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Frustrations

July 3, 2015

I don’t write because it’s easier to stand still and look at the past than it is to do something once and regret not doing it a second time.

I’m still really excited to own this URL though. I just need to spend more time during the week reading and writing than I am.

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A Look Back on the 2013-2014 Chargers season

January 12, 2014

The 2013-2014 San Diego Chargers season was a wild ride. As a fan it’s been tough to see a handful of last minute losses to start off the season (Houston, Tennessee, Washington) with some highlights along the way (Indy, KC part 1, NYG). With the completion of their loss against the Denver Broncos today, it’s hard to not look at the game as a microcosm for the season. At one point in the game, the Chargers trailed 17-0 and things looked hopeless. Likewise, here’s a progression of the Chargers regular season:

  • Week 6: 3-3
  • Week 13: 5-7
  • Week 17: 9-7

The Chargers were written off by just about everyone at the end of the 2012-2013 season. The firing of AJ Smith and Norv Turner gave hope to the fanbase, but expectations were low going into this season. Tom Telesco would replace AJ Smith as GM with Mike McCoy replacing Norv Turner. Their 2013 draft was considered a mixed bag. Fluker would help with the line issues. Most expected Te’o to be a bust, and Keenan Allen who?

Like most NFL teams, the Chargers faced numerous injuries losing their number 1 and number 2 wide receivers before the season was underway.  Throughout the pre-season the bad reviews kept coming. I remember reading articles and listening to reports discussing how the Chargers would be a 6-10 team at best. One article said the Chargers would be either 13-3 or 3-13, depending on how the new management handled things. Most articles described a Chargers’ team that could replicate last season’s 7-9 as being a successful first campaign for the new regime. I looked for awhile but couldn’t find anyone predicting a winning season for the Chargers.

So the regular season got underway with more injuries. The offensive line turned into a revolving door. The linebacker corps turned into a bunch of players that Chargers’ fans had never heard of and along the way they added this guy to the down three. In a way, the team reminded me a lot of the 2010 team that went 9-7 while using a record-tying number of players. Of course, the 2010 Chargers missed the playoffs. The 2013 Chargers squeezed in.

The 2013-2014 team hopefully shows a turnaround in Chargers football. Ryan Mathews set a personal record for total rushing yardage. Philip Rivers showed a return to expectations finishing 5th in the NFL in passing yards and 4th in QB Rating. Keenan Allen finished with over 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie and is a serious contender for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to be hard on the Chargers. It’s easy to be a fairweather fan. It’s easy to say, “well, they choked in the playoffs again.” But let’s not forget that this is a team that many NFL pundits wrote off at the beginning of the season. This was a team that finished the 2012 season in a decline that most didn’t expect to turnaround until at least 2015. This is a team where a 7-9 record would’ve been considered a success.

Taking a rookie GM and a rookie head coach a game away from the AFC Championship is something that this year’s Chargers team can be proud of. Did they bring home the Lombardi? No. Did they take a huge step in the right direction? Absolutely.

The George Zimmerman Verdict

July 13, 2013

Two years ago I wrote this piece on the Casey Anthony verdict:

Two years later, not much has changed. Something that is ultimately a non-story for 300+ million people has saturated our FB newsfeeds, our 24/7 media outlets, Twitter, whatever.

What I didn’t think about with the Casey Anthony verdict that crossed my mind this time around is the irony of the timing. Here we are, nine days past celebrating the 4th of July, the day when so many people are posting on their social networks about how awesome “‘Murrica” is and how great of a nation we are and whatever, only now our social networks are all about how the system is unjust, and how clearly this was a prime example of how racist Americans still are. One comment I read amounted to basically claiming that the outcome of the case just means that non-blacks are free to kill blacks, because the judicial system will let them off the hook.

Now, I realize that in a sense, the fact that we can bitch and moan about the injustice (perceived or otherwise) of this verdict is part of the American way. It’s “free speech”. It’s our right. Okay, sure.

Now, I do think the Zimmerman trial tells us a lot about ourselves and the way we perceive each other. I’m sure there are people who think that anyone who could believe Zimmerman was innocent of his charges is clearly racist. I know I’ve read plenty of comments by people who still think Trayvon Martin was a 12 or 13 year old kid, not a 17 year old high schooler. Some of this is because of what we buy in from the media. Some of this is because ultimately we are selective believers. As a whole, people do not want to process information that doesn’t align with their own belief systems (political, religious, whatever). Everything we take in (reading, listening, seeing) goes through that belief filter if you will.

Of course, at the end of the day, I still believe what I wrote about Casey Anthony holds true here. That the only reason we know about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman is because national media outlets decided it would be a good story to run. It boosted ratings and distracted us from our own lives. It was on TV so it was easy to pay attention to. At least one (probably more) media outlet was live streaming the trial.

but, at the end of the day, when someone a few blocks away dies tragically, or is murdered (justly or unjustly), we will look at ourselves and say, “man, I need to get out of this neighborhood”, and a week later we will have moved on with our lives.

Tax exemptions and the church

July 9, 2013

I rarely give stuff from Breitbart the time of day, but this piece piqued my curiosity. Am I alone in thinking that churches losing non-profit status over the ability to perform state-sanctioned marriages isn’t a huge deal?

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/06/26/IRS-could-revoke-non-profit-for-religious-institutions

On the one hand, the idea of “we’re going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married” seems ingrained in the American psyche. On the other hand, I personally have no issue with holding a ceremony in a church to be married before God, family and friends then going to the county clerk’s office to get a piece of paper signed by a judge so I can get my IRS approved marriage status. I’m sure some churches would be affected as the general public won’t be beating the doors down to get a non-state-approved marriage from some random pastor at the pretty church building down the street, but as a matter of principle I have trouble justifying the idea that churches and pastors should bow down to the government in order to balance their power to marry (in the state’s eyes) and their tax-exempt status.

Anyway, I’d love to hear some feedback on this, either from WP readers or from those of you that know me on FB. It’s always been interesting to me that the concept of “separation of church and state” is used to justify the church’s tax-exempt status (I realize it also has to do with supposed public benefit, just like charities and non-profit hospitals) while pastors have the power (granted by the state) to effectively regulate marriage.

Scarlett Avenue – Creekside EP

July 6, 2013

2005.

I’ve been going through my mental musical catalog to try to come up with a pop-punk album I own that came out later than 2005.

and I’m stumped.

I went through a pop-punk phase when I was in high school and skating was all the rage. I own the first six MxPx albums and this unfortunate Relient K release. I grew older, expanded my musical horizons and moved on, but mid/late 90s pop-punk and the early 00s transition into a more mainstream friendly sound (The Starting Line, Yellowcard, etc.) hold a memory of time in my musical mind.

Scarlett Avenue‘s Creekside EP was released in late 2012, but it scratches that teenage itch that crops up from time to time. I can’t compare it to anything that’s come out in the last 6 or 7 years.

Scarlett Avenue brings a fresh take on a decade-old pop-punk sound. The Creekside EP sounds like something I would’ve picked up in 2003 and listened to on repeat for days at a time…which is what I did with the EP when I picked it up a few months ago. Still, there’s nothing old about the EP. The songs and music are well produced while conveying a positive take on that familiar teenage angst brought about by lost love and that wandering feeling of not really knowing your place in the world. These themes appealed to a pop-punk scene ten years ago as much as they apply to the scene now.

So maybe at 29 I’m way too old to enjoy this stuff. I saw Scarlett Avenue live a few weeks ago and they put on a great show, though I did feel a bit out of place (I swear I was ten years older than everyone else there). The live show was as expected for a pop-punk show…a high energy, crowd interactive, riff heavy half hour that was just enough to leave you wanting more.

You can follow Scarlett Avenue in the following social media locations or listen to the Creekside EP at the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/scarlettavenue
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scarlettaveca
Bandcamp: http://scarlettavenueca.bandcamp.com/

Obama tells delegation, “We will become an African Nation”

July 6, 2013

Obama in Africa, I made this article up

In a recent stop on his trip to Africa, President Barack Obama was heard describing his admiration for the rich cultural heritage of East Africa and his desire to increase “Africanization” in the United States.

“My heart is in East Africa. The rich cultural heritage of African peoples is incredible. America is a great country, but we lack the diversity of culture and embrace of history that I have seen here.

Five Iron Frenzy is back!

November 23, 2011

One of Christian alternative’s biggest names announced last night that they would be returning to music and producing an album during 2012 for release in 2013. Using funding raised through their Kickstarter page, Five Iron Frenzy plans on producing and promoting an album as well as potentially launching a tour in support of the album. Starting with a goal of $30,000, the band has already surpassed this number and raised over $80,000 not even 18 hours into their campaign.

Along with this fundraising campaign, the band has released a promotional single on their website that can also be heard here:

Five Iron Frenzy was a dominant name in the Christian ska scene for much of the late 1990s and early 2000s. During this time they cranked out five studio albums, two live albums and a handful of EPs, singles and compilations. Their last studio album, The End is Near was released in June 2003 with the double-album The End is Here (live + the studio album The End is Here) following in April 2004. In April 2010 they released a long anticipated DVD chronicling their careers with insights given from members of the band.

Five Iron Frenzy’s new album announcement came on the heels of a lengthy website countdown that had many fans anticipating great news, and great news they did receive. In addition to the album announcement, the band has been able to retain almost all of it line-up, though currently original bass player Keith Hoerig is being replaced by original guitar player Scott Kerr.