SOPA

Sopa! It just looks like I misspelled the word soap. But this is a really serious issue. I haven’t read much into it because I don’t try to get too involved with politics, because I know that God is in control of everything in the long run and that it will all work out how it’s supposed to.

But, I do know that there is a big issue in America with this new law/bill that could be passed and the way we use the Internet.

(It is very hard to write a blog post when your dog who missed you a lot is jumping all over you trying to lick your face).

However, if this bill is passed, and the government has it’s way and is able to censor and control the Internet and how we use it, I feel like this will have a larger impact on the world today than we could ever imagine. I know for me, it would be horrible. I am on so many different social networking sites and blogs that I would lose all of that. I wouldn’t be able to access my Tumblr, my Facebook would be limited, heck, even running my WordPress could be difficult.

I feel like this bill violates our constitutional rights as well. Part of being American is having one of the most important freedoms in the world: freedom of speech. Blogs are one of the ways we are able to speak freely, we can post what we want, when we want, and how we want, without being judged or ridiculed (to a certain extent). If that is taken away, so is our freedom of speech. I do not like where this issue is headed, and I really hope that this bill is not passed, or is somehow seen as a violation of our God-given rights as Americans.

I guess only the future and time will show us what is really in store.

“Keep on smiling”

I just got back from working an eleven hour shift at my seasonal job at home in CT. I work at the movie theater close to my house, and it’s a great place to be employed at. All my coworkers are great people to work with and have fun with, every day of work is just a great time. Granted, it stinks when it’s super busy because of new movies like Twilight, and working 11 straight hours is very tiring. Of the many, many years my “family” has been a part of this theater (both my older brothers worked there, my oldest brother was one of the first employees), one of the projectionists, Bill, is an extremely nice older man who seems to be in his 60s. He’s been working there as long as I can remember, and he is honestly one of the nicest, happiest, and most charming and heart-warming person I have ever met. Tonight was the first time I had seen him since the summer, and when I left to come home, I said “See you later this week Bill?” and he replied with “Yep! And keep on smiling!”

Now, when I heard him say this, I just couldn’t believe it. This man, who I’m sure has seen so much through his life, is always smiling, always happy, and always such a cheery guy to be around. It really made me think on my way home, that we really do need to keep smiling. When we come to think about it, there’s not much to not smile about. The loss of loved ones, cars breaking down, bad grades, bad jobs, no jobs, disease, are all things that can bring us down, make us sad, make us hate and yell at God, but the more we dwell on the bad, the less we let God take control of it. We need to remember to keep on smiling, just like Bill told me, just like he always is every time I see him, because we have been blessed beyond measure with life, and the gifts of this world, and we take them for granted.

There is so much to smile about. Even the act of smiling automatically makes us happier. So remember, just keep on smiling.

Boomerangs

Boomerangs are known to fly out and then come back to their thrower. I feel like there are a lot of things we can compare in life to a boomerang, and I will touch on what has been really speaking to me lately in this post.

The most important thing that comes to my mind when I think of this is Christ. As Christians, we need to be constantly searching for God in our everyday lives. This is something I struggle with, and need to keep working on. When we throw God the boomerang He looks for, He will come back to us in ways we never thought imaginable, and in return, He will look for us. In order to grow closer to Him and to know Him better, we have to search for Him, dive into our bible, listen in church, and pray. If we call ourselves Christians and do not search for Him, how can we grow in our faith, and how can we truly call ourselves followers of Christ if we are not truly following Him?
In relevance to a boomerang, the harder we throw it, the harder it comes back. The harder we search for God and grow in Him, the harder he will come to us. The faster we throw the boomerang, the faster it will return. When we throw God this boomerang, he won’t let the devil smack it down, God will wait for it to come to Him, let it turn around, and on its way back, He will come to us, and the harder He does, the more we grow. The harder we search for him, the more devotions we do, the more readings we do of His Word, the more we praise Him, the more we pray, the harder and more He is going to seek us as well. We are not the only ones seeking. We have to remember that God is also looking for us. He is a God who cares, loves, and is a patient God with His people. When He sees us looking for Him, He will come searching for us.
Now, when I think of this, I think of what my very good friend Jesse told me the other night at dinner. Sometimes, we pray about things that are on our minds that we want to know what God wants us to do. We pray and pray for guidance, and some kind of signal as to what God wants us to do, but, maybe he doesn’t have one. Maybe God has more than one path for us, and what I have realized these past couple days, is that no matter what path we take, God will still work in us and in our lives. We may think that God has only one way he wants us to go, and when we think about making the wrong decision, and how it may not be what God wants for us, I know for me that fear comes over me. I want to make sure I do everything He has for me to do. I want to get everything right, and follow His plan. We have to remember that God works in mysterious ways, and that He may have more than one path for us to take, and either way we go, He will work in us and use us.
Now, in the case of boomerangs, if we are carrying a load on our backs, if we have a large backpack on, if we are carrying other things, and try to throw a boomerang, it won’t go very far, and may possibly not come back at all. Something Jesse also told me is that maybe, whatever we are dealing with, we need to just take a break from and show God that we can stop whatever we are doing and focus on Him. Sometimes we pray and pray, and rely purely on that to get us the answer we are looking for, but God wants more than just prayer from us. He wants us to show Him that we can take time away from our personal world to spend time in His world, and to really seek Him and what He has for us. This is when He will see that we can stop what we are dealing with, and really focus on Him more. This is when He will come to us the most. Take the load off of your back, take the time to carefully throw your boomerang towards God. When we relinquish the load off of our backs, giving us more time and space to really throw the boomerang God is looking for, then he will come to us stronger and faster. If, like it is in my case, its something as simple as talking to someone you care about and talk to constantly, or if its something else, then maybe what we should do is simply stop talking to them, or stop whatever it is we are doing, and really take the time to dive closer to Him. It may be hard, but it may be necessary.
God never said following Him or getting the answers we requested would be easy. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to see what He really has for us, to grow closer to Him, and when we make sacrifices that He knows about, then He will really seek us out as well, and supply us with what we ask for.

Just because it’s loud and obnoxious, doesn’t mean it’s not praise.

Through the past four years or so I have noticed that many people do not like the style of music I listen to. I prefer hardcore and heavy rock, but most importantly Christian. 95% of the hardcore bands I listen to are Christian, and in their music they portray a Christian mindset and praise God. I have come across many people such as my parents and friends that do not have the same belief I do. I believe that even though somebody is “screaming”, they are still worshipping God, and this music can be used as praise music.
When people tell me that hardcore music cannot be used as worship and is “from the devil”, it really gets on my nerves. There are many hardcore Christian bands that can clearly be seen as worshipping God when one looks at the lyrics. Most of my favorite bands are Christian, and even for the bands that claim they aren’t, some of their songs have great lyrics and messages behind them.
Many of the songs I hear by these bands are songs that many others and I personally connect with. Their lyrics describe experiences in my life, and what I am personally going through at that time, and I can really connect with the songs. When I connect to music like that, it really helps me get into the music and the moment of using that music to express my love for God and worship Him. The lyrics for such songs as “Redemption” by August Burns Red and “Threads of Sincerity” by Life in Your Way are two of the most important songs to me, as they really take how I feel and put them into songs that I can use to praise God. When I was at the Life in Your Way reunion concert with a couple friends, I was able to praise God the way I like praising him. I’m not saying I don’t like praising him with the music that we hear in church, I just prefer a different way. A lot of times I have noticed that the lyrics for the heavier songs are better than the ones I have sung over the years in church.
I am not saying I don’t believe in praise and worship that is sung in church services. I am saying, however, that I prefer to use a different style of music, and that my preferred style is often criticized for the way it is performed. God never said how we should praise Him. He never put a boundary on how to worship Him with music. He didn’t say that His children purely had to sing to Him. God gave all of us talents to use to His will and to glorify Him. Whether those talents are singing or screaming, drumming or playing the guitar really well, we can always praise Him for what He has given us, some just have a different way of doing so.

Shows, or to some ‘concerts’

I don’t know what it is, but I get really emotional after shows.  I don’t really know why.

Maybe it’s because I’m always really tired and worn out and voiceless after a show, and I don’t feel like doing anything but sleeping for 14 hours.

Maybe it’s because shows bring out the best in me and that’s when I really feel at home, so to speak, and in the presence of my Lord and worshiping the way I worship, with a ton of other sweaty guys and girls around me doing the same.

Maybe it’s because that connection between performer and participator that is met when the microphone gets put in front of my face and I start screaming even louder than I was along with the singer.

Maybe it’s because that is where I know I won’t be judged at all for doing what I love the most, by being who I really am, in front of so many people who have been through similar situations as me through their life, and find the escape they need in the music, in the blood, sweat, and tears that come with a show, in the stress that their vocal cords are under, and in the relief that after the show, we released all the emotions that needed to be and feel completely refreshed and renewed. I honestly feel like a completely new person and every negative feeling and emotion and thing that happened in the past is just gone and I am ready to start fresh and new after every show I’m at.

Shows are where I am home. Shows are where I am completely in the presence of God, worshiping the way I worship, with other kids my age, younger and older, and with those who inspire me so much by writing the lyrics and the music that push me to be better and make me think about life, God, my relationships, and my own inner self.

Show withdrawal is the worst, and it happens more than I would like. But here’s to tonight, and the next show I’ll be at, doing it all over again.

Me and Daniel at the Oh, Sleeper show on 11/14/11:

iPhone 4S

The iPhone is an awesome tool and device. I absolutely love mine. Before I got it, I never really wanted one, because I was satisfied with the phone I had at the time and just my iTouch, but my brother kept telling me that once I got it, it would change my life. And change my life it certainly did. I use my iPhone all the time, I’m on it quite a lot throughout the day, whether I’m texting multiple friends at once, or playing my friend’s back in our Words With Friends games or trying to get past the next Angry Birds or SpyMouse levels.

The iPhone 4S came out this past week, and I am pretty jealous of those who have it. Granted, my iPhone 4 isn’t much different, the 4S has a better camera (much better as far as phones are concerned, going from my 3 megapixels to 8 mexapixels), a faster processor, and what I really like is the Siri program. Siri takes voice control to a whole new level and adds so much more to telephone technology. I didn’t know much about it when I first heard the name, but after looking into it more and watching the video for it, it looks amazing and I really wish it came with the iOS5 update, another new update that I love. With Siri, I could tell my phone to text my mom and tell her I’m going to be late for dinner, or ask my phone what the weather will be like in San Francisco, or to play a certain playlist or artist from the iPod. I can now tell my phone pretty much everything I need it to do. Granted, I can’t tell it to play my Angry Birds levels for me, but that would certainly be something I would love.

iOS5 is a great update, and I keep finding new things that came with it that I was not aware about when I downloaded it. All the new features keep blowing my mind and I keep accidentally doing something and am amazed at it’s effectiveness and capabilities that Apple installed with it. I love my iPhone 4, and I would love a 4S for the Siri capabilities, but am I being spoiled in wanting the newest technology? Probably a little more than I should be, but who doesn’t want the newest and best thing?

But at 200 dollars for starting price, I can pass on this one and wait till this phone dies on me.

Hollywood’s unoriginality.

I feel like Hollywood and the writer’s who keep writing movies nowadays are losing all sense of originality. Every movie that we have seen come out within the past few years has primarily been either remakes or reboots of series. We saw it with the Friday the 13th that came out a couple years ago, and then Nightmare on Elm Street, and just yesterday a remake of Footloose and The Thing came out. They are rebooting the Spider-Man series by making a new one slated for release next summer. They’re also re-releasing Episodes 1-3 of Star Wars periodically into theaters again so audiences can experience it in 3D. They did this with The Lion King and Disney has decided to do this with four of their other films (Finding Nemo, Little Mermaid, Monsters Inc, and Beauty and the Beast).

I’m not saying I don’t like this, because I love movies myself, especially Disney and horror films. However, Seeing trailers for movies that I saw years ago in their originality from the 80s, and loving those, I hate to see their names disgraced with bad remakes. The original The Thing with Kurt Russell was amazing and I loved it. I am very excited to see the new one tonight, however, I think Hollywood should stop making “prequels” that look more like remakes, and get their originality back. Yes, superhero movies are awesome, movies based on comics are awesome, because I am a huge comic nerd and love seeing them on the big screen. Movies like Captain America, Thor, and of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films are my favorite, and I am super excited for The Avengers to come out in May. However, there comes a point in time when Hollywood needs to stop relying on things that are already practically written for them and think of their own new ideas.

Yes, the new technology we have nowadays gives us a much broader and bigger chance to make movies and explore new opportunities that movie makers in the 80s didn’t have, but that doesn’t mean we should strip them of their originality. I really hope that there can some day be an original movie that isn’t a remake or a prequel, or a twenty year old sequel of something made before I was born, that I can love today. It’s only a matter of time before they decide to remake cult classics like the Back to the Future series, and I can pray that day never comes as much as I want, but I fear it is inevitable.

Till then, I’ll keep going to the movies and being entertained any way I can.