Monday, October 31, 2011

Roots Are Grown but I Dont Know Where They Are

The line from this song is very true at this time in my life.  I feel great about love, life, work, play, and challenges but there are many future questions to be answered about where to live, when to start a family, what to do with my growing career and this line rings true as I feel very entrenched with love almost everywhere I go.  In the past couple of years we have spent time in NY, Seattle, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Chicago, and of course North Carolina.  Each of these places we have looked at settling down in to start a family and buy a home and we just arent there yet.  We feel home almost everywhere we go as there is a lot of love in all of these places from family to friends to nature to inspiration its all around so where do you go and what do you do?  There are pros and cons of almost anyplace a person can live.  Both of us have blossoming careers in our respected fields of work and we have plans to continue enjoying life but where that takes us, we just dont know.  People ask these questions of us all of the time like we are missing something and I dont think I am, I dont feel like somethings missing.  I love my wife, my job, the past, the future and all the fun moments in roots are grown, I just dont know where they are...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Living in the Material World

Another roc doc review...I was able to watch Scorsese's documentary on the life of my favorite Beatle, George Harrison.  As Scorsese has done with other documentaries from The Band's Last Waltz, Dylan No Direction Home, and The Stones Shine a Light, Scorsese digs feverishly deep into the background of the artist and tells a great story about their lives through pictures, interviews, and of course the music itself.  I wasn't alive when the Beatles were huge, or when they broke up, or when Lennon was shot, but I do remember when George Harrison died on November 29th of 2001.  At this time I was recently trying to figuring out my place in the world and his music was very inspirational to me during this time.  His songs always had a "love and happiness" type of vibe that allowed me to view the bigger picture of life and what is what with my small existence.  Songs about the natural progression of life, the seasons we all go through, songs like "here comes the sun" and "all things must pass" motivated me to let it be.  George was mainly my favorite because he seemed to me to be the most spiritual, most experimental, and everybody I knew either liked John or Paul.  The transcendental meditation that he talked about and I learned about was spiritually ahead of anything I had ever learned.  He was also the person besides Steve Martin in "The Jerk" that I knew about playing a Ukulele and it seems like many artists do that now.  Living in the Material World provided me with much insight and respect for this artist and the way he went about his business.  He was far from perfect but he was very insightful and disciplined in his life.  For the first 20 minutes of this doc I was bored and couldn't see the whole picture but very quickly I was captured with interviews from Paul, Ringo, Clapton, and Patti Boyd.  Amazing to me was the grace that he lived with when dealing with some very difficult troubles, no one was bigger than the Beatles, what pressure that had to be.  George Harrison was way ahead of his time intellectually, artistically, and spiritually.  We could all take a page from him.  The title of this film, like his album, fits this artist perfectly.  He was concerned with so much more than most of us but lived in this material world that is all about stuff, make it about Love, Sweet Sweet Love.  Like he said "Give me Love, Give me Love, Give me Peace on Earth"

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Pearl Jam has long been one of my favorite bands.  During the years when I was making some major changes in my life, I related a great deal to the raw intensity of the sound and lyrics of this band.  Growing up always liking hip-hop and gangster rap, Pearl Jam was an exploration of music for me.  Of course I had listened to them when the early wave of Seattle "grunge" burst on to the scene (you couldn't miss it), but I never listened like I did when I cleaned up my act and found new meaning in my own life.  Plus Eddie Vedder has a crazy ass voice, the band can straight play, and I agree with much of what they stand for as artists.  As a PJ fan it was easy to become excited about one of the best rock journalists in Cameron Crowe making a documentary about one of your favorite bands and after watching it, I think it is easy to become excited if you are a fan of music during the last 20 years.  Pearl Jam is the only Seattle surviving band from that time period.  Nirvana (Dead) Alice (Dead) Soundgarden (on off break ups) and Mudhoney (still floating around never as successful).  Pearl Jam survived when alot of bands couldn't and the music has evolved consistently to deeper lyrics and as my buddy put it, rustic and raw sounding.  The documentary was excellent and unlike other rock docs, this one had a huge amount of unique footage as this generation has had recording technology since the 90's when PJ started.  Some great moments are: the 2nd PJ show ever where they sound exactly as they do today and the moment when Eddie Vedder became Eddie Vedder! Pretty dope.  The sounds are great and the story is well directed as well.  If you are a fan of roc docs, Pearl Jam, Seattle, or music in general this is an absolute must.

Pearl Jam Twenty from Pearl Jam on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Steve Jobs and LSD

One of the greatest minds in American history passed away recently and left with him a vast legacy that included just about anything that began with an i (ipad, ipod, itunes,iPhone),  Disney pixar, Apple computers, and the Internet.  Steve Jobs was a very creative and innovative mind, a mind that lacks in America more now than ever.  As there has been alot of coverage about this man and his life that sadly ended at 56, I have learned alot about just how unique a vision he had.  I was not aware that he helped create Lucas film and then Pixar Studios and is responsible for all the Pixar films, I knew about Macintosh and Apple computers being revolutionary in the late 70's early 80's and again when he returned in the mid to late 90's until now, when apple dominates technology.  Another under looked fact, at least to me, even though he said it years ago, was that Steve Jobs said that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he ever did in his life.  I find that shocking on one end but at the same time it makes perfect sense to me.  He also said that if Bill Gates had taken acid, his company, Microsoft would be much better as acid allowed him to dive in to the creative part about himself to become as innovative as he was then and is now.  LSD and hallucinogenics can be very dangerous drugs if used in the wrong set and setting and also if your minds chemical makeup is not designed to handle that substance, however, LSD is a non addictive substance that when used in moderation can have drastic perceptual impacts that can help a person to understand things about themselves, life, meaning, relationships, and reality that maybe they wouldn't already understand or see.  Many spiritual groups still use hallucinogens as spiritual practice, to get closer to a Higher Power.  There have also been proven benefits to magic mushrooms as I referenced in another blog post.  Now I am not saying take drugs, or take LSD, but the key is to open your mind and be open to ideas, creativity, open to the possibility that you don't have a fucking clue and you are searching to find something out there just like everyone else.  Some of the greatest minds of all time like Steve Jobs, Francis Crick, Matt Groening, as well as some of the most influential painters, authors, musicians and comedians used LSD and credit it with major breakthroughs in their experience of life.  For some people this drug opens up a part of their minds that they cannot access normally and allows them to change their frame of reference in life.  I was shocked that Steve Jobs took LSD and called it one of the most important things to ever happen to him, but I am not surprised.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Wall-Street

Fortunately I have a job and can live my life doing what I want to do for the most part, this may not always be the case and with the way that politics is moving with the economy, who knows what the economy may be in 5 or 10 years...America doesnt make anything anymore...and the divsion of wealth seems to stretch further and further while eliminating the middle class.  Politics aside, I liked Robin Hood as a kid and will always love the motto of "Stealing from the rich to feed the poor", it is the decent thing to do, people seemed to love it and it gets you maid marion.  I dont see that middle class were I live, its poor on one side and rich on the other..very few in between.  People got rich off of these people that lost their jobs.  I know people with Masters degrees working in fast food and people with good resumes who cannot get jobs.  It is a weird time to be alive.  Unlike the Tea Party who were now obviously employed by Republicans and Wall-Street (even though they were fighting against Wall Street but are no where to be seen on this battle) the occupy Wall Street crowd is taking a stand on who they are holding responsible and I would love to be there right with them.  Why hasnt anyone been arrested for these capital crimes? Why do they still get bonuses of more money than I will see in my life? Why did they get my tax money? Why cant these unemployed people get a bailout and give themselves bonuses too? I know it is not that simple, but something is wrong, something is off, the "machine" stopped working for the people it was supposedly working for.  The hypocrisy and fear is evident now more than I remember in my lifetime as new media wont even cover it? "The revolution will not be televised" is now the truth.  The Tea Party and all its anti-Obama and racism was covered and I wonder why?  Why does America still care more about other nations poverty than our own? Why do we criticize other leaders in other countries when what we do here on some levels isnt very good?  Why are there kids who are born in the United States who cannot eat on a daily basis? i dont know the answers to these questions but I do want more people to ask them and try to seek solutions.  The denial of what freedom really is has become ignorance.  Freedom is not really freedom if it has restraints.  I have to pay and work for my freedom and there are soldiers who die for my freedom but are we free??? Or are the people down there on Wall Street and in other cities in this country who have nothing left to loose..are they the one's that are free? 
I hope they keep protesting and I think that they will.  I have read articles of several Ny restaurants including Katz deli sending thousands of dollars of food orders to these people from other people across the country.  Money is being spent to support these protestors and long-term they are getting organized with websites and foreign media.  Its amazing that the only decent coverage I have seen has been off of Russian online news.  I wish the Tea Party would back up what they said they stood for and join the fight.  I wish they really werent the racist republican rich people that I thought that they were.  You want to take on overspending, government, regulation, wall-street "fat cats", now is the time.  I wish I could be up there and do some yelling and be part of a community of change, but like I said, I am fortunate enough to have a job that is about change.  So I will watch from afar and maybe order them so Katz.  Time to go all Robin Hood in this bitch!  Here are some great videos about what is really going on down there, cant see it on the news or read about it in papers.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Drug Testing for Welfare

The topic of drug testing for welfare recipients has been a hot topic for some time now and until recently some of the preliminary information is very interesting and surprising.  Personally I think that it is unconstitutional to tell someone what they can and cannot put in their bodies as the government issued cheese could probably kill someone faster than marijuana but that is something altogether different.  These politicians in Florida came up with a plan to save taxpayers dollars on what they perceived to be the drain on their money, welfare recipients.  In my talks with conservative people, they generally think and argue that poor people are poor because they want to be and that they are on welfare to be lazy, collect a check and live off of the government and I agree that there is a lot of people who do just that, as a handout is a big discouragement to get up and search for work and get to work but, some people need it and try their best to do the best with what they have and that little bit of money is a major difference in their lives.  Not all welfare recipients are Ol' Dirty Bastard from the Wu-Tang Clan.  Most of the conservatives making these arguments are usually people that are pretty well off as I have yet to met a conservative that was born poor and not white.  Under these programs in the state of Florida, the average household lives off of $240 a month.  I know people who spend more than that on a pair of shoes!  Florida government saw these roughly 100,000 people who receive some sort of cash benefit as the whole drain on their economy and thought that they use that money just to do drugs and be lazy.  They came up with the genius and unconstitutional thinking of drug testing them in order for them to receive their benefits.  To their great embarrassment the first round of testing has demonstrated that people on welfare use drugs less than the rest of the population most likely because THEY CANNOT AFFORD THEM and maybe because they knew they had a test and were able to sneak by it, either way another class warfare major screw up by over privileged people who would have no clue how to survive in some of these poverty situations that they held create and deprive with their judgements and hypocrisy.  As it turns out, 2% failed the tests and because of such a low number, this program has already cost the state 2.7 million in one quarter when it was supposed to save them 9 million for the year, already increasing the debt.  The national average according to 2010 stats is that 8.9% of Americans use some type of illegal drug which is again much higher than the welfare recipients of Florida.  Way to go to their genius politicians, need I say conservative, for their class warfare to take the state further into debt.  I think tables should be turned now and congress, senators, governors, mayors and anyone who had anything to do with implementing this program should be drug tested and lose their jobs if they fail the test and I would be willing to bet that most of them would test positive because they have to be completely in an altered state to continue with a war on drugs instead of turn it to a war on poverty.  There wouldn't be a war on drugs if you could take poverty away, but why would they do that when they make money off of them.  That's a reality TV show I would watch, politicians living in neighborhoods in some of the finest cities in American like NOLA, Memphis, Detroit, Atlanta, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Baltimore and watch them get dropped off with nothing and try to survive--the real survivor.  Until you have never seen it or experienced it or known somebody that lived it, don't judge it and try to change something that you yourself do not understand.  Stop trying to hurt the poor and help them and while your at it help the declining middle class as well.  Try being human.  Here is a link to an informative article drug testing welfare

Monday, October 10, 2011

Avett Brothers 10/8/11

Exactly one year ago we celebrated my wife's birthday by seeing one of our favorite bands play live and they happened to be in NC again this year on the same date!  A beautiful day turned into a beautiful NC night and the Avett's brought the energy just like they always do.  They only play NC about once a year and since they are from NC they put on a kick ass show, this year did not disappoint.  This evening was one of their longest sets as well as rarest including the song that my wife and I chose for our wedding "Swept Away" which is a rare play in itself but even more rare when Bonnie, their sister, comes out to sing her verse in the song.  As it was a new venue in Greensboro, NC some of the sound could have been better but it was still a beautiful night, beautiful music, and a great time had by all.  Hopefully they will come around more than once a year because it is quite a moving show, if you havent seen them, they are a cant miss good good time.
Greensboro, White Oak Amphitheatre, 10/8/11
Hard Times Come Again No More
Go To Sleep
I Killed Sally's Lover
Tin Man
January Wedding
Down With The Shine
Pretty Girl From Cedar Lane
When I Drink
Murder In The City
And It Spread
Die Die Die
Once And Future Carpenter
Distraction #74
The Prettiest Thing (David Childers cover)
Paranoia In Bb Major
Please Pardon Yourself
Will You Return?
Ballad Of Love & Hate
The Fall
Kick Drum Heart
Swept Away (with Bonnie)
Laundry Room
Down In The Valley To Pray (Scott, Seth & Bob acapella)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Benefits of Magic Mushrooms

Most people when they read that title probably are thinking what?!?! That was my first thought but then I was instantly curious and excited because I always had very good experiences with psilocybin and other than its legality, believed it to be a harmless, natural substance that came from the earth like marijuana or peyote.  Unlike the man made LSD which is much stronger and more intense, psilocybin is very mellow and calming.  I know the benefits that I perceive from that substance, such areas as perception and creativity but as I am a junkie for all types of things in life this is no longer a substance that I would use.  I came across this article here Magic Mushroom Health that talks about how taking mushrooms just once can impact a change in your personality in a positive way.  This finding is pretty wild because usually the standard is that you are who you are and your personality is set by 20's or 30's after that change is difficult and this study demonstrates that one dose can promote a positive change in regards to the person's openess, abstract thought, and feelings.  One dose!  I know quite a few people who could benefit from taking one dose of mushrooms to gain a more positive outlook on life.  The main reason it is being researched is to help people overcome depression and anxiety when dealing with cancer and helping smokers quit smoking!  There are many harmful chemicals out there and the man made chemicals are usually the worst.  Many people could benefit from an opening of thought and creation especially congress and most politicians, news reporters, and extremists in any way such as "Tea Baggers", I think it would be great if someone fed them all a little mushroom stew, what a better place the world can be.  I find it strange to say but psilocybin as it was good for Alice and may be good for you too??