The Garden State is not a location.


I was born in Brooklyn.

It was in the year 2000 that my ex wife and I decided that we’d had enough of living in the city. The constant noise, dirt, crowds, attitudes and everything else was becoming a bit too much to bear on a daily basis. I believe it’s romanticized primarily because that’s what you do when you have no choice, but it’s not healthy. Combine that environment with an asshole boss and you have a recipe for premature death.

At first we tried looking just across the George Washington bridge to shorten our commute. That turned out to be a huge disappointment. The neighborhoods that were affordable were cramped and very close to industrial complexes. I believe we were in Roselle. This was during the summer and there was an ever present acidic toxic smell in the air. I was left asking myself how is it that these people are living here? Being from New York you hear the stories about New Jersey. Typically related to the crime in Newark or the stench on New Jersey Turnpike nearest to New York City. At that time, that was primarily my impression of how living in New Jersey would be. I was ready to give up until I spoke to a coworker of mine who also lived in New York and moved to New Jersey. She said to me you have to go further south if you want anything nice for a decent price. The real estate agent agreed, so my next adventure would take me further south down into Somerset.

We looked at two houses and my ex-wife was immediately sold on the second one without even going inside. It met all of our criteria plus the neighborhood was really beautiful and peaceful.

The only problem that remained was the commute. It would take a minimum of an hour and 45 minutes on a good day for me to get to work. This would also add an additional travel expense that I wasn’t too keen on. I’ll admit that if it were just left up to me, I probably would not have made the decision to stay, but seeing her being so excited about it, (we were also having issues) I felt like it would be therapeutic.

The previous year I’d seen The Matrix. There’s a scene where Neo wakes up and realizes that he is essentially a battery. That hit home with me. It eloquently personified how I felt about living in the city. Doing the same thing day in and day out, being plugged into the corporate machine with no sense of personal identity. That contrast was not fully realized until my first day of driving home from work to our new house. Once I got past a certain point on the turnpike it was like entering another dimension. There was this sense of order and calm that overcame me. I can honestly say this is something that I did not experience coming home in Brooklyn, leaving the work stress, dealing with the mass of people on the subway, and then going home and having to tolerate noise from neighbors. Day in and day out. For the first time in quite some time I was able to really think about myself. I became more centered. The quiet allowed me to contemplate what I was doing in life. Who am I? Why do I make the choices that I do?How can I bring this new sense of peace to other aspects of my life? It was in a word transformative.

I realized that living in the city I was constantly overstimulated. My brain wasn’t getting the breathing space to function nominally. I’ve come to realize that the meditative state should be the primary operating mode and not something you try to squeeze in to a few random minutes. It is in the garden of serenity where good ideas grow.

In keeping with tradition I am going to publish a couple of shots that I have taken since I last posted. I want to take the time to thank you for indulging me and hopefully enjoying the journey.

Mind dump


It’s been a while as usual. I’s sitting her drinking a bottle of Muscadet, like I know WTF that means but it’s not bad. Not too sweet and I have a nice buzz. I’m not a wine drinker at all really. I’ve just run out of weed and I need to relax.

Ever since I dedicated myself to a vegetarian lifestyle, I have all this extra energy that I need to channel. I’m not going into the why’s and therefores because I’m quite sure you’re tired of hearing about it but I  needed to save my life. No joke.  So, the other day I was in Sam’s at the checkout and I was super-hyped. I had all this energy and couldn’t stand still. At one point I heard this sound behind me and I spun around to see what it was and turned back around. So the teller was like “You alright?”. I was suddenly conscious of how odd that might have looked and then she said “you’re over here doing the electric slide”. I busted out laughing. That shit was funny. I couldn’t even protest because she was on point.  I had to laugh because I realized how odd i must have looked.

So, yesterday I picked up the new AppleTv.  Shit is the joint. The thing I like the most is the remote. With Siri, it’s like having total control over what ever you want to see or hear. It doesn’t require line of sight. I tested it by using it in the attic and was blown away that I could control my music selection from up there.

[Continued 4/9]

Sorry, but I had to pause..where was I? AppleTV..yes. If you’re not one of those people who just hates Apple products don’t bother continuing, but if you enjoy the experience, I strongly suggest you pick up the new model. They are working more towards integrating the TV experience into the overall Apple platform. There’s a few new apps specially designed for the TV that I’m experimenting with. I will give a final review in a few days.

This is all part of my cord cutting initiative. Cable companies have been gouging us for decades with often mediocre programming. Now that there are other options available via streaming, they are scrambling to maintain their customer base. I went through major drama with Verizon trying to shut off my FIOS tv. Their billing system is atrocious. They will rip you off if you don’t stay on top of it. Now that they’ve outsourced a lot of their phone reps, it’s a fucking disaster trying to get things sorted when you have issues..Bottom line is that they wanted to charge me for a month of service I never used. after many calls, I finally got it straightened out but I’m done with them for any new business unless they get their act together.  How’s cutting the cord you ask? For me it’s perfect. I prefer being in control of what I watch. The cable companies are trying to hold on by making it a requirement to have a cable account to stream but that model does not scale for today’s consumer. Starz realized this and is right out the gate offering stream access to their programming. I see that as the beginning of the end for the other channels. It’s only a matter of time before individual customized programming takes over completely.

Musically, I’m still working on refining my sound. My focus now has been on improving the quality of my vocals. I’ve become way more comfortable and am trying a lot of new things. So far the response has been very positive. I’m looking to branch out and feature some collaborative work. I’ve got some ideas on laying some vocals down on other artists tracks. There will be some of that coming your way soon.

I’m thinking of starting dating again after my long hiatus. I’ve basically kept women at arm’s length because I was really turned off by the drama. We’ll see how that turns out..lol.

So, I hope you enjoy some of my offerings and I promise to be more engaged.  I know I say that all the time but I really will make stronger efforts.

Much love..

 

Connections


It’s been a minute. Did you miss me?

A lot is going on as always. Work continues to suck. People continue to suck. Politics definitely sucks..so we won’t be talking about any of those things.

I cheated on my diet. It was a combination of working all day and not shopping then being hungry and having nothing in the house. When it’s late and you’re tired and just want something to chow down on and crash, your options can be limited. Alright..if you’re lazy and hungry you might find yourself making poor choices. It wasn’t like I didn’t try. If you call sitting in the car muttering to yourself trying. That’s what I did. I convinced myself that I would pick the lesser of many evils and get a fish sandwich…Ok maybe a combo, but my intentions were not to eat any meat so i figured the bulk of the meal was not flesh and I needed to take a shower and sleep. I will say this. It was horrible. Not only did it taste like crap, I was consumed by guilt. I thought to myself, maybe I should gag myself and puke it back up as punishment. Then I said, no, that’s crazy..that’s how bulimia starts, don’t even go there. side note: I dated someone that had this issue. It wasn’t pretty.

So as with all relapses, this started becoming a habit. And with each instance, the excuses became more and more acceptable until I’d reach a point of regression. I went to Popeye’s and got this frigging 10 piece special. As I was eating it, I felt like a savage. I could literally see the chicken being mindlessly butchered. I thought about the moment of it’s death..that moment when the chicken realized that it was over. I felt unhinged. Mentally disturbed. I’d fallen back into the trappings of industrialized death we call fast food. I knew I was better than this. I swore I would be.

It took a little longer than I expected. The pounds came rushing back. My skin was breaking out. I was bloated, miserable, headachey and yet for a few weeks I kept it up until one day my older sister called me. We hadn’t spoke for almost 2 years with the exception of my uncle’s funeral. She called to bury the hatchet (long story). During that conversation, my brother got on the phone. I hadn’t spoken to him in as long. I asked how he was doing and he started rattling off a list of afflictions. High blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis…It was then it hit me. This is where I was headed if I didn’t get my shit back together.

It’s a vicious cycle. One that is entirely preventable with proper eating and exercise. We live in a society that is geared towards profit. Big pharma is in it for the money., If the medical industry really wanted to prevent disease, they would actively campaign against the wholesale distribution of foods that are hazardous to your health. When you think of the sugar industry in the same light as the oil industry, you will see the similarities. We are fed lies about their impact on our lives and other companies make money on that lie. Big pharma would rather sell you a pill than ban the shit that got you in that condition. I know this sounds conspiratorial; it is.  Once you accept that fact and zoom out to see the bigger picture, you will see what I mean. When you go to the doctor they will tell you, don’t drink, don’t smoke but you will do it anyway. Knowing this, they prescribe pills. This is what big pharma is gambling on.

Anyway, I shook myself out of the coma and decided to reign in my bad eating habits to regain the momentum I had before. This is where I am now. My body is not letting me off the hook easy but i have no one to blame but myself.

So. I have a birthday coming on Monday. I don’t have to work that day but it looks like it’s going to be cold as hell. This is what happens when you’re a winter baby. Your birthday can suck. If you plan parties, you have to choose wisely because nobody like coming out in the cold. Well if you live in the Northeast like me.

I’ve been working on some new music. This is what keeps me sane when I don’t go out shooting as much as I should. It’s just that at the end of a work day it’s frigging dark and cold and all I want to do is chill.  Long story short, (kinda late for that right?) I have a few shares for you. I hope you enjoy them..

 

Grinching


Lol. Sometimes I crack myself up. Especially after a couple of drinks. Anywho, It’s that magical day of the year, Friday. A lot of people are celebrating Christmas, for me it’s a chance to relax.

My house is always cold. In the summer, it’s hard for me to tell how warm it is outside because it stays so cold in here. Right now it’s 75 degrees in here and it’s freaking December. What concerns me about global warming is that it may be worse than we realize. The reason for that is because of the Climate Agreement recently signed by 195 countries. Since when have you known that many countries to cooperate on something? Yeah exactly. We have reached a fork in the road of our destiny. All it takes is for people to have the courage to trust the facts and act.

This has been a very mind blowing few weeks for me processing all of the scientific achievements that have been made recently. There’s been a lot of media concerning the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Einstein is one of my heroes. When I think of him sitting in a room putting together the ideas that lead to a new understanding of gravity in his head, that just does me. I don’t live too far from his house in Princeton. I go there sometimes. It feels weird. It’s hard to imagine such a person existed.

Also I finally wrapped my head around the concepts of electromagnetism. That gave me issues for a long time. I couldn’t grasp the relationship between a field and a particle. I get it now and it kinda gives me goosebumps to think that all of reality is nothing more than intersecting fields.

So, Grinching..I define that as being hateful on Christmas and trying to destroy the mood. I’m an atheist but I get the concept and how people feel about it. The thing is, everybody does it. People that celebrate have a love hate relationship with Christmas. It’s weird in another way from my perspective as to how people do things that they feel are ridiculous but do them anyway. It’s really fascinating. It’s like a real life version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

 

 

Mirrors…


This is a track that is still in progress that I’ve posted but I wanted to share a little background as to its meaning.

This song represents a dual perspective of a love triangle, that of the guy who is in love with someone who belongs to someone else, and the guy that is in the relationship with the woman who is the object of his affection. It represents the internal struggle of a man who has come to the realization that he must walk away from his feelings of a woman who is taken out of respect even though he sees that she feels the same way. It also represents the lover who sees that his woman is in love with another and becomes aware of his failings. The mirror represents facing the truth about one’s self and accepting the consequences of their actions or inaction.

As with all my songs, this expresses a real life situation that I have faced.

I hope this adds to your enjoyment of the piece

2 Drops in a Bucket


How are you today mein kinder? This is how my dance teacher in high school used to greet us. It’s odd that I would remember that, but I have been known to retain bits of totally random useless information. Go figure.

The other day 10/21/15 was “Back to the Future Day”. I’m quite sure you’re sick of hearing about it but it struck me that in many cases whenever we have predicted how advanced we as a people will be, we always come up short. This speaks volumes on our perception of ourselves versus the reality of very slow progress. We are capable of way more than is our current situation. Today we could end hunger, poverty, war, pollution, racism, sexism..etc, but there are those in power that use these things to their advantage to stay in power. It makes me wonder if we as a people will survive our own greed.

Anyway..I just wanted to break the silence to reach out and connect I also have a couple of joints I’m working on that I want to share. The first is a combo of 2 tracks, one a house flavored track called “Get it Started”. It’s a little tribute to mi preciosa DJ and Radio host Shelli Diego. The second movement is a little piece I put together called NetFlix and Chill..I’d been hearing that term a lot and decided to try and write some lyrics around it based on the sexual tension of that situation. The other piece is just something that came from being in a situation where many of us have been, being in love with someone that’s involved with someone else that you know is feeling you.

Hope you like them..peace