Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Real Origin of Thanksgiving...

Like several other American "holidays" -- such as Columbus Day Christmas and Easter, Thanksgiving as it is celebrated today is barely recognizable when compared to the events that led to its formation many years ago. When taking the plight of the Native American people into consideration, Thanksgiving is an especially vexing and bitter pill to swallow for historians and students of fairness truth and justice studies. A human rights nightmare for a variety of complex reasons and issues, Thanksgiving poses many challenges for those who are familiar with the actual events that transpired during "the Pilgrim years".

Even today it's a challenging mission for those of us who long to participate in celebrating the noble values now associated with the newly revised national holiday and at the same time still want to honor the truth... and acknowledge the many who suffered and died through the centuries in respect to this particularly dark moment in American history.

Sometimes it may feel as if everything around us is myth and Matrix. And indeed in the end we may just discover that this is more fact than we could even imagine now at such an early stage in our evolution. This we do not yet know for certain. What we do know however is that our numbers are exponentially increasing, those who long for more fairness beauty truth art peace love liberty justice and freedom in the world. Very soon it will come and all will be well.

In that spirit, Happy Thanksgiving to all.

http://www.francesfarmersrevenge.com/stuff/archive/turkey/index.htm

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Coming Inevitable Irrelevance of Facebook

Mazzini it kinda sounds like you and ES don't quite get what's goin on. I don't use Facebook Notes. News goes to our various websites and views go to our blogs. Normally they feed Facebook. Both our profiles and our fanpages. THRU the fb notes feature. But we never actually USE Notes. Why would we? Its not our real estate as one of u insightfully pointed out. But Fb is now dismantling this system. Forcing everyone to do one of either two things: add content directly to Facebook (which is what they are requesting/suggesting we do)... OR copying and pasting our website and blog links onto our Facebook pages and profiles every single day.
Theyre trying to get people and companies to spend more time on Fb specifically and directly rather than just "feeding" facebook from our own real estate. Dig? The problem is that people are just too busy for that. Small to large companies even busier. No one (person or company) is going to sacrifice their own website or blog to dedicate more time to "work Facebook".
The truth is that the visionaries and early adapters are already migrating to Twitter like birds to the South in Winter and using Sensable to automate facebook content on a weekly basis, rendering facebook even less "real logged in time." (This comment will post 14 hours after I actually wrote it. But no one will ever know that.) Only what Godin calls "the Laggards" who are always the last to adopt new tech and are still new to Fb are excited about it and attempting to "work it". Good place to advertise, gain brand exposure and fans in order to steer those people to your own real estate. For sure. For now.
Just as rickipedia said, They got too greedy. Homogenized. Boxed inside their own shell. For some dumb reason they cant seem to see outside their own windows anymore. Monopolized as rickipedia says.
The moment they did away with boxes and tabs and that open architecture and friendliness to third party apps was the signal that they were on their way out and towards irrelevance. Like MySpace they'll stick around for awhile. Well funded and plenty of capital. So they'll keep trying to stick their heads in our fridges to see what weve got to eat; but they're relevance is shrinking. Twitter is making sure of that.
In addition, as they INCREASE their demands on users, forcing users to post content directly in rather than "feeding", and trying to get inside our mobile devices and cell phones, and email us all the time with their silly notifications, the public is entering an information overload phase and the pushback is frightening the hell out of the Zuckster.
I can't quite yet tell you EXACTLY what's going to happen or what it's going to look like, but what I'm feeling is that it will have something to do with YouTube meets Twitter meets Wordpress meets Google+ and Gmail. Especially if Google and Wordpress maintain thier open ended architecture, and Twitter continues to allow users to use various third party apps to access the service they provide. And all of this happened really fast. Literally within weeks. Why? Because people want freedom. They only want to "Occupy" where they're not allowed to. Now that's funny. But unfortunately for Facebook it's entirely true.
But hey, stay tuned because this all may change and be very five minutes ago by the time we wake up tomorrow. But to hammer the final death nail in the Fb coffin, we won't hear about this change on Facebook. We'll learn about it on Twitter. So see ya there manana. Ciao for now. Ambassador out.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Occupy Revolution: Collateral Damage

I feel it is necessary to recount something that was spoken to me on Sunday. In of all places the food storage pantry of our church where we store all the canned goods for our "feed the homeless" program called Sharing Table. After my recent 6 week absence from nyc, a good friend passed me an arms full of canned green beans to shelve and looked me in the eyes; "I only have one thing to say about your newest activism Eddie... The more money that you all pull out of the banks in your 'Occupy movement', good people who work at those banks are losing their jobs: tellers and lower income earners who only make $20,000 to $25,000. That's who's being affected the most by your actions. You need to be aware of that." Her comment took me by surprise. Indeed we do need to be aware of this. And now we are. Something for us all to be aware of. And to ponder. I found myself disturbed. But only for a breif moment, as I recalled that BECU the WA based credit union hired over 100 new employees last week in order to meet the demand created by how many of us who transferred our money to them from Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Of course there is so much more to this story.... And together we shall cover it all in our continuing dialogues. But at the least let us remember that where we are presently in our various 'Occupy Revolution' tactics there are going to be some innocents who get affected by our actions. And that surely is not our goal. To each of them we offer our apologies and hope that in the long run this will be a peaceful and successful shift for the better good for us all.
Interestingly about an hour later someone else said to me in response to this comment "Then they too will recognize that they are part of the 99% when they get laid off while the owners and officers and directors at these banks keep their jobs and continue to be paid tens of millions of dollars a year. It's sad. But it's true. And they will soon join the cause once they see that even they are not immune to the rampant greed of Wall Street and Big Banks." Perhaps I thought this is the only way for all of the 99% to truly come together. When the only people left standing are the 1%, then we can begin the transformation to a more fair and equitable system for all 100% of us.

Friday, November 04, 2011

A Blueprint for Achievement

Believe while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are spending.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are pouting.
Commend while others are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Not much to report. Work and more work. Back and forth with dear Juliet through letters. We are at the other side of the eye of the storm so to speak we decide. Now ready to accept and honor surely one of the greatest and rewarding friendships of our lifetimes I am sure.

Encountered a beautiful Arabic woman on the subway today. struck up a wonderful conversation about my difficulty with the French language. She is an interpreter so I was most intrigued to make her acquaintance. When I explain to her a few of my many reasons for asserting that French is the most difficult of the Latin languages at first she argues with me. I ask her to count with me in French then. as we get past the number seventy, she begins to laugh and my case was quite proved. In French they do not have a word for seventy or any other number above it. instead they say soixante-dix, the words sixty plus ten. and for the word eighty they use the term sixty plus twenty you would assume, yes? wrong, instead they say quatre-vingts, which means four times twenty. For eighty-seven they say quatre-vingt-sept, or four times twenty plus seven. And of course for the simple word of ninety they say quatre-vingt-dix, four times twenty plus ten. o.k., it can be mastered, but It is no wonder it is difficult at first for foreigners to say the least to understand the thinking. learning languages is like working out puzzles.

In any case, we reveled in this mystery for a time and then we hit my stop. And that was that. I must say I understand why people say it is difficult to meet their mate here. although obviously not too daunting a task since plenty of people do it everyday. But what do you say to a beautiful intelligent woman on a train when you arrive at your stop. “oh I think I will stay on for a while and just ride this baby into the end of the line. I have nothing better to do... I thought about this as I got off the train, never to see this girl again.

Last screening: 3 part PBS biography about Benjamin Franklin. What a man. Impressive in his accomplishments as a writer, businessman, inventor, and of course American diplomat, revolutionary and statesmen, but I had no idea he was such a schmuck as a man personally to his wife and son. I learned a lot about him. and was inspired on a great many accounts. He was our closest American equivalent to Da Vinci. A real renaissance man.

The watched pot does indeed boil by the way, lest one advise you any different. I checked it out for myself.

Too Busy to Stay Connected to Friends & Family? Remember the Five-Minute Rule

For almost all of us at this point and in this economic climate, staying in touch with our friends and family seems next to impossible. It's not that we don't love them or care. We do. No doubt about it. I don't think anyone -- no matter famous or unfamous, or how busy, callous, cynical or even jaded -- would claim that staying connected to their good friends and family is not important to them. But let's face it: it feels hard right now. Difficult. Challenging. Facebook seems to help. Twitter seems to help. Texting for sure. Emails not so much. As stated a few weeks (or perhaps even months) ago here, email has become that "best friend we just loved so much we invited to sleep over and now they won't leave." Necessary for work. But by the time we're done with how much email we need to read, address and reply to for "work related issues," the last thing we want to do when we get home is sit down and do more email for friends or family related issues. Especially if it's "just to say hello." Unless someone is just absolutely rich as hell and wealthy to no end and therefore never needs to use email for "work," email now is just as challenging to keep up with as anything else in our lives. Think laundry, dry cleaning, making dinner for the family or mowing the lawn for that matter. What was once a fun novelty has now turned into a verifiably challenging and time consuming chore or task.

Me? I'm still feeling the "texting thing" is the most private, personal, efficient and fastest way to shoot out some love to my friends and family.. But I've got plenty of friends and colleagues who feel the same way about texting as I do about email. One friend of mine, The King, absolutely refuses to text me back. He likes to "book appointments to have conversations." He says he finds texting too much work when he's spent all day "talking" for work. That just makes no sense to me. But it's his world, his life. If I'm going to stay friends with him forever I'm just going to have to abide by his contradictory illogical logic. But I'm still hoping that one day he'll wake up and realize that daily texting is a hell of a lot more personally fulfilling in friendship than nothing at all.... Because honestly, I just don't have the ability to guarantee that I'll be able to have a conversation at "8:45 PM" when he wants to make these appointments. Furthermore, making an appointment to speak with a friend, as opposed to just keeping it open, feels too much like work to me.

So what DO we do to stay connected to those we love most? Besides flying into town and showing up for an annual holiday, birth, graduation or death in the family... all very rational and reliable ways to assure that we will see our loved ones at least once a year. But again, who wants to grow up only to realize that we're only going to see our friends and/or family once a year? That's not staying connected. That's fulfilling our duty. What about the rest of the year? Read on...

This is What Relentlessness Looks Like



Right this very minute, as I sit here typing, over three-hundred and fifty college and non-comm (public access etc) radio stations across the United States are listening to and playing various songs from an album entitled All Your Heroes Become Villains. The group responsible for the creation of this dark moody eclectic and conceptual work is now called Ed Hale and The Transcendence; which brings things full circle right back to where they began nine years ago when a group by the same name released their debut album entitled Rise and Shine. Rise and Shine was a utopian dream; filled with hope, faith and optimism. Ed Hale was known as The Ambassador. He sang in multiple languages and believed every positive-message that entered his mind and sprung from his heart. The world was a stage where all we need do is believe to create our lives any way we desired or preferred. For a good long while, life really appeared to operate like this.

Songs from the album began spinning on radio stations all over America and in Europe. TV shows and movies picked some up as well. Life was good. My God was it good. At least in the insulated private world that The Ambassador and company kept themselves wrapped up in. Hale had created a fortune for himself at an early age as both a musician and as an entrepreneur. Early-retired before the age of thirty, it was hard not to feel that life was good. But that was soon to change.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Answer? Using an iPad is Equivalent to Being in Hell

NOTE: I am writing this post the good old fashioned way: using a laptop. Yes I am aware of how "six-months ago" that is... but read on....

Well it was certainly a noble question, "Am I in Hell? Or just using an iPad?" One cannot be blamed for posing the question. It's an innocent and justifiable enough question. It just wasn't the right question. The right question it turns out was "Why do I feel like I am in Hell whenever I use the iPad?" And of course the answer is "Being in Hell and using an iPad are the SAME thing".

See, it all started about a week ago. I received this incredible looking device for my birthday from my even more incredible looking wife. I had been talking about getting an iPad for months. I had gotten used to the iPhone -- bear in mind if you do NOT have an iPhone that there is a VERY large learning curve to using one. iPhones do not have regular keyboards - they are virtual, not tactile; and because they are an Apple product they are just about incompatible with every known device, website, app, software in the known universe. But still... there is a feeling one gets from using an iPhone -- (scientists have actually just finished a small clinical trial that showed that using an iPhone elicits certain endorphins in the brain that are similar to the feelings we get when we are in love or being loved or being made love to by another. This is true. Look it up).

So i had gotten used to the iPhone after about a year of using it. And no, the marriage still wasn't perfect. To this day I still cannot use more than half of the applications or tools that I use on my traditional PC-based hot-rodded laptop (mind you this thing is a monster if you're a tech-geek. Custom designed and hand-built with a quad-core processor, ultra-high resolution screen, more ports than a space-shuttle, more RAM than is humanly fathomable, the most expensive video card money can buy along with the best sound card humanity can invent). So it should be fine, right? Well for the most part it is. Only problem being that it is still, alas, a laptop. In other words, it's significantly larger and heavier than an iPhone.

Seeing that my job entails hunching over some kind of "content creating" device for hours at a time, there was a real need for me to be able to invent some kind of system to still be able to create content and not do real damage to my health. My back and neck are already severely compromised due to how many hours I have hunched over this thing. A Vegas book-maker could gamble that "yours truly has spent 20 hours straight hunched over his laptop without moving except to take bathroom breaks" and win 100% of the time. Unfortunately the statement is easily true. It is the nature of how much the industry I work in has changed. The music-making industry that is. But that's another story. So... over the last few months I had begun realizing that I could do quite a bit using my iPhone. No it's not easy, and it's certainly not comfortable. But once you've hit the bed at 4AM and you've just put in an 18 hour day and you're dead tired to the point of your eyes being crossed, finishing up that "last bit of work before you wake up in 3 hours to start the process all over again" is best accomplished on a smaller device with a less trauma inducing screen than a laptop. Hence the iPhone. I could write a three page blog post in less than an hour on the iPhone. No kidding. I have mastered that virtual keyboard. But again, it just doesn't feel that comfortable, nor healthy. Not much does anymore in this high tech world. But again, that too is another story.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Am I in hell? Or just using an iPad?

My God what a mess of an invention this thing is. Pardon any spellings mistakes that you might see here. See, the problem is I am doing some clean up on my laptop and since I was just gifted with an ipad2 for my bday recently, I figured I\'d give it a spin instead of using my iPhone as I usually do for such things. The problem is that the iPad -- as my good friend Sir Richard pointed out on Facebook last week -- is great for perusing media such as books magazines and music websites I guess... But it\'s a bloody nightmare for any kind of content creation. Even

Friday, October 28, 2011

Current Screening: CINEMA VERITE

Life following art following life, The movie stars Tim Robbins and Diane Lane and is a dramatization of a documentary made back in 1971 called "An American Family" which aired on PBS for five episodes and was the very first reality TV series. Don't want to spoil it for you. Just watch it. There was something really intense and moving about watching a real life "perfect" American family implode right in front of film cameras way back in '71. Lonf before reality tv came along and made "family drama and conflict" a normal du jour form of entertainment, even when it's fake and scripted. This movie was not. No do overs. The real thing. And very sad because of it. Recommended.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

Well it very well could be a daily feature; like Current Spin, Last Screening, Latest Read etc. And indeed I promise that soon it will be. But for now in leiu of just how backed up I am with this particular Post idea, I figured that rather than working my way backwards editing each and every post from the last month just to add a line or two for this latest feature addition, instead I'll start off with a great big data dump here, now, and from this point forward I'll just remember to add the "favorite things" feature to the bottom of each post. Easier that way. For me that is. And for you it's going to be a nice little bag of goodies all in one shot. God knows I owe it to you. I read the texts, comments, wall posts, emails, Facebook messages etc. And yes I listen to my voicemails so ive heard all ur voicemails. I know I owe it to ya. So here goes.

[Disclaimer: these are suggestions. I'm three steps away from that fine line between crazy-cool and just plain crazy. So use good sense and discernment. Dont spend yourself into bankruptcy. Its easy to do in a global economy where we now have access to anything and everything we could ever possibly desire. Unlike magazines, entertainment tv gossip shows, daytime and latenight talk shows, and even radio stations who claim to play "hit songs", I am NOT getting paid to pitch or promote these products. To be honest, I don't much like tv shows or magazine articles that recommend or feature products only because "promotional consideration has been given to the following products." There actually is no such thing anymore as a true unpaid honest to goodness hit song or hit tv show or a real product recommendation. It's all pay to play now. They just don't want the public to know this. They'll even use the phrase "Here's your morning sleaze" as if they're going to fill you in on some really juicy gossip, when instead what they're actually doing is just telling us "pitched stories" that they've been paid to repeat live on the radio. It's fake gossip if you will. How the hell can we trust a product if the person recommending it is being paid to do so? We can't.

And therein lies yet another example of bad-capitalism versus good-capitalism. This alone could be an entire blog post. People are busy. They don't have time to anylize whether or not a product is honestly being promoted because it's good or if it's just another thinly disguised advertisement. But here you'll never have that problem. Unless i specifically announce that it's one of the product endorsement deals Im contracted to promote. And even then ul still be safe. Because I don't do endorsement deals for products that I don't totally adore. Cool? Cool. So let's get on with it.]

Recent Favorite things:
- Spybot Search and Destroy. Best damn spyware malware virus protection on the net and it's free. Download it today.

- Origins Peace of Mind cream. Like Tiger Balm it burns. But just a little. Nice way to perk up or relax. Rub a little on your temples.

- Phillip B Chai Latte shampoo and shower gel. LOVE IT! Smells just like a chai latte but you shower with it. The smell is in incredible. Yum!

- Tetris for the iPhone. Addictive! Download at your own risk. It can be a major time waster.

- Franz Salted Caramels. Handmade in Seattle using all natural ingredients. The most delicious caramels I've ever found anywhere. They make a milk chocolate one and a dark chocolate one. Best of both worlds - have a box of each and eat them one at a time switching each time. Don't blame me if you fall in love or get addicted. They're expensive. I'm warning you now. But worth every dollar.

- Modern Family. The tv show. You don't start laughing from the moment it starts till the very last line.

- Ciao Bella Blood Orange sorbet. In the last two years I've tried every brand and every flavor on the market. Blood Orange by Ciao Bella is so damn good that it's become a ritual for me to eat a full pint every night right before bed. Incredible!

- Viinyl.com. If you're a musician you can build your own promotional page online to stream any of your songs along with a full screen picture, as well as provide links to ur website and social network profiles. It's easy, free, and has a nice clean simple look to it.

- Sunday morning news shows: Face the Nation, Meet the Press, McGlaughlin Group, and Chris Matthews. Unlike CNN these shows aren't trying to turn their news anchors into celebrities. They're real journalists having real conversations. CNN, Fox, and MSNBC all have a partisan agendas, as well as a thirst for fame, and thus what you get is Anderson Cooper playing clips of himself giggling over and over again. Or even worse (cud it get worse than that?) very slanted and spun puff pieces disguised as news whose sole mission is to convince you to lean far left or far right. Neither side is one-hundred percent right one-hundred percent of the time. Big deception, and a big waste of time.

- CNN now has Piers Morgan. And I must say that compared to "Uncle Larry" King that is, Piers actually studies his guests before the show airs and asks real honest and sometimes tough questions. So far so good. Not bad Piers. Just please don't get lazy and stop. We respect you.

- X-Factor USA. Simon's new mutli-million dollar alternative to American Idol has more real talent in Season 1 than Idol had in ten Seasons. It's great to see Simon and Paula again. And LA Reid is a REAL music biz maven. Allegedly each show costs 3.3 million dollars to produce. And it looks that way. But most of all it doesn't come off like a high school talent show like Idol does. It's totally Pro. Music lovers or musicians will love it. Because you always learn something from it. From the importance of song choice to how essential it is to get a stylist and always look good if you're showcasing your talent in a public forum.

- Twitter. Yep it's old news. To some. To millions of others it's a new phenom and the reason to like it is because unlike Facebook where you're just bombarded by irrelevent updates and pix by the loudest friends with the least amount of self control, Twitter allows you to choose what you read and what you talk about. You may not get that aw-shucks homey vibe that Facebook offers, but the potential for intelligent conversation about subjects you actually care about is very high. My Twitter address is Ed_Hale@Twitter.com. Connect with me when u can.

- Bop it! The game. Just found one and boy is it fun! Talk about a time waster. The only good thing about it is that playing it regularly helps exercise the brain to keep you sharp.

- UGGs boots and slippers. My UGGs slippers are soooo confortable. And my fur lined boots I will literally wear every day until the very last day of Winter.

- L'Occitane Cade Anti-fatigue Gel. Frankly I like L'Occitane anything! Much like Fresh, they just know how to make very clean fresh all natural and best of all uniquely scented products. So here's the deal. L'Occitane makes a ton of products. But they have a very small line of signature fragrances with accompanying products such as moisturizers gels and shampoos. IMHO their very best signature scent is from the Cade tree. It's bold woodsy spicy and masculine smelling similar almost to the smell of pine. Try their Anti-fatigue gel. It's got that increible Cade smell but it's also great for refreshing and stimulating your face when you've been working all day. It works. It regenerates.

- Olay Regenerist Anti-Aging Wipes. They're just like wet wipes -- in fact they are wet wipes, but the difference is that each wipe contains 7 different anti-aging ingredients. Think moisturizer, anti-oxidants, and skin toners. You can carry a few around with you in ur breifcase or purse and always have access to some. What I like best about always having some around is that it encourages you to wash ur face more often. Which is always a good thing. Even better? A smidgeon of anti-aging ingredients besides just cleansing.

- John Varvatos Artisan Black cologne. Owning over 180 bottles of different colognes makes me a conniseur of sorts I guess, and probably a wee bit insane; but regardless of all that, John's new Artisan Black is one incredible smelling and irresistable scent. The girls love it too.

- Tommy Hilfiger's entire 2011 line. Very very unique and different. See if you can still get your hands on some still. You'll probably get a big discount.

- The iPad2. Sleek slick thin lightweight slightly mysterious; a fascinating architecture combined with the intuitive and smooth I-OS makes it quite addictive. With that said it's not easy to type on yet. And it won't work with Adobe Flash, which means you can't upload photos to the Internet because most uploaders now use some form of Flash. What this means is that if you have a blog or two or just enjoy sharing photos on Facebook you will NOT be able to do so unless you download the ipad app for that website. No app, no uploading photos with ur ipad. Def time to make nice with Adobe guys. This is a major bummer and greatly diminishes how often you are able to use your ipad. Sir Richard put it perfectly: if you're a content creator the iPad is just not good enough for you. But if you're more of a content addict you'll enjoy using the ipad rather than your computer or phone or Kindle. Ipad just blows the competition away in terms of pure tactile enjoyment.

Want more? Well worry not. Because there are hundreds more. This is just a taste. Tune in daily and you'll find this new feature towards the bottom of every post here in the Transcendence Diaies.

Monday, October 24, 2011

OccupyMyWeekend

Ed Hale at Occupy Seattle


Well there goes another weekend.
Yes. Adventures indeed. "Occupy" is spreading like a wildfire, with over 1500 different cities around the world presently being "occupied." Future generations are going to have a blast trying to figure this one out... Just this odd word. "occupy," cropping up out of nowhere... Like Sovereign or Suferegete or Abolitionist or Segregation (sorry to throw off the aliteration there) in times past. Strange foreign sounding words. But eventually we all had to learn what these words meant as we grew up and studied our history. So too will future generations; and they\\\'ll have "occupy" to add to that list. Of course that depends on what we actually accomplish with the Occupy Movement.

The Tea Party Movement will be learned and studied because it\\\'s here to stay for better or worse. And the reason it\\\'s here to stay is because it sold out to big corporate interests very quickly (see Koch Brothers, et al...) and is now less a grassroots peoples\\\' movement as it started out as and much more a sub-group or branch of a political party, the Republican political party. Strictly right wing. Strictly radical and extreme, which is what the word "Conservative" has turned into when it\\\'s used in political contexts. Strictly organized and corporate funded. As in strictly American.

There\\\'s not a chance of this happening to the Occupy Movement. And as good as that is for the movement itself and for the world, it\\\'s also one of the problems. In order to make it through Winter or just even this Fall the Occupy Movement is going to need money. Or so we assume. And without turning into something organized and corporate it may not last very long. But let\\\'s see what happens.

Right now it\\\'s a wild phenom. I\\\'ve not marched in crowds this big since the WTO, NAFTA, and Iraq protests years ago. So theres hope there. Just in size alone. There is also something happening with the Occupy Movement that we\\\'ve not seen since the anti-BushCheney Wars in \\\'03 where the whole world came together to march in solidarity against those wicked invasions of sovereign nations. Millions of human beings from all walks of life in countries all over the planet marched to protest a few men and their mission to break international laws. It was an amazing thing to witness. The worrisome issue is that the entire human population could not stop these mad men from doing exactly what they wanted to. And ten years later America is still fighting those wars.

They\\\'ve bankrupted the country AND killed hundreds of thousands of people, these wars. But we can\\\'t see we didn\\\'t try. Because we did. We just weren\\\'t successful "enough."

We\\\'re in the same situation again now. And no one can be sure if it will head anywhere... Or lead to anything. But it\\\'s good to see it happening. Wicked crimes against ordinary people have been commited all over America by large financial institutions and it\\\'s affected the entire world economy. Record profits, and requisite salaries and bonues, are being reported during a time that the entire world is calling "bad economic times," It just doesn\\\'t smell right. Smells even worse when we recognize that Wall Street occupies half the White House administration and appears to completely control the US Congress and the Senate.

The question is "how far will we the people have to go in order to initiate real change and reform that will stop these schemes cons and deceptions? Will we have to take up arms to defend ourselves and our rights not to be lied to used and consistantly deceived? Are we willing to die in our revolution the same way others have throughout history? Or will something miraculous happen and change will just begin to occur from within as more and more of the 99% begin to recognize that almost all of us are at war with a very very small group of greedy selfish heartless people?

My preference would be for the latter option. No doubt. But I\\\'d be perfectly ok with dying for the cause if it meant we had a chance of taking America back from this small cadre of greedy war mongers and bankers. It\\\'s a cause worth fighting. Therefore we OCCUPY. it\'s a cause worth getting beaten hosed pepper-sprayed shot at arrested and even dying for. That\\\'s why we KEEP OCCUPYING no matter what the governent says or does to us until the make the changes we ask them to. It\\\'s really that simple.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Faith

There is a fine line between having faith and being a fool. Faith is believing you are wealthy when you aren't quite wealthy but know you will be soon. Fools spend money as if they are wealthy when they just aren't even close to being so. I've walked the tightrope between faith and foolishness my whole life. Sometimes, one could say, I've been the perfect faithful fool.

Regardless of what anyone tells you, feeling wealthy is all in the mind. If you wake up everyday excited and optimistic and grateful for what you have, expecting great things to happen in your life, you are surely wealthy. What that bank account reads is almost entirely irrelevant. If you're living life in faith, feeling grateful for all the bounty you've got. I've spent countless afternoons at the finest cigar stores from New York to San Francisco listening to grumpy old men worth millions, sometimes even billions, bitch moan and complain about how shitty their lives are, how much they hate their ex-wife, disapprove of their children, and despise everything from the mayor of the town they live in to the US Congress. This is not wealth. And this is not living a wealthy life.

If you ever want to see how the better half lives, or just get a good education in all things finance and money, take up cigar smoking for a few months. If you're female and feel that taking up smoking cigars is too distasteful for you, then tag along with your husband, boyfriend or a good friend and force them to do it with you. They won't be sorry. Besides the fact that there are very few things as satisfying as a good handmade cigar, what most people just don't know is that the richest men in the world hang out in these very quiet and private cigar stores all over the world. Every city in America has at least two or three of them. And there isn't a poor or middle class person in there. Except maybe for the employees themselves, who are always very decent fellows. The reason for this phenomenon is simple. Cigars are expensive. Not only does it take a lot of money to smoke them regularly (I spent $85,000 on cigars in the year 2004; yes I slightly regret it now, but it also brings a smile to face and make me laugh a little) but for whatever reason, once a man begins to acquire a lot of money, he just inevitably feels an inner need to take up cigar smoking. So as with all things temporal there is a cause to this effect.

Before both of us got married, Tomcat and I used to spend every Saturday afternoon after a good long brunch hanging out at De La Concha on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan smoking cigars and talking the good talk with all the older men that frequent this landmark hotspot. On any given day we'd bump into everyone from Rudi Guiliani to Jerry Springer (not as bad a guy as his television antics imply) to Mike Tyson to Reverend Al Sharpton to Donald Trump (he loves cigars more than he loves women and only second to his love for money...). There was a small group of us, I'd say about ten to fifteen, all men, who used to frequent this establishment with such regularity that we all knew each other by our first names, exchanged gifts during the Christmas Season (yep you guessed it, either a cigar, a cigar accessory, or a bottle of fine Port or a Single Malt), and asked about one another with a relatively sincere concern if we didn't see one or the other of the group for more than one "off night" out of every single day of the week. That's how cigar smokers are. It becomes quite a habit. And quite the gentleman's club.

The real teachable moment of this hair-raising adventure story is this though: Tomcat and I used to love hanging out and listening to this one old codger named Mel bitch about everything liberal; just because he was there I guess. It was familiar, often times entertaining, and occasionally educational. (There's nothing quite as entertaining as listening to a nasty old far-right conservative bitch about how "compassionate people" make them sick. It is just such a twisted viewpoint to have that the mere shock of it entertains; much like a horror movie I suppose). Of course we also enjoyed smoking with Mel because he was so wealthy and we liked picking up the odd tip or trick for money making that he'd inevitably let loose with now and again. But I will never forget the day that old Tomcat and I heard Mel complaining about the tax he had pay on the twenty-eight million dollars that he earned that year compared to the year prior where his accountant had gotten him off with a much smaller tax burden. Now remember, this man doesn't work. He is "retired." A New York Jewish man in his late fifties who lived right smack dab in the middle of Manhattan, the most expensive real estate on planet earth. (presently $1,300 per sq. ft. if you're into real estate and curious). Tom and I still talk about this amazing moment in our memory.

And it's really Tom who deserves the credit for this observation, more than I. And the observation was this. "Fishy do you remember Mel from De La Concha?" "Yeah, that nasty old rich guy who used to smoke the Cubans?" "Yeah." "What about him?" "I'll tell you man, how can someone be that miserable all the time? Do you remember how angry and bitter that dude was?" "Yeah, I guess now that you mention it I do... I haven't thought about him in a while actually. But yeah, dude, you're right. What was wrong with that guy?" "I don't know bro... but if I had that kind of money I think I'd be happier than that." "Well, see, that's what we all think isn't it? And yet there he was. He didn't like his wife. He didn't like the mayor. He didn't like the President. He hated almost everyone who came in to the cigar store..." "I don't know why he always let us sit with him..." "Probably because we posed no threat to him. I mean we were just young guys who sat with him and didn't say much and dude honestly, we never spoke up against him, no matter what he said. You know? I mean I don't think I ever agreed with one damn thing he said. I just wanted to listen and learn from him, as far as the business kind of things he talked about, investing and all that. It was insightful at times...." "What a miserable prick he was though," Tom commented laughing..

And there it was. A perfect example of how unwealthy one can be regardless of how much money they're sitting on. And there we were, not poor by any measure, but certainly not rolling in millions. At that time in my life I was financially comfortable. In other words, I didn't "have" to work for a living. I had already done that, early in life; I was lucky I suppose. But I also worked my tail off. And I also took a lot of major risks that would scare the bejesus out of most people. So by age 30 I had reached a comfortable place financially where I didn't "need" to work to make money as much as I just "needed to work." To keep my sanity. And to satisfy my craving for accomplishment. And though I wasn't a multi-millionaire, I was happy. I was content. In that I was a much wealthier man than old Mel from the cigar store.

Of course things changed for me once Cleopatra Ecstasy took everything I owned and more right out from under me. But that's another story and has already been written about extensively in previous entries of previous years here in these same diaries. Only thing I think that can be added to that story now is that even then, even after waking up one day a wealthy man, as I had for so many years prior, to discover that I was flat ass dead broke and that it happened to me literally "overnight" and worse yet the deed was perpetrated by someone I thought I loved dearly and vice versa, someone I lived with for six years and was engaged to be married to... even after all that, I was still happy. Maybe even "happier" I sometimes think to myself. From hero to zero literally overnight to the point that at the lowest point of my "poverty stage" I found myself collecting aluminum cans to trade them in for $5 a pound. And yet all the while I was still happy. I remember my friends and family occasionally asking me "how the heck can you walk around so happy all the time with everything you've been through over the last two years?" My answer was always "I'm not quite sure. I mean, I'll tell you one thing... I can't quite describe it... but before when I used to have a lot of money, I felt a little isolated from everyone around me. As if there was something wrong with me for being so rich. And now at least I feel sort of "at one with the people."" Not many people understood what I was talking about of course... but I did. It was true. Truth was speaking. I'd trade that big bag of cans in at the local grocery store for ten to twenty bucks and man you just can't feel any closer to "the people" than that. By "the people" I mean the every-man on the street. The old ladies wheeling the little roller of grocery bags behind her on her way home from shopping. Or the cashier who used to weigh my bags of cans. No more Mr. Bigshot wondering why that cashier seemed to look so down on me when I shopped there. Nah, not me. I was no different than she was. We were united in our brokeness. And the same went for all the musicians that I'd hang out with. No more pulling up in a convertible BMW or a black limo. I became a subway guy. A bus riding guy. Just like everyone else. And in that simple change of circumstance came a profound change of my mental state.

But here's the catch in case you're now thinking about giving all your money away to a charity so you too can feel that sense of oneness with the people. That wasn't what made me happy. Hell, I hated being that poor. And after a few months of it, I realized that being one with the people isn't all it's cracked up to be. No, what really kept me happy was the fact that I had one hundred and ten percent conviction that no matter how broke I was during that period that it wasn't going to last that long. I just knew that I was destined to re-gain my financial wealth again. I blamed God for my predicament for a while there. Until a voice in my head told me that "God didn't do that to you; another human did that to you. God is the one who's providing all these generous people who have come to your rescue over the last year or two. That's God." And of course, that idea just made me even happier. I had faith in that. A strong faith. Blind faith? Maybe. But I've never met an unhappy blind person. So that label is fine with me.

So here we are. Six years after the anti-christ disguised as an innocent young femme fatale stole everything I own and I'd be a fool not to declare loudly and confidently that I've had one humdinger of a great time these past six years. I've traveled all over the world. Learned a few new languages. Made a ton of new friends. Solidified deeper connections with a ton more older friends. Created some awesome music with so many beautiful people. Married the woman of my dreams. Own a home twice the size of any I owned before. The list goes on and on. Money comes and goes as an issue. But good times never cease to appear. And I don't expect them to. I wake up everyday in expectation of good things, just an inner knowing that today is going to offer me and mine something incredible. Something to "Yippee!" about at least once or twice or three times. Today offered plenty. Yesterday too. Tomorrow won't be any different. In fact, being that it's my birthday, I'm expecting an even larger payload of good news to come my way.

Call it faith, hope, optimism... call it stupidity or foolish idealism. But if this is what being a fool feels like, I think I might just like being a fool. For it doesn't get much more ideal than this. And sure, I am very aware of the fact that my beautiful new wife and I do not currently possess the kind of money we desire or even need at present. And to that I say "baby please just try to hang on. Whatever it takes, we're gonna make it happen. I don't want you to "wait and see." I want you to "see it now." See how blessed we are. All around us, blessings. More blessings than we could possibly ever care to count. Feel how in love we are. My God are we blessed in love. Is there anything better than being blessed in love? Or being blessed to be in love? Our money will come. It always does. But love...? Well that's not something we can make happen no matter how hard we work. That's the wait and see game that can make even the richest person in the world feel miserable. But we no longer have to wait and see when it comes to love in our lives. We've got spilling out all over us from all sides. How lucky are we?

Well since I asked the question, I'll answer it. We're so darn lucky that I can guarantee you that as rich as we feel in the way of love we will soon be in the way of how much money we have. I can taste it. I hear it ringing in my ears. And I see it just behind my eyes when I close them to pray. We'll make our money Princess. There's no doubt about that. So let's enjoy this ride on the way to financial prosperity just as we did on our way to the alter. When in doubt, just close your eyes and say a little prayer. Not for money mind you. Because that's not really what you're looking for anyway. Pray for faith. Pray for our happiness. Pray for the world to become just a little bit safer and a little bit kinder and a little bit gentler. Have faith in it. All of it. If you do that, I promise you that no matter how much money we have or don't have on any one day or another, we'll have something much more valuable than all the money in the world. We'll have happiness. As we always have. Ever since we first laid eyes on each other. Is there any happier memory that either of us can recollect than that moment? And how big a part did money play in that? Exactly. It didn't. And truth be told, it shouldn't. Because our happiness didn't come from money. It wasn't dependent on money. Our happiness came from our meeting one another finally. After years and years of having money and still wanting. But we're not wanting any longer are we? How could we be? When in just a few hours we're about to once again wake up in each others' arms thanking God for this incredible gift called love. We can't buy that. And we don't have to try because it's right here with us, between us, surrounding us, within us. Love. Real love. Pure love. True love. And with this much love around me, I have all the faith I need and then some. So if you need a little now and then, I understand. Just hold me a little tighter and squeeze some out for yourself. I don't mind. The universe will make more. Good night my love. And good night my friends. Things may seem a bit rocky right now. But hold strong to your faith and I promise you that we will all be the happiest wealthiest bunch of fools that the world has ever known.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I love my dog

I've heard people say this before. I love my dog. I've read it. Read about it. Seen it on tv and in movies. I've had friends who've uterred those exact words to me. I never understood it before. Before I had a dog of my own that is.
Don't get me wrong. Intellectually I got it. Dog is mans best friend and all that. And I also got how kind and obedient And loyal dogs are and how that might appeal to a certain kind of person. Besides that I also just always felt this intuitive knowing that dog people were warmer and somehow more down to earth than cat people; even though I myself was a cat person for most of my life.
Until five years ago when we picked a copper colored little fox like looking puppy out of a cage at the animal shelter. She was so scared from being abused in the first few months of her short life that she wouldn't even walk. We had to carry her everywhere. She also wouldn't look any of us in the eyes.
But all that changed eventually. Over time Penny, as she was simply called due to her color, slowly became more and more like a normal well adjusted family dog. Love is what did it. Just a lot of love. From all of us.
She's been with us now for over six years. And there isn't a day that goes by that I don't get down on the floor and wrap both my arms around her and give her a big hug. All 65 pounds of her.
Lately Penny has been sick. Not acting like herself. Turns out she has something called Pancreatitis. High blood levels of lipase. The vet says she will recover fully and heal on her own. Though each day she acts more like herself, we can tell that Penny doesn't quite feel like herself yet. So we worry a bit still. It's 3:00am in the morning here on the West Coast; which means that many east coast friends fans and family are just starting to rise and shine to get ready for their work day.
Penny isn't allowed on rhe couches or on our bed. It's just the way it is. But she spends all day following us around from room to room and at night all I have to do is say "penny c'mon and slap my hands against my hip or even just snap and up she comes to fall asleep wrapped up in a small circle that belies her large frame in her own bed down on the floor at the foot of our bed. She's been sleeping in our bedroom every night since we got her.
I've noticed that all night tonight I keep listening to her or for her just to make sure she is breathing. If she's too quiet I get up out of bed and walk over to her here in the dark and kneel down to pet her and check up on her. Past 3:00 am now and I still feel a bit concerned for her. A few minutes ago I got up out of bed to face the freezing cold of our room just to make sure she's still breathing. She made a kind of groaning or grunting sound and it was enough to assure me she's ok. But it also prompted me to attempt to make this note, despite how exhausted I feel right now, just to say "i Iove my dog." Because I do so much. More later. There are plenty of Penny stories to be shared. And those will come soon enough. But right now all I can muster the energy for is to report how wonderful it is to have her in our lives. I need to take a clue from Penny and go to sleep myself now. So sleep well Penny. We'll see you in the morning.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crisis in Syria - WTF are we meant to do about this?

This came in recently... An all time low. Using ambulances and "healing the wounded" as a way to lure protestors in so they can capture or kill them. The question that comes to my mind as a very staunch NON-imperialist is this: Are we supposed to help the people in Syria? Or not? America I mean. We help people all over the world. This is true. Sometimes we "help" when our help has not been asked for or even desired by the people. This is also true. (see Vietnam or Korea or Iraq or Grenada or Chile or Cuba etc etc...) Most of the time it appears to be only for political or strategic gain. True again. Every now and then we've been known to help "just because we should." That's true too. And that's some good feeling stuff. The American government isn't all bad. True again. But of course there are numerous examples of the US Gov not doing a damn thing in these cases because there's just no "benefit" to the current administration's agenda. Rwanda and Somalia and Darfur are all good examples. Not to mention the whole "Blood Diamond" crisis in Northern Africa. Nor Colombia where it appears we actually made things worse. Or Mexico. Or the whole Iran-Contra Affair... (not only did the Reagan Admin command and fund Iraq to attack and take over Iran (killing 200,000 Iranians); but after seeing that Iraq wasn't going to win the war after six years, they then started secretly funding Iran too, figuring that regardless of "who won" we could then befriend that winning country and gain cheap oil in the process AND an additional security foothold in the Middle East to help us "protect Israel" -- which still to this day I just do not understand the logic of... (unless of course these people are hard-core "christian fundamentalists" and actually believe that it's "God's will to protect Israel so Jesus can appear in the sky one day..." That's some scary Shiite if you're more of a humanitarian than a religious nut) -- but of course they also got behind the wrong team in Colombia -- "the wretched Contras" -- in order to oust that country's democratically elected leader, Sandinista). Truth be told, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to America's imperialist history.  My God what a mess poor America has been in since WWII...

But let's forget about all that for a minute and just turn our attention to Syria... I'm not a techy. Nor am I much of a pure-aesthetic's kind of person -- we're all too busy at this point in today's world for that... so I am going to do what my techy-friends consider "the unthinkable". I'm going to copy and paste the content of an email into a blog. Yes it will look messy as all hell and contain tons of code that will fuck up all kinds of search engines. But honestly, compared to getting the word out, I really just couldn't care. So see the below. And let me know what you think we should do about our brothers and sisters in Syria.
Sincerely,
The Ambassador


Dear friends,

Syrian death squads are killing protesters in their hospital beds, whilst Russia arms the regime and blocks international action to end the carnage. But pressure is building in the region, and if enough of us speak out now, we could persuade Turkey and Germany to use their leverage to get Russia to stop propping up this murderous regime. Sign the urgent petition and tell everyone:

Sign the petition

The Syrian regime has reached a new low, its death squads have begun using ambulances and hospitals to lure and kill wounded protesters. To end this carnage, we urgently need to bring global pressure on Syria's key backer and arms supplier -- Russia.

German Chancellor Merkel and Turkish President Erdogan both have strong inclinations to global leadership, and a great degree of influence in Russia. If we make a massive and public call to them to act, they will press Russian President Medvedev to stop blocking UN Security Council action on Syria.

Syria's horror hospitals are the latest in a string of unspeakable crimes against peaceful protesters. So far, Russia has faced little condemnation for its complicity in these atrocities, but we can change that. Together let's build a massive public call to Merkel and Erdogan to act and work with the Arab League to press Russian President to stop supporting Syria's brutal repression -- it will be delivered to their Foreign Ministries this week.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_horror_in_syria_a/?vl

At least 5,500 people have been killed in Syria, as many as in the entire Kosovo war. According to hospital staff and witnesses that Avaaz has spoken to, Syrian security forces have been using hospitals and Red Crescent vehicles to arrest, kill and torture dozens of pro-democracy protesters and detain doctors, blatantly defying international law.

Shamefully, two weeks ago, Russia led the United Nations Security Council in blocking global action to stop the Syrian regime's slaughter of innocents. Russia recently delivered high-powered weapons to the butchers and has given no sign it intends to stop.

But, right now, the pressure on Assad is mounting -- economic sanctions have left his army under-resourced and exhausted, and the Arab League has given him two weeks to enter negotiations with the opposition leadership. And there are two countries that can make a difference: Turkey, Syria's neighbour and emerging regional power and Germany, who is Russia's second-largest trading partner and traditional intermediary to Russia.

Both Turkey and Germany are sensitive to global opinion and vocally support the Syrian people -- and a strong push from all of us could get them to pressure Russia to stop propping up the regime. Sign the petition now and forward widely -- it will be delivered it to the Turkish and German Foreign Ministers this week:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_horror_in_syria_a/?vl

While some governments are despairing about what to do, Avaaz members are making a real difference in Syria. We've helped push through tough oil sanctions that funded Assad's crackdown -- Syrian activists have told Avaaz staff how crucial this support has been. We've broken the media blackout and worked tirelessly to document disappearances and other crimes, dismantling the regime's lies. Let's keep the flame of hope burning brightly and light the way to a peaceful, democratic Syria.

With hope,

Wissam, Stephanie, Sam, Ricken, Luis, Benjamin, Diego, Carol, Rewan and the whole Avaaz team

SOURCES:

Europeans spar with Russia, China on Syria at UN (Reuters):
http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/10/14/idINIndia-59902020111014

Turkey Steadfast on Syria Sanctions (Al Jazeera):
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/10/2011105134748573461.html

Syria Keeps Pressure On Protesters, Ignores Critics (National Public Radio):
http://www.npr.org/2011/10/16/141240546/syria-keeps-pressure-on-protesters-ignores-critics

Arab League Discusses Suspension of Syria (Wall Street Journal):
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204479504576634931272379572.html

Germany Russia's second largest trading partner (German Foreign Ministry website, in German):
http://www.avaaz.org/german_foreign_ministry

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Knee Deep in the Apocalypse

The caveat: This may be the most important Post I have ever entered into the Transcendence Diaries in its ten year history. There. I said it. [If you want to skip all the literary mumbo jumbo and just get to the nitty gritty of this all important post, then just jump all the way down as far as you can go and read up instead of down. If you enjoy a good introductory set up with your stories, then continue from here]. So let us begin. I know what you're thinking. Well, at least I know what I'm thinking. So let me take that back about what I know or don't know about YOU. But... to me at least, Knee Deep in the Apocalypse was and still is meant to be the title of the next Ed Hale and The Transcendence album. So why then is it being used as the heading of a Transcendence Diaries entry? The answer is simple; and yet not something that I feel encouraged or even comfortable to write about. In fact my hands are shaking slightly as I type these very words we are both now reading.

It happened approximately forty-five minutes ago. We sat down to eat our dinner, and on this rare occasion decided to do so in the media room just so I could watch the Evening News. Princess Little Tree truly is a saint, despite not being recognized as such by the Pope. When I say watch the Evening News I'm not talking about sitting down to watch our favorite channel's news show, as in making a choice to watch either CBS or NBC or CNN et al. I watch them all. Simultaneously. Yep. It's true. Some are live. And some have been taped. (I DVR all of them. Every night. And every day. And then I delete them all. Only to turn around and do the same thing the following day. I know, it must sound twisted. But go with me here for a bit longer...)

Obviously the PBS News Hour is my preferred "favorite"; but in the span of an hour I will take in at least six to nine others. Six to nine different Evening News Hours all at once each and every evening. It's what I do. A method I developed many years ago. It's also just part of my "job;" if you can call "rockstar" a job then you're far more generous than I am. But God bless PLT -- she accepts the fact that we will be bombarded with story after repeated story after repeated story in my quest to "get the big picture;"  slamming down evening news shows like a drunkard slamming shots of cheap scotch after a fall off the wagon.

I look at it this way. If you're going to watch FOX News then you have to watch MSNBC News. The only possible way that FOX News is ever going to come close to being "Fair and Balanced" is if one watches MSNBC at the exact same time. And vice versa. Put them together and you have a Fatboy Slim style mash up of the best and worst of far right and left partisan viewpoints. Meaning that somewhere in between the two lies the unbiased truth. And let us allow that using the word "News" here in this context is obviously more than generous, because let's face it: neither FOX nor MSNBC have ever really been "news" channels). Watching MSNBC without watching FOX is just as bad as the crusty old rocking chairs who only watch FOX. And of course the same goes for the necessity to watch the three Major Network News shows AND Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" for the same very reason. If one ONLY watches Democracy Now, they are going to get one hell of liberally skewed and biased view of the world, albeit a more compassionate one than FOX or most others for sure. But still, my goal is not to become aligned or indoctrinated by any one point of view or another. My goal is to observe ALL points of view so as to get a better understanding of where humanity as a whole is headed.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hanging Tough

Wish I had more time for this. But that's part of the problem with tough times isn't it? We don't have enough time for anything. Except for work. Or not. Times can get so tough that we can't even afford the time it takes to work. Unless we're out of a job .Which means we are working harder on trying to find a job than we would be working if we had a job. But that's just tough times talk re work or no work. But times can get much tougher than that. Much tougher. Indeed that's exactly where we are right this very second. So when it comes to not having enough time, it's an understatement. Forget about "not having enough free time." We're talking "not having ENOUGH time. Period. Forget about "free time."

Friends call or text or email or Facebook. They wanna talk. Wanna hang out. Wanna find out if you have some time. I try explaining that we don't have any free time. Don't have enough time period. But I can tell they don't realize what we're talking about. That we literally don't have any time. As in none. Zero. As in even if I keep up this same pace of working around the clock 24/7 and don't stop except to sleep (yes that means working while you eat, working while you're in the bathroom (on your iPhone), and working every other waking minute of the day from six am to one am the next day, that we will still not be working fast enough to keep up with all the work that is being thrown at us.

The King calls or texts every now and then. He wants to schedule appointments to talk. Rather than just texting a hello that could then yield a pretty decent two to five minute conversation that could at least keep us communicating, he only texts to try to arrange "an appointment to talk." Which of course there's just no way I can guarantee I can keep. Not with what we have going right now. And he also refuses to use Facebook. Which is dumb because part of my job is staying on Facebook 24/7, so there's a damn good chance that if he really wanted to talk to me all he'd have to do is jump on Facebook and grab me. We could at least share a few sentences back and forth.

Craiger's much better about it. He gets it. He texts whenever he has a second. We communicate thru whatever means necessary in order to keep the fire of our friendship together. We text good morning. We text good night. It's gay, sure. But it also helps us stay in touch as well as offers us a minimal but still impactful amount of the support we derive from friendships. 

Spoke with Father Bloopy this morning. Both of us work at and own a company together, along with a few other people. And even with that, we go weeks and weeks without actually speaking in person. The rapid pace at which we work necessitates that we communicate with one another primarily thru email, Twitter, Facebook, or texting. We don't question it. It's just the nature of our lives right now. This morning we were both celebrating and complaining about how busy we've become. Yes of course it's good news. And at the same time yes of course it's terribly frustrating to be working 24 hours a day and not even have time to spend any QT with your friends or family or wife etc. To feel guilty when you take the time to shower or eat dinner with the family as opposed to at the office. Truth.

But more to the point, I told Bloopy that it wasn't just that we're busy here in the West Coast office with work. That every time he sees an email or a text from me or Princess Little Tree regarding "work" it should be viewed as a miracle. Because in addition to the 24/7 seven days a week work grind, we are also: still recovering from a devastating miscarriage that turned into a medical nightmare that is still going on now, two months later, in the process of a legal battle with our leasing company for our apartment in Manhattan and are being threatened with eviction for no apparent or stated reason, reconciling the fact that and trying our best to help my mom who is about to have to file bankruptcy and short sell her house, our family house! Horrible. Not to mention the constant battle over this strange illness I contracted eight months ago which refuses to go away. So it's doctors doctors doctors all the time -- either for her, or for me. Five minutes without wearing this Scopolomine patch behind the ear and I'm in the bathroom puking followed by passing out cold for an hour or more from the headache and dizziness that go along with it. No one can figure it out. Next up are the MRIs and the catscans of my brain. That's our last resort. We've been to them all, doctors that is. No one can tell us anything. Of course there's also the fact that financially we are way in over our heads like most people and on the verge of the unspeakable -- so the only thing we can do is work hard and fast in an attempt to try to improve things as quickly as possible.

And all of the above? That's just the "super hard challenging stuff." That's not mentioning the kids, the dogs, the mail, the office, planning and rehearsing the upcoming tours, the seven hour flights back and forth between New York and Seattle, the upkeep of the houses. Life itself is busy enough. Throw all these other things into the fire and you've just lit half the northern hemisphere with the golden blaze you've created.
So yeah, times are way more than tough. And that means we are way more than "too busy to have any free time". I go to sleep at 2 AM in order to sneak some more work time in after everyone in the house goes to sleep. By 6 AM I am awake, wide awake, my mind buzzing a million miles an hour, thinking, brainstorming and strategizing all these different crises we have in our lives right now. It's impossible to fall back to sleep when dealing with any one of the above mentioned problems, let alone all of them at once. My head just gets so wired and scrambled that I have to jump up and head to the office to try to improve or fix things.

But how DO we handle life when it looks like this? When you don't have enough time to pay attention to your personal life because your professional life is too busy; but your personal life is so fucked up and filled with crises that you don't have enough time to pay attention to your professional life. What DO you do?

You hang tough. That's what you do. You put everything and anything that you can off for a while in order to battle each and every one of these fuckers till they're dead and buried. You wake up earlier and you go to bed later. You do nothing but work. Around the clock. You also do a lot of praying. Remembering the old adage that God doesn't give you anything that he doesn't think you can handle. Which means you trust. And you have faith. And you don't give up. And you fight like there's tomorrow. You keep your eyes on the prize, look at the bigger picture, realize that "this too shall pass" and one by one, layer by layer, you bring down the beasts that haunt you. And in the end you become a stronger person by having to fight for yourself and fight for your family and always believe that you're going to come out winning.

Of course if you're like us, you also most likely possess a giant arsenal full of useful tools such as Avatar, Abraham, the Sedona Method and Tony Robbins. I still to this day just don't get the people out there in the world who refuse to take continued education in self-empowerment courses that are used and proven to work by millions of people and offer nothing less than "a better and easier ride through life." You see, it's not that you aren't going to encounter any problems or challenges in your life... you will. We all do. That's life. But it's how you handle those problems and challenges. THAT's the key to living the life of your dreams. It means that life may throw you a few curve balls, or even a few dozen, sometimes all at once! But you know without a shadow of a doubt that not only will you survive these life challenges, you will THRIVE.  

I told Princee the other day that "i have absolutely no doubts that we will get through each and every one of these challenges, no matter how insurmountable they seem in the moment." And this is the truth. I've experienced life blowing up in my face and crapping all over me. But I've never let it get me down or hold me down. I hang tough. I keep my attitude one of gratitude. For things could always get a lot worse. And so I am grateful as hell that this is all we are experiencing; and for all the numerous blessings that God and life are throwing our way. Believe it or not, with everything we are going through, I still feel like we blessed beyond measure. And to me that is hanging tough. Life will always have its challenges. But it's how we deal with them that determines how successful and happy we are. Or not.

If I were a betting man, which I'm not, I would surely bet that despite how many problems and crises we are presently dealing with, we are still going to continue becoming more and more successful and more and more happy. If YOU are reading this and have experience with life throwing you curve balls the size of coconuts and the explosive power of hand grenades, you already know about what I speak. More power to you. And more power to us. If YOU are reading this and are experiencing similar challenges in your own life, trust me when I say that there is absolutely nothing that can happen to you that is stronger than we are as conscious human beings. You hang tough too. And I'll see you on the other side of this mess.
Peace love truth art beauty and happiness,
Fishy

Thursday, October 06, 2011

When it rains it pours...

Where to start....? Woke up to a series of "good news" items so nearly overwhelming that the moment was hard to believe. First off, speaking of waking up, I am currently in Seattle, Washington. No big deal right? We've got two homes, East Coast and West Coast. No problem. Except for the fact that besides the fact that my entire band and staff live on the East Coast, so too do most of the innumerable companies who work with and for us. None of us have any idea truly just how many companies and various consultants and publicists and consultants are involved in "working a new campaign." The figure is mind boggling. The bigger you get and the further you go the more people need to be signed on to help the campaign. And so it is that 99.9 % of them all live and work on the East Coast. All except for one that is. Our UK publicist. They of course reside in the UK. So... Where does that leave yours truly? Somewhere between dead tired and exhausted. East coast is three hours ahead of us here in rainy but beautiful Seattle. Which means that in order to jump on it early enough to be alive and ready to rock by 9:00am EST I've got to wake up at 5:00am. Only problem is that foe the last twenty years my mind heart soul and body have been staying awake till and going to bed around 2 to 3 am. Tough? Nah... More like BRUTAL. Combine that wretchedness with a sensible desire to communicate regularly with our UK and European publicity team I need to either stay awake till midnight in order to catch them at 9am their time just as they're hitting the office, or wake up, yet again, around 5 or 6 am at the latest in order to have a chance to spend a mere hour or so with them before they leave for the day. I often begin my communiques to them in my bathrobe freezing my tail off asking them "Whats the future look like guys?" An hour brainstorming reviewing and strategizing with them, it's time to jump over to begin working with all the companies and people on our east coast team. Sure they're awake aware alive and feeling fine. Showered coffeed breakfast'd maybe even lunched. Me? I'm still seeing the dead darkness of early early morning outside my windows. The strategy sounded perfect when we finally came up with one. I go to bed way earlier than I'm used to, then wake up at 5:00 am and work like a dog knowing that I'm racing that clock turning 2:00 pm because 2pm here = time to go home time for them. Then another hour or two of work and Im supposed to take a nap around 3 or 4 pm to catch up on all the lost sleep and just make sure that I'm up and refreshed in time for dinner at 7 with the fam. Only problem is that by the time you've worked yourself into a mad frenzy attempting to accomplish everything everyone has requested of you that day or the day before, you're just too wired to go lie down and "take a nap." Sometimes it's inevitable and unstoppable. As in by 1:00 pm I'm cross-eyed exhausted and passed out dead on my feet. Yep, it's hard. And no I'm still not accustomed to "going to bed early," as this new blog post illustrates. So... Where were we? Yes that's right. A droopy eyed morning full of heaps of good news. Current single "New Orleans Dreams" has not only managed to break into the Top40, but it's jumped up to #33. This is no less than ten times more incredible unbelievable and exciting from this end than it may appear from the outside. Let's not fuck around and kid ourselves here. I've been recording music and touring since I was 17 years old and have yet to have a bonafide Billboard Hot 100 hit song. Right now "New Orleans Dreams" as it stands does still not qualify for that coveted success story. The song needs go all the way to #1 on it's current chart and then dominate yet another and then and only then will it have a chance to hit the Billboard Hot 100. Yet after more years than I'd ever publicly admit to being in the business this is the closest we've ever come. And it feels AMAZING. In addition there were three different magazine interview requests waiting and the announcement that "new Orleans dreams" was headed towards the charts of another radio format, Triple A. Think Jack Johnson or Fleet Foxes on a good day at a good radio station. That's what Triple A sounds like. It's a damn good bit of news. Of course we could head right into the countless problems encountered today -- as everyday in thr music business when you're sn artist on a small indie record label. But why bother talking about the two different singles and albums that are due by Friday of this week to different companies but were under ordered in the first place and now have to be rushed in order to be made in time to hit all the different deadlines. Nor shall we speak of my beautiful wife who is generous in spirit and kind to a fault and the near nervous breakdown meets meltdown she dramatized this morning over "being overwhelmed by how impossibly chaotic this business is and overworked we all are despite having all the help in the world from all these various companies on boars trying to make things easier and flow smoother for me and this totally unexpected string of recent successes we've been experiencing the last few months. Even if every single one of us involved in these campaigns and careers stayed awake 24/7 and worked nonstop we would still just barely scratch the surface of all the tasks that are due or overdue. It is for lack of a better series of words an utterly complete and chaotic nightmare. And we're on the plus side of the equation right now. We're winning bigtime right now in every arena. If we only had a moment of free time this would surely be a time to go out and celebrate. But we don't. So we won't. But what we will keep doing is working at it. Dreams do come true. You just need the perseverence and resilience to realize the dreams. That's the payoff. Everyday now is a "pinch me" day. But speaking of dreams fulfilled... IT happened today. The unthinkable. Late in the day, though three hours earlier than east coast time, we learned that renegade visionary and sometimes tyrant Steve "his Holiness" Jobs passed away today. The news hit me so suddenly casually and intensely that I found myself during the first few hours after hearing it that I couldn't even go there. I just kept working. Trying not to think about it. Today, a day like any other, will in the years and decades to come will mark the end of an era. Like BC and AD before it, BS and AJ will stay with many of us until our own eventual passing. Twitted crashed more times than can be counted due to the endless outpouring of Tweets running through it's system heralding the news and mourning the loss of who some call one of the most important Americans in human history. And that's a damn impressive group of people to compete with. Yes it's ironic that the majority of human civilization heard about and shared the information of Jobs' passing on a device that he himself invented and introduced to the world. And again yes I believe that a few took it a bit too far when comparing the passing of Steve to the assasination of Martin Luther King. But surely Stevo passing will mean more to more people on planet earth in years to come than if almost any US president died, except maybe JFK; the importance of which lies more at the feet of the circumstances of his death than to anything to do with his noble yet few accomplishments. The passing of Steve Jobs leaves rhe world devoid of one of it's greatest thinkers and visionaries of all time. Those are big shoes to fill. And thus, we all know that they will never be filled. New shoes will have to be invented entirely. And that precisely that is why we will miss Jobs so much. He was a genius at inventing new shoes to fill that the majority of people on earth didn't even know needed filling. Like Einstein or Edison before him, our entire world has been transformed, for better or worse some would argue, in ways we never even dreamt possible. Out of all the hundreds of thousands of things that were said today about the early and sudden passing of Steve Jobs, one stuck with me more than any other: "When we look at the incredible amount of life transforming inventions that came from this man and his company over the last thirty years, it makes you wonder what he would have come up with over the next thirty had he stayed alive." That was an incredibly insightful observation. And from what I know it came from Anderson Cooper. Of course we will never know. And neither will Steve. At least not a here on earth Steve. But it is at the very least a fascinating subject to contemplate. What more really can be said? Except, God will we miss him.