  The problem with that is the boxes always filled with falling sawdust, were knocked off the tables, and the boxes tended to fall apart.  We already had a drawer on the assembly table for sandpaper discs, so I wanted to add another one beside it for the screws.

Here is the drawer box I made to match/attach to the one we made a few weeks ago for the sandpaper:
See?  Sometimes I know what I am doing.

Then I moved onto the drawer, dividers, and drawer glide building:
It works like a charm, keeps everything organized, and weighs a solid sixty pounds when fully loaded.  I was really happy with how this turned out, so I wanted to share and gloat a bit.

So, what is for lunch?  Every day, as a part of my not so structured plan of food consumption, I eat three of these bad boys:
You really cannot beat the amount of energy and protein that comes from eating a few eggs everyday.  Making sure you are active enough to burn them off is another thing, because eating eggs daily will not help you at all if you sit around most of the day and you will probably gain some weight. The thing is, if I skip eating my eggs one day now, I really feel the difference in a bad way.  Eating a good supplement bar (Think Thin or Pro-Max) can take the place of them in a pinch, but nothing beats a few fresh eggs to hold you over.  No, I do not eat them raw, they are still cooking in the picture.

Believe it or not, I actually eat a piece of this for an energy boost every now and then:
I know most Americans hate the flavor of  black liqourice, but the Australian variety is becoming more and more common here.  The taste is not like that of the corn syrup-infused Twizzlers we have in every grocery store, but has a unique taste, is made with real herbs, no preservatives, and also has a health benefit or two tacked on.  This is not my favorite candy by any means, but as I said, it gives you a nice boost and is healthier than most other candies you could grab.  I cannot really eat more than one piece at a time because it is a bit strong, given the use of natural herbs.  If you are on a low or no gluten lifestyle, do not buy this, because one of the main ingredients is wheat gluten, which I still think is better than eating  concentrated corn syrup...

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Friday, April 12, 2013

I Wished It Was Our Souls Drifting Off To Sleep...

    Sleepless nights can absolutely ruin your morning, carry on into your day, and make a mess of the following night. Ask me how I know. The trouble is whether your state of restlessness is your own fault or only because your mind will not leave you alone long enough to let you sleep. Sometimes you just feel the need to scream “SHUT UP!”, with the idea that your brain will actually listen. You see, I try not to eat candy as a general rule for health reasons, but I love it, so I keep some LifeSavers floating around in a bag...then only decide to eat one about an hour before I should be sleeping. Wonderful...
    I really feel that on occasion our own problems, the things that keep us up at night, or the things that anger us into a state of oblivion are self-inflicted. Maybe this is not how things tend to work for your own process, but I sometimes find myself in a fairly easy-going life pattern, only to discover a subconscious way to make everything a bit more difficult for myself. Occasionally, you can play this to your own advantage though.
    When you set a goal to run, take up jogging, biking, or anything else that covers distance, making that situation difficult is easy and great. If you travel in one direction for the sake of exercise, you have no choice but to double the distance because you must return to your starting point again; a great thing. However, if you are like me, you take the hard way around because you like to torture yourself. Example: I wanted to wax my car one day. I own an electric buffer designed for that very thing. Instead of waiting a day to wax said car when I could pick up my buffer after loaning it to my dad, I decided to do it all by hand. Yes, a polishing compound, a cleaner wax, and a sealer wax, all to be done with my arm and a few cloths. Three hours later, I was ready to beat my head onto the trunk lid out of frustration. Five hours later, I was devising a plan to have the car run over me by itself as a way to take me out of the misery that was inflicted by, well,myself.
    Perhaps I am alone on this, but I see many of us taking the hard way around in much more serious ways than waxing a car using the old school method over the modern method. Sometimes the end result of taking the more difficult road reveals a better result, but most of the time that outcome should not be expected. Everyone likes to make decisions in the moment and worry over the consequences of making the wrong choices whenever they may arise. Spontaneity is one thing, going out the night of Cinco de Mayo, knowing you have to be awake at dawn for work a few hours later is another thing (I still do not understand why Americans “celebrate”that holiday. Oh, yes, marketing tactics to the gullible; that's right). We do things like this constantly and I cannot at all figure out why.
    As time goes on, and we all age in multiple ways, I see us breaking down and becoming weaker  as people. We are afraid of each other for the sake of disappointing someone,upsetting them, or angering them. Confrontation is avoided at all costs to the point that we often place it on the back-burner of procrastination. The thing about procrastinating is that it often stays in that open flame until we can no longer resurrect the thought to anything of substance again; ashes. I grew up in a church where if someone was acting like an idiot, disrespectful, or deceiving to other people, nobody said anything unless the person was teetering on the edge of a criminal charge. If you were or are a part of that congregation and happen to be reading this, I will not retract that statement. But in full disclosure, I will tell you that in my experience, being in such an environment for most of my life really skewed my perceptions and actions of composure until I came to my own conclusions of how wrong that scenario really is. This sort of mindset can be common and vastly influencing in any environment, and not just a church setting. Any common, regular gathering of people can be subject to the majority of those involved taking the hard way about decisions when communication is involved.
    We often see taking the easy way out of situation as avoiding the issue, turning our back, or trying to forget certain things ever happened. Doing that is damaging, and ultimately taking the hard road if you really put forth the effort into thinking just how much more of a compound issue is created by avoiding uncomfortable situations. We are afraid of honesty now just as we are afraid of showing who we really are to the world instead of the artificial facade we put on to appear as someone “better”than the real person who lives within us. There is a time and a place for everything and we should never go into a situation for the sole purpose of an argument, to stir up a bushel of drama, or to deliberately hurt someone. Yet, knowing in our own minds that somethings need to be dealt with under the proper terms, within the proper situations, and handled as being respectful and honest to anyone involved is a huge part of being a level-headed adult. Our willingness to take the hard step over the hard road shows whether or not we have the honesty and respect to anyone involved inside of any circumstance.  Identifying the need for communication is the first step, followed by a course of action that gets  everyone involved on the same plane. Real people make this happen, while the weak hide in the corner, trying to forget any form of personal responsibility. Keep your friends close, keep your family closer, and steer clear of the drama and dishonesty in every situation; but you should always take the plunge. I am off to grab a rag and some car polish...

Grace and Peace, 

Current Song: October Nights –Yellowcard

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Obsession With Making Things Nice...

 This little project proves my random obsession with making old things nice again.  I am talking about my constant need to restore something most people would see as pointless into the way it once was.  Take this lawn mower, for example:

It is a White's brand push mower that was made long before I was even though of.  I cannot seem to put an exact date on when it was made, my according to my uncle Cecil who gave it to me, it has to be at least forty years old.  He used it when it was given to him by someone else and after many years of use, threw it to the side and it sat out in the weather for probably over ten years.  Everything on this mower is original besides the engine, which he replaced with a more powerful unit (4.5hp of screaming fury, baby), but the original engine was a Briggs & Stratton, so it is not very far off.  

When I say not to let yourself go idle most days after work, I mean to keep your mind stimulated with things that have nothing to do with the majority of your day.  Doing projects like this keeps the carbon build-up cleared out of my mind.  The only thing I really hated about this project is that it took less time than I would have wished.  I started it on Monday, and it is now Thursday night.  Sure, there are things I would like to do to it beyond this, but I also needed a functioning mower of my own since my last one became obsolete for new parts.  I do intend to fabricate a top cover for the pulley system over the weekend, because that is the only part it did not have when Cecil gave it to me, but I have mostly finished it.  There are a few rusted-through places in the deck from a decade or more of standing water, but I will tend to that when the grass stops growing in the fall and I can tear it all down again to do proper body work.  Body work on a lawn mower?  Yes, I am that stupid.  
Here is the process of my week after work, in addition to posting blogs and writing/recording a song every night:

I gave it a good staring at, and took this picture so I would remember where everything went as I prepped some tools.

Here, I have taken the engine off with the throttle linkage and belt.

Getting to this point of the tear-down meant breaking essentially every bolt that was ever installed on it originally, other than the axle bolts.  This took the most time and caused some skinned knuckles, a few choice words, and quite a bit of ancient grease all over me.  

This was after stage one of running a wire wheel over the entire deck assembly to remove most of the paint, the decals, and surface rust.  Also very time-consuming, even with a slathering of BIX stripper, which will probably give me cancer and black lung.

Here we have a few coats of primer put down and you can see the little rust holes in the grooves that I will fix permanently once the mowing season ends, because my grass is getting a bit thick, so I need to use it soon and did not want to spend the time to do it now considering that.  

It is finished!  And my garage floor now needs a good de-greasing. I painted the engine cover to match the deck, because, well, why not?  I should have taken more pictures of it during that process, but I did not do so because grabbing my phone or camera with paint and gunk all over my hands was not my ideal situation. But, hey, my mower now runs great, looks pretty nice, and is ready for the grass cutting to begin!  I still need to fabricate a top cover, but, like I said, that should happen over the weekend if I get a chance to do so.  

If anyone knows anything about these old mowers from White Outdoors from a vintage standpoint, please let me know, because searching anything on Google with the words "white" and "mower" involved only really brings up the current company that is actually still in production or forums depicting white smoke coming from someone's lawn mower exhaust pipe.  Like I have said in previous blogs, I love to learn everything I can about everything I own, and with this I am at a loss.  

Thanks for reading, and if you like my blog, share a link or show it to your friends.  I try to put one up every other day, if not daily about various topics and what is happening in my life.

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/drew.silvers
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Email: drewcoustic@gmail.com

Monday, April 8, 2013

Wheel Hubs, Flubs, and Idiocy...

    Welcome to Georgia!  The warm-weather pollen has arrived and a blanket of yellow powder has now covered most of our otherwise lovely state.  Unfortunately, when I was twenty-two I developed seasonal allergies for the first time in my life and since then I have had good seasons and bad seasons.  Last year I did not need to take a single allergy medication, but I have a feeling that will not be the case this year.  So much for sleeping with the window open at night, because after doing so last night, my head felt like it was going to explode the second I came back indoors for an extended period.  That is where my allergies are strange because I can stay outside all day and be perfectly fine, but when I go indoors for more than an hour, something snaps and I feel as if I were run over by a combine and my head beaten with a brick.  It's the best, I tell you...
    I had to run to a job with my dad earlier than usual this morning, and even though this had nothing to do with our agenda, I took a picture of something I noticed when standing by this person's door.  This house probably has a market value of over $500,000, easily, but like any subdivision home built in the past fifteen years or so, it was thrown together by people who either did not care or had not a clue what they were doing.  This is the corner of the house. 

Check out the joint:
 Granted, there is some separation from the wood expanding and contracting with the weather, but you cannot tell me truthfully that this could not be prevented if the builder actually cared about the longevity of this house.  Exterior molding that rots and separates like this is so common that some people make the majority of their income by fixing it for home owners specifically.  My advice is this:  If you are in the market for a home, have two inspections done before closing.  Have the recommendation of the real estate agent go through the motions, and then find another of your own who has no connection to the agent or the seller.  This type of thing adds up quickly and if one instance of this is found, there are certainly more either on their way to happening or in process.  Wood rot spreads, and leaks around joints lead to many other problems down the road if they are not addressed by someone who knows what they are doing.

Moving on.  About six months ago, the caliper on my dad's truck exploded (when I was driving it, of course) and I spent a day doing a rebuild and replacement on that side of his rear axle.  Somewhere in that process, I also found a faulty axle seal.  Go figure.  Today, the replacement we put in became faulty and meant it was time for another tear-down to remove the leaking seal and replace it with another one under the terms of the warranty on the part.  Why do I work on cars myself?  This particular job saved him about $1500 the first time around when I had to do the brakes, caliper, and seal.  Paying someone to replace the seal again under warranty would have probably been somewhere around $300 in labor.  Doing it at the shop took about an hour of time, but the job would have been quoted at a few hours to cover overhead if taken to a technician.  Here are a few pictures of the process.  It's dirty and greasy:
 After the first stage of tear-down and removing the axle shaft.

 The hub is gone, so we just have a straight axle tube.

After re-packing grease into the inner bearing.  Yummy. 

 The new seal pressed into the hub.  $30 part, but would have been hundreds in labor.

All slid back together and after about 30miles, there are no leaks anymore.  Luckily we had another job in the late afternoon that required a pretty decent drive, so that gave us a chance to test our work.

Next on the list we have my local newspaper.  I do not actually live in the city that this paper is from, but one city over.  Nevertheless, ever since I moved in I have had a paper dropped on my driveway every Monday.  I would say a solid seventy-five percent of people in my neighborhood either let this gift sit on their driveway and rot week after week or immediately throw it into their curbside trashcan.  Not me, I love to read and there is no better newspaper for me than the one that deals directly with my community.  Unfortunately, however, you sometimes have these little gems of blatant stupidity thrown into the mix that make you realize there is some truth behind the fact that bad genetics are making mankind less intelligent with every passing generation.  Putting your illegal activities online in a blast to the public is just one example of why I find this to be true:
Really?  I mean, I do have a video posted on my Facebook page of some friends and myself detonating a car airbag on my front lawn at midnight a few summers ago.  With near certainty, I can claim that doing such a thing in a residential area is probably a bad idea, but there was also an off-duty police officer friend of mine partaking in the stupidity that night, so that made it legal, right?  At least it was fun and not a felony.

This article ruined my plans for the weekend.  I wanted nothing more than to play a game of "Police Intersection Bowling" but he killed my buzz by writing this piece.  Is that not a fundamental section covered in your driver's handbook in every single state?  You know, the section that talks about yielding to anyone in the road, especially cops?  The only thing that makes this article more entertaining on top of it's own redundancy is that it was written by none other than the editor for this paper, who is also the editor of the newspapers for four other neighboring cities.  I guess, at the end of the day, actually publishing something in print still holds more ground than the usual Facebook slacktivism.  Onto a rant that has been brewing in my mind all day...

    Rarely do I get infuriated by what I hear on the radio unless it pertains to Niki Minaj, but this morning was much different.  If you have ever listened to a morning talk show on the radio, you know they are produced to be entertaining more than enlightening.  Sometimes the hosts get people on the phone to discuss their personal problems, using a fake name and a voice filter to protect their identity.  The hosts will occasionally give decent advice to the caller and the calls they take from other listeners can be either good or bad, and eventually progress is made.  What I am about to tell you is the core of my disgust with so many people in this world.
    A woman called in last Friday morning to ask what she should do about her suspicions in relation to her husband.  She had somehow read a text message conversation on his cell phone in which he had been speaking suggestively with another woman.  When she asked him what was going on with those messages, he brushed it off and synced his phone with his computer over the weekend to remove the data from it.  She called back this morning to give the listeners an update.  This woman was asking those listening to the show if she should confront him about his behavior further or just let it go.  Really?  What sort of terrible circumstances have happened that we marry someone and share our lives with them, but need advice from others about whether or not we should communicate with them honestly?
    The way I view relationships is different than most because I do not play games under any circumstances, which would probably explain why I am not in one.  If you make a choice to love someone, and you make the agreement to stick with them in marriage, why in the world would you be afraid to ask that person anything at all?  We are not honest with each other in general and live inside of lies every single day in most cases, but wondering if you should confront your spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend about a legitimate concern that is eating you alive is entirely asinine.  Being accusatory is easy enough to do if you get into a rage, but you should probably have strong evidence to back up such a thing;  but an actual, realistic conversation is a much better idea.  This woman, had a genuine concern about her marriage and really had no idea of what to do about it.  She was so misinformed about the world that she called a run of the mill radio talk show of all things to figure everything out.  
    Where have we gone wrong?  I cannot for the life of me wrap my brain around someone cheating if they are married or even just in a serious relationship.  Infidelity disgusts me more than essentially anything else when we are talking about the contact and affection of people to one another.  I am not sure how anyone can live with doing such a thing, knowing the cognitive toll it will take upon the person they supposedly care about.  Excuses such as "I was caught up in the moment." hold no ground when you are playing with someone else's mind.  I can honestly say, without the slightest doubt, infidelity is something I would never be capable of.  Anything I am involved with, I give my all to.  Being honest and breaking off a relationship is better for both people if there is even a shred of doubt on either side of the spectrum at any point.  Love is not an emotion, nor a feeling.  Love is a decision two people make to care about each other with a compassion, respect, and devotion that should be entirely unbreakable.  We get so caught up in these superficial "moments" that we are blinded by the reality of our situations.  Finding a real, and solid connection with another person seems to be more and more rare with the social acceptance of divorce on a constant climb, and even more shockingly, infidelity is also becoming more accepted.  The world is on a dangerous path and we have come to the point of romanticizing activities that were always considered unacceptable in the past.  I hate it.  It must stop.  I will not play along.  We must start being honest with each other in marriage, relationships, friendships, business, and life.  I am terrified for the next generations to come.  Terrified.  

Grace and Peace,

Current Song:  Tristan Prettyman - Say Anything