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to whom it may concern

 

About Me

Jeff Watkins
Age: Still alive
Email
Occupation: Too many things
AIM:JeffyJeffW
For sale on Amazon.com
For sale on eBay
Amazon.com Wishlist
My space
My library
My reviews and lists

Previous Posts

My first trip to Austin, Texas!Went to the biggest...
A Piece of Me Has Died
The fucking USPS
Today's Haul


DCFC - The Barsuk Years
Ornette Coleman - "Tomorrow Is The Question!"
Hanging out, pushing buttons
My jazz collection

Blogs I Dig

His beautiful eyes...
Melissa's Journal
Mosaic Life
Morse Coded Signals
Of Folly and of Vice
Resurgence
Theophilus
Unspace
Words Are Not Enough

Soundtrack of my Life

The Appleseed Cast
David Bazan
The Beatles
Brandtson
Johnny Cash
Converge
Alice Cooper
Copeland
Miles Davis
Death Cab For Cutie
Bob Dylan
Ben Kweller
MxPx
Professor Longhair
Pink Floyd
Ramones
Stretch Arm Strong
The Who
Brian Wilson


Pop Culture interests

All Music Guide
Bandoppler
CMJ
Dr. Mohler's Radio Program
Epitonic
Hollywood Jesus
HM
Monsters in the Morning
Paste
relevant
View Askew
XXX Church

Reading the Classics

Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Literature.org
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

archives

January 2002
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© To Whom It May Concern 2002-2010, except for cited or source material.

 

Saturday, January 31, 2004

I miss the days when chest hair was cool.
It is the Alpha of the Omega, that is to say the beginning of the end. El fin de que? I speak of the end of my time here in Graceville as a student of the Baptist College of Florida. These college years 1999-2003 are second in personal growth only to those high school days of yonder. And to be honest, there hasn't been more growth there than here.

I swear I've been counting down, all my life. For the entire last semester of high school I kept a count of actual days, school days, the number of Sundays, the number of classes, the total number of hours spent in every particular school related chore and activity. Everyone consulted me to know exactly what we were down to. I was counting down to escape and to a brand new life. I think I've made a pretty good run for it. Here's to me.

On that famed graduation stage I felt a bit of sorrow stir within me. I wished I had been a better student. I wished for at least 30 minutes that I had sucked up to my algebra teacher somehow to earn those 30 extra points to pass Algebra II. That class didn't stand in the way of me graduating but those points were all I lacked to get my Advanced Diploma. Yeah, I regret it. I made a vow to myself to do better. Whether it surprises you or not, I think I have. But it's taken me awhile to believe that.

I did do better...and right off the bat too. I got all A's and B's my premier semester of college. Go me. But it didn't last. A lot of personal grief and self-doubt kept me from caring enough to invest the time needed to do well. Some days all I could imagine was dying some horrible death, running face first into some perpetual black hole. I guess I was afraid of hell, even though I accepted Christ years ago.

Since then me and God have gotten all of that worked out. In the meantime, I began to bear a lot of guilt about how poorly I had done as a student. I, even up until recently, felt trapped by this perception I had given people. I've been working hard on my classes, the past year at least. So much of the trouble must have been learning how to be a student. Another funny problem is that most of the time when I am faced with a new assignment, like say a paper, ambition is what kills me. I set a ridiculously high standard for myself because I wanted to dispell all those dirty rumors that circumvent the Graceville skies about me.

Lately, I've actually started to feel like I deserve this degree. That is, as much as deserving goes. Feeling like I hadn't earned it has often made me want to drop out. Last semester some crazy things happened. Professors started to act approving of me as a person and student. I no longer feel like I have anything to prove or disprove. The finish line is in sight. Little bits of my life are starting to fall into place. It's neat to see the puzzle make some sense. Like, I'm marrying Donna and I think I'm going to pursue a master's in English. Maybe we will live in Birmingham. Maybe I'll be a local rock star. Maybe I'll get to open for Jed's band. I don't want to know the future, but it's neat to get a glimpse.

Anyway, I'm going to go now. My back is hurting from sitting in this chair for so long.
Later on Voltaire.

posted by Chase at 9:11 PM

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I Am So Poetic



I am, of course, none other than blank verse.
I don't know where I'm going, yes, quite right;
And when I get there (if I ever do)
I might not recognise it. So? Your point?
Why should I have a destination set?
I'm relatively happy as I am,
And wouldn't want to be forever aimed
Towards some future path or special goal.
It's not to do with laziness, as such.
It's just that one the whole I'd rather not
Be bothered - so I drift contentedly;
An underrated way of life, I find.
What Poetry Form Are You?

posted by Jeff Watkins at 2:46 AM

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Friday, January 30, 2004

The Social Affects of Being Cool

I am sincerely frustrated with the level some people will sink to, all in the name of popularity, just so they can be the cool, hip, and/or happening guy or gal...

posted by Jeff Watkins at 1:00 AM

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Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Climb this, you space heater.

First day on the job. Oooh, my virgin skin.



My first stitches... It even came with a free allergic reaction to the tetanus shot!

posted by jed at 5:46 PM

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Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Mute Your Mom

Being bored on the internet in the school's computer lab is dangerous when so many of your friends online are music sites. I was clicking my way 'cross the www and I had made my to Y. So I clicked myself over to Pete Yorn's site just to see if by chance there was mention of new material. I was confident there wasn't. As the site loaded I remembered how graphic heavy it is. The page struggled to load and it hit me, the site is fully equipped with midi files of songs off Pete's latest. I had clicked the lil' speaker icon on the toolbar but it was taking its time. I knew not where the volume knob was.

Then...Bam! Music explosion. I tried to cover for myself by shrieking in anguish. Primordial white boy squall. The snippet of the first song ended and there was a pause. It seemed the nightmare had ended. I tried to pass the blame and announced the irony, "I had been trying to close that screen for five minutes." Hardly anyone seemed to notice except a couple of peoples.

That exhaled breath of anticipation of salvation escaped me a second too soon. The music began again. I tried to close the program but it wouldn't budge. I tried to open the volume. It seemed like it was about to open. I apologized and fiddled around for the volume knob as I waited still not sure this was going to work. I had gotten a hold of this one knob, God only knows what it's for, and had commenced to tuning it. I slid it all the way to the left and then all the way to the right. Each time, no lie, the file skipped just long enough that I believed I had gained volume control. I clicked the lil' speaker icon again and as I did a fellow informed me, "There are headphones in the back." It seems he thought I wanted a casual listen. I thought I almost had it, or that would have done the trick. I sat there for another second until he repeated himself. Twice.

At his urging I got up and found them. I ran full speed, grabbed them, and raced to the back of the hard drive. Since I couldn't see what went where I just started stabbing the hook up every which way I could. And then with the same explosiveness that it began the music was silenced. Heaven and earth proclaimed "Glory!" And that guy was happy too. So there you have it...One fun story from the computer

posted by Chase at 2:36 PM

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It's Easier To Write In Code Than In Spirit

The unraveling of this astringent plan
Schemed under a dead tree
Being inconsiderate was a clue
I should have seen it coming

But I’m blind to those things
Shaded by concern
I’m not good at being a detective
I can barely make it being me

This seems like something I’ve already seen
A sequel to another bad movie
However, this is my life
I should have charged more at the door

Three nights for showing
Revealing my inner way of thinking
I’m not making a dime off of this
Who ever said charity was dead?

posted by Jeff Watkins at 12:10 AM

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Sunday, January 25, 2004

Oh, the novelty of it all.

I swear I've been trying to post since August but this damn Blogger never works for me... But yes, just wanted to give a small recap of what's going on in Jax and this is the quickest way to tell everyone who I consider a friend in Graceville. So here we go.

I am in two bands, one is desparingly emorock with some hardcore elements, the other is indierock and it is amazing if i do say so myself. I sing in the former and play guitar and sing in the latter. I begin recording my solo acoustic/piano album next week and you all get free copies.

I have a girlfriend and her name is Evelyn. We met the night I moved to here and started dating September 28th. She is insanely beautiful and you can see a picture of her here. She's a keen photographer and she's gotten me into it, you can check out some pictures I've taken on that site also with her highly expensive camera. It really turns me on when she sneezes.

I work two jobs. Monday through Friday I'm a window washer for ten hours a day at ten dollars an hour. Saturday I work for UPS for 7 hours. I make about $2200 a month so I'm doing pretty well in the money department, especially since I just moved into a new place where the rent is only $150 a month and it's damn sweet.

I had surgery on my toe again since I moved here. For those of you counting, yes, that's four now. Hopefully I won't have to go this year.

I have lost a lot of weight also. At the beginning of 2003, I weighed a cool 250, and now I weigh 185. My hair is also longer. About five inches longer to be exact. I have contacts again also. I can't notice that I look much different, but ask Josh Williams if I do. He saw me about a month ago, and I had to tell him who I was.

I'm getting a new phone soon, but you can call the one I have now, which pretty much acts as a pager. If I see a 850-263-XXXX has called, I'll call back. My number is 904-703-3723. Scott and I are planning a visit soon so you should all be in town and we'll go to Waffle House.

I miss you guys and I hope to see you all soon. Cider House rules.

posted by jed at 11:05 AM

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Friday, January 23, 2004

The Naturalistic View Of Day-To-Day Living

Living off of aspirin and beer
Fighting everything to stay sober and clear

Vicious circles that duplicate
The desire of searching for truth to indicate

Focusing on a sunrise
Not wanting to see my perpetual demise

Rethinking this misery
It’s too cold in Missouri

That’s why the south is for me
It keeps me warm and that helps me to be

Forgetting the times that I was left alone
Worries and problems that do not atone

Daybreaks with beaches in the background
Heat with breeze; the way I like to get around

Waves are crashing and breaking
Like my heart; the obsession you’ve been taking

The hot sand is yellow and the cold water is blue
This is a way to find my own sincere view

posted by Jeff Watkins at 2:20 AM

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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

A Review of MxPx's Before Everything & After

Before everything and after, there will be MxPx. I have been following the band for close to nine years now. It's easy for me to say that they are one of my favorites. Now, with that being said, this is by far their worst album to date. And with that being said, I like it a whole bunch! On this album, Before Everything and After, MxPx does two things: First, they try to reinvent something that has already been done [a lot]. If you didn't notice, they failed. Second, they progress as a band and write some good tunes. I think they accomplished it. Follow me.

MxPx went from straightforward, dirty punk rock, to punk rock, to pop-punk rock, to pop-punk, to rock with a steady and sometimes slightly fast rhythm. Sure, along the way, they popped up the vocals, but the music has always had a hard-edged, gritty sound, even if they were singing pretty. The point is, the evolution of this band and their music has been a progression toward maturity, which they have accomplished on every album. I can easily say, I like where it's heading, I think. Their third effort for A&M finds MxPx doing some of the same old things as on prior releases. That is why I say it's their worst. If you look at their discography, you can find a handful of songs on each release that will make you sing and make you have them as the soundtrack of your life, as with this album (it's just less this time around).

The album opens and closes with a track that mixes random sounds, snippets of the songs from this album, and a steal guitar into a sound collage in the vain of an experimental intro and outro. Play It Loud is an anthem of the band's history (where they've been, what they've done). It's a decent track, but there is a peculiar line in the song. The singer proclaims, "Stop trying to be like everyone else." How ironic. It sounds like Mike, Tom, and Yuri are at odds with themselves because much of the music on this record happens to sound a lot like the others bands out today, which is what made MxPx stand apart from the crowd in the first place. It's fitting that some of the guest singers on this album, are from bands of that same 'sound' (singers from The Ataris, Good Charlotte, and New Found Glory appear on the record). Well Adjusted comes next and starts out as one of the hardest songs on the album, but quickly follows back in line with the pop-punk formula. Even if the song didn't mention a lobotomy, I would say that if MxPx and Ramones had wrote a song together, it would sound a lot like this. I've always admired Mike Herrera's song writing ability. The next sequence of songs, It's Alright, Brokenhearted, First Day of The Rest of Your Life, and Everything Sucks (When You're Gone) is probably the best part of the album. I mention song writing because this helps my case for worst album. The songs, while very catchy, follow suit to their last radio friendly full length, The Ever Passing Moment, except that the writing isn't as good. Here, all of the songs have good intentions, yet something doesn't make them astonishing. MxPx are known for writing personal songs that have universal meanings. But, more with this album than the last, it seems like every song is a universal message, versus striving for a more personal atmospheric disc. Of course, layered vocals/harmonies, adding keyboard parts, and mild experimentation is something MxPx have done before, but this time, I don't know, it just feels like they are reinventing of the pop-punk rawk wheel, so to speak. A lot of the lyrics just add up to, staying up late, having good communication, and ordering out for food. Pity Mike, I know you can be deeper than that. Despite all of my criticism, these four songs are better than most, catchy as heck, and is current MxPx (even if it's on a less sophisticated level) at it's best.

Quit Your Life is a personal favorite. Even though asking someone to leave his or her life to join yours seems a bit outlandish and absurd, I like the sentiment this song describes. The acoustic guitar is a nice touch and it's really hard to not want to sing along. More Everything seems like it was left off of The Ever Passing Moment. An up-tempo number about a love, I guess. Again, nothing new, but I must admit, lyrically, the song is good. From some of the best songs, to probably the worst song MxPx has ever recorded, Kings of Hollywood is a bolstering and boasting tune of what being young and punk means--in some wacky, new wave, pop disaster. Producer Dave Jerden, should have told them to scrap this one. I don't even want to address it. Moving on. The Capitol is a song about rhyming. Really. Every ending word, of every line, rhymes to the next. The keyboard intro makes me feel like an 80s retro song is coming, but the fast succession of a punk beat coming from the drums and a distorted riff from the guitar makes me think back to the Broken Bones 7 inch. A well-written song about finding the truth out for yourself is the message. On The Outs is a typical "girls hate you and me" song that sounds like Aruthur should have recorded it. Don't Walk Away is a montage of pop sounds that, ironically, seems fitting, applicable, and done well by the boys from Bremerton. Great writing on this track: "I need the glow/Of your darling face/ Accept this crown of love/And live in grace/ I need the colors/Painted in your mind/ Your beauty and your brilliance/So hard to find." The last two songs, You Make Me, Me and You're Not Alone, are the most personal songs on the album. Odes to a love, these songs really are really what MxPx are about. Recapping all the possibilities life has to offer, this person(s) they write about is everything and all they want to do is to be with that special person(s).

Okay, if you're still reading, know this: Before Everything and After is nothing new, nothing revolutionary, and nothing innovative. But, there's nothing wrong with that. It is MxPx moving forward. Hopefully, this is just a stepping-stone until they find the sound and words that will again make them, them.

posted by Jeff Watkins at 1:33 AM

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Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I Hate Kids

Not really. Tomorrow is my day off, so I plan on using it wisely. Mostly, I plan on relaxing a lot, plus doing some chores and running errands because I have 6 days to work after that. I've added links to archives, new blogs, and music, so if you care, take the time to check them out.

Let the record show, I have started compiling the list for my favorite 100 albums of all time. I've already worked on it for 4 or 5 hours, which is ridiculous. I'm about ready to start sorting through almost 200 different albums and trying to figure out which I like less than others. Over the next week, I will be listening to every album I own. Hopefully, Chase and I will have our lists ready for presentation in a while or so. In March, we will also be revisiting our favorite Beatles songs, and trying to do another list, so be holding your breath for that ;)

Until then, here is some new albums (burned by friends and purchased) I've been listening to. I'm really excited about new albums from Pedro The Lion, The Get Up Kids, and 7-10 Split, but for now, here's what I've been feelin':

Dismissed- Taking The Good With The Bad- Indie Vision
Jimmy Eat World- Clarity- Capitol
Ben Kweller- Sha Sha- ATO
Led Zeppelin- Early Days: The Best of... Vol. 1- Atlantic
Led Zeppelin- Latter Days: The Best of... Vol. 2- Atlantic
MxPx- Before Everything and After- A&M
Pink Floyd- Meddle- EMI
Thrice- The Illusion of Safety- Sub City/Hopeless
Thrice- The Artist In The Ambulance- Island

posted by Jeff Watkins at 2:49 AM

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Sunday, January 18, 2004

Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting

Yeah, I know, it says Sunday. However, it's still Saturday to me. I've been writing pretty frequently lately. I'm not saying it's good; I'm just saying the frequency in which I have been writing is a speedy one. Also, I've been listening to a lot of new music. New to me at least. Hopefully, within the next week, I can have a list of the newest tunes I've been getting down to.

I got an interesting email the other day. Apparently, John Ladd, bass player and singer for the band 7-10 Split, read something I wrote about the band back in August (Nine Bands You Should Be Listening to). Somehow he stumbled upon us and in his words, read what I wrote "on some blog site." He said the next time they played my town, we could hang out. Haha, I'm honored. I went back through the archives and reread what I wrote. I was kind of embarrassed. I thought it sucked. Anyway, it was nice of him to write me. They have a new record out this coming June, so be sure to pick it up. Punk & metal mayhem guaranteed!

So, this weekend is my weekend off work. I spent it in pure recreation fashion with Chase and Donna. We headed over to Patricia Lanes in Dothan to bowl a couple of games and shoot some pool. I'm not bragging, but I had the highest score both games. A crappy 122 and 118 or something. We attempted a few games of pool after that because it was cheaper. I told Chase and Donna that I wasn't very good at pool. The first game, I practically ran the table. I only missed a few shots. They thought I was lying, but I proved my inconsistent suckiness because I scratched on the eight ball during the second game. Chase and I called it a tie on the third game. Then, we went to eat at Captain D's. I hadn't eaten there in a long time and that was good. After that, we stopped by Wal-Mart. All and all, it was quite a fun night with the future Mr and Mrs Livingston.

Tomorrow is going to be a day of nothingness I suppose. I'm going to try to get up and go to church, somewhere. I have to return some tapes and I'd like to stop by the flea market. We'll see what happens. I guess that's it for now. Check ya self before ya wreck ya self.

P.S. Those mailorder bride sites are real. A lot of Russian chicks, young and attractive mind you, apparently want to be married to young rich Americans. I think that's my dream too...

"I need the glow of your darling face. Accept this crown of love and live in grace. I need the colors painted in your mind. Your beauty and your brilliance--so hard to find. So don't walk away. Don't turn your back. If you leave today my whole world would turn black." MxPx, Don't Walk Away, Before Everything & After.

posted by Jeff Watkins at 2:31 AM

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Friday, January 16, 2004

A New Game

Maybe I should thank you for breaking my heart
I quit speaking before I can even start

These playing fields for fights of war
Bombing spoiled grounds to unite us more

Nations separate because they’re scared to agree
Giving subtle hints that I am the enemy

But we’re talking about more than just you and me
I told you what it would be like to stop and see

The blazing splendor of stars and skies
Naïve to think you’d stop dreaming about other guys

Asking for more than just a committing word
A vow of love, nothing for you could be more absurd

Wishing for something more to feel
Wanting more than anything to know what is real

For your devotion, I would try to play the part
Because your face is already written on my heart

posted by Jeff Watkins at 3:00 AM

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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Calling All Pollocks!

Hey! I'm getting married. Last week I told the bride. This week I've told the best man, a groomsmen and a couple of the ushers just who they are and what they're responsibility entails.

And the winners are...

Bride: Donna Mullen

Best Man: Jeffrey Glen Watkins

Groomsmen (in alphabetical order):
Steve Aplin (brother-in-law)
Josh Livingston (brother)
Jared Allen Marczewski
Samuel Justin Mcleod

Ushers: Jamey & Todd Livingston (cousins)

We're planning the occassion for next January. That is not in stone, but with everything that we have going on, we could not possibly have this any sooner. I figure a year is fair amount of time for Donna to get used to this harsh reality.

So has anybody seen Jed? I wish I could tell him to his face, but he lives a few hours away. And I don't have a number to call. Occassionally, he is able to walk down to the Piggly Wiggly in town and call me by pay phone but I don't know when the next time that might happen is. I just figured I'd tell him via the blog. Oh...yeah...I can email. What an epiphany! Tis' true, that would be more personal. I don't have to worry about him finding out here first cause well, he gave up on this site a long time ago. Ha ha. He likes mine better.

In addition to all the excitement of being in love and engaged I am all set to gradiate in May. Me and my trusty advisor sat down and made sure I had everything taken care of. As if that weren't enough, I have a light semester too, which makes not graduating earlier (as I should have) worth it.

I know this isn't much but this is my life right now. I could tell you more, like about my new job as a disc jockey and how me and Jeff have our own screenplay in the works. Eat your heart out Justin. I could tell you more, but I won't, because I know you stopped reading back at the top of the post. You just couldn't wait to comment yourselves crazy. See, I know you all too well. And see even in this moment of my uncanny psychic ability I go unnoticed because you'll never finish reading this.

Anyway, catch you later.

posted by Chase at 1:28 PM

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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

An Unusual Day

Yesterday was a day of firsts for me, sort of. After having worked for a little bit now, I actually have some money. Well, after I paid this months bills, I went and got groceries. Yesterday was the first time I spent fifty dollars on groceries at one time. Really. Then, early this morning, around 6 AM, I woke up with terrible pain in my stomach and I threw up some of those groceries for about thirty minutes. I haven't thrown up in a long time and it sucked a lot. So, yesterday was kind of monumental, sort of.

posted by Jeff Watkins at 2:01 PM

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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Another Reason NOT To Vote For Howard Dean

If you've followed the campaign trail of the 2004 election remotely, you would have realized that Howard Dean cannot make up his mind about anything. On several occasions now, he has said one thing and at another time, said something completely opposite. In the south, it's conservative issues that take front. In the north, it's controversial issues that he cares about. I admit, he's true politician; he plays the crowds well. But, from this article in the Washington Post, you will see that Dean is just absurd. On the topic of same-sex marriages, Dean had this to say about God and gays:

"The overwhelming evidence is that there is very significant, substantial genetic component to it," Dean said in an interview Wednesday. "From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people."

Well, that solves my quandary. I'm voting for...

Read the whole debacle, I mean article here.

posted by Jeff Watkins at 1:05 AM

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Monday, January 12, 2004

Enough With That Mushy Stuff

Now that Justin has quit To Whom and decided to move on with his life, maybe it's time for me to say goodbye as well...

Sike! Despite the lack of updates, I'm still keeping this ol' blog alive. Tomorrow is my 6th day in a row. I get Tuesday off, then I work Wednesday through Friday, and then I have the weekend off. I'm really looking forward to that. Not a lot has been going on. Listening to some new tunes, watching some newer movies, sleeping until 1:00 PM everyday. Ahh... this responsible adult stuff ain't so bad at all.

Some new poetry and significant writings later...

posted by Jeff Watkins at 2:43 AM

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Thursday, January 08, 2004

Wish You Were Here

The title of this post, incidentally, is the title of some great songs performed by some really great bands. Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, and The Get Up Kids are just a few of them. Even some crappy bands will write a song and name it the same as the above title. In the vain of the talented and the not-so-good bands, I aim this post to be about a guy named Justin, who I wish could stay, if just for a little bit longer.

In case you wondering, Chase inspired this little diddy. For the record, as long as I've lived in Graceville, I have known of Justin McLeod. At first, this would be friendship was nothing more than a civil acquaintance; two guys who knew each other because we had mutual friends. At some point, Justin and I started talking and we haven't quit since. Now, I suppose, we will have to stop--that is until he can at least afford internet.

J-Mack (what I used to call him) and I had an interesting beginning. I don't remember the first time I ever met him, but I do remember the first time thinking, "This guy has an unhealthy obsession with Star Wars." Kevin Eaton (2nd semester roommate) and I were in Heartdance Music store in the Dothan Mall. We recognized this semi-clean shaven (pre-full-on beard) dude that went to our college. At the register, we struck up a conversation with him. We realized we all knew each other and proceeded to share opinions on our likes and dislikes in life. Kevin and Justin could find middle ground. Justin and Jeff could not. We both, I guess out of respect, wouldn't blast the other's loves or hates. Yet, it was that first day and certainly not that last that we would hear of his disdain for hardcore and my uneasiness with George Lucas. From that 'unbonding' conversation grew an almost five year friendship that will probably never be unboundable.

While we may have disagreed on movies and music, there was always one subject we could agree on; the ladies. We loved to hate girls. A very famous drive (no doubt skipping chapel) to Chipley later on that semester became the clincher of our tenure as friends. From that time on, we have always referred to each other as best friend. There's something nice about having someone recognize you by that title. So sweet in fact, that never having a best friend again means, you had the best friend you could ever have already.

Well, here's where I get lame folks. I said that heartstring-pulling, tear jerking bit above for effect. I know, I know, I'm gay. But still, it sounded good. I will probably have another best friend before the day I die. But, the truth be told, McLeod is one of the best guys I have ever known. I have been proud to unequivocally call him my best friend for the past year, even though, it's probably the least amount of time we've hung out. Justin is the kind of guy that will forgive you when you wrong him--like that minute even. Not always the quickest with a phone call, he usually was one of the quickest people I know to lend a hand. There is something reassuring about someone's faith when you see them strive to be more like Christ everyday. Justin McLeod said to me one time, "To no longer doubt means, you are no longer thinking." So true, as I am doubting why that guy is thinking of running off to Ocala. But, I am the fool because I am the one who had doubt to begin with.

Am I mad at Justin for leaving? Sure. Am I happier for Justin than anyone could ever know? Yeah. Just like Chase said, bittersweet man, bittersweet. Is losing someone you're not afraid to be yourself around scary? Certainly. Is saying goodbye to your best friend mean that you can no longer call him your best friend? Nah. There are certainly more petty things to worry about than the current status of a friend. So, I say it loud and I say it proud: Justin McLeod, he is a one of a kind guy who happens to also be my best bud.

It's hard to end this. It might seem to be a overkill or seem trite to someone who doesn't know this guy, but it all comes from my heart. From our constant days of differing opinions, to the consistency in our friendship. From the long rides, long talks, trips to movies, malls, houses, restaurants, skipping chapel to eat at IHOP, arguing, backbiting, blogging, IMing, emailing, calling, visiting, writing, praying, hanging out, sharing tobacco or alcohol, and all the many hours pining over the opposite sex, thanks Justin--you were a good friend. And to all the future events that time holds for us to interact in, I count myself lucky. May God be your light as you shine his love on this world...

"So damn lucky, that you went on ahead. You say, you say 'I'll see you later.'" -Dave Matthews Band

posted by Jeff Watkins at 2:15 PM

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Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Can't Top That

I think we've been afraid to post on top of Justin's final blog. Out of both fear and reverence, of course. Jeff and I discussed this the other night. I wondered, momentarily, if Justin was pulling that retirement joke again. I trusted that he would not be so lame. The first time was funny. The second, well, that would just be playing with my emotions.

I started to use the word "bittersweet". Then contemplated if it were appropriate. I find it is. But that may not mean what you may think. Follow me. I've been friends with Justin "Beardhat" Mcleod almost since we met in the fall of 2000. Very early on I noticed how warm and accepting he was. He was also open-minded in all the right ways, like music and movies and things where opinions reign. He made me feel like, well, like I was cool. And like I was someone worth being friends with.

Over the next three some-odd years we had a lot of fun, laughs, as well as, meaningful open-hearted conversations. In this way, Justin has always been a Swiss Army knife kind of guy, you know, all purpose. We could go catch a movie or absorb an album of songs together on a car ride to Dothan. Or we could just as well fry up some hamburger helper and talk about girl troubles. His. Mine. Ours. You know the bit.

There was more to it than that, I guess I should say. We also talked about things like foreign policy and our own mortality. Mostly, we talked about matters of faith. That's where we were most alike and connected. We both desired a very real and personal faith. We couldn't settle for other people feeding us truth. We wanted to own it. He made me feel like I was deep. And like I had important things to say. Even if it wasn't true most of the time.

These paragraphs began as another post altogether. When I almost typed "bittersweet" I got to thinking and this is the result. I feel the same way about Justin quitting To Whom as I do about him leaving town. I don't necessarily like it or enjoy the fact, but I understand its the route he must take. And I'm happy for him. He's been wanting to leave for a long time. I've grown to understand the feeling. I hear you can be lost anywhere, but I think when its time to go its time to go. On that note, buddy, get going.

I have this fear that with Justin's official resignment that the site will fall apart soon after. I realize that he hasn't written as much as Jeff, but then again who does? But, we three started this thing together. Well, it was Justin's and he let us in on it. He also let me pretend I was an editor. Ha ha. Whether it falls apart or not, time will tell. What bothers me more is that this era of my life is drawing to a close. Justin, Graceville will miss you. Even if you never miss it at all.

I moved in with Justin this past summer. That lasted about three months.
It could have worked out, but it didn't. At the time I thought it was mostly his fault. He could have just as well blamed me. But knowing him, he probably didn't. I suppose it's human inclination to delegate the blame. That doesn't make it right. It wasn't like we got mad and stopped being friends. We just didn't hang out as much. And I hate that. I sincerely regret it.

But that doesn't make him any less my friend, or any less important in my life. He's moving to Ocala and I swear I'm not secretly applauding. It's just really started to hit me today. He's really going to do it. I'm kinda proud, I guess. It's bittersweet, you know. So that was what I wanted to write to you all today.

Stay Gold Beardhat, Stay Gold.

posted by Chase at 1:11 PM

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Saturday, January 03, 2004

Just Like Jordan

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, well I dont excatly agree with that one. I have been away from blogging for a long time, and I have to admit that its not something I have missed. Not that I dont enjoy writing or anything like that, but I just have alot of other things that I am trying to accomplish. I have slowly started working on a screenplay (two actually), and also made the decision to move to Ocala Florida. I have purposed in my mind to pursue film making, and I have ample opportunity in central Florida. To Whom is now celebrating it's two year anniversary. So pass the wine glasses. I think everyone who writes for this site has given a part of themselves to this blog, and I hope that everyone who reads us has enjoyed it thus far. As for me, I will continue to read,but for now I will retire from the writing aspects. I am not able to devote any time to post worthy blog entries. All my thoughts and muses have been going into screenplay ideas, and thats where my focus should be right now. Well that and getting my apartment packed up. God willing I will be moving within two weeks, and God knows I am ready to be gone. I havent been this restless in a very long time. I have been watching alot of movies lately, seems to be inspiring me alot to write more. Heres a small list of my viewing journal.

Dances With Wolves (4 hour version)
Pulp Fiction
Aliens, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (the greatest film ever made)
The Last Samurai
Whale Rider
American Wedding
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (extended version)
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (extended version)
Sidewalks of New York

I think that about covers the past 4 weeks of my life. In honor of Jeff and Chase and their love for High Fidelity, heres is my top 5 list of best movies of 2003.

1. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

By far, the best piece of film making I have ever seen. You will be hard pressed to find a film with so much power and scope that would even compare to Peter Jackson's requiem to Tolkien's beloved trilogy. Your eyes will not leave the screen during its 3 hour plus running time. I hesitate to call any film perfect, but this one fits the bill in my eyes. Anyone who has any love for film and wants to see the pinnacle of modern film making, make sure you see this film. Its my pick for Best Picture of the year.

2. The Last Samurai

This movie seemd like one of those hit-or-miss types. I have always liked Tom Cruise, but sometimes its hard to imagine him playing a samurai warrior. I figured I would stick by him, considering the movie was done by Ed Zwick the man behind Legends of the Fall. The films storyline and the sheer humanity just draws you in, and holds you until the credits roll. Truly one of the years best.

3. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Peter Wier as a director has always impressed me. I have always been a fan of Witness and Dead Poets Society. With this movie I think he has raised the bar for himeself. This movie is breathtaking to watch. The visuals are impressive and the naval combat is dead on. I think its Russell Crowe's best performance since Gladiator.

4. Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Two words: Johnny Depp. This guy owns whatever role he chooses to play. Hands down my favorite modern actor,and his portrayal of Jack Sparrow is no dissapointment. This movie is fun from start to finish, and surprisingly an engaging storyline. Great movie from a mediocre summer.

5. Luther

A sleeper movie about the German reformer. It opened very quietly on about 100 screens and then after a few weeks it earned its nationwide opening. Joseph Fiennes did a amazing job at playing Luther, and it was a very encouraging film to watch. Very good biopic.

So there are my choices, now its on to 2004 where we get to watch the epic battle of Troy, see Kevin "Silent Bob" Smith return with his first PG-13 film, and see the most contraversial film ever made: The Passion of the Christ. Hopefully no one will drive a truck through the theater this time around.

Thats about it on my end, so I will take a bow and walk off the stage. God bless you all.

posted by Justin at 3:06 PM

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The First Post of The Year

That's an old joke that gets worn out fast.

Ahh... I'm sick. Just a cold I think. The 'icky' feeling is gone, now my nose is stopped up and I have a pressure headache. I'm tired and easily annoyed. I guess that's not a good combo when I work with very needy children who tend to annoy me.

Works going good. Stressful, but still good. They jumped me up to full time, so that is also great news. Someone asked me if I would be making more money now. I said, yeah, I'll be making more money because I'll be working more hours. I get benefits and vacation days now, so it is definitely worth it. This is my weekend off. My schedule now, I'll work every day 3PM-11PM except Wednesdays and I have to work every other weekend. So, maybe I can get my debt paid off at a faster rate now.

Chase, Mike Sutton (hopefully), and I will going to the mall tomorrow. I don't know why, but it feels like a big deal. Maybe I'll eat some Chick-Fil-A.

I think I'm too tired to type anymore. I just need to sleep. I've been writing some poems lately. Maybe something new will brandish this page soon. We'll see...

"It is the evening of the day. I sit and watch the children play. Smiling faces I can see, but not for me. I sit and watch as tears go by." The Rolling Stones, As Tears Go By, from December's Children (And Everybody's).

posted by Jeff Watkins at 2:28 AM

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