Darkness Within

Exciting news! On November 29th, I will be seeing the American musical act, Machine Head, in Richmond, Virginia, at The National Theatre.

The National Theatre is a historic theatre in Richmond, Virginia, which opened in 1923 and is the only surviving theatre of what used to be known “Theatre Row.” In 2008, it was reopened to become a concert venue.

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As you can see, it is a great place to see a concert. I’ve been many times and seen numerous national touring acts.

The National Inside

Here is a great picture of the building in the 1930s!

The National 1930s

Machine Head is an American musical recording group that plays music classified as “hard rock” and “heavy metal.” The group is based out of California.

The band’s last three albums have been phenomenal mixing technical and intricate guitar playing with in-depth lyrical content.

I love when an artist presents thoughtful and meaningful lyrics in a song. The song “Darkness Within” is off the band’s 2011 effort “Unto the Locust.”

I understand that heavy metal in a niche musical genre. Because of that, I an enclosing the acoustic version of this song that includes the lyrics in the video. Even presented in an acoustic version, the song is still very powerful and deep. It really resonates with me as I continue on my personal journey.

Here are the lyrics from the song:

Here in this darkness that I lay
Depression heavy in its weigh
And how my body aches to leave
To sing its final eulogy
My sons I love you evermore
And though the road beckons once more
I see the damage that I’ve done
In search for redemption
But I am just a broken man
Whose soul cries out to understand
How the madness shatters me
Upon the stage on bended knee
I scream out loud at skies above
That answer mute bereft in love
I struggle not to fall from grace
Or sing the hymns of my disgrace

We build cathedrals to our pain
Establish monuments to attain
Freedom from all of the scars and the sins
Lest we drown in the darkness within

Mystery’s forgotten chords
I strum in vain to please the lord
But he has never answered me
My faith has waned eternally
In empty men who pass along
The woes of all religions wrong
But now the shadowed veil it falls
Heed the clarion call
So pray to music build a shrine
Worship in these desperate times
Fill your heart with every note
Cherish it and cast afloat
Because god is in these clef and tone
Salvation is found alone
Haunted by its melody
Music it will set you free
Let it set you free

We build cathedrals to our pain
Establish monuments to attain
Freedom from all of the scars and the sins
Lest we drown in the darkness within

We build cathedrals to our pain
Establish monuments to attain
Freedom from all of the scars and the sins
Lest we drown in the darkness within

Song and lyrical credit goes to: David Wayne McClain, Philip John Demmel, Robert Conrad Flynn

Photo 1

Photo 2 and Photo 3 courtesy of Flickr

Metro Richmond Zoo

Yesterday, I went to the Metro Richmond Zoo. It was the first time I had been to a zoo in almost 5 years. To say the zoo was in “Metro Richmond,” wouldn’t be entirely accurate. The location is actually Moseley, Virginia, in Chesterfield County. It is off of 360 (Hull Street) and route 603 beside Grange Hall Elementary. Not exactly Broad Street people. But I digress…

click here to continue reading about my adventures at the zoo!

Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia

This past weekend, I took the girlfriend out to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. For those that aren’t aware, the Hollywood Cemetery sits on the cliffs above the James River and across from Belle Isle. The edge along the waterfront gives a spectacular view and a nice breeze while one is enjoying that view. Benches are even available if your feet are tired and need a repose.

The Cemetery was built in 1847 and the first burial there occurred in 1849. United States Presidents James Monroe and John Tyler are buried there along with Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis. There are also six Virginia governors and two Supreme Court Justices buried in the Hollywood Cemetery. A section is devoted to soldiers, including commandeers, from the Confederate States of America army, with thousands laid to rest here, according to the official site. The Cemetery is located on South Cherry Street but beware of using your G.P.S. to find it! I couldn’t quite remember how to get there and my G.P.S. decided to send me in a never-ending circle! Fortunately, I was able to find it!

Upon entering the location’s gate, you will notice a beautiful Victorian caretaker’s home. The home reminds me of the house from the Tom Hanks’ 1989 movie “The Burbs.” Don’t fear though; The Klopeks don’t live in this home! Be sure to be out by the specified closing time, though, because the gates will close and you will be locked in! *Gulp – speaking from a prior experience – Fortunately, I was able to get someone inside the house to let me out so I didn’t become a permanent resident!

The Cemetery is built across 135 acres of winding roads, paths, and hills. Narrow roads are paved and are excellent for walking, running, or biking. We chose to walk and the serenity of the area combined with the sounds of the river made for an amazing time for us as well as some fellow walkers and runners. We were greeted by some bikers who were apparently on some sort of city scavenger hunt.

One of the things that really caught my eye was the architecture and ornate nature of many of the headstones and family plot markers. Detailed etchings, inscriptions, and immaculate carvings decorate many of the gravestones. There are also mausoleums on the site, many which have beautiful stained glass windows. Also, something that caught my attention was the dates of many of the deceased. I saw a few individuals whom passed away right before 9/11 occurred and it made me think about how these individuals never knew about these horrific events and how it changed our country. I also thought about individuals whom passed away during the 1980s. Those years were not very long ago yet our lives have changed so greatly. Besides the aforementioned 9/11, other major events and ideas have come to the forefront that have completely shaped and changed our way of life. I thought about cell phones and of course, the internet. I could write for days about how much the internet has shaped our lives, but won’t since you are reading this and, I’m sure, very likely familiar with the internet, I’ll move on. If these individuals were suddenly warped into the present day, would they feel like they had jumped ahead like 200 years instead of the actual amount of time, being about 30 years? It is amazing how much technology has advanced in such a short time. To bring this full circle, one thing that hasn’t changed since 1849 is the way we bury our deceased and honor them. It was amazing to see markers as old as that date as well as plots individuals had purchased and had a marker laid for a future date when they would pass. In a span of 160 years since the first burial there, the basic ideas of honoring the deceased haven’t changed. Simply amazing how I guess some things just work for us.

Here a link to the Hollywood Cemetery website.

There are a number of pictures there that one can explore as well as burial records and even interment fees if one is interested!

Here is a picture of James Monroe’s grave (in the iron enclosement) and General J.E.B. Stuart’s grave with a temporary marker. Both photos were taken in 1865.

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