Matt's blog

The story of me, an American in Edinburgh, Scotland finding my place as a musician, a husband, a father and a Christian.


Ok, blogger is not letting me post photos, probably because it somehow knows that the photos I want to post are absolute nonsense. How can they even tell?!? Well, I don't know but they obviously can. Anyhow, there are these things over here called flapjacks, which are basically like Rice Krispy treats but made with oats and no marshmallows. Marshmellows. Anyway, you basically get the picture right, well I mean except for the fact that blogger won't let me put it up. Jeni and I bought a little tub of bite sized flapjacks, and on the side is has a picture of some flapjacks, just, you know, so you know what you're getting into before you buy it. The photo is just of some flapjacks, little square oat thingys (thingies?) just sittin' around. Like they just put some on a table and took a picture of them. Ok, Matt, I can hear you saying, who gives a crap. Well, the odd thing is that on the photo, just like on a box of cereal or some such with milk poured on it and fruit and orange juice, it says "Serving Suggestion." I get it with the box of cereal, cause the photo has all sorts of stuff in it that isn't in the box and they are saying, "You might want to pick up milk, fruit and some orange juice if you really want to enjoy your breakfast," you know, just to give you a hand. But with the flapjacks? Are they saying, "You might just want to lay these out on the table and look at them for a while before you eat them, that's just how I'd suggest serving them." Or maybe, when you have friends over, you should just have some flapjacks all scattered around your place for like, a pleasant snacking surprise that you didn't expect while sitting over by the bookshelf but guess what, I just sort of put out some flapjacks over there before you all got here.

Hmm, this is perhaps not the best blog post I've ever written, and I actually don't know if those photos would have made it better or worse.

The basic premise is, you're just supposed to take a flapjack out of the container and eat it, it is not to be served, and the photo suggesting a possible serving was completely nonsensical. That's the premise here, people.

Anyway, I just came up with this idea for a drink called the Flapjackhammer. You fill a glass with mini flapjacks, then you cover them with vodka. Unfortunately I can't even blame the lame-itude of this post on having had one too many Flapjackhammers (which I think would only be one) before writing it.

Ok, it's late here.

Good night.

By the way, the joke from a few days ago was "Chronic Cling." I mean, just in case you missed that one.

There Are Days...

...when I really don't understand why I'm here and none of it makes sense and today is one of those days.

The Best of "" - The Next Seven Months

Today we present the seven months of Sears, cycling and Subway from March, 2003 to October, 2004.

Much to my dismay, Peter has not grown Brokaw's head on his shoulder.
Also, for the first time in my life last night I got a Fortune Cookie fortune that was not only way too specific, but just plain bad advice.

“Participation in sports may lead you to a lucrative career.”

... I much prefer a fortune I had received at an earlier date.

“You may attend a party where strange customs prevail.”

Upon showing this fortune to my brother he promptly responded with, “Yeah… the Green Party!!!” That must be one of the top 5 funniest things I heard in 2002.
May I never go slimeless again.
Unobtainium dude, Unobtainium.
I also think it would be great if the “E” in the “SEARS” sign suddenly burnt out. The one in NoHo says ”_EARS”, so there is hope.
At the risk of sounding gay, I will say that I’ll see pretty much anything that Tom Cruise is in.
So I'm at work, trying to be normal. Then some customers call their kid who must be only 4 years old to come back over to them. The kid turns around and runs right into a rack of clothes. I immediately take action. "Watch ewoot!" I sound, completely unaware of my disregard for the local vernacular.

...Anyway, the sooner I move to Canada the better. As my brother said about Canadians, "They're just Mexicans in sweaters." I think we can all find comfort in that.
In other news...

I got hit by a car!!!

In better news...

I rX0rd the car!!!
A.J.'s Recent Monetary Expenditures with Commentary

6 Plastic Hangers
$1.54 at Sears

I needed hangers. These ones were cheap. I used my amazing 10% discount and my Sears Mastercard. At that price I would only need to buy 2338 hangers to qualify for a Sears Premiere card.
The following is an classic that must be presented in its entirety:

So the other day at the Sears I was down working at the Men’s Cashwrap. “Cashwrap” is a word that exists only in Sears as far as I can tell. It is a conglomeration of registers and poorly made bags in a counter-ish enclosure. Men’s is right by the main entrance to the store so we get a lot of people coming in to make payments on their credit cards. They just come in and go to the first register they see.

So this woman was making a payment. Yup. She couldn’t speak the English. So I’m trying to walk her through her writing of a check from the safe distance of a foreign language. She gets to the part where she must write the name of who may cash said check. I proceed to point at my name badge that says “Sears” on it. She writes this down. When she hands me the check I look at it and notice it does not say “SEARS” but “SARS”. I find this very funny but must continue. My quest: Put the “E” in “SARS”. So I point at it and say “E”.

Being of the Hispanic persuasion she writes an “I”. I then try to remember back to my high school days and the 4 years I spent taking 2 years of Spanish. My brain proceeds to tell me “E”=”eh”. My body decides to ignore this advice and proceeds to make the common sign for the number “3” in my right hand. I then move my hand in such a fashion as to illustrate drawing the 3 lines that are required to turn an “I” into and “E”. Amazingly, she understood. She then hands me the check again. She has left the amount line blank because she doesn’t know how to write “twenty”. I write it for her. I suppose I could have written it all myself, but that wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining.
Man, when God decided to make the cashew... so incredibly on the ball.
So it turns out that there are alot of Asian people on the Friendster. Also, there are alot of Asian people in general, but not many asian generals, at least not Japanese ones.
A story from Subway:

“I’ll get a footlong Monterey Cheddar… (brain realizes something is off but proceeds anyway) on Pastrami.”

I then commence laughing at myself in that kinda silent, smirky, full body jerky sort of way. This goes on for a good two or three seconds before I double over and hit my head against the glass that protects all the sandwich makings. Thank God. If it wasn’t for that I would’ve had a normal, boring day. That is if I hadn’t seen Huell Howser crawl through the Colossal Colon later that evening.

The Best of "" - The First Six Months

"This is mic number one...."

Those immortal words introduced what was to become an internet phenomenon. Though today consists only of rarely updated, disconnected, nonsensical posts, it once was a rich paradise of frequently updated, disconnected, nonsensical posts. In this edition of Matt's Blog, we'll take a look back at the genesis of with quotes from the months of October, 2002 through February, 2003.
We also realized that my name follows my stupid “an” theory. A little background is due. My theory is that smart people know how to use the word “an” and often do. Stupid people on the other hand do not properly use it, or use it at all. Thus, the use of the word “an” equates to intelligence. Stupid people know this, but they do not know the rules for correct usage. Thus, intelligent people should use the word “an” as much as possible, even when grammatically incorrect, to display their linguistic adeptitude. An robot. An cow. An brilliant idea. An-drew, not A-drew. Yup.
And why is having your cake and eating it too such a big thing? Don't people who own cakes usually eat them with little or no resistance? Maybe it's some diabetic thing.
The Sears training program will occasionally display the message "This picture is not exist." Technology am grate.
From a list of things AJ is scared of:
•New Things
----New things have the potential to be horrible, whereas old things are almost all great because you have ignored and forgotten the many of the crappy ones.

•Moving in the Dark
----I can’t see very well.

•Hordes of other Things
----By this I mean other stuff that I have not listed here, not just hordes. But I guess that I might be scared of hordes too.
I just measured my blood pressure. 123 over 80 with a pulse of 71. I am the freakin' model of good health. On a completely unrelated matter, I just got back from Denny's where I consumed cake and ice cream. I also had Arby's for lunch.
Stupid Sears. Stupid Sears. Stupid Sears. Stupid Sears.
Paranoid. Para-Noid. Would that be Andy, the stupid Dominoes Pizza monkey from a few years ago? What was up with that thing? Bad Andy. Good Pizza. Inebriated Advertising Department.
To conclude... Stupid Sears.
Happy Earthquake Day!!! Yup. I think it was nine years ago. I was woken up by a cup of water falling off the side table and landing on my head. A gas station up by my house exploded. There was very little traffic afterwards. We couldn't shower for a few days. A year later there was an even bigger quake in Japan. Well, it might have just been smaller and more efficient.
I was tempted to buy the Rite-Aid Mach 3 knock offs today. I still might. When it comes to keeping up appearance I know that us men have it easier than women, but this still isn’t of much console when you’re staring at a $20 box of razors. That’s like 40 Jack-in-the-Box Tacos, or up to 100 Tina’s burritos. Maybe I’ll just Nair my face.
Crashing sound is heard.
Coworker: What was that?
Me: Sign fell down the escalator.
Coworker: Seinfeld’s here?! (Said in serious tone.)
Apparently I broke Katie’s chair. I guess they just don’t make chairs as wearable as they use to. They need to make them more wearabler.
I like furry things. Fish need to be more furrier.
February 4, 2003 saw the advent of what was to become a halmark of, the emboldening of certain words in order to make the posts "easier to understand and possibly summarize if need be." The following is a list of the words and phrases emboldened in that post, which should, if the intended result was achieved, provide an acurate and time saving summary of AJ's life on that day.

classical guitar manicure
eyesight will probably get worse
Chili fries
Bat Thumb
½ lb. Bean and Cheese Burrito from Del Taco
Clone High
Plant Man
Strong Bad’s e-mails
7 Habits
Chicken Soup
“Everywhere I go I’m a [robot].”
I’m not finding this post very interesting. I’ll just leave some random, titular lines.

“I’m gonna go run this Blood Work….”
“I’m tired of all these Star Wars.”
“Hey! Aren’t you The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, but Came Down a Mountain?”
“Man, this Deep Impact is gonna suck.”
“He’s glowin’ ‘cause… ya know… he’s got aaahhh… some… some sort of problem.”
I haven’t seen Peter in almost 2 months. It’ll be worth it if he has grown some sort of inhuman physical abnormality in that time, such as another head, Brokaw’s perhaps.
Glenn is an amazing person. He needs to stop being ashamed of being funny. The last sentence contained the word “being” twice. Apparently it wasn’t effective enough the first time, like a World War, or Short Circuit.
So there are some high points of the first 6 months of I hope that this retrospective has offered you a chance to relive old memories or else to be introduced for the first time to one of the internet's greatest minds. Check back soon as we will continue our trip through the treasure trove that is...


Well, nothing new here, but I did write a substantial post over on, the site chronicling Jeni's experience in vet school. Check it out, and be amazed.

"Chronicling" is a freaky looking word!

He couldn't look her in the eye. Whether it was shame, or something else, some longing to be more for her than he could, it didn't really matter. It had finally come to this point and he knew there was nothing more he could do.

"Darling," he forced himself to say, "I'm afraid no dryer sheet or fabric softener will help you now. It's," he choked back a sob, "Chronicling!"

She gasped, and fell to her knees, small sparks of static electricity leaping from her long skirt like so many abandoned dreams deserting that once naive girl.

Ok, I'm Pretty Sure...

...that someone graffiti'd the word "FLAN" on the wall across the street from our place.

In Case You Want to Know What I'd Look Like With a Handlebar Mustache

Consider your curiosity: satisfied.

A Tough Spot

I'm in a tough spot right now. Life has been chaos for the last few months, especially the last month and a half. Now we're in Edinburgh, mostly settled in, and the smoke is starting to clear. I'm coming to realize that I don't have any clue what I'm doing with myself. Over the last three years I came to identify myself as a student, first and foremost. Now, I'm not a student anymore and I realize I've lost a huge part of my identity.

Compounding Factor No. 1:
My sense of desperation is magnified by the fact that with my Music degree I am just about as qualified for jobs over here as if I were just straight out of high school. I feel like my B.A. in guitar performance qualifies me only to pursue an M.A. in guitar performance. Also, my church music emphasis, while not worth a whole lot over in the States, is absolutely worthless here.

Compounding Factor No. 2:
In my last semester at Whitworth I took Christian Theology as part of my church music emphasis. The professor recommended that I go on to study theology with the goal of entering academia and teaching at a university. He told me that he has only once before recommended a white male to go into adademia. Later, I heard from other professors, "Hey, your theology prof told me he thinks you should go into theology. If he says you should, it's something you should really, really, think about."

Compounding Factor No. 3:
"Stee na' de' noose?" the guy at the supermarket asks me after he's done ringing me up. Felling like a total idiot, I have to shrug my shoulders and say with a stupid grimace, "I'm sorry, I don't really follow...?" "Stee na' de' noose?" he repeats. Thinking I picked out at least the word 'day' and taking a shot in the dark and reply, "Yes, it is still a nice day out." We look at each other awkwardly for a moment, I get the feeling neither of us knows what just transpired, so I say, "Cheers," and leave the store. Ok, it's not really a huge deal, but every now and then things come up that really remind me that I'm a foreigner here and that we didn't just move to the east coast or something, but we actually moved clear across the ocean.

Ok, I'm Done With compounding Factors Now:
They weren't really connecting as linearly as I thought they would, so we'll just change gears. The suggestion that I study theology gave me a new perspective on things. I loved that theology class. It was the first time that I'd heard someone say that to worship God fully you must do so with your intellect as well as with your heart and your deeds, and it didn't sound like ivory tower snobbery. I feel like that one semester of study drastically changed my faith for the better and opened up to me parts of God that I had never seen before. That class, mainly that professor, taught me that I can really know God, and know things about God, and state them with certainty without being arrogant or closed minded. In the past I guess I thought that a certain amount of arrogant dogmatism was necessary in theology, so much so that I didn't even really want to take this class. However, I learned that theology can be done in humility and reverence, and can be done not as the study of a subject, but as the unfolding of a relationship, because what we study is actually the living God.

Suddenly music seems really trivial to me.

Let me qualify that. I want it to stand on its own up there because it is a substantial change in attitude for me, but it does need qualification. The academic study of music seems trivial to me. The music that I make with my guitar, however, now seems more important. The actual act of musical creation vs. the study of human musical achievements set in light of what I know about God makes academic music seem like trivia to me. I know the academic side of music will always have its place in my life, after all, good performances come only from informed musical decisions, but I don't think I could feel good about giving an advanced music degree the time and effort it would require.

Is Music Out? Is Theology In?
I have a church music degree. I have always thought that the place I would be happiest would be in a music directing position in a church. Through college I also gave thought to becoming a university professor in music, mainly in order to give lessons to students who really cared about the instrument, but also because I find the history of music to be very interesting, but generally taught very poorly. As I've said though, academic music doesn't seem like such an appealing option anymore. I've thought of studying theology, perhaps getting ordained, and then being some sort of "Super Church Music Guy" who has a respectable background in both music and theology, as opposed to most pastors and church musicians who seem to be quite ignorant of the other's field. Or, should I go into academic theology? So far, the two other students in our building are both Americans studying theology at the university. Is that some sort of hint? Could I still get a Master's in guitar performance just because I want one? In the immediate future, what sort of job should I get right now? Should I settle for being a secretary at the school (for which I'm simultaneously over- and under-qualified) or should I wait and just try to get a job more pertinent to what I want to do with my life, such as working with the Scottish equivalent of Young Life (for which I am under-qualified because of my massive ignorance of Scottish schools and culture)?

Laziness Will Only Get You So Far

As I was eating my frosted flakes (a.k.a. Frosties over here) out of a ridiculously small bowl with a ridiculously large spoon I though to myself, "I should probably do dishes today."

So now, *cough cough* 2 days later *cough cough*, I'm doing dishes. Yaya for me!

(Do you think the comma should have been placed inside the 2nd asterisk? Does MLA/APA/CMS even cover that? How does one go about verb conjugation when stringing together subjects with /'s? or is it just /s? Should I have capitalized that "or"?/"or?")

Sausage Rolls!!!

Ok, so we finally have internet of our own, so perhaps you'll get more regular updates from me about our adventure! Ok, I don't want to start this out with depressing stuff so I won't. Instead of telling you all about the extreme emotional trauma that moving around the world has been I will tell you about...

Sausage Rolls

Everything is different over here, sometimes not drastically different but just different enough to make you curse this foreign land and yearn for the red, white and blue. However, there has been one new source of comfort which we never experienced at home: the sheer joy of sausage rolls. Pretty much wherever you go you can ask for a sausage roll and, while you won't always get the same thing, you will always get something extremely awesome. The link above leads to Greggs, a local bakery chain. There's a Greggs every few blocks around here. Their sausage rolls are made of sausage wrapped in fantastic, light pastry crust, and cost only 48p each. The Elephant House, a local restaurant and coffee place famed as the place where J.K. Rowling wrote much of the first Harry Potter novel, has sausage rolls that are comprised of two sliced sausages on a roll that tastes just like a McDonald's biscuit. Jeni got a sausage roll at the vet school which she assures me was awesome as well.

So, sausage rolls are awesome. I think there's a large part of the Edinburgh population that subsists entirely on sausage rolls alone. While that may not be the best culinary plan of action for our time here, whenever I'm feeling down about this horrible strange place that's so far removed from everything I know and love, I know I can stop by pretty much anywhere to pick up a sausage roll and lift my spirits.

John Knox Parade, John Knox Parade

Photos are up on Flickr! Start here for the mini photo tour of our time in Scotland so far. Unfortunately we missed the John Knox Parade by a few days.

Children obey what the John Knox says!

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