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.

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..

 

The End of an Era


As I mentioned before, I have totally changed direction with respect to what I’m putting in my body. So to that end, I put together a collection of some of the dishes I’ve made in the past. Some of them are just ridiculous. It was interesting looking back at some of them realizing that I will never eat some of those things again. It was delicious though..lol

https://goo.gl/photos/mPaZQVL8TkxAdQja6

Rumors of my death


Yeah, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted yet again. I’ve been going through a lot of changes. I got real sick a month or so ago. I was with my cousin in Sam’s. I started feeling a little lightheaded and I decided to check my blood pressure. It was really high.
I joked to him that I was going to die, but secretly I was really concerned. The next day I woke up with the worst headache of my life. I couldn’t swallow and my face was swollen. It turns out that I was suffering from sinusitis, along with two inner ear infections and swollen glands. I was running a fever, and I was suffering from vertigo. I decided right then and there if I would survive, I would do everything in my power to take better care of myself. Being as how I couldn’t eat anything anyway, I went on a liquid diet.
At first I was just drinking water because I couldn’t make it to the store, but when I did, I decided that I would start juicing again.
The best thing for headaches or a hangover is vegetable juice. Tell your friends.
After a couple of days of juicing, I started feeling a little bit better, but I was still very weak. Since I wasn’t eating anything solid, I decide to take the opportunity to lose some weight.
My diet consisted of vegetable juice and fruit juice. if I felt hungry in between, I would have a glass of really cold water with lime juice. This curbed my appetite tremendously.
After 14 days I lost 25 pounds. I was exceptionally weak but I felt like a new person was emerging inside of me.
To help with my sinuses, I made sure that I stayed in a room with an air purifier. It was, I realized, September, the beginning of allergy season for me, which is always major drama.
As the pounds melted away, I started feeling myself having greater mobility. I didn’t realize how fat I had gotten. when i started, I was 255 lbs. Today I am 225.
I have also decided to give up meat. This is something that I’ve tried before for a short period of time, but I decided to make a permanent life style change to eliminate meat from my diet. I also decided to give up sugar, which is something I had done before but kind of fell back into.
When you embark on any diet, you suddenly become aware of the things you can’t have. After a period of time, you will also become aware of how much pressure and brainwashing is in advertising to influence your eating habits. You literally cannot watch any sports without there being an ad for something that is completely unhealthy.
Getting back to my story, I had a migraine that lasted me for 36 hours. I know exactly how long it lasted because I did not sleep during that entire time. I literally thought it was the end for me. This caused me to start thinking about what preparations I have made for dealing with my death. Feeling that it was a strong possibility, I started taking notes to send to my sister on how to handle whatever remained of my assets. After making that recording I was totally bummed out and a little disappointed, so I decided that I was not ready to die just yet. My mission would be to let nature bring me back. I would use every trick in the book I knew to get me back on my feet.
After the first two weeks of liquids only, I gradually started adding solids back to my diet. I would have one solid a day. I started with a banana, then oatmeal. I would prepare the oatmeal plain, adding a little raw honey. in between each meal I continue to have the cold lime water to cut down on my cravings.
The pounds melted off of me, but I felt very weak. Concerned that I was moving too fast I decided to have egg whites and tunafish as a protein substitute. I know this is a violation of my strict no meat policy but it was only temporary to regain my strength. I felt it was OK as long as I wasn’t eating red meat. this is where I am now. Ultimately I am going to go back to vegetables only because I know that it is much healthier for me.
There is an argument that people repeat when it comes to not eating meat. They always say that we have canine teeth which is designed to tear flesh. Using that argument you might as well say we should still be climbing trees because we have toenails.
I have done a lot of research online to get recipes that I can enjoy during my transition. For my meat substitute I am going to use tofu going forward. there is a psychological barrier that you have to overcome when you’re making dramatic changes to your eating habits. Most of that comes from the influences that I mentioned earlier. When you step back and take a look at what food companies are doing to you, you will understand that brainwashing is a real thing.
Most of you have probably seen videos of what happens to cows and pigs in slaughter houses. If you haven’t, I suggest that you Google some YouTube videos and get educated. When I see people on line in the drive-through’s, to me they are no different than the pigs and cows being led to slaughter that they are consuming. The food industry is one vast system of control that is designed to sustain itself even at the risk of killing people. Why? Because people are a replenishable source. Their goal is to make money anyway they can. Any attempts that we have made as citizens to get them to identify what they are really feeding us have been thwarted or completely ignored. The next time you buy juice in the supermarket, look at the ingredients. In some cases you will see things like natural flavors. Think about it, what are they talking about? That means absolutely nothing as far as detail is concerned but they are allowed to get away with it.
So this is where I am right now mentally. It’s amazing that as you grow older, you may go through a big change in your perspective of life, but you never expected to happen again and again. The things I see now, I am shocked that I was ever blind to.

As is customary, I am going to share with you some photos that I’ve taken, and some music.
Get It Started (NetFlix and Chill)
I hope that in your lifetime you experience the power of enlightement. By enlightenment I don’t mean a greater understanding of a concept, but an awareness that changes your view of everything around you. Peace

   
    
    
 

Adversity


Adversity can be a crutch or a platform. The choice is yours.
This is Bryan Gaynor aka Chibi from the dance group Remote Kontrol. Bryan suffers from scoliosis, curvature of the spine. He’s done interviews where he talks about the ever increasing pain he goes through, but refuses to let it control him. His range of motion is limited, but not his spirit.

Don’t blame love


Don’t blame love if your heart gets broken. Blaming Love is like cursing the ground if you trip and fall.
If you fall in love with someone and they disappoint you, don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to love even more deeply.
Just like falling down, you get up and learn to use caution where you step. Pain is natural. Pain is nature’s way of making us pay attention to what we have done to injure ourselves so that we don’t do it again. Pain of the heart can be deep and if you allow it, all-consuming. The key is not to let that happen. You have to take inventory in yourself. Know that you are worthy and deserving. Separate other people’s actions and opinions from who you know you are as a person. You cannot control what other people do or say, so don’t try. It’s wasted energy. You are in control of yourself. Don’t give that control to someone else by putting yourself down in a failed relationship. Where there is room for improvement, make it, but don’t let your hurt cause you to fear opening your heart. Don’t let a bad situation shut down your capacity to love deeply, for it is that love that will save you and set you free.

There are none so blind..


I got my new glasses today. I’m blind as fuck. I feel handicapped when I have to read the eye chart. I’ve come to terms with needing bifocals. Actually I’d done that some time ago, but now I can’t read shit with a distance prescription. Now I wear bifocal contacts as well, but the glasses do a much better job. I have the progressive lenses, meaning you can’t see that line that separates the two prescriptions. Thank god for technology because the ones with the lines make a person look old. I’m old, but I don’t look it…well it’s starting to become harder to fake but I have some time left. Getting older is a bitch, fucking knees, back  hurting. I’m like damn, whats the point? Kick me in a hole already..

Why do people think when they say, your glasses make you look intelligent that it’s a compliment? That’s the equivalent of saying your natural face makes you look stupid. I hated glasses growing up. Back then they were horrid. Back in the 80’s I had these big ass windowpane joints. All I needed were fucking windshield wipers. As a teenager I didn’t wear them but needed them. Everybody thought I was upset or a mean bastard. I just couldn’t see shit. When I was 21 I ventured into contact lenses. At the time they had just started making semi-hard lenses. When I got the nerve to try them, I realized that I’d made a mistake. First of all they were hard. Like having fingernails on your eyeball. When you blink it would irritate your eyelid so I ended up with this big eyed stare. Now my eyes are huge and that was not a cool look. I actually looked like that big eyed racial caricature that supposedly represented black men. I looked like I was trying to hypnotize everyone..like some kind of Afro-Svengali. I suffered through that phase all in the name of vanity. Those shits would dry up and pop out at the most fucked up times. Once I was driving on the highway at night. I rolled down the window to get some air and both my lenses blew out. That was some scary shit. I’m surprised I made it home. Not to mention I’d been drinking and smoking. Word of advice..DO NOT TEXT WHILE DRIVING. That shit is dangerous. I know because I did it. Everytime I looked down, some shit would happen in front of me. I had to come to my senses and realize that it was a very stupid thing to do. Anyway..I’m kinda done…I will take my tired ass to bed.