Old Bones In Old Songs

Today I charged up my iphone 4 for the first time in over a year, maybe two. This out dated device contains song material from four or five years ago that I didn’t do anything with. For awhile I was writing two to three song ideas a night. I opened the notes section and had two different tabs. The first was mostly complete songs and 98% of them had titles. The second was just a long long long long page of random lyrics that didn’t have a home, usually consisting of just a few clever lines.  I write my lyrics in kind of a funky way I like to think. I usually think of a cool title first and use it as my foundation and or theme. Then I construct a story around it, usually relating to me or someone I know. A lot of the times the stories are real and some have a sort of extreme inspiration (events in the song may or may not have gone the way they actually did, in movies you see it as “Inspired by true events”)

I figured I’d share some of the song titles, a few of which I plan on getting the blood flowing through again.

Going Alone
Hollywood Dreams and Crime Scenes
Fault Line
Everyone’s Filing Lawsuits and I’m Just Here Drinking
Curtain Call (Keep Your Head On, Kid)
Mountains
Is It Winter Time Yet?
Life’s A Hurricane
Half A Life
Weaving Wires Through Finger Tips
This One Time, In Eagle River…
Wicker Man
Sounds Of An Empty Vessel II
2005
This Is How I Drink My Bourbon
Hey Mom, I Can Write A Rap Song Too
The War Zone (Instrumental)
Welcome To Insomniac Theater

Songs I completed and recorded (I don’t share much because like every artist, I’m my own worst critic but If you want to hear some I’ll gladly send them. Warning, I was more of a noob then than I am now). Most of the songs I recorded where fairly slow due to lack of recording skill, instruments, and oh… a full band. Plus it was difficult to try and deliver the listener a fast pace song without me trying to critique the hell out of it. Here’s a few:

Where Did This Come From?
The 4th Avenue Scene
Fire By The City
My Light
Obligation
Slowly Moving Backwards
Sounds Of An Empty Vessel – Instrumental
Sunrise (…I’m Alive)

 

 

Project Carneum

I have been summoned for a set of band pictures.

Conceived deep within the the flesh halls of hell, followed by a macabre of grotesque murders and sacrifices. I hope to bring you the black metal image of Carneum.

I have begun my study on black metal band photography.

Coming soon, June 2016

 

 

A Message From Tom Delonge..

“Hi everybody-

I understand all the craziness out there in Internet-land, it is an odd time for fans of the Blink-182 legacy, I know- It’s odd for me, too.

Well, I met with Mark yesterday, and Travis the week before…. I actually talk to Travis almost every day, now.

The answer is this:

We DO have a future together if we want it, but for now we are busy doing separate things. I am directing a movie this summer, releasing a couple more albums of music and digging deeper into my relationships with the US Government on the Sekret Machines Project.

I know people are comparing the Angels and Airwaves Chasing Shadows EP to the new Blink-182 music, and that is a failed task. For one, I think having a song-writer that came in on the Blink album (Feldy- 5 Seconds of Summer, Good Charlotte) was something they felt was necessary, and that in itself may be an indicator of some of our current artistic differences that are difficult to overcome. At the time, I was recording the song NEW WORLD (on the DEMOS album titled after my own name) and that was my personal opinion of where we could possibly take Blink for the next album. But we are at different places in our minds, careers and goals, I get it.

But that said, I obviously want them to make the music they wish. I have always been thankful for them in my life, but I am a forward thinking artist, and sometimes that leads me down a different path- That is why I have done other projects like: Box Car Racer, Angels and Airwaves- LOVE 1 & 2, AND The Dream Walker etc…

I look forward to my upcoming Feature Film, the Historical-Fiction Sekret Machines Project, the Poet Anderson adventure, the ridiculous stories of Strange Times, and a hell of a lot more…

….Maybe even a bit of Blink-182 if we can build back that “special something” that was once there. “

Because I said so.

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Blink 182 – Bored To Death

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It’s finally here! The new and much anticipated Blink 182 song has arrived and I couldn’t be more happy and excited for this new page Blink has turned. Since the departure of singer and guitarist Tom Delonge, two thirds of the band, Mark and Travis, have continued their love of music and have picked up the singer/guitarist from Alkaline Trio, Matt Skiba. I could never imagine a fusion such as this one. For over fourteen years I’ve been a fan of Skibas lyrical styles of a more dark, melancholy writing technique which has never failed me and now that he’s along side Mark Hoppus, I’m shitting myself.

Since the songs leak this morning, the majority of the fans love it. Its a fresh start and kind of revival for what was once a dying light. Tom Delonge parted ways and has since been doing his own thing. The latest EP Angels & Airwaves released was, in my opinion, a more successful bit since Love pt 2. The others I don’t even listen to.

Many fans say the new Blink 182 song sounds like their older hit “Adams Song”. Clearly they either haven’t heard Adams Song, or they just forgot what it sounded like. The new song is catchy and alive. I believe the fact that some fans are angered towards it because
it sounds so good. In my opinion, the new Blink 182 line up has done justice. I’m super excited for this record. In other words… Get bent and move aside. The Mark, Matt and Travis show is upon thee!

The song can be found here:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1OW3CUlqit5cVdkY096SUxnLUk/view?pref=2&pli=1

A Dormant Rebellion

Named

Photo by Ian Amidon

Code Name: Stellarwind

-Hunted-

     Let’s step back a few years before Edward Snowden became the United States of Americas most wanted man. Stellarwind was created by the NSA (Nation Security Agency) just after 9/11. The project was approved by President Bush and was exposed and revealed to the New York Times by Thomas Tamm in 2008. It was a foundation that later evolved into new and different legal structures that allowed Bush and Obama to create more programs and expand their reach.
The program allows for data mining massive databases of American citizens which included emails, financial transactions, telephone conversations, and internet activity. Several internal disputes inside the U.S. Justice Department about the program over the fact that it didn’t just collect date on targets of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act but mass quantities of people as well.

“…the Stellarwind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller, approximately 99% of the cases led nowhere…”

-Wikipedia

     Further reading into justifications as to why the program was important, I realized that is seemed as if the 9/11 attacks was used as the final push for this program to be in place. Now that the people of the United States had an enemy on its own soil that organized the attacks right here in the home land, reasons to have a program that collected data on persons of interest seemed like a good idea to the American people. Little did they know, Stellarwind would be used to collect data on just about everyone. We were all persons of interests and it was without warrants.

-How Strange, Innocence-

      “…In 2004, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, Jack Landman Goldsmith, wrote at least two legal memos authorizing the program, “We conclude only that when the nation has been thrust into an armed conflict by a foreign attack on the United States and the president determines in his role as commander in chief . . . that it is essential for defense against a further foreign attack to use the [wiretapping] capabilities of the [National Security Agency] within the United States, he has inherent constitutional authority” to order warrantless wiretapping — “an authority that Congress cannot curtail,” Goldsmith wrote in a 108-page memo dated May 6, 2004. In March 2004, the OLC concluded the e-mail program was not legal, and then-Acting Attorney General James Comey refused to reauthorize it…”

-Wikipedia

Thomas Tamm was born in 1952 and received his education from Brown University. He is a former attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and is a known whistleblower. Tipped off by Tamm,  the New York Times released and article on December 16, 2005, exposing Stellarwind. A little over a year later, the FBI raided Tamms house and in 2011, the Justice Department dropped all charges against Tamm and did not file charges.

     Today, Stellarwind is in full force with several programs grown off of it’s foundation. NSA still collects data on the people of the United States as well as working together with several other European countries.

Sources:
Wikipedia, Google

One Nation, Under Surveillance

     I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America. And to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under surveillance, always divided, for liberty and justice for all.

Waking Up

It’s five o’clock in the morning. My alarm fades in slowly with the song “Waking Up” by Explosions In The Sky. I usually wake up this early to take my wife to work so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. She’s a hard worker. I admire that.

The morning is quiet. I like it.

It’s always quiet this early. It’s quiet because our little world hasn’t started up yet. The rest of the world has, but not ours. I like to absorb the quiet after dropping my wife off. The cats usually sleep in and the dogs tend to hop right back on the bed and pass out. I start my morning by making myself a spam omelette and a coffee with three sugars. I don’t add much creamer now days, I guess I’ve out grown it.

After my meal, I take my coffee and sit down at my desk. I call it the command center. It’s the central processor of my stronghold. My “Jarvis”.

“Good morning sir”

I say to myself out loud in a British “Jarvis” voice as my desktop comes to life. By now the faint blue daylight begins to filter over the mountain view that greets me every morning. I open my web browser and log into my usual social medias. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, & WordPress.

I am plugged in.

A Storm Is Coming

The news feed. A constantly evolving digital wave of opinions, ideas, beliefs, products, pictures, and sometimes pointless nonsense. The list goes on. It’s where our lives are written out and recorded in real time. It’s brilliant and truly wonderful.

It’s also a war zone.

A battlefield with multiple factions shelling the living shit out of each other day and night.

The quiet is over.

#Trump2016, #feelthebern, #blacklivesmatter, #hillary2016, #GOPdebate. Hashtags thrown around like hand grenades. Alliances are formed and relationships destroyed as easy as “unfriend”. You’re in the trenches and you’re as powerful as ever because you’re behind a keyboard. You no longer have to share an opinion face to face. You’re safe and secure because you’re in the matrix. Memes are like propaganda bombs filled with false or exaggerated facts about opposing parties but good job bro, really stuck it to em with that one!

We’re all guilty of it really. It’s all part of it. But I find it hard to take a side in all this. I mean I have my beliefs and I have my reasons for who I will vote for but I can’t seem to label it. You can’t claim to be a Republican anymore without being labeled a racist or bigot. You can’t claim to be a Democrat without being labeled a lazy liberal. You can’t fly a Tea Party flag without being called a tea bagger.

When did we lose ourselves? When did we go from a melting pot to a pot of water with individual groups of oil floating around? There’s so many groups and labels that we’ve started to suffocate in it all. We’ve lost sight of who the true enemy is and we are too busy climbing on top of one another as we grasp for air and try to soak up the lime light even if it’s for a quick second. It’s exhausting and like I said before….we’ve looked away from the true enemy and they are reaping all the benefits from it.

Human Qualities

Edward Snowden.

He was born on June 21st, 1983 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He is a former CIA employee as well as a former employee for Booz Allen Hamilton which is a company contracted by the NSA. He’s widely known for the **theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person”.

** source via wikipedia

Recently I read Glenn Greenwalds book “No Place Left To Hide” which covers what happened when Snowden contacted Greenwald about the documents he had obtained.

“…Opposition to government invasion of privacy was a major factor in the establishment of the United States itself, as American colonists protested laws that let British officials ransack at will any home they wished…”

Greenwald said.

The Fourth Amendment:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person’s or things to be seized.”

As Greenwald said,

“It was intended, above all, to abolish forever in America the power of the government to subject its citizens to generalized, suspicionless surveillance.”

I also read that in the mid-nineteenth century, British government began opening its citizens mail, due to the development of rail ways and rapid delivery, which caused a major scandal in the UK. By the mid 1970s, Frank Church investigated the FBI and found that they had labeled a half a million US citizens as potential “subversives” and had spied on people based on their political affiliations.

Snowden handed documents over to Greenwald providing information about the US government partnering with providers, allowing them to sift through emails, messages, video chats, phone calls, voicemails and other means of communication. The data collected is then stored for access whenever they wanted. These major providers include; Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Paltalk, Youtube, Skype, AOL, and Apple. This was a project called PRISM, which allows NSA to collect data directly from servers.

PRISM

Actual leaked NSA slide provided by Edward Snowden. NOFORN at the bottom right means no foreign governments/companies can see this slide.

Do you feel comfortable with that? If you are, you’ve already lost.

Some other things Snowden discovered was the governments ability to activate your phone’s microphone and camera capabilities even if it was connected to the internet or not. Greenwald met Snowden in Hong Kong along with two other reporters. They composed articles and stories for their publisher to release to the world. The story caught like a wild fire. The government has never denied the accusations.

A Song of Our Fathers

To say this story is mere conspiracy theory is only, to me, words used by those in denial. Civil liberties groups, Wikipedia, and many more have filed lawsuits against the NSA. That list can be found here. Edward Snowden found something terribly wrong with our government and felt that it was time the people finally had proof that they are watched, spied on, recorded and documented. Our government states that it’s for the greater good of the country. To help catch those who plot and plan to destroy our way of life. So once again I ask you, are you comfortable with this? If you have nothing to hide, them you have nothing to fear right? You have already lost.

Greenwald said..

“Governments around the world have made vigorous attempts to train citizens to disdain their own privacy. A litany of now-familiar platitudes has convinced people to tolerate sever encroachments into their private realm; so successful are these justifications that many people applaud as the authorities collect vast amounts of data about what they say, read, buy and do-and with whom”

If you are okay with it, then accept and admit that you are submissive. Submission, to me, is an act of something as low, if not lower than that of something on a microbial level. Yes it is true that there is nothing we can do about it, verbally anyway. This very article will be flagged and possibly looked at given the very contents contained in it, even though it is not even scratching the surface. I did that so you could research yourself and learn a bit.

Trembling Hands

While we squabble about, lobbing verbal abuses towards opposing parties on the constant stream of our news feeds that’s ever flowing. I hope one day the rest of us come to light that we divide ourselves because we let them. We are doing exactly what they want us to do and that is to remain as separate little twigs. A single twig is weak, but a bundle of twigs is strong. We are not a bundle. I fear we are broken and will be for some time. We vote for celebrities, not politicians. We form opinions off of trending topics without actually doing research and when some do research, they read one side of the story. We read media headlines that dice up, alter, and change what’s said to what they want you to read because they know you’ll only read the headline anyway. We watch as candidates dig up dirt on one another and bash each other in their debates. It’s a shame we’ve lost our ability to recognize when something isn’t right. That we now think rebellion on a violent level is an act of terrorism. That we are growing comfortable of the thought of being unarmed. That it’s okay for them to search our lives without reason. We scare too easily. We have weakened. I won’t give up on the country, but to be honest I feel that electing someone,no matter who it is, wont change anything on the grand scale that needs to happen.

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Sources I used for this mini article were:

Wikipedia, Google, and the book “No Place Left To Hide” by Glenn Greenwald
Also check out the preview for Oliver Stones ‘Snowden’

Death From Above

carneum

     On Thursday, February 11th, I had the opportunity to snap some photos of a local band practicing in their living room. I wanted to practice shooting photos with the limited equipment I had. I worked with what I was given and over all it was a good time watching these talented musicians play through a handful of originals. The chemistry was on point and I could hear each individuals influences brew together in a concoction of beefy rifts and clever lyrical madness that filled the surrounding atmosphere as I moved about snapping photos while fighting the urge to head bang….

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Carneum

DSC_0063

Tyler Byrum – Vocals

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Justin Benner – Bass

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Adam Chapman – Guitar

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John Cooper – Guitar

DSC_0122

Kaylan Wade – Drums

More photos from the entire spread can be found here.

Amidon Lampoons Vacation

The Year of Travel

     For the past few weeks, let’s face it, facebook has been owned by our big wedding. Hundreds of photos have been uploaded and more photos here and there have been uploaded almost daily. We still can’t believe how well everything went and it all still feels like it was a dream because it happened so fast. Since the day I proposed to Nicole, it seemed like the wedding day was never going to arrive and now that it has, I wish the vacation wasn’t over.

Which brings me to introduce our next adventure!

   “…Make record of your journey…”

     A few months after the proposal, I started brain storming a plan. I didn’t want our honeymoon to be a cliche one trip kinda thing. I always try and do things different so why not this. I thought of a three to four phase honeymoon involving three or four trips spread through out the year of 2016. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling but Nicole hasn’t been to too many places so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to get the travel bug going for her! So instead of getting on a plane right after our wedding and going somewhere exotic, we have decided to visit Hawaii, California and Japan.

Phase One: Pure Aloha

     Our first trip will be my other motherland. Nicole has yet to meet my family in Maui so we decided it is time for her to get some aloha! I know Maui fairly well my memory so I want to show her the island and all of it’s beauty. We want to spend maybe a week there and then head of to Oahu for three days or so. This trip will be in April.

Phase Two: California Dreaming

     I’m not too fond of California really but we thought it would be a cool idea to hit up Disneyland and all that jazz for Nicoles birthday. My sister Alex may tag along and I’m not sure if Caiti can but that would be cool. I’ve been to San Fransisco and it wasn’t too bad of a city but I’m willing to give elsewhere a shot. We figured four days would be adequate enough. This trip will be in May.

Phase Three: Tora! Tora! Tora!

    Last but not least, Japan. My good buddy Wayne approached me last year with this idea. He wanted the three of us to go to Japan and I was immediately on board. I have never been to Japan but it’s always been a place I’ve wanted to visit. It got Nicoles attention once she realized there was a Disney in Japan as well lol. The night Wayne drummed up the idea, I ordered a lonely planet book on Japan. When it came in, I read nearly the whole thing and researched things I found interesting. I tabbed things of interest in three different categories; “must do” , “would be rad”, and “if we are near with time to kill”. I started north and mapped my way down through out the islands. It seems like a solid route and hits everyone’s places of interests as well as some bonus spots I didn’t even know existed. This trip will be in September.

We are super excited and I especially because I get to shove all this in your faces and hopefully inspire some of you to travel as well, maybe even with us.

To be continued….