Wednesday, October 31, 2007

happy halloweenhead

Today was a pretty crazy day and though I'm too tired to fully tell the tale of our chevrolet equinox problems, it ended up happily enough. Unfortunately, not so happy for your friend and mine, Weston Grillo, who apparently fell trying to help his boss Dave build a pirate ship in the front yard of Dave's house. Sprained ligaments are sooo 2007. I know because I'm just getting over one myself. With Amelia in her little duck suit, we stopped by and saw the ship and pirate Dave for ourselves. It was pretty impressive and therefore probably worth a little pain.

Now it's about eight pm and the trick or treaters are mostly done I think...speaking of which, doesn't it seem as though there are fewer and fewer people out on halloween? Maybe they're all at Harvest Parties or something. Here's a picture of Ryan Adams...have a safe night everyone.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

nick burns, your company's computer guy

Just a short post today in honor of your friend and mine, Nick Burns. Someone told me about this sketch today and I had to come home and check it out like immediately.

Tonight, we're starting some new recordings for the overdubs ep. Excited even though I'm tired.

Monday, October 29, 2007

the jealous sound

I finally got my hands on an official copy of Day Three of My New Life by Knapsack, I've been meaning to get a copy of the second album by Davis' finest band ever for some time. Previously, I only had some questionable quality mp3s that must have been ripped in 1999 (remember 96kbps--near cd quality?). Thanks to emusic, I now have the official and great sounding record. I know, I know I probably could've just ordered it from Amazon like two years ago but when I buy something I like to have it right away, I'm a American after all. The record is produced by Mark Trombino, who you might of heard of from his work with Jimmy Eat World among others,
and is an impassioned, rough slice of cathartic post-punk and emo (from way back when emo-core was actually considered cool and sounded nothing like the lame "emo" bands today).

Anyway, speaking of Knapsack, does anybody and your mother know if The Jealous Sound are ever going to release the album they've supposedly been recording for The Militia Group Record Label? For the uninitiated, here are some free mp3s from to help you understand why many of us have been waiting for this record for over four years now.

The Jealous Sound "The Fold Out" from Kill Them With Kindness
The Jealous Sound "For Once in Your Life" from Kill Them With Kindness

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Wow, it's been a crazy week and it's only Thursday. The rest of the weekend is going to be filled with at least two engagements every day...but they all have some fun potential and fun potential is an important indicator for me in predicting the quality of a weekend. You'll have to excuse me, I've been defending my beliefs to Justin over the phone, haha. Speaking of which, if you are reading any of these posts (mostly the ones with discussion-worthy content, not the ones that say I stayed home with my sick daughter and wife on wednesday) don't hesitate to comment and/or agree/disagree. Really, I love the feedback. Interestingly though, I had to call Justin and clear some things up with him over the phone, so for all you mosaic minds, Internet communication is not the end-all...sometimes you really do have to speak on the phone or in person.

In a sense, I am not fully pleased with my efforts in my tuesday blog ... however, the ensuing conversation has been far more productive than I imagined when I first wrote the entry. Ultimately, looking back on Tuesday (when my wife was just getting sick, as oppossed to full blown sick) what I guess I really intended to say, could have been said in one sentence, and would have been... "People don't care that much about what we believe, they care more about what we do." or "Believing the right things is important, but the American church has done a lot of believing the right things but not done too much about it (gross generalization alert!) and the result is people leaving the church. (?)" Anyway, that too, seems pretty heavy handed.

In lighter news, some day I will make it to the movies and then I will see...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

reasons not to show up

In preparation for this coming Sunday, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what keeps people away from church. By church, I just mean a bunch of believers gathering on Sunday mornings/evenings (or Friday or Saturday) specifically. [you'd have to consult a panel of theologians to get to the bottom of what keeps people out of Church capital c]

One thing that strikes me anecdotally at least, is that most people don't have too much of a problem with what churches believe. In a few instances yes, views on right to life issues, homosexuality, or evolution might make people angry enough to not come back. But overwhelmingly, these are not topics that are brought up on Sundays...typically, most Christians or "people interested in learning about following Jesus" wouldn't find too much theology to disagree with in most evangelical-type churches in America. It seems to me that many people don't take issues with beliefs but with actions or with style(two very different concepts). "That church just wasn't a friendly place." "They don't have anything for young people there." "The pastor just seemed out of touch with the rest of the world." "All they talked about was money and tithing." "They had the nerve to talk about politics." See what I mean? What are your experiences with people who won't attend or have left churches? Are they fed up with heresy and bad doctrine, or did they not like the music pastor's hair? I don't mean to make light of the reason people choose not to be part of faith communities, some people experience incredible rejection and pain, others just get pissed. But short of having any substantial answers to this question, it does seem that to most people (Bible scholars and seminary students aside) put more emphasis on what we do than on what we believe. If this is even remotely true, what do we do about it?

I could be wrong though. Let me know if I am off in erroneous-tangential land.

Monday, October 22, 2007

body piercing saved my life

Today, I finished reading Body Piercing Saved My Life, inside the phenomenon of christian rock ... and loved it. It's been awhile since I read a book as fascinating and as interesting to me, probably because the author Andrew Beaujon combines two of my favorite topics: pop-cultural criticism and the strange, irritating and mystifyingly profitable evangelical christian culture that I grew up in. More than anything I've read recently, this book, without intending to (Beaujon is an avowed non-believer) sheds more light on the struggle of being "in the world but not of it" by profiling such a diverse group of Christian and post-christian artists. Fascinatingly, none of those profiled renounce their faith in Jesus, only in a church and industry that has gotten away (or was never near) from it's ultimate purpose, most of them would likely never agree on what the purpose of "christian" art is to begin with. Much more on that book in the future ...

This weekend, friday night specifically, we were in a hotel room watching tv and happened to watch America's Next Great Band. Unfortunately, I found that I could not tear my eyes away from the train-wreck spectacle of terrible bands parading across the nevada desert. Johnny Reznik? Way too nice. However accidental the viewing was, I hate to say it but we'll probably watch every week. And...yes, most of the bands were crap but not The Muggs!

Thursday, October 18, 2007


in an almost immediate response to the post I just wrote::
I had to go and listen to the song, "bicycle" by plankeye which I mentioned the other day. only christian rock can produce a rebel song about being married, riding a bike, and worship.

I have a wife, and together we live, in a very small room
Yesterday she lost, her car broke down, and now I ride a bicycle
You say, I told you so, you were much too young to get married.
But I say, You're way too old, and when did you stop living anyway?
As I ride my bike, with my safety helmet on, and white tennis shoes,
they stare at me but I see through new eyes, or maybe you just don't remember
This place that I'm supposed to be, is not the chair in front of a desk in front of a mirror
Can't you see that it's not here or there or anywhere
But in speaking distance with God,and where can you go that's too far?
Because I can worship him anywhere

back on the bicycle

it's thursday afternoon, the end of my work week, and I've got a splitting headache and a general feeling of ...blah. which leads me to remember that feelings, though important, are often unreliable. in the midst of exciting things for our northpark community, in the company of a rapidly growing and constantly delightful daughter, with the knowledge that I have a core of friends who will never disown me or sell me out...still I feel sort of discouraged. maybe it's the extreme amount of electronic correspondence I've done this week. maybe I'm just tired.

perspective is important at times like this and I try to remember what my good friend Paul always used to say, "extremes are easy." if I base my life and overall happiness level too much on my feelings, I'll just simply swing, like a pendulum, back and forth back and forth, blown and tossed by the wind. I think it's important to not ignore our feelings or to deny them but to remember that in eternal terms, feelings are temporary. and everything is constantly changing. for me, it's important to express it and then move on to something cycling.

i'm back on the bike, wearing a ridiculous looking helmet but with a better view if what's really important and hopefully a cautiously optimistic outlook for the rest of our "cycling" adventures.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I called our Senators Boxer and Feinstein

If you're anything at all like me, you hate talking on the phone to both automated machines and customer service representatives. In fact, I almost get sick to my stomach when the timie comes to call one of my student loan lenders, credit card accounts, or Cal State University representatives...partly because they have a whole computer file on me and I know nothing about them. It's an unequal power relationship.

However, speaking of unequal power relationships, billions of people live in poverty and their governments are enslaved to debts that hamper even the basic functions of government such as education and health care. SO, it seems that the least I could do would be to out aside my discomfort momentarily and encourage Senators Boxer and Feinstein to support the Jubilee Act, S.2166. Thanks to the ONE campaign the process was relatively painless, I called this number, 1-800-786-2663 and was given a choice to be connected automatically to either Senator Feinstein or Senator Boxer. I chose Boxer and was directed to her office, where I was then given the option of leaving a message or speaking to a representative. I left a message...Then I repeated the steps and was connected to Senator Feinstein, her office put me on hold and said that if I remained on hold for more than two minutes the call would be terminated and I would have to try again. Boxer clearly has a better phone system. However, about 30 seconds later...I was connected to Jeffrey and gave a real live person the same spiel I gave Boxer's answering machine. Remarkably, I was kind of nervous, even though I speak in front of people nearly every week. Jeffrey was polite but in a bit of hurry, understandable , because they are probably getting a bunch of calls and just wanted to know what my zip code was before he hung up...

Now I'm going to go to lunch...maybe I'll try my House of Reps. when I get back.

Blog Action Day 2007/Global Day of Action Against Poverty

So, I kind of screwed up and forgot to post about caring more for the environment yesterday, as it was Blog Action Day around the world. However, I/we did actually did launch a new campaign, Plea for Plastic, on the Northpark Wordpress site and myspace page yesterday so really, I did participate after all. More info about the campaign and effort which reached at least 14,000,000 readers is available at the Blog Action site.

In other news related to social justice, today is The Global Day of Action Against Poverty...I got the following email from ONE. I'm going to call right now, are you?

Dear Ryan,

Today is our day—the Global Day of Action Against Poverty—the day for the billion people around the world who live in extreme poverty.

Today, ONE members and activists from partner organizations are walking the halls of Congress delivering tens of thousands of letters—most of them from members like you—about the Jubilee Act.

Today, Reverend David Duncombe is eating for his first full day after his 40 day fast.

Today, by making thousands of phone calls to Congress asking them to cosponsor the Jubilee Act, we can make the difference between passage and failure for this crucial piece of legislation.

You can make a call in just one minute by:

  1. Looking over this set of talking points
  2. Calling 1-800-786-2663
  3. Going here to register your call—this helps us keep track of which offices need to receive more calls.

The Jubilee Act calls for debt relief for some of the world's poorest nations. Experience proves that debt relief for countries committed to investing in their people's future is one of the most effective ways to fight extreme poverty. And it's easy to see why.

Haiti spends twice as much repaying debt as it does on health care. Eliminating this debt would allow Haiti to spend more on programs that would help the extremely poor like Tanzania did in 2000. When Tanzania's debt was canceled, that government was able to eliminate school fees, sending 1.6 million children to school almost overnight.

Since we started taking action on the Jubilee Act last week, key Senators introduced a companion bill, a critical step in the process. That's just the beginning. If we make our voices heard on Capitol Hill, if we get the phones ringing off the hook, we can put momentum behind the Jubilee Act. And it all starts with you.

Please dial 1-800-786-2663 and ask your elected officials to co-sponsor the Jubilee Act.

A billion people around the world live in extreme poverty. They don't have a voice in Congress. Let's lend them ours. On this Global Day of Action Against Poverty, take a minute, make a call, and help to save their lives.

Thank you,

Susan McCue,

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

new web/blog site for young adults, myspace takeover

Our Northpark push to take over the web continues: Rhonda Brewer is now manning the myspace profile, so I've turned my attention to creating a young adult-friendly sub-domain/site to link to from the northpark site...and presto! Northparkchurch Young Adults is born. check it out if you're so inclined, literally HUNDREDS of other people are flocking there now...or one person is clicking it a hundred times.

Our friends at The Quest Church are doing a pretty cool thing to celebrate Halloween in the city of Clovis this year. We're going to be playing out there as well. We, being the overdubs. You can find out more about Halloween on Pollasky at The Quest web site.

Friday, October 12, 2007

my eyes are burning

My eyes are burning from the onions that bekah's cutting for yellow curry. I enjoy yellow curry very much and with the rain and cold outside it seems very appropriate. Tonight, Wes and I are going to see Matt Hopper at the legendary live-music venue Kuppajoe. Seriously, how long has that place been open...10 years or more? I suppose I could look it up. First thing, both families are going to eat some curry and then we'll leave the kids and wives to sleep and watch a movie respectively. Adult life really can be pretty great most of the time. Might even be able to squeeze in a drink at the Brew Co. too.
Speaking of my eyes, ever since I wrote the entry about rejoicing in Christ being proclaimed no matter what the motives or veracity of the proclaimer, I've run into some seriously crazy Christians and had a hard time putting this principle into practice. When I say run into, I mostly mean that my more cynically minded friends have been sending me bizarre you tube videos that I'm really tempted to post here but that I know should never be seen in the first place. Man, if only Jesus knew what people would do in his name...well I guess he probably did. I will say this and then leave you with a couple of great shots that Bekah took at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival last Friday. "Ding Dong the witch is dead, the wicca witch, the wicked witch is dead."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Rainbows, Caisson Disease

It's that time again...presidential election season is on us FOR THE ENTIRE NEXT YEAR. Is anyone else just a little discouraged about politics in America? For me, it's hard not to curl up a fetal ball of futility and try to outlast the long nuclear winter. Maybe by next summer, I will turn into a political junkie scouring the web for interesting, under-reported tidbits of information. Then again, maybe by next summer, the rapture will take place and Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins will be left behind. In other, more interesting news,
Radiohead, one of my favorite bands have released their latest record, In Rainbows for a sliding price scale that varies from nothing to whatever you're willing to pay for it. Apparently, the site received so much traffic that it crashed earlier today...prompting me to download 7 of 10 tracks so far from various mp3 blogs. I plan on purchasing the cd though, when it comes out.

Prior to listening to most of In Rainbows, initial impression being that I REALLY like this record, I spent some time with the back catalog in the form of a b-sides album courtesy of
The Good, The Bad, and The Unknown. There's nothing better than Bends-era Radiohead in my humble opinion and several of these songs, "India Rubber," "Killer Cars," and "Banana Co." sent a shock wave of nostalgia through me. I suddenly realized, I have been a serious fan of Radiohead for over ten years and bought CD SINGLES to get these b-sides when they came out. My friends Jason Nill and Justin Landis can surely remember the manic pawing through cd bins full of overpriced imports and bootlegs. I once paid $32 for a Radiohead 2000 bootleg and Radiohead Unplugged set me back $26. Speaking of Unplugged some of these b-side tracks have seen even better life as Thom Yorke/Jonny Greenwood acoustic numbers. I'll have to track that aged CDR down and see if it still works. The music landscape has changed. According to our culture's accelerated pace of nostalgia, I am old at 27. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

the noisettes, Rescue Mission

This afternoon, Amelia and I stayed home together while Bekah taught piano. Amelia has ear infections, so she isn't the cheeriest of company but I enjoyed spending time with her nonetheless. We also discovered a new band we didn't know about, the noisettes kind of a punk/funk white stripes with a female soul singer. Mom, was not a fan when she got home but Amelia and I played with the colored rings and danced around. Time to go to the Fresno Rescue Mission banquet, I better put on a better shirt.

Monday, October 8, 2007

"hard rain" is going to fall, eventually

I stumbled onto this giving opportunity today...affordable laptops for children. Check it out, Give 1, Get 1.

The Shout Out Louds new album Our Ill Wills is simply fantastic, whether you like the Cure or not. If you're one of those hype machine types, search for the song "Hard Rain." I don't know whether it's on there or not. This past weekend, this record was the soundtrack for our many adventures in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and of course, Emeryville. The first-ever weekend away was a spectacular success and the HSB festival pretty great. Look for me to post some pictures from it soon. Unfortunately, when we got home Amelia was sick and today Bekah took her to the doctor and found that she has a double ear-infection, so if you are the praying type...please remember to pray for her. Normal kid-stuff but difficult none-the-less and we have been awake for what seems like two days straight now.

This should be a productive week for the Living Room. Mid-week, I plan to post a second part for my "Rejoicing in what matters" thought-stream.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

tomorrow: hardly strictly bluegrass festival

Tomorrow Bekah and I head out of town sans Amelia for the first time. To celebrate her 28th birthday(Oct.1) we're going to a big festival in Golden Gate Park called the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Tomorrow's headliner is Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, Golden Smog and Uncle Tupelo. Haven't see him solo before so I'm pretty we have a great hotel on the Berkeley Marina. Too bad we'll miss Emmylou on Sunday but we have to get back to reality sometime. Here's the whole lineup: (I just found out about T Bone Burnett and Friends!)

FRIDAY The morning is a special educational program featuring The Abrams Brothers and PMW for local schools (and the general public) as part of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days. The afternoon features very special guests Augie March, Buddy Miller, T Bone Burnett & Friends (John Mellencamp, Neko Case, & Doyle Bramhall II), and Jeff Tweedy.

SATURDAY Alison Brown Quartet w/ Special Guest Joe Craven, Allison Moorer, Austin Lounge Lizards, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones feat. Victor Lemonte Wooten, Future Man & Jeff Coffin, Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys, Blanche, Boz Scaggs & The Blue Velvet Band (feat. Buddy Miller, Jon Cleary, Ricky Fataar, Dennis Crouch & Greg Leisz), Chris Smither, Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek, Dan Reeder, Fionn Regan, The Flatlanders feat. Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, Gillian Welch, Guy Clark & Verlon Thompson, James McMurtry, Jimmy LaFave, John Prine, Julay Brooks & Richard Brandenburg w/ The Cash Magnets, Keller Williams, The Knitters, Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands, Los Lobos, Michelle Shocked, New Lost City Ramblers, Nick Lowe, The Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby w/ Kentucky Thunder, Robert Earl Keen, Symphony Bluegrass Ramblers, Shana Morrison & Caledonia, Steve Earle, the subdudes, T Bone Burnett, Teddy Thompson, The Whoreshoes

SUNDAY Bill Callahan, Bill Kirchen & The Hammer of the Honky-Tonk Gods, Charlie Louvin, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Men, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience w/ special guest Curly Seckler, The Del McCoury Band, Doc Watson w/ David Holt & Richard Watson, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Earl Scruggs, Emmylou Harris, Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams, The Hacienda Brothers, Hazel Dickens, Heartless Bastards, Hot Buttered Rum, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Jim Lauderdale, Jody Stecher & Bill Evans / The Secret Life of Banjos, Jorma Kaukonen, Kevin Welch, Kieran Kane & Fats Kaplin, Marley's Ghost, Mekons, Moonalice, Mother Hips, Ned Sublette, Pete Wernick & Flexigrass, Poor Man's Whiskey, Railroad Earth, Red Wine, The Sadies, Songwriter Circle (w/ Chris Smither, David Olney, Ray Wylie Hubbard & Steve Young), Steep Canyon Rangers, The Wronglers

Neko Case flash player:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rejoicing in what matters

Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition.... What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.

Philippians 1:15-18

Though my inbox gets cluttered with “Verse and Voice” daily emails from Sojourners, I consider it more than worth it because I am so often challenged by the verses they select to send out. Regarding this passage from Philippians chapter 1, I was humbled to recall how often I’ve judged televangelists, mega-church pastors, and rebellious emerging types based on my interpretations of their motives. What Paul writes here convicts me not only of my judgments of others (clearly denounced as wrong throughout the Bible) but even more exposes my lack of conviction regarding the power of the message and the life-changing implications of the Good News. False motives, bad theology, lack of cultural understanding, even lies, are not enough to blunt the message or to stop the mission. As flawed and irresponsible people, we are all great at pointing the finger … but the truth is that we are all competitive, we are all selfish, and we are all a mixture of goodwill and bad intentions. Paul calls us to rejoice in the message regardless of the delivery. I am going to pray that God allows me to have a large heart for all his people and to focus attention on the things that I can control.    


Ryan Townsend

Young Adults/College Pastor

Northpark Community Church

2297 E. Shepherd Ave

Fresno, CA 93720

559-322-7200 ext. 19


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

it's a wonderful life

a friend sent me this video in a mass email. i normally read mass emails about two weeks after they are sent, in case you were wondering. but this one caught my eye...

Apparently Whitestone Motion Pictures is a relatively new company and they shot this video in three days. For more info, whitestone mp website

consumerism: the musical

Monday, October 1, 2007

bye bye Giants...see you next year

Like a particularly bad Pentecostal Christian summer camp experience, this season will leave SF Giants like myself with a bad taste in our mouths but the dangled carrot of “better luck next year kid, maybe you’ll get to kiss your secret crush and the camp speaker won’t try to make you cough up demons,” will likely keep us coming back year after painful year. Sure, our collective minds WANT to believe that things are going to be fine and the young players are going to get us right back to the World Series but seriously, what are the chances? Of course, I did end up marrying a secret crush from a Christian camp.