The Boy Who Cried Wolf

4 02 2008

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So today in my journalism class, my professor gave us a quote to knull over.

He said, .” If the worst possible thing happens every time, then when the worst possible thing does happen… who cares?”

An example includes.

So we all heard about the Avian Bird Flu and how bad it was, and the potential crisis if an outbreak occured.  People went nuts.  We all freaked out thinking about the potential tragedy on our hands.  In all actuality, the virus is containable, not easily tansferably between birds and humans, oh, and heres the kicker… the people who were getting infected ate the bird meat raw, and had soup that consists if bird blood.  No wonder they wound up with some crazy virus, birds are meant to be cooked… freakin idiots.

Another example.The year that the Columbine shooting happened, we all were awestruck at such a disaster.  And then out of no where, school shootings were all over the news.  What happened… everyone freaked out, Nike made a clear see through backpack, cops were put in schools, and nerds were now though of as potentially crazy, gun slingin, real life Duke Nukem’s!  Actually, school shootings that year were the lower than the year before, so why didn’t we hear about them in 1998?  Oh ya, it’s because Columbine had security cameras so the tragedy was caught on film.  It’s like Christmas Day for the Media.

So now we hear about West Nile Virus.  109 people died of this in the US last year, and we don’t really care.  It’s just like eh, the west nile virus, won’t happen to me.  This is something that is unlikely, but is a plausible threat.  According USA Today, since 2002 there were 213 deaths due to Bird Flu.  But, thats from a demographic of 14 different countries(none in the US), over a span of 6 years.  Give me a break.  

I am currently having an anxiety attack over the thought of getting the bird flu… not.

Why don’t we get our panties in a bunch?  Cause we don’t like bunching our panties for no reason, it’s uncomfortable and makes your fingers smell funny when you pick it out.

We’ve become used to having something so ultimately bad happen so freakin often.  Something bad, but not ultimately bad happens and people freak out, get a bunch of attention, but then it goes away.  So what has to happen?  Something else bad, but not ultimately bad happens, and the same people freak out and get as much attention as possible, but then the “excitement” dies down.  Then, finally, something genuinely bad happens, and a few people notice and get involved, but most everyone else just looks past it.

Why?  Cause it’s not worth the time and effort spent on things that last as long as fireworks.  Big, eye-stunning explosion, but we don’t care about the one we just saw, we want to see another, and when they are done what happens?  We go home and look for something else to do.

So how many times have you seen this “wolf”?  If you have seen it more than once you should probably just shut up, keep it to yourself maybe tell your little sister, and ignore it.  Cause everyone is so freakin tired about hearing about this damn wolf there will be no one to help when it really happens.

peace 





It’s not really my fault…

23 10 2007

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sigh…
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Just got back from work at the phone center
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Four minutes left at work and…
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I say “Is Robert there?”
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“No, may I ask who I calling.”
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“My name is Zach and I am a student here at Iowa State…” BAM I GET CUT OFF
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“I have told you and told you guys to stop calling! My husband is 83 years old, and he is very sick in the hospital, EIGHTY THREE YEARS OLD! YOU GUYS JUST KEEP CALLING! and I asked the last person to take us off the list…”
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“Oh, I am very sorry, I, uh, I will take you off right away. I am sooo sorry, I really am, I uh, I am truly sorry. I will do that right away.
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MY HEART BREAKS…
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INTO TWO HUGE PIECES…
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my throat swells up…
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sobbing, “EIGHTY THREE YEARS OLD, PLEASE JUST STOP CALLING…………………..”
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“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I really am. Thanks, I will let you go and it won’t happen again I promise.”
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Click
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on the walk home i cried…
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“How was work zach?”

“Not bad I guess”………………..pfuh I’m a liar
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Wow, I don’t know… I just don’t know.





Randy

2 10 2007

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So this weekend is one of those weekends. And by “one of those”, if you haven’t read my blogs and are not quite sure what that means, it means it was a weekend that really helped me grow and mature as a Christian, and as a person.

So, just as a prelude to the story, Randy is an exchange student from Chengdu, China. He is a freshman at ISU, majoring in business, and is a textbook of knowledge for hardcore music. We randomly met when he came into our room because we were listening to Haste the Day, and playing WWE Smackdown vs. Raw. Two things that he is very interested in. We had talked a couple of times, just about music, nothing more. How freakin sweet is that? Sweeter than sneaking a fresh, warm, homemade cookie when you are supposed to be on a diet.

Also, I have been somewhat stagnant in my spiritual growth. I haven’t been reading the bible (esp. the book of Proverbs that I love), and haven’t been going to church. I do not feel that I am any less, just that I am nothing more. God has an awesome way of giving opportunities. Lucky for me, I have taken advantage of such circumstances.

So I was driving Randy and myself to a show at Blinks, a hardcore show of course, and he says to me,
“Hehy aZach, can weh talhk somtime tonight?’ (I must type how he speaks so you get the full experience)

So I told him absolutely, I would love to. I already had a lot of respect for him because I really do admire what he is doing. He’s in another country, speaking a foreign language, but still has enough character to leave himself vulnerable and reach out for help to someone he has just met.

So after the show, Randy and I walked around campus, and sat down by the bikes behind Oak Elm.

He was telling me how he was wanting to transfer to another school, and how he can’t get used to the slow pace of life here in Ames, IA. I helped him out with that and supported him, and invited him to our trip to Chicago, because he defnity needs to see a real city in the US. And he knows Victory Records is in Chicago, and he loves that more than he loves eating hotpots back in Chengdu.

Then I explained that he was just going through a tough time because whether or not he liked it, he was adjusting. Not just as a freshman and being out on his own, but being in another country,and living another way of life. Just stop and imagine what it would feel like if you were in China your first year of college. I told him that it was completely normal and that he should embrace the uncomfortable feelings and learn and grow from them. He agreed with this, and we talked about the ways we view living our lives here on earth. Randy and I have more in common that I would ever have thought.

He, like me, is very optimistic, believes that everything happens for a reason, we learn and grow from the bad times more than the good, and that we all have a purpose for our lives. He believes that he can make a difference, and change whatever he puts his heart to. I couldn’t be more proud. It is much like the feeling I will feel when I hear my child say the word “Dad”. Randy is the epitome of the definition of character. Not a character, but character.

He told me a story about how he wouldn’t cut his hair at his school back in China, and he was sent through different teachers, untill he had to meet with the headmaster. He asked his headmaster what the image of a good student was. Short hair, uniform, backpack. Then he told the headmaster that just because his hair was long did not make him a bad student. He could still perform just as well in school, so why should it matter if his hair is longer. Randy said he could care less if he had to finally cut his hair, but just so long as the headmaster would listen to the idea that he was trying to get across. How ballsy is that.

He wasn’t arguing his long hair, but was arguing that just because he wanted it longer did not make him a poor student. He was the same long hair or not. He was thinking outside of the box. He was a walking talking metaphor for the argument against communism! (thanks Steve for that one).

So to me Randy is a very special guy. Here is a dude, from the other side of the world who lives his life the exact same way I do. Wow. For all the things that I do wrong, I must be doing something right.

While we were talking about our outlooks on life, I explained to him that I had mine thanks to Jesus Christ and that becase of him I was saved and was going to heaven. That is why I can look at the good and bad in my life and appreciate every last drop of it. This was the first time I have ever talked to someone about being saved and how much it changes your life. I told him if he ever decided to(I never asked him to, or even in the smallest way obligated him to) admit he was a sinner, and know that Jesus died to save him, the next day he would wake up and his life would never be the same. Couldn’t be happier.

Also this weekend, I was having the dreaded living with your best friend troubles. I will not explain that here, but I’m sure you know the general scenario.

Today at first, I was super super pissed off. Felt super bad. Felt super guilty. But then of course God showed again that everything happens for a reason.

I was able to talk to one of my newer friends about life, church, God, and giving up certain habits. Because I was having a tough time she asked me if I wanted to talk about it, I did of course, and then before you know it I got to hear about her life, her dreams, and her convictions. That was awesome. Very meaningful, very heartwarming.

Also, I talked(aka vented) to two of my other close friends and we also had a very good, meaningful conversation.

Then, what the heck I was talking to another friend (aka venting my frusterations) and she is going through a period of restlessness that I went through last year. Some things were bothering her, convicting, her and I couldn’t be more happy for her. Sure she is restless and somewhat miserable because she is unsure about a lot of things, but that means she is growing, pushing forward and changing for the better.

God is great, and I couldn’t be more grateful the trials of life, and my much loved friends that help me through it.

Life sucks sometimes but I wouldn’t have it any other way.





9 08 2007

epiphany |iˈpifənē| noun ( pl. -nies) (also Epiphany)

the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).

• the festival commemorating this on January 6.
• a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.
• a moment of sudden revelation or insight.





Ready for school?

4 08 2007

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So ya, how often do you hear that phrase? Ready for school? When you are in college, that’s when.

This blog will be my thoughts in sporadic, sentences, fragments, words and symbols.

I am done with living at home, done with being bored in Des Moines, done with being stagnate in my spiritual, and personal growth. The best thing for me is is having ME time. I don’t get that when I work, hang out with my awesome friends, and then drive a half an hour home and go to bed, wake up, then work all day. It’s not a bad thing, I just need some change.

People are starting to go their own ways. Good and bad… they are goin.

Some of the important things that have been part of my life are changing or ending. Hopefully there will be even more important things to replace the old ones.

I am very unsure on many of the things in my life right now, and the worst part is I can only do so much.

My fish Murdock died two days ago and no joke I almost cried.

I lost my cell phone yesterday.

My car is dying… slowly, but surely.

I hate it when moments are awkward.

When will things fall together?

I smoke too much, but have been cutting back a lot

I am glad for the sucky things in life because they not only show character, but build it…

I have way more things to be grateful for than to compain about.

You should carry your bible around with you everyday. You will read it more.





Point of view… looking for a change

17 07 2007

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Today I gave a homeless woman five dollars. I had to leave and break my 20, and she thought that I was just trying to walk away from her. I promised her that I would come back, and after I handed her the money I told her God bless and meant it with all of my heart, and told her I would pray for her. She sat on the sidewalk and cried.

It is too easy to get caught up in your problems, your failures, your trivial little vanity conceived trifles.
But sit down and think just how much you have to be thankful for.
Because the everyday burdens of the people you don’t hear about on Oprah are far more unwelcome than everything you can only pray won’t happen to you.
-Zach Gilbert

Looking At The World Through The Eyes of Another

Wisdom calls aloud in the street,
She raises her voice in the public squares;
At the head of the noisy streets she cries out,
In the gateways of the city she makes her speech

Bryan Wentworth noticed something that I was completely blind and oblivious to. Hindsight 40/40 right?

So good ole Amidst The Affliction just played a show in Ottumwa, IA last night and the town itself was like no other town I have ever been in. The downtown part of the city was relatively small, and was mostly shops and businesses along Main Street. This part spanned down Main Street about six or so blocks. Our venue was called the Lava Lounge and was a Christian oriented place. It didn’t seem too surprising because blocks away were huge, old, beautiful churches. Now when I say old, I mean built out of solid stone, with huge steeples, and very medieval looking. But what did surprise me, were all of the bars, strip joints, and even an adult theater just down the block of Main Street. This was not the wholesome, family fun, West Des Moines kind of place my eyes are so used to seeing. These fine places were located the same block as our Christian venue that we played. It was very… how do I say it… lewd. At first, all I noticed was that it seemed very strange to me to see those certain establishments so… in your face, right after driving by these massive structures of God.

After the show on the way back, I was driving. It was just Bryan and I, and he shared the most engaging idea I have heard in a long time. So his thoughts are the basis of this blog. Good job Bryan.

This town was literally caught up in a spiritual war. Just like the ones from bible times. It was literally an angels versus demons battlefield. This was the kind of place that Jesus would go to. Lowly, poor, and humble, Jesus would sit with the grime of society, bursting with hope, like a much-needed beacon of light. In the bible it says that he ate with sinners. Sweet, so Jesus chilled with hookers and crooked tax collectors, but I have never gave it too much thought. How much more obvious could it have been.
We played in a place where we got to eat any food we wanted, on the house, and kids could come and hang out during the week (Xbox, arcade games, ping-pong, pool tables) for free, and could learn about God. Then, just down the block there are two or so bars, and a strip club, Chills N’ Thrills. In between these two places was a youth center (not sure if it was necessarily a Christian, but a positive place nonetheless). On the other side of the street, there was a mission’s establishment not far at all from an adult cinema theater. It just blows me away to think about it now, and how blatant this spiritual game of tug-of-war was… and is. Not a literal bombshells and anti-aircraft missiles war, but a very symbolic, very in your face, very pull on your soul kind of war. It just made the churches that were geometrically large seem far bigger and more powerful. They almost don’t fit because they are very elegant and proud, and nice to look at, but then are right next to buildings that are run down and just look like hell. It seemed like a town divided.

There were a lot of Hispanics there because of the meat packing plant, and I guarantee that most of the locals probably had a lot of animosity towards these people. Nothing obvious happened while we were there, but I could sense that the city was dripping with a disdain for having to have all of these not white people now residing in their formerly all white town. Actually, I remember I saw some graffiti out the back door of the Lava Lounge. It said: Fuck Latin Kings. So my original thought was Hispanic gangs fighting with each other, but now that I think about it, I feel as though it was probably tagged by some ignorant redneck fool who felt it was his endowment to share from his ladle of intellectual wealth, by using a can a spray paint and far too many shots of Jim Beam Whiskey.

Touring, and getting paid to play music seems like such a trite task compared to what other people are going through. But, it has also shown me, on a very small scale, what the world is like. When I am out of the comfortable walls of my new house, hundreds of miles away from the people that I care so much about, I am forced to think, to notice, to appreciate and detest what the world is really like. As much as it makes my heart ache to see people who don’t even get to live a life of enjoyment and opportunities, I wouldn’t trade a second of it for all the money, any currency, that has ever been printed in the entire history of the world.





Salt of the Earth

25 06 2007

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So I am on tour and we just played a show in St Joseph, MO. It was one of the best shows that I have ever been to or played. Not because of how many people were there, but because of the people there.

I refer to these type of people as the Salt of the Earth. Very rarely, if ever does a person ever brush shoulders with someone who has been all around the world. Not people who travel and go to tourist spots, but people who see the hearts and souls of the cities they visit. I feel that I need to explain the Salt of the Earth metaphor. I am not a great writer by any means but I will do my best to try and help you understand how much character these people have, and how underestimated and un-noticed they go.

I met a guy named Billy, and a kid who was about my age named Devin. Fist, I will talk about Devin. Devin is one of those people whose life could be a book or movie. He has gone through more in his life than I would probably ever want to do in my whole life. He is a truly genuine guy. Everything that he said I knew was true. I talked to him through the course of the evening, invited him to Taco Bell, and just heard his story. He recently had his ’91 Honda Civic stolen by some relatives that were passing through. Devin loves cars and this was his pride and joy. He bought it from a former teacher for a hundred dollar bill. Then he found a racing engine from I forget what kind of car and put it in. I remember him telling me about how fast it was and the look of pure happiness on his face. Anyway, he ended up tracking down the relative that had stolen his keys. He said that he wanted his car back and his relative told him there wasn’t anything he could do about it. Devin in turn said that he would fucking kill him if he didn’t get his car back. Well, the relative then threatened that he would kill Devin and sent out a crew of people to do that very thing. Even last night Devin said that he had to constantly watch his back and be careful about where he was all the time. Also, he brought everything to the police department and they have had three detectives working on the case and haven’t found anything. With KC just 45mins away his car is way past gone. Devin also really liked ATA, and talked about a band he used to have, and his guitars, and guitar playing. I was truly sad that I had to see him go, and wished him the best of luck.

Next was his friend who called himself Billy. Billy and Devin had met three days before at the Scallywag venue. Billy is the most cultured person I have ever met. He is a once in a lifetime aquaitence. He was probably around 38 years old and has traveled the entire world. Also he has the deepest, roughest pirate sounding voice I have ever heard in person. He was in St. Joseph, MO because of family, and calls his home So Cal. While in St. Joseph he also had his car jacked and was kind of stranded. He would talk and talk talk. And smoke and smoke and smoke. But his background story was even more intriguing. Billy’s ancestors were pirates of the Caribbean. Real ones. From down by Haiti, and Brazil. He told us about his ancestory, and was very proud of it. He is what you would call a drifter. Someone you could trust absolutely, but not 100%. But could trust nonetheless. Anyway, he said he had to stop but he Scallywag when he saw it. This is because on the sign outside there was a pirate ship so he felt naturally drawn to it. Weird but true. The world I believe is smaller than it is bigger. Billy has been all over the United States, coast to coast, and the world… literally, but grew up in good ole Des Moines, IA. He went to Roosevelt actually, and wrestled. He knew exactly where we were all from. He name off streets and towns better than most people who actually live there would. He knew of Waukee, Clive, Windsor Heights, even Martensdale, Guthrie Center, and Earlham! It was crazy. That’s how I knew this guy was the real deal. He told us of Mexico, and California, and Iowa, and Texas, and Haite and Brazil, and that’s just shootin the breeze. It was really a blessing to meet him as well.

It’s weird but after meeting those two it made me look back on my life. It made me feel horrible for having all of these things that I take for granted in my life. These two guys were living everyday like they had no cares in the whole world. Even though they barely had much more than the clothes on their backs. At any time they could meet the wrong group of people and get mugged to killed. Having no idea where you would be in a week seems like a scary, yet equally beneficial feeling. They were both so genuine and kind hearted it really hit home to me. These guys have it harder than I could ever imagine having to live, and here I am typing on my expensive laptop, texting a gorgeous girl on my cell phone, and am on the road getting paid to play a guitar. It is very humbling to see things from a different point of view. It really makes me step back and look at where my priorities are, and see how problems in my life are insanely trivial compared to the trials and tribulations that so many other people have to live with to the end of their days.

So in short I was forced to take a different look at my life and was shown how blessed I truly am.