Friday, December 28, 2007


dear friends,
as many of you know i helped co-found a non-profit organization called faceless international. we have taken several humanitarian trips overseas with members from various bands in attempts to educate ourselves while helping others.
we here at faceless have decided to broaden our horizons and begin to invite anyone who feels that they want to help better this world to come along with us on a trip.
in june of 2008 FACELESS INTERNATIONAL is going to be taking two trips (june 8-17; june 18-25) to the country of Guatemala where we will devote our concentration on FAIR TRADE. this trip is designed to raise awareness, educate, and work hands side by side with the people in attempts to help alleviate poverty in Guatemala.
if you are interested please contact the project coordinator at you will need to turn in your application and $100.00 (US) deposit by January 31,2008. space is very limited so please contact sarah as soon as you can, we also have fundraising ideas in place to assist you if you are serious about taking the trip.
-stephen christian
faceless international

Guatemala Fair Trade Awareness Trip
June 2007

(all inclusive: includes travel from Dallas, and transportation throughout the week, food, lodging, tourism activities, and professional movie of trip to teach friends and family about the benefits of fair trade)
Day 1:
Travel To Dallas (group training about Fair Trade, introductions of teams, group activities.
Day 2:
This is a travel day. The team will arrive into Guat City and then we take a 5 hour drive to Huehue. Once in Huehue the team will get settled into the guesthouse and do some team building activities. A perfect time to continue discussion about the week ahead, what to expect, and have open discussion about the purpose of why everyone is there.
Day 3:
This day will be used to start teaching coffee. There will be a chance to go to a Mayan village and see a church and also a market. A great day to get see the people and how they live, learn who they are, and experience the culture.
Day 4:
This will be used to visit churches/community centers in the area and start to meet the people. There will be a lot of interaction with the farming communities.
Days 5- First thing on Monday the team will travel to Agua Dulce which is 2 hours away. This is where the plantations are. During the next 4
days the team will visit several farms and meet farmers. Learn,
see, experience the entire coffee process. The coffee will have just been harvested so probably a lot of the work will be hands on helping with getting the land ready and prepping for the growing season. This is also when a project can be started. Everything from building things that will help the farmers, to playing with kids in the farming community. There will be traditional walks and hikes to tour the plantations and everything anyone wanted to learn about coffee will happen. End of Thursday the team will go back to Huehue.
Day 9
Will travel back to Guat city. On the way we will tour Antigua and do some tourist type things.
Day 10
Go Home. The cost of the trip includes a video of the trip that you can how to everyone to teach them about what you learned about FairTrade. We want you to continue the education!
- We have a team of people who take good care of us. The food is prepared especially with North American friends in mind; Clean, safe and delicious. We take all of our food and drinking water to Agua Dulce with us.
- In Guatemala City we use a guest house and there is a guest house in Hue-
hue, with bunk beds and some regular beds. Hot water in showers.

for an online information package or an application for our free trade Guatemala please contact us at .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

war! when is it good for?

it is so funny but if i go some time without writing on modesty it feels like i almost alienate apart of my family in a way.
i don’t know where to begin this conversation and i am sure i won’t know when to end.

i am not one of those people who stand on the side of the road and protest the war, in all honesty i try to look at the positives in the war (debatable whether the word “postive” and “war” ever belong in the same sentence). we all see clearly the negatives, i mean its war. people die. no matter if that’s one person or one million no one should die. but some positive aspects of the war in iraq currently are this.

* "there are now over 100 newspapers in the free press. . . in a free iraq." this means more freedom of speech in iraq! something we americans take for granted.
* "the independent central bank of Germany, it took three years after world war II to establish it-it was established in iraq in two months; that the police in germany were established after 14 months-in iraq, they were established in two months; that a new currency in germany took three years-it took two and a half months in Iraq. the cabinet in germany took 14 months. iraq has a cabinet today after four months."
* "the governing council of iraq is easily the most representative body of governance ever formed in that nation, and is rapidly gaining real powers and responsibilities, such as appointing ministers, representing Iraq to the international community, and beginning the process of drafting the first-ever iraqi constitution." the arab league last week accepted an envoy from the council as a legitimate representative of Iraq.
* "over 90% of Iraqi towns and provinces now have their own governing councils, including the holy Shiite cities of najaf and karbala."
* "schools were immediately stood back up. at all levels the school year was salvaged."
* "hospitals nation-wide are open. doctors and nurses are at work."
* "public services-electrical, water, sewage-are better than pre-war levels."
* "oil production has continued to increase, and recently it has averaged between 1.5 and 2 million barrels per day."
so in some ways we are working for a more “free” and stable country on the other side of the world. the problem rests for me not just in the age old question of ‘is war just or right?’ and not just ‘what makes any war just?’ but who voted america to be the police of the world? i want to help the world i really do but i just feel there is more ways to solve problems without the use of so much death, destruction, and debt.

i recently read an article on an education portal, which was explaining that we pay about $186,000 per minute (total of 443.7 billion). it is not the amount of zeros that make this frustrating its that they went on to say that with that amount of money we could put 21,510,598 (the amount of every high school student in the united states) students through a four year college education at a state school, add 7,689,734 million more teachers to our school system.

how ethnocentric (i hope) some of you are saying!!! here i am ranting on modesty all the time about helping the world but then i turn and use the money used to save a nation from a malicious and malevolence dictator. but honestly if we invest into all the children/high school students in America i GUARENTEE that we will live in a better future for the ENTIRE WORLD down the road. here we could raise up a generation who values the power of the pen over the sword, we could invest into their children’s children by empowering their parents with education (which equals better jobs and a more stable economical environment). the positive reprocutions to the generation who receives the opportunity for a free 4 year education is endless! when there is a suddam (and there will be) in 50 years they will know how to handle the problem diplomatically with more options than just “shock and awe”.

don’t get me wrong, war in american history has done some necessary, positive, and even very valid achievements in our history! revolutionary war freed us from taxation without representation, civil war freed mankind (america) from the oppression of slavery, and world war one and two were vital to defeating emperors and dictators determined to conquer the world. before i got into music for years i wanted to go to westpoint military academy and even visited it in high school hoping to eventually make the military my career. i theologically and philosophically have no qualms with the function of a democratically run military. i believe that we do need a military, not every government in the world can sit down at a table and have a in depth conversation and negatiate problems and come to a balanced and fair agreement. i think we need a good defense because not everyone wants america to be a thriving nation, and due to past experience liquidating our entire military would be asinine!

but where do you see the line?
what is a just war? and when is using a powerful military a just cause?
who should decide to use the military; the government or its people?
what is the point where ethnocentrism and military conquests collide?
i don’t have the answer, just inclinations and opinions.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

the orphaned anything’s chapter 1.

this is the first chapter of my upcoming book "the orphaned anything's" due out in spring of '08

NEW CHAPTER: stabbing my brother with the plastic blade from an osculating fan...
and other such thought provoking situations.

that's when i know i am near waking up. the abrupt indication appears to be when i roll onto my stomach, but i might as well get up... i know i'm just going to lay here, careen a couple of times, sway a few more, and then commence to think of all the things i should be doing instead of laying here.
i believe i am the only human alive to sleep in these bumbling lumbering phases. i understand now, after years of this sleep repetition, that i seem to have three, and these clumsy situation's only occur after the hours of thoughts that seem to run through my head without cease.
i cannot remember a time in my life where i did not have to have a mutiny over my thoughts or memories just to fall into what some might call sleep, but i simply call it a momentary 'at-ease of mental clamor'.
the first of my phase of my sleep cycle is that of the tent knees. aptly named, this is wear i lay on my back and my knees are bent, i thought as a kid it made my blue NFL knock off blanket look like a tent; hence, and ingeniously named, 'tent knees'.
The second phase is the discomfited fetal position, this happens only when, again, every thought has been explored and they finally concede to surrender until daybreak.
i have always wondered if there is a subconscious reason i sleep in the fetal position, am i trying to retrieve days in the womb; the safety or the silence? i understand that could be viewed as very odd, or @ very least neo-fruedian, but still.
never the less finally, when daybreak stabs like an unforgivable vengeance, i roll on my stomach, half laying on a pillow, and half uncomfortable. this is where i rattle in and out of consciousness and try to access what day it is, and what time i have to be somewhere, if anywhere.
laying here i realize i no longer need my alarm clock, i can't remember the last time i slept past nine a.m. but if i did have an alarm clock i would want to wake up to that one beach boys song 'wouldn't it be nice' (stereo mix) because i figure that song is so inconceivably happy that i could never again have a s****y day. the song is much to agitating-ly happy. i want to say that i have a sleep disorder and seek help, but i know i don't and probably couldn't afford the medication even if one was diagnosed.
the last time i gave myself a prognosis it was not as much a disorder as an excuse really. i convinced everyone around me @ the time in middle school, and subsequently myself, that i had attention deficit disorder because i could not concentrate, or study.
but honestly who likes to study in middle school? TV or study? what 12 year old kid would rather do math over watching any given cartoon? with my new found hyperactive diagnosis i believed, simply because i felt like annoying my younger brother, that i had A.D.D. or A.D.H.D.
now i simply see the availability of ridlin as more of a glorified baby-sitter than anything else. parents are afraid their callow boys enjoy high energy activities a little to much (isn't that called childhood?). so they put them in a comatose coma by giving them a prescription drug to calm them down. thinking about it now i guess that's what television does, puts one in a comatose state... and subsequently baby-sits.
today like yesterday, i will chance away fate by foreseeing that it is is not going to be much different. i have to work my jejune job once again today and in a little while i will get up, enjoy my morning daily routine of addictions, and head out to carpe diem-ish. upon arriving to my tedious job i shall once again reflect on another morning in which i succeeded in failing away. then i expect to ponder arduously on all the items i didn't complete on my to-do checklist (a 'handy' notepad that my mother adorned me with complete with boxes to check and blank lines to fill in, *hence checklist).
i ponder between my irksome daily customers on what i should have accomplished in those early hours and once again vow upon all things i have justified holy that the next morning i will get them all done.
then i will tell myself the truth...
it will be the same as this morning.
i will probably just sleep in and let another day pass like the ceaseless traffic on I-5.
at first i was quite cynical about the whole checklist thing and sarcastically added to the list such items as;
[] 1. breath (oxygen),
[]2. eat,
[]3. repeat steps 1 & 2 daily

now i take i take it much more serious and have added such noteworthy items as;
[]1. find the cure of cancer and AIDS all in one easy to swallow pill
[]2. getting smart
[]3. win the lottery

still laying here upon my unyielding bed the sun glares relentlessly into my eyes. the air conditioner is out, i think i am starting to sweat. i never got the air fixed so i bought a base-minded rotating fan. i hate rotating fans. i mean really what is the point of it rotating? and to my utter joy and surprise the knob broke off so now it permanently rotates. someone tell me what is the point really of an oscillating fan? the fan, in essence, is playing with your emotions, its like AH! your cool for a second,
now you are not,
now you are,
now you are not,
now you are.
i think i bought the dire ash gray fan more for the noise, in which i cannot sleep without anymore. i remember when my older brother and i were younger he used to fall asleep hours upon hours before me and immediately made this grovel/car-sputtering noise which irritated the piss out of me.
so i begged my mother for a fan, thus my first addiction was established. i do not know which made me more upset- the onslaught of engine noises he emanated from his throat or the fact he was that kind of sleeper that he could fall asleep right away.
i adored my older brother but have never come so close to killing someone with a plastic toy ninja sword, in our small closet-like bedroom, as i did on those exasperating night's. more than twice i plotted to disassemble the rotating fan and stab him with the plastic blade, or at least break off the knob in his throat. i never did.
we were but kids and still i felt worried about everything around me, and always right when i tried to lay down for the night. i think most kids worried about if the boogie man or some other ominous monster loomed about in the closet, or that they wouldn't be the first ones out to the tether ball court out @ the bus stop or worse...
that the other kids at school would make fun of them for something they wore, said, or cultivated upon their face the night before; as was very popular in middle school.
as for me, i began to worry about little things from early on. @11 years old i was concerned about einstien's theory of energy remaining after death thus concluding the possibility of an afterlife, or if the cambrian era could honestly disprove darwin and the theory of evolution, or worse...
what the kids at school would make fun of me for about the next day for what i will wear, will say, or for my newest edition to the family upon my face. i rarely got these beast's called 'pimples' but when i did they were so massive that once while trying to get into the movies the guy at the ticket window wanted to charge me double. one for me and one for my developed friend accompanying me.
so, it wasn't that bad. but in middle school it always felt that way.
i still remember, and to this day wonder if anyone else had ever done this; when i was a kid we lived in a two story house and each night before bed my brothers would always send me upstairs first. i would pretend like i was not scared of going up the old unnatural rickety stairs by myself. so on my way up the haunted stairs, and right before i got to the top i would say in my deepest voice;
"ok, i've got the whole place surrounded, come out with your hands up." and upon doing so pretend to call for backup in my imaginary walkie-talkie, complete with the static induced 'kkkkuccccct' sound at the end of each sentence.
i did all this because for some reason i always thought that some escaped convict, or spawn of satan phantasm, was hiding out upstairs and might truly believe and fear that the whole place was really surrounded by the local police force.
the enigma is that being 11 the low tonal
"ok, i've got the whole place surrounded," probably sounded more like a prepubescent mickey mouse after a helium balloon than any one on the local police force, ever.
nevertheless i still find myself to this day calling for backup when exploring new dark places @ night by myself, complete with 'kkkkuccccct' static.
now it seems to me that when i wake up i am usually pondering the same nonsense that i fall asleep thinking about. my thoughts are much deeper, like did i shut the garage? do i have to work tomorrow? do i have an STD?
you know... deeper.
so here i sit, on the side of my bed with all three phases of sleep in my near past, and my blankets distraught around the bedpost as if i was pedaling an exercise bike in my dream. is it so bad to look forward to sleeping the next night?
lately i don't want to be awake at all, my head feel's bludgeoned and i can actually feel the muscles in my enfeebled pale arms getting weaker. i would attempt a pushup but that would require some sort of energy, and motivation.
a "im up, what more do you want from me?" sticker hideously controls the back of my door, and i always tell myself to tear it down. my roommate/ awarded older brother put it on there as a joke, but now i view it as one of those inspirational-quotes that major corporations hang on their employees cubical thinking that it is honestly going to inspire after the second day.
perhaps it sum's up the extent to which i am motivated. "im alive, what more do you want from me world?"
it's a glorious and underrated mantra regardless.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

spin magazine book club

modesty. click here to see my spin book club selection for this month. there is even a short video to check out that i did in seattle before bumbershoot.
happy thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

paul is dead!

i love conspiracy theories, i am yet to buy into any one of them as of yet; but nonetheless they entertain me to no end. the illuminati, jfk, i even have a good friend from a very relevant band that is into the conspiracy that 9/11 was planned by the government. though i don’t agree at all its always interesting to me to hear another side of the story.
my favorite has to be the the apollo moon-landing hoax theory that suggests that some or all elements of the apollo missions were faked by NASA, i.e. we didn’t really land on the moon, it was all just a sound stage with actors and such. but i once heard one of these theory that actually made me think.
i was in high school and one of my teachers who had fought in several wars and was well versed in politics and government actually told me that he believed the conspiracy that the national football league was actually put together by the US government. he said they did this to take our minds off politics and government goings-on so that they (the US government) could do what we want and the US citizens would be so busy (sidetrack by sports/games) that they became oblivious to what was really happening around them.
i am not saying that is true by any means but that does beg the question 'what have i wasted my time on that could have been used on things that actually matter/improve my life?'
for example if i took all the time that i watched TV in my life and tried to learn a language i would probably have learned the majority of them by now. if i could take all the time that i have watched movies and instead devoted it to helping build houses with habitat for humanity my community would be a better place to live in. if i took all the time i have spent watching the ‘government instituted sports’ (including the nfl) and devoted them to learning/being an activist in the government i wonder how much change i could have implemented by now.
now for the balance: i don’t think we should alleviate entertainment (after all my job is in the entertainment industry) but i think there should be a limit, keeping oneself accountable to the time they spend doing such activities as noted above. figure out where your time and money is spent and that is your priority in life. make time for yourself, this world can be overwhelming at moments (hence my daily escape to coffee' shops) but also take time to make a change, not only in this world but in your own life.
but for the time being i am going to devote myself to figuring out if paul is dead, (the theory that states paul mccartney of the beatles died in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike while clues were hidden in songs and album cover art.) i personally think its true and hope to prove it to the world.

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.

Are we to love only those who deserve our love? Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.
- Matthew 5:43-45

Monday, October 08, 2007

while looking through a financial magazine i noticed that there was a non-profit that was helping others around the world to invest in themselves and their small start up companies. 'Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world's working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you've sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.'
in other words you are not donating money, (well you can if you want) but you can loan money to people in other countries who are trying to raise money to expand their small businesses.
for example i loaned $25.00 to khanlar rustamov who is a 27-year-old farmer with two cows who sells dairy products to traders who, in turn, sell them in a nearby bazaar. 'He lives in the southern Azerbaijani region of Bilasuvar, where he relocated after fleeing Nagorniy Karabakh during Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict in 1993', khanlar wants a loan to buy one milk cow and two calves.
you don't have to loan $500.00!!! you can loan as little or as much as you want (with $25 being about the average).
i think this is a great way to help the people of the world take what little they have and instead of looking for a handout they have sought out a loan to make something of themselves. they have initiative and are not asking for a donation, but a chance to make a living and support their families. if you don't get involved in kiva, get involved somewhere.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Where there is no vision, the people perish.

sometimes it gets difficult to keep forging on when it feels like no one is along side you to help. it feels a lot like high school while pursuing your goals sometimes, everyone has had the experience where you had group project in which you had the leader to delegate what needed to be done amongst the group, but when the project was due it was usually one person who ended up doing while everyone got credit for it. i guess that is the cost of doing what you love in life. even if it doesn't seem fair at moments you have to keep going. leadership is so tricky sometimes, you want to lead by example but then if you look back and no one is following are you really a leader at all? leadership requires the greatest amount of responsibility, you potentially could get the most amount of glory, but if you, your band, your project, or your company fails it rests on your shoulders completely. you have to make the best decisions and keep your own selfish motives out of your decision-making. its not what i would do, but what should we do?, what are our goals? how can we obtain them?

'i must follow the people. Am I not their leader?'-benjamin disraeli

it’s lonely at moments, especially when making the tough decisions and when it is not as exciting as it used to be, or the monotony of life or the job begins to wear on everyone. but that is when a leader steps forward and picks up the slack until people come alongside him/her to help again. don't quit because others around you are dropping off.
leaders don't always get the credit they deserve, but leaders don't lead for the need to be noticed, they lead because it is in their nature to make decisions, lao tse said 'when the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.'
set your course, and keep steady. i understand it feels like it would be so much easier to do it by you. but think of life as a ship; and you the captain of the vessel of your choice. you need a crew, or the ship will not operate, and will be unable to be of any use. you cannot be everywhere at once, someone must help in the normal day to day opporation of the vessel; and even if the ship goes down guess who has to stay, the captian. but even if there are hardships or obstacles in your way fight on, lead on, believe in.
maybe someone got something out of this, or maybe it was just therapeutic. either way i leave you with this...
'leadership must be based on goodwill. goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. we are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and of tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. what we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. but leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers. strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away."
— admiral james b. stockda
for more reading on leadership please read j. maxwells '21 irrefutable laws of leadership'

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships

So that you may live deep within your heart

May God bless you with anger

At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and

To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in the world,

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done

To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

never stop learning.

Man's basic vice, the source of all his evils, is the act of unfocusing his mind, the suspension of his consciousness, which is not blindness, but the refusal to see, not ignorance, but the refusal to know.''
— Ayn Rand

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


my side project (anchor & braille) has a new song up, called "blur". you can hear it on our

Monday, August 06, 2007

vanity is the delusion that someone is paying attention

i think this is simply going to be a commentary, on life i guess, but random... as life should be. i have no clue what i am going to write about, but here goes.

as i sat back at a random coffee shop in the middle of LA i saw a rather large car pull up in front. out came the driver who i later assumed was the daughter, she looked too compassionate and genuine  to be hired. the elderly lady in the back was helped up and began to walk rather slowly into the cafe'. but there was something peculiar about this woman, you see her legs were obviously frail; i deducted this by the slow walking pace and rather alarmingly turtle like cruise control that she put upon her own two legs. but her face. it caught me by surprise, and it wasn't a second glance look like a car accident or the likes, it was a solid wide eyed mouth open second glance. her face and neck had been, well hollywooded. her lips tripled the size of mine in weight and stature. her face was so pulled back i expected to see skin and not hair on the back of her head. her neck looked as though the driver was restraining it, or trying to choke her neck behind her. all in all her face looked half the age of her body. but who was she fooling, the skin on her arms looked more like a map of new york city subway system and less fitting to her face. which i guess is the point.  which is a rather mute point at a certain point in life. i am not trying to criticize this elderly woman, i'm simply wondering how much of our lives is a front to hide our insecurity's. how much is what we participate in a veneer for keeping up with the image we think we need. we as white washed tombs, on the outside we may look pure and holy, but on the inside lie dead men's bones. why are you in that job? is this really what you wanted to be doing with your life, or is it just for the tittle, distinction, or the possessions what you earn will afford. are these your dreams? or are you pretending for the notoriety it might someday bring. "you are not your khaki's",  is this the school or major you wanted, or is this the plastic surgeons work to make you look better to others than you really are.

flying is a rather tedious percentage of my career, but i am in no way complaining. i remember when i was a kid that i had counted the number of times i had flown on a makeshift calender and lost count after 37 or so, which for a kid is less of a number than a fact you can bring up in show and tell when you forget your last birthday present. i don't know why a lot of us have this "wunder lust" or wander lust as 'meine mutter' puts it. its just the fact that this world is smaller than it was for our parents and i actually have the opportunity to see it. for a nominal fee i can fly to places that a family could live out their days on the cost of the airline ticket just to get there... which is not the point. the point is i don't understand why we don't travel more, maybe it is fear of the unknown, or pickpockets, or whatever. either way its a beautiful world out there, and honestly one seems more attractive to the opposite sex when you can say hello in a couple different language. which is the point.

the point to what.... i wonder if we could reproduce asexually what would be considered worthwhile and meaningful in this world. people drive nice cars to impress people, we want to impress people so they notice us, we want to be noticed for attention, we want attention so that one day we could gain their affection, we like affection because it brings emotional attachment, we want emotional attachment cause that gets us... well to reproduce. in college i made this elongated chart which brought everything in life back to reproduction. sad, yes, but true. why did the old lady get plastic surgery, true she did not want to reproduce, but she wanted all the extra curricular that comes along with it. she wanted to be adored, affection, attachment, etc. think about it, you don't see grandpa reading GQ or men's vogue, because he does not care. the farther from reproduction one is the farther one distances himself/herself to fitting in, or trying to impress the opposite sex. at  this point I'm rambling but for those who sit down and think about this central theme of the world revolving around 'genetic donation' the more this world becomes seemingly depressing. but not really. its life. its random and frustrating at moments.
face lifts on airplanes, might sell well in this country!
"lifts on the lift" quick, someone patent it.

amendment: someone in the comments wrote: "Vanity is the delusion that someone is paying attention". toche!

Monday, July 02, 2007

it's human to doubt, its ending the conquest for truth that is foolish.

there are three truths that i have run across thus far in my life. i am sure to find more, or add to my simple list. at the end of the day it is truth we really want, whether in politics, or religion, or love; it is truth we desire.

1. relative truth: this truth is much more based not on the philosophical definition of relative truth (as in relative or subjective) but on relative as in a personal opinion. Where as a relativist would think that what is true for me may or may not be true for someone else, i am simplifying it to the notion that this type of truth is based on personal sentiment; such as this is my favorite type of food, this is my favorite hobby, this is my favorite type of music. this truth changes throughout life, whether by investigation into other types of cultures or opportunities.

2. truth/knowledge: this is truth that crosses cultures, races, and religion. such as the law of gravity, mathematics, and basic chemistry. no matter what god you believe in, if you throw a rock into the sky gravity is going to pull it back down to the earth. this truth does not waiver or change as rapidly as ones own personal 'relative' truth. this can be taught, learned, and expounded upon.

3. The Truth/The Way. this, i feel, is the deepest of all truth. this truth does not change but surpasses far beyond this life.  this is one's own personal belief in a higher power. if one believes that there is something beyond themselves, and after careful and meticulous investigation begins to follow the faith with all their mind, body, and soul than they to would agree that this is the deepest of all truths. for in this truth we find that it trumps both relative truth and knowledge. it is not in the calculations that we find this truth, but in our hearts.  'we know the truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart.' -b. pascal

for me i have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, but that does not mean that i do not still have questions, it simply means i know who to turn to when i need the answers. as well, it does not mean that i do not search; i listen for knowledge wherever i can find it. i am NOT a proponent of universalism, but i do want to be a universal man (uomo universale). please do not confuse the two,  i want to know as much as i can about this world (and all of its cultures) that i believe God created.

'seek and ye shall find,' this search of for life and God is not one that requires a day or two of study, but a lifetime of longing and exploring. pierre abelard once said 'the beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.' it's human to doubt, its ending the conquest for truth that is foolish.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

supreme kindness

While in Melbourne, Australia I found out that a person I respect was going to be speaking at the rod laver arena downtown. As a person that is always up for new experiences my manager Kyle and I set out. As we approached the ticket line a lady called us over into the comp ticket line unexpectedly and handed my manager two free tickets (worth $80 each), which we soon discovered lead us to the floor of the arena, 10 rows from the stage.

The stage was set with swooping drape, and at least a hundred monks all seated in their traditional yellow and maroon garb. The music was not what I expected, but sounded more like adult contemporary. There was a quiet and almost reverent pause as the Dalai Lama the 14th carnation walked on the aesthetically pleasing stage. The first thing I noticed was his smile and awareness of the people and friends in the room, as he went to sit upon his throne like pillow structure.
The center of the message behind the Dalai Lama’s message was the universal theme of kindness, but here are a few points I walked away with.

‘Supreme kindness is this’, he said, ‘thinking of oneself as lowest.’ This conception sees others as the highest and develops compassion in oneself.

-Supreme kindness in NOT pity.

When someone we look up to hurt’s us, we need to need to remain alert and forgive. It is never justified in hurting someone who has hurt us.

The law of Giving and taking.
GIVING of myself- TAKING of others (hurts) upon myself.

Holy Books are not like novels; they must be analyzed, reread, and studied. (For real benefit) Not only gain knowledge but also implement it into your life!

Further Study:
1. Hearing
2. Contemplate
3. Meditate

Walking away from the experience it made me want to search deeper into the places in this world I still do not understand, and even though I may not subscribe to this particular religion it does not mean everything that comes out of their mouth is wrong or false, there is truth and beauty everywhere in this world if only we keep an open perspective and search.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

simple instructions for life

'1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s:

Respect for self
Respect for others and
Responsibility for all your actions.

4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.'

-Dali Lama

Sunday, May 27, 2007

true friends stab you in the front -oscar wilde

where is the line between loyalty, truth, and friendship. this was the
topic of conversation as three friends and i ventured through the
confusing but well lite streets of downtown tokyo last night. my head
swooned with past cases in life where i desperately wanted to say
something to my friends but i shut my mouth for the sake of the so
called 'friendship'. now i want to think i know better. what better place to talk such matters of life than at a traditional japanese cuisine better known as TGI Fridays. but this culture is beautiful, i have never seen a more respectful people in the entire world. The streets are clean, everyone takes pride in their profession, the art is intriquing, and the architecture is some of the most awe striking and futureistic in the world.

'Don't believe your friends when they ask you to be honest with them. All they really want is to be maintained in the good opinion they have of themselves.'
-albert camus

i'm sure mister camus was making light of this topic, but i wonder sometimes if this is what people really want, a nod of false approval over the reproach of honesty and eventual clemency.

when and where is the point where the betterment of the other persons life
is more important than a friendship? when do you care more about the
other person than the time you have invested in that person. i think a
true, real, and deep friendship must contain honesty to the point
where it hurts, and inevitablly there will be some ammount of pain in any good relationship.

i recently had a friend who was in an absolutely in an unhealthy
relationship. i was not yet that steeped into a deep friendship with
them so i felt at ease in confronting the situation. since that moment, however,
our friendship has deepened immensely because they saw that i cared greatly for them and it gave them free liberty to be honest and pour into my life. something i desperately want from all my friend's, i don't want to maintain the false opinion of myself if it means my character is not developing on a continual basis due to a lack of accountability.

i am at loss for words or know how on this situation as i am faced yet again with approaching a best friend this time. i have invested many years and many hours of pouring hearts to one another. i don't know how to approach him/her, and am wrestling with simply keeping my mouth shut for the fluidity of our friendship. but i know now if i wanted to be approached with candid honesty than i must report with candid honesty. i have time, wondering these streets i am left with some sense of solitude because i only know two words in japanese.  


Monday, April 30, 2007

a false amalgamation.

individuality is so very culturally important to us here in the west, and for good reasoning. individuality helps us define who we ourselves are without outside influence, it keeps us accountable to our core and keeps us connected to our own unique thoughts, fears, and pursuits.

when we start amalgamating into another person, i.e. when we enter into a committed, lifelong, or in depth relationship we are willingly surrendering a piece of our own being and taking on a part of theirs. recently I have seen in my life pieces of people I have known before. whether it is something I said or something as surface as something I wore, i see a reflection of those people. this is not necessarily a bad thing, and this is not necessarily from just a husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend relationship. this merger could be someone in your vicinity such as a family members or deep meaningful friendships.

the problem lies when and where we began to lose ourselves inside the other person, it is one thing to place the worries, concerns, and wellbeing of the other person in front your own needs (which I believe is one aspect of the word “love”) but it is a complete mistake for us to believe that if we don’t conform to meet every physical, mental, and social needs of the other person then the relationship is doomed to failure. if a person is allured by you in the first place they enjoy the company that they currently participate in, they are not looking to change you for their enjoyment in the future.

'man's love is of man's life a part; it is a woman's whole existence. In her first passion, a woman loves her lover, in all the others all she loves is love.' -lord byron

byron eludes to the fact that it is the woman's whole exsistence, but i believe that this can work both ways; as i have fell victim to making someone my entire exsistence to the point she began to take over the time that i knew i should have been giving my friends and family. soon i comprimised so much, including my pursuit of God as apriorities in life began to take second place. with an insecure foundation and comprimise as a staple and mantra of the relationship after one and a half years it crumbled into its inevitable pieces.

to be honest I see this incorporation much to often. i am simply asking that you do not lose the core, the foundation, and the beliefs of who you once were. relationships are amazing, you can learn so much from each and every human being you encounter, but be careful that you do not become that other human being. be who you are.

Monday, April 09, 2007


there once was a hindu holy man who saw a scorpion floundering around in the water. he decided to save it by stretching out his finger. but the scorpion stung him. the man still tried to get the scorpion out of the water, but the scorpion stung him again. a man nearby told him to stop saving the scorpion that kept stinging him. but the holy man said, "it is the nature of the scorpion to sting. it is my nature my love. why should i give up my nature to love just because it is the nature of the scorpion to sting?"

it should be our nature to love regardless of who we are, regardless of what has been done to us. its hard. i know. trust me. people are always going to sting you. they are going to rip into your character. they are going to be the ones in the platform telling you that your views are wrong. they are going to be in the pulpits pointing fingers in judgement. they are going to be the ones who hold your whole race responsible for the actions of one person's actions.

but that doesn't give you the right to despise; for hate for those who hate is still hate. in spite of those who may sting you remain in what you know to be your nature. love.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

selling out? a commentary by dave eggers.

below is a an excerpt from an interview with the author dave eggers (a heartbreaking work of staggering genius), it is profound and i have not been so this inspired by a piece of communication since bono's naacp acceptance speech (  

the question was posed (in summation) to mr. eggers 'so many people are saying you aren't keeping it real and are beginning to sell out how are you taking steps not to sell out? ' 

dave address's "selling out' and then goes on to explain "Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a f-load of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but (man!), that is what matters. What matters is saying yes."

here is mr. eggers answer in its entirety, WARNING! THIS IS HIS WORDS EXACTLY, please be aware that there is course/'foul' language but for this simple fact that it is his art and his writing i did not want to change anything for the integrity of the piece.

"(summation) 'so many people are saying you aren't keeping it real and are beginning to sell out how are you taking steps not to sell out? ' 

First, a primer: When I got your questions, I was provoked. You expressed many of the feelings I used to have, when I was in high school and college, about some of the people I admired at the time, people who at some point disappointed me in some way, or made moves I could not understand. So I took a few passages from your questions - those pertaining to or hinting at "selling out" - and I used them as a launching pad for a rant I've wanted to write for a while now, and more so than ever since my own book has become successful. And the rant was timely, because shortly after getting your questions, I was scheduled to speak at Yale, and so, assuming that their minds might be in a similar spot as yours, I read this, the below, to them, in slightly less polished form. The rant is directed to myself, age 20, as much as it is to you, so remember that if you ever want to take much offense.


You actually asked me the question: "Are you taking any steps to keep shit real?" I want you always to look back on this time as being a time when those words came out of your mouth.

Now, there was a time when such a question - albeit probably without the colloquial spin - would have originated from my own brain. Since I was thirteen, sitting in my orange-carpeted bedroom in ostensibly cutting-edge Lake Forest, Illinois, subscribing to the Village Voice and reading the earliest issues of Spin, I thought I had my ear to the railroad tracks of avant garde America. (Laurie Anderson, for example, had grown up only miles away!) I was always monitoring, with the most sensitive and well-calibrated apparatus, the degree of selloutitude exemplified by any given artist - musical, visual, theatrical, whatever. I was vigilant and merciless and knew it was my job to be so.

I bought R.E.M.'s first EP, Chronic Town, when it came out and thought I had found God. I loved Murmur, Reckoning, but then watched, with greater and greater dismay, as this obscure little band's audience grew, grew beyond obsessed people like myself, grew to encompass casual fans, people who had heard a song on the radio and picked up Green and listened for the hits. Old people liked them, and stupid people, and my moron neighbor who had sex with truck drivers. I wanted these phony R.E.M.-lovers dead.

But it was the band's fault, too. They played on Letterman. They switched record labels. Even their album covers seemed progressively more commercial. And when everyone I knew began liking them, I stopped. Had they changed, had their commitment to making art with integrity changed? I didn't care, because for me, any sort of popularity had an inverse relationship with what you term the keeping 'real' of 'shit.' When the Smiths became slightly popular they were sellouts. Bob Dylan appeared on MTV and of course was a sellout. Recently, just at dinner tonight, after a huge, sold-out reading by David Sedaris and Sarah Vowell (both sellouts), I was sitting next to an acquaintance, a very smart acquaintance married to the singer-songwriter of a very well-known band. I mentioned that I had seen the Flaming Lips the night before. She rolled her eyes. "Oh I really liked them on 90210," she sneered, assuming that this would put me and the band in our respective places.


Was she aware that The Flaming Lips had composed an album requiring the simultaneous playing of four separate discs, on four separate CD players? Was she aware that the band had once, for a show at Lincoln Center, handed out to audience members something like 100 portable tape players, with 100 different tapes, and had them all played at the same time, creating a symphonic sort of effect, one which completely devastated everyone in attendance? I went on and on to her about the band's accomplishments, their experiments. Was she convinced that they were more than their one appearance with Jason Priestly? She was.

Now, at that concert the night before, Wayne Coyne, the lead singer, had himself addressed this issue, and to great effect. After playing much of their new album, the band paused and he spoke to the audience. I will paraphrase what he said:

"Hi. Well, some people get all bitter when some song of theirs gets popular, and they refuse to play it. But we're not like that. We're happy that people like this song. So here it goes."

Then they played the song. (You know the song.) "She Don't Use Jelly" is the song, and it is a silly song, and it was their most popular song. But to highlight their enthusiasm for playing the song, the band released, from the stage and from the balconies, about 200 balloons. (Some of the balloons, it should be noted, were released by two grown men in bunny suits.) Then while playing the song, Wayne sang with a puppet on his hand, who also sang into the microphone. It was fun. It was good.

But was it a sellout? Probably. By some standards, yes. Can a good band play their hit song? Should we hate them for this? Probably, probably. First 90210, now they go playing the song every stupid night. Everyone knows that 90210 is not cutting edge, and that a cutting edge alternarock band should not appear on such a show. That rule is clearly stated in the obligatory engrained computer-chip sellout manual that we were all given when we hit adolescence.

But this sellout manual serves only the lazy and small. Those who bestow sellouthood upon their former heroes are driven to do so by, first and foremost, the unshakable need to reduce. The average one of us - a taker-in of various and constant media, is absolutely overwhelmed - as he or she should be - with the sheer volume of artistic output in every conceivable medium given to the world every day - it is simply too much to begin to process or comprehend - and so we are forced to try to sort, to reduce. We designate, we label, we diminish, we create hierarchies and categories.

Through largely received wisdom, we rule out Tom Waits's new album because it's the same old same old, and we save $15. U2 has lost it, Radiohead is too popular. Country music is bad, Puff Daddy is bad, the last Wallace book was bad because that one reviewer said so. We decide that TV is bad unless it's the Sopranos. We liked Rick Moody and Jonathan Lethem and Jeffrey Eugenides until they allowed their books to become movies. And on and on. The point is that we do this and to a certain extent we must do this. We must create categories, and to an extent, hierarchies.

But you know what is easiest of all? When we dismiss.

Oh how gloriously comforting, to be able to write someone off. Thus, in the overcrowded pantheon of alternarock bands, at a certain juncture, it became necessary for a certain brand of person to write off The Flaming Lips, despite the fact that everyone knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that their music was superb and groundbreaking and real. We could write them off because they shared a few minutes with Jason Priestley and that terrifying Tori Spelling person. Or we could write them off because too many magazines have talked about them. Or because it looked like the bassist was wearing too much gel in his hair.

One less thing to think about. Now, how to kill off the rest of our heroes, to better make room for new ones?

We liked Guided by Voices until they let Ric Ocasek produce their latest album, and everyone knows Ocasek is a sellout, having written those mushy Cars songs in the late 80s, and then - gasp! - produced Weezer's album, and of course Weezer's no good, because that Sweater song was on the radio, right, and dorky teenage girls were singing it and we cannot have that and so Weezer is bad and Ocasek is bad and Guided by Voices are bad, even if Spike Jonze did direct that one Weezer video, and we like Spike Jonze, don't we?

Oh. No. We don't. We don't like him anymore because he's married to Sofia Coppola, and she is not cool. Not cool. So bad in Godfather 3, such nepotism. So let's check off Spike Jonze - leaving room in our brains for… who??

It's exhausting.

The only thing worse than this sort of activity is when people, students and teachers alike, run around college campuses calling each other racists and anti-Semites. It's born of boredom, lassitude. Too cowardly to address problems of substance where such problems actually are, we claw at those close to us. We point to our neighbor, in the khakis and sweater, and cry foul. It's ridiculous. We find enemies among our peers because we know them better, and their proximity and familiarity means we don't have to get off the couch to dismantle them.

And now, I am also a sellout. Here are my sins, many of which you may know about already:

First, I was a sellout because Might magazine took ads.
Then I was a sellout because our pages were color, and not stapled together at the Kinko's.
Then I was a sellout because I went to work for Esquire.
Now I'm a sellout because my book has sold many copies.
And because I have done many interviews.
And because I have let people take my picture.
And because my goddamn picture has been in just about every fucking magazine and newspaper printed in America.

And now, as far as McSweeney's is concerned, The Advocate interviewer wants to know if we're losing also our edge, if the magazine is selling out, hitting the mainstream, if we're still committed to publishing unknowns, and pieces killed by other magazines.

And the fact is, I don't give a fuck. When we did the last issue, this was my thought process: I saw a box. So I decided we'd do a box. We were given stories by some of our favorite writers - George Saunders, Rick Moody (who is uncool, uncool!), Haruki Murakami, Lydia Davis, others - and so we published them. Did I wonder if people would think we were selling out, that we were not fulfilling the mission they had assumed we had committed ourselves to?

No. I did not. Nor will I ever. We just don't care. We care about doing what we want to do creatively. We want to be interested in it. We want it to challenge us. We want it to be difficult. We want to reinvent the stupid thing every time. Would I ever think, before I did something, of how those with sellout monitors would respond to this or that move? I would not. The second I sense a thought like that trickling into my brain, I will put my head under the tires of a bus.

You want to know how big a sellout I am?

A few months ago I wrote an article for Time magazine and was paid $12,000 for it I am about to write something, 1,000 words, 3 pages or so, for something called Forbes ASAP, and for that I will be paid $6,000 For two years, until five months ago, I was on the payroll of ESPN magazine, as a consultant and sometime contributor. I was paid handsomely for doing very little. Same with my stint at Esquire. One year I spent there, with little to no duties. I wore khakis every day. Another Might editor and I, for almost a year, contributed to Details magazine, under pseudonyms, and were paid $2000 each for what never amounted to more than 10 minutes work - honestly never more than that. People from Hollywood want to make my book into a movie, and I am probably going to let them do so, and they will likely pay me a great deal of money for the privilege.

Do I care about this money? I do. Will I keep this money? Very little of it. Within the year I will have given away almost a million dollars to about 100 charities and individuals, benefiting everything from hospice care to an artist who makes sculptures from Burger King bags. And the rest will be going into publishing books through McSweeney's. Would I have been able to publish McSweeney's if I had not worked at Esquire? Probably not. Where is the $6000 from Forbes going? To a guy named Joe Polevy, who wants to write a book about the effects of radiator noise on children in New England.

Now, what if I were keeping all the money? What if I were buying property in St. Kitt's or blew it all on live-in prostitutes? What if, for example, I was, a few nights ago, sitting at a table in SoHo with a bunch of Hollywood slash celebrity acquaintances, one of whom I went to high school with, and one of whom was Puff Daddy? Would that make me a sellout? Would that mean I was a force of evil?

What if a few nights before that I was at the home of Julian Schnabel, at a party featuring Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, and at which Schnabel said we should get together to talk about him possibly directing my movie? And what if I said sure, let's?

Would all that make me a sellout? Would I be uncool? Would it have been more cool to not go to this party, or to not have written that book, or done that interview, or to have refused millions from Hollywood?

The thing is, I really like saying yes. I like new things, projects, plans, getting people together and doing something, trying something, even when it's corny or stupid. I am not good at saying no. And I do not get along with people who say no. When you die, and it really could be this afternoon, under the same bus wheels I'll stick my head if need be, you will not be happy about having said no. You will be kicking your ass about all the no's you've said. No to that opportunity, or no to that trip to Nova Scotia or no to that night out, or no to that project or no to that person who wants to be naked with you but you worry about what your friends will say.

No is for wimps. No is for pussies. No is to live small and embittered, cherishing the opportunities you missed because they might have sent the wrong message.

There is a point in one's life when one cares about selling out and not selling out. One worries whether or not wearing a certain shirt means that they are behind the curve or ahead of it, or that having certain music in one's collection means that they are impressive, or unimpressive.

Thankfully, for some, this all passes. I am here to tell you that I have, a few years ago, found my way out of that thicket of comparison and relentless suspicion and judgment. And it is a nice feeling. Because, in the end, no one will ever give a shit who has kept shit 'real' except the two or three people, sitting in their apartments, bitter and self-devouring, who take it upon themselves to wonder about such things. The keeping real of shit matters to some people, but it does not matter to me. It's fashion, and I don't like fashion, because fashion does not matter.

What matters is that you do good work. What matters is that you produce things that are true and will stand. What matters is that the Flaming Lips's new album is ravishing and I've listened to it a thousand times already, sometimes for days on end, and it enriches me and makes me want to save people. What matters is that it will stand forever, long after any narrow-hearted curmudgeons have forgotten their appearance on goddamn 90210. What matters is not the perception, nor the fashion, not who's up and who's down, but what someone has done and if they meant it. What matters is that you want to see and make and do, on as grand a scale as you want, regardless of what the tiny voices of tiny people say. Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.

I say yes, and Wayne Coyne says yes, and if that makes us the enemy, then good, good, good. We are evil people because we want to live and do things. We are on the wrong side because we should be home, calculating which move would be the least damaging to our downtown reputations. But I say yes because I am curious. I want to see things. I say yes when my high school friend tells me to come out because he's hanging with Puffy. A real story, that. I say yes when Hollywood says they'll give me enough money to publish a hundred different books, or send twenty kids through college. Saying no is so fucking boring.

And if anyone wants to hurt me for that, or dismiss me for that, for saying yes, I say Oh do it, do it you motherfuckers, finally, finally, finally."

(the whole interview can be read @

Thursday, March 22, 2007

my current playlist

these songs have been coursing my ears for these last few weeks and i thought i would share my favorite's of the moment.

*1. bloc party. a weekend in the city. kruezberg
2. snow patrol.eyes open. you could be happy
3. sia. colour the small one. breathe me
4. the shins. wincing the night away. phantom limb
5. rogue wave. just friendsd. eyes
6. the promise ring. woodwater. become one anything one time
7. the album leaf. into the blue again. always for you
*8. maria taylor. 11:11. leap year
9. jimmy eat world. futures. drugs or me
10. rufus wainwright. want one. vicious world.
11. sparklehorse.dreamt for light. don't take my sunshine away

what is your playlist?

Monday, March 19, 2007

this industry is very condusive to my egocentric self.

this i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i me i me me i i me industry i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me is me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me very condusive i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i to me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me my i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i egocentric me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i i me me i i me i me i me i me me i i i me me i me me i i i i me me i me me i me me i i i me me me me me i me me i i me i me me i me me me i i me i i i me me me me me i me me i i i me me me i me me me i self

Thursday, March 15, 2007 book club

a dear friend named emily zelmer and spin magazine have asked me to participate in a book club, i loved the idea instantly because it gives me a chance to read others favorite books, or at least books that have inspired them along the road. there are several great musicians that are involved and i feel honored to be among them.

the first book we read was "jesus's son" by denis johnson, a charming piece of literature that has lead me to begin to read more of johnsons works. to view the bookclub click here, there is even a way for you guys to comment after you have read the book.

even though i am apart of this bookclub i don't condemn or condone any of the books that we are asked to read, i am in this for education and inspiration value only.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

lessons from someone i may never see again, sitting on a bus i will never ride recurrently.

as i moved to the back of the bus i began to complain to someone accompanying me as to how early are flight got in, and why our manager booked a flight were we had to be up so early to fly to LA. as the hotel shuttle began to move i realized that the only seats still available were directly in the rear of the bus but was already being occupied by someone who owned a wheelchair.
"there's plenty of room back here mate," i heard in an obvious australian accent.
as i sat down beside him i realized that there was something different about this 24 year old man. you see, he didn't have any arms or legs, and he later explained that he was born like that. but that is not what made him different, what set him apart from all the other weary travelers is that he had a smile on his face and how he seemed rather exuberant for this hour of the morning.
he opened up the conversation and it seemed that even though we had never met we picked up right where we left off.
he was a motivational speaker from australia flying into LA to do a seminar, as we entered into our conversation his words seemed only to uplift as you would expect for someone in his profession, and i was in awe to the fact that i didn't get the feeling that deep inside he hurt. it was a genuine and heartfelt lust for life he emanated. he was genuinely content with who he was, and the cards he had been dealt.
he had accomplished so much even though he had been born 'different'; 2 college degrees, spoken with several CEO's, even presidents of nations, and had spoke in every inhabited continent. his life was amazing, and the obstacles he overcame seem nearly impossible even to someone who is operating all their faculty's like myself.
he left me with a sense of purpose, not what the definition of what purpose is, but the fact that anyone regardless of sexual orientation, religion, color, or physical deformities can desire, seek, and fulfill their purpose.
don't look at what you don't have, look at what you have (no matter how little or obsolete you think what you possess is)  and begin to utilize it for the betterment. for instance being sexually abused as a child is a horrid think to have to go through as a child, i wish that no one would ever have to go through such a traumatic experience. but instead of constantly asking 'why me?' for years and years ask 'who?, who can i help deliver from this abuse?" or "who can i help recover from their past." i understand that it is not easy to get over something traumatic in your life, but helping someone else may help you in your own recovery. by realizing you are not alone can give you a support system in recovery.
don't look at what you don't have, or what may have been lost in the past, but look at what you still have, and the talents and ability's you can share with others.
right before my new friend got off the bus he said " i don't shake hands for obvious reasons, i just hug," so as i embraced my new friend i realized that even though we had known each other for a few short moments he was a massive hero in my life, a person i will not forget any time soon.
as far as complaining about the little things in life, including flights, schedules, or lack of food selection, i have took a vow of silence. i'm sure its one i'm not going to live up to all the time. but i have a new sense of lasting inspiration now... a man i may never see again, on a bus i will never ride again. its not our lack we must concentrate upon but a future based firmly upon the little talents and ability's we do have.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Egon Schiele

i discovered this artist on my holiday in austria, there were several pieces from egon schiele scatered around town in different museums. at the moment he is my favorite painter, so please explore this 'tortured artist'.

'Egon Schiele (June 12, 1890 – October 31, 1918) was an Austrian painter, a protege of Gustav Klimt, and a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. Due to the highly-charged nature of his drawings and paintings, because of his suffering from dystonia, and his premature death, Schiele has come to epitomise the popular image of the tortured artist.'

*listen to 'cocorosie' while looking through egon's collection @

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

kenya/favorite bands/

its an interview day. a day where my publicists lines me up with one interview after another. my least favorite topic is music, seems like everyone has conspired together and asks me the same questions over and over. i love talking about india though, and once again when i went to india i knew that i had to bring others overseas with me. this winter i am going to be taking a group of band members to kenya, africa. this trip is going to be a bit longer, and the planning a bit more extensive because i want to take 30 guys/girls (from different bands) along with me.

you can help me assemble the team! please write all your favorite signed bands (i say signed bands because i want people completely concentrated on helping the people in the villages of kenya and not trying to further their own musical career) and ask them to please get ahold of me at and i will put them in contact with the project coordinator.

secondly, the website JUSTANOTHERTRAVEL.COM , a travel tickets website, has agreed to give me a % of their profits to help fund the trip to africa. so if you are booking airline tickets, cruises, etc. try their website out.

well i am back to interviews. the last one i just did was incredible, we talked about india almost 1/2 the time. he said thanks for all the humanitarian work that i had been participating in lately. i said that i appreciated the compliment,  but then that reminded me of watching part of the pre super bowl game interviews when they asked one of the coaches how he felt about being that this was the first time in superbowl history that 2 african americans have coached against each other in the superbowl, and it would be the first time a black coach has ever won the super bowl. the coach said that it was cool, but he cannot wait for the day when being an african american was a non-issue. people should just stop pointing out when a person of any race does anything extraordinary, because we should be counted as the same. the coach wanted to be known for winning the super bowl, not for being born a certain race.  in the same way i can't wait till they stop applauding musicians for being concerned with the worlds well being. no applause for bono fighting aids, or chris martin working for free trade; because all musicians should get over themselves and work for the betterment of humanity. we all have a duty, whether we are students, lawyers, musicians, or doctors; i want to be known for inspiring all musicians to be equal in the fight against poverty, human trafficking, aids, etc. i don't want to stand alone in this industry anymore.

go help your own community! you can help africa! you can help the world!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

a brief social commentary #4. (i think therefore i consume.)

we are beyond survival. we have elevated ourselves from needs to wants, and with frivolous and rather embarrassing results. i do not know if any of you have traveled to a second or third world country but culture shock can really affect you, and sometimes worse upon your arrival home. when i was in india these past few weeks i had to face despair and utmost poverty, each day i had to walk by several people without homes, food, and no hope for either any time soon.

upon arrival to the states i had the opportunity to stay a couple days in new york city before i came home to florida. i was hanging out with a friend in soho, new york city and on the way to meet up i saw the most gratuitous store i may have ever encountered in my life. it was an entire store that was dedicated to dog clothing. sweaters, trendy t-shirts, even upscale collars that were studded with random diamonds and jewels, kept in a glass case for display.

normally i don't think it would have been a big deal to have seen a store like that but having just arrived off a plane from kalcutta, india this was utterly shocking and like i said before rather embarrassing to know that in mexico city thousands of people are looking through the trash for spare pieces of aluminum or other types of metal so they can afford a meal tomorrow. in africa today a boy's stomach pains are keeping him inactive; with no energy to even cry out for help. in kalkutta i saw with my own eyes a man walking on his knees, his back had been broken and now he hobbled on all fours and used rags around his legs so that the impact of the asphalt was minimal because he had no money to afford any type of medical attention.

we are beyond survival, we have met all the basic needs of cloths, shelter, food, and clean water; we are so frivolous that instead of buying a pair of pants for $19.00 at GAP we have moved on to $119.00 at nordstrams, and i am guilty as well. i refuse to point fingers or single anyone else out because i am one such consumer. i love starbucks, i could make the coffee myself at home, but instead i drive my suv across town and get my (almost) $4.00 cup of coffee.

i don't know whats next, something has to change in my life. i think this is just one area where i am out of balance. i don't have the answers either, i don't know what the medium is between enjoying life to its fullest and being a conscience consumer aware of the worlds needs and problems in ever fiscal transaction.

a lot in our society that we view as a normality or even a cause now appears to be a luxury to me now. take for instance PETA, an organization that i believe is a bit eccentric at times but overall i am against cruelty towards animals. PETA to me now appears to me to be a first world countries luxury more than anything else. we are now living so above our means that we can not only eat on a daily basis and choose what we eat, but now we can label what we eat 'good' or 'bad' morally. men, women, and children all over the world would give anything for a morsel of food today, and they could not care less which way it was or wasn't prepared or whether it was vegetarian, vegan, or whatnot.

i am not here to criticize the cost or moral deliberation of items or organizations, i am simply pointing out that there needs to be a reformation of all consumers in our culture. i am not the leader of this revolution because the cost of my wallet alone could have fed a small village, and the cost of my daily coffee half of what a farmer is paid in nepal for the purchase of his daughter being sold into sexual slavery. i am not the leader of this change but am willing to be a participant in the rising tides of change.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

lessons from the most successful shoe shiner

he sat and shined a shoe, that’s all i ever saw him do. he must have been 10 and he sat right next to his dad, imitating his dad while he scrubbed then shined shoes right outside the location on sutter street we were staying at in kalcutta, india. they had a very meager set up, with only a wooden box the size of a shoebox to conduct business, and a sheet that had been torn through to sit on while tourists such as myself walked by. i always noticed how both father and son alike would stare at peoples feet as they walked by, maybe to evaluate clientele, or just the simple fact that shoes and shine were what they knew, and what they knew best.
through a translator i began to build a relationship with both father and son, i would share my cliff bars with them in the morning, they thought they tasted funny which made me laugh (because i think most health bars taste like chalk as well), not like the normal "candy" that they probably had before from other tourists or maybe a special occasion or two.
i asked the boy what he wanted to do when he grew up, and he said he wanted to shine shoes just like his father. i asked again thinking that maybe he thought i meant "what are you going to do," and not my original question of "what do you want to do when you grow up." the boy once again repeated that cleaning and shining shoes is what he wanted to do, just like his father, right here on the street he had grown up on and known his whole life.
"success" is a funny word. it is a topic i struggle with because everyone seems to be chasing it but i don't believe that i have ever met anyone who will self admit tingly say they have found or achieved it. for me though i believe that i have defined it as obtaining enough material possessions that one can afford luxury and the comforts of life can be obtained with minimal struggle. i know this sounds as cued but isn't that what we are taught by society, the "american dream", and advertising?
this boy had purpose. it may have not been the life i have chosen but he had purpose. he was going to shine shoes like his father before him, and to the best of his ability. the boy taught me a lesson this past couple weeks, success is not defined by what you can obtain but by the pursuit of purpose with all your soul & mind. success to me is finding ones purpose no matter how obscure, different, or grandiose, and setting out whole heartedly to achieve it. what made shoe shining so insignificant in my eyes the first couple of days? it was because i saw no monetary outcome proceeding. what makes his job any more important than the ceo of a car company, a musician, or the senior editor at the new york times. nothing. it took a ten year old boy on the streets of kalcutta to show me that success is not defined by the amount of products we can consume but by the souls task of longing & belonging to what we set our hands out to achieve.

sympathy, the zoo, & the fiscal address to the shadow of death

the air was thick; you could almost taste it, and seemed to reflect the street and vendor lights that gathered from every direction. my hands were in fists but it wasn't someone i wanted to fight, it was just my body’s natural repose to the surroundings. as i walked down the narrow ally way to the middle of the red light district in kalcutta, india i realized that my heart wasn't broken at all, actually for the short time i walked down the pensive streets it felt as if i had no heart. it had frozen, or dissolved, or cease to beat in fear of allowing my feelings to overwhelm me and my body simply curl up in the fetal position and sob. these were not women of the night, these were mere girls with makeup, a few cloths slung on their back and a juvenile mind that clinched to a few dreams from their youth.
that is exactly what they had, or the little that what was left of it. some of them couldn't have been more than 15 years old, maybe. i choked, not because of just their circumstances, but because none of them smiled, their eyes looked so vacuous, as if there whole bodies had shut down like mine wanted to, and their evenings were set to autopilot. i wanted to grab them, and run, where? i didn't care. not at that moment. i just wanted to transport every single one of them to someplace where they could cry again. where they could love because of love, where their soul wasn't bought for 20-200 rupees (a mere $.50-$4.00). but it doesn't do much to stare at their present circumstance, sympathy is an enabler, and i wasn't in a zoo, i was walking through the valley of the shadow of death with a fiscal address.
my lungs began to seize and my breath's got shallower not just because of the excavated pupils surrounding me in every direction but because of the shear amount of children running through the streets, for them this was home. these streets were where they spent the days of there early childhood learning about life, and what it contained. what is to become of them? are they destined to live the same as their parents? are they to be the ones i will walk past and eventually cry over 15 years down the road. i have to do something. st. luke said "to much is given, much is required," and that night much was given to me.
"brad" works with these kids each and every day teaching them a trade so that they won't have to repeat the lifestyles of the ones that have gone before them, i asked him what he feels when he sees the "kids" (both the girls of the street and their children) each and every night. he said that it still hits him from time to time though he has grown immune over time because he sees it so frequently, but then he said "there is nothing i can do about what is happening tonight, i cannot save anyone that has worked in this industry in the past or the present, my eyes are simply focused on what and who i can change in the future." as i sat in the chair just moments after the experience his words sank deep like the sting of a syringe, pushing medicine painfully into my arteries and permeating throughout my body.
my head aches to help now, i don't want to grow immune to a lifestyle were pursuing comforts in life is far more the venture than doing my part to help humanity for the better. imagine if everyone helped just one person in the advancement of his or her lives? imagine a world where the west did more than just throw money at the problems of the world and actually got involved in the caretaking of the innocent.
as the fog of the night cleared, as if even the night itself knew the lessons i would learn that fateful eve, i remember thinking that i regret that i had just one life to live for these children and children like them around the world. what is this short life that i should care what the world thinks of the level of my success. i now know that this savior complex that i was trying to evaluate and "treat" was not a complex at all, but rather was a mere introduction to the fate and destiny that lay before me.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

for you, this could be india.

so here it is the day before i leave to india and i realize that i only have about 1/4th of my "to-do" list done. but there right in the middle was a note to self reminding me to write one final modesty message before i leave to india.  its so funny, i mean i have only met a couple of you and yet i feel almost a, well as kant would say, a duty to you all. but its more than that, i like the fact that i have a chance to listen to you all (don't think i don't check the comments at least once a day!) and the chance to pour what life has taught me out somewhere other than just lyrics.
i want to thank those of you who bought a lithograph because with it we were able to get some art supplies for the girls and surrounding community, as well as fund the trip for myself and others. there is a daunting task ahead of us, a trip that will not solve the problem of slavery in the world with just one trip; it is going to take hundreds if not thousands of trips to put a dent in the worlds troubles, millions of dollars, millions of hours, and millions of compassionate hearts! but don't let this scare you. you can make a difference in this world.
you may not be able to go to india but you can help in your own community, one cause is not more worthy than the next. because i cross an ocean does not mean that i care less about my own culture and nation any less, i have just been blessed with the time and the platform to be able to expose to the world some atrocities that others may not yet know about.
there is poverty in your community, there are children even in your neighborhoods that are going to sleep without food, there are even some within miles of your house that are going to sleep with no roof over there head. you can help them! you may be in your town but to you this could be your india! is a place to start. they have a place for you to type in your zip code and begin looking around at different places you can help donate your time to. for you, this is india! so please go help your city, your state, your country, your world.
because this is your city, this is your state, this is your country, THIS IS YOUR WORLD.
i will write as soon as i get home my friends,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

when life was young, with summer tongues.

tear tear tear
off your skin
whats there within.
life on wooden swings
when all was young,
with summer tongues.
i i i
don't care to know
whose been before.
oh we could stand to run
nev'r look back at trains or tracks

and i'll kiss you in london
love you in france
sunsets in germany
spain we could slowdance,
somewhere outside,
somewhere outside.

wake wake wake
from lover's kept, on slumbers bed
your white like ghosts
so innocent, so innocent.

days in quiet'r homes
when life was young,
with summer tongues.
is this what you saw,
year ago
and farther from homes.

and i'll kiss you in london
love you in france
sunsets in germany
spain we could slowdance,
somewhere outside,
somewhere outside.

please please please
just come with me
to distant reach
what holds you back
from walks away
and needs to stay.

there there there
somewhere out there
are rooms to spare

skin paled like before
when life was young,
with summer tongues.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

true love is the only just and holy war.

i am so fascinated by love, this entity we all seek, and in some cases destroy. i think one of the greatest things about love is the aspect of vulnerability. we are opening ourselves up to someone that we have only encountered recently in the grand scheme of our life. up to this point we have known every thought, feeling, and action of ourselves; and then someone enters our little kingdom and demands to know and cohabitate in our thoughts, be apart our feelings, and create memories together.

    carl jung once said "when there is love there is no power. when there is power there is no love." i find that to be my favorite quote by mr jung to date. what i think he is trying to say is that when love is present we are inclined to do what is best for that other person, our motives and self centered behavior is soon replaced by the life pursuits of another entity, another human being. we have no power because we want no power. we choose to remain helpless to our own internal motives, we lower our defenses, we surrender our individuality for the greater good of the unity between two organisms.

     the opposite "when there is power there is no love," is also true. when one of the two beings in a relationship began to be in complete dominance of the other i believe something is amiss, now please don't confuse leadership with dominance. just because one of the parties in a relationship leads the relationship does not mean that he/she ('she' because in some cultures such as the indigenous alaskan tribes the female leads the community) is overpowering or overbearing. in fact correct leadership makes decisions based on what is best for my family/community/tribe and NOT what is the best decision for me. when there is an lob sided overpowering in a relationship, than the formidable force does not relinquish any judgement or decisions to the subjecting power, in this way physical, mental, verbal abuse usually follows to establish cave-man like dominance. when this occurs i believe, much like jung was insinuating, there is no love.

      dr. keen, a notable journalist for psychology today once said, "authentic love is a dance with three movements: solo, counterpoint, and coming together. leave any one of the three movements out and you destroy the dance. in a love relationship, people stand alone and apart from one another, enter into respectful struggle with each other and rejoice in their interdependence. in love, "no" is married to "yes", elemental forces like flint and steel meeting but not mixing; an encounter in which i and though stand firm."  

solo- i believe that there needs to be a point to finding oneself, a journey in solitude, away from ones family and friends where a boy becomes a man, a girl into a women. i think too many times girls never become women because they never leave the shelter of their father and instantly assimilate into the shelter of a husband, meanwhile never learning what it is like to live on their own under the shadows of responsibility, financial decisions, and most importantly their own individual passions. how is anyone going to make someone else happy until they themselves know what makes them happy? why do we pursue a lifetime commitment without knowing what they themselves want to accomplish in this lifetime? the Bible says "seek and you will find." in light of that there needs to be a time of seeking before one can inevitably find someone to spend the rest of their days with; and by seeking i do NOT mean seeking out someone to be in a relationship with, but seeking life on your own. in lamens terms (& like i have said before) do not look for mr. right until you have completelty devoloped mrs. right. in the same fashion do not pursue mrs. right until you have developed mr. right.

counterpoint: finding love involves a point of adaptability, cohesiveness and compatibility. but no matter how much a person is opposite or alike there is always going to be some type of friction in a relationship. no relationship is going to be perfect, even the most fairy tale of sweeping romances will one day have the "its your turn to take out the garbage," or "i told you you were going the wrong way,"  discussion at some point or another. but that is not the moment when one should give up, just because you argue does not mean that they are not the ones for you, or that you were not meant to be. a great book for newly engaged, lovers, or the married is "the 5 love languages" by gary chapman. i think it goes into great detail as to where and how one views love, and the importance they place on different attempts at affection.

coming together: this happens only after you have realized the positive and the negative in the relationship, only after the moment (much like in the motion picture 'eternal sunshine for the spotless mind') when you say "OK" to each other's faults and accept them for who they are. good and bad, rich or poor, till death do you part. commitment. a vow before heaven and earth. but what an amazing experience, when you not only feel love, but decide to love the other person completely, and for ever. that is coming together.

and when the sun set's and the warriors return with their swords sheathed to their camp to rest, we look back at this battlefield in all its glory, all the bloodshed, and the dried tears, realizing only then that true love is the only just and holy war worth fighting.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

selah & the development of our sixth sense

"the sense of wonder, that is our sixth sense, and it is the natural religious sense."
                               -d.h. lawrence
        for a couple minutes i could not find my brother, he was right behind us and i had no idea where he went. my friend nick and i called for his name but to no avail. as i began to trudge into the woods a little deeper nick became concerned since my brother paul didn't know his way in, or out, of the unknown, and to us, uncharted woods. after backtracking, and yelling into the woods we finally all met up in a valley that was descending into deeper woods and even deeper snow this last weekend in vail, colorado.
      the clearing looked like a cross between an ansel adams photograph and stepping onto the movie set of the chronicles of narnia. everything surrounding us was painted in a a bleached white and all the trees simultaneously looked like dogwoods, each spaced just perfectly as if it were planned and designed around the three of us. as we sat there taking in the site and breathing in as deep as we possibly could we began to discuss the reality of amazement that passes us by as humans.
      i concluded that for our generation i believe technology and science has replaced the "sense of wonder" in our generation. we are more fascinated by the mechanics or conveniences of the latest and greatest more than a peerless cloud formations or the mystery of the inter workings of our own bodies. plato & aristotle once believed that "philosophy begins in wonder," and even Kant echoed the sediment on wonder when he said "two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me."
       i believe every day of our lives we need to selah (jewish word meaning to pause and reflect) on the world around us; at some points it feels like we fill our lives with so much "to do" that we never stop and listen to what is happening around us. we are so busy planting the garden, weeding, pruning, and picking the flowers that we never take the time to reflect on the astonishing process of birth from the ground, the amazing colors in which we are experiencing in front of our faces, or the smell that illuminates the vicinity from around the plant themselves. 1961 nobel peace prize winner dag hammarskjold once said "we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason."  astonishing.
        early this morning i set out to wash the salt off my truck from the long trip from colorado to florida (i got stuck in the blizzard that hit denver and kansas so hard this past weekend). when i asked my 4 year old niece if she would like to help she jumped up and down, and squealed in normal hayden fashion, at the simple fact she could hang out with her uncle, be of some help, and possibly (hopefully) get soaked. i had to laugh because washing a car seemed like such a mundane task to me but to hayden this could possibly be the highlight of her young day. in more ways in our lives we need to approach each day as a child, we need to look through each and every moment as if it were the first time we have had the experience, the joy, the love, the admiration, of each and every moment we are alive.

"unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven"
                                    -Jesus Christ