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One by one they fall...
Currently Reading:

Lirael - Garth Nix
Golden Compass - Philip Pullman

On Hiatus:

Deception Point - Dan Brown
Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice
The Silmarillian - J.R.R. Tolkien

To Read:

Grimm's Grimmest - The brothers Grimm
Secrets of the Enchanted Unkown - Raylene Van Worth
The Compleat Gentleman - Brad Miner
Lost Scriptures - Bart D. Ehrman
Lost Christianities - Bart D. Ehrman
The Complete World of The Dead Sea Scrolls - Davies, Brooke, and Callaway
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Book of Lost Tales - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Book of Unfinished Tales - J.R.R. Tolkien
Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger

Finished Reading:

The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
Angels & Demons - Dan Brown
Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
Signs, Symbols, and Omens - Raymond Buckland
Prophecies - Tony Allan
The Art of Deception- Kevin Mitnick
The Complete Book of Witchcraft - Raymond Buckland
Blankets - Craig Thompson
Sabriel - Garth Nix
-You are talented in many ways.
-The only certainty is that nothing is certain.
-You will soon discover how truly fortunate you really are.
-You have a friendly heart and are well admired.
-Your dreams are never silly; depend on them to guide you.
-The smart thing to do is to begin trusting your intuitions.
-You are more likely to give than give in.
-Your path is arduous but will be amply rewarding.
-Love truth but pardon error.
-You are a man of righteousness and integrity.
Tattoo the Earth '00:

World Tourbulence '02:
Dream Theater

One night in NYC '03:
Yellow Matter Custard

Reroute to Remain '03:
In Flames

Summer Tour '03:
Fate's Warning
Dream Theater

Fall Tour '03:
Dave Matthews Band

Fall Tour '03:
String Cheese Incident

SU Fall Concert '03:
The Pat McGee Band
Michelle Branch

Guest Artist Concert '04:
Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer

SU Spring Concert '04:
Breaking Benjamin

Summer Tour '04:
Ben Folds
Rufus Wainright

Summer Tour '04:
Breaking Benjamin
Three Days Grace
It's important to believe in things...
Saturday. 3.26.05 1:39 pm
So many things have passed since I last really updated, but for all intents and purposes, this entry will focus on two recent events.

Wednesday morning I left school around 9:15 to head down to Harrisburg to meet Brian's family to drive down to South Carolina to see Brian. They rented a van so both his parents, his sister Jenn, his ex-gf/gf/friend Becky and I could all go in the same vehicle. I had a late night because of a ceremony followed by a talk with Brooke, so I slept for the first few hours of the drive. We made our first sotp to fill up on gas and grab some food somewhere in Virginia. Boy, the locals sure were interesting. I walked up to get some ketchup and there was someone's food laying right in front of the dispenser, but I figured whatever I'd be done in 2 seconds. As I'm standing there, this guy comes up and says to me in a thick southern accent, "Hey bub, lemme slap this shit outta your way and I'm gone." All I could manage to say in response to that was "...ok." It was certainly amusing, that and the "interesting" employees there (read: most likely inbred). We had our laughs and set out on the road again. We got about 45 minutes away from Columbia, SC and Brian's aunt calls his mom and says there's somehting up at the Travellodge Inn with the rooms. So, she calls and finds out that despite having reserved and paid for three rooms three weeks ago, they gave the rooms away. So, cutting out the intense arguing and whatnot, nothing was being resolved there, so we ended up going two blocks away and staying at the Days Inn, which seemed infinitely better than the other place anyway. Turns out, once the manager was finally at the other place, they gave the rooms away because they were housing soldiers back from Iraq, and didn't know how long they'd be there, so they ended up giving the reserved rooms to the soldiers. That's perfectly fine, but why didn't the retarded front desk girls just say that the night before? They kept saying they overbooked. Then they kept saying the manager wasn't there and they didn't have a number to reach him. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Shitty business there, but oh well, we had a place to stay.

Next morning we got up for breakfast then drove over to Fort Jackson. They showed some non-relevant video/slideshow about soldiers at which we couldn't help but laugh because they chose "Eye of the Tiger" as the background music. After that some commanding officer announced what was going on, basic rules for the day, and they honored the high scoring privates on marksmanship and physical fitness. After the whole presentation, all of the soldiers were waiting outside in formation. We saw Brian, but didn't quite recognize him at first because they gave him standard-issue, nerdy thick-framed glasses and his posture was finally proper. He came over and we talked to him for a while and handed him ridiculous amounts of all of his favorite foods that he didn't have for 9 weeks. Sometimes they say that going through basic training changes people, but other than somehow getting skinnier than before, Brian's still the same. After hanging out there and Brian feeding his face for a while, we drove around the base and stopped by his company barracks and got to see his bunk and whatnot. From then on we basically spent the day going to various places around Fort Jackson, talking/hanging out, and eating a ton of food. We even had a while where we plugged in his mom's laptop and watched most of The Village, though since the sound was low and we were in the activities center, we watched the movie with Elton John's greatest hits as the soundtrack. Around 8:30 we drove back to the lot near his barracks and just sat and talked in the van. A few times throughout the day Brian told us that he really appreciated us coming to see him. I was more than glad to sacrifice my time/couple days of school to travel down and see Brian. He's still a bastard though, he made sure to ask me when I was signing up and reminded me that you enlist as an E-4 specialist when you have a college degree, and could possibly enlist as an officer, not even a private. However, I don't foresee any military involvement from me in the near future, but God only knows what will happen in the years to come.

We went back to the hotel and crashed from the long day, then got up the next morning to go back and see the actual graduation ceremony. I have to say, the weather in SC was amazing. Aside from night when it was kinda chilly, I didn't even need to wear a hoodie. I was actually a bit on the warm side, since I was used to PA weather when I packed, and walked around the base in jeans and a long-sleeve shirt. Oh well, I survived. We got to the field a good hour and a half early, but so did a crapload of other people, so it was worthwhile to be there so early. It was sunny and hot that mornig until the last 20 minutes or so of the ceremony when the clouds rolled in. I actually got a bit sunburned on my neck and had to use my pamphlet to block the sun. After the ceremony we had a mere 10 minutes to find Brian and talk to him before he had to get back in formation and eventually head out and fly to Arizona for AIT. The good news is that after his next phase of training, he was told that he can have his computer and be online when he has time, so in roughly three weeks or so, Brian will be back online.

After our brief time with brian we got back in the van and headed back north to PA. We had another amusing rest stop experience in a different part of Virginia. When we walked into the place, the older clerk was scolding this lady's kid, something about "I saw you knee it", to which the lady got all sorts of pissy and spouted "don't you talk to my son like that, blah blah." The hilarity ensued as this lady went on, saying, "go to hell," and the guy replying "I'll see you there," followed by her flipping him off and saying "shove that up your ass" as she walked out the door and the guy telling her "nice way to talk in front of your kid lady." We were all rather amused by the scene, and I really wanted to go ask the guy what the kid did. After that we got back on the road and made it back to Harrisburg around 10pm or so. It was an exhausting trip, but certainly well worth it. I needed to have my online fix, so I got online and checked mail and whatnot. I was hoping I'd have something to read, but all I had was a ton of junk mail and PMA stuff. I didn't hear anything from Brooke, but read her LJ so I e-mailed her a mammoth e-mail.

That brings up the second event. Things got really odd and weird between us seemingly right after spring break. When we came back things were very turbulent and uneasy and not knowing otherwise I figured it was just the accumulation of a lot of stressful things. Things being really weird and the amount of stress certainly wore on both of us and personally it made me fall into worry mode and that didn't help anything. We had a good talk and we had a really fun weekend, but then things came to a head the night before I left. I wasn't pissed off, despite a comment I did make (which what I really meant was "I don't know what's going on and I'm worrying and it's just easier to say pissed off"), but the oncoming of that conversation combined with other things going on at the same time certainly ruined her night. I won't get into the specific details because I'm not working out this or any issue through my journal, but I did my best to explain I wasn't pissed/angry/whatever and was completely honest with what I felt/wondered about/etc. Because of events happening later on that night, I felt like it was left wide open and needed some sort of resolution, so after Andy and I went to Sheetz for some CM&C, he left me his keys so I could come back to the apt after the ceremony. I came back afterwards and talked to Brooke for about an hour or so, a) to be able to talk personally, and b) to be able to ease the unresolved tension I would've felt still now had we not talked. The gist of our situation is that we started drifting apart, I feel mostly if not completely because of the ridiculous amount of outside stressful things we've both had recently, moreso for Brooke. We both said that we could see us going back to being friends, but the problem is if/when. We both enjoy being around each other and can have a damn good time, so we know we won't have any problems being friends, but I guess the real decision is whether or not to stay together. I am confident in what I feel, but Brooke is not sure and so the hopes of figuring that out lie in this time apart. The positive aspect that definitely pleases me if the fact that a flat deicision wasn't just made without considering taking time the think about things and figure it out. It has certainly been on my mind and will continue to be until we figure things out.

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That Crossley Guy
Wednesday. 2.9.05 7:13 pm
I did as Brian has asked of me, and I updated his journal with what he put in his letter and made an entry with his mailing address. He wants to receive a bunch of mail, and the more random the better. So help keep Brian sane in his time of trial (w/out vaseline).

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I used to know your face...
Tuesday. 2.8.05 7:01 pm
Well, it's been a fairly long time since I've updated this journal. My apologies to anyone saddened by the severe lack of legitimate entries. I've been fairly busy and just haven't had the desire to sit down and write out entries about what has occured in the many weeks since I last wrote. Well, the other day I received an e-mail from Robbin Crossley (Brian's mom) saying that she heard from Brian and received mail, but needed my address because he wrote a letter to me as well. She also told me that he's done with boot camp on March 25th, so the Crossley fam. and a few friends are travelling down for the weekend to see Brian before he heads out to AIT in Arizona. I got Brian's letter in the mail today, and I must say it was good to see Brian is still the Brian we all know and love (read:molest) even in the midst of basic training. I don't have his letter with me at the moment, but he asked me to type an entry on his NuTang and let everyone know his contact address so he can receive a ton of random mail and to let everyone know how he's doing. So, either later tonight or sometime tomorrow I will do that favor for Brian and make sure a bunch of people send him random mail while he's in basic.

Other than that very recent bit of info, a considerable amount of events/things/etc. have passed since I last wrote. Some highlights of the past few weeks would include (but not limited to): My new roommate moving out and back into his frat, becoming addicted to Katamari Damacy (a cracked-out Japanese import for PS2), I started pledging Rho Theta Theta (aka, "POO") and have Andy Palochko as my big, I went home to renew the permit and do that whole driving/getting a license deal, getting a decent amount of work-study hours each week so I'm not a chronically po' cracka' college student anymore, Brooke's senior recital rocked, became a research assistant for the psych dept. ($30/referral, hellz yeah), and today I bought my 3rd child, Caboose (who's a hot black-blue betta), and he lives in a large glass beer stein. One of the craziest things about this semester is the amount of practicing that I've done both for lessons and for aural theory. I've impressed and freaked out many of my peers because of my newfound diligence. It's definitely paying off. My lessons run so much more smoothly now that I actually have things prepared well in advance, and I'm rocking aural theory. I only missed two notes on our first dictation quiz and I aced the first prepared singing exam. I'm finally applying myself, and I must say that because of it I am really enjoying the semester.

I seem to update my journal in phases. Right now I'm still somewhat in the "I don't feel like updating phase", but it always comes back. So, I'm sure I'll return to regurlarly updating with legitimate entries sometime soon. Until then...

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I want that!
Sunday. 1.23.05 3:44 pm
Ok, I am beyond Jones'n for an iPod. I want one badly. So, with that, I checked out the freeipods site and whatnot, and remembered reading on Kevin Rose's site (he's the co-host of The Screen Savers on Techtv) that he, his gf, and best friend signed up for it and they all eventually got their iPods, so it's apparently legitimate. Anywho, I really want one, and if you want one as well, just go here. Just fill in your e-mail, address, click no for all the special offers and surveys, then choose your iPod and pick an offer. I suggest, for my college peers out there, the citi college student credit card. It has amazing rates, no annual fee, and it's designed specifically for college students. So, really, even if I don't get an iPod through this, I'll still end up with an awesome deal with the citi card (which will be my one and only credit card). I say what the hell, go for it.

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A hint of Nostalgia...
Saturday. 12.25.04 3:01 pm
Ah, the holidays. It's always an interesting time of year, for varying reasons each time around. This year is probably the most non-"Christmas"-like, at least thus far. This year has been really different, largely because of my mom's health issues and her needing to spend a lot of money to get her prescriptions filled before the holidays, so that left us with minimal funds for Christmas. You may look at it and think, "Oh man, that sucks", but, really, I don't mind not getting gifts if it means my mom has the medications she needs to get better. Looking back on past years, what we're missing this year is the spirit of "Giftmas", rather than the whole idea behind Christmas. As most people know, or at the least my closest friends certainly do, my spiritual/religious beliefs have already changed a bit, and it has become an evolving issue for me, so, the notion of Christmas and what it should stand for has been something on my mind this year. I went along with my mom to church last night for the Christmas Eve service, and I ended up being annoyed by the people there (not suprisingly). My mom was up in the choir loft, but I sat back near the back of the church. Behind me was one of the church "elders", the church sexton, and next to me was a man and his wife who also help out at the church. Throughout the service, they're all talking--not whispering in the least--and carrying on like children. The kicker was the elder man, when we lit the candles and turned off the lights, he said out loud "Anyone have any marshmallows?", and the others around me laugh. WOW. What's sad about that whole scenario is the fact that they are all over 40 years old. It was ridiculous. On top of that, the same people, as well as the newest priest now, are giving my mom shit for anything and everything, yet my mom's the first person they call when they want/need something. I don't get how they honestly wonder why I don't go to church.

I just sat there during the service and let my mind wander, since the priest was trying to rush through the service so she could leave, and I had the geriatric children sitting around me. I was sitting there thinking about what Christmas is supposed to mean, and then thought of how December 25th is a Pagan holiday the Christians stole and called their own (amongst the multitude of other things that the old church took from everyone else to gain more power), how the tree comes from German traditions, putting presents in shoes/stockings comes from the Dutch, the lights come from numerous traditions, the greens also from Pagans celebrating nature and the winter solstice, and so on. So, since most everything that we have come to know as Christmas is a melange of elements from other religions and traditions that the church appropriated for itself, then what is truly Christian about the holiday? The birth of the baby Jesus, the wise men, the manger...not a whole lot, really. Thinking about that brought up some questions/points of interest; There was no such word in the hebrew language for "virgin" as we know/use it today, the word simply meant "young", so that makes you look at the whole "Virgin Mary" idea; The wise men took a long time to get to Bethlehem. No one actually knows the specifics, but the concesus among most scholars is that it took them anywhere from months up to as long as two years until they saw the baby Jesus; The whole notion of was Jesus the son of God or not.

Through my own soul-searching/whatever you want to call it, and through studying religion in college, my beliefs and ideas concerning all things religious and spiritual have changed and they continue to evolve. Honestly, I feel that that is how religion is to be treated. Things HAVE to change. When things do not change, they die--it's a law of nature. Everything that exists exists because it is changing. Be it liquid, solid, gas, everything that exists has molecules that vibrate (aka, change). Scientists that are trying to reach absolute zero are facing the arguments of existence in their work because if they reach absolute zero, all molecules cease to move, and if all molecules cease to move, then whatever object reaches absolute zero would logically cease to exist. Anyway, back to my religion topic, things have to change. For this very fact, that seems ridiculously obvious to me now, I cannot stand or fathom stubborn and/or fundamentalist religious people. Those people are hung up on the aspects of the faith/religion that best suits them, not the entirety of whatever religion it is. That's the key issue with all of the problems revolving around religion--everyone takes it upon themselves to only adhere to and follow (or even make up) the aspects of the religion they choose, and they hold everyone else accountable to their personal interpretation. We're a species of self-righteous motherfuckers. To make matters even worse, society has grown to embrace the freedom of individuals to decide things like this for themselves, but with that we allow people to hold everyone else accountable and point fingers. There's no simple way to fix the whole issue, especially because no one can say "I'm right, so everyone needs to follow my beliefs". The only way you could address the issue is to make people accountable for themselves, and have a neutral, unbiased governing figure punish those who hold others accountable.

I won't get too into it because I dislike talking about politics, but my train of thought segued right into it. What we need to restore is the separation of church and state. It needs to happen. What we're getting into and allowing is our elected leader to impose his views and beliefs into basically every aspect of America. If anyone doesn't agree that America is now essentially Jesusland, stop deluding yourself and sugarcoating the truth. It has crossed the point of people being allowed to have their own beliefs to where a man's beliefs are imposed upon and reflected in the actions of our entire nation. I personally find it highly disturbing that our conflict in Iraq and the whole terrorist deal is "justified" because our president prayed about it and it's what "God" wants our nation to do. Christ on a pogo stick. Some homeless guy can walk the streets of New York saying "God told me to pee on the cat" and he's labelled mentally insane, but a president can say he prayed about it and God want us to fight this war and he's praised. Doesn't measure up to me. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Changing direction here, I got a bit nostalgic today when I was looking through my stack of pictures. I have pictures from back in high school up to this last semester. I need to get a photo album or two for the 158 or so photos I have. There are also some cool digital photos I'm thankful I uploaded to various websites since my computer kinda died twice (hmm, maybe it's taking after me). Speaking of digital photos, we managed to take some when we met Dennis Blair backstage before the Blair/George Carlin show at school. The one shot of Larry, Brian, Dennis, Brooke, and me came out pretty well:

While I'm talking about and posting pictures, I finally got out the camera and took a picture of my drawing I made for the next tattoo I want to get. I tried to describe it in an entry back when I made the drawing, but it's a hell of a lot easier to just look at the picture itself, so here you go:

I hope to get that tattoo soon. I'm kinda out of the piercing phase, at least for a while, so I'm onto to thinking about tattoos.

I'm excited about going to Brooke's house tomorrow to do our little gift exchange and just to see her for the first time this break and be able to chill and relax together for a bit. I'm only going down for an overnight, but she's coming up the 30th and staying until the 2nd, so it'll be good times. Ok, this entry is mamothly long, so I'm gonna leave it at this and go gorge myself on Christmas dinner part 2. Whatever you believe in and celebrate, have a good one.

p.s. - I made this entry open for anyone to comment, since I figure a lot of people will have something to say about the first 4 paragraphs or so, so do comment if you so desire.

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A quiz to tide you over...
Saturday. 12.11.04 9:16 pm
wisdom is love
brought to you by the isLove Generator

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