Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year Ending Realizations

This time of year brings up many emotions as time is spent with friends and family, which can be good or bad depending on your friends and family.  This time of the year is also a time of reflection about the previous year, the good the bad and the ugly.  2010 was a great year for me with the big highlights being: marriage, graduation, and a new job.  Those are very big events given the current economic and political situation.  Times-are-a-changin and who knows what that means.  Also with this reflection comes the things that motivate me such as problems that I didnt solve or struggles that werent overcome throughout the year.  For these reflections lead me to try harder and something different in the upcoming year.
One thing I struggled with this year with family and friends was feeling empathy for some of the complaints and problems that were expressed.  Sad truth is not all people are fortunate enough to have some of the problems that others have.  Meaning the government taxing me, or gays in the military for people who are not gay and are not in the military have absolutely nothing on the people that are out here with no place to stay, nothing to eat, no place to feel safe, and no one to love them.  This time of the year can be devestating for these people.  These are the people that I feel empathy for so much so that I want to do all I can do to help people overcome that, taxes? who really gives a shit...those are fortunate problems when you cannot get a job because of one or two mistakes in life.  People are still people, taxes are paper.  Now I am not saying tax me cause I don't care about money, but I am at a point that I don't feel any sympathy for your problem with the way things are handled in government or about the couple of pounds you are trying to lose or the grades you didnt get or the money mispent. Everybody has their hangups and what not, I complain when the Yanks don't sign Cliff Lee, but in the world I live in there are people starving, going homeless and being abused.   
What I realized is that I am very fortunate in many ways and probably more that I am unaware of.  To me, if I don't do something with that or give back to that, then I am a fucking idiot as I didnt do much but be born in one place versus another.  I don't take this for granted.  I was born American, white, and from a strong working class family, in this society I have many advantages that others do not.  I didnt choose this or do anything to earn it and yes I had my drug struggles and anger, stealing, cheating and lying stuff going on but it doesnt compare to growing up without parents or without food.  If that was me I would have made similar choices and be in similar situations that alot of people are in.  If I can even in the simplest of ways help the next person then I am not wasting space on this earth. 
Everybody needs to complain and everyone gets angry about stuff sometimes but if all was said and done and today you would be taken away from here, did you do all you wanted to do, did you live the way you would want to be remembered.  These are things I ask myself on the days when the clouds are very dark.  I have nothing to complain about in terms of the REAL world where people are dying and starving and we don't want to provide healthcare or tax money to help people in need.  I don't get that, I see someone in pain and I want to help them out, just part of being a human.  So help the next person, pay it foward, be kind to someone who has wronged you, take interest in someone that wanders alone, we have opportunities everyday to give back what has been given to us, the ability to live and breath and if you are reading this be freaking wealthy enough to have a computer and smart enough to operate the internet and read.  There are people who have none of this.  Make 2011 a better year....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fake Pot Gets A Ban


I am sure many people are aware of the "legal weed" substance that was popping up everywhere around the country and leading to many hospital visits by people that had used it, but in cased you missed it, here is a little info because thankfully the DEA used its emergency powers to shut it down.  The DEA has banned K2 and Other “Fake Pot” Products.  The reasons for this becomming an issue was that it was a legal substance that mimics the effects of marijuana.  Although I don't know much about the addictive properities of this chemical, I do know that many people were getting sick and there were even some reported deaths like 19-year-old Dominique Darrell Tate who died due to use of K2. 
K2 is a mixture of herbs and spices which is then sprayed with a chemical agent similar to marijuana that makes people high. People who smoke the synthetic herbal concoction claim it has 10 times the potency of pot.  K2 is linked to hallucinations, higher heart rate, loss of consciousness, paranoia, hallucinations, and psychotic episodes.  The agency and the Department of Health and Human Services are still trying to determine whether the chemicals should be permanently added to the federal list of controlled substances, considered unsafe, highly abused and without medical use.

Most of the hospital visits include effects such as a psychotic state of mind that can get you involuntarily placed in a psychiatric hospital where you are either drugged or electroshocked into submission.  Pharmacudical companies have been looking for ways to produce similar feelings that THC would give you but without the illegal aspect of the cannabis plant and its lovely THC chemical which is actually what gets you high.  "Even the modern father of synthetic grass, drug researcher, John Huffman, warns of the dangers of fake weed. Dr. Huffman has made it very clear that the research papers he published contain absolutely no evidence or information to show fake weed is safe to use. He compares using fake weed as deadly as playing Russian roulette and not to mess with it."  This is also the first time the DEA has used its emergency powers to stop the use of something since MDMA or ecstasy leaked out of the psychiatry field for recreational use.  As of today the "fake pot" has been placed in the same category as heroin.
This K2 compound was first created in the mid-1990s in the lab of organic chemist John W. Huffman of Clemson University, who studies cannabinoid receptors. He's not sure how the recipe for what is named JWH-018 (his initials) got picked up, but he did publish details on a series of compounds including JWH-018 in a book chapter. Even before that book came out, he recalls learning that in China and Korea people were selling the compound as a plant growth stimulant.  As for where it was first smoked or used as a recreational drug, Huffman thinks perhaps somewhere in Europe. "Apparently somebody picked it up, I think in Europe, on the idea of doping this incense mixture with the compound and smoking it," Huffman told LiveScience. "You can get very high on it. It's about 10 times more active than THC," the active ingredient in marijuana.  From a chemist's perspective, that means K2 has an affinity for the cannabinoid brain receptor (CB1) that's about 10 times greater than THC. For the less chemically inclined, it means you can smoke a lot less K2 to get just as high. The compound works on the brain in the same way as marijuana's active ingredient THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Both compounds bind to the CB1 receptors, which primarily affect the central nervous system. JWH-018 also binds to the peripheral brain (CB2) receptors, which are involved in the immune system, Huffman said. Since JWH-018 or K2 acts like marijuana, you'd expect to see the same effects, including sleepiness, relaxation, reduced blood pressure, and at high doses, hallucinations and delusions. While some patients between the ages of 14 and 21 were showing up with hallucinations, other symptoms, such as increased agitation and elevated blood pressure and heart rates, didn't match up with marijuana. Further testing is needed, but the symptoms, such as fast heart beat, dangerously elevated blood pressure, pale skin and vomiting suggest that K2 is affecting the cardiovascular system of users. It also is believed to affect the central nervous system, causing severe, potentially life-threatening hallucinations and, in some cases, seizures.  In addition to the compound being made without strict quality control or any regulation, as far as anyone knows, the compound itself has never been tested on humans. And when it was tested on mice, Huffman said, the animals were euthanized at the end of the experiment, so scientists don't even know how it affects mice long-term. "And mice are not humans," Huffman said.

As long as people want to alter their consciousness, they will find a way to do it....

Monday, December 20, 2010

No Excuses

"The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse."

This quote has been floating around in my head for the past few weeks and it is something that I put up in my office so that I can see it everyday and be reminded because sometimes it seems that all there is are excuses to why something cannot be done, or why this can't happen right now and to me it can get very frustrating because I know there is a way to get things done and help people but not everybody thinks and acts like me.  There are alot of lazy and selfish people out there and for that reason it is very easy to make an excuse but I won't and don't make that excuse, a barrier, not an excuse.  The barrier can be taken down but excuses take you down.  The way the world treats some people leaves them feeling that these barriers are indeed excuses and facts of the matter but from what I see, if there is a will then there is most definitely a way to do things it might take more work and not everybody is willing to do that but for sure when people do not have food on the table or warmth in their homes they will do just about anything to survive, there are no excuses then.   

William Arthur Ward said that "It is wise to direct your anger towards problems - not people, to focus your energies on answers - not excuses."  I am a solution thinker and have been for as long as I have been sober, of course there are bad days where I see more problems than solutions, but more good than bad by far.  In my profession it seems that there are very few people who think in terms of solutions as it seems that people burn out very quickly and find it easy to be negative and think in terms of excuses to why this cannot happen.  Luckily I have a boss and people in my life that also think in terms of solutions to keep me motivated even when certain areas can seem so hopeless.  Hopelessness pisses me off because I have been there and today, I cannot believe that I felt that way at one time, it is amazing how much chemicals can change the way a person thinks, feels, and views the world.  I don't allow the word can't in my conversations as it is a major pet peeve and to me says alot about a person, how they feel, think, and ultimately how they will act.  A survivor finds a way...period. 

Benjamin Franklin said that "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else."  I agree with that statement through and through.  People that make excuses come across very ungrateful and sad.  There is a movie about the man that sawed his own arm off in order to survive...he could have used plenty of excuses but thought in terms of solutions in order to live on and I can't get up and go for a run this morning, or I can't work some overtime this week, or I cannot go the extra mile for someone who is struggling to do it themselves....yeah right.  I am capable of just about anything and if I am willing to work at it I will find a way.  I stopped several addictions to several powerful chemicals, I changed my whole entire lifestyle, I chased my dream even with the many odds against me and now I am living that dream with more letters next to my name than I can count and I say all this because I am not the brightest bulb or the most gifted but I didn't make any excuses for the way that my life goes because I have a certain amount of control over what I do, say, think, feel, and act and because I wanted me dream to happen- I found a way to make it happen and I am getting very good at it too.  Because I don't make excuses I can find a way to help not just myself but others.  Every vice has its excuse ready, whether that vice be laziness, chemical addictions, lust, greed, hate, anger, or envy.

Edward Murrow stated that "Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts."  I am damn sure not going to live in excuse or regret and I hope that you do not only live once....

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Fighter

Growing up in the Northeast in the late 80's early 90's it was almost impossible not to have heard of the great "Irish Micky Ward".  I remember watching the fights that he had with Arturo Gatti and how amazing the tenacity this fighter had.  When I got to Graduate school one of the first things that we did in class was watch an HBO documentary about Dicky Eklund and his crack addiction in Lowell, Massachusetts.  Add those two peices of information to the fact that I love boxing movies, as they have always been some of the best, and you get the picture of how much I was looking foward to seeing this movie.  After seeing it I have to say that it is my alltime favorite boxing movie.  I liked it more than the Raging Bull, Rocky movies, When we were Kings, Million Dollar Baby, and Somebody up There likes Me.  The fighter had it all for me as a uniquely inspiring drama that is based on real life events, which always add to the power of the punch.  Most people know the story and for those that don't it is just absolute madness and inspiration.  I know it just came out so I wont say to much other than Christian Bale acted one of the best parts I have ever seen in any movie period.  The Fighter had addiction, family dynamics, sybling rivalry, relationships, pride, and boxing thrown into a bucket and directed beautifully into an epic story that was truely gritty and moving.  By the time the fights happen people in the audience were clapping for all someone can take and overcome.  I think we all feel that or at least the people I run with.  We all deal with so much and keep fighting for ourselves and for our loved ones and sometimes there is pain and tragedy and other times there is happiness and joy, it is what you make it.  I related alot to Dicky and his struggle with addiction and Christian Bale was just dead on, I have not seen a more realistic depiction of all the ups and downs in one character...I could have kept watching more.  Marky Mark was ok, but as the main character he is not the focus of this movie which is due to the excellent direction of David Russell (3 kings, I heart Huckabees).  I didnt know Amy Adams could act like this as well and whoever was playing his mother I mean lights out.  If this wasnt a movie you were going to see, I suggest you do, downright amazing.  Not only is it my new favorite boxing movie of all time it is also, so far for 2010, my favorite with Inception and the Social Network way behind.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Love and Other Drugs

I am not one for chick flicks due to their unoriginal formula of boy meets girl, they fall in love, something bad happens that brings them apart and  then the inevitable bullshit speech or dramatic moment when they come together again.  That stuff isn't real unless you are completely attention starved or overly dramatic.  I did however enjoy this movie despite the predictable story line because there are several other things going on in this movie that actually are in fact real. 

One being that Anne Hathaway spends more than half the movie with her boobs out, any guy can enjoy that.  They didn't leave out views for the girls as the Bubble Boy spends the same amount of time with his ass and abs out....a little something extra for both parties involved.  Two, it deals with some real issues.  I went mainly for my wife but I was interested of course in the Drugs portion of the title.  The drugs portion gives a very accurate portrayal of how fucked up our medical system is in the United States.  There is great depth on insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, which as someone who has had a pain in the ass dealing with them for years now, enjoy seeing brought to a bigger more popular light...too bad for the Rated R or maybe more ignorant people would get to see this movie and the sad and scary fact that people in almost every other country have a better health care system then ours.  Our system is going to get somewhat better thanks to Mr. Obama, and I saw my first signs of this when the insurance company sent me a nice letter telling just what Barack did for me and a nice check due to his new health care legislation, so for only the second time in my life, both with this President, I have had a direct positive effect in my life from what they did, so thank you Mr. President. 

Many people will also debate whether or not love is an actually drug but in reality it is.  There is a chemical in the brain called Oxytocin (the love chemical) that stimulates these feelings of excitement and euphoria that romantic love brings.  As this is rewarding to the brain just like drugs, alcohol, or something pleasurable that you enjoy like a big payday or chocolate cake the brain then craves this rewarding feeling and people become addicted to love.  When people take MRI's and have images displayed of their lovers and sweethearts the part of the brain that lights up the strongest was that associated with rewards and pleasure, a finding not nearly as poetic as romantics would have thought. It turns out that, to the brain, love is just another reward, much like chocolate or money, or like a drug to an addict. This brain system gets used every time you want something.  I experienced romantic love many times but it wasn't real beyond the romantic part and because the romantic part was then gone, the fighting began like an addict without their fix.  People start cheating looking for this feeling, for the Oxytocin to get released again in their brain's reward center.  Today thankfully I don't depend on outside things for my own happiness as it comes from something inside me instead.  Yes that chemical gets released in my brain when I am passionate with my wife, but realistically, I treat her the same whether that chemical is present or not, there are not the extreme highs or lows that come with love addiction.  As there is much of this in the news with people like Tiger Woods going to Love Rehab that part can be tricky.  I think someone can have deep emotional wounds where they seek the love and attention of people that are horrible for them, yes, but someone that is having sex out of entitlement then saying love or sex addiction when they get caught is a little different.  If Tiger, was to say relapse and start shagging all types of women again, then I would buy his particular case but having met nymphomaniacs in real life, these are people that cannot function without sex and will put themselves in very unsafe situations just for that feeling.  Love can be addiction and most certainly it is a drug.  In my opinion it is the best drug and can be the safest and most enduring of all if used properly--cannot abuse love. 

The movie portrays the other sad fact of while as Robin Williams says "There is a pill that will make you harder than Chinese algebra" they still don't have cures from horrible illnesses such as cancer or as depicted in this movie, Parkinson's disease.  As these two actor's have excellent chemistry onscreen, which is again rare for chick flicks, you can feel the struggle when dealing with these REAL life complications.  For me this leads back to what is important in life and for me it's happiness in moments that I have with my wife, friends and family it is not money or things.  I am not happy all of the time because I don't believe a person can be, but when those moments are there I truly enjoy them, embrace them, and now that I don't use chemicals I can remember them.  When you are dealing with any long term illness and just as in life, it is the moments that make it all worth it.  That is alot to come out of a chick flick and if none of that interests you, see it for the boobage.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dave Matthews Band Charlottesville, VA 11/19 and 11/20 2010

The Last Stop after twenty years on the road for the Dave Matthews Band was in their hometown of Charlottesville, VA on the University of Virginia campus.  After these two shows, my wife and I have seen a total of 10 shows this year, her 30 and me 27 overall.  What was sad about these shows was the fact that this part of our lives is ending for at least a year.  I first kissed my wife and became serious with her after my first DMB show and in the years to come we went to 2 DMB shows the day after we got engaged, we got engaged up at SPAC park, we also saw DMB on our honeymoon, we were also first introduced at our wedding to "Two Step" a Dave Matthews Band song.  This band has been a part of our relationship in so many ways as you can see from reading this blog we have gone to a show every week for the past few weeks traveling some distances to be a part of those events.  We rarely do much else as we save our money for these kinds of things as this band is important to both of us, not only for fun, but as a release of energy.  These are moments with each other that cannot be taken away and they mean so much because they are filled with excitement, love, and energy without the distractions of everyday life.  For 3 hours we can sing, dance, make out and have a good time loving each other in a way that we don't do as much anymore do to work, school, stresses, and the little every day things that go into all of that process.  Live music has a way of hitting all of my senses that nothing else in a long time has been able to do.  What will we do now?

The shows were easily the two best I ever saw.  Night one featured alot of favorites and guests which is always exciting to see the improvisation.  This night also was the tightest I ever heard this band play.  Not alot of time between songs, no mistakes at all, and solos that just killed it--like they were playing these songs for the last time.  Highlights for me was definitely Tim and Joe trading guitar licks on "#41" and "Spoon" was out of this world so good.  The jams that they added to everyone of these songs we all knew and fresh.  Trombone Shorty is also the mofuckin man!  I would easily say this is the best show I had ever been to as far as music, set list, people around us, energy and surprises.  When they killed "Watchtower" and went right into "Halloween" that was it for me.  People leaving that night kept saying "how can you make night 2 better".  Night 1 let out at 11:45pm making it by at least a half hour the longest DMB show I had ever seen.
Night 2 could be better and would be.  We had seats right on the side of the stage so we could see all the behind the scenes stuff that we had never seen, like what Dave says to Carter and what the sound guys do and of course what guests are on their way out.  This show again was musically the best I have ever seen, they really stepped it up.  The show really took off after "Rhyme and Reason" with Joe on guitar.  After that it was the best versions of songs I have ever heard with a ton of energy that just kept going and going and going.  Trombone Shorty killed "Cornbread" and by the time he played "Long Black Veil" I was in need of a break and in complete shock as he hadn't played that in years.  There were many speeched throughout the night that have my wife emotional that we weren't going to be able to enjoy this experience for a time.  These concerts have been so intimate with the fans from the Gorge where he didn't repeat one song for the first time ever to Philly were he said goodbye's and NYC were he said goodbye to being in C-Ville dedicating songs to his wife and mother who were both in attendance for these shows.  There was a real connection between the fans and the band that was evident when we sang for him in NYC and when they came out for a double encore on this last night to the singing of "three little birds" at the end of "Last Stop".  The show just kept going with tributes to Leroi Moore and amazing solos by every member and by far the craziest Carter has ever played the drums, breaking stick after stick and never missing a lick.  The band left the stage at 12:15am that night and the fans left satisfied and gassed as they played almost 3.5 hours which is the longest they ever have.  This was the most unbelievable two nights of music I have ever been a part of, I have never heard them better on any recording or on any album.  The new jams they were busting out including new "What You Are" intros let me know that this band will play together again and hopefully someday soon as this is what we do.  Some people fight, some people eat, some people drink, my wife and I go to DMB shows, its what we do and will do as long as we can.  We are already saving and will be at the first concert they have in 2012 no matter where it is!

Friday Nov 19 2010

John Paul Jones Arena

Squirm *
Big Eyed Fish *
Still Water
Don’t Drink the Water *
Seven *
Grey Street *
Spaceman *
Everyday *
#41 *+
Shake Me Like a Monkey *
Spoon *
Warehouse *~
Jimi Thing *~Ä
Black Jack *
Christmas Song 5
Lie In Our Graves *
Time Bomb *
You and Me *
Stay (Wasting Time) *
Sister 6
All Along The Watchtower *
Halloween *

Show Notes:
* Jeff Coffin
+ Joe Lawlor
~ John D Earth
Ä Trombone Shorty
5Dave, Carter and Tim
6Dave, Carter, Rashawn and Tim

Saturday Nov 20 2010

John Paul Jones Arena

You Might Die Trying *
Proudest Monkey *
Satellite *
Say Goodbye *
Funny The Way It Is *
Rhyme And Reason *+
Eh Hee *
Crush *
Cant Stop *
Corn Bread *~
Digging a Ditch *
Lying In the Hands of God *
The Song That Jane Likes *
Write A Song *
Why I Am *
Dancing Nancies *
Long Black Veil
New Intro *
What You Are *
Two Step *
Some Devil Ä
Last Stop *
Anyone Seen The Bridge *
Ants Marching *

Show Notes:
* Jeff Coffin
+ Joe Lawlor
~ Trombone Shorty
Ä Dave Solo

Monday, November 15, 2010

Dave Matthews Band New York City 11/13/2010

Usually every year we go up to NYC for our winter Christmas trip and as this year we actually both have jobs our schedules were a little different.  We decided that this weekend in November would be a good time to go as we were off for Veteran's day and could make it a long weekend, it also just so happened that the Dave Matthews Band was in town and that my wife had never been to Madison Square Garden....I got her tickets for her B-day.  Our first day in our favorite city was spent in the park walking around enjoying the foliage as most of the trees down here are just starting to change but in NYC they were a little past peak season, the park was beautiful.  That evening keeping with the new and winter christmas trip, we went to see the Rockette's at Radio City as my wife had never been there either and it had to do with Christmas.  What can you say about the Rockette's...the history, precision, dedication and amazement of the whole production a true NYC favorite.  The next day we met with my wife's family and spent the day at Battery Park, the WTC site, and had lunch at the South Street Seaport on a beautiful 65 degree day in NYC in November.  This was all building up to the big evening at MSG. 
The opener was the John Butler Trio and if you dont know them, they are well worth checking out, some of the most amazing acoustic guitar you can hear.  Before DMB ever came out the crowd was rocking, NYC was loud and rauchous unlike any concert I have ever been too including SPAC in 2009.  For the first few songs it was apparent that Dave's voice was suffering and he asked the crowd to sing for him.  Unbelievable energy and sound ripped through the crowd as fans sang and shouted all the words to "Funny the Way it Is", "Pig", "Dancing Nancies", and "Don't Drink the Water" with the band mixing up the solos and riffs in between and Carter leading some vocals...true improvistation and just great to be a part and so freaking loud.  Somewhere at the end of "Don't Drink the Water" Dave got real hyper and animated and all of a sudden his voice was back.  He did a histerical improv on "Christmas Song" as he started and said "this just got too religious" and went into a full freestyle over gays and straights and seriousness and judegement and then right back into "Christmas Song", crazy and again improvisational.  The energy was through the roof for the next few and then Vusi came out.  I had seen Vusi in 2006 at SPAC and was immediately thrilled that he was coming out again.  He freaking rocked MSG, they danced and had fun, there is a video below of the great performance.  Keeping the energy through the roof with the next few it felt that this concert just kept going.  They played both my wife and ours songs back to back in "Crush" and "Best of What's Around" which was just the cherry on the top.  Best "Two Step" I have ever heard which led to the encore at 11:40pm.  Then "Sister" for his sister who was there and a killer "Last Stop" to close the night a little after 12pm.  Amazing night of music and easily one of my favorite shows I have seen or heard of all time, in the greatest city in the whole wide world.  After two great shows on this tour, I cannot imagine what waits for us next weekend in Charlottesville for the last two shows until 2012 but it cannot be more amazing than this.

Saturday  Nov 13 2010
Madison Square Garden

#41 *
Say Goodbye *
Funny The Way It Is *
Pig *
Write A Song *
Dancing Nancies *
Still Water 
Don’t Drink the Water *
(Christmas Song) +
Improv +
Christmas Song +
The Song That Jane Likes *
Crush *
Best of Whats Around *
Rhyme And Reason *
Black Jack *
Everyday *~
Time Bomb *
You and Me *
Two Step *


Sister Ä
Last Stop *

Show Notes:
* Jeff Coffin
+ Dave, Carter and Tim
~ Vusi Mahlasela
Ä Dave, Carter, Rashawn and Tim

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veterans Day

 Thursday is Veterans Day which to me is a very important and well deserved day of recognition for our soldiers that allow us to live the lives that we do and worry about the stupid things that we all do when they are out there risking their lives.  In my lifetime there have been several wars most of which have been in the middle east and have been brutally nasty in the way that they are fought.  Having never served I will never know the depth of what it takes to be a soldier.  To go into someplace knowing that this could be it for you.  What I do see alot of is the way that our Veterans are treated after they come home.  Many seem to be forgotten and not treated with the respect that they deserve.  VA hospitals are few and far between and the services that are offered and covered seem to be on that same level.  In North Carolina there are 3 VA hospitals in a state with 8 military bases.  Too often in my travels I have seen homeless veterans who cannot find work or cannot function in society with their current disabilities.  Most people look the other way with that sort of stuff on a daily basis.  I believe that this country should help our troops and soldiers more than any other population in our country but this is not the way that it is.  Most often these are poor kids from poor neighborhoods who then come home and get lost in the cracks because these VA centers and hospitals are so far that they are unable to travel just to get the services that they need.  Post traumatic stress disorder is not a new and rising occurance it is just that people are talking about it now.  Think of what it would be like to be in those situations and seeing the things that they have seen and your response is that I cannot imagine that and thats their reality.  Veterans are in my family just as they are probably in yours and I am thankful for them serving as well as the millions of others who humbly serve their country so that I can write a blog and go to concerts.  There is something much deeper there and this shouldnt be a one day a year occurance, thank a Vet whenever you can.  Don't take freedom for granted...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dave Matthews Band Philadelphia, PA 11/6/10

Kicking off our own fall tour for 2010, the first show we were able to catch was last night in the lovely city of brotherly love, Flip, Flip, Flipadelphia!  Having never seen DMB in Philly or at an arena this size we were excited by what the energy would be and have to say that this is a great venue.  Have seen some 76ers games and other concerts there (Billy Joel) we knew that Philly fans have an energy that isn't duplicated in many places.  As dirty jersey is right across the river, we were able to see our first snooki poof impersonators which has to be one of the funniest things I have seen in awhile. 
The opening band the "Punch Brothers" were a very musically talented bluegrass band from Brooklyn, NY.  They played a solid opening set that was strong on mandolin riffs and banjo jams.  Dave called them "the most proficient musicians they have ever played with".  Crowd was ready to go and when DMB busted out the "Stone" opener the place went crazy with loud echoes throughout the building.  The crowd stayed loud and energetic but when the band kicked out "Best of What's Around" the roof was about to come off the building.  As that was one of our songs when we first started dating with the line "its not where but who you are with that really matters", and we hadn't heard it since 2006, we had kool aid smiles and then every song after that, the place got louder and louder and the band flew off that energy playing one of the crispest sounding shows I have heard in awhile.  Band members were stepping out for solos and extending jams that only seemed to improvise and grow deeper.  A mid set "Last Stop" that was absolutely epic as Dave's voice was on fire after their month off culminated in one of the best versions of the song I have ever heard, which was the same for the version of "Rapunzel" and "Billies".  Having the hometown Roots horn section come out only seemed to drive Coffin and Rashawn to greater heights as the horns on the final three songs, especially "Jimi Thing" were absolutely insane.  We weren't expecting too much from this show given that our last three were at The Gorge, but man, this band can deliver anywhere and only seems to get better each time we see them.  Can't wait for next weekend at Madison Square were hopefully we can levitate the stage for Dave!!!!

Dave Matthews Band
Wells Fargo Center
Philadelphia, PA

The Stone *
Big Eyed Fish *
Bartender *
Funny The Way It Is *
Why I Am *
Gravedigger *
Best of Whats Around *
Digging a Ditch *
Cant Stop *
Tripping Billies *
Last Stop *
Spaceman *
Seven *
Pantala Naga Pampa *
Rapunzel *
You and Me *
Corn Bread *+
Jimi Thing *+
Shake Me Like a Monkey *+

Christmas Song ~
Time Bomb *
Two Step *

Special Guests:
* Jeff Coffin
+ Matt Cappy and Lamont Caldwell. The Roots Horns
~ Dave, Carter and Tim

Friday, November 5, 2010

Eastbound and Down

Eastbound and Down has fast become one of the few tv shows that I watch on TV and absolutely love and look foward to.  When I had first heard about the show I figured it would be funny as it is created by Will Ferrel, but unfortunately at the time we did not have HBO or the ability to watch it.  Thanks to a sweet deal on HBO that they were running down here we have been able to enjoy some of our favorite TV shows not only of all time but currently with Curb Your Enthusiasm, True Blood, Bored to Death, Boardwalk Empire, and In Treatment.  Eastbound and Down by far is the craziest and funniest to me of them all.  It takes a few of my favorite topics like baseball, drugs, and women and Danny McBride kicks some major ass in this role.  He is so good in this that there are reports that the office is pretty much begging him to come when Steve Carell leaves.  I hope he doesnt.  The things he gets to say and how he says them are the perfect pair in the show.  Kenny Powers in a lightening rod of anger and machoism.  As a washed up ball player he struggles with what everyday people struggle with but with a much more egocentric view as he has tasted the major leagues and feels that he is better than others.  The show would make certain people uncomfortable with the amount of profanity and downright distrubing behavior but to, just as with Always Sunny in Philly, that is why I love it.  I love people that dont hold back, that go all out and leave it on the line, they walk the line and say screw that line and step out of order completely.  Kenny Powers is one of my all time favorite characters on TV because of these reasons.  As with all other HBO shows there are many big stars that make cameo's as the way Danny McBride can run with his dialogue is unbelievable.  No role has done him justice compared to what he can do here.  Baseball, Drugs, and Women.....that is a great combination...

Monday, November 1, 2010


I was thinking about Halloween and all the dark stuff that comes with it and why some people get scared and others have fun while others feel the need to dress up, especially the girls, like something that they are not.  It got me thinking about the Day of the Dead celebrations and how one thing can mean so many different things to so many people.  We can all be at an event, a concert, a sporting event, or a movie and see the same thing and experience it in a billion different ways.  I could leave the event with many different thoughts, feelings, and impressions of what I just saw.  When the Yanks lost this year I was crushed while other fans go about like whatever.  All of these things are outside events that effect my inside feelings.  They have an impact but they are not overall states of being.  They pass very quickly.  I was upset and down for a day or so but life is too much fun to sit with those feelings for too long.  Happiness or unhappiness are not contained in the event alone.  To people in New England that harassed me when the Yankees finally lost they were happy about the same event that I was sad about it.  Same event, two different outcomes.  People get very lost in the idea that there are no differences in this.  In the media it is all black or white, this way or that way, us or them.  I think what is important is the happiness that is within you that cannot be changed by external events.  Sure they can impact them for awhile but what lasts more days than not is how you actually may feel.  Some people are afraid to feel as I was for such a long time.  Alot of people I am in contact with take substances on a daily basis in some form or another as in America we are all junkies for something, especially caffeine and alcohol.  When you ask people why it is this way it is a response of I cannot function without it or I have to have it to wake me up which are not even close to true statements.  I don't know anybody that would die without any substance other than alcohol, cause that one can kill you from withdrawal, but this is the typical response.  But those statements are beliefs not facts.  Those beliefs prevent people from being healthier, or finding happiness, or changing their own lives for the better.  Many people hide behind the impossible or the can't statement.  Those are inside issues.  I am a believer that anybody can do anything.  That has been my experience and I am privileged enough to witness people overcoming odds everyday.  For every action there is a reaction that is in accord with the action.  If you think you cannot do something you wont even try.  If you change the thinking you would be surprised what you can do.  These are inside things.  Feelings that you cant find or wont find happiness because of how life "treats" you.  Action.  Words mean nothing without the action behind them. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fall in North Carolina

Well as we are getting ready for Halloween and the Fall season is already a month old I am again, year after year surprised by the beautiful weather down here. Some trees are starting to change on the eastern side of the state but not many as today the temp is 85 and yesterday we reached a high of 89 degrees on October 27th. I forget that it is October sometimes as I am used to gray and rain with the leaves being mostly gone by this time in NY. I havent had to wear a jacket yet as the lowest low in the middle of the night is just starting to dip below 50. Every year I forget how beautiful this season is down here. Of all of them it is my favorite. Hot days with low humidity and cool summer like nights with clear moonlight almost every night. Next week is November and the weather typically stays like this through December. I have been at the beach, gotten sunburned and watched football in late November. The eastern side of the state stays warmer while the western part of the state through the blue ridge mountains and the appalachian trail start changing leaves around this week as it is cooler in the higher elevation and next to New England this time of year there is not any better foliage anywhere. I like the fall because I like the change that it symbolizes. I like the family gatherings around the holidays, football, and fun holidays like Halloween. This morning I got up at 6:30 and it was already 72 degrees out and I forget that this is Fall. Enjoy the colors, they are absolutely beautiful and another reason why I think LSD was supposed to be discovered.....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Universally Speaking

The universe is a strange and magical place that exists everywhere all around us in every way. I am a believer in universal connections between people and especially energy. I think that people share energy by the movement that they put out into the universe. Have you ever been around someone that was completely negative? That energy has an effect on you. This is the same when a person has an abundance of positive energy, you can feel that energy as if it is something in the room. There visibly isn't much to see but yet you can feel it. I work with many people with many different forms of energy all day. I can feel the energy that they put out. I believe that many people can actually move this energy and that can be an effective tool to use. I was talking with a friend and they pointed out how priests and pastors and preachers do alot of movement with their hands, from lifting to opening, to praying, to holding a hand in the air. These are all transferred movements that move the energy around the room. It is actually pretty powerful stuff, kinda like reiki but not as direct with the focus and movement but just more open as a whole. I try to work at sending positive energy into the universe on a daily basis. Sometimes this is easy and sometimes this is difficult. The saying "things will work out""things just happen" well these are true-to some extent. The universe is huge and ever changing and things don't just happen that will change my life because in many aspects the universe is just how I see it and how I experience it. I am alive, conscious and fully aware of my universe. The universe doesn't make mistakes and people have to find their way within the universe. Some people delay events or procrastinate, some people don't do anything but blur their existence while others take things for granted. We have all met people that life flows through them in the most extreme levels and pours energy out unto others around them and we have been around others that are a miserable negative energy that sucks positive energy away. At this time I choose to live with every ounce of my body and being. I choose to have intention with everything that I do and doing that I am fully aware and mindful of what I am doing. I choose to put a positive energy into my universe and so far life and the experiences keep getting more meaningful and deeper. What I used to need chemicals to achieve I can achieve on my own. I am constantly reminded how fragile life is and am amazed at how much of mine I spent unconscious and under the influence. Today I cannot grasp doing that again as I enjoy living and being fully present too much. Good things can happen but even in the simplest of things, it requires work. You are the universe, you are a part of it and with that comes a responsibility to others and creating healthier environments to grow in. It is a daily struggle but it is possible. Be mindful of the differences there is a noticeable difference. "If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?"--Dogen

Sunday, October 24, 2010

New York Yankess Offseason Issues 2010

As the offseason begins, typically, the Yankees get ready to reload and as they were beaten pretty badly this year I look for a big offseason ahead. First of all in my opinion thier leader Joe Girardi is a little weak in the knees when it comes to being a consistent leader. He tips his hand when he is down and it was evident that his players fed off that during their pathetic performance in the playoffs. To continue with the coaching staff--they have got to go. Everybody raves about this Kevin Long and what a great hitting coach he is but the Yanks hit a horrible .201 with 6 HR's in the LCS while Texas batted .304 with 9 HR's this applies to my next reasoning for getting rid of the pitching coach as well. The fact is the Yanks have an all-star team. These guys batted 300 with 30 HR's every year before they get to the Yankees and they struggle. Players play the game but these coaches did so much tinkering that the players were 2nd guessing themselves too much in the postseason. My solution, David Cone as pitching coach--a proven pitcher and winner and Tony Pena as the manager. Girardi doesnt have the confidence to do what is needed to be done.
Top priority in the offseason of course is going to be pitching. Jeter needs to be resigned and will be and so will Mariano Rivera. I think the Yankees will be aggressive in trading for Nick Swisher while his stock is high. In the last two postseasons Swisher has batted .128 in 2009 with 1 HR and .176 this year with 2 HR's but his regular season stats are solid so trade him now and get max value such as some pitching, maybe somebody like a Derek Lowe from the Braves who eats innings and keeps his team in the game and also having pitched for the Red Sox is familiar with a brutal AL East schedule. Next move is then to sign Carl Crawford of the Rays. This is like a Brett Gardner upgrade and at this point your outfield then becomes the fastest in baseball with Gardner, Granderson, and Crawford. Unfortunatley this may also be the time to deal Jorge Posada. Jorge has 1 year left on his contract and will be 40. Jorge didnt hit very well this year and the Yankees were the worst in baseball at holding runners. In the playoffs Jorge was embarrased and Cervelli and Montero have hige upside and again some team will overpay for Jorge Posada. This brings us to pitching. The biggest thing at this point would be signing Cliff Lee. The Yanks will overpay but you gotta have it. Pettitte will contemplate his retirement again but will be back he is a true competitor and the best postseason pitcher in history. Hughes will be better and AJ has got to be better especially if you had a pitching coach like Cone who also threw hard and made adjustments. The Yankees always do something surprising and this year will be no different. I didnt see the Granderson move last year but that was one of the best moves they have made. The offseason is almost as interesting as the season itself. This year the American League was won in July by the Seattle Mariners....Cliff Lee was a Yankee and they took it back and gave it to Texas....the difference in the American League...screw the Mariners..

2011 Rotation

SS Jeter
LF Crawford
1B Texiera
3B Rodriguez
2b Cano
DH Thames
CF Granderson
C Cervelli
RF Gardner

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dark Side of Oz

LSD was always my favorite chemical mixture as it could blend so many things to me and really open my thoughts even wider then they were already open. Abusing this drug for years lead to quite a few experiences and one of them was the experience of combining one of the most classic movies of all time with one of the most classic albums of all time, Pink Floyd is pretty nasty sober and so you can imagine how LSD can mess around with it. Years ago we put the CD in on repeat and pressed play after the third lions roar. The coincidences and hilarity of it all was very enjoyable and I even enjoy it now, sober, but I don't see the connection as much. Pink Floyd has denied any connection for years but later on down the road some of their album covers actually included a pair of red ruby shoes...coincidence, maybe, maybe not. Anyway on LSD or sober here is a clip of one of the great pairings of all time. To me both the movie and the album are two breakthrough inspirational pieces of art and I enjoy the Darkside of Oz whenever I can. Enjoy....

Dark side of Oz

Dorothy | Myspace Video

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Social Network

Just the title alone and then seeing the previews for this movie with its perfect music in the background of Radiohead's "Creep" was enough to leave me with a growing distaste for Facebook and the generation of tech savvy isolation that distracts and leads ultimately to laziness, self-centerdness and depression. It took me awhile to get on the Facebook and currently my wife keeps me up to date with pictures and what is going on, I try to check it but just the whole idea of it is genius but not for me. Plus the movie had Justin Timberlake in it which is another reason not to waste your time. Then what happened was that I read numerous rave reviews in magazines and newspapers that I respect enough to take their opinion with sincerity. One review said that Justin Timberlake will be nominated for an Oscar. So I did my own research and based on a couple of positive findings such as David Fincher as Director who did 2 of my favorite films in Se7en and Fight Club, Trent Reznor from NIN doing the music and of course the one and only Jesse Eisenberg from classics like Adventureland and Zombieland we decided to go and check it out.

Being surprised is always fun being pleasantly surprised is awesome and this movie delivers as a movie on many levels. It had that hard dark scale washed shooting that sets a tone of inevitable doom as the movie progresses. The dialogue is fast and smart just the way I think so just the way I like it. The main character is a complete assholes but leaves enough so that you as the viewer doesn't hate it and ultimately are concerned with what is happening to him. Everyone knows the story of Facebook and the nerd corruption behind it by now so this movie does not leave any surprises in that sense, but the delivery and direction is gripping in that there is a ton going on but you don't get confused. I am going to say it because I have to...Justin Timberlake can act like a mofo! His portrayal of Sean Parker the creator of Napster was perfect. Every time he came on screen there was a certain creepiness but yet genius to his performance and you forget that you are watching Justin Timberlake and feel that you are watching Sean Parker. For me that moment rarely occurs in the movies, there are only a handful of actors and movies were I believe what they are selling me and he did it so I can give the whiteboy from Philly some respect on that. I was impressed by this movie and would see it again and that is after knowing the story as well.

Overall the movie is excellent and I like it alot because it expresses the way that I feel about it in that it is just a form of social isolation in itself. On my Facebook page there are probably 400 friends and I maybe talk with twenty of them on a regular basis. The rest are people who I maybe knew at one time who want to see what I am doing or want me to see what they are doing and if I really wanted that I would know you and talk to you on a regular basis. It is also just a way for me not to talk to people or make an effort to see them because I can just type something online and keep that relationship going. Kind of like if you text somebody and then they call know you have had this moment and in that moment you are trying to think of some good reason not to talk to them because you figured a text would suffice for the didn't really want to talk to that person. That is what facebook is and has become. Also, the world is falling to shit in a thousand directions and as long as you are on facebook, playing games and looking at pictures what do you care. I do care and that is why I hate the lazy technology that America has become it hasn't done us much good, there are no new inventions hence no new jobs. I don't want to be part of the generation that leaves the world worse for the next generation and that is where we are heading. People used to event cars, electricity, radio and TV now we just find cooler ways to put all of that capability into the palm of your hand or your pocket. Create something new, be original, grow some balls and do something with your lives, kind of like the Facebook guy-social networking is done so screw twitter and chat-roulette and all that stuff that is more of the same be ORIGINAL!!!! It was a good movie what can I say...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Happiness is the key to my life at this point. Growing up I was a miserable person that masked most of those awful feelings with drugs of all types to help me from feeling that numb, dumb, painful misery. Take depression, add chemicals like a lot of alcohol and you get a harder depression which equals half of my life. I didn't plan to be here long, and people around me didn't expect me to either. When I got clean, I had moments of happiness but it was short lived and easily taken away. Eventually I was miserable because I acted like the same person but just didn't use the drugs to ease that pain. I was looking for happiness in every single outlet besides myself, drugs, money, girls, sex, stealing, fighting, lying, cheating, things that aren't real because they dont come from me. Happiness is an inside job. Eventually I ended up right back where I started and I did this 7 or 8 times until I finally decided that I didn't want to get clean and sober to be miserable as ever. Drugs were at least fun while you were on them. This was extremely painful but I stopped looking for happiness at the bottom of a bottle or inside someones arms. I was miserable. I had to change not the person, place or things, but me. This took a long time but after awhile I could feel things again, I could find enjoyment that was real and not artificially created, pleasure that was genuine and didn't go away. My favorite new DMB song has lyrics that represent this feeling "I am in love with nothing less, teardrops of joy runs off my face, I will rise for someone that's afraid to love, if you knew what I feel then you couldn't be so sure" "if you never flew why would you". I get that now as for a long time I was afraid to face facts. Now that I have I know that if people knew what I feel on the inside then they couldn't be so sure because if you haven't found that happiness in you why would you, you would have no idea how great the other end is.
Once I got there perspectives had to change and recently I have been thinking of a certain saying especially when you deal with other people's tragedy on an everyday basis, people are right where they are supposed to be and what they take from that is ultimately up to them. I myself choose to believe that "every event that befalls me is absolutely the best possible event that could occur--there is no other event imaginable that could benefit me to any greater degree". I like that thought because one it helps with acceptance and reality, two I stay in the present moment, and three it's helps make bad situations seem like good ones. If I can approach a terrible situation the same way that I approach a great one than I am happy either way, clear headed, and stress free. This for me is the key to longevity as if I am not happy, chemicals can enter the equation rather quickly and stress will kill you. Not using drugs is the biggest part of me still being here. I stay happy this way and it has worked for me for quite a long time now. I don't have as many down moments, or worry filled moments like I used to, my life is not as dark as it once was, and for that I am thankful. I want to stick around for what may come next because good or bad, it is for my maximum benefit. Look at the world that way and see what happens.....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Avett Brothers 10/8/10 Raleigh, NC

In Spring of 2009 and my wife and I do we attended 2 Dave Matthews shows, one in Charlotte and one in Raleigh North Carolina. We typically try to get there with enough time to see the opening act as sometimes they are very very good. After talking to people who are into bluegrass about how excited we were to finally see the Old Crow Medicine Show as the opener for DMB in Charlottesville they asked who was opening for DMB in Raleigh and Charlotte. When we said the Avett Brothers they melted with joy and talked about how awesome they are and that we would love them. Upon arriving to the show, it is still the most people I have ever seen for an opening band, we were even more captured when Dave Matthews himself stated that this was a band he had been dying to see and all his friends kept saying "Avett Brothers, Avett Brothers". Dave watched the entire sets both nights from the side of the stage with his band and sure enough this band delivered more than what I was hoping for. They played with such energy and emotion in their songs and lyrics. They were also talented enough to switch intruments and harmonize like no other. After two shows we were sold and rushed to get all of their albums. They soon became our favorite next to DMB. Their latest album "I and Love and You" was produced by the one and only Rick Rubin and really put them on the map. At this point today they have 4 albums on the billboard top 200. The fact that they are from NC and we listen to them almost everyday led us to choose one of their songs as our first dance for our wedding. It wasnt until this past Friday night however that I learned just how good they are when they had the ampitheater to themselves with someone opening for them.

The show was solid from the moment they came out as there was pure energy from the hometown crowd. They played old, new, rare, and personalized much of their music for the Raleigh crowd. This show had so many ups and downs and if you know anything about them you know that this is bluegrass but bluegrass on crack or speed, mixed with punk, or grungegrass. Lyrically they are awesome and musically they are gifted. I havent been to many shows where I felt happy, joy, grateful, enthusiastic, head banging, and loving. They touch many emotions at their shows and can manipulate their music the way that Bob Dylan does at his live shows. Energy was amazing which led to the double encore. Can't wait to see more shows as they keep growing as a band. Here are just a few videos from a great performance by one of the hottest bands out there.

10.8.10- Raleigh, NC @ Walnut Creek

The Fall
Tin Man
Nov Blue
Die, die, die
Dist #74
Jan Wedding
Head full of doubt
Slight Figure of Speech
Tear Down the House
Jenny on a summer day
PG From Cedar Lane
Telling Time
I and love and you
Kickdrum heart
And it Spread
Talk on Indolence
Killed Sallys lover
Perfect Space
Goto Sleep
PG from Raleigh
Laundry Room
Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
Will you Return

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Seeing things Through

In my years I have done many things and not done many things. I grew up knowing what hard work was from seeing my parents work very hard and sacrafice alot to get what they needed and wanted for my sister and I but when I was a kid it was much easier for me to take what I wanted and worry bout the rest later. I knew how to work hard but I never knew what it was to follow that through. Meaning I could always do the work but would give up, procrastinate, or set myself up for a failure somewhere down the line because it was just easier to do, more fun and wasn't as difficult. For a long time when something sucked for me I could just say fuck it, get fucked up and not care on any level what that meant. If I slacked in school or at work, fuck it I could always get high. When I got sober it also took a long time. I could do the work, get the days clean but would once again give up and not see things all the way through. It took some time and pain before I could simplify it to do one thing at a time until I reached a specific goal. Becoming like a postage stamp that only has one thing to do until it gets to where it is going. My goals started small, get a GED, get back to school and ended big with Marriage and 2 Master's degrees. Every step of the way I had to break it down to one simple task. Go to this class, study for this test, write this paper, go to this interview, go the extra mile. Finishing things that I start now is one of my favorite things to do because it feels so damn good on the other end. One step at a time, one day at a time, one moment at a time.
This next step has been the most rewarding as I have a wife I love, a job I love, things that I enjoy doing, feeling very healthy, some money in my pocket, things that I have never had or felt. My life is not a struggle like it used to be....for the first time it is completely enjoyable and I have no idea what comes next but I am ready for it the same way I got here one step at a time, one moment at a time and I have had some damn good moments and some very bad moments that got me right here exactly where I am supposed to be. Finish things that you start, break them down to where they don't seem as daunting and take some control of your life. Word

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another October

The Yanks are back in the playoffs with the ever daunting task of a repeat. As I am truely excited that my team again has a chance and I will be rooting for them very passionately, I don't see this as the year, hope I am wrong but they seem to be experiencing the one thing that I knew would eventually come. At some point these guys are going to get old. Mariano blew more saves in the month of September than he ever did in any other September in his career, at age 40 he can't be that good forever, but this is when he shines so we shall see. Jeter at 36 had the worst year of his career. He has never played so poorly but then again he is Mr. November so we will see. Pettite is most likely going to retire after the season and despite a great start this season, since his injury has gotten rocked, posting an ERA over 7.00. The last of the core four Jorge Posada. He can still be a beast at times and I hope in the playoffs he does but in the last few series of this year he looked old. He couldnt hit and gave up a ton of stolen bases against the rays and red sox. Teams will run on him as he just can't keep up anymore. As in every playoffs though, good pitching beats good hitting and we have one great pitcher and a few question marks where as last year we were rocking all year long. Last year we rode Arod through the playoffs hopefully this year we can get some big plays out of Cano and Tex. I never count the pinstripes out but this year is wide open. Here are my predictions... GO YANKEES!!!!!

Yanks over Twins in 5
Rangers over Rays in 5
Giants over Braves in 4
Phillies over Reds in 3

Yankees over Rangers in 7

Phillies over Giants in 5

World Series
Phillies over Yankees in 5

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The GORGE!!!!! 9/3, 9/4, 9/5 2010

We were privileged to spend not one, not two, but three nights at the Gorge Amphitheatre witnessing our favorite band play their favorite venue with three amazing shows. The Gorge lived up to and went beyond all the hype that surrounded this venue. Many people make the trip out to this beautiful location every year for many different bands and for the three nights we were there we never sat around anyone from that town of Quincy or George, which is where the Gorge is located, between the two towns. The drive to get there is one of the most beautiful I have ever taken, at least coming from Wenatchee you travel right along the Columbia River the entire way. Upon entry to the venue and it’s more of a hike than any other I have been to, you come over that hill and look straight down at the most amazing view I have ever seen at a concert. The lawn is huge and straight down to a stage that sits on a cliff that is surrounded by red and brown Gorge rocks with the Columbia River rolling right through the middle. As the sun sets it only gets better as only the West Coast can do, turn the sky an amazing pink night in and night out. But my favorite part is at night when the whole Gorge is pitch black, no lights at all except for the band and when you look up it’s the most stars I have ever seen outside of the Grand Canyon and you look down and hear your favorite band play with more enthusiasm then I have seen in a while. I have never felt more intimate at a concert even though it is huge. Dave Matthews dedicated several songs to not only his wife, but to fans in the crowd that he has seen throughout the tour. His stories and jokes were great and the bands energy was unlike anything I have seen. The sound was amazing, absolutely amazing, I heard every note and at times couldn’t believe that even with the crowd that it sounded this good. Dave Matthews also played several songs that were either him solo or with just another one or two of the band mates making the show feel even more intimate as in this huge dark space under the stars, standing on a cliff with a guitar and a great song with thousands silently watching, unreal. The crowd was unlike any I have ever seen at any show either. I was expecting your typical Dave crowd of meatheads and drunks, especially with the three days and nights of camping but was pleasantly surprised that not a lot of people were even drinking and those that were happened to be some of the friendliest people I have ever met at a concert. The first night we were with a bunch of young 20’s group that drove 18 hours from San Diego to be at the Gorge. The next night we were surrounded by people from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Buffalo all of which were 30-60 years old and singing every lyric of every song and dancing all night. The final night was extremely cold (50’s with the Gorge wind) and we were around some very drunk Canadians but for the most part were cool and having fun. The glowstick showers on night two were unbelievabley beautiful and unexpected. All three nights we sat in different areas and had different viewpoints and experiences. I have never been to a more beautiful venue and can’t imagine who came up with the idea to put it there as it is so unbelievable it does not seem real. I had the most fun at a concert that I have ever had and never felt as good about it as I did for not one night but three in a row. Our first three DMB shows as a married couple at the freaking Gorge. Another great thing, not one repeated song for three nights which in my experience is unheard of. Now we just gotta wait until at least 2012 and find out what all the hype about Red Rocks is…..don’t know how it could possibly be better…………..

Friday September 3, 2010
The Gorge Amphitheatre

The Last Stop
Dreaming Tree
Shake me Like a Monkey
Grey Street
Busted Stuff
Write a Song
Loving Wings
Sleep to Dream Her
What Would You Say
Dancing Nancies-->
Some Devil
You and Me
Jimi Thing

Saturday September 4, 2010
The Gorge Amphitheatre

Big Eyed Fish-->
The Stone
Funny the Way It Is
Stay or Leave
Fool to Think
Rye Whiskey
So Right
Lie in Our Graves
Digging a Ditch
Don’t Drink the Water
So Damn Lucky
Why I Am
All Along the Watchtower w/Ben Harper
Needle and the Damage Done
Two Step

Sunday September 5, 2010
The Gorge Amphitheatre

I Did It
You Might Die Trying
Crash into Me
Lying in the Hands of God
Out of my Hands
Seek Up
Proudest Monkey-->
Can’t Stop
Tripping Billies
Little Red Bird
Break for It
Pantala Naga Pampa-->
Ants Marching
Baby Blue
Black Jack

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Yankees at Baltimore

We went up to Baltimore for a great late summer weekend with my sister and folks for a couple of damn good Yanks games. I love seeing the Yankees in Baltimore because for one, Camden Yards is one of the best ballparks in all of baseball and this being my 5th time there, it is definitely Yankee Stadium south. The friday night game was actually a game that the Orioles should have won but leave it to A-Rod to steal the show and put the Yankees back in 1st place. Down by 2 in the 9th with 2 on, 2 outs and 2 strikes A-Rod hit a bomb to the left-field seats that put the Yanks back on top and left it for Mo to lay down. The place went crazy as it was all Yankees fans and next to his 15 inning walk off hr against the Red Sox, it was the best home run I have ever seen.
The next day we spent in Baltimore doing what else but eating some great local food from an Italian market by where my sister lives to an old timey seafood joint with some damn good Baltimore crabs. That night at the game we were hoping to see CC reach his 20th win of the season, something he has never done, as well as something we have never seen. We had much better seats and the game was much more of a blowout as Granderson blasted a 3-run home run and Cano hit a 2 run home run and CC cruised to his 20th win of the year and hopefully a Cy Young. The final score was 11-3.
Overall 2 great games, with good people, good food, good weather, and a good city.....GO YANKEES!!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Honeymoon

The honeymoon was amazing, long, crazy, expansive but amazing. We started by spending two nights in NYC. Among taking a lovely horse and carriage ride through central park at sunset with a fun Irishman we were treated to great seats to see the pinstripes knock the piss out of Seattle (where we would spend the rest of our honeymoon) including a shutout by CC a grand slam by Cano and our names and wedding wishes posted on the big scoreboard and read over the PA system at the House that George built. We ate as good as you can and always do in NYC as well.
It was back to work for a few days and then on to Myrtle Beach, also one of our favorite places. Although we were with my folks on their vacation we still count it as part of the honeymoon as it was vacation and fun. We ate well again and enjoyed beautiful warm weather before the hurricane came. After two days it was off to the Emerald City.
What more can you say about Seattle. Desiree and I would live there in a heartbeat if it wasn’t so damn far as it is my favorite city (NYC is in a class by itself and no other city should even be called a city next to it). The city is surrounded by nature and the whole attitude of the city is so laid back like nature is. With the biggest mountains in the continental US and water everywhere we had a blast and did a lot. Our first day was spent with my two aunts and two cousins. We were treated to a great meal at the Pink Door in Seattle were we ate the most flavorful pesto and spinach lasagna as well as lavender gelato. Who knew Seattle could do food like this. The next day we hiked up to the 6,000 ft level on Mt. Rainier which is already higher than any mountain on the east coast and the mountain itself is over 14,000 feet and covered by over 10 glaciers. As we were that high we did get lost in clouds for the rest of the day so we headed back to Seattle to kayak on Lake Union cruising right by the house from Sleepless in Seattle. We ate a great meal at Ivar’s right on the water as the sunset. I ate Salmon that was caught that day as well as Alaskan crab (deadliest catch guys are stationed in Seattle) that was caught that morning. The next day we didn’t let the Seattle rain slow us up as we spent the day in the Pike Place market which I wish every town had. We had a great breakfast at Lowell’s and then sampled the food at the market as everyone is pushing their fresh fruit and other goodies. We ate the best donuts we ever ate, the best macaroni and cheese we ever ate, the best peach we ever ate, and the best tangerine we ever ate and of course Chukar Cherries was very good to me as well with chipotle dark chocolate. Didn’t think I would find any of that crazy good stuff in Seattle. Our third day we got some Top Pot donuts which were mad good and ate them for breakfast in Kerry Park which is the best view in Seattle. We then traveled up to the Ballard locks to watch Salmon swim upstream. After that we went for a nice drive on Lake Washington and I gave in and ate meat, had to. Anthony Bourdain went to a place in Seattle which he called the best Italian meat he had ever had in “Salumi”. The restaurant owned by Mario Batali’s father was no joke. With lines around the corner we waited. Desiree had the best Meatball sub she had ever had and I ate some of the best meats and cheeses I had ever tried and although it screwed my stomach up it was damn worth it as it was delicious. Later that night we ate at Elliot bay’s oyster house again eating chowder and Salmon that was caught that day. The next morning we headed up to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands for an amazing whale watching trip that consisted of seals, sea lions, bald eagles and of course like 50 orca whales in the wild surrounded by glacier covered mountains. It was unbelievably serene when they would turn of the boat and you would only hear water and the whales with their communication and of course the blow holes. When two whales came racing directly next to boat it, was a breathtaking moment. Those creatures are unbelievable. I also saw three bald eagles which have to be the most badass bird ever. In the wild they are majestic birds. The day was perfect, another reminder of how small we are as people and how big the world is. One of the whales was 100 years old and another was going through menopause and people are so different, it amazes me. Our final day not at the Gorge for which there will be an entirely different blog written, was spent in the Northern Cascades as the views shifted from Pacific Northwest green and snow covered huge mountains to almost California burnt sienna type huge mountains. Absolutely a beautiful ride up to the Gorge as the remaining drive was along the great Columbia River.
It was the best honeymoon we could ever have asked for as we spent some relaxing, exciting, and amazing time and experiences in not one but three of our favorite places with our favorite team and our favorite band at their favorite venue. We would live in Seattle if we could as we love it and discovered how great the food is among everything else. It was great to spend a week as a newlywed couple out there in the wild. Wouldn’t change a thing about it