Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pena que el ay bendito es para la gente y no la isla

En una isla tan linda como la nuestra, frustra ver lo poco que la gente la quiere. Desde súper compañías que desechan todo en caños, desembocaduras de río y nuestras playas hasta el individuo que encuentra demasiado difícil aguantar una bolsita de Frito Lay hasta llegar a un zafacón. Diciéndolo de la manera más simple posible, es que da pena lo puerco que somos.

Desde el más riquitín hasta el más pobre, todos hemos pecado de alguna manera u otra a llevar el mensaje de contaminación directo al ambiente. Nuestras playas llenas de basura. Botellas, latas, bolsas, vasos plásticos, lámparas, tampones, neveras y hasta carros. Menciona la chatarra que se te ocurra y es muy probable que la gente lo deposite en el receptáculo más inmediato… el piso.

Lo cómico es que esta misma gente es la que se queja que nuestra isla está hecha un vertedero. Lo cómico es que ellos se quejan del papel que está en el piso, pero no se doblan a recogerlo. Lo cómico es que esto no es nada cómico y que el verdadero chiste somos nosotros, que tanto puño al pecho nos damos, pero no podemos abrir las manos para recoger nada.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Listy Time: 21 Bass Salute Part two- Top 10

10. Paul McCartney (The Beatles)

If you need a definition of who Paul McCartney is, you have probably lived under a rock for too long. One of the Fab 4, Sir Paul’s contributions to the Beatles is as obvious as anything. As a song writer, as a singer and most definitely as a bass player. He helped push the instrument to a whole other direction and if you don’t believe that, well you don’t listen to rock.

Highlight Tracks: All of Revolver, Taxman, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Come together.

9. Sting (the Police)

Mix rock, new wave and ska and you have what are the basic ingredients of the music produced by The Police. But behind that rather bland description, you have three of the most talented musicians at the end of the 70’s making music that made headlines and changed the face of rock. Though far and above the most unique instrument in the Police’s arsenal shall forever be Sting’s voice, the rhythm he and Stewart Copeland maintained was downright awe inspiring. Funky, groovy and tight, that was their law and that is why they are one of the premier power trios in the history of music.

Highlight Tracks: Roxanne, Walking in your Footsteps, So Lonely, Next to you, Demolition Man, Spirits in a Material World, Canary in a coal mine

8. Justin Chancellor (Tool)

All members of Tool are freaks. Justin Chancellor is no exception being a very, very, very gifted instrumentalist that has helped put Tool on the map as “that band that plays too good”. Though Justin’s talents are not as freakishly freaky as Danny Carey’s, his contributions to the rhythm of the band, his inventive playing, and the sheer dreary beauty of the aural landscape he paints with the bass are more than enough reason to pay much respect.

Highlight Tracks: Schism, Wings for Marie Pts 1 and 2, Right in Two, Forty Six and 2, Aenima, Pushit

7. Jack Bruce (Cream)

Before the implosion of Cream, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker produced some of the best music known to rock. A talented bass player and a hell of a singer, Bruce was never modest and he really didn’t have to be, because when you’re that good and you influence that many people, you get Carte Blanche to do whatever it is you want to do.

Highlight Tracks: Sunshine of Your Love, White Room, I Feel Free, NSU, Swlabr, We’re Going Wrong

6. Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

What bass player list is complete without the mention of Flea in the Top 10? When it all comes down to the wire, the magic between Flea and his band mates stems often enough from his groove. Seriously, what would Anthony Kiedis’ riffs be without the funky combustion of Flea pushing him along the way in unison. I’m not saying Flea is Red Hot Chili Peppers, but I will say that The Chili Peppers without Flea would be lacking a whole lot of Red Hot.

Highlight Tracks: Danny California, Give it Away, Hump De Bump, Around the World, The Power of Equality, Blood Sugar Sex Magik

5. Geddy Lee (Rush)

Power, melody, dynamics and more power. That’s Geddy Lee’s bass playing summed up in 4 words. And power does count as two. With a career spanning over three decades, the tight riffs keep on coming and the entire band, though aging, shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. Sure you might have complaints of his singing voice, but last I checked, not a single person complained about his bass playing.

Highlight Tracks: Driven, YYZ, 2112, Anthem, Bastille Day, Closer to the Heart, La Villa Strangiato, New World Man

4. John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin, Them Crooked Vultures)

Everything about Led Zeppelin is epic in scale. There was no such thing as a weak link in the band and John Paul Jones helped make some of the best rock music known to humankind. That said, Jimmy Page is widely considered one of the best guitarists of all time… and I agree, but he was able to be that good because holding down the fort was the two man army of John Paul Jones and Jon Bonham. Great groove, powerful playing and excellent all around. Now he plays with two of modern rocks elite in Them Crooked Vultures, and decades after Led Zepplin truly played their career Coda, he’s still showing kids how it’s done.

Highlight Tracks: Trampled Under Foot, Dazed and Confused, Elephant, Black Dog, Caligulove

3. Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel)

One damn fine user of the Chapman Stick and inventor of the Funk Fingers, Tony Levin’s contributions to all things bass are simply astounding to behold. Playing in King Crimson, you can’t help but marvel at the sound that band makes and at the contributions of Maestro Levin. As if that weren’t enough, he’s probably helped Peter Gabriel be as big as he is by giving Gabriel’s sonic landscapes the touch of a master.

Highlight Tracks: Anything with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel or Liquid Tension Experiment

2. Les Claypool (Primus)

Les Claypool is officially one of the craziest musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. Rhyming like a crazy guy from the bayou, he also one of the greatest bass players of all time. There’s always that debate whether Metallica didn’t hire him because he was too good, or because he was too out there. I for one just think that he was both. To try and describe him, imagine a Seussian acid trip expressed through a bass, then put the tape at full speed. If you need something a little less cryptic, just consider this one of the most talented and inventive musicians I’ve ever heard.

Highlight Tracks: Southbound Pachyderm, Jerry Was a Race Car Driver, Mr. Krinkle, my Name is Mud, Fish On, Over the Electric Grapevine

1. John Entwhistle (The Who)

When you have Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon as band mates, you really don’t have to, and probably shouldn’t move that much. The Ox was never a jumping bean on stage like Flea or other people on this list. He just stood there and proceeded to rip the crap out of his bass, changing the way people see the bass and refusing to just be a simple member of the rhythm section. What people don’t know is that there is a reason why he didn’t move that much on stage and it’s actually pretty basic… When you’re a force of nature, nothing can move you.

Highlight Tracks: 5:15, Boris the Spider, Dr. Jimmy, Water, My Generation

Obligatory Top of the Charts mention:

Jaco Pastorious

I did not include Jaco on this list because it’s almost unfair to include him on a list with other humans. A jazz bass player that had everyone scratching his head with what he was doing, Jaco showed the world what it would sound like if God or the Devil picked up a bass and played… the curious thing is that often times it sounded as if there was a bit of both thrown into the mix.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Listy Time: 21 Bass Salute Part one - 21-11

When it comes to bands, the most sorely overlooked member of rock is and shall always be the bass player. The thing is that you can be a real crappy bass player and still have a job. Just ask the troll looking guy from the Goo-Goo Dolls. To be honest, it’s one of the more thankless jobs in music because the strings are thicker, the sound is not as obvious as a guitar and just because you sometimes have two less strings, you’re not taken as seriously. But when you listen to great players and you educate your ear, things change quite a bit and you start discerning the crap from the good from the elite. Here’s my list of elite bass players that for some reason or another have taken it up quite a few notches in my ear canals.

21. Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden)

In the debate of who was the best band of the 90’s, one of the forerunners has always been Soundgarden. You just can’t be that good without calling attention to yourself. But far from being a one man show, Soundgarden proved that great musicians don’t need to overshadow each other and can actually collaborate. With the voice known as Chris Cornell, the off time greatness of Matt Cameron and Kim Thayill’s screeching guitars, there was one solid bass player that demanded attention for his skill and for the fact that his bass swung almost to his shins. Ben Shepherd was never a show stealer. Far from it actually. He was understated, looked pissed 24/7 and is massively talented. If you don’t believe me, sit down and really listen to Down on the Upside, you’ll thank me later for reminding you how good it is.

Highlight Tracks: Zero Chance, Ty Cobb, Burden in my Hand, Jesus Christ Pose

20. Nick Olivieri and Scott Reeder (Kyuss)


Stoner rock is not something new. It’s been around since the 70’s with crazy bands like Ash Ra Temple, Eloy, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, etcetera. In comes Kyuss in the 90’s and therein you have one of the greatest bands no one knows about. Large part of the desert stoner rock sound in this band came from the guitar licks of Maestro Josh Homme and the blues cringe of John García, not to mention that their jam sessions were held in the middle of the desert with generators. While Brandt Bjork nailed it all down with some great drumming, Nick Oliveri and Scott Reeder gave the music great part of its desert flavor. When Kyuss passed to the great beyond, Nick then had a stint in Queens of the Stoneage until his destructive ways got the best of him. For his part, Scott later formed part of other unknown bands, but the work on Kyuss though brief is still epic.

Highlight Tracks: Demon Cleaner, Hangin’ Tree, Green Machine, One Inch Man, Hurricane

19. John Deacon (Queen)

Once you scroll down the list it might even seem silly to put John Deacon here but humor me and try to mention two bass lines that are more memorable than Another One Bites the Dust and Under Pressure. He wasn’t a powerhouse of a bass player, he just knew how to lay down a solid riff that got your ass moving. Advantage, Deacon.

Highlight Tracks: Another One Bites The Dust, Under Pressure, I want to break free

18. Adam Clayton (U2)

While The Edge and Bono shall forever be the show stealers (well except in the last album), Adam Clayton shall always be part of the oh-so-solid bedrock for that band that starts with a U. In the last album especially I was impressed with Clayton’s work and he’s been solid for the entire run of the band. You just don’t notice because the other two pretty much suck up all things limelight. But rest assured, beneath the effects laden wall of The Edge and Bono’s theatrics, there be a damn fine bass player keeping it all together.

Highlight Tracks: With or Without You, Magnificent, Get on your Boots

17. Simon Gallup (The Cure)

Simon Gallup is one of those bass players whose main calling card shall forever be the way they tune their instrument. Simply put, pretty much no one else sounds like Simon and he has always been instrumental in giving the Cure’s best music its signature sound.

Highlight Tracks: Anything from Pornography, Bloodflowers, 17 Seconds or Disintegration.

16. Jeff Ament (Pearl Jam)

When you think of Pearl Jam, you think of Eddie Vedder. But when you’re a psychotic fan that owns as much music from them as possible, you love the entire band for their talent and for never being complacent with themselves or the audience. It’s one of the few bands that really does away with what’s popular and does what it wants. Each member is integral to the flavor of the band and you just have to see how much the sound changes from album to album especially when they change drummers. But Jeff has done a great job of sitting in with 4 drummers and always going above and beyond the call of duty, bringing out the upright bass, knowing when to hold back and knowing when to rip shit up.

Highlight Tracks: Jeremy, Hail Hail, Daughter, God’s Dice, Indifference, My Tree, I’m Open, Army Reserve, Save You, Once, Why go, Black, Porch, Garden, Go, Rats, Faithful, All those yesterdays

15. Chris Squire (Yes)
Yes is not everyone’s cup of tea, because not everyone can handle 15 minute songs with 3 solos and lyrics inspired by a Tolkien acid trip. I’m not one of those people and actually enjoy the tea because unlike some other prog rock bands, you really get a sense that these guys are defined by the music they play and that they love their job. Among all the great musicians that have played for this band though, Chris Squire stands well above for being one of the most enduring members, and just for being that superior in his instrument. Fast, precise, inventive, pounding. All of these adjectives and more are no match for how good this guy really is. So if you can stomach the Middle Earth goodness, by all means, check out anything from their catalogue.

Highlight Tracks: The entire Yes discography

14. Colin Greenwood (Radiohead)

Greatness by any measure is not something easily chanced upon. Radiohead is a great band and it has achieved a level of success that’s incredible since it’s such an organic band in the sense of the word. Everyone contributes, and though Thom is the centerpiece, each and every member of Radiohead brings their A game to every single track. Colin is not the exception and without any one member, they are a lesser band… and they know it.

Highlight Tracks: Air Bag, ‘Packt Like Sardines', Planet Telex

13. Mike Inez (Alice In Chains)

This is a very personal selection simply because if I ever played bass, I’d want more than a couple of songs to sound like Mike Inez. Honestly, the tuning he has on his bass is rich, deep, and just resonates with what I think a bass should sound like most times. Is he the most versatile player I’ve ever heard? Of course not, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t one of my favorites.

Highlight Tracks: Nutshell, Rotten Apple, No Excuses, Heaven Beside You, I Stay Away

12. Aston Barrett (Bob Marley)

Quite honestly, Bob Marley would have been pretty big even without his rhythm band… or so we’d like to think. The reality is that behind one of the most iconic voices in music, there was a tremendous band and a key figure in the music was the Family Man Aston Barrett. In basic terms, good reggae needs great bass lines and there’s no way around it for me. Luckily for us, the dub was full on, Bob was given onto the world and even the uneducated know who the Wailers were. That’s thanks in large part to father Marley’s greatness, the confidence he had with an epic band watching his back, and a dub line that let him express his soul.

Highlight Tracks: Exodus, Stir It Up, Get Up Stand Up, Jamming, Buffalo Soldier

11. Mike Watt

When a normal person sees a bass, they see a thick heavy guitar with two strings missing. When Mike Watt sees a bass, he sees a weapon for mass destruction. To sum it up succinctly, if you want to know just what you can do with a bass, look up Mike. He’ll educate you and then some.

Highlight Tracks: his work with the Minutemen, FIREHOUSE or solo… just listen to the guy.

Listy Time Intro

In the great tradition of overanalyzing things and making pretentious lists as if they were anywhere official, I’ve compiled a series of lists that I’ll be jotting down in the coming days. From music, to movies, to people you’d like to marry... Call this the semi Olympics of lists. Feel free to opine, disagree, comment and let yourself be heard.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Every single action has a butterfly effect

Just in case you’re wondering, the title of this post isn’t a fact, but it is a rule that you may want to live by. Regarding people’s actions, it’s amazing to see how many people simply don’t take into account the repercussions of any of their actions. I’m not talking about pulling the trigger of a gun, robbing a bank or something as terrible as throwing a grenade at a gas station. I’m talking about the little things in life that people take for granted and simply choose to ignore rather than address.

If you want simple tangible examples, you don’t have to go very far. Just get in your car and you’ll see what I mean. People texting and driving, talking while going in reverse in their car, drinking hot coffee, picking their nose or screaming at a member of their family. These are just five examples I came up with in less than four seconds so imagine how many things you can think of if you really put your mind into it.

“Ok, so what’s the big deal with any of those examples?” you may ask. Ok, let’s take each one, analyze and see possible outcomes.

1. Texting and driving: it’s stupid, it’s retarded and yet a lot of us do it because we live in the age of multitasking. Call it ego or being too bored with putting your entire attention span to driving, but people text and drive and here are some possibilities that stem from doing this act. First one, you can crash. You send a text while driving, don’t see that the car in front of you stopped and you hit it. Pretty simple and quite common. Thing is if it’s an angry text or a sexy one, odds are that your body reacts in certain non verbal ways that you don’t necessarily take into account while clicking away. Namely that you tense up and possibly press on the accelerator more than you have to. Second off, since your brain is divided, you’re not all there when writing the message so you may send the wrong message while writing since you’re not all in it. Then there’s typos and it can be something simple, or you may call the person by another name (not making that one up and that little mistake almost cost the relationship because the whole infidelity thing came into play). So that’s you, but what if you texting reminds someone that they have to text someone else? Great. Now we have two multitaskers adding blades to their juggling set. Ok so what if someone who’s not texting sees this? They may not care, but they might get infuriated which takes their attention from the car in front and voila, another crash in record time. And this is just thinking for less than two minutes about this example.

2. Talking while going in reverse in your car. Yet again we have a case of an overachieving multitasker. In case you’re wondering, I’m not even referring to people who drive and talk. I’m talking about the people who get into the car and insist on calling someone up while putting the car in reverse. To sum it up simply, your visibility will be shot, you won’t take into account all of your surroundings, you can crash and what’s more, there’s 32% probability you’ll drop your phone and your call. By the way, holding the phone with your shoulder and head prompts unwanted button presses etc. As if that weren’t enough, you are probably setting yourself up for a nice case of torticollis AKA wry neck. Fun times.

3. So what about drinking hot coffee while driving? Two words for you: burnt genitals.

4. And picking your nose? Well unless you think it’s sexy to let people know you keep a collection of nose nuggets in the arm rest of your car, I’d choose the option of waiting for home, unless it’s mandatory that you pick that sucker.

5. As for screaming to your family, well maybe it’s better you do that so people know who lurks behind the façade.

The point is that I just took five casual and everyday occurrences and showed that each one has its own set of repercussions. Now think of every time you hit your keyboard, every time you call someone an asshole, every time you spit gum on the sidewalk or street, that can you tossed on the floor, that call you didn’t make, that vote you didn’t cast and you realize that every single one of our actions has repercussions of varying degrees and some results will probably surprise you since you didn’t think what you did mattered. After all, it’s just one in six billion right? Well that’s exactly the attitude that leads to complacency, mediocrity, and disharmony.

So next time you are about to do something that doesn’t matter, think twice because it does matter and you can make a difference if you only give a damn.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Waves are my support group

At my most joyous, my saddest, my most frustrated and at my most serene, nothing has been there longer for me than the ocean except my mother. Equal parts mistress, best friend, lover, confidante and reality check, the ocean has treated me like a sea side cliff. It’s had its hand into shaping the way I am, the way I see life and all the existential ponderings that came natural to me after almost drowning twice.

But through it all, the scrapes, bruises, spankings and close calls, the ocean has always been there for me. It’s the place where I can truly see how many voices are rambling in my brain as I soothe and sort the chatter to get back to balance. Ask most any surfer and they’ll tell you that at least once, surfing has helped them cope with some traumatic situation in life. In my case, it’s been a couple of times and it’s been more than just a few issues.

To be brutally honest, if it weren’t for surfing, writing and music, I’d have cracked a long time ago. Instead I’m able to channel energies in different lights so as not to damn the emotional well that is my soul.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Se le fue el Kayak

Pensando libremente, sin presiones políticas, opiniones imperialistas ni intereses económicos, a la verdad que me parece que Tito Kayak debería coger un buche, tomar unas vacaciones y dejar de ser un roba cámara. Hace un tiempo ya me está que más que nada, es por fama que hace sus protestas. Ya el mensaje que pudo haber tenido en algún momento se ha evaporado. Porque si fuese por hacer una diferencia, ¿dónde estuvo el querido Kayak al derramarse petróleo a las costas de Cabo Rojo? ¿Dónde está Tito reclamando los derechos de las mujeres y los homosexuales que son tan boricuas como él y que sufren abusos a cada esquina? ¿Dónde estaba el prócer Tito cada vez que un hospital vertía desperdicios biológicos en fuentes fluviales y caños?

Bien simple. Estaba lejos de esos verdaderos problemas porque no tienen la atención del público y por ende, no vale su tiempo ya que no le dan esos titulares que tanto atesora. ¿Hay una huelga? ¿Hay un paro nacional? ¿Suben el precio del Teodoro Moscoso? Pues ahí está él porque eso sí es noticia y eso sí vale la pena. ¿Están haciendo un hotel que está aprobado? Pues vamos a reclamar que derrumben el edificio y cien otras cosas que no hacen sentido y le quitan credibilidad a personas que sí aman esta isla.

Por esto no me refiero a los independentistas, macheteros y compatriotas de la República de la Universidad de Puerto Rico que con sus barbas mal atendidas, ojos de yerba buena y camisas del Ché opacan a los estudiantes que si tienen el deseo de obtener lo mejor por sus compañeros y tienen dos dedos y medios de frente en un intento fútil de combatir el .35 de frente que tiene el resto de los neandertales artísticos, que por cuan creativos se pongan sus mensajes, continúan demostrando que no tienen idea de ni por qué se quejan.

El Kayak saca a relucir lo peor de un independentista. De ser alguien que podía hacer una diferencia, se ha vuelto un Toño Bicicleta de la ignorancia socio política de este país. El problema es que para una verdadera revolución, se requiere acción y verdadera acción. Por acción no me refiero a comprarte un semí, que te pintes de brujo y que proclames la protección de nuestra versión de Pandora después de ver Avatar quince mil veces. Me refiero a salir y votar por los mejores candidatos, me refiero a no ser un puerco y botar la basura donde va y a reciclar cada vez que se presente la oportunidad, me refiero a darle la mano a alguien que necesita ayuda, me refiero a exigir un programa de rehabilitación de adictos en vez de mera relocalización, me refiero a ganarte la vida y no pretender que te la regalen, o peor, que te la bequen aunque no te la merezcas.

Este país tiene problemas que ni botando y aún así estamos mejor que muchos otros sitios y no sólo porque tengamos la libertad de escoger entre Burger King y McDonald’s. Hay problemas de corrupción, hay problemas de educación, hay problemas de información y hay problemas de administración. Hay problemas de todo tipo y lo menos que nos hace falta es que un ridículo se pare sobre un puente reclamando sobre nuestro derecho de no pagar tanto por un peaje.

Me parece que hay problemas más importantes que ese, aunque reconozco que es pura opinión.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If sheep were meant for heaven, call me a goat

I’m not calling for all out revolution. I’m not recommending Anarchy in the US. I’m just saying that having your own opinions and thought patterns wouldn’t be half bad. That the US has a higher voter to viewer ratio on American Idol than on Presidential elections should be a source of worry. Technology advances with leaps and bounds, but human intellect is stunted.

Why read when I can see the movie? That’s pretty much the general attitude of at least half the population, and you know that’s a kind statement. At best, people might have opinions they share on their blogs, but like many church goers, the love of all mankind and respect to one’s brethren ceases as soon as you exit the double doors, get in your car and are faced with the choice of accelerating or letting someone else pass first. That last bit means that people might be righteous online, but in the real world they are a lot tamer.

It’s quite an interesting contradiction: “I want everything for myself except my thoughts. For that I’ll just read my favorite news source, see where people are trending towards and I’ll mold my personality accordingly.”

Sounds like a stretch, but most people seem to behave in that way. Case in point, the worldwide adoration to Avatar. Don’t get me wrong, the movie is super well made, but best movie of all time? Come on. I don’t even consider it the best movie of 2009, much less the 2000’s and certainly not all time. But people still dress up in blue, tickle themselves in their tender places and insist on regurgitating what they were offered as fact instead of opinion. And don’t get me started on the people who learned the Na’vi and were suicidal because they couldn’t live on Pandora. WTF people.

It may be human nature to gravitate towards like minded people, but that isn’t the problem. The problem is that people are treating opinion like an organized religion. They accept all they’re offered without questioning a single point and when they see dissent, they cry witch and get their tar and feathers ready for a lynching. The worst thing about adopting someone else’s opinion is that you can’t change it directly. That’s why it should be your opinion. That’s why you should desist on being a sheep. You don’t have to wage all out war. You don’t need to be a terrorist threat. You just need a brain and the nerve to stand behind what you think.

Otherwise enjoy the grass and the company.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blind Faith: Trusting what’s printed on nutrition labels

People count calories, they compare fat content, they raise an eyebrow at sodium percentages and many shudder at reading the phrase high fructose corn syrup. That’s a good thing because people are reading and comparing and trying to control what they put into their body. There’s only one problem, none of us really know if what we’re reading on a label is really what is in a can, a box, or a bag.

Every single day we put Blind Faith into effect and I don’t mean by putting the Blind Faith album from the 60’s into their stereo or MP3 player of choice. I mean that we trust that something doesn’t have fat, something really is low sodium and that the product we consume doesn’t contain something that could make us sick. It’s not that a cereal box has rat droppings, but who’s to say that a cereal contains what it says on the side of the box. Who guarantees that the salmon we’re eating really isn’t halibut.

Recently a group of students ran DNA* studies on cafeteria food and found that what they were being offered as beef was something else. I won’t get into specifics because the technology is still in development and there are questions to the validity of the results. That being said, what guarantee do we have that it isn’t right, and that instead of beef we’re not eating dog? Truth is we have no idea what we put into our bodies. Sure we read labels, but many are misleading and others go through the traditional routes of saying natural flavor, artificial flavors, but don’t really go into specifics. If you don’t believe me, just read a couple of nutritional labels and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

So next time you’re not feeling too good stomach wise, ask yourself a very simple question… what the hell have I been eating?

(*NOTE: if you want to see an article on what I’m talking about in regards to the DNA food testing, click the title of the post. Not the event I referred to, but scarier, especially if you love sushi.)

Authority was made to be questioned

When you think about the powers that be, public opinion and what’s considered to be normal, one could be quite tempted to simply not accept everything we’re offered as a truth, a given, a more or even a law. Some things are elemental and no brainers and don’t have to be questioned such as heinous crimes or attitudes of a dubious moral nature.

A paradigm by definition requires an overthrow to continue with evolution on pretty much every level, in any industry and in any quasi structure where the norm has been established. It happens with music, it happens with fashion, it happens with art, it happens with religion and it happens with politics.

What’s most interesting is that dissent and the power of breaking a paradigm begins with doubt, questioning, and the use of reason by people who are tuned to a different wavelength, a new zeitgeist if you will. From worshipping mother Earth, we switched to a panel of anthropomorphic deities that more often than not, showed character flaws we could relate to. Then Rome plagiarized the Greek system, changed the names and said it was a new religion. In other parts of the globe, Nordic mythology brought a rich mix of fiction and nature veneration, Zoroastrianism and Islam brought different spins to the Messiah story, Taoism brought a series of beliefs and pagan rituals to the masses, Buddhism ascribed godly attributes to the worldly, Hinduism professes its own series of mores and rules through a richly textured religion, Confucianism and Shintoism offer vastly different ways of seeing life in the same country and that’s without taking into account the beautiful religions from Native Americans, Amazon tribes, African tribes, Eskimos and all other aborigine tribes to explain what is this life we live. And this is just religion and just what we know without taking into consideration something as extensive as the Incan, Mayan and Egyptian religions. But trends have been found and they have changed. Catholicism is fighting tooth and nail to stay as the dominating super power religion while secular trends are trying to bring it down. If history serves as a frame of reference, what this means is that eventually something will replace it.

The same goes for economic systems. Feudalism, monarchies, fifes and capitalism are all wonderful isms for as long as they work to keep the participating parties happy. Politics have the eternal battle of the isms vs democracy. The progress of science is even based on dissenting voices questioning what has been established as knowledge. And as if that weren’t enough, a technological gestalt is pretty much impossible at the rate we’re delivering advances.

What does this hefty intro mean then? Well to quote Dylan: ‘The Times are a changin’. People don’t trust their governments, economic systems are collapsing, a desire to unify the world is in conflict with those who would rather facilitate segregation and knowledge in general has the daunting task of having to convince an ever growing society of cynics that what they’re living is not only normal but that they should be thankful for what they receive.

In this current economic state and even if you hate what you’re doing, it seems you have to be thankful for the cluster rape of work you offer at bargain prices while company magnates expect you to not notice that they have plenty of pie on their face, which they obviously don’t want to share. The debate over what is just and unjust is coming into play and people don’t like the results their observations are offering, and they want an explanation.

Why is it possible that healthcare can put a family on the street? Why do we have to give money to bail out an industry that is based on greed? How can we be expected to trust a government that thrives on backstabbing and scapegoating? Why are the powers that be surprised that we aren’t biting on the red herring? Why are they so scared?

Think, question authority, have an opinion. After all, it is your right... for now.

An obsession with inches: waist vs penis

In a material world such as ours, few measurements have more selling power than the inch. Miles per hour might sell cars through speed and gas efficiency, pounds might sell a variety of nutrition programs and is quite close on the scale to inches, but nothing can compete with the almighty inch. You see, only the inch can be responsible for billions of dollars in sales for fitness, weight loss, penis enlargement, bust reduction or augmentation, height, sexual paraphernalia, food and lord knows what else.

No other measurement is as malleable in its applications to sell. In fitness you can lose fifteen inches from your waist or increase two inches in your biceps. In weight loss, Body Mass Index (BMI) depends on the measurement of your body vs your height and build. In penis enlargement, well it’s self explanatory because rarely if ever will you see anyone want to trim anything from their pole vault. Breasts are another matter altogether because the search for the perfect bust can last several years thanks to the sheer materialistic excellence of plastic surgeons saying less is more and more is just wonderful. For height, heels are sold to varying degrees thanks in part to the size of their heel and size dictates needs, tastes, trends, and personality. Men don’t stray too far behind because often times they need that extra oomph to not look like an overachieving Oompa. In the phallic paraphernalia department it’s similar in concept to some of those mentioned above but the applications obviously differ somewhat since you can literally tailor make your own “best friend” no matter what weird ass pubic pet peeve you may have. As for food? Well Subs and Pizza depend on the almighty inch because remember, a foot long is always shown with a ruler showing twelve inches.

But the obsession over the almighty inch when it comes down to genre is just awe inspiring. If you’re not too keen to accept this hypothesis, then by all means tell me what you think about when I mention 36-24-36. If you’re thinking Power Ball numbers you have a problem. Most likely you’ll think of those fictitious Barbie measurements we’re sold as the ideal and what all women should strive for. If I happen to say 6 to 10 inches, what do you think about? Odds are that something meaty comes to mind, and I’m not talking value menu items.

The funny part is that in the obsession competition, I really don’t know who wins. I’m inclined to say men simply because male enhancement products sell so much, and because I’m pretty sure most men any of us know have measured themselves at least once in their lives, and yes that does include myself because I was a teen and my hormones did rage. But women in their pursuit for beauty do anything to trim their waist line, even if they look worse after losing the weight.

What’s best is that the base reason for the obsession is the same. Call it vanity, self pride, self worth, confidence or what have you; the quest for the perfect inch is something that crosses demographics, religions, boundaries, age, gender, etc. I’m not saying everyone in the whole world is obsessed with inches, but I will go out on a limb and say that most first world countries that don’t have the real problems severely impoverished societies do face have an obsession with what they’re packing around their midsection.

Pretty sad we don’t put the same focus and energy about two and a half feet northward huh? Excuse me, I meant 30 inches north of the mid section.

What the hell is artisan water

In a world where we can literally sell ANYTHING and get away with it, water has become the weapon of choice to reach new heights of idiocy. It wasn’t that long ago when I remember that I could drink water from a garden hose and only have to worry about maybe adding a rubbery hint to my flatulence. But nay, those days are long gone and we are left with a world that has to pay for something that pretty much makes ¾ of our body.

Oh and if you haven’t noticed, business is booming. From Dasani to Naya to Aquafina, Deer Spring, Evian and Fiji water, that little cocktail consisting of two parts hydrogen to one part oxygen sells like hotcakes and just like cars, apparel and neighborhoods, each brand caters to a specific person looking for basic hydration.

If you’re like me, you go to Costco, pick the cheapest brand that doesn’t taste like plasma from a Styrofoam monster and chug away, often refilling from your work’s ample and free water supply. But of course, this isn’t enough for some people and for these little wonders, we came up with artisan water.

In case you’re wondering, artisan water is not made by artists. It is also not the water used to clean brushes between color strokes while painting on a canvas. Just in case, it isn’t water used to make moving pieces of art either. In fact, there is actually no such thing as artisan water. What some people sell as artisan water is actually artesian water, which comes from ground wells dug up. Artisan water is just the trendy name given to the water type just to sell easier and pique intrigue in passersby from around the world.

Which brings me to one more point: just how much are we willing to pay for water in the long run? A bottle of Pellegrino can set you back almost $6 (US) in some places. Fiji water goes upwards of $2 (US) in most places. Dasani sells for $1-$2 depending on your venue and guess what, it’s treated tap water (I say treated because purified this ain’t, and in case you were wondering, Dasani is a made up word). The varying hydro markets shift and change with the greatest of ease and in the end, what do we get? Something that we used to be able to get from the faucet for little or no cost.

So next time your sipping on your premium water of choice, just remember that once upon a time, water, unlike you, was free.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Few things hurt more than listening to Sarah Palin speak

Politicians by nature are filled with crap. Sorry, that's just part of the job description as are empty promises, going against what you really believe to win votes and being an overall hypocrite, though luckily there are a few exceptions. That lovely intro being established, Sarah Palin is one of the few politicians who isn't afraid to be herself. The problem is that herself includes being idiotic, reading scripts worse than George W. Bush and basically tarnishing the image of women in politics, Alaskans, and republicans in general. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Republican loving person in the political sense of the word, but I do think good competition leads to better results hence me wishing upon a star for better GOP representatives because if Democrats will be running the show for a while, I prefer sharp Republicans to force them to do a good job. Actually that's all I really want, you can worship the donkey or the elephant, I could care less, just do your job right.

Back to Palin though.

It seems that every time she decides to open her pie hole, something stupid comes out. From her position on offshore drilling where she pretty much blames environmentalists for the crisis, to calling reporters by made up nicknames. There's being personable and then there's being a jackass. That's you Sarah.

You aren't smart and the simple fact that you're female shouldn't give you a boost because Hillary Rodhman Clinton's great toe is more of a woman than you'll ever be, and she didn't get elected. You're just a dishy soccer mom who caters to religious nuts and conservative freaks that seem to have a short term memory, and forget that white north americans were the first immigrants... they just happened to have better weaponry and diseases.

As for your entire agenda... thanks for the entertainment but I seriously hope people don't take you seriously because if you happen to have a shot, I just might move out of the US. And I mean it this time.

Change of Focus

After some time with this blog I realize that writing on here isn't as easy as any of the other places I write. When I analyze this, the most important thing that comes to mind is that this is my optimistic blog, my happy blog and also the one I don't curse at. Seeing my difficulty with this, I've decided to say one simple thing:

Fuck that.

A blog exists to speak one's mind and mine just happens to be filthy and some other places I write I have complete freedom in content... so it's a bit frustrating to see that I've taken so long to even surpass 50 posts on this blog while I've written hundreds of random things on others. So if anyone is reading, which seems doubtful, rest assured the times are a changin and this blog is going to become quite a vent... so though I may not go with a smile with what I write, I will have the satisfaction of not having a crutch.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

What does faith feel like?

What an utterly fascinating question. It’s almost like trying to effectively describe love. Some people describe love as a warm and fuzzy feeling you might have inside, but think about it, what exactly is a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside? For warm you can think of a soup on a cold day or maybe a shot of brandy as a night cap, or how about a hot shower when you’re still groggy? For fuzzy you think of texture, something completely sensorial; which is funny because you can’t really grasp or touch love. Yes you can feel it, but you can’t touch it.

So when you ask what faith encompasses physiologically, you will get a variety of metaphorical answers that try to explain something that can’t truly be explained effectively. I recently did my Catholic Confirmation, and I think it’s funny that some people have the suspicion that I drank some magic Kool Aid and have suddenly gone all Christ loving. For some reason, saying I’m agnostic consistently gets people thinking I’m atheist. It’s like if I said I were bisexual everyone would think I was gay, because once you suck cock, well, it’s hard to make a case that you are not a one reproductive organ lover. But as with most things with me, it’s not that simple.

I have a Catholic upbringing so that’s my frame of reference to explain something that I don’t get, but I feel. Does that mean I deny my Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim sisters and brothers? Certainly not. I find different religions deeply fascinating, as I do the one I’ve been brought up on. Does that mean I deny my Science loving brothers and sisters? Certainly not. That’s because none of us have any clue as to what’s really going on and why we’re here, but we all have the right to search for answers.

Science and religion have fought since their beginnings pointing a finger at each other and saying each one has the real explanation of why we’re all here, and that is simply bullshit. Being agnostic, I question most things and accept the possibility of most things as well. Do I believe there’s a man in the sky dressed in white robes who gives pieces of delicious tasting bread to people for behaving? No. Do I believe that there is no God and that we are merely products of ribonucleic recombinations, ever adapting to our current environment? No. Reality just isn’t that simple or clear cut, if you ask me.

If you break it all down, one explanation is rational while the other one is emotional. My problems with science stem from the fact that when you control conditions to produce a result, you’re nothing more than a glorified magician. You might have changed your cape and wizard’s hat for a lab coat and notebook, but you’re no different. You’ve just upgraded to fit the times and refined your magic work to convince people of your truths with complicated numbers, charts and calculations. If you wonder how I could say such a preposterous thing, it’s simple. If you accept the words anomaly, probability, and error, you accept that science is flawed. On the other hand, you have religion. Purely emotional and offering some explanations that don’t make a whole lot of sense. But if you simply look at them that way, obviously you won’t see any benefit in either.

Bill Maher is a cynic of the times and though he makes a lot of sense a lot of the time, he can be such a smug prick about his opinions that he doesn’t accept there’s some grey middle ground to be discussed as well. I love how he gets all pissy and preachy when someone has a differing opinion that irks him, because though he can accept arguments on certain topics, he’s quite incisive towards others, especially faith and religion. People have said that for ages religion has been the reason why we’ve had wars and conflicts for as long as we know. I say false.

Before your eyebrow hits the ceiling, hear me out. Religion by itself is harmless, as is science. They are trying to explain something we don’t understand. Some of the things might not make any sense, but we take the answers we’re given until a better one comes along. Just in case, religion hasn’t killed people. Religious people however, now that’s a whole other story. Religious institutions, which are governed by people who use religion for their own ulterior motives, now that’s where evil does reside. Because you take something harmless like a book, let’s call it the bible, and you misquote it to justify some pretty heinous actions and then have the balls to say that God told you to do it. Well let’s put it this way, if you change the character of God for Satan, then a person goes from being divinely enlightened to possessed, and from righteous to villainous, just because you changed one character. But in its essence, it’s still just a book trying to explain what the hell is going on. Is it factual? No. Is it historical? Slightly. Is it the truth? Well exactly WHAT is the truth? It’s just a book and religion is just a set of mores, rules and guidelines to try and get you through your day without stepping on other people’s toes.

Some people might say “But science and technology have come a long way in helping us understand the cosmos?” If that’s so, then why do we underuse our brains? If that’s so, then why do new theories oust old theories? If you want my perspective, it’s simple: data + results do not equal the truth. It equals a possible truth. And if religion was used as the scapegoat to start wars, science and technology developed the means to carry them out. It’s not like people were fighting each other with crosses and hard cover versions of the bible. So which one is worse?

Since I was 13 I’ve had a crisis of all faiths resulting from almost drowning and not seeing a tunnel of light, not feeling a hand pulling me from the depths towards safety. I’ve been thinking and pining over death since I was about 9 and had already lost four close relatives. But does that mean I won’t pray and speak to a higher power I know nothing about? Does that mean I’ll look at scientists and religious people and scoff at their explanations of why we’re here? Simply put, no. I’m not one to judge anyone on their preferred set of explanations. I just try to get something out of everything I come in contact with because it’s always easier to write something off, but it isn’t that easy to see a positive in something that may not make sense. So would I say I’m religious? Not necessarily. Would I say I’m scientific? Not necessarily. For me, a non logical combination of spiritual and rational aspects is more towards my liking… and no, I’m not going to become a Scientologist either.

As for religion, to me it offers examples and issues a set of guidelines. Regarding Catholicism and Christianity, I actually really like the figure of Jesus and his values. From what I’ve read and what you may grasp, he tried to help people, tried to talk sense to them, was the first feminist, accepted lepers, hookers, Moors and Samaritans. He decried institutions and criticized temples that divided and categorized people hierarchically. He invited people to look at themselves before criticizing others and he stuck to his values, even if it meant dying. Now you can speculate whether he was the son of god, a savior, or what have you, but at the very least, you can’t deny that what’s been written has him being a pretty cool cat. He said if you are slapped, offer the other cheek, which I interpret it as saying that it takes two to fight or that if someone loses their cool, it’s up to you to keep the cool (but that’s my interpretation). He was pissed at Pharisees and called them hypocrites because they were more concerned with money, influence and power rather than faith. He also said that whoever looked at their brother and cried fool would face the fires of hell. Now if you take the hell connotation out, it seems like he’s asking people to do something better than to criticize or judge others.

Now do I think all of this is factual and happened as is written? Well I’ll answer a question with a question: Why are there different versions of the bible, why are their scrolls we are not allowed to read and why do we need others to interpret the “word of god”. Why is there even an interpreter or a middle man? Hell, last time I checked, if you played the telephone game with eight people, the message that starts out rarely gets to the end without changing significantly. I think religion is much the same way. True, they try to maintain the tradition and what have you, but time passes, needs arise and greed edits to its own satisfaction, be it science or religion. Honestly speaking, I could just as well quote Star Wars, Fight Club, The Sandman, Dune, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Niebla and Lord of the Rings and some of their characters to show what aspects I resonate with and base my theory of life on.

But to answer the question, what does faith feel like? Well, I have no idea, but if I had to offer a description, it’s that split second when you jump off a ledge, after you took that step and before you begin to freefall where you don’t know what anything is going to feel like, but you have already accepted the direction your going and that in the end, the outcome won’t matter, because you’ll be ok with it if you look at it with an open mind. If you fall to your death, it’s a logical explanation; if you land on a lower ledge, it could be divine intervention or luck; and if you sprout wings and float away, it’s a miracle. The middle explanation is the only one that accepts personal interpretation and offers a choice, whereas the other two lean completely to rational or emotional. What they all have in common is that before the outcome, you took a step and said screw it, what will be will be and the peace in that moment, though brief it may be, is what we may know as faith. It is the happiness of a decision without taking into account the consequence; it is not caring about anything but the moment. It is freedom in its purest form.

Other people describe how faith feels more in tune to the definition of joy, enlightenment, celebration, security, etc. I’ve simply chosen to describe it as peace. Is this the right answer? Instead of replying with, “who knows?” or saying “maybe”, I ask another question: “why care?”

Draft your definition, edit as you see fit and be happy if you find an answer that makes even the slightest bit of sense for you.

Hope this perspective in some way helps anyone reading in their quest to find a definition.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Random things that make you smile

In the spirit of doing lists, here's a list of things that make me smile:

Waking up and not feeling tired.

Having your bath or shower water be the perfect temperature.

Waking up refreshed and realizing you still have three hours to sleep.


A message in your voice mail box that makes you laugh instead of just informing.

A real letter in your mailbox.

An email that isn't a forward.

Finding that song that has eluded you for months or even years.

Getting something free in a restaurant you go to all the time because they know you by name.

Having an old friend over for dinner.

Seeing someone in your local book/music/department store and hanging out for the entire afternoon or evening.

Being able to snuggle with your dog.

Having your nephew say your name for the first time.

Drinking or eating something you've been wanting for months.

Smelling something that reminds you of something from when you were eight.

Seeing someone from your youth who has matured and become a much better person.

Finding that candy that you used to eat when you were in sixth grade.

Opening a file only to find a prize you won when you were in junior high.

Finding a shoebox full of funny pictures.

Drinking the most delicious tea on a chilly day.

Putting on an album that makes you dance.

Cooking to Van Morrison.

Sharing a bottle of wine while listening to Miles Davis.

Calling someone by mistake and talking for hours.

Time makes you smile more than money

For the longest of time, people just wanted money, money and more money. You'd think they'd just want peace of mind, but the reality is that they just wanted different types of power be it acquisitive, social, influential, or any other thing that results from having mucho dinero. Slowly though, I see people who are more interested in quality time to enjoy with their families, to have to do their own thing or whatever. I'm not calling it a paradigm shift by any means, but I will call it the response to years of generating capital only to not be able to use it.

Think about it, some of the richest people you know (not all of them mind you), have an amazing house, a slick car, snazzy clothes and regularly work thirteen hour days. Then other rich people you may know have a broken home, are actually in debt and never get to enjoy anything because they aren't happy.

Then I see people who are making ends meet, make a decent salary but actually spend time with their loved ones or have a small art studio which they don't neglect or actually give themselves the opportunity to write the next great American novel. Those people actually seem to be better off than filthy rich people, though rest assured, some rich people are just fine in their lives because they are appreciative of their wealth and don't feel a need to compare themselves to anyone else.

Then you read polls in major magazines or just talk to people you know and though it's obvious that quite a few people could use more money, it's incredible how across the board the wish for more time is. And then you wonder if people could choose free time or a little extra money, which would they pick and something tells me that unlike the US dollar, time has not devalued and has actually sky rocketed in market value.

But you don't hear anyone ask for some spare time. You don't see anyone begging for a few minutes of anyone's time. That's because instead of being top of mind, it's actually burried deep beneath stratas of worry and stress.

So one day, just to find out how much you miss free time, might I recommend taking one of those 15 sick days you rarely use and simply do what you want to do... just a thought.


Oldschool has never been more stupid

To celebrate the release of the hot Tub Time Machine, Wisconsin's Mauston community has just defluxcapacetered itself into 1955 regarding their involvement with teen sex education. If you haven't read, click the title of this post to see yahoo's coverage of a wonderful little article talking about how sex ed teachers can now face jail time and a $10K fine if they actually show kids how to use contraceptives and other forms of birth control.

Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth last month sent a letter to area school districts warning that health teachers who tell students how to put on a condom or take birth-control pills could face criminal charges.

In a move that can at best be called ignorant, Southworth along with his conservative mob insist that teaching sexual education including the proper use of contraceptives is one of the leading causes for teen pregnancy and delinquency, since people under the age of 17 having sex can be tried on a misdemeanor charge. I'm not a huge advocate for offering opinion and judging people merely on what they say, but when it comes to this topic, I think people should really take a break from keeping their head where the sun doesn't shine.

Luckily, there are people that along with sex educators, feel that this law does not hold water:

Janine Geske, a Marquette University law professor and former state Supreme Court justice, said she didn't understand Southworth's legal logic. She said that if he tried to prosecute a teacher for adhering to guidelines approved by the Legislature and governor, the case would likely be dismissed.

"To be frank, I can't follow exactly what he's trying to get at," Geske said. "If a teacher is educating a student pursuant to state law ... I don't see how under any examination (that) could be criminal."

Just in case, I don't understand the logic either, though that doesn't matter because I don't live there. But Audrey Jensen does, and she has an opinion I highly agree with.

"Audrey Jensen, whose 16-year-old daughter, Justina, is a sophomore at Mauston High School, said Southworth is trying to censor what students learn, usurping the role of parents. Children will have sex regardless, she said, and they need all the information they can get."

Censoring education has never been a pretty thing and being told what people can or can't read or learn has simply been something nations have had to cope with for centuries since governments obviously don't want us to know certain things that can but thoughts in our brains and restlessness in our souls. But this isn't some refusal to distribute classified and anarchy feeding knowledge. This is basic teachings every teen should receive so they at least have some information to juxtapose with real life situations when faced with someone that is also responding to crazy hormones and wants to know what happens when you put one and one together. Without the proper education, they might actually find themselves getting a poor definition on synergy and see that one plus one can equal three or more without the proper birth control.

But alas, some people need to champion ignorance:

Matt Sande, the legislative director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, which opposes the new law, said every district attorney in Wisconsin should follow Southworth's lead.

"We commend him for his courage, his frankness in exposing the consequences of this irresponsible new law," Sande said. "If I were a district administrator, I would want to know the impact."

If you're confused as to what law it refers to, it's a state law that mandates that any school choosing to teach sexual education (which isn't mandatory) is required to teach teens about birth control and practicing safe sex. Yes I know, in a beautiful, pristine and pink conservative reality, kids would marry their high school sweethearts, would make love only after they get married, would have 2.3 kids and would never cheat on their taxes. But this isn't lala land. Kids nowadays are even crazier than when I was a teen and teenage pregnancy continues to rise and ages for pregnant teens continue to lower.

Just the thought of a law against teenage sex is ludicrous enough for me because to prosecute teens you'd need one of three things to happen: that a teen who has been conditioned to feel shame for having sex confesses because of the guilt they have inside, that an officer knocks on some steamed windows and actually goes through the prosecution or that teens become pregnant, which could then be debated because what happens if two kids were just masturbating on top of each other and one of those crazy pregnancy stories came true?

The fact of the matter is that more likely than not, teens are going to continue having sex and conservatives will continue to preach in their underwear since most of them since enough to make any messiah weep in disgust. I'm not usually this brutal when it comes to judgment calls because I sincerely do think people are entitled to their opinions, but I do have a problem when people insist on shoving and imposing their opinion onto others. Think of it as me rebelling against Jehova's Witnesses for their house visits offering me the path to Christ. I don't mind that you're a Jehova's Witness. Seriously, whatever gets you through the day without imposing on someone else, then bring it. But waking me up at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday or Sunday because you're on a door to door crusade is butting into my life and I do resent it... as I resent being told what I shouldn't learn, especially when sex ed teachers are doing their best to help kids, not throw them to the wolves.

If you still think that sex ed is all about breeding curiosity, might I invite you to sit into one of those classes. That's because I STILL remember all the pictures of herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and genital warts that put me in the mindset of never having sex without a condom. Oh and I'm about to turn thirty and I've yet to get anyone pregnant... so maybe, just maybe, I benefited from sex ed... or maybe God doesn't want me to have children, whereas I'd owe an apology to Pro Lifers who insist that we should be fruitful and multiply even if we don't have the means to properly support a child.

But hey, that's just me babbling.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Resolutions 2010

A new year, a new chance to set goals to see if I can achieve whatever I can think of. Being the second year of resolutions, I can definitely say I’ve learned quite a few things about myself and the positive effects of tabulating what I do in a full year. First off, I’m inclined to accomplish things rather than let them marinate for another decade or so. Second of, I can actually see where the year has gone. I see movies I saw, games I played, books I read, trips I took etc. So what’s new for 2010? Well let’s see.

Category #1: PHYSICAL. Last year I had a decent rate going until I had a neck spasm and injured my neck. Then lack of mobility and laziness settled in and I finished up way under par with lots of what I wanted to do. So for this year, I’m simply going to repeat my ’09 goals and add onto them.

Bicep Curls
0 / 5,000

Butterfly curls
0 / 5,000

0 / 5,000

0 / 10,000

Jumping Jacks
0 / 10,000

0 / 10,000

0 / 1,000

Tricep press
0 / 5,000

Workout 40 times with Wii Fit, Insanity or Active for the Wii

Miles run/walked
1 / 100
Last year was pathetic at best. I need to pick this up this year, no excuses allowed. Hell running or walking more than 3 miles is laughable at best.

Category #2: HEALTH. Some things that used to be in physical are being changed to health and various new goals are being added.

Meditation/Reflection/Goal setting hours/ Breathing exercises
0 /100
Last year I sucked at this. This year should be somewhat better or so I’m hoping. Here’s to a more focused 2010.

Eat less sugar
Spend two weeks in the year without eating candy or desserts

Spend two weeks in the year without drinking soda

Go to the dentist

Go to gastroenterologist

Go 4 times to the chiropractor with my fiancée

Go to general practitioner


Professionally I think 2009 was a pretty good year though I was kind of tentative with a couple of things. Let’s bring it to the 2010 and beyond.

Freelance jobs

Work proposals

Category #4: ACTIVITIES

One of the good things about 2009 is that I kept pretty busy between work and all the things I wanted to accomplish. There were truly few or no boring moments of my year and I like to keep it that way. Plus, all work and no play makes me a dull boy.

Surf Sessions
Repeating the number of surfs from last year. It was great to almost make the final tally and pushed me to ride and find surf instead of stay home and widdle time away. My goal is 50, but I have all intentions of surpassing this number. Let’s see by how much I can do it.

Swim / bodysurf / water activities
0 / 10
Didn’t achieve this 2009 goal, let’s bring it into the new year and do it.

Local tourism
4 local trips with my fiancée

1 / 25
Gonna bump this down to 25 which is a full 15 movies less than last year. I need the money for the wedding.

Watch DVD’s I’ve bought
1 / 20
Watch even more of the stuff I’ve bought just to put it to good use. I’ve enjoyed watching what I’ve bought and don’t want to stop. As for a specific number, let’s put 20 to be able to quantify this goal.

1. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me B-

Finish Videogames
0 / 15
Finish 15 games during the course of 2010. I have three games already started so that’s one hell of a head start. Let’s see if I can pull it off.

Finish Reading 20 Books
0 / 20
Finish reading 20 books
Also have some books I started reading and really want to pick up where I left off last year and get a lot of reading done.

Playing guitar
2 / 100
Keep playing like I’m playing or more so. Recording and learning songs will most probably come later. To be able to quantify it, let’s say I have to sit down to play guitar at least 100 times for at least 15 minutes or more.

Category #5: KNOWLEDGE
0 / 15
Continue learning every day, such is my mission but I’d like to also put down in writing stuff I’m learning. Let’s say 15 knowledge posts for the year to be able to document and track my progress.

Learn Random Info
0 / 100
Every single day I try to find new random information, now the trick is to find other sources that aren’t wikipedia. Lol. To put a number to this let’s say 100 new things to learn.

Read the news and post a blog entry
0 / 20
Did this last year and actually enjoyed not being disconnected from the world. Might actually start posting about stuff I read about on the blogs just to add incentive to the thing. Let’s say 20 news blog entries.

Category #6: WRITING

Definitely this is one of my passions and I want to pick it up in regards to some projects that were dangling last year.

1 / 150
I actually reduced the amount of blog posts for that blog for a very good reason, I have been feeling as if writing there isn’t what it used to be and people don’t care as much and not to sound like a wuss, but well, it gets to me because if what I write is boring, then why the hell write it in the first place? Still the single best thing to vent in my life though, so can’t drop it altogether.

Posts in other blogs
2 / 75

I’m going to insist on writing on these other blogs just for the sake of it all. This isn’t a priority, but would enjoy getting it done for the sense of accomplishment.

Finish book
Up to Chapter 41 so let’s say I’m 41/44 and I want to get to 44 before May.
40.5 / 44

Transcribe book
0 / 44

Write short stories
0 / 10
It was so satisfying to write that one short story that I need to repeat the experience at least ten times.

Essay project
0 / 20
I did NONE of these last year. Will 2010 be the essay breakout year? Who the hell knows?

Draft story arcs for Novels
0 / 3
Let’s pick this one off from last year and put it to good use. I jotted down tons of ideas for the novels but didn’t write down a proper story arc.

Draft Movie Script Idea
I still want to do this one and hopefully I’ll make time for this.

Progress reports
This is the first one so I’m off to 25% woohoo. Actually I saw last year that making a progress report every month was a super pain in the ass, so I’m going to be trying just 4 posts for every quarter this year and see if results vary.

Standup piece
I’d forgotten this one in the midst of it all and I insist on being able to take it up again. Let’s friggin do it.

The Mega Music review
0 / ?
Review each and every album I own. This is not a one year thing, but want to start this year with full blown reviews for all of my albums.

Category #7 Wedding stuff

You bet I’m going to include my wedding stuff here. I need to organize myself and what better way than to always have a list staring me in the face.


Get coordinator
Meet and greet with coordinators and pick one.

Plan honeymoon
Look at destinations once again and also cost and start making arrangements.




Dance Classes

Find an apartment to live


Buy a box of contractor bags and take one with me to the beach to pick up garbage.

Make a great Halloween costume duo concept.

Have our first house dinner with family.

Invite two couples over for dinner.

Have at least one jam session before the year is over.

Cook for my fiancée four times.

Take my car for maintenance twice in the year.

Clean up my MSN messenger list

Clean up my Facebook Friend List

Organize my room and throw away anything that isn’t necessary

Fix light bulb in garage

2009 Resolution Report Card

So a year has come and gone and resolutions galore were made at the beginning of last year, and I did pretty good in some, excellent in others and pathetic in a few as well. Here’s the tally and my explanation for the outcome in each section.


I was in good form leading into November when I got a marvelous next spasm that knocked me out of exercise contention from this set of resolutions. True, I insisted on not doing any more exercise in the form of free weights and such and truly have only myself to thank for not achieving this. These same goals will be adopted into 2010 with my eyes set on achieving each of them.

Bicep Curls
3,100 / 5,000

Butterfly curls
3,100 / 5,000

3,100 / 5,000

6,600 / 10,000

Jumping Jacks
8,200 / 10,000

5,500 / 10,000

Miles run/walked
3 / 100

NOTE: This is one of the problem spots I want to address. Walking three miles in one year is ludicrous at best and truly explains my lack of cardio.

Yoga classes
Never found information on this and said goal will probably have to wait until 2011 when I’m more settled down and have my own time table to work with.

Meditation/Reflection/Goal setting hours
8 / 100

Yet another pathetic result in one of my resolutions. You’d think it’d be easy to sit down and think and relax, but it’s not. Going to repeat this goal and see if I can’t at least get a slightly less pathetic tally.


Freelance jobs
10 of 10
One of the highlights of my ’09 was achieving this goal. I was sure I wasn’t going to make it and poof, four jobs land on my lap in December. Thank you to the people who trusted in me to do work for them to give my best and achieve this goal. The bar shall be set the same but let’s hope I can get an even higher number. Unfortunately there’s not much I can do to super push for this goal to be achieved since I depend on demand to offer my supply.

Work proposals
I sincerely lost count of how many suggestions, large and small, I made at work. Quite a few were taken into consideration and it’s just my job to go even further with this and show I’m not just a good copywriter. Let’s hope this isn’t all just bull.

Work on portfolio
I was never hell-bent on achieving this goal and it shows. I feel no remorse for not having added one ad to the portfolio and I sincerely hope to never have to return to an agency. Freelance work is a hell of a lot more satisfying on way too many levels to begin to audit.


Surf Sessions
49 / 50
I’m very proud of this outcome because at the end, I could have gotten the fifty surfs in, but I saved myself for the weekend instead of surfing crap for the mere sake of achieving a goal. Actually, I even surfed one day without swim fins because I left them at home, so how’s that for retarded but committed surfing?

Swim / bodysurf / water activities
4 / 10
Going to pick this goal up for next year as well and looking forward to not being such a joke. Have to see how many water activities I can come up with to achieve the goal.

Local tourism
Didn’t do much or any of this and that blows because I should make a better effort to enjoy what my immediate surroundings have to offer and not depend on a plane to have an adventure.

4 / 5
0 for 5 until October and boom, 4 concerts popped in. Seeing Pearl Jam live two nights in a row and once in front row was almost too much to bear. I couldn’t stop smiling and just remembering that is motive enough to feel better and better about my ’09. Add to this seeing ACDC live and I really can’t complain of the year. Quality shall always trump quantity.

1.5 / 2
Went to Philly for the first time and to be honest, I’d give the city one more shot but I don’t think I’m ever going to be enamored by the City of Brotherly love. Maybe I expected too much and expectations weren’t met, maybe it was the rain but honestly, Philly wasn’t as wonderful as I envisioned. The experiences and the company made the trip. The .5 is from a one day stint in NYC. To be succinct, I’m never doing that ever again and I have to take my future wife to New York for a few days so she can experience the city instead of the lame time we had.

Writing with Pen & Paper
Did a pretty good amount of this and I can’t say I’m not going to take this up more often. It is very satisfying not depending on electricity to get work done. You just need something to write and your brain.

25 / 40

The end of the year fizzled for me seeing as I didn’t go to the movies that much in December, which is odd on way too many levels. Actually I haven’t seen a movie yet this year and to be honest, that’s also pretty weird. Below is a rundown of what I did see though.

Fantastic Mr. Fox / A


This is It / A -

Inglorious Basterds / A+

Ponyo / A -

The Goods / B+

Moon / grade A -

District 9 / Grade A -

Brüno / Grade B

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince / Grade A -

Transformers 2 – Rise of the Fallen / Grade C-

Public Enemies / Grade D +

The Hangover / A

The Proposal / A -

Land of the Lost / B -*

Up / A+

Paul Blart / C

Angels and Demons / C+

The Wrestler / A+

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button / A+

Coraline / A++

Slumdog Millionaire / A -

Watchmen/ B

X-Men Origins: Wolverine / B -

Star Trek / A

Watch DVD’s I’ve bought

There wasn’t a set number of movies I had to see, I just wanted to put my money to good use and not just be a completely compulsive buyer. I think I did ok, but hoping to do even better in the New Year. I might even put a fixed amount of DVDs or specific titles I want to see.

The Office Seasons 4 & 5

Read or Die / A-

MirrorMask / B+

Labyrinth / A

Tori Amos A Midwinter Graces Bonus DVD / B

Radiohead Hail to the Thief Bonus DVD / A-

Radiohead Amnesiac Bonus DVD / A

Radiohead Kid A Bonus DVD / B-

Radiohead OK Computer Bonus DVD / A-

Radiohead The Bends Bonus DVD / A

Long Step Mantis / C+

Tomb Raiders / F

Broken Saints / A++

Lost Seasons 1-4 (Already on Season 5) / A++

Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life / A+

Twin Peaks series (both seasons + pilot) / B- to A-

Pi / A

Escape from New York / B+

Inland Empire / B

Growing Up / A ++

Soda Stereo Unplugged / A+

Abnormally attracted to sin bonus DVD / B

Videogames finished
11 / 20

Pretty much the same as with the DVDs except I have to play through. I left 3 games without finishing last year so that’ll possibly help me boost my finish percentage.

Zakk and Wikki / A+

Metal Gear Solid Twin Snakes – Game Cube / A +

Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty – PS2 / A +

Metal Gear Solid 3 Snake Eater – PS2 / A++

Kingdom Hearts / C+

Final Fantasy 1 / D

Jak and Daxter The Precursor Legacy / B+

Jak 2 / B-

Jak 3 / A+

Final Fantasy IV / A

Final Fantasy VI / A+

Currently on – Ratchet and Clank/MadWorld and Wii Sports Resort

Books read

Loved reading all I’ve bought and definitely enjoyed mixing it up with kid novels, graphic novels, science fiction, horror, fantasy and even sex books. So if variety is the spice of life, call me a jalapeño.

1. 2nd book of The Bartimeus Trilogy – The Golem’s Eye / B+

2. 3rd book of the Bartimeus Trilogy – Ptolemy’s Gate / A+

3. The Wind in the Willows / A-

4. Fahrenheit 451 / A-

5. Angels and Demons / B+

6. Nightwatch / A-

7. Joker’s Asylum / A+

8. Hardy Boys / C -

9. Thus Spake Zarathustra / A+ yeah I’m weird like that. Going from a graphic novel, to Hardy Boys, to Nietzche. This book is brilliant by the way.

10. Ignore Everybody – and 39 other tips to creativity / A

11. Animal Farm A+

12. Joker / A+

13. Quintuples / A-

14. Outlaw Nation / A -

15. HP Lovecraft – Blood Curling Tales of horror and the Macabre / A

16. Coraline / A

17. Noir / B +

18. Where the Wild things Are / B+

Playing guitar

Lucky for me I have a nephew that loves for me to play guitar. Every time he comes over I get to jam and it’s good to keep the skills up to date.


Get new computer

Didn’t buy one but fixed the old one. Now for 2011, I’m going to probably need a new comp though.

Net connection

Hallelujah I finally came out of the dark ages. Long live DSL.

Digital recorder

Don’t even know what the hell I’m going to do with this one, but hopefully I’ll figure something out.

Digital Camera

Bless my wonderful mother for being gracious enough to get me a cam for Christmas.


Save Money

Didn’t bat 0 but could have been much better me thinks.

Similar to above. Not deficient but not proficient either. Would love to always have a payment ahead in my bills just to give me a cushion and boost my credit score and whatnot.

Mom’s cakes
Is this a moot point, it feels like it is.

$300+ not bad for being broke.


Learn / record songs
Didn’t do ANY of this. Shame on me.

Learn Random Info
Every single day I try to look up for random stuff, be it news, science or whatever. I simply think there is just no excuse to not try and learn every day.

Read the news
Been doing that and can’t say how interesting it is to be able to comment on what people are talking about.

Retake French
Didn’t do this and seems like a 2011 goal to me.

Dance classes
Need to look for this info before January is over.


WAS posts
189 / 200 (as of august 30th)

Not bad at all but lack of comments really makes it difficult to keep writing. Sure this blog never gets comments, but I’m clear on that. On the other blog, I can’t say I don’t miss them.

Posts in other blogs
36 +10 / 100
Various factors worked into me not being that active with the other blogs. This year will be different.

Finish book
I have taken my time, but I seriously need to finish this thing to begin the mammoth task of transcribing it.

Write short stories
1 / 10

Finishing that one story was by far one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done. Rest assured, more of this is on the way.

Essay project
0 / 20
Just didn’t feel the urge to do this. Maybe 2010 will be different?

Draft story arcs
0 / 3
I’ve written down tons of ideas for the books, but haven’t penned down a true story arc.

Movie Script
Non existent, comatose, pick your phrase or word. I didn’t even look at this doc the whole of 2009.

Progress reports
6/ 12

12 reports is just WAY TOO MUCH. For the new year, I’m cutting down to 4 for every quarter. The new goals will be up soon though.

Standup piece
Another project I didn’t even look at for most if not all of 2009. Might try and bite the bullet and work on this though.

Be more positive
The year began with a slight hiccup but will do my best to do better than my hormones and be happy.

Forgive people
This was a liberating experience not because I felt free of a burden but because I had one less crappy topic to talk about, and it felt good.

Negative energy
Always doing my best to channel the anger. Will continue doing so.

Loving my fiancée
Only thing I can’t seem to stop getting better at. What can I say? I love the girl.


To sum up 2009, it was the first year I really put effort into making resolutions and trying to stick to them. I learned what was possible and what I REALLY need to focus on and I found out just how hard it is to get back on track once you stray. So here’s to 2010 and a better overall performance from yours truly. If I had to grade myself, I’d say C+ and I really want to graduate with honors in the school of life, so wish me luck and all the best.