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.

Divided we fall


Some truths are more profound than others. This is exceptionally true about the saying ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. It is being demonstrated every day on a large scale in America today. Everyone has a problem with someone else. Unbridled vitriol is rampant.

It would be easy to blame this on social media, but social media only plays the part of facilitator. Behind every mean and hostile post is a person determined to exact some measure of satisfaction from bringing someone else down.

Then there’s music..

Music transcends barriers. It brings people together.

I find this contrast intriguing.

Related:

I recently went to the park to do some shooting and happened upon a wedding that was just ending. It was one of the most culturally diverse gathering of people that I’ve experienced..It was a beautiful thing. There is a politician running for office in my state that said ‘diversity is crap’. No sir, the only crap present are the words coming from your mouth. Diversity is the beauty of life..

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

Days off are so underrated


So, I took today off.
I’m laying here in the den where I slept last night trying to make a decision on what my first act of the day will be, looking at this mini pile of shoes that I wear around the house and it dawned on me that my first act of independence had already taken place.
By now I would have gotten up frantically worrying about what the first meeting of the day would be like, trying to decide what to scoff down in the little time that I have to prepare. Yet here I lay under my comforter in my sweats/pajamas, debating if I should even get up.
This simple act of defiance made me realize the kind of stress we put ourselves through during a normal work day.
It starts from the moment you open your eyes.
We are so programmed that we don’t realize what that’s doing to us physically and mentally.
I ask myself how many hours or seconds have my added to my life by not stressing the moment I open my eyes?
I think I’ll lay here and let that percolate for a minute.

Can’t always be nice


It’s 1:11 AM and I can’t sleep. I’ve been on Twitter for a while and that it’s not working so I decided to post a blog. For some reason, I remembered this situation that I am going to share with you. A few years ago I was at work in the office. It’s a remote site that is rented space in a larger building. Because of this you have a mixed bag of people working there. This office was purely designed for people who live in the area. The reason I’m stressing that is because of where I live. We have a substantial Indian community in this area. By Indian I mean actual Indians from India. There were a few working in this office. I would only go there may be once or twice a week. The remaining time I would work from home. Anyway, there was an Indian woman working there that I would see occasionally in passing. Her desk was behind mine so when she would go to the pantry or elevator or what ever, she would pass my desk. Occasionally we would make eye contact and being the polite person that I am, I would say hello. Initially she would barely respond. I really thought nothing of it and maybe she was not a social person. As time went on I would see her more frequently. Each time I would make some sort of attempt to be social. Never disrespectful in any shape form or fashion. This went on for close to a year before this particular incident occurred that I am about to share with you. One day, as would happen on any other day, she was walking past my desk. I said hello and she said hello and smiled. I was taken aback actually because she never smiled. As fate would have it, not much longer after this, we ran into each other in the pantry. The pantry is a very small area so it kind of forces uncomfortable closeness. I was standing in the entrance waiting for her to finish using the coffee machine. Thinking I needed to break the awkward silence, I made a remark to her that it was nice to see her smile for a change. She gave off this vibe that made me feel like I was pressuring her into something that she was extremely uncomfortable with. So I just kept my mouth shut and waited until she left before using the machine. I thought nothing more of it than just her being her. Later that day I received an email from her. I thought to myself, this is odd. To my shock the email essentially stated that I made her uncomfortable and that she felt insulted. She mentioned something about cultural differences and some other stuff. But the essence of the email was to fuck off and leave her alone. I had a mixed blend of emotional responses to that email. My first was who the fuck do you think you are? The second was what could I have possibly done to evoke such a response? I literally searched my mind for every instance of us speaking and could not find one time where I was rude or out of bounds. My reply was short and simple, I am sorry that you were offended it will not happen again. Mind you, I felt like she was fucking crazy, but being it was in the workplace I had to handle this situation diplomatically. I mentioned this encounter with a friend of mine and their response was that in certain Indian cultures interaction with a woman is frowned upon unless she is a family member or a spouse. My response to that was, she’s in the fucking US. Here we speak to people out of common courtesy. If you can’t deal with that then I suggest you stay wherever the fuck you come from. That statement may sound racist, but I don’t think that’s it at all. If I were in her country I would respect their culture just like I would expect her to respect our culture. If the simple act of saying hello to someone is considered an egregious act then I think you need to live in a fucking cave.

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