Friday, March 31, 2006

So the phone rings earlier this week...

...and I pick up and the voice on the other end says, "Hi Trevor, this is Frankie Valens, former pop star."

It was at this point that I made a sound: something between a snort and a chuckle, laced with a vocal inflection that said, "Yeah, and I'm Pope John Paul."

Turns out it REALLY was him!! He's a really sweet guy and was calling to tell me that he and his wife now tour churches and do this music ministry thing and wanted to book at our church. I felt like a total jackass for laughing at him, but my first impression was that it was one of my friends just screwing with me. (FYI - Frankie is the voice behind such hits as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and "This Magic Moment")

So there you have it. Somewhere between 2 and 5 pm on Tuesday afternoon, I heckled a pop legend.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Favorite Cookies (Make sure to read instructions!)

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 bottle Jose Cuervo Tequila

Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take a large bowl; check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar;Beat again. At this point it's best to make sure the Cuervo is still OK; try another cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit, Pick the frigging fruit off floor...

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the Cuervo to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Who giveshz a sheet. Check the Jose Cuervo. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over. Don't forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

"This is the world we live in..."

I love rediscovering old forgotten songs. I stumbled upon this gem a few days ago and forgot how great of a song it is and how meaningingful the lyrics are...

There’s too many men

Too many people
Making too many problems
And not much love to go round
Can’t you see This is a land of confusion.

This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given

Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in.

[Genesis, Land of Confusion]

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thoughts and Sloth and Tupac... I mean Torpor

Zen teacher Gil Fronsdal recently had the following to say during a talk about "Sloth/Torpor" - one of the five hinderances to living the spiritual life / being present:

"Most people aren't living so sensitive to the subtle influence or effect their thinking has. But thoughts of discouragement, thoughts of failure, thoughts of "it's too much" - all kinds of thoughts we have drain our energy, drain our enthusiasm, and drain our confidence - so we don't want to make the effort."

I'm realizing how toxic a lot of the conversation that is bouncing around in my head really is.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Trev Diesel on Stupid Church People

A pretty popular podcast (or internet "radio show" for those unfamiliar with the oh-so-hip new term) called Stupid Church People is featuring a Trev Diesel song on their newest show.

SCP is basically two guys - Steve and Josh from California - both former church employees who talk about their frusterations with the church and while that may seem like a really negative thing, it is actually quite refreshing to hear such honesty, humor, and REALNESS from people who aren't trying to put on an act for others.

They're both extremely vulgar and extremely spiritual in the same breath... like most normal people I know.

Anyway, check out their site HERE and you can download the radio show HERE (click "Direct Download") that features yours truly. But be sure to listen to some of their other shows, including the Tony Jones interview (Tony his the unofficial Grand Poombah of the Emergent Church movement).

Just for the record - though - Steve says something about me writing "The Air Up There" to be about getting away from church... but that's not actually how I put it (Jeez, Steve, what the hell's WRONG with you!). What I had emailed him was this: "It's definately an open metaphor - and while originally it was about overcoming the shit in life - it certainly could be applied to the church - when we feel like we're drowning in it all and we have to figure out whatever it may be (your "boat" in the song) that will be your WHOLENESS, rest and salvation."

Thanks again guys, for featuring the music (and for the sexual advances by Josh)! Much love!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Quote for a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

"There is more refreshment and stimulation in a nap, even of the briefest, than in all the alcohol ever distilled."

[Edward Lucas]

Friday, March 24, 2006

Half Nakee!

It's amazing what you can find on the internet. On a buddy of mine's MySpace page I found this following gem-of-a-picture. Here's me (at age SIXTEEN) playing guitar in my underwear (I'm the one sitting down) with a few of my bandmates. We were playing a gig and no one was paying attention, so we decided they'd probably start listening if we got naked.

So there you have it. A bunch o' skinny pale guys in their skivies.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


[a continuation on Tuesday's post: Seasons - Gagging on God]

"A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied, "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup."

I'm in the process of emptying my cup.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Introducing Trevor Hall

Introducing Trevor Hall (thanks to Tommy for introducing ME to this guy). Trevor is a musician who has recently been signed to White Balloon / Geffen. His music is marriage of GREAT songwriting and a very deep spirituality. Go to his myspace page to hear samples from his new album - and MAKE SURE to listen to "Under His Blanket." Here are the incredible lyrics:

under the blanket

cut my wings break me down
my faith is gone i've lost my crown
am i alive or is this a dream
because the illusions are breaking at the seams

what am i following why am i bothering
i fell a victim to the trick and now i'm sick of all of it
all i got is this box of strings
am i really bringing anything

why do i question love when it burns so deep inside my chest
why do i live in fear when i always know that i'm under his blanket

are you a saint or just a man in a blanket
can you please fess up because i can't fucking take it
i love you too much for it to be a lie
just give me proof say the news either way i'll cry and cry

if it's all a hoax i'll die
and if you're telling the truth i'll fly
all i want to do is just stay in your holy grace
let you wash me down lord and let you paint my face


feed people serve people
take them to the holy steeples
where the rascals manufacture love to show us that we're equal
constellations station meditation for the dying
kiss your wish to make it bliss and give it to the crying

children can't find shelter so they retreat to the drugs
give out both your hands man and swallow them with love
the clock is ticking way too fast
triggers are pulled and guns blast
while the mothers take their children to the kindergarten class

well i'm under the blanket we're gonna make it to that holy place
where we are united without violence every single race
look into eyes and you will find that we're all of the same
blood blood blood blood blood blood blood

well neem karoli baba well he taught me like a father
i'm a ramayana soldier fighting with his love and honor
holy mother tell your brothers
wrap them up in all your covers
this is the time to rise and shine and burn off all the thunder

feel it all in your blood blood
unify and become come
all of us on the run run
our revolution of love
all of the elements turn turn
fire and water they burn

Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani Padme Hum Om Mani hey

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Seasons / Gagging on God

Today is the first official day of spring and it's snowing like crazy outside right now. What a weird metaphor, actually. I find it interesting the seasons we go through in life.

For the past few months, I have been gung-ho on my spiritual practices (daily meditation, readings, etc) and have felt like I've just been marinating in the things of God.

But over the past week I just want nothing to do with higher and nobler things like God and spirituality. I'm not having a bad week, nor am I unhappy, it's just that "all things spiritual" are kind of making me queasy right now. (Maybe I've been on overload?)

I think I may metaphysically vomit.

Anyway, what I'm realizing as I get older is that these times come and go. I'm not the least bit worried about it and don't wish it was any other way than it is. When the time comes (probably in the next week or two), the things of God will return to being my passion and life blood.

Until then, I'm reminded of that great line from the Matrix.... [Cypher]: "You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? [Takes a bite of steak] Ignorance is bliss."

Sunday, March 19, 2006


I've seen various bloggers do the "Name Your First 10 Songs to Come Up on an iPod/iTunes Random Shuffle" thing - so here's mine for this week. The "rule" is that you can't edit what songs come up, or try to front by just putting your good songs on. It's a totally random shuffle (in my case out of 4,280 tracks) ... so here we go:

  1. Desert Rose - Sting
  2. Fearless - dc Talk
  3. Parachute - Trev Diesel
  4. Clean - Incubus
  5. Stone Free - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  6. Johnsburg, Illinois - Tom Waits
  7. Amatevi - David Visan (Buddha Bar)
  8. Africa - Toto
  9. Human Behavior - Bjork
  10. Under Pressure - David Bowie and Queen

Saturday, March 18, 2006

...and the bottom drops out

I'm playing a 45-minute set at a local bar tonight - WITHOUT MY BAND!

The bottom has fallen out - the support has been removed - the crutch has crumbled.

We were asked to play, but when I told him my band was unavailable, he said "Well, we still need a spot if you want to play an acoustic, solo performance."

So here we are. It should be fine, I suppose, except when people go to a bar, they want to hear a rockin' band, not a dude with his guitar on a stool singing stripped down versions of his songs.

Ah, well. I'll give 'em hell anyway. Here goes nothin'...

Friday, March 17, 2006

Video Phone? We're so Futuristic...

We got a Webcam yesterday so that we can speak (and see) Amy's family who live far away from us... and mainly so they can see our daughter, Kalli.

But everytime I use it, I feel like Pee-Wee in his Picturephone... like I should have to hold a can up to my ear to hear my callers.

(BTW - I'm on "SKYPE" now, so if anyone else uses that program and wants to chat, hit me up for my ID)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ready... Set... Merton Binge!

Last week I ordered four - count 'em - four Thomas Merton books from Amazon. I've been dabbling in his writings for some time, but now I've just decided to go for it and actually dive in.

1.) New Seeds of Contemplation
2.) Contemplative Prayer
3.) Thoughts in Solitude
4.) Zen and the Birds of Appetite

"A man cannot enter into the deepest center of himself and pass through that center into God, unless he is able to pass entirely out of himself and empty himself and give himself to other people in the purity of a selfless love."
(Merton, "New Seeds of Contemplation")

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Loving the Podcasting

In the last few months, I've really gotten into Podcasting - those delightful little radio/video shows that automatically update to my iPod/iTunes. If you're into it as well, here's a couple of Trev Diesel's fav's worth checking out:

1.) Ask a Ninja (video) - I just got into this one, but my sweet Lord... it's a freaking riot. For a sample, click here and scroll down to view the "Ninja Gifts" video. You'll love it.

2.) Best Week Ever (video) - The crazy cats at VH1 have podcasted segments of their weekly recap on all-things-pop-culture. Hilarity ensues.

3.) The Ricky Gervais Show - Of course, everyone's favorite podcast from the creator of the BBC's "The Office." I could eat a nob at night.

4.) Meditatio Talks - Although I haven't figured out how to "subscribe" to this podcast, I have downloaded all these talks on Christian Contemplation and Meditation by Father Freeman. A bit dry (what else would you expect?) but excellent, and unique, teachings. Check it out HERE.

5.) Dirty Little Secrets - The radio show by those two crazy pastors at

Runners up...

a.) Daily Jeezit - Musings from Pastor Noel at Riverview church in Michigan where my web-buddy Dan leads music.

b.) Zencast - Excellent Zen talks, updated weekly.

c.) Strong Bad Emails - Homestarrunner's arch nemesis' emails are now avaiable in podcast format. Holy crap!

Check 'em out, yo....

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


There are very few things that I'm afraid of in life, but I am deathly afraid of Tornados. They say the actual name of the phobia is Lilapsophobia.

Living in the midwest, this is something I have to deal with every spring and summer. And like most phobias, my fear isn't all that rational, but it IS toxic and paralyzing. I flip back and forth between 4 news stations watching the huge super cells move towards my county and imagine hovering in our bathroom and having the terrible thing rip though our house - even though the probabilty of me getting in a terrible car accident on the road is exponentially higher than ever personally encountering a tornado.

I suppose that the majority of my fear is due to our house not having a basement and that just wigs me out.

And then to see the reports that just hours from us, people's homes were ripped apart and lives taken by these things over the weekend. My heart and prayers go out to these people this morning.

So, here we go, it's not even April yet and I'm starting to feel anxiety about the damn things. I know that my spirituality should provide some sort of peace and calm in this regard, but I just get really uptight when Watches/Warnings are issued.

It's something I need to work on...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

New Beginnings

1.) Tonight is the first, real Trev Diesel gig with the full band. I just hope I nail all the guitar runs in Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke." Gulp.

2.) This June, our church's pastor (and my boss) will be moving on to his next life stage and a replacement is coming in. We met with the new pastor today and I don't think a better one could've been chosen. I look forward to what lies ahead.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Happy Little Baby Song

Our daughter, Kalli, is obsessed with this ridiculous DVD of Kids songs. When she starts looking at the TV and saying "Tat tick" - which translates as "Tap your sticks," one of the oh-so-lovely tunes on there - I know I'm doomed for 50 minutes of glorious baby songs.

I'm sitting here in the middle of the work day with one of the songs pounding in my brain.

It won't go away.

I'm gonna lose it.

Monday, Monday, reach and run day
Tuesday, Tuesday, tap your shoes day
Wednesday, Wednesday, stretch and bend day
Thursday, Thursday, twist and turn day
Friday, Friday, jump up high day
Saturday, Saturday, pat your body day
Sunday, Sunday, that's the one day
We can rest and do nothing at all

Now clap, clap, clap for the weekly rap Count to seven and do it again

I guess on the one hand it's NOT a Barney DVD, so we've at least got that goin' for us.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Book Recommendation: The Heart of Christianity

Even though I'm a huge Marcus Borg fan, I avioded this book for a long time because of it's title. It sounds like just another wishy-washy Christian non-fiction book, but I was very glad when I actually dove into it.

If you're looking for a way to understand how to be a follower of Jesus without subscribing to the traditional and rigid/limited American Christian views on the Bible, God, Jesus and other religions, this is worth checking out.

Most notably, Borg wisely points out that following Jesus is more about following the WAY of Jesus (compassion, death and resurrection, love) than it is about intellectually assenting to beliefs and doctrines.

It's fresh and right on the money.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Ash Wednesday Prayer

Most holy and merciful:

We confess to you and to one another, and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that we have [missed the mark] by our own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness. The pride, hypocrisy, and impatience in our lives,

...we confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people,

...we confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,

...we confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,

...we confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,

...we confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done. For our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,

...accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,

...accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,

...accept our repentance, Lord.

Hear us, Lord, for your mercy is great. Amen.