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in a sepia tone aww yeah.

Dave Shaffer
Age: 22
Gender: Male
Location: Mansfield, PA
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some poetry

1927 Max Erhmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
our depression is our lives
Tuesday. 5.23.06 10:02 pm
Haha! Despite the depressing quote at the top, this is really not an unhappy blog. Boring maybe, but I don't feed the baby birds, so I don't care. :)

Work started last Monday. It's a routine: get up at 6:30, work from 8-4ish, come back, free time till about midnight. Not such a horrible way to spend the summer, honestly. My coworkers are decently cool and we seemed to gel okay, so there's no real tension there. The work is boring though, because there isn't much of it and we kinda just dick around while we're doing it. But everything gets done, which is the point.

I've found myself with a lot of free time in the evenings lately, too. This is usually welcomed but I've been having a lot of trouble finding things to do. I really want to read The Da Vinci Code and see the movie, to hear what people are talking about. I like being up to date on cultural stuff anymore.

The band hasn't been practicing much; we've been taking a break since our last few gigs were real hurried and kinda rocky. We really need a place where we can just blast our faces off with no worries about whether we're upsetting the sensibilities of the place we're playing, or each other, and we need to start adopting a less apathetic mode to our practicing. I've been feeling like an ass lately because all we can do is just plug through 40 new songs a practice, and lately the band members have been expressing to me how much they don't like hearing drums sometimes. Now I can forgive that most of the time; they're mostly joking and it's all in good fun. But I put a lot of fucking work into making that CD of ours sound good, and I put a lot of work into making myself a flexible and open member of the band, and I get tired of hearing how much my instrument sucks and how I play too loud.

God DAMN. If another person says, hey, quiet down on the drums, I'm going to hey, slice open their face with a spaghetti maker and pour garlic in the wounds. Fuck off, all of you. I play loud because playing loud is effortless. Don't ever try and tell me my drum technique is wrong because I've spent a lot of time working on it to get people to tell me it's right.

Okay, now that that's off my chest. I don't mind being told that I have to do something different, but I am real sensitive about how people say it to me sometimes. Perhaps I should endeavor to change that, as I'm almost certain most people don't mean it as a personal attack. Why should it bug me when it doesn't necessarily have to?

Anyway, getting back on topic here.

I have a lot of free time at night and I've noticed that I have a lot of free time at work to think about what I want to do at night. I don't have a lot of money and I don't want to spend the stuff that I do, so most of the time I sit on my computer and try and learn new things about recording audio, or write lyrics, or play games or something. Sometimes I ride my bike, sometimes I talk to people, and sometimes I just sit around. There's kind of this weird emptiness to it, like I'm not doing something I should be doing, or I'm not talking to people I should be talking to.

I've really been sympathizing a lot with Chicken lately, too. He talks to me a lot about how work is really pointless and stupid and I definitely see where he's coming from. After all, none of the work either of us do is going to solve any global or domestic problems, and certainly if we stopped doing what we do, the world would keep turning. No doubt about it. But the problem I see with that is that he's setting his scope too high. We're not supposed to worry so much about the work we're doing, only that it's something everyone has to do so that we can have the means to do exactly what we want to do. I don't want to work in IT because I like working in IT; I do so because I'm good at it and it makes me money that I can use to pay the bills, or buy food for my house, or buy recording equipment, or go to the bar and have some drinks with my friends. That stuff is so much more valuable than the work I do. The only consideration I have to make is that what I do makes other people's work easier, and they are working for the same reasons I am. I can't understand people who are their jobs unless they magically found some way to do exactly what they want to do and get paid for it.

Though, again, what is music to me anyway? I deserve to make a living off of what I do with music, so I guess that last statement has to have some nuance to it. Whatever.

The point is, it's something we need to do. I feel like I understand the plight of the middle class now more than ever. The boring routine is enough to kill a person, which is why it is so damn important that we make every second we haven't sold to our employers matter. People sometimes tell me that I am a little less cautious about spending money than I should be, and while it is true, the only reason I'm doing so is because I don't want to get sucked into that void - the one that the constant societal emotional assault I've talked about so much in my last few blogs has been browbeating people into. So I take my roommate out for dinner every once in a while and I have a few more beers than I should at the bar. Whatever. The company is far more valuable than the cost.

Because all we have left in this world is each other.

I've been listening to a lot of Bill Hicks lately. God that guy was a genius. I swear to god, sometimes I listen to his comedy and I just get blown away by how much I agree with like everything he says. He cycles between utter misanthropic despair to this total universal hope for all of humanity. Sometimes I feel like we are kindred spirits, Bill and I.

In this time of substitute
It's my needs I've answered to
All along
And all the hope that I invest
Turns to signals of distress
All along

Goodnight folks. :)

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why I don't believe in god
Monday. 5.1.06 4:52 pm
I have thought a lot about this since the last time I wrote a blog and I think I finally have some good thoughts to put down about it.

I was talking to my friend Jess the other day and the conversation steered itself towards religion and God and all this stuff. The current state of affairs in America is that if you don't believe in God, the Christian God, like our fearless leader, then you're a godless heathen with no sense of morals and you're doomed to hell for all eternity. Clearly we have to say fuck that. But why though? I mean, with all the emotional assault we're under and all the pressure to believe, why do we have to keep ourselves under it? The weakness in us would say, shut up, just do it. Believe it so that you don't have to deal with the angry people trying to shame you into it anymore.

But we can't. Well I can't anyway, and I'm the only person that matters to me as far as religion goes, cause I don't care what anyone else believes. I just want to be free from the hurt that it causes or whatever.

So anyway, getting back to the point, I have thought a lot about why I don't believe in God and I wanted to get it down.

If you look at a person and see how they act, you realize that they act the way they do because everything in their life has taught them to act that way. They are conditioned to believe what they do because their life has told them to, and the fact that this is possible continues to be remarkable to me for some reason, and that's with just one person. There are 6.5 billion people on this planet, and so if you consider that there are 6.5 billion different ways a person can live, you realize that humans are capable of absolutely anything. WE RULE THE WORLD and this amazes me.

People are capable of anything.
Education - people can learn to be experts at any subject they want to be. Or they can learn(?) to fail at everything and not "learn" anything from education institutions
Music - people can learn to make beautiful music that touches the innermost core of their souls, which has made it a unifying force that can momentarily bring together all of mankind
Science - people have learned to deduct information from the world around us and the progress this has made has given us a lifestyle that is incomparably awesome
Society - people have created a world of economic classes of people. Whatever grammatical sense that makes. We have a society even in America of lower-class, middle-class, and upper-class people, economically speaking anyway. The classes all have lifestyles that cater to the needs they have. Low-income people have stock car racing and taxidermy shops and go 4-wheeler riding in the woods. Middle-class people have cut up hotdogs for lunch and fake butter spread and have block party barbecues on the weekends. Upper class people have yachts and smoke fine cigars in leather chairs while discussing politics and economics. It's not that anybody is less worthy of anything, far from it, it's just that people are capable of it all. And then to talk about upward mobility - everyone is capable of escaping their class and moving upwards into the world. Sometimes I wonder if that's such a good thing but we can leave that alone.
Technology - I'm typing on this computer right now because someone had an idea that it would be cool to make a machine that can do binary math problems really fast. My monitor is a 17" LCD because someone had an idea that a cathode ray tube monitor was harmful to your health and might give you cancer. I have an iPod that plays music because someone thought it would be cool if you could have a music player capable of holding a jillion songs that fits in your pocket. My friends came over to my party last night and took pictures on their digital cameras because someone thought it would be good if we could capture our lives on a medium that was less fragile than photographic film.
Language - people have created words and grammar to communicate the thoughts they have and to help understand their emotions
Psychology - oh man, this is a good one so I'm gonna leave it alone. Let's just say that the fact we have figured out that people's feelings can be sort of quantified and studied and controlled, and that people can help other people with understanding their feelings, is quite possibly the greatest achievement humans have been capable of.

All this shit. We don't need God. We have ourselves and if we're alone in the universe then that's all that fucking matters. We have us and we need to stop trying to make ourselves feel so god damn guilty about everything and just enjoy our lives, because we only have one life. And we aren't going to live forever.

Who wants to live forever anyway?

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serious band website
Friday. 4.7.06 12:41 am
My band Under Escape finally has a decent website up. Check out here:


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today is a day for celebration
Thursday. 3.30.06 7:24 am
Why? Because I am ecstatic. Not because anything good has happened to me lately - although many good things have happened recently - and not because I'm consciously overlooking some sadness that I'm trying to remain oblivious to.

No, today is a day for celebration because I listened to the Goo Goo Dolls song "Name" today and it made me remember a thousand things about growing up. I remember the things I saw and the way I used to feel about stuff, and the way I could listen to a song and be awed by its power. There have been a lot of songs that have done that to me lately. "99 Luftballoons", ANYTHING Wayne Krantz, "Breathing" by Yellowcard, etc. Not all of these are what a music snob would call "high art" or anything.


Now that that's off my chest. Thanks, I'll continue. I've been listening to songs lately and being just unable to explain why they're so sticking. Every guy in a band wants to be a huge rock star and I am no different there. My band has a big show coming up on Friday and we are so far gone past excited it's unreal. Anyway. Every guy wants to be a rock star, and in order to do that we have to write a song that captures people's imaginations and emotions. The quintessential "perfect song" that has a timeless message that people of all ages can identify with in some way. Or from a business perspective, the song that sells the most records. Why does it sell? See previous statement. Anyway, getting back to the point - god damn I ramble a lot - I want to write a song like that.

I live with my one roommate, Dave. He's a very close friend of mine and the singer in our band. He's also kind of my mentor in a way, at least that's how I look up to him. Basically we talk about four things: business, parties, music, and boobies. He gives me advice on chicks and we bat musical ideas back and forth to each other. Also we drink. Severely. So, Dave is your average 25 year old guy, and a cool motherfucker at that, with one exception: he is quite possibly the greatest songwriter in the world. And about this, I am fucking around in a manner only expressible by calculus involving limits approaching negative infinity. Dave is fucking amazing at writing songs and that's a fact.

I have a good song or two to my name. I wrote a couple of songs for my bands back in high school, and in college I have probably written 7 or 8 really decent solo songs, and as it stands I have 2 band songs that really rock - most of you know the one called "Holding My Breath" - and that's it. Dave, on the other hand, writes amazing pop songs like he's taking a dump, and by that I mean it would be no trouble for him to easily create two or three in a day. He wrote this one song we're playing tomorrow night called "Into Your Life" and it's practically the same chords as his song "Morning Light" except that he reordered them and made a different melody. I know you are probably thinking, whatever, but that's JUST THE THING. Dave can make melodies that stick with you and chords that you can't help but rock out to. And the point of this, before it starts to sound like I want to have inappropriate man-relations with my roommate, is that he shares that ability with the people who write the songs I was talking about earlier.

He's no superhero and neither are they; they are just gifted with an ability to tap into the supernatural unconscious of people with music. And we can all feel that when it happens. We all know the music we grew up to because everything about it was perfect. I know some people disagree with me on this but I think perfection is subjective. In other words, it is possible for two opposing things to be completely perfect, and it is possible for two very similar but ultimately different things to be completely perfect. So, that said, the music we listened to growing up was perfect even if the players missed notes once in a while. There are some famous flubs on popular recordings, notably Ben Folds Five's album Whatever And Ever... is just littered with mistakes and notes off key, but who cares? We accepted the music as it was, an expression of emotion and thought put together in a perfect pop song context. The people who wrote music like that did so because they were like that. And that's the problem we have today, and I am more guilty of it than I want to admit sometimes, but everything is so caught up in the image of it and the idea of "absolute" perfection, i.e. every note perfectly pitch-shifted, every drum hit and guitar stroke perfectly lined up. I'm not even saying these are bad things in and of themselves; of course you want your music to be as solid as possible, but the bad part is that then it stops being about the music, period; the music becomes kind of a footnote.

But I reject that, and I think lately people have been rejecting it too.

That Yellowcard song I referenced earlier is kind of poking me in the brain right now because I can definitely hear sections where the singer's voice is very obviously auto-tuned and Yellowcard is definitely part of the pop-punk-emo revolution that happened a year or so (shoot me in the fucking head). But that song even by itself is still pretty good if you just listen to it as a good song and don't buy into any of the bullshit that Yellowcard's record company is trying to sell you about the band. Hell, even Britney Spears, the antichrist of sophistication to most people, has some fucking awesome songs in her collection. "Toxic", for example. Holy shit that song rules. And again, the only way it's listenable is if you can momentarily forgive Britney Spears for culturally turning 5 year olds into whores (and if you can momentarily unforgive her for putting thin, fit girls with great boobs on a pedestal they oh-so-rightly belong on) and just listen to it for the sake of enjoying the energy that that song has. It's got a great beat, an awesome bassline, a terrific hook, and the chords in the chorus are slick enough to satisfy any jazzbo.

It's certainly not my model pop creation of course, but I thought that song deserved a fair defense. I can do without the sampletastic breakdown in the middle though.

It's all the same though. Somebody had to write that song for Britney, and the only thing most of the other artists we listen to have over her is that they write their own stuff. But the music keeps getting written. It's so possible to get cultural and social issues out of music, and I think it's possible to express every emotion, old, new, collective, and unknown, through music. The Zeitgeist, if you will. Music has a power of healing that can barely be described short of actually experiencing it. And as someone who is on the inside of it, it is impossibly hard to write music if you're thinking about any end further than just saying what you want to say. And that's a mistake that I have made over and over again. A mistake I have made, over, and over, and over, and over again.

(By the way, that's Ben Folds Five lyrics right there. From the song "Mess." You'll know if you know it.)

It's a hard cycle to break out of, too. It's so hard to write music as a listener and not as a musician. But that's exactly what you have to do.

Well I'm an hour late for work so I guess I'm going to wrap this up. Basically all I am saying is that I love music and today is a day for celebrating that. If not for everyone then just for me. But it's all about me anyway, right?


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I feel like the greatest drummer in the world righ
Monday. 3.20.06 11:42 am
I know I'm not but I just broke a big record with my playing. Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that about four years ago, I started working really hard on drums to get my double bass drum speed (bass drums with both feet) up to about 150 bpm and today I broke it. I got it and it feels really good. Nothing amazing, but I have a philosophical note for it.

I found out that I was just afraid of winning. I was afraid of getting really good at something I want to do and I don't know what this means, but I found out that if I just opened myself up to the feeling, then I find it's not so bad, not so scary after all. I hope I can live my life like this from now on.

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Saturday. 2.11.06 10:18 pm

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