Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thoughts at the start of 11 days

Somewhere a few weeks ago I was traveling. Vancouver, Bellingham, Whistler, Vegas. That's quite a bit. I felt the 'harshness' set in. Lack of gratitude with simultaneous expectation. They go hand-in-hand. Then the pressure seemed to seep out, slowly but steadily, and I realized that I was somewhat glad I don't do that anymore more than maybe twice a year. The back-to-back cities and the crappy weather (generally 90% of the world's weather is crappy compared to Southern California so really when you travel anywhere North or East you basically are going to get worse weather any time of year).

I like home. I like my bed and my too-comfortable home and my wardrobe. I like my local yoga studio and I like my instructor. I like my girlfriend (more than so!). I like Calypso on my head in the morning and I like Tangerine asking for treats (at 9:37am even though the rule is no treats before noon).

But more importantly, with 11 days of peace and quiet -- on my own terms, with my own needs first and my own best wishes to fulfill -- I intend to appreciate all those joys of life listed above and then some. I'm taking this time of year called "the holidays" to just appreciate everyone and everything. I am grateful.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday Inspiration

First off, hats off to one of our vendors who sent my team a "Cubicle Bling Kit" which is absolutely hilarious. It came with instructions on how to "pimp out" your cube and has a corresponding website. Unbelievable Holiday efforts. Good job guys.

Secondly, I found this on Slashdot today which I found to be absolutely hilarious. Pretty much everyone in my generation, the generation before and the generation that followed is a Star Wars fan in some way. So hopefully folkis can appreciate 30 Years of LucasFilm Holiday Cards.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Elf Yourself

The usefulness of this application is absolutely in question. However, without a doubt, the integration of this application online and the phone/voice mail component is really unbelievable.

Go ahead and try it for yourself. You build the elf first, then you can record a voice greeting and the website knows in real-time what you're doing on your phone. Very cool integration.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chinese Food On Christmas

7th Day of Channukah is tonight and my Dad sent me this. How true, how true.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Last Surf of the Day

Last Surf of the Day
Originally uploaded by Amanda D80
There comes a time each day when the sun is just right and that just happened to be lunchtime today. 75 degrees, sunny. November 12th. SoCal has it's advantages for sure.

Mo Ego

My ego has been somewhat challenged lately and that's always a good thing. If it wasn't the hip-opening workshop with Denise Thibault this past Saturday that left me sore and emotionally inept then it's the stock market or the housing market.

Either way, I'm bringing myself a level deeper with "Movember", a worldwide fund-raiser for Prostate Cancer. Why is it called Movember? Well, it's a mixture of two words: "Mo" which is slang for a mustache, and "November" (as in the month of).

So men around the world are growing mustaches (the sillier the better I suppose) for the entire month of November to raise awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer. I'm 12 days in to this endeavor and I not only look ridiculous but I also have $275 in my anti-cancer cookie jar. So I'm reaching out to the good people of the land of clean-shaves and asking for support in a good cause, tax-deductible, in trade for the complete deflation of my own ego and the fight against a disease that kills 27,000 men each year.

I'm not alone in the cause. I am proud to say that my employer, Quiksilver, has the largest team of "Mo Bro's" in the USA. We are 98 strong and as such Quiksilver is matching every dollar donated. So just think of your donation of $25 as equaling $50! Plus, Quiksilver is extremely organized and has photographed each one of us: pre-Mo and will photograph us post-Mo. Not to mention I have to keep this sucker through Thanksgiving.

To find out more and to sponsor me, please click here.

Sponsors will, of course, get a sweet photo emailed to them at the end of Movember and I'll be posting the results on my blog too.

Movember - Sponsor Me

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Very Simple Problems (VSPs)

There's something to be said for Very Simple Problems. So here's a toast to what I am hereby labeling VSP's. I think you'll find yourself extraordinary fortunate to only have these as 'issues' in your life. Please let me know if you disagree or would like to add any. This is a work in progress and should be socially understood:

- Too many clothes so I'll use the spare shelf I have in my plentiful closet space
- Computer mouse is dirty but I can launch a browser & MS Word just fine
- Bass isn't quite the right level in my bedroom but I have 800 albums to listen to
- Indoor plants needs watering but they are beautiful and healthy
- Car could use a wash but runs fine
- Buddha needs a new resting place in the house
- Candle is half-way gone from too many romantic dinners
- Automobile is getting old but runs great, performs well, costs nothing, goes fast, looks nice and that 4 cylinder saves me a bundle in gas
- Can't find time for 'travel' but seem to travel once a month domestically to fun places
- Pets need brushing but are healthy, at prime age, playful and have minimal vet bills
- Not strong enough to hold a 10 minute yoga headstand or thin enough for a bikini but I can do a 5 minute headstand and my spouse/significant other adores my body
- Don't have time to post all my photo albums because I'm too busy having fun
- Wish my iPod was slightly larger but I could get another if I wanted I suppose
- Never manage to make it out to fancy dinners... namely because I'd rather eat tasty, local, ethnic or otherwise cook at home
- My 600 thread count sheets are wrinkly
- House is a little dirty because the maid hasn't arrived yet
- Only got to play an instrument for a measly 30 minutes instead of the hour I'd intended
- Don't know what to cook with all this extra food from the Farmer's Market

Please pass this list on to anyone who may share the above or similar problems at any point in their lives. And hopefully the reader, yourself included will smile, smirk, laugh out loud or have an otherwise positive reaction at just how drastically fortunate we all are just to be here, reading, breathing, safe and sound, with almost no worries at this very moment in time. Observe that for just a second. Does it make you think, "Wow, I'm pretty happy about that whole deal"? Or that Very Small Problems could be looked at as Numerous Small Blessings?


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Make your own Simpsons character

Does this look like Gary at all?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kyoho Grapes

At the Laguna Niguel Farmer's Market this morning I came across some amazing grapes. They apparently have a really short season of availability so I have every intention of going back next week (though I'm there every weekend anyway) to get more. If you haven't had these, do yourself a favor and look for them in CA in the peak of summer (July/August).

Plumb tuckered out

When I purchased my home in February of 2002 it did not dawn on me that I would end up learning plumbing. Yes, as with any homeowner I did consider that repairs would be necessary and that I'd learn on-the-fly. I have a book that my Mother gave me called "Complete Do-It-Yourself" from Time Life books. And it is pretty handy for getting an idea of what's going on with household appliances, plumbing and electric. But mostly you learn from doing hands-on.

So big deal, Gary. You've fixed a few valves and such. You're no master plumber. Perhaps not. But I have taken on the following projects in my house, which, having been built in 1987, is now 20 years old and has required nearly all it's valves and hoses replaced.
  1. Replaced nozzle on the gas line to the gas dryer (it was sticking 3 inches out of the wall when I moved in)
  2. Replaced the valves on both the hot and cold water lines to the washer/dryer
  3. Replaced refrigerator water line
  4. Installed new kitchen faucet with extension handle
  5. Installed two new low-flush toilets in 2 of the 3 bathrooms
  6. Replaced all 3 bathrooms' toilet water lines and all toilet valves
  7. Replaced the entire inside of the 3rd toilet (which in retrospect I should have just changed out!)
  8. Removed corrosion from master bath faucet
  9. Replaced soap dish in the wall of the shower (note to self: tiling & grout is a bitch but cement is worse)
  10. Installed new dishwasher (yes, this is a project that even plumbers cringe at doing and for some reason I decided I would try this one night in 2004.
In addition to that I had a plumber replace the main water line valve (not something you'd want to do-it-yourself). So at this point I'm pretty much ready to commit to a few hasty generalizations:
  • Plumbing made in the 80's was cheap as an Indian flea market
  • Having now replaced every other piece of plumbing in the house the next item to "go" will be either the water lines/valves to the bathroom sinks (which have the same valves I already replaced in the corresponding toilets, see #6 above) or a burst copper pipe which I shall not be repairing myself
  • Plumbing 'issues' come in groups (a valve upstairs, a hose in the garage, a tap in the backyard all within 3 weeks of each other)
  • Plumbing 'issues' should be tackled in groups -- I know it's a pain in the ass to replace ALL the valves if you have 4 toilets but otherwise you'll end up at Home Depot every weekend for a month. I'd rather spend the extra hour now and save the aggravation later.
The good is that I have learned a great deal about plumbing. The most important thing is that none of the above activities were overly difficult. Really they are quite simple if you have a few basic plumbing tools (a good wrench is key), a little time and a Home Depot within 5 minutes drive.

The bad is that I'm tired of plumbing. I'm a lover not a fighter says Paul McCartney.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Them's Fightin' Words

All my friends know how to fight. Well, most of them anyway. I'm not talking about Ultimate Fighting Championship style or a bar-fight. I'm talking about verbal sparing. I know a lot of folks who have been through a relationship ringer at my age. On standardized forms I check the box that says "Divorced". That ain't changing. And with that status comes a oh-so-special experience that taught me a lesson in life. All these acquaintances I'm talking about share this experience. Call it an exclusive social club that nobody would willingly want to be a part of.

The elite of the fighting regime come in all shapes and sizes. Divorced. Unmarried with kids. Estranged from a long-time lover. In and out of relationships that work for 6 months and then fizzle. Down and out on dating. I know a whole slew of them. We could write a book just about online dating stories, bad dates and fine sexual encounters.

There are a lot of stories out there from a lot of once-unhappy folks. The good news is that a majority of them are happy now. It usually only takes one slap in the face to learn that a slap in the face kinda hurts. I socialize with quite a few slapees. It's not that I don't have friends happily married. Au contraire! I even have close family who are happily married and re-married. With and without kids. It's just that I've heard a lot of the stories from both sides of the aisle. And the people I know who have been through these experiences... the ones who really got a good fistful of pain the first time around in what they thought was love, well, they have special skills that others do not possess. I'd go so far as they possess a certain... je ne sais quois.

Broken love will make you a virtual ninja of argumentative dialectic. Try it some time. Or better yet, don't. It won't help you be a better person. Analytical, hypocritical, diabolical; we all find our best of the worst traits. We all know the pushing points, the buttons, the fightin' words that pick the very best scabs off of an innocent person. And like a CIA agent who is trained to kill, it's a skill you never ever want to use. A skill we elite trainees try our best to keep under covers never to be revealed except in times of emergency.

So on this cool and calm Saturday night in mid-August here's a toast to reserving the fighting skill for another world. This world is filled enough with wars and hate and venomous politics. Lets all strive for a little more brotherly love and a little less emotional turmoil. A little more gratitude and a little less regret. We'll all sleep a little better and maybe those fighting skills will dull with time, patience and a big dose of understanding.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Criss Cross

Oh how our paths criss-cross

this morning I drove in a daze
neath skies of gray haze
til I became present, and how!
there's only now.
and I gazed 'pon the clouds forming
the most pleasant pattern swarming
and the universe was so obviously smiling.

it smiles on me irregardless of you
it smiles on you irregardless of me
and oh how our paths criss-cross

this evening I see how serious it was
so we labored for our higher cause
for you all became forbidden
for me solutions were hidden.
The laughter of our friendship buried
under months (years?) of burdensome worry
'til formed a storm what should've been flurry.

we weren't living now
but rather thinking how
and oh how our paths criss-cross

What a pair we were us lovers
what luscious touch lay under covers
and it stays smothered, time eternal
but oh how our paths still criss-cross.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

That Smell

Maybe I've felt that once before. The same thing I felt outside the office building this morning in the freshness of the morning. The sun was not yet hot but it was warming the Earth. The sky wasn't cloudy or perfectly clear; there was some haze of morning -- not fog, not marine layer, this was truly a morning dew. A breeze blew over me, cool but gentle. Consider it a caress. One that put my mind in another time.

Suddenly I was 14 years old. Standing alone in my summer job. It would have been this exact time of year. And there I am, remembering what it was like at Solar Gardens, the plant nursery I worked at for 2 years after I was old enough to get a work permit. I think I made $4.25/hour. And the day would get progressively more hectic. It was an exhausting job to water, help customers, move plants, haul mulch, work the register and dig ditches. Basically I was the closest thing they could get to slave labor. But it was not entirely unpleasant. Something about working outside and being accepted with my long-hair as a stable worker was rewarding.

Anyway, that feeling stopped me dead in my tracks this morning. I had a moment of absolutely peace and clarity. I smiled at the sky, opened my arms wide to the breeze and made a mental note such that I would remember to open my heart to a blog entry 14 hours later. My day was busy. I interviewed a candidate for a new position in my department. I met with various colleagues; had phone conversations with Sr. VP's, discussed some inventory issues with various powers-that-be and ran two meetings including some awkward one-on-one. I love what I do a majority of my days. Today was one of them. I took no prisoners, completed the tasks in front of me and moved toward a common goal we all have of growing something wholesome: a brand that means authenticity and a group who wishes nothing more than to succeed in a colossal challenge.

But I'd have traded it all to have remained in the simplicity of Solar Gardens for just a few more moments.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Roper vs Dexter

The Tale of the Tape

Dexter "The Green Demon" Integra:
- DOB: May 1996
- Record: 141,796 miles, 0 losses, 1 KO
- 3 injuries
- Fight Venues: Washington, DC; Boulder, CO; Orange County, CA
- Special Skills: Alpine head unit with iPod integration
- Manager: Honda

Roper "Master of Cool" Refrigerator:
- DOB: April 1999
- Record: 63,120 hrs runtime, 1 loss, 0 KO
- 1 injury
- Fight venues: Laguna Hills, CA; Irvine, CA; Fountain Valley, CA
- Special Skills: Ice-maker
- Manager: Whirlpool

It's been a tough fought battle but the long-standing rivalry between Dexter the car and Roper the refrigerator has come to an end. Roper was the first to give in during a particularly tumultuous time when we was trying to make his career come-back and service two sets of groceries after a two-year hiatus. Alas, his come-back was short lived and he will be retired to the San Diego Gas & Electric recycling program.

Dexter, who has never faltered in his goal of fighting well past his youth, looks and feels great. He shows no signs of slowing and with a set of new tires underneath him (as opposed to around his waste line like some middle-agers) he believes he'll continue to serve as undisputed champion for many years to come.

In a sign of true sportsmanship, Dexter has generously allowed Roper to vacation in the garage until his final retirement this Friday.

If There Was Doubt

If there was doubt that each of us is worthy... it's in the moments we least believe that the value of our lives is understood. And then we remember. We remember to pay attention.

When I said I let it go
I passed a judgment to cover myself up.
Apparently it did not work.
As the friend came and said,
with the utmost sarcasm and a heaping spoonful
of modern slang-laden realism,
"Yes, but you loved her, serious.
I mean, you wrote sonnets and shit!
And then you wrote stuff that made me wanna copy & paste."

Indeed. Copy and paste my release for all to see.

And with that the emotion drained from my face. Not sadness. Not happiness. A blank stare on the outside and a ringing alarm inside. The same sound you hear when you hit the "Daily Double". Just acknowledgment that yes, I did. Yes, I am that person. Worthy of receiving such things as I give. And so I shall and I am and I do. Oh it's coming back to me now just how blessed I am. I'm sorry it had passed from view.

See, the routine, looking back, was boring! Holy mother load. Yes, boring. As fake tends to be. She was boring, they were boring, I was boring. The realization gives me the simple smile of the Buddha. Not a smirk. Not laughter. And most important, not hate or emptiness.

This part, now, this is real. This recovery. This smile. This yoga of body and mind. This life.

Thanks universal spirit. Thanks self. Thanks life.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Only Waters Ahead

Once upon a time I was a little boy
ran around aimless finding boundless joy
and then all this time passed
and I've seen the bitter
but this spirit still finds there's time just to shimmer.

I sought out passion in the solace of others
and tried to find comfort hiding under covers
until the truth stood up
and said "How do you do?"
with my body bared and my soul torn through.

Washed clean in a rainstorm, gripping desperate to cliffs
as the waves crash round and with weakened wrists
the clenching lets go
and the spirit breaks free
the path looks clearer but we're lost out at sea.

Bereft of a vision still the sun always rises
enough so to recognize that life's not the prizes
but the passion and smiles,
the movements and motions
the feeling of solace when we're lost in the oceans.

In that moment surrounded by blue salty skies
we can't anymore tell the stories and lies
the truth is apparent
and the thoughts are all said
so the mind finds its clarity and only water's ahead.

One Can Dream

I was spending some quality time last night (among other things eating sushi and playing Wii) with a good friend and sometime during the course of the evening she asked me, "What do you want?" It was in the context of a conversation about relationships. And at the time I just laughed. I laughed because I had this crystal clear idea of how it would FEEL but I had absolutely no idea how to describe it. The feeling is all I needed to manifest the idea but a description helps when speaking aloud.

This morning on the standard morning commute the iPod let me know the answer. The rare Rod Stewart song came on and "Mandolin Wind" started playing. So I think I can define what I want so succinctly it struck me with a smile and I listened to the song three times. Thanks Rod.

The coldest winter in almost fourteen years
Could never, never change your mind
And I love ya.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


A person asked Buddha:
"Are you a God?"

Buddha's reply was

"Are you an Angel?"

"Then what are you?"
"I am Awake."

-- Unknown Source

Sunday, May 27, 2007

And So Change

Dear Spirits of Those I Still Love

It is most unfortunate you are not here to see me grow
You see though how my success is unprecedented now
The abundance that wraps its arms about my spirit is clear
The manifestation makes me feel as a seer
And you, spirits, would laugh with me at how we could play.

You would enjoy this shoreline where I frolic
feel my smile from across the room and absorb it
gain pleasure from mine own and share in the wealth
of this knowledge, so freeing, as we'd celebrate our health
together, unencumbered loving each and every day.

Though you be not here in the physical sense
Be it known that I think of you when the walls seem dense
and the light seems to dim and my energy sinks
after passionate love affairs and one-too-many-drinks
when I know you'd appreciate the joy of my experience.

I'd cry that you left this place too soon
and run and hide at the coming of each moon
but for the freedom and intimacy and growth
which daily reminds me that I can have both
what you wanted and what I wanted

without compromise.

Dear Spirits of Those I Still Love,

I am on the path you wished me to find,
and though I wish I'd found it in kind
please wish for me the best as before
and someday I'll know we could not have been more.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Whilst Attending Wedding

This past weekend I attended my friend Jon's wedding (to his lovely bride Tina) in Washington, DC. It was a semi-formal event, you know, blue suit & funky tie, very lovely decor and held in the gorgeous Old Ebbitt Atrium in downtown. Good times were had by all and I have since confirmed that it was not drunken-ness that caused the good times. Indeed people were actually rejoicing, genuinely enjoying a little Hava Negila action (it was a mixed Jewish/Christian wedding, non-denominational) and forgetting about their stress for a short while. But I did make two mental notes which I think are worth blogging about:
  1. Crackberry addicts are out of control. Like guns and bad-attitudes they should be checked at the door of all weddings. Black-tie not Blackberry. I think it shows a sign that many of my generation are so 'connected' that they are completely disconnected from the reality of life: that the moments of life only come once. It's particuarly important to note that those moments don't require a wedding to happen! They are happening RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. So put down the Crackberry and dance, my friends. Sing, honored guests. And laugh and smile, oh lovely relatives. The emails will still be waiting when you next decide to zone-out. Hopefully that will be by conscious choice during a time that you're on-the-clock. I am proud to say I did not even think about my phone. Jon & Tina your wedding was beautiful and I remained fully present even when moon-walking on the dance floor.

  2. On a different note, why do my best friends in this universe only gather once every 3 years when somebody gets hitched? Hell, last time it was my own wedding so one might say that I set a precedent of only gathering for big-time occasions. I'm not saying we can have a weekly gathering since we live in Kentucky, Los Angeles, Orange County and Washington, DC. But can't we see each other more often than every 36 months? How about an alumni event in Boulder, CO where we all attended school? Hell, I'd settle for a conference call (we could write it off then too!).

    The awesome & sad part is that we all picked up right where we left off sans the deep philosophical semi-bullshit semi-amazing conversations we'd had in college. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily. Perhaps we're mature enough not to require that anymore. But it does show that we're so busy these days that it's just enough to fly in for the ceremony and then head out of town having danced, drank and given a few hugs. There are children in the picture, wives, important jobs... even Presidential campaigns.

    I don't really know what my point is (it often gets wrapped up in some convoluted poetic lyric somewhere). Perhaps it's that life goes on despite birth & death, wedding & divorce, love & heartbreak. We share the same experiences, however different the circumstances. We are one energy, one world. So when those rare moments come, whether every 3 years or every 3 decades, taking the time to make a mental note, take a digital photo, nod to a snapshot in time or write a blog; it's important for one's mental health to be present even if it's just long enough to say, "Oh yeah. This is why I'm grateful for all those things back home." Find your own 3-year-bonding and make every moment that special.

    Gaze out and realize that those moments are going on every second of every day. It ain't about the money. It ain't about the 'big day'. I believe it's about taking notice of a too-fleeting presence of mind.
That being said, I spent most of this glorious occasion breaking it down on the dance floor and I now share the photo proof that you've all been anxiously awaiting.
DC Trip, May 2007

Congratulations Jon & Tina. Thanks to all the friends I met again, met for the first time and will someday see again. Mazel Tov!

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Perfect Nap

I've met people who didn't' like napping. Most of the time I had trouble relating to them but it didn't mean we couldn't be friends or lovers. Just that most of the time they had generalized issues with sleeping that I've never experienced.

Usually I have no issues napping whatsoever. I love a good afternoon sleep. I am positive that I was once a lion (or possibly still am). For instance, this weekend I had a divine nap. This was a nap of the most perfect sort. Perfect length, perfect conditions, perfect outage of my brain. Allow me to elaborate (hey, it's my blog so I can elaborate all I want)...

On Saturday I had the type of day that comes along once in a blue moon. The type where you are out all day and managed to think of everything you'd need to have with you if you were gone all day doing a variety of activities. If I had made a list and checked it twice I'd still have forgotten something but somehow on this day I did not. I taught yoga, had a haircut, practiced yoga in a 3-hr 'hip opener' workshop, volunteered as a sous chef for my friend's pre-Mother's Day dinner, attended the quintessential beach bonfire gathering and bar-hopped in Laguna Beach until last call. Left home at 9am and got home at 2am. Somehow I managed to make it through this day without exhaustion, with a smile on my face and with a generally good vibe. Was it because I intended for it to be so?

Yes. However I also believe it was because of my perfect nap. The perfect nap wipes out all stray vessels in it's wake. It's like the perfect storm except instead of destruction it brings peace of mind. The perfect nap and the perfect storm both leave a calm after they pass. They both leave a sense of 'wiped out' thought where what was in place previously doesn't seem to matter so much. And both involve a deep sense of awe.

My nap took place post-teaching and pre-practicing yoga. I had 20 minutes to kill before my workshop. I was in Newport Beach, CA on a sunny balcony. On a warm bench. In my comfortable yoga clothes. I was tired from teaching but more mentally then physically. And I had the perfect length of time if I could pass out immediately. Which I did. I used my rolled up yoga mat as a pillow and put my yoga towel over my eyes to keep the strong California sunshine off my eyelids. I started to think how warm it was in the corner nook of the balcony I was in and .... zzzzzz.

I awoke, with no other recollections or disturbances, exactly 1 minute prior to the start of the workshop. I got up with almost no grogginess, walked into the workshop and eased my way into 180 minutes of hip opening. We eased into it both mentally and physically which really was the perfect end-cap to my nap.

I've had a few other naps that come close to this one but not quite as blissful albeit very memorable.
  • I fell asleep after a LA to NY red-eye on a bench in the ritzy area of 79th and 5th Ave on the upper East side of Manhattan (5th ave borders central park). But I was woken up by a rude old lady who wanted to sit on the bench I was keeping so nice and warm. Crazy lady.
  • A quality snooze in the Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, France. I was again rudely awakened by a police officer who told me I couldn't sleep in the park. What else is a park for?!
  • I believe I fell asleep on a beach cove at the Sydney zoo but I couldn't tell you where or for how long.
The rest is a blur. I was sleeping after all! But the Perfect Nap seemed somehow blog-worthy. It was a happy day. That's worth notating in any form.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Tired of Happy

Can you be tired of happy? Ever been there? That moment where you're life is so on-track that you're not sure it should not be more challenging. So you add a mixture of office politics, naked bodies and public speaking. But still one's personal "Dow 13,000" lingers right there, almost taunting the repetitive nature of life's cyclical pattern. As if to say, "Sure thing, keep adding 50 points a day. You'll see how your 'calculated risk' pays off, you clown."

But still I keep smiling and getting up with my contract to myself. I am a free and intimate man, growing and succeeding. And so I do. Over and over. And then maybe you re-watch The Secret or re-read Manifest Your Destiny. You think nothing but positive spins on what once would have been negative thoughts. And you feel the success so much so that you plan to test drive the new car, you feel the sands of a tropical island where you'll vacation and you declare "Hallelujah" when the promotion comes through as planned.

It's all falling into place. But the journey is exhausting. Sitting still and letting life pass by without acknowledgment was so easy, wasn't it? Or was it possibly more exhausting but the lethargy was so all-encompassing that it wasn't as obviously present as the reality of expending energy on growing? Anyway, the new thoughts come as the journey progresses. The pressure in your head mounts to sabotage the master plan. The doubters shout louder than ever before. And all the naked pleasures of the world can't save you now. Only your mind can accomplish that. Work and work to fight that voice and continue to achieve.

So lately I've asked not what I want but more, "What will I do with all that?" Will I end up married to an 'artiste' who's retired on my dreams? Will I buy that same bitch a new kitchen, a new car, a new life? Will I live free to my inner core and travel and 'grow' in my personal development? Fine. All of those are options in a world of eternal success. But even without the crash, even if one is not tired of being happy, even with one's goals within a touch of being fully accomplished, so it's necessary to realize that we are not meant to be happy all the time.

What's that? No! Society told me I can be happy all the time, Gary. Well, society lied to you. Happiness is not a human right. EMOTION is a human right. Feeling is a human right. And happiness is just one feeling, one emotion. Sadness, grief, pain, and, yes, even neutral states of being are all other possible options.

So as much as I like to tell myself at times, "Fuck her bullshit. I will achieve complete happiness and succeed beyond my own wildest dreams" there are two fundamental flaws in that thinking:

1) "Fuck her bullshit" as a concept does not have anything to do with growing myself (happy or not) and everything to do with focusing on somebody outside my own self, my own ability to present my very best thoughts to the world. It's a temporary release. Has it's place? Yes. In my head, during moments when I can recognize that thought for what it is, let is pass by and move on. Because the true incarnation of "Fuck her bullshit" is living right past it with a smile of true content.

2) Complete happiness and success will come with focus and free thought. That's easy. How about something bigger? How about content and peace of mind? Which doesn't come with outward focus (see #1).

"I used to think that I was cool
Running around on fossil fuel
Until I saw what I was doing
Was driving down the road to ruin"
- James Taylor

I suppose as it approaches midnight and I'm supposed to rise and shine tomorrow with a blissful attitude (again, happy or not) I am getting to my final point that's stuck in my head. When all that success creates the excess that some force once told me I wanted, will I have the ability to use it for good purposes? Will I look beyond the fact that the $400/night hotels don't phase me anymore and see the grass is always greener so that next time I manifest my dreams they are real ones? One must know when it's time for bed. That time is now.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spring Break 2007

Some people think that Spring Break is for children. I determined in 2005 that it's definitely not. As a matter of fact, I'd argue that kids have no idea what to do with a good spring break. They have no money, they have no stress from which to really 'let go' and they have no innate ability to gather together and appreciate time to smell the flowers (or the slopes). Nothing against children, but unlike Trix, Spring Breaks are for Adults.

This year I joined about 100 other folks from Rossignol, Quiksilver, Roxy and the like to celebrate "Project C", otherwise known as Rossignol's 100-year anniversary. This meant spring skiing. In a big way. In the springtime sunshine. In Utah. With beer. And demos.

We're talking 3 concerts, happy hour nightly, some good hot-tub gin and tonic moments, a few bail-outs into the slush, a day in Alta, boarding, skiing. Did I mention letting go? The photos pretty much say it all:

Utah Spring Break, April 2007

So what did I learn? After all, there's something to be learned in all experiences, especially those involving travel, friends and that feeling known as Rocky Mountain High. I'd say take aways from this 'meeting' are as follows:
  • Lesson 1: friends are necessary, spouses are not. Not to say that marriage isn't a wonderful institution (I've been there) but rather the 'escape' from one's own obligations is a key component of spring break. So spouse or no spouse the key to the good times during Spring Break are friends. I found this to be the case in my 2005 experiment as well.
  • Lesson 2: Spring skiing is phenomenal regardless of snow conditions. Really when you break it down skiing or boarding is about enjoying the outdoors, nature and sport. Wouldn't it make logical sense that this would be best enjoyed at 65 degrees rather than 35 degrees? Sure the snow gets slushy. All the better to fall down in.
  • Lesson 3: Alta has the best snow in Utah, hands-down. Followed by Snowbird.
  • Lesson 4: If you are going to fall down a mountain, wear a helmet.
  • Lesson 5: Flirting with the lead singer of a hard rock female cover band will result in a video of lips, breasts and...
  • Lesson 6: When "rockin' out" make sure you don't forget that the band does not matter so much as your attitude
That pretty much sums it up. For those of you who enjoyed Spring Break this year I praise your efforts. The Backdoor Man and Dr. Feelgood salute you.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Passover Thoughts

It was in my mind to create something special this year for the birth of a new spring. Not that the previous years were separately categorized. Far from it. But more that I had a feeling that more generosity of myself would result in more coming in. Lets call it testing a theory of Buddhism that I'd felt uncomfortable with in the prior month. Guarding myself? I don't know. I suppose I just knew that as April 1 approached that I could let down that which had been a shield against a force that is within me, not outside.

So for one evening 10 of my closest friends and family gathered at the place I am proud to call my home. And I fed them a meal I labored to make. We drank the fruit of the vine and told the stories of those before us who faced much more difficult situations than mine, than ours combined.

It's my belief that all I did was open my heart and choose to give freely of myself and the rest came naturally. Those who could at first not attend had cancellations and came smiling to my doorstep. Those who had been doubtful were quickly fulfilled. Those who came from abroad had expectations made into memories. Together we even managed to capture a few fleeting moments on film.

But the warmth that filled the house filled my heart and filled my head with pleasantries to replace the drag, the doldrums the awkward nauseous silence that had temporarily pushed aside the laughter.

Thanks to all who came. And those who wished to be there. You, too, were in my heart. I am grateful for this. I recognize the moment. I choose to be free & intimate. I choose to grow and succeed. So glad others can share that with me as the flowers are reborn and the sun gathers its strength for the coming spring. Happy Passover. Happy Easter.

Passover Seder, April 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

This really couldn't be much more perfect. I've listened to it about 5 times in the last 12 hours. Kinda goes hand in hand with my laughter and giant smile at my potential dating scenarios... Thanks Bob Dylan for being a lyrical genius and already expressing what I've been trying to put into words with such wonderful sarcasm and eloquent imagery.

It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It don't matter, anyhow
An' it ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don't know by now
When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window and I'll be gone
You're the reason I'm trav'lin' on
Don't think twice, it's all right

It ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
That light I never knowed
An' it ain't no use in turnin' on your light, babe
I'm on the dark side of the road
Still I wish there was somethin' you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
We never did too much talkin' anyway
So don't think twice, it's all right

It ain't no use in callin' out my name, gal
Like you never did before
It ain't no use in callin' out my name, gal
I can't hear you any more
I'm a-thinkin' and a-wond'rin' all the way down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I'm told
I give her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don't think twice, it's all right

I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road, babe
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
But goodbye's too good a word, gal
So I'll just say fare thee well
I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don't mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don't think twice, it's all right

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Thoughts Departing Salt Lake's Splendor

Something amused me this evening
on the flight from Salt Lake,
as I sat next to the brown-haired, 6' missionary
with a lovely smile
and she flirted
the thought occurred:
Does she know anything other than missionary position?
And do I really need another number?!

And then I realized:
I'm pretty much cured.

Or maybe,
it was the club last night
with the oodles of women
with whom there's no guilt.

Or maybe,
it was the realization
that I was looking forward
to returning
for the sake of talking
to those who still see my wonder
and I theirs.

And then another thought made me laugh aloud
in the airport
as I passed by a young couple
and they held hands
but did not smile
the thought occurred:
Thank God I am free of baggage.

I've supplemented my void of complaints with physical actions.
Skiing, snowboarding, running, vinyasa flow, cycling.
I'm a little creaky and there's more left.
I'm a bit weathered and that makes the passion burn hotter.

My physical pain is my own to have and hold, so help me God.
My smile is mine to own and shine outward for all the world to see.
My physique is mine to cherish as long as it shall last.
My peace is mine to share freely, with all the knowledge of the past.

Photos from the Roxy Chicken Jam, March 2007, Salt Lake City, UT

Roxy Chicken Jam, March 2007

Also check out the site I spent 4 long days keeping fresh and live: Roxy Chicken Jam 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Apropos Tunes

Music always has more meaning when I'm present. That is, when I'm me. When I'm not distracted by mental chatter or prone to complaint. What have I heard lately that made me sing, dance and generally smile (big)? Well, this time around it's Innervisions by Stevie Wonder. Last year it was Magic Time by Van Morrison. I'd like to say there won't be a next time. But Billy disagrees with me and I'm prone to agree with him.
You're Only Human by Billy Joel
It's not always easy to be living in this world of pain
You're gonna be crashing into stone walls again and again
It's alright, it's alright, though you feel your heart break
You're only human, you're gonna have to deal with heartache
(You're only human, ooo-ooo)

Just like a boxer in a title fight
You got to walk in that ring all alone
You're not the only one who's made mistakes
But they're the only thing that you can truly call your own

Don't forget your second wind
Wait in that corner until that breeze blows in
Pull the Wool by G. Love
Lies in the nest never ever let the birds know rest
Lies in the nest never ever let the birds know rest
Lies in the nest never ever let the birds know rest

I can forgive, but I never can forget and lies in the nest never
Ever gave the birds no rest
Bricks built without straw were so weak they crumbled
To mud, just as your excuse with truth left you easily undone
Dont you run away

Dont you pull the wool over my eyes
Dont you pull the wool over my eyes
Dont you pull the wool over my eyes

(Long) Gone by Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Don't cry baby, you did nothin' wrong
Don't ask why this stone keeps rollin'
It's just goin', goin', goin'
Long gone

You can think whatever you want to baby
Believe whatever you wanna believe
Deep in my heart I've loved you
But my heart's like a tumbleweed

Jesus Children of America by Stevie Wonder
Say Transcendental
Speaks of inner
Transcendental meditation gives you peace of mind

You'd better tell
Your story fast...
And if you lie
It will come to pass...

Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing by Stevie Wonder
Don't you worry 'bout a thing
Don't you worry 'bout a thing, mama
Cause I'll be standing on the side
When you check it out...
When you get it off...your trip

Everybody needs a change
A chance to check out the new
But you're the only one to see
The changes you take yourself through
I am creating laughter for myself today and letting go of mental chatter.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Intent for Gratitude

I am leaving behind anger, regret, sadness and hope and creating gratitude for myself this week.

I have learned three important lessons in the past month and they are not only worthy of posting but worthy of integrating fully, with intent and purpose, into my life such that they are forever lasting and memorable:
  1. I am a free and intimate man, growing and succeeding. This is not up for dispute, not a fact to be tampered with in the annals of history or changed over time. I am. I am enough.
    - Me
  2. Winners never quit. And quitters never win.
    - Lisa Nichols
  3. Standing in trust I let The Universe be The Universe as Me. Gratefully I let it be. And so it is.
    - Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith
Thanks to my father for providing the following poem by George Wither, 1622.
Shall I Wasting in Despair

Shall I, wasting in despair,
Die because a woman's fair?
Shall my cheeks look pale and fair,
Because another's rosy are?
Be she fairer than the day,
or the flowrie meads of May;
Yet if she be not such to me,
What care I how fair she be?

Shall my foolish heart be pin'd
'Cause I see a woman kind?
Or with a well-disposed nature,
Joined with a lovely feature?
Be she kind, or meeker than
Turtle-dove or pelican;
If she be not so to me,
What care I how kind she be?

Great, or good, or kind, or fair,
I will ne'er the more dispair
I she love me, this believe,
I will die ere she shall grieve.
If she slight me when I woo,
I can slight and let her go;
If she be not fit for
What care I for whom she be?

Shall a woman's virtues move
Me to perish for her love?
Or her merits value known,
Make me quite forget mine own?
Be she with that goodness blest,
Which may gain her name of Best;
If she be not such to me,
What care I how good she be?

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Temporary Loss of the Light

I spent three long weeks planning
fanning out the cards for my life.
Thought i'd shaken the feeling
of the temporary loss of the light

And I smiled and I joked and poked
fun at the way things might have been,
Only to see the blood rush from me
as she sadly but slowly lost her grin.

Now it's six long days later and
I'm richer than I'd really hoped to be
spent my hours resting in a setting
that makes my soul yearn to sing.

Hey mister, where did you find the light
and hey sister, you surely are a sight
But whoa, listen, I'm not so sure that this is just alright.

Just eight short hours ago I found
the four laws that I think I should have known,
and I wrote them down on paper
just to savor that I'm really not alone.

There's existence of suffering
and no smothering can make it disappear.
The cause is overwhelming and the
ignorance can make us live in fear.

And there's a path to cessation that's
elation when you surely see the light.
An illuminated pathway eight-steps
long that sure feels like it's right.

Hey mister, where did you find the light
and hey sister, you surely are a sight
But whoa, listen, I'm not so sure that this is just alright.

I'm a hungry raven who's just yearning
to pick up the scraps of my soul.
I'm a strong and driven hero
with zero care that I am growing old.

Or a single thick blade of grass that's crass
but can waver in the wind.
I'm a shimmering blade who was made to save
but whose strength will not rescind.

Well in the days before us I will
try my best to manifest no sins;
and be a man with judgment who does not judge
because judgment never wins.

Hey mister, where did you find the light
and hey sister, you surely are a sight
But whoa, listen, I'm not so sure that this is just alright.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mrs. Potter's Lullaby by Counting Crows

Well I woke up in mid afternoon cause that's when it all hurts the most
I dream I never know anyone at the party and I'm always the host
If dreams are like movies then memories are films about ghosts
You can never escape, you can only move south down the coast
Well I am an idiot walking a tightrope of fortune and fame
I am an acrobat swinging trapezes through circles of flame
If you've never stared off into the distance then your life is a shame
And though I'll never forget your face sometimes
I can't remember my name

Hey, Mrs. Potter, don't cry
Hey, Mrs. Potter, I know why
But, hey, Mrs. Potter, won't you talk to me
Well there's a piece of Maria in every song that I sing
And the price of a memory is the memory of the sorrow it brings
And there is always one last light to turn out and one last bell to ring
And the last one out of the circus has to lock up everything
Or the elephants will get out and forget to remember what you said
Oh and the ghosts of the tilt-o-whirl will linger inside of your head
Oh and the Ferris wheel junkies will spin there forever instead
When I see you, a blanket of stars covers me in my bed
Hey, Mrs. Potter, don't go, I said
Hey, Mrs. Potter, I don't know, but
Hey, Mrs. Potter, won't you talk to me
Well all the blue light reflections that color my mind when I sleep
And the lovesick rejections that accompany the company I keep
All the razor perceptions that cut just a little too deep
Hey, I can bleed as well as anyone but I need someone to help me sleep
So I throw my hand into the air and it swims in the beams
It's just a brief interruption of the swirling dust sparkle jet stream
Well I know I don't know you and you're probably not what you seem
Aw, but I'd sure like to find out
So why don't you climb down off that movie screen
Hey, Mrs. Potter, don't turn
Hey, Mrs. Potter, I burn for you
Hey, Mrs. Potter, won't you talk to me
When the last king of Hollywood shatters his glass on the floor
And orders another
Well, I wonder what he did that for
That's when I know that I have to get out cause I have been there before
So I gave up my seat at the bar and I head for the door. Yeah.
We drove out to the desert just to lie down beneath this bowl of stars
We stand up in the Palace, like it's the last of the great pioneer town bars
Aw, we shout out these songs against the clang of electric guitars
Well, you can see a million miles tonight
But you can't get very far
Aw, you can see a million miles tonight
But you can't get very far
Hey, Mrs. Potter, I won't touch and
Hey, Mrs. Potter, it's not much but
Hey, Mrs. Potter, won't you talk to me [3X]

Friday, January 05, 2007

Expiration date conspiracy

It is my not-so-firm-but-just-nuts-enough-to-blog-about belief that Expiration and Use By dates are a conspiracy by supermarket companies and food manufacturers to convince people to by new products even though the old products are just fine.

Now, as a caveat to the conspiracy theory one must keep in mind that it ONLY applies to condiments. I do realize that milk goes bad and eggs get rotten. But what about condiments? WHY do they have an expiration date? For the love of God, vinegar has been used as a preservative for thousands of years! And yet horseradish (consumed yearly in mass quantities by Jews every year for Passover and at Christmas for prime rib dinners) expires about 1 year after purchase. That's right, it expires JUST in time for the holidays! And who would feed their beloved guests something that is expired? Nobody, that's who. So we all throw out the old horseradish and buy new horseradish.

Catsup/Ketchup also expires. It's 'Use by' is a bit longer than horseradish but despite the fact that it is left, unrefrigerated, on restaurant tables for days upon end because it has a natural preservative (again, vinegar), it needs to be used by a consumer within 18 months. Why? Does it taste different? With mostly sugar and water and vinegar I would think it'd probably taste even better over time as the water evaporates and sugar content goes up. I'm not a chemist, I'm an IT geek. So I could be wrong on that. But does it matter? The reality is that pickles preserved in vinegar will stay edible through the next nuclear holocaust. Vinegar is what the cockroaches will be drinking in little martini glasses when the world ends. So how does it magically 'expire' in my fridge just because there is a spicy chopped up root floating in it?

The answer: it doesn't. But the grocery store loves it when I come back every year and buy more horsey sauce for my gefilte fish. They love it even more when I 'recycle' my pickles (yes, they expire), mustard (yes), catsup (yes), salad dressings and marinades (yes and yes). So for now I'll have to rely on my girlfriend, the cleaning lady or possibly my mother to come over to take condiments out of rotation. Because I won't replace them. I won't provide Heinz, Hellman's and Kikoman the joy of 10% year-over-year growth in a static industry. The buck stops here!

Now I realize, in summary, that the use by dates for condiments are for 'ideal freshness' or optimal flavor. But you know something? If it ain't true why are Americans so paranoid about expiration dates and anti-bacterial sprays and mists and decontamination and ... you get the idea.

If you're still not convinced but you hate throwing out all those bottles every year, check this link out and make a horseradish-soy-sauce-caper-Étouffée.

Holiday Photos

I've switched to Picasa officially. The new Yahoo Photos is possibly worse than the old one which I thought was absolutely impossible. I gave Flickr a brief try but, having been purchased by Yahoo, it now sucks too. The Yahoo Mail is still in beta but it's so slow at times I'm also thinking of permanently switching to Google Mail (GMail).

Now I have my blog with Google (you're reading it, Blogger is owned by Google) and my home page and search are all Google. Yahoo... better watch your back. When IT guys abandon you it's all over.