Friday, November 25, 2011

A cheat post to quench some thirst

Recently I attended an event at the Rickshaw titled Nerdfest 2011. Out of the pitches that i received from Discorder last month this one seemed the most entertaining. I also expected it to be challenging because as nerdy as i might be, swords and chainmail and fantasy metal music don't really play a part in my life.
But i was eager to step outside my comfort zone and into another realm. I'm really glad that i did as it was kind of an unforgettable experience that provided fodder for a very fun write up. This is the unedited version that i was happiest with. What went to print is fine too, but i felt that this version really captures how i felt the next day.

Nerdfest 2011 
Saturday November 15th 2011 @ The Rickshaw
Revenge of the nerds only had it half right. While from all walks of life and by today’s standards a lot cooler than the stereotypes often rendered in the movies, the “nerd” can actually teach you a bit about yourself and in fact remind you of just how nerdy you are. 
 So I let go of my preconceived notions and gave Nerdfest a try last night and it was a blast. It wasn’t about protractors, pocket protectors and post-nasal drip but about leather armor, chainmail and gothic/fantasy themed metal bands. These are the nerds of the round table, the gamer tweaks and swordplay geeks. Sure it was a little out of my element but there was something about this room full of fanboys/girls that felt safe and enjoyable. Folks were easy to talk to and there was a sense of inclusion that I don’t often feel at the typical gig. On hand was a display of finely crafted swords, bucklers, chainmail and sparring poles all of which were hands on and generously explained by the folks manning the surrounding tables. And then there was the crowd, a quarter of whom were dressed to the nines, and not in formal wear. There was the mysterious shogun standing guard in leather armor that looked like it could stop a bullet. There were Norse soldiers drinking mead(PBR) from goat horns. There were a couple of roman legionnaires that didn’t skimp on the details. There were leather wenches that looked poised to make meat out of anyone who crossed them and there was Merlin who stayed in his dazed looking character the entire night, waving his fingers and casting secret spells into the ether as he wandered aimlessly through the crowd. I loved how much work went into these costumes and how even though in character, nobody took themselves too seriously nor cared how they looked to anyone else. Even the metalhead skids with secret nerd tendencies were having a laugh riot. And the music was awesome! Even as one who doesn’t normally gravitate towards fantasy metal, aside from maybe Iron Maiden or Mastadon, I couldn’t help but enjoy the sheer cheesy fun these bands exuded. Three bands were on hand to thrill and entertain along with a couple of very saucy burlesque performances, one of whom had grinding plates attached to her body and used a disk grinder to add spark to her performance. Celestial Ruin was nearly finished as I arrived and they were fairly cut and copy gothic metal with an accomplished female vocalist whose operatic voice soared. Eye of Odin had a bit more of a scary thing going on. With a fake blood covered frontman whose voice sounded like a bass heavy jet engine, Eye of Odin played super tight fight metal about traversing mountains in the mist and slaying armies of undead soldiers. Scythia was absolutely great and may have swayed me to the side of cheesy D&D metal. They were just so tight and their not too serious heavy-handed brand of Tolkein metal was of the highest quality. I went home that evening with visions of damsels in distress and their weary wild eyed saviors playing across the battlefield of my mind and even if I never pick up a sword or 7-sided die again I can reflect on Nerdfest 2011 and remember that for one night, I was home.
Thanks for reading friends. Much love. 
NBP

 

 


 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Evolving the pen (Yeah, you're right it sucks!)

I have been toying around this past few months with the idea of breathing a different life into my writing. I have had this story in me that has been trying to push its way out and after a year of mulling, feeling shy and not ready to give birth to it i feel like something may be coming out.
I want to share with you an intro to my idea. Soon I'd like to expand on it and to make it a short story.
I should hope that it will come to fruition and i guess the fact that I am putting it out there is a sign that it is something I should at least put some energy into. That and the fact that I have recently had a very powerful dream that got me to thinking about this story once again. 
Sometimes i flail on my ideas and inspiration, but I would at least like to try a hand at this seedling of an idea and to not give it up the second i post this.
Anyway, here is an intro to a story idea i have. It has no name but it does have some body and heart. I welcome your encouragement, feedback and otherwise.     

I think it was written somewhere sometime that you shouldn't bite the hand that feeds you. There was a time when I could have backed that sentiment, but these days the hand and the feeder are pretty much the same.
The sickness took hold almost 10 years ago. Almost 10 years ago humans gave up hope. After it was obvious that this wasn't like a Hollywood movie and that 'the dead' were not to be stopped unless stomped in the ground the idea of basic human survival became less about heroics and more of a plum bad luck story on a mass scale. This non-Hollywood story was never about heros. It was about Heaven vs Hell and Hell won. Or at least that was how it looked in the beginning...
I don't know why this insidious sickness happened. I don't know why it spread so rapidly. I don't know why at the end of the story humankind is still doomed to 'death'. It's been almost 10 years and there are still some of them among us, but it's only a matter of time.....  

"Time...haha....that word seems funny to me....so does something being 'funny'....but these are the times in which we....live"

Maybe this IS kind of like a Hollywood movie. It certainly is a tale to be told If there was anyone left who would actually want or know how to tell it. Heck, I don't even know how to tell it and I'm one of "them". But since there aren't any of the living, at least around here, who would care to take the time to document this tale nobody will read anyway, I will do my best. Just in case. 

"Just in case what?"

I don't know. I'm still not sure yet.

"I? Who am I anyway?"

I don't know. All I know is that i fell in love. And that i am apparently one of the 'lucky' ones......


 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random flingings (getting older)

ALRIGHT!!!! Enough is enough, the silence has lifted!! Has it really been almost 2 months since my last entry? And was my last entry really that scathing and pointed?
 Yeah well. Sometimes you gotta let loose and let the pieces fall where they may.
To be honest I felt a little guilty for my last bout of vitriol. I was in a weird place and a lot of stuff had built up, causing me to lash out and attack like a snake on its last legs. Watching close compadre's going through harsh shit and not knowing how to approach it, or even if it is approachable, can be hard on the spirit. And for a sensitive heart like me who, despite all appearances and what i may say or do, that can be crushing. I take on pain and suffering like a sponge which is probably why it's so easy for me to dish it out and to be so callous and crude, especially to total strangers.
So anyway....
It would be obvious to say that I have learned a lot in this past few weeks, both about myself and the world above. It has not been the easiest ride getting back into the swing of writing and feeling a creative juice flowing through these veins. Just last week i started back in with the Discorder and though tuning into new music and writing about it was nice, it felt like i was dragging myself through thick mud to find words to express. Eventually it got out and i felt somewhat satisfied with the results but it is still a work in progress. Grass has grown between these fingers and words.

One of my oldest and dearest friends got married. Like, we're talking first best friend ever kind of friend material. We're talking skip school in favor of making hours of comedy/music tapes and laughing at or riffing on everything kind of friendship material. My best friend Edward got married and I was co-best man alongside Nate Zadworny in a whirlwind ceremony complete with a beer drinking brides mom in the front pew, a very late Elvis impersonating justice of the peace and a Meatloaf impersonator objecting to the wedding. It was a staggered affair that could have flown off the hinges but everyone pulled it together and a beautiful wedding came out of it. I got to see my best buddy a happy man and the lady he loves a gushing bride. It was awesome. There is a lot of history between Ed and I, not all of it is the nicest but we have made it thus far and all i ever wanted was to see the guy happy in love with himself and another, and i think the day that i saw him marry was a good one. One for the ages. Or at least a lifetime.

Summer finally came after much coaxing and a lot of frowning from folks who'd had enough of the grey and rain. But it's only a matter of time before the cry for a day of rain breaks the air, us and our fair weather relationship with the weather.

My job has become a chore and I don't like doing it anymore. Ownership changed and into the hands of 2 very sweet and well intentioned people. I love them and want to see the business succeed but i am 37 and can't stand for too much more of this shift work for chump-change shit. It's easy money and i can do it so damned well when i want to, but.....really? Really????
To be honest....I'd sometimes rather pluck an eyeball than to have to deal with the same coffee order with a side of small talk for another year. This is bullshit and were it not for a group of wonderful people who make it easier, and I am talking about customers and staff alike, I'd have quit a long time ago. But then there is that issue of easy money......it's easy. And it's money. That pays your way through life and shit, doesn't it?

I reconnected with a couple of old friends. I'm not sure if i thought them lost or on hiatus or whatever but the reconnection felt right when it happened and I am overjoyed to see how we have been able to pick up as though a few years absence never happened.

I am super in love with this girl. She makes me curl into myself and my blood runs warmer at the thought of her. We are making plans for a future and in the meantime try to do good things for each other/with each other such as renting romantic B&B places on close-by islands, talking about where we're at with each other and at least trying to listen to each other as we go through our day to day stuff. She is my "bun" and though relationships are a challenge for me, she is worth sticking it out for and i cannot deny that this last 2 and some years have been a super whirl of beauty, challenges and differences aside.

My forthright honesty and inability to censor myself has resulted in hurt feelings and misunderstandings a couple of times this last few months, mostly in written form where the intonation and energy behind is severely lost. Though i don't ever feel justified in being an asshole, i am very aware that i can be as harsh as they come sometimes and that every now and again i should maybe be with my feelings before i spill them out. It's easy when you are not face to face and especially so when you don't even ever have to see that person in real life, or if you do it's just kind of superficial and passing anyway. 
I tend to forget that those who are not in the here and now tactile are people with feelings too. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I run around trolling message boards and being a jerk because I can, but there have been a couple of occasions lately where my tongue could have been far less harsh. Nothing to brag about, nothing to be proud of. But that is what being a human is about, making mistakes, learning, moving on and then upward.

I turned 37 years old. That's kind of nuts. I'm still not exactly sure how i feel about that. Good, i guess. At least I'm 37 with a much younger seeming spirit/body. I'm healthy and try to have an adventurous capacity. But i also feel 37 years old and recognize that my body is going to age and that there is a whole host of things to look out for as i grow older. Declining energy, wavering sex drive, less ability to handle partying, feeling alienated by the younger set, wanting more with my life, wanting more for/from my aging parents. 
I'm not superman, i guess. Folks die, friends die, i die. We lose everything we ever worked for except for our spark and even then we most probably forget about it as we descend into drooling masses of grey and stink just waiting to shuffle off to heaven or whatever it's called. I'm getting older and "dealing with it" is an easy but harsh reality. It is also something that grounds me more to the here and the now, which is probably a good thing. You can never get too good at taking responsibility for yourself.

What else what else??
I grew my hair out and am now in the struggling stages of maintenance and upkeep. Trust me, this is a big deal for me. After 17 years straight of shaving my dome, it is kind of a treat to see how it grows in and the cool shit I can do with it. Going to good stylists and getting the treatment has been fun. And apparently i look good. This ties in a little with becoming an adult. No longer can i settle for looking like i just dropped from the sky or at best, blending in with everyone else. Not that i want to stand out and for people to notice me, but I'm at a place where it just feel so much nicer to look like i give a shit. Which is funny, because i mostly don't give a shit. I just like looking clean and presentable. You never know when you'll need to put yourself over. May as well look decent doing it.

I bought a phone. After relenting and refusing for as many years as cell phones have been in everyone's hand, i finally balked and bought in. And not just a little bit, i dove full fucking on into iPhone 4 land with the full meal deal. It's kind of disgusting actually, but i kind of love it. Faceybook and all of my pals have never been so "close".

I am taking part in a book club. This is something I have secretly wanted to do for a long time now and I couldn't have a better group of people to be doing it with. Our first assignment is Blindness by Jose Saramago. Perhaps you saw the movie based on the book? It's about a blindness. That is all I will say aside from the fact that the story is much more telling than the movie and as i get into it i find it safer to digest in small doses. Something about these bleak and seemingly helpless situations....the feeling of isolation or abandonment be it forced or otherwise. I love delving into it and seeing what kind of icky feelings it can bring up for me. One of my recent favorites in this regard was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Bleak bleak bleak. But so good!
I also like to read happy novels. But it just so happens that i am reading a (so-far) damned depressing one at present.

And with that......

There is more. I know there is. But it is late and i am growing tired. The writing muscle is still a little under worked and i certainly don't want to force it. So I am going to stop and hope more comes sooner than later. 
I've missed this. I've missed sharing with no regard for word count or care of who'll read it. This feels good and I am glad to be back.
There is more. There will always be more. I promise.
Thanks for sticking around.
And thank you I love you.
N



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pitfalls and tragedy

I feel sick, but It's not the sick of sniffling noses or puking guts. No, this one goes deeper. I feel a spiritual sickness, but not the sickness of loneliness or too much material desire or not enough God in my life. It is the sickness of living in a world surrounded by so much ego and misinformation that it can be almost impossible to navigate through the good stuff with dignity and class intact. Don't misunderstand, I'm as much a player at this game than the next one and I make no claims to having figured it out. In fact the older i get the less understanding I have of how things might work. Instead I try do do what inherently feels correct by me and the unspoken "rules" of the world. All I know is what harmoniously works and what doesn't.
Anyhow, I won't derive too far from the point of this post. There is some sickness in me and i need to release it. I can think of no way to cushion or pretty these words up so I'm just going to just barf it out.
I am sick to death of people using their spirituality as an excuse for shitty behavior or failure to take responsibility for their actions!! 
Too often I see people getting caught in the intricate net of spiritual seeking only to have their true heart suffocated by stupid idealist belief systems memorized from a book or passed on from some apparent "guru" figure with an all-attractive ego. This is called letting go of your essence and i see no merit in it. Our highest guru is our own self and there is nothing that we can take with us after we shed this gross matter physical form save for that which we have experienced as ultimate truth, and even then what is truth? The point is that we don't know, and when someone claims to know then they are walking backwards lying. You cannot possibly know a "truth" that is not linked to direct experience. These people who meditate for a couple of months and emerge with all of this insight into self, that's all well and fine but when it becomes an act of walking around like king shit, wearing it on your sleeve and calling it your self.......that to me is sickness. Wide eyed hippy drug hoovers who think the sun shines on the cracks of their ass because somewhere along the line they grew a fucking banana and maybe offered it to a homeless person, and now they're "compassionate meta earth children". Yet try to fit your way in to one of their little dance parties and chances are, if you're name isn't Sunflower and your fake dreads aren't the specified length than it's alienation time until you go away. You're probably even pegged as "that creepy guy". Well meaning folks who have significant power that goes to their head, making them slightly off kilter and mentally unstable, they are the most dangerous. They are the ones with swaying power and ability to rattle off any old idea and if someone is there to listen, it will undoubtedly stick. This then becomes "truth" and these cheerleaders run around trying to convince anyone that their truth is key and all that everyone else believes is ignorance. It is the ones who tell you that they are right and you are wrong, speaking in riddles and obtuse terms, backpeddling and having answers for everything no matter how contradictory, they are the sickest ones out there. This sickness is rampant, taking many forms and varying degrees of attractive persuasion. 
I understand how easy it can be to lose your shit when you start to gain a sense of personal power. Kundalini rising and chakras spinning, we think we're on top of the world. We start to "predict" things before they happen and those right people/situations occur seemingly at the perfect time. It feels like we are in the flow of things, and quite literally we are. Presence is an amazing and powerful thing that holds many gifts, but it is not the end of the search, and this is the pitfall i find so tragic. A little bit of power and understanding can destroy the heart and turn a perfectly capable human being into a callous self-serving dirtbag. A deeper look into some of these new age cultish yoga communities will tell the tale clearly. For only $15000 YOU TOO can have supreme enlightenment equal to or BETTER than 7 years of spiritual seeking in Tibet. Just give up your sense of right and wrong or any other morals you may have gathered while on this earth and join your new friends.....YOUR people.....your spirit family! Have a wife and kids? Who needs them when you're living in the light???? Marriage vows? Trample them into the ground because they're "keeping you down". Responsibilities? Pshaw!!!!
Being a little harsh am i? Yeah, well I feel that I've seen and heard enough to be entertaining these thoughts and emotions. It may not be fair and I'm aware of my judgements here but I don't think that I'm completely crazy in feeling this way. 
Though all i can go on is from my experience which is very little, but I've always been pretty low key about this stuff. 
My beliefs are firm but not rigid. They are based in the reality of what i can see, smell, hear, taste and feel. All else is a story made up from numerous points of inspiration gathered along my timeline. It is simply that, a story being written. A tale spun for the sole purpose of making this journey as a human less confusing. We need structure and we need answers and we need them NOW! This is the tragic pitfall. Because there are so few answers you cannot possibly know how things truly are. I find it much more romantic to let it be a mystery than to get stuck on the details, large strings of cryptic words and open ended riddles. Things just are and will continue to be long past our death. Some solid truths may be revealed but things still remain as they are. As one is meditating endlessly on the inter-dimensional portals and all of this ridiculous crap you can't directly experience, the world keeps spinning. Beauty passes by and is missed by those with their heads in the clouds. Opportunities to go deeper into the question and zen of things are passed by for a quick fix hole filling workshop that leaves you broke and asking even more questions. Seekers are ignored and hearts get broken because of our incredibly selfish nature and need to get there first so we can sit on top of the molehill and tell it like it "is". 
There was a time when we could be humbled by our experiences and I know that this is still true for many, but somewhere along the line in our crazed media friendly internet connected fast fix world a lot of us lost touch and it makes me feel sad.
Perhaps I am reacting a lot here and very likely I am full of judgement, but I feel sick. Sick of the complexities, sick of the lies, sick of the promises, sick of the morally bankrupt claiming to have it all figured out. 
There are so many who swear that we are ascending to the gates of heaven on earth faster than ever before, but I'm not so sure. I see far more of us asleep and daydreaming about a place we might like to end up then actually doing the gritty work in order to get there.
But life is still beautiful, and I will continue on despite what i may see around me. And at the end of the day I give thanks and do my best to offer love. It is the only cure.
N

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The sobering reality

"I'm graduating today!!" Those were some of the last words left in public from a young man in Joplin, Missouri just hours before his vehicle was caught in the massive tornado that almost leveled a city of 175, 000 people. He was on his way home from grad, his father by his side and mom and sister in the car behind them. The tornado must have come on quickly and somewhat unexpectedly if the school was still holding grad ceremonies, though I'm sure the warning signs were present. Maybe the family was on their way to a safe place or maybe they were marveling at the rapidly changing weather conditions but somewhere along the way things got really bad. When the winds hit they hit hard and fast. Wills father told him to pull over or turn around or something, but it was far too late. The vehicle they were in was hit full force and basically started spinning and bouncing off the ground as the mother and sister observed from their car, watching as their closest family members were going through something I wouldn't even want to imagine. Apparently the force of the twisting wind was so great that Will's seatbelt snapped and he was pulled out through the sunroof, his fathers arms around his waist, trying to keep him in the vehicle. Somehow Will must have known his end was near because he was reciting the lords prayer over and over again. His father held on until he lost consciousness and then Will was gone.
They found his body late last night.
An entire shattered city picks up the pieces, accounts for their lost lives and desperately searches for those that are still missing. Children, parents, family and friends who just a week prior were going about their lives are now faced with having to rebuild everything and to somehow move forward.
Here in my cushioned, privileged life my "problems" are nothing compared to what those people are going through. My home is intact, my friends and family are well alive and I have a job to go back to tomorrow. There are no bombs going off in my backyard and there are no mountains of bloodied bodies being scooped up and away as a result of a suicide bombing. Granted, there are these sketchy threats of the "quake that will kill us all" but that is neither here nor there. Right here and now I am safe, happy and healthy and for this I must be grateful. 
I have barely been touched by death. No one in my immediate life has passed on aside from my grandparents and though sad and all, old folks giving up the ghost is an accepted and understood part of the human condition. I have never had anyone "stolen" from me and so I cannot understand the pain of having to pick up the pieces after something so sudden as, say a car accident, heart attack or a tornado. 
Undoubtedly I will be faced with the issue of death. My parents are getting older and one day I will have to bury them both. I hate that reality but it is unavoidable and I know that I can never be truly prepared for when that day comes. I don't even want to think about it. I'm sure that one day I will lose a friend or someone closer before I'm ready to say goodbye and that reality also sucks but we can't hold on forever. We can only hope for the best and to live each day to the max. That is the best I can do in these matters. That is all I can offer. 
I can appreciate that I live in a relatively safe place and though it's true that pretty much anything can kill you I take solace in the fact that religious nutbars aren't running around blowing shit up and that we're not living in an area notorious for killer weather. I do not feel threatened. For this I am grateful. 
I'm not exactly sure why Will Norton's story hit me in the way that it did. God knows people are dying in horrible ways all of the time and the "unfairness" of life rears it's many faceted head on the regular. So why take notice of this freshly graduated stranger from the States? Perhaps it was the uncertainty of what had become of him while he was missing for most of last week. Perhaps it was because this missing person had become a face and a personality with a horrible story that ignited the hope and prayers of thousands. I watched as a Facebook page in his honor blew up from 189 to over 50,000 followers in just a couple of days, scores of kind hopeful words offered to the family who regularly updated us and kept it personal by replying and offering thanks to everyone that they could, and never for a second did they give up hope. They kept searching until Will was found and even still they are out there in search of others who are missing, their inexhaustible faith being the only thing keeping them standing.
I cannot fucking imagine, and before last week I probably didn't even want to but this beautiful kid with the world in his hands brought so many together in life and death and reminded me of how important it is to love what you've got and to never let go for a second. 
I sit here at my backyard picnic table in the sun, the sweetest cat in the world is at my side and my awesome room-mates are prettying up the yard. I have a lover who I am completely head over heels for and though sick in bed she is neither missing nor suffering from a bullet wound to the back. I have an awesome neighborhood in which to stroll and a job to walk into tomorrow. Emotional bullshit, sickness and stubbing my toe is nothing to complain about, in fact they are nothing at all. Right now all over the world there are people wearing the thickest armor of grief and hardship. Some may never know the scent of freshly cut grass or their lovers neck, but so many of us do know these things and sadly they are so easily taken for granted.
I sit here in this back yard in early spring, thinking about life, thinking about death, thinking about Will, his family and every other human being who is experiencing so much pain.....and selfishly I feel so lucky to be alive and able to think of these things and to learn from them.
I sit in this sun drenched yard having bolstered my faith and ability to give thanks for a beautiful life. However short or fraught with hardship, I will do my best to appreciate every moment and to never....ever give up hope. I hope so many of you try to do the same.
No truer words are spoken when i say, thank you i LOVE you!!
N

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Been a long time

Yeah, I miss it here too. Inspiration lack and busy times add up to little free hand writing times. But I'm hoping to goodness that some words spill forth this weekend. I've got a block of time on Saturday that I'm reserving just for you, my little writey write blog. So please stay tuned and keep heart. I've not lost the muse, she just took a walk in the deep woods and got lost. Luckily I tied some string to her ankle so I could reel her in when she got too far.
I hope all are healthy, happy and holy. 
Much love.
Pike

Monday, April 25, 2011

Slipping into my naked suit.

In the spirit of release and traversing new horizons, I thought I'd share a few things you may or may not even care to know about me. Maybe you should try admitting to a few things, like stealing that bag of ketchup chips from the Mac's store last night. 
  
 For most of my life I have had a fractured sense of self esteem. It has gotten exponentially better in the last 5 or 6 years but kept me pretty crippled for quite a long time. I tend to keep a hard outer crust along with the illusion of stability but the truth to the matter is that I can be pretty sensitive when not in my power. A few harsh words or judgement from someone I care about and you can consider me shattered. Luckily I have effectively learned the act of letting go and how to rebuild a better foundation.
 There are 2 simple daily pleasures that i get excited over without fail. My morning coffee and sleep. Sometimes i will feel just the tiniest shred of impatience while in yoga practice because i can't wait to have that first taste of caffeine. So I'm addicted. What? Sometimes i will be so jacked over going to bed that i will take a running leap and then I'll beam silently to myself under the covers. Sleep rules. And perhaps I am crazy. Fuck you.
 I once went a solid year or more of eating a chocolate bar every night after dinner. I'd get a little panicky if for some reason I had forgotten to stock up. Usually my bar of choice was Oh Henry but for a while there i was really big on KitKat chunky bars. Amazingly i never ballooned up to 300 pounds but i guess making yoga every day helped curb insane weight gain. 
I once took an eighth of mushrooms and during part of my trip watched Final Destination 3 at home, alone and in the dark. I loved it but remember feeling particularly bummed out when the token black guy got brutally taken out. Does that make me racist? 
 For about 3 minutes a few years ago i pondered my sexuality. You see, i kind of get how crazy raunchy gay sex could be a good time, especially if you're all gay and stuff. And believe me if i was all gay and stuff I'd probably be the biggest riskiest man-whore there ever was, because i figure if you're going to go against "the norm" then you may as well light up like a Christmas flare and take that shit to the bank. But alas I am simply not attracted to men. At all. The idea of man sounds and man funk and man back/ass hair simply doesn't appeal to me. I don't know how you women do it, but I'm glad you do because y'all smell good and generally have nice skin and bits i like to paw at.
 I used to be a pretty angry and resentful kid. Though not that typically emo kind of angry where i would rage around and blame my stupid parents for everything. Mine was more of a slow burn that came out in the form of destruction of toys and setting things on fire. Later on i discovered pro-wrestling which helped to get that aggression out a bit more effectively but not before staging hardcore wrestling matches with a couple of friends which resulted in a number of broken TV tables and sometimes a window. 
 (Here's a doozy) When I was 15 or so I used to cut into my forehead with a razor because i liked the feeling of warm blood running down my face. It was a small adrenaline rush that was mired in guilt and shoddy cover up jobs. I don't know who i thought i was fooling when i used to lie to my folks and say that i must have nicked myself on the headboard while i slept. I'm sure they knew exactly what i was up to but didn't know how to approach it. And i probably would have denied it to the end anyway. I don't cut myself anymore, thanks. And I'm super glad that I was never one of those folks who cut their arms to ribbons and wear the brutal scars like a shameful trophy. My forehead scars are nearly invisible. Except for that one. Maybe I'll show you one day if you show me yours.
 I would run off to India and chill with the Krishna's in a hot second if I didn't enjoy living out my material desires on Western soil so much. Seriously, if I didn't have jobs and girlfriends and close friends and an adored living space and a desire to drink, eat meat, rock out, gamble and fuck I'd be reading the Srimad Bhagavatam right now and not writing these karmically dirty words with the faint egotistical hope that someone might read and be affected by them. 
 Instead of joining a cult and devoting my life to service in the name of blue skinned multi-limbed deities i instead keep a jewel of faith in my heart and a song of ecstasy on my tongue. I don't know if i solidly "believe" in anything, but there are certainly things i know to be true enough to hold on to through experience and practice, such as the act of chant and kirtan, yoga and simply using word, thought and deed effectively. These are not things i can explain as a feeling has a million descriptives, none of which can be rendered well through speech and written form. I just know what makes me feel happy, alive and present.
 For the first time i am in a romantic relationship where i don't feel as though i am inadequate or not giving enough. Through all of my couplings I have held this idea that I'm not exciting enough or my life stories aren't nearly as cool as hers or that there has gotta be something horrible hanging from my nose and at any second it will be the deal breaker. My Britt loves me warts and all and i love her back just as much. We are learning each other as we go and I'd say we take the speed bumps pretty well. 
 That being said, love scares the crap out of me. The beginning stages of courting and the light hearted nature of "taking it slowly and just being chill about it" are all good with me, but when it gets into the later stages and suddenly i am considering another person all of the time or possibly having to check in before i do anything save for taking a shit is when it gets sticky for me. It's when that jealousy kicks in for either of us or i am getting the silent treatment for eating my sandwich the wrong way, that's when i start to feel ill and look for the closest exit door the hell out of there. I'd rather take white hot needles to the eyes than to give up my individuality and the freedom to come and go as i please. But I know love is a compromise and when 2 healthy individuals are involved it is a process of learning, communication and balance. Not every woman is that WAY over-protective and over-bearing mother from my childhood and my last couple of relationships have cast me out of that mode of thinking and back to a place of romantic hope. I am trying, and for the most part feeling pretty good about it. I no longer feel a desire to run.
 I shamelessly would love to be fabulously wealthy and would have no problem exploiting that wealth for all it's worth. A twenty million dollar home? Sure! My own island and stupid sized yacht? Heck yes! Several months long vacations in Europe and Asia? Bring it! Don't get me wrong, i don't for a second feel that wealth would bring happiness and in fact i think it would get kind of boring after a while, but for a couple of years I'd certainly spend the shit out of my riches and enjoy every last second. Then I'd probably get a job and give a bunch away to people who need it more than i.
 If ever there was to be a zombie pandemic I'd like for it to happen in my lifetime. I'd SO be up to the challenge of survival and helping others to survive. I'd be down with foraging for food, scouting for safe zones and generally running amok. Then again, maybe I just want to shoot a gun and break into department stores.

Well then, i think I'll leave it there. From my insecurities to my apocalyptic fantasies and a few things in between I think I've covered some decent ground. Do you still like me? Can we still be pals? 
Keep stripping yourselves bare, friends. Every chance you get. It'll look good on you.
As always, thank you I love you!



Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eye on the prize.

You know what i want?
I want to go into a job i don't really need for two days a week and get paid fabulously for it. I want to go home from that job resting easy in the knowledge that my work day was spent doing something worthwhile and sustainable. 
I want to feel inspiration coursing through my fingertips and from my tongue as often as possible and I do not want my creative flow to ever feel like a chore or something forced.
I want to be totally drug and alcohol free and i want my mind to shut the fuck up about it for good because I am well aware of what is best for me and what would more easily attract that which I truly crave. 
I want these words to come much more easily than they are right now.
I want to for my hands to be more useful, as in sculpting or building something even if but for my own eye to look at. Gardening is probably a fair bet and i certainly know my share of crafty earthy gardening types. 
I want a huge yard or some acreage and in that space i want to have a dog running around. Not just any dog though. I don't want one of those little lappy things that exists only for some lonely crazy person to dress up and spray perfume on. I want a meat and potatoes dog who is clever enough to know its role and beefy enough to protect my shit.
I want to sink deeper into my yoga practice and to continue learning, remaining open to the changes that may come as a result of life's twists and shifts.
I want to keep at this lovely relationship i have. I want to keep showing up and giving the best parts of myself to this. I want to grow with her and learn her and to be with her fully while giving fully to myself. I want every moment, every touch and every 'I love you' to count.
I want loads more money so i can visit great places like this or this.
I want to sit at the feet of this man and chant Hare Krishna with hundreds of devotees.
I want to provide for myself and my love a place to rest our heads like this.
I want to believe in myself more, more often. There should be no question about the personal power i hold and what i can do with it.
I want to see my parents more often.
I want to cultivate a better sense of play and to leave these heavy awkward feelings of looking like a geek at the door for the rest of my time here on earth.
I want to have joy in my voice.
I want to have peace with every step.
I want to keep the song in my heart.
I want to be strong of body and able of mind.
I don't think that's too much too hope for. 
But enough of this talk, there's work to be done!


Happy Easter. 
Enjoy the warm weather! 
Thank you i love you!
N

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I'm getting my hippy on!

Apparently it's springtime in Vancouver. Although you'd hardly know save for those shining moments when the biting cold rain and ever grey skies give way to heaven in the form of a sunny warm day. It wants to happen so badly, i can feel it in my bones and heart and maybe that is enough. I am thawing out and my complexion is returning to the ruddy happy glow i tend to wear during the warmer months. I am getting out more and adventure is becoming less forced. Hibernation is complete and i am stretching these limbs, shaking out my Leo mane and filing my claws. I am awake and being alive is such sweet nectar. Despite the clouds in the sky 5 days a week i take heart in the moments that anchor me to the present, those moments that cry out "I'm here! Celebrate! Love!"
 Like when the cat joyfully roils around on the warm cement of the driveway.
Or when the wildflowers poke their little heads out and show off their colors, seemingly overnight.
Or when i come home to a lush garden so lovingly tended to.
Or the many BBQ's, gatherings of friends and music parties this Franklin home loves to play host to.
And then there are the amazing mid-summer peach and lavender sunsets that contrast so beautifully with the industrial buildings, prostitutes and drug seekers in this east side neighborhood.
 It may be cold, grey and raining right now but in this last week or two i have tasted the beginnings of Spring. I have been reminded of these simple pleasures and the weight of a long wet winter is finally lifting, even if in an energetic sense. Blossoms are blossoming and faces are smiling. I am flirting with natures changing course and it feels pretty great to be alive. I've got good feelings about this summer, so rain all you want sky. You won't dampen my spirits.
Here's to the little things and the bigger ones to come. Thank you, i love you!                                                                      

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Inspiration! Exaltation!

                                    
The intrusive alarm puts an end to my half conscious dream state. My eyes dusty, adjusting to the dim light filtering through the curtained window and it is another day. I begin my ritual of making the bed and sweeping the floor, creating a clean and balanced space conducive to a comfortable asana practice. Showered clean and with teeth brushed I will step into my space and shut the door, perhaps spending a few minutes on the computer checking to see who said what on Facebook and whether there are any newsworthy items to fret about that day. This is usually just a stalling technique because I am still not awake and the thought of exercising for 2 hours seems ridiculous, however necessary it may be. Eventually I will close out the external world and roll out my mat, breath deepening and becoming more focused, eyes softening around the edges and becoming less sculpted by thought. Despite the minds protests the preparation and willingness to practice is there and it is good. The first and hardest step is to show up, but I am here fully. I would have nothing less.  This is what I do each morning.
I take this bed stiffened body through a series of warming and opening stretches, still partly present with the ego mind that doesn't want to be here. I honor with acknowledgment and remain where I am because I know in 20-minutes time I will have changed my mind completely. But for now thoughts of that first coffee of the day or a conversation had the night before tug at my presence and it's almost funny because in this space and in this present moment there is nothing less important than what my first girlfriend is doing with her life right now, but such is the nature of the carnival-like mind. 
And soon thoughts give way to feeling, opening, deepening and lengthening. The breath which only an hour ago was a bit shallow and filling only about half of my lung capacity is now becoming boundless and full of energy, I can feel it in my eyes which are opening from the inside and seemingly radiating a soft light. Those gentle bodily motions give way to stronger and more realized movements and now it is 20-minutes in and I have changed my mind completely. Sweat begins to bubble to the surface and the alchemy of yoga is taking place. This is why i do this stuff. This is how i spend each morning.
For an hour and some to a couple of hours i expand in awareness, strength and capacity of the body/mind. Some days are a flawless flow and other days are choppy waters full of debris and oil slick and still other days are fierce, hot and sweaty and i wonder just what in the hell i think I'm doing but the beauty and life I am experiencing keeps me here. It is a dance and it is how i want to spend each morning.
Over the years my yoga practice has shifted every which way. It has been weak and in short sessions and it has been explosive in its strength and length. I have felt inspired and opened for weeks on end and have spent months just spinning my wheels, going through the motions and alienating myself from the deeper practice and study of this lifestyle because in our western society this practice has almost become less of a necessity and more of a scene to be seen in. Something with which to puff up our already inflated ego and to identify ourselves with. I struggle with seeing something so beautiful and honest being mired in product placement and the desperate need to look hip with our eco-friendly vegan yoga mat and 'Om Namah Shivaya' tattoo across our low back. This is not why i show up every morning and wake up with opening movement. This is not why i sweat and shake and bake and curse myself for holding a challenging posture for 10 breaths. I do this because it is feeling. I do this because it is the right thing for me to do. I do this because it helps to create a state of play, lightness and acceptance. I do this because it makes me feel amazing, even if halfway through the day something sets me off, it is now that much easier to anchor myself back to this present moment and to let go completely.
No amount of incense or overpriced trinket can replace doing the work. You want a desired result, you show up and you do the work. You keep doing the work and you don't stop even when your lying mind is telling you that you've got it figured out, and in fact that is a sure sign that you've got a lot more work ahead of you because really, with all of our conflicting theories and ideas and 'get spiritual fast' plans, who in their right mind actually has anything figured out? I know I never will nor want to. I'd much rather revel in the question and to just enjoy the ride. 

May you all have something that brings you back and opens your heart right up, be it yoga or dance or meditation or playing in a band or chanting Hare Krishna for hours on end. Your bliss is beautiful and always welcomed on this earthy crust we walk on. 
Do yourself the biggest favor and keep showing up. That's all you need.
Thank you I love you!
N

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wanna see my scars?

You think you're big, strong and all but immortal until injury shows you differently. 
I am happy to report that I have lived these 36 years mostly free of debilitating injury, managing to keep my body strong and limber through years of yoga practice and a generally healthy mindset. My bounce back is pretty good and I don't tend to wallow in misery when something is amiss, in fact I will usually work through whatever ills I may experience in my day to day life. 
Though every once in a great while something will give way and I'll be forced to sit out a few innings, stewing over my lack of mobility and Wolverine-like healing abilities. 
Monday of last week started off innocently enough. I woke up, made yoga and left the house to spend a bit of time with my lady. A bike had fallen in the hallway as I was exiting the house and to avoid tripping up I stepped over and twisted my body in a seemingly normal position. One would think after an hour and fifteen minutes of yoga that I'd be limber and loose and able to traverse the span of a bike, but not this time. The universe decided differently as she generally tends to do when we're not expecting it. I didn't think much of the low level throb in the small of my back until I stepped down the slope at the end of my driveway and felt like I'd taken a knife in the spine. My whole being seized and I couldn't move for a solid fifteen seconds. "Oh fuck, this is bad. This is really bad." I said to myself as I tried to step one foot in front of the other finding some small relief in the fact that the searing pain gave way to slightly less searing pain and discomfort. I naively thought that over the next hour the pain would ease and I'd be good as gold but apparently my immortality is as based in reality as a skeleton bonded with adamantium. I'm no Wolverine. I'm no Superman. I'm a man who's getting older and as much as I hate it, I have to face the facts. 
There have been only a couple of times in my life when I couldn't take off my own pants before bed. As an infant i didn't have that life skill stored away and happily relied on my caregivers to do it for me. The last time was a couple of years back when I had my hernia surgery and basically was living with a stitched up abdomen and after the first day or so it wasn't all that bad. Tender but bearable. Well now I can chalk up a third round of inability to disrobe because on the night of said back injury, try as I may, I could not get those damned pants off with ease. I swear to God it took me at least five minutes a leg and then another minute to kick them off and by the time they finally exited my body I was so exhausted from the strain that all I could do was lay there moaning and feel sorry for myself. This was bad. This was really bad. There was little sleep that night as any movement sent shudders of incredible white hot pain through my mid-section and to my head so mostly I just lay there wondering, why me? 
I have heard that when you break your hip it feels as though you are falling apart down the middle. This wasn't as extreme as all of that but it was a reasonable facsimile for sure. Truth be told it fucking sucked.
Little by little over the following few days my back began to realign itself. Sleep became easier and walking became less of a constant reminder of my failing body on that fateful day. With the help of mindful awareness and the imbibing of a couple particularly strong weed filled brownies I began to regain my strength and confidence in the body's ability to move freely. 
And still a week later I feel a tightness and heavy strain in this ever so delicate part of my frame. I sit and sleep with a certain comfort but over time it seizes up and getting to my feet can be a bit of a working groaning process if I'm not paying attention and even when I am. I am confident that I won't be joining any heavy contact sporting teams any time soon, which is fine because I'm not really in to that. But I am in to freedom of movement and not having to be ultra-careful all of the time. 
And this is where the learning comes in.
I half-jokingly say that I'm getting older and all that, and as much as that may be true i also believe that you are as young and limber as you choose to be. This isn't to say that our bodies don't crap out a bit after sixty years or that you should be able to bounce back after a bad accident. Shit happens and i guess I have been spoiled with very little happening to me. But with what has, I am glad that i don't spend much time playing the victim because most of us know that is a waste of life. I know that shit happens for a reason, however subtle and hard to pinpoint and I know that this fun little adventure in handicapped land has been good for me. It has caused me to slow down and to be more aware. It has given me the opportunity to dive into a deeper and different form of yoga practice. It has given me reason to appreciate what i have a lot more. 
To think that i have "suffered" is delving into some fairly selfish and ignorant thinking. There are able bodied 25 year old's who have lost the ability to walk or hold their children. There are good hearted folks out there who are living with sickness that I wouldn't even want to imagine having for a minute. My week long little strained back issue is nothing because I still walk, talk, feel and fuck. I still work and I still write. I still love and I still enjoy life. For a brief moment in time i was "crippled" and it was disconcerting but here I am now writing about it with a sense of humor and in the spirit of letting go. I'm good and I will get better. I will carry on. 
And holy crap do I ever appreciate that fact.
Take care of yourselves friends, appreciate what you have and what you can do with it because in a second, with one unaware movement it can be taken from you. Try not to end up like this guy, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM8bTdBs-cw,  even if but for a week. 
Be well and healthy. Thank you I love you.
N

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekly fun time random album reviews

OK, so as mentioned in my last post i was hungry for some topics to write about. I got a couple of suggestions and i will most definitely honor them over the next while but what I'm toying with right now is the idea of choosing an album at random whether new or old, listening to it and then offering up my impressions of it. I'd like to try this maybe once a week and probably will not limit myself to just albums. There are so many movies out there that I've not watched so maybe I'll try to offer some words on random movies once a week as well, time permitting. But let's hop along to my first order of business, the random iTunes album pick of the week. As i write this i have no idea what it's going to be. I'm leaving that up to the shuffle album function this time, but please feel free to suggest an album or movie you'd like for me to talk about. Like i said, i hope for this to be a weekly thing which means many more postings from me along with the usual fare.

Alright then. And this weeks winner is...........
Pink Mountaintops - Outside Love
Well, i thought this was going to be an easy one. Luckily this is an album i have an immediate recognition of. Having often listened to Vancouver's Pink Mountaintops three albums including this 2009 release i have my opinions, likes, distastes and otherwise. Putting it into words is another thing altogether as i feel that Outside Love though very good in its own right, is not a whole lot different than anything else the band has done. And don't get me wrong, what the band does is competent and definitely worth the listen if you're interested in shoe-gazey hazy stoner rock. But like with any good joint and a handful of sedatives i am rendered a bit speechless when it comes to whipping up a paragraph or two about this album. If anything Outside Love makes me feel kind of puddle-like, similar to that feeling about a half an hour after taking a couple grams of mushrooms, just before you peak and want to climb trees or fly, when you feel like your limbs are sliding off as if the joints connecting them to your body were made of melting butter and words though amazing in your head, end up releasing from your mouth in some kind of crazy alien dialect. This is music for the stoned, the laze-a-bouts and the melted. To some it may be fuck music and to others it may be music to rear your kids to, but for me i can only take so much of Stephen McBeans blue fog stew music for so long until i need a pick me up. 
That being said there is absolutely an awesomeness to Pink Mountaintops music that keeps me interested enough to keep collecting. I am a sucker for big fat sloppy riffs and wet just offish drums that play a part in creating something that sounds as though it could fall apart at any second but is held together by good playing and songwriting abilities. What i mean is that there is kind of an open feeling to these tunes as if some of them were recorded in an empty warehouse in one take. It's freeing music that doesn't feel overly rehearsed or pretentious. Vocals echo beautifully, hitting you with two or three times the power and filling you in a way that some vocals cannot. Drums resonate and wake you while guitar fuzz lulls you to laziness and the songs as a whole sometimes sounds very west coast sea and mountain chill on the large scale. Lyrics aren't a total downer and even offer some positivity such as in 'Holiday' where McBean laments that "everyone he loves deserves a holiday in the sun, almost everyday, until lions are off of their backs." Though this is a far cry from co-vocalist Amber(Amy?!??!?) Webber declaring on 'While You Were Dreaming', that "if I could find your heart I'd pull it from your chest and smash you with my fists until it was beating." Wide open, bleak and kind of beautiful, which for me sums up the Pink Mountaintops experience. The music is big and at times bordering on epic of sound. The musicianship is "not trying" excellent and the songs are memorable for the most part. Outside Love may have been a cut above the last two albums in some music critics minds but for me it was simply a continuation of a cleaner and wiser pre-existing sound. When it comes down to personal choice I'd much rather listen to their self titled album or Axis Of Evol any other lazy day of the week. Outside love is a pretty good album, but not their best.  
Winning track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmejIUm9XmA
K, I'm out. Thank you i love you!
~N

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A necessary rambling random short post


The time seems to fly by at a breakneck pace. Those things i looked so forward to for weeks on end are said and done and replaced with other new and exciting things to look forward to. The money in my pocket has dwindled and i eagerly await the next pay-day so i can take another round of care free living and fun. Oh wait, i do that anyway despite however many moths flutter from my wallet holding crisp dollar bills in their mothy beaks. It's easier to have fun and enjoy life when surrounded by free of heart people with good ideas. It's even easier to have fun and enjoy life when the weather begins to turn to a noticeably warmer temperature. Today it was quite apparent that Spring is barreling down the road toward us and frankly, i couldn't be happier about it. As much as i enjoy the hibernation of Winter and the endless rain she brings, it is the warmth of Spring and Summer where i truly come to life. Last year was spent largely indoors working and i don't plan on repeating that mess this year. I have a deep set group of friends, an amazing girlfriend and a serious penchant for the solar stuff and i will not let that slip by while i make coffee for the addicted whilst listening to their stories of how beautiful it is outside. Shit, maybe i should quit that scene and get a job at a hot dog cart. I'll hire Charlie Sheen and a bundle of bikini sluts and we'll do mountains of blow while getting the perfect tan. Then I'll write about it.
Speaking of which, i really would like to be posting here a lot more. Like every few days as opposed to every coupla weeks. I just don't know where to go with this sometimes. I've posted such poignant and personal stuff i feel like i owe it to myself and those few interested readers something other than a few lines and a fart joke. Perhaps i ought to be just writing about anything that tickles my fancy, such as an old movie i saw or the many shows i hope to get to in the next few months. I didn't want to turn this into a "review blog" but come on, there is only so much of myself i can give before it just gets boring and redundant. I guess I'm looking for a niche that isn't all music or of the personal nature. Recipes? Poetry? 
Here's an idea, you people send me ideas such as movie suggestions, books, restaurants/cafes, events and yes, even albums new or ancient and I'll spin a few words about them. It's not that I'm starved for content but I'd like to make this a bit more of a dialogue effort between myself and the people that read these words. Call it an experiment. If you read the shit that i have to say and you are remotely interested in what i might have to say about something you might be stoked on then please offer away in the comments below, especially you random strangers who stumble upon this blog and are reading this right now. Feed me your ideas because I'm hungry. Hungry like a tiger. Hungry like the wolf. Hungry like Billy Corgan back in 1993. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pcNP9JE0bs
Okay chickens, as always i am humbled by your readership as i am humbled by your life. Keep on being and for gosh sake don't talk to strangers, don't even look them in the eye! Thank you i love you!
N

Thursday, February 24, 2011

You say you're happy, but does your face know that?

                            
Thursdays generally tend to be my favorite day of the week. This is when i get to wake up a little later and head on down to the Georgia Straight office where i pick up a few bundles of their paper and deliver it to and around Granville Island. This takes about two and a half hours and then my day is freed up for whatever i choose to bring into it. On top of that i get to spend my "shift" outside which, weather permitting, can be lovely. It's a great way to spend my day and a nice jump from the routine of pulling shots at the shop four days of the week. I get paid well and in the last year that i have been doing this some very special people have come into my life. Seeing some of these smiling faces makes the job that much better and though i may not be forming lifelong friendships with these folks, those brief moments of appreciative recognition and stimulating conversation are enough to make my day. Whether it is the joy received from having something to read in a brief reprieve from the monotony of these peoples jobs or the possibility that someone "saw" them and put an ad in the I Saw Yous or even the familiar shiny face that comes around every Thursday to hand deliver their favorite publication, i seem to be in a role of bringing a certain happiness to peoples lives and i really enjoy it. I look forward to seeing Steve the bike fixer guy and recounting our week in whirlwind bullshit sessions. I look forward to seeing my favorite dog pal Buddha at my friend Sharpies gem store. I look forward to the shouts of Georgia Straight joy from the kids at the Hammock shop on the island. I look forward to spending a few minutes holding space with Loni at the art studio. I look forward to the myriad sweets in bowls on desks at the many offices i deliver to. I look forward to stepping into the incredibly high end wood-furniture store and dreaming about the day when I'll afford a $9,000 bed. I look forward to seeing all the pretty people, the B-line commuters or Granville artisans alike. Yes, these Thursday short shifts are usually very life affirming and i often think of how when i was 13 or so i delivered the Mission Times newspaper 2 times a week. We'd fill the back of my moms Volvo station wagon with hundreds of papers and I'd spend what seemed an eternity delivering to homes. It was thankless work that paid me $30 a month which at that age seemed a lot. Now I'm well into my adulthood and here i am delivering newspapers for fun and making really decent money to boot. 
 So what's with the title of this post? If I'm all shits and giggles, why the dripping sarcasm? Well, with all good and interesting things there comes a browner side that merits attention. As much as I'd like to only observe and revel in the happy parts of my favorite day, i can't help but notice things that make me a little sad. It's not much really, but it's enough for me to stop and give my head a shake. See, i have worked in the service industry for a long time now and i see a lot of people. When you're behind the counter or approaching a table there is usually an unspoken barrier between people and their state of mind. We can all be shitty to each other and i have had my fair share of bad interactions with clientele but whether you're serving or buying we all tend to fake it a little bit, despite our foulness. Out in public when the filters are down there is little to hide the pain in so many peoples faces or the shutting out of the real world through texting madly and shitty cell phone conversations. I wonder if some of these folks could see just how deep their grimace was, if they'd take evasive action to change it around. Yeah, sure, we all have bad days and we all go through rough and horrible spells, but i feel like i can tell the difference between heart pain and an unwillingness to engage with society by looking like a gargoyle on day 1 of the worst PMS ever. And these people aren't just sprinkled lightly in this city, they're EVERYWHERE! And they scare me. I saw a woman today in her massive white Escalade frothing and spitting and furrowing her brow because an old woman was crossing the road....at a crosswalk. She honked for a solid 5 seconds while beating her hand on the steering wheel, eventually veering out into oncoming traffic almost hitting the old crosser and killing herself in the process? And for what? So she could get home to her shitty lonely lapdog life and online episodes of Glee? A hair appointment? Yogalates? I saw another young woman with a frown a mile wide get huffy and frustrated because someone dropped something in front of her while she was walking. She literally stomped her foot and exhaled audibly because SHE had to step around something, a whole half a second of her life, gone. Poor girl. Have a cookie, bitch. 
Then there are the few folks who have made up their own story about the guy who comes to deliver the Georgia Straight to their store every week. It's rare and after a year 95% of them have realized that there is far more substance there than the half retarded simp some of them decided to paint me as. But every once in a while i get some high falootin' richie-rich pull out their chalk board and spell out specific instructions as to where they'd like me to leave the paper and to not make eye contact if they happen to be dealing with a client. Well, it's not that extreme, but you know what i mean. Some people are self important jerks. But i shant let that get me down. These are simply observances that i can choose to let affect me. It's just kind of tough to see on such a beautiful day, surrounded by good food and awesome scenery. It just makes me wonder how some think it's better to have their head so far up their own ass when there is so much potential for joy all around them. Somehow i don't feel that a dark damp shitty hole is actually a better place, but then again it's been so long since I've been in a place where i was unaware of the choice. Bad moods happen, but for the love of shit, pick up your frown that's trailing 2-feet behind you before someone trips on it and gets wrapped up. Go look at the sea or a mountain or something. Have a cookie, bitch. 
Here's to laughs and better head spaces. Thank you i LOVE you!
N

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Showered in sound vibration


I thought I'd share some impressions with you about a concert i went to the other night. This wasn't meant to be a published piece or anything but i did feel this gig was affecting enough for me to want to spin some words. Here's what came out.                                                                                                 
Godspeed You! Black Emperor live @ the Vogue Wednesday Feb. 16th 2011
Okay, so this freehand concert reflection might take a bit of time to write because the spectacle I witnessed last night deserves the space to come to fruition in my head and heart. Godspeed You! Black Emperor was certainly not the “best” concert I have ever attended, but it was definitely one of the more interesting and intense shows I’ve been to. I’ll admit I knew I was getting myself into something special when I signed on for this, co-worker Fraser announcing one day almost half a year ago that he had bought a couple of tickets for this super-rare show by the Montreal post-spacefury rock outfit who never really tour all that much and haven’t released any new material in nearly ten years. I took the spare ticket all the while thinking how odd it was that I was committing to a band more than six months ahead of time and the band was one that I knew and admired but had never given much thought to seeing live before now. I know a good chunk of this bands music and I had an inkling of what they would throw forth in the live setting but there was really no reason for me to commit to music I felt only a passing connection to. For the most part some of this artsy drone-noise-crescendo-peak-chill-build-again music gets my dander up after a while and it’s totally not something I could sit and listen to for long periods of time while in my private moments. I appreciate it and I feel the power of monster riffs held for 20 minutes while drums go crazy, but like Latin and physiological studies, as beautiful as they might be, I feel no draw towards them and would rather leave them to be studied and dissected by the more eager. But something about the idea of this Godspeed You! Black Emperor show got me hopped up and I had a feeling it would knock my head around for a bit.Well friends, I was not wrong. 
 The evening began watching some young fellow who calls himself Total Life hunched over a bank of mixers and things making loud atonal noises that peaked and let loose and then turned into a somewhat passable form of dance music. It was interesting to walk into but after a half an hour I was ready for something more. There was meant to be a band onstage called Errors but apparently they never happened and so it was just electronics/mixers guy and Godspeed. So be it. Next it was time to pee and all the while I was gone I could hear this low tonal hum, like a bass guitar left near an amp but not in an annoying way. I felt soothed by the hum as I made small talk with the guy in the line about how it was the first time we’d ever been in a lineup for the guys can at an indoor gig. We were wieners at a sausage fest and we laughed and made nervous caveman-like dude gestures about this art music gig with a high volume of black shirt and beard wearing tough gutter punk anarchy steam-rave oddball folks. It was all kind of weird and exciting and surreal, us gathered under this roof to share in this unique live experience. The tension in the air was rich and I was honored to be a part of it. After about 20 minutes of the low tone hum that stoked the excitement in the air, Godspeed sauntered out and took their spots, building on the bass hum instrument by instrument, layer by layer. We staked our viewing location behind the sound booth, which proved to be the perfect place to get a full on experience. Downwind from the projectionist and directly behind the impressively busy girl doing sound we watched a band play selfishly amongst themselves while forever bathed in a light salmon hue cast on blue. No words were spoken and no acknowledgment was given to the crowd. This show was not about “hits” or favorite tracks or the perfect set list. This was about art in motion in unison with others, and in my opinion they pulled it off perfectly. Songs? You want songs? No, these aren’t really songs as much as they are movements of sound that build and become furious and intricate. The songs have names and I recognized a couple, but names of songs are hardly important when the draw is more about the music and movements. This is stormy music that hits like white light and can take you on a range of feelings from elation to exhaustion and back again. In the live setting these ‘songs’ happen while images are cast behind the band. Dreary black, white and faint off piss-yellow images of crows flying, sad cities, fields of grass blowing in the breeze, emergency lights and old fashioned cranes picking up scrap and throwing it onto bigger piles of scrap. Is this happy music and picture times? Hardly. Is it sad? No, not really. It is music that paints a bleak picture of hope. Hope that starts off as innocent and then flickers off into sketchy, eventually becoming a mix of tension, love, fury, ecstasy, fear, aggression and unrest. Songs grow wings of gossamer and take flight and just when you think the going is good the wings turn to scribbled on cardboard and barbed wire held together with airplane glue and pubic hair. It was odd and beautiful to watch happen and neither the crowd, projectionist, band nor sound tech would have been able to pull it off without the other. We were all a part of this magitragicomedy in movements whether we knew it or not. Each feeding the other and the other eating itself to feed the other, a perfect circle of fury and noise, pictures rendered and minds torn open, holes burned in film and explosions of images riding atop crests of sound waves. These massive intakes and outpourings of guitars, bass, violins, drums and samples of dialogue filled the walls of the Vogue and for stretches of time I was convinced that this was the beginning and end of all music, the white light at the end of the tunnel. A light that beckoned, so I followed and for an evening I was saved.
~Nathan Pike

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I need another bit because i chomped through the last one

 All day I've been hopped up in anticipation of getting creative, having to spend the better part of the day cooped up in the shop slinging lattes and making friendly. Sure it was fine and i made some scratch in the process but i needed to tap into this flow and to feel more alive doing it. Ever since last week when the gears started turning and the call for some serious life change rattled my heart and mind i have been flashing heavy on the routes i can take in order to move closer to my goals. Though goals might be a loose term for me right now as I'm not too sure what they all look like yet and i prefer a softer word such as 'intention'. Things are changing rapidly and what i thought i wanted 5 years ago is so different from what I am wanting now, and in fact 5 years ago I'm not even that sure i had any clear goals intact, so content have I been spinning the wheels in my own mucky muck that goals seemed like a distraction or something to "get to eventually". But then a growing creativity happened and things started moving more as a few people close to me offered some food for thought and reminded me of just how important it is to keep the brain active and heart excited. I'm now feeling hooked on creating the life i desire and it's exciting, new, exhilarating and a little bit scary. My growing distaste for accepting anything other than that which is juicy and vital is beginning to ripple outward, growing into a tsunami of lasting change. I don't know what it is going to look like in a few years from now but i do know that eking out a living 5 days a week in some soulless environment that leaves me feeling tired, frustrated and broke would be nothing more than utter defeat. This is not the plan God has for me and it is becoming more apparent by the day that I have a gift that must be exercised on the regular and i will do everything in my power to feed that call.
 But this can't all be about career change and finding financial freedom. There is balance to be had and i am fortunate enough to have folks in my life who will remind me of this at the drop of a hat. I am aware of the dangers of taking too much on, even when it's something that comes from the heart. You can burn out on it, and eventually like those crappy jobs we tend to enslave ourselves to, resentment grows and festers into infection. I did it with yoga instruction and I've done it in my relationships. It sucks and feels like slow death. Thankfully I have always managed to find myself surrounded by reminders that balance is key, whether it be quiet lessons learned in my asana practice or those vivacious friends who seem to have 20 amazing things on the go while still maintaining the ability to just chill and drink a beer on the front porch or watch a ridiculous movie without regard for the time. This is the place I'd like to be closer to. Full but not busy and allowing myself to be supported and rested when need be. There may be no time to waste but this is still not a race to get to the finish line, if there even is one.
 So I've been playing with a few ideas about how to better enrich my life while feeding this forward moving momentum. Can I share them with you? Yeah?? Thanks!
 * I have set an intention for myself to attend at least 1 music gig a week. This Winter i feel like I lost touch with what's happening in Vancouver's local music scene and I'd like nothing more than to support some of these hard working folks making music. I've leaned too heavily on the excuse that there are simply too many bands out there which is just fucking ridiculous. If the water is deep and warm then why not swim and submerge myself in it?? Oh, and if you know me personally and we tend to hang out from time to time then please don't hesitate to come along with me or suggest gigs we can go to. The company would be rad.
* I want to write like crazy. Here, Discorder, other magazines, in birthday cards. I don't care, i just want to write and get better as i go. I'd also like to expand my horizons by trying out other forms of writing such as fiction, movie reviews etc. And yes, if i happen to get a gig writing for some big publication where I'm not selling my soul then hell fucking yeah I'm going to "sell out". But don't think of it as selling out, think of it as me buying in, ok? Don't hate, jerk.
* Spending far less time on this trusty old computer playing garbage in garbage out. I am astounded at how quickly my life rolls by when I'm spending hours surfing for nothing. Sure, i have my regular hits that I might feel slightly uncomfortable without, but do i really need to spend that hour between yoga practice and work watching classic wrestling clips on the youtubes? I think not.
* Much more reading. Man, i really LOVE to read and always have. Apparently when i was a little guy i used to read the labels of soup cans. I've graduated to bigger periodicals by this point in life but i have noticed since my acquisition of a computer and internet that my reading time has gone down significantly. This upsets me a bit and though i seem to always have at least 3 books on the go it is taking me far longer to read them these days. So along with just taking the time to read every night when i can i have decided to join my lady in her book club starting next month. For those unaware, you meet at the end of each month and have a book assigned through consensus of the group. Then you read the shit out of it and at the next meeting you discuss what you read. So not only are you stimulating your bean through reading exciting new literature, you get to hang out with book nerds and talk about the stuff you read and the impact it had. I'm down and I'm doing it.
* Creating more elegant meals. Dude, my diet is the dogs balls. I eat on the go or take what's easy all the time and for the most part i feel crappy for it. I have tasted the money saved through having a fridge full of groceries and being able to make an awesome meal with my plunder. The crazy part is that i can cook like the dickens and sometimes amaze myself at the stuff i dream up with no recipe or idea in mind. I just have a knack for food alchemy but rely on easy street food and the shit i have at work for sustenance. Excuse me but sandwiches and hot dogs are NOT food. I live with 6 other people who cook fresh wholesome meals at least 5 days a week and there is little excuse for me to not follow suit. I feel like such shit after filling myself with bread and cheese and then instead of taking responsibility for myself i sit in wonder as to why i feel like i need a nap after 8 hours of sleep and an intense yoga practice in the morning. Laziness is so frighteningly easy and it's a shame that so much of our constant stimulation in the media applauds being a lazy chud with easy to microwave options within arms reach. Fuck Egg McMuffins™, i want duck confit with a white wine reduction and a side of organic steamed vegetables.
 * Saving money and practicing a bit of frugality. This is really a no brainer. I spend far too much of the little money i have on nothing of lasting value. This doesn't mean the denial of having fun and going without but it does mean refraining from spending that $25 on a meal i could have cooked at home and putting said money into savings for a trip or a great book or some nice clothes. Money can create such a prison-like state and I am SO tired of thoughts pertaining to how much money i have left and how long it will be until i get more of it. I will however take heart in the fact that i have NEVER held a credit card and have no desire to do so. Also, i am for the most part, debt free. No student loans, no massive bills, no money owed to the mafia. Just rent and utilities and that's pretty freeing. Someday soon i will experience total financial freedom where none of these money worries even enter my mind, but until then i need to do the work in order to get there and that includes not being a money-dummy.
  So yeah, these are a few of my recent wish fulfillment thoughts. I don't think they're at all unreasonable, and in fact they are totally available to me RIGHT NOW! This is the beauty of intention setting. There's nobody there to tell you how or why you should do anything for any reason. It's yours and yours only. You can set your goals to be as big or small as you feel capable of committing to and the only person you can blame for your failure to do so is yourself. What could be more freeing than that? 
So what are your goals and/or intentions my friends? What are you going to do to change your life and mind? Share in the comments below, and in the meantime take a lesson from these cool cats.....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDIYJTbWW2E
Thank you i love you! 
N