Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2009 by mccoolio

Underoath_2004I’m a huge music lover. My bread and butter is rock but I also love Reggae, R&B, Blues, Classical, Vocal music, and even Jazz and Bluegrass in small doses. As mentioned though, I love Rock the most; hard-driving, intense, hacked-off, loud rock.

I never really liked Heavy Metal growing up. Some of my favorites  were: Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat, Led Zepplin, and Sly and the Family Stone. In the 80’s I inexplicably fell in love with Disco, then Rap and as Rap became increasingly vulgar, I slowly turned back to Rock. As I and  most of my peers started listening to Classic Rock and turning their nose up to the new Rock  a funny thing happened. Kellye’s cousin Preston, a few years younger than myself, ( he and I had always sent each other music), sent me a cassette tape (yeah) of Pantera. He said in the  accompanying note; that it would seem extremely heavy but to give it a chance. It was and I did,  it slowly grew on me, and before long I was listening and enjoying all sorts of thrash, hard rock, and Metal.

Then I heard POD and everything changed.

Before that a  friend of mine was always ragging on me and saying; how could I listen to the music I did ( Sevendust, White Zombie, Godsmack, Slipknot, etc.) and be a strong Christian? My standard comeback was that I just enjoyed the music, and that I didn’t listen to the lyrics, most that you couldn’t understand anyway. He did cause me to start feeling pangs of conscious however. I heard about a good music edit program that I downloaded  and  started editing all the bad stuff out of the songs. I did that for a couple of years, drawing much ribbing from Raleigh for my  pitiful editing skills, butchering to pieces songs like House of Pain’s Jump, and Manson’s Mobscene. Anyway, back to POD.  I got into them and others: Blindside, Living Sacrifice and  realized that there was tons of good music out there where I didn’t have to listen to a bunch of cussing, dark lyrics, devilish subject matter, and just plain darkness.  Matter of fact, the more I investigated and searched , I found there was absolutely a barrage of  such music out there.

Below I  have listed my favorite bands. I hope, if you haven’t heard some or any of the them, you’ll check them out. Their MySpace sites are a good place to sample, or  ITunes.

I’ve listed first the group, a brief description, Hardmeter (10 would be the heaviest possible and 1 would be peaceful, chilled out, devo music), my favorite 2 songs by the group, the best line or the best part, the CD it comes from, and then a few songs that are really good but didn’t make my top 2.

Caveat #1. My definition of a Christian band. Most of the bands are not “Christian ” bands, i.e. that would be on the top 10 Christian sellers for the week or up for Dove awards. I don’t think any on the list are, maybe with the exception of Pillar. The MO for these bands is that most or all of the band members are Christians and their songs are about God and/or living the Christian life. There lyrics range from bold, in your face, calling you out Christian lyrics, and testimony ( Sleeping Giant) to very vague lyrics that you wouldn’t even know were about God unless you were a fan of the band (Underoath).

Caveat  #2:  Bone up on your internet lyric -finding skills because you’re going to need that with most of these bands.

Sleeping Giant

Every song  SG does is about God’s Kingdom, every one. They’re not vague about it either. Hard meter 8 on the hardest stuff but they have several chill-type praise tunes; O Praise Him, He Will Reign. If you want to get revived in your faith and like this kind of music, these guys are the ticket.

Whoremonger Scripture: Proverbs 7: 6-27  Best part/Line ” Hell  relinquish your hold on my Sons”  CD Dread Champions of the Last Days

Descending Into Hell Scripture: James 1:27  Best Line “You know what’s unbiblical? It’s Jesus sitting in some blackened room.” CD Sons of Thunder

Honorable Mention: King of Kings, The Streets Don’t Lie

Norma.Jean-band-2009Norma Jean

NJ’s CD’s have gradually got less hard with each successive one.Their absolute hardest, brutal, math core-esque was their 1st 2 cds which feature the top 2 most played songs on my ITunes account: Memphis Will be Laid to Waste, and Face: Face. Their CD Redeemer is still hard but the most blatantly Christian. Hard meter: 8

A Small Spark vs A Great Forest Scripture; James 3:1-12  Best Line : “Oh how we curse, tongue is a flame, let there be Grace”  CD Redeemer

The End of All Things Will be Televised Scripture: Revelation 21  Best Line: ” Out comes the Mercy, shutting down Hell”,” Captain, the ship is sinking, Have Mercy”. CD Redeemer

Honorable Mention:  Face Face, Memphis Will be Laid to Waste, Amnesty Please.

War of Ages

Wonderful band. So sincere. Check out front man Leroy Hamp’s testimony. Good,  Pennsylvania, power metal/christiancore with some serious guitar work and real praise of God. Very inspirational lyrics. Hardmeter 7

One Day Best Line: Chorus:  “God save Me”  CD: War of Ages

My Solitude Best line: ” my life is not in vain, proved by the stripes on his back” CD War of Ages

Honorable Mention: Guide for the Helpless, Stone by Stone


There 1st 3-4  CD’s were their most in your face Christian: Snuff the Punk (my all time favorite cover art), Brown, The Fundamental Elements of Southtown,  and Satellite. All those are still frequent visitors in my CD player.

Hard meter 5.5

Run Scripture: Psalm 13 (word for word)   Best line “I will sing to You, my Lord, for You have been so good to me”  CD Snuff the Punk

Tribal Warriors Best Line “Holding the stars, is the man who carries my scars”. CD The Fundamental Elements of Southtown

Honorable Mention: Southtown, Outcast, Anything Right, Portrait

As I Lay Dying

Very hard but just as with just about all Christian heavy music, it has a goodness, a wholesomeness that non-Christian bands noticeably lack. You would think that would be true huh? You definitely need the lyric sheet with these guys and it makes it all the more awesome when you find out what they’re saying alongside such monster guitar riffs and frenetic drum runs. Hardmeter 9

Collision Best Line:” I want you to know, how much it means to have you in my life. I could never forget You. I will never be the same”. CD Frail Words Collapse

Distance is Darkness Best Line: How quickly I forget, that this is meaningless” CD Frail Words Collapse

Honorable Mention: 94 Hours, Through Struggle, Meaning in Tragedy

Life in Your Way

Jordans favorite band. They, even though scream-rock, have a very wholesome quality which exudes goodness and love ( see songs below) We’ve seen these guys live several times and have been very impressed with them off-stage. They have a holler-guy and a sing guy like a lot of hardcore bands these days. Hard meter 6.5

Salty  Grave Best Part: The Hymn, I Love You Lord halfway into the song. CD: Waking Giants

Threads of Sincerity Best Part: “Everywhere I go, everywhere my feet take me, Your compassion never fails me CD: Waking Giants

Honorable Mention: The Beauty of Grace, We Don’t Believe, Reach the End


These guys went from really screaming, hardcore on their 1st CD: A Thought Crossed my Mind (HM 9) to a lot less harsh , commercial-friendly singing style on Silence (HM 5). After that, they’ve gone too commercial, and lamed out. Those 1st 2 CD’s are good though, especially Silence which is packed with great stuff. Hardmeter See above

Cute Boring  Love Song is About: Lust  CD Silence

Act Best Line ” Shift into a higher gear, place a brick on the gas. On what I left behind, I won’t shed a tear, My rear view mirror has got broken glass”. CD A Thought Crushed My Mind

Honorable Mention: Pitiful, Sleepwalking, Caught a Glimpse, King of the Closet


These guys are probably the most commercially popular of anyone on my list, their CD’s going high up the Billboard charts, Grammy awards, and Gold records. My favorite cd is Define the Great Line which is really good, packed with killer songs. My next favorite is They’re Only Chasing Safety. Their earlier stuff is  Hardcore Screamo which I don’t really love. These guys headlined the Warped Tour when it was in Nashville a few years ago.They’re the real deal musically. Hardmeter 7

In Regards To Myself, Casting Such a Thin Shadow  CD: Define the Great Line

Honorable Mention: Returning Empty Handed, A Moment Suspended in Time,Young and Aspiring


I bought this CD early in my Christian Rock evolution,unheard, on the recommendation of some 13 year old hardcore/Christian kid at one of Jordans soccer games when he was about 10. I got home with it, cranked it up, heard the Living Sacrifice version of the devo-song I am Not My Own and freaked out. It was about the most awesome thing I had ever heard! Praise to God in absolutely SLAMMING, breakdown, monster riff, stop-start beats, with absolutely no commercial ambitions, only to crank as hard as possible and to glorify God. Wow. Hardmeter 9

Not My Own Best Line Born again, born again, LIFE. Born again, born again, PEACE. Born again, born again, LOVE , I am not my own”. CD The Hammering Process

Reborn Empowered: Best Line:Reborn empowered,All strongholds broken,Old ways have died,Given new life.CD In Memoriam

Pax 217

This band is broken up now.Their music is a really good; So-Cal, optimistic, blend of rock,rap with a little reggae thrown in.Their name “Pax” is Latin for Peace, and 217 stands for Ephesians 2:17.They sound a lot like the old rap/rock band 311. I wish they hadn’t broken up. The song No place Like Home breaks my heart. Hardmeter 4

No Place Like Home. About: Divorce. Best Line: “Mom and Dad come back around” CD Twoseventeen

I’ll See You  CD Engage

Honorable Mention: Prizm, Engage, PSA, Move On This.

JESUSOh Sleeper

One of Raleigh’s favorite bands.Wow.These guys are like listening to a hard rock representation of the book of Revelation.You’ll just have to check them out to see what I mean. Their music is a little too intense for over a couple of songs at a time for me personally.Their guitar-virtuoso rating is very high,with ex-Between the Buried an Me guitarist Shane Blay leading the way, shearing off monster riff lines. Raleigh has met these guys and says they appear to be the real deal, really friendly, accessible, humble, and God fearing. 

Vices Like Vipers  Best Line: (hard to decide) Like the Viper, I kept when You said “Let Go”.  “Take my lust, this world’s love. Great Counselor, take what’s left, Great Counselor, take what’s left…..of me.” CD When I am God

To Flagship  Best Line: “As the Sons of the first King, the Sons of Flagship” CD When I am God

Honorable Mention Son of the Morning,We are the Archers, Building the Nations


Fireproof is my favorite with their preceding cd, Above, my next favorite which was pure rap/rock.Pillar is now more pure rock as in Where do We Go From Here, another good offering from start to finish. They’ve kind of went the commercial route and sold out since. Hardmeter 4

Fireproof Best Line ” I tried to tell you but you wouldn’t be quiet, I am FIREPROOF.”  CD Fireproof

Live for Him  Best Line ” We’re battle soldiers caught in spiritual warfare , fighting’ for the souls of the lost in this dark nightmare “. CD Above

Honorable Mention: You Should Know, Frontline, You Simply Loved


A local band, now broken up, they are actually a few Belmont guys.This is very good stuff, especially for a local band. I saw them a couple of times. Their front man had a penchant for jumping off really high places during their performances. I always see their little bearded guitarist in the pit at local shows. Check out the history of their band name Sophia. Hardmeter 7

Suffocating the Magpie  Best Part: “I called you my Daughter, I called you my Mother, Forgive us, my sister, I am the curse“. CD My Morning; Migration

Prison Epistle Abridged Best Part: I am the poorest one if I give all I have to follow You Father” CD My Hands, My Greedy Hands

Honorable Mention: The Dove’s Solemn Hymn, Desertification

The Showdown

These guys are from Elizabethtown Tn. Their 1st CD A Chorus of Obliteration (HM 9) was really heavy but their 2nd Temptation Comes My Way (HM 6.5) is more Southern Heavy Rock, way, way more melodic with very little screaming. Great guitar work.

Head Down,  I Victim   CD Temptation Comes My Way

A Monument Encased in Ash This song is about the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. Yes, awesome.

Haste the Day

This group has a good mix of screaming (almost a screech) and singing, and really good guitar driven, breakdown, hardcore rock. They are one of Raleigh’s favorites. He saw them, and As I Lay Dying at one show. Wow. Their name comes from the lyrics in the Hymn It is Well With my Soul. I read this: they asked a band member to leave the band because he no longer believed in Christ and they didn’t feel that worked with their purpose as a band. You wouldn’t think of that type commitment when you hear these guys because they are so hard but that’s  why we shouldn’t judge by appearances. ;0) Hardmeter 8.5

Walk On, When Everything Fails,  CD When Everything Fails

American Love  CD Burning Bridges

Honorable Mention Pressure the Hinges, Chorus of Angels

AS I LAYThe Best of the Rest

August Burns Red

Bloodlined Calligraphy

Devil Wears Prada

Gwen Stacy

A Plea For Purging

I Am Terrified

Get Your Guns

Once Nothing

Demon Hunter

Project 86



Posted in Miscellaneous, Uncategorized with tags , , , on October 10, 2009 by mccoolio


OK. I started it with my last post. A few good people asked me; OK, what can we do? Here’s a few sites I’ve been told about. This is step 2. Finding out, getting some info. If anyone has some more resources, please post it. Hopefully this is just the beginning.

“The Master came to set the captives free”  Isaiah/Matthew/Sleeping Giant

Descending Into Hell

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 14, 2009 by mccoolio

children4According to an article I read, over 20,000 children in the US are abducted each year and sold into sex slavery. I had no idea. God through James the writer tells us that if we are Christians, and that if we claim to follow Jesus that true religion in the sight of God the Father says that we  should be very concerned about this.

I got the Christian hardcore band “Sleeping Giant’s” new cd the other day: Sons of Thunder. On it, they have a song titled “Descending into Hell”. It’s about child sex slavery. Here’s the lyrics, read them all the way to the end:

I’m rigged to Fire, and I’m set to blow
I cannot live in this state, break down the doors smash every window, to help the orphans escape
What would Jesus do?
I think illuminate
You know what’s “unbiblical?”
That’s Jesus sitting sitting in some blackened room
These people live so violated and we’re concerned with church agendas Oh My God
Pure religion says I fight this war
The hidden millions in our own back yard, exploited masses These kids are all alone, waiting for someone
I tell you what’s “biblical” the master came to set the captive free, and we should be like him, we will worship and pray, then instigate their release!
I can’t see Jesus in this Pollutes my trust, it fills my heart with hate
I hear their muffled screams, these children terrified
God what is right, I cant stand by and…
I refuse to stand by in this house of fear, its innocent kids who pay the real price, in the House of Fear
Take back every throw away life from the House of Fear
Cant live for myself as innocence dies, in the House of Fear!
Holy God Where are you in the dark and hidden place?
How can I sleep when children live as slaves, these are your people Oh God
Ill pray and Ill move, Father say the Word!
Cause this is unspeakable, slithering darkness but Ill bring the light
And by the morning they’ll all be gone, given the chance to lead a different life
Descending into Hell
Cause these Kids are for sale, we walk into Hell
For those locked in a cell, we walk into Hell
Some can’t speak for themselves, we walk into Hell
Even Jesus himself walked into Hell


Wow. What an incredible song. You may not like the music,its really heavy, but the words really hit me hard.

What would Jesus do? So many times we use this question in the negative: what would Jesus not do? He wouldn’t get mad all the time,he wouldn’t watch that movie,he wouldn’t react that way. Maybe we need to start asking that question more in the positive. What would Jesus do? Would Jesus get involved if he knew he could help save a child from being abducted? I’m thinking: dadgum right He would.

You know what’s “unbiblical?”

That’s Jesus sitting sitting in some blackened room
These people live so violated and we’re concerned with church agendas Oh My God

Pure religion says I fight this war

Conservative Christians, and I’m one, we get so caught up in what’s scriptural, adding and subtracting from the Word of God, doing bible things in bible ways. And that’s good, to be zealous for God’s Word. But in the context of this song, to be that way,and ignore injustice and suffering….. I’m pretty sure God isn’t pleased.

I refuse to stand by in this house of fear, its innocent kids who pay the real price, in the House of Fear. What’s he talking about, in the house of fear? What’s he talking about, in the house of fear? I’m not sure but to get involved with rescuing kids and teenagers from sex slavery might get a little dicey, dealing with some pretty serious scumbags. I’m sure it would be the best idea to get the authorities involved in most cases but there might come a time when you might have to take some risks to rescue someone. Maybe that’s what he’s talking about.
Cause these Kids are for sale, we walk into Hell
For those locked in a cell, we walk into Hell
Some can’t speak for themselves, we walk into Hell
Even Jesus himself walked into Hell

I tell you what, these guys have a way with words. This song has got me so fired up to do good. There are so many kids that need somebody to help them, to rescue them, to mentor them, to guide them, to listen to them, to pay them a little attention.

Even Jesus himself walked into Hell.

My Eulogy to James Haynes

Posted in Friends on August 22, 2009 by mccoolio


A friend of mine, James Haynes, passed this week.

His death was sudden. He was at work one day and died in his sleep that night. Not much warning at all, besides the fact that he had remarked that his shoulder had been hurting for awhile and he’s been feeling pretty tired for awhile.

James was very popular, not just with other black guys or just among his Tooling fellow workers. The morning the rumors were flying around about his possible passing, everybody; black, white, blue collar, white collar, male and female were calling, emailing, wanting to find out about James.

James was 57, black, just an ordinary guy. I don’t think he was overly educated, he definitely wasn’t a big-shot, didn’t drive a fancy car, wasn’t that good-looking. He worked in Tooling at Vought, here where I work. Tooling can be a pretty dirty, unglamorous job and James didn’t seem to mind doing it. Matter of fact, he seemed really content.

I believe James’ mother lived with him. He was taking care of her. She was the one that found him, where he had passed away in his sleep. That’s pretty sad. A mother should never have to see her child die. I was also told that James was divorced and had maybe several children. I was told he was just about to finish paying child support as the last child was turning 18. After that he was going to retire. I thought that was pretty cool, that he was making sure he fulfilled his support to his ex-wife and his children, even to the point of postponing retirement.

I got to thinking, what was it about James that was so attractive? As said above, it wasn’t position, looks,  power, or wealth. The way he took care of his mother and his kids says about all I needed to know about him. He wasn’t a leader type. He definitely wouldn’t stand out at first glance. No, I think it was  James’ internal qualities that made him the man he was, it was the way he treated people, his outlook on life that made news of his death so troubling.

He always greeted me with ” Hey big man”. He was so humble. I think that was probably his greatest quality. You would probably think that because he was all the things above and also not all the above, that humility would come naturally to him, but I know that’s not necessarily true in life. Humble circumstances does by no means create humility in a person. There’s plenty of people to prove that false. James had a healthy opinion of himself, plenty of self respect, and plenty of healthy pride, but he didn’t think too much of himself. I believe his humility came from his mindset, a choice.

James had one of the goofiest laughs I’ve ever heard. When he got really cranked up, he sounded like a cross between a laughing hyena and one of those laughing mules in the cartoons. heehneehawhneehwaheehngn

James was never moody. When I said “hey James”, I always got the same thing: “hey big man”, accompanied by some kind of smile, either a big goofy grin if he was feeling real chipper, or at the least a warm smile of greeting. He always seemed to know something that kept that smile at the ready.

James was an avid newspaper reader. For years, he always had a daily Tennessean and  USA Today. Often, at the end of the day, I would make it a point to go by the table where he left his newspapers and grab his leftover USA Today. I don’t know for sure, but I believe  a lot of times he left it for me instead of taking it home, even though he had not had time to read it. Occasionally,  he would even bring it over and give it to me because other people were grabbing it up and not bringing it back.

James, I really enjoyed knowing you and working with you. Thank you so much for being so kind to me and sharing your USA Todays with me all those years. You didn’t have to and most people wouldn’t even think to do it. It wasn’t that big of a deal but maybe that makes it a big deal, huh? But most of all, thanks for your humility, and your friendship. You will be missed.

Lutherans to Debate Gay Clergy

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , on August 17, 2009 by mccoolio


An article in the paper today examines whether the nations largest Lutheran denomination will allow people in same-sex relationships to serve as pastors. One of the revisions of their ministry standards to try to get this passed is to: Let congregations employ gay and lesbian people in “committed” relationships as clergy. This is what one of their Bishops said about differences over homosexuality:       ” They are driven more by the hysteria in the culture than by what  Scripture says. If someone tried to argue this is going to be the test as to whether we are scriptually faithful or not, that’s a hard argument to make because Scripture says so little about homosexuality”

I really don’t get it.

There’s a lot of activities we humans can participate in.I believe we have  a Creator that is interested in how we live our lives and not only that, He has given us a guidebook for us to live by, and in that guide book  He makes it pretty clear what He likes and doesn’t, things we should do and things we shouldn’t.

Now I know that we who are believers in God all have faults, weaknesses, blind spots, monkeys on our back, skeletons in our closets, black eyes, warts, nasty habits, etc., etc. But I believe that scriptures are true that say: If we walk in the Light as He is in the light, then the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin and  He is faithful and just and that if we confess our sins He  will forgive  them.

That said, here’s some problems I have with this whole gays -out-in- church thing. And also let me say this, I’m not a homophobic. I have several gay friends. I love them as much as a lot of my other friends. But  if they were my Christian brothers or sisters, I would have to tell them that God’s word clearly teaches that they have to abandon that lifestyle, abandon their homosexuality, if they want to please God. The bible clearly teaches that if they wanted to live in good standing with other Christians and God they  would have to try to give up that lifestyle, just like if they were in an immoral heterosexual relationship, or if they were involved in some scam, or if they were constantly going out and getting drunk, or if they had a really nasty temper and were always going off on people.

Some observations about what the Bishop said in the above article:

1) He says ” scripture says so little” about homosexuality. How much does it have to say? Isn’t even once enough? Here’s three pretty clear scriptures that deal expressly with homosexuality: Genesis 19, Romans 1:26-27, 1st Corinthians 6:9.

2) The statement “driven by hysteria”:  concerns for the truth of God’s Word is not hysteria.

3) The concept of the legitimacy of a “committed” homosexual relationship versus an “uncommitted ” one. According to this logic, it’s fine if I get drunk all the time, just so I always do it with the same person.

It’s funny. You rarely hear of Christians who engage in heterosexual relationships outside of their marriages try to legitimize their conduct and attempt to claim full church fellowship. Now I admit that there’s a lot of people who try to live on” both sides of the fence” and live for the world and try to live for Christ but usually their vices are secret ones. There’s not too many married church-goers who would blatantly and openly have a mistress or lover on the side and try to fully participate in the things of God. People who do are usually seen as sick puppies. People like Tony Alamo, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim  Baker. Why do homosexuals try this? Is it their special status in our society as the poor, picked-on  minority, picked on because all they want to do is love each other? So, because of this status, gays are given all kind of special considerations: special insurance benefits not given to heterosexual live-ins, special hate laws, and holiness before God. Heterosexuals who violate moral standards usually pay big prices. We see this over and over where business leaders, politicians, and church leaders lose jobs, credibility, and their families for indulging their lusts. And usually rightfully so.

I’m not not saying people who have these urges are not in a struggle. I haven’t the slightest doubt it’s a monumental struggle. We shouldn’t turn our back on anyone who’s searching for God. He knows how all of us struggle with our fallen lives. But we have to try our best to turn away from our base desires and turn to the only answer. The Answer: Jesus Christ.

Rock Climbing

Posted in Sports with tags , , , on August 9, 2009 by mccoolio


We’ve been doing a lot of climbing lately. Indoor climbing that is. My first experience with it was when Christopher, Kellye’s cousin in the Navy, would come in on leave and we’d want to do something cool while he was in. We’ve done all kinds of things : pull up contests, push up contests, roller skating, movies, sushi-eating, sushi-making, wing-eating, gun shows (mostly mine) bowling, shooting. Anyway, he suggested rock climbing. So, I found a place out at Cool Springs: Classic Rock Gym (now The Crag) We went and it was really cool. We’ve gone back to that place several times over the years as has our youth group from church. The same owners of CRG opened a new place on Murphy Road, Climb Nashville. Our former youth minister Sean Judge took us out to that place. It’s way bigger than CRG with way higher  walls.

Jordan never really liked climbing all that much.Wow, has that changed! All of a sudden, a few months ago, he wanted to  go climbing at CN. So, that’s turned into Jordan getting a year membership and going usually at least twice a week. I got a 10 visit deal, which I’ve just about used up already.

A little about climbing: There are levels of difficulty on climbing walls. The walls are covered with thousands of different sizes and shapes of grabs and holds, some huge, some little bitty. The walls also are all different configurations: some are 40 feet tall, others only about 15. Some are straight up, some lean in, some lean backwards, some have huge ledges, some have small ledges. Some have a combination of all these features. All the thousands of grabs and holds have little pieces of different colored pieces of plastic attached to the side of them. At the base of the wall, one of each different colored piece will have a number written on it. The number scale goes from 5.6 to 5.14. This scale represents level of difficulty. 5.6 is the easiest, with big holds that your fingers wrap easily around, sticking out from the wall 6 or 7 inches, spaced just right where you can just go right up like a ladder, a climb that a little child could zoom right up. 5. 14 is the most difficult, with little bitty pieces of plastic sticking out, sometimes as small as 1/4 of an inch for you to try to grab with your fingertips or try to scrunge the tippy tip of your climbing shoe onto, hopefully that when you put your weight onto it, your precarious grip on it won’t slip off. On these routes, the spacing of the holds are sometimes insanely far apart, devilishly created to only allow a master climber with monster fingertip strength and awesome technique to even have a chance to complete.

When you’re standing at the base of a wall,  you  select the route of your choosing, according to your skill, and aspirations. If you want to climb, say, a 5.6 level climb, you just exclusively use the grabs that have the colored tape on them that is associated with the 5.6 written on it at the base of the climb. Usually white tape is the 5.6 but not always, or so Ive been told. Anyway, to complete the 5.6 all the way to the top, you just grab and put your feet on the holds with the white tape on them, using none of the other grabs with different colors on them. This becomes more important as you try more difficult climbs. For instance, if you’re halfway up,  say, a 5.9 climb, and you’re stuck and can’t seem to make that next grab to the hold with the 5.9 color on it, there might be a different color hold right there that you can easily grab to further your climb. But if you want to successfully complete your 5.9 trek to the top, you can’t grab or put your feet on any other color.

Climbing is very safe. You’ve got a harness on your waist that a safety rope attaches to. That rope goes to the ceiling, wraps twice around 2 steel bars, comes down and goes through a belay device  clipped to your belay buddy’s harness. Every single climbing station has a rope there for this. As you begin your climb up the wall, your belayer pulls the slack you’ve created in the rope out with one hand , then pulls the same slack up with his other hand,  brings the rope down into a brake position, both hands slide up the rope again as you continue to climb, and the belayer continues to pull your slack out, all the time watching you as you climb, ready at an instant to pull his braking hand down in case you miss a hold and fall, and stop you instantly from falling. A 105 lb girl can pretty easily hold a 275 lb fella up in the air safely, through the leverage gain accessed by the double loop on the steel bars at the top of the wall.

rock climbing

All the climbing places I’ve been to and heard about are very, very, very safety conscious. You can’t belay unless you prove you can, or are a known regular. If you want to learn to safely belay  it costs about $5 or so extra but well worth it. When you are deemed safe to belay you get a red paper bracelet to wear or hang on your harness.

I’m at about the 5.8- 5.9 level right now. That’s decent, especially for my weight, which is 238. I’m almost always the heaviest person at the gym. Rock climbing is definitely a sport that gives a huge advantage to lightness, especially lightness and strength. Not necessarily big muscle strength but wiry strength. If you combine lightness,wiry strength,  good technique, and experience, then you get someone that’s capable of doing the high levels climbs.

Climb Nashville has special prices on Monday and Saturday evenings for students.

Come climb with us. It’s a blast!!!


Posted in Food with tags , , on July 19, 2009 by mccoolio

mexican mealWent to Baja Burrito yesterday. We go there a lot and have been for several years now. We live in Goodlettsville and don’t think anything about piling everybody in the van and making the 25 minute ride over to 100 Oaks to eat there, passing countless other Mexican restaurants in the process. I don’t know for sure, but BB may have been the first assembly-line burrito place in Nashville. I really like that because , I can get what ingredients I want and how much I want. That’s good because I’m a pretty picky eater (everything I can pick up, I eat) If you get a regular size (you can also get a small), by the time you get to the end of the line you’ve got a burrito about the size of a  small watermelon, something you’ve got to hold two-fisted and attack carefully, biting at the corners and edges because you can’t get your mouth (even mine) around the monstrous slab of goodness.

The second thing I love at BB is the salsa. They have four or five different kinds: mild roasted , hot, green and pineapple. The pineapple is our favorite. Picture your  absolute favorite salsa with little chunks of pineapple. Yes! The other salsa’s are very good too though. Sometime I’ll get a little bit of all the others and a lot of the pineapple.

Then there’s the fruit tea. It must not be just my favorite because they have more of that than anything else..It’s so good that I probably drink at least a half of gallon each time .

The staff is also pretty friendly and helpful.

Then the topper: you get all this for about $ 7 bucks with free refils of everything except the burritos.

A bunch of us went to San Antonio Taco Factory awhile ago. It was my first visit. I had heard a lot about the place over the years and how good it was, it being a staple for the Vanderbilt crowd, etc.

I’ll be honest, I was extremely dissapointed. First, it was way pricer that BB. Everything was confusing, it was a bunch of us there, the menu was a little scattered, everything was ala carte, and I was paying for mine and Jordan’s. But our bill was like $24. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll shell out some bucks if we’re eating sushi, or at a good steak place, but $24 for two, at a serve-yourself taco place?!?*! I don’t think so.

The little burritos were tasty but after polishing them off in about 3.5 minutes, I was hungrily looking at the plates of others in our group, hoping some of the women had left some, which they usually do. Not so here. Every paper plate was licked clean and not necessarily because the food was so good. I remember looking at James Hayes as we were getting ready to leave and we exchanged looks of despair, hunger, dissatisfaction, and poverty.

Finally, the salsa was decent but they only had one or two kinds and the the little containers to put your salsa in were so small you could barely get the edge of your chip in there to scoop.

About the staff: The first guy we meet was so anxious to help us figure out the menu and understand how everything worked that I couldn’t help but think he was trying to hustle tips out of us (which he didn’t get) The others were  busy talking to each other about personal stuff so they  were pretty distant and not very engaged. The BB employees are way friendlier and they can’t hardly speak Americano!

So, the next time you want a good custom-made burrito and salsa meal that will allow you to still have enough dinero to head somewhere else for coffee and a gourmet cupcake, check out Baja Burrito. Give yourself enough time to stand in line a wile though. A lot of others will be doing the same thing.