Games, Dames and Guitar Thangs

Life. Women. Music

On Goals…

Goals are meant to be reached. The journey might be fun or it might not.  You may find your goal was a lot easier once you do the work or you may find just how much you’re lacking.

But you will have to climb that mountain pretty hard until you reach a plateau.  Eventually you’ll overcome your obstacles and come to a place where you can see the horizon.

Now you can coast through and take it easy enjoying the fruits of the strenuous climb you just finished.  After a while you’ll find yourself wandering, that old feeling of unease and anxiety to do something bigger creeping in.

You can wander for years or you can choose to set your sights on the next peak.

You’re probably asking, what is the point of this constant climbing?

If I’m always soaring to new heights, is that not a life where you’re a slave to your desires, to your thirst.

Not if you see life as movement.

You can choose to settle, plant a garden and raise a family in the valley.

But you will always wonder about those towering peaks that pierce the sky.  You’ll know once you reach a plateau, that the journey was worth it, that the gain is internal not just external.  It is the joy of new knowledge, new conquest, power and clarity over yourself and your environment.

The journey is not never-ending.  It stops when you die.  At least from what we know, death may be the last resting place of our soul.

But until then we are all caught up in the current of life, no matter how much we wish to rest, no matter how much we think we deserve peace, the world is moving and  we are but a small part of it. We have no choice but to keep learning, keep growing and expanding our horizons.

For ourselves, for our families, for future generations and for humanity.

The journey of man has always been one of expansion and settlement, more expansion and settlement.  The eternal spirit within knows no rest, its mission is to shine light into the darkest corners of the cosmos.

A man's world

It’s so easy !

Don’t give up.  It’s so easy to go on to the next thing.  Stick to it, always come back for more.  Hard work is not punishment, it is not something to be avoided and hated.  There is virtue in hard work, a well of energy that can reinvigorate your spirit.  If you keep jumping from one to the other, you never get past the shallows.  Go a little bit deeper, get away from the screen and do something about it.  There is power in words, but only action delivers the punch.

If you keep at it for long enough you’re bound to figure it out.  Your attitude and the way you approach it is the only obstacle you can face.  When you change your attitude, the world opens up to you in a million directions all standing in front of you.  WE all want to know what happens at the end.  But the real fun is figuring it out as you go along.

You have that option in front of you.  Always ready to go.  Right there in the silence between the moments, in the whispers behind the explosion.  There for you, always, eternal.

Music is deeper than language

to me the concert experience is more that just music.  when you’re up on stage, you’re not just at a spelling bee reciting lines from memory.  you’re more like the maestro who tunes in to the vibe of the crowd channels that energy and throws it back out into your music.  I don’t sit there and think to myself which note am i going to play next .  i feel the vibe i take it in and i start playing with it. once you capture the audience’s spirit, you can bend it and take them on a trip. it’s not so much about the music as it is about the atmosphere and the general feeling behind everything.  during a concert i want people to be elevated, i want to take their whole beings and their bodies to a new dimension.  i want people to go home and says damn man that was cleansing.  i feel ten pounds lighter, like all my sorrows have been washed away.  if i can do that to a 1000 people every night, then i think i’m doing my part not only as a musician but as a human being.  the music is just the channel. you see most of us live our lives devoid of any adventure, all our desires waiting to be filled at the click of a button, yet we still feel hollow.  there is something about crowds and all being tuned to the same energy and same message, that generates it’s own current.  if people leave feeling better about themselves and the world, then they ought to pass it on to their daily lives, and that feeling is contagious.  our lives are too mundane, filled with too much routine that we need that release in the most healthy way possible.

man, music is deeper than language, more primal than paintings and its meant to move bodies and inspire minds.  its the prefect conduit for the body to express itself.  i feel sometimes we get cheated in nightclubs, cause they pack it to the teeth with people that you can’t really move and express yourself the way you want too.  Fortunately the vibe is so strong that you can’t help but to let go and enjoy yourself no matter how sweaty, how loud and how packed it gets.

music is coming around for another big bang.  you see with the advent of radio/personal records in the 20s and 30s music slowly exploded into myriads of style and flavors.  it used to be so strict, never wavering off from the sheet but then suddenly things got interesting.  artists starting pushing the limits of what sound and melody could be.  coincidentally around the 60s early 70s music exploded into thousands of directions (funny how it paralleled with the drug culture, concerts and social movements).  Slowly that big bang has come around and styles have been fusing with one another.  Rock and pop, metal and classic, synth and punk.  All these combos of speed, sounds and melody are now slowly coming back to itself and is bound for another big bang.  electronic music is slowly taking over but right behind it is live instrumentation and analog sounds.  styles have mixed from as far as japan to LA and international borders are slowly falling away.  the next big sound will be the sound of the planet.  and again the big bang will release a slew of new and old genres back onto the scene.

Artificial Buzz

Remember the applause sign on sitcoms.  Manufactured consent.  I was cruising the airwaves today.  Crossed a little gem.  A few up and coming semi-celebrities arrive for a video shoot.  Just before they pull up a group of teenagers are being nonchalantly instructed to yell and scream as they were die hard fans.  The whole scene goes down, looking like these celebrities are actually generating a craze.  Off course it’s all fake, it’s all a manufactured pre planned image.  This kind of thing is pretty normal in pop culture.  Nowadays you can rent a photographer to follow you around and pretend to be a celebrity.  Most people would be clueless as to who you are, but that kind of entourage brings status.  It becomes horribly easy to generate a buzz these days, you just need a pinch of mystery, a manufactured following and BAM.

The Joy of Being Lazy

It’s been roughly two weeks since I made a goal to spend every single day for 30 days improving my guitar skills.  I can’t say that i’ve been succesfull everyday, but I managed to keep at it and keep playing.  Most of the time the motivation just isn’t there, nothing is sparking a fire under my ass to make me get-up and do it.  I have been very lethargic and slacking off way too much.

But then there are moments that you remember what it’s all for.  It picks up out of nowhere and you come up with a riff even Black Sabbath would be proud of.  That’s the moments you live for, cause if you never made an effort to pick up the guitar in the first place you would have never known that joy.  The problem is the expectation, the expectation that you’ll always get it right, that it’s going to be perfect all the time and that you always need to be motivated and happy go lucky to work.  It just doesn’t work that way in real life.  Some of my best work comes when i’m totally out of it and feeling as lazy as a Kuala on a hot Sunday afternoon baking in the sun.

The goal just lights the way for your journey, it’s not the final destination and you don’t have to sprint to reach it.  Be  more open to being a lazy bum when you’re actually feeling lazy, don’t try to fight it, instead just go with that flow.  Even in the laziness you’ll find a hint of inspiration that can lift you up.

The 5 Essential Books for Changing Your Life

Don’t be swayed by the herds of dimwitted tabloid-reading tv-watching ignorance-seeking individuals.  I used to hang in these crowds, hardly reading anything in high school or in college.  Now I can proudly say that I’ve read more books out of school than I have ever read while in school.  It’s always nice when an interest in knowledge and literature develops on your own and is not force fed by someone else.

If I had all the time in the world I would make sure to read at least a book a day.  Once I say peace-out to my corporate grind, buy a couple hundred acres in the mountainous wilderness and father a flock of warriors, I will retire to my estate and proceed to devour every piece of literature committed to paper.

But for now I’m happy to bring you just the bare essentials:

1. Maxwell Maltz – Psycho-cybernetics

There is no book that has had a profound effect on my life (and probably thousands of others) as this work from a plastic surgeon turned self-improvement writer.  Maxwell Maltz puts down some compelling arguments on how every single human being has a automatic success mechanism that gently guides them as they waver on their course to success.  He puts down evidence on how important it is to have a healthy balanced self-image, how to properly engage in constructive self-talk and clear steps to activate your success mechanism.  I have gone through two books (one on it’s was as we speak) and countless hours falling asleep to the audio version of this classic.  This book is my #1 recommendation for anyone interested in beginning their path to self improvement, to learning the correct mindsets for success in life or simply being a well balanced and healthier you.

2. Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living

I think you all know Bruce Lee as the chest-breaking, don’t let em’ see you sweat Chinese martial arts extraordinaire.  As well as being a life-time practitioner of Wing-Chung and several other martial art forms, he was also a voracious reader of philosophy and literature.  His book is the perfect fusion of eastern thoughts and western mindsets.  Writing it while recuperating from a back injury, he instills his own wisdom on life, love, spirit and action all in a bite-sized easy to read format.  If you’re looking for tried and tested ways of living, I urge you to pick up this book and as Bruce Lee said “take whatever works and discard everything else”.

3. Napoleon Hill – Think and grow Rich

An oldie but a goodie, Napoleon hill studied some of the world’s wealthiest and most succesfull inventors, entrepreneurs and artists to distill the qualities that made them who they are.  The book does a wonderfull job of outlining the steps needed for success, and even though it’s a bit outdated it has more wisdom in one page then most libraries today.

4. Robert Greene & 50 Cent – The 50th law

I’ve read the 48 laws of power, if not only for the value of being able to recognize when someone is pulling a fast one on you.  Now the 50th Law is Greene’s collabaration with 50 Cent and it is one of the most illuminating books into the mind of a person who has an iron will.  Greene combines his insights into what makes someone succesfull and what makes them unstoppable in the face of hardship with the real life story of hustler turned rapper turned entrepreneur 50 Cent.  This book is filled with deep inisghts and a relatable real-life story that keeps me coming back for more.

5.  Herman Hesse – Siddharhta

This is a story of young boy who grows up in India as a royal prince and leaves the comfort of his home for search of deeper meaning in life.  I don’t want to go more in-depth with this book, for fear of spoiling it with my own interpration of things.  I just want to say that this is one of those books that had a profound effect on me and to this day I dwell on it’s message and how it relates to my life.

Playing with Fire

There are moments when I hear the crackling wail of the wall of sound coming into me.  Taking over in a torrent of precise licks and kicks and vibratios and legattos.  The fingers glide over the fretboard like water down an arched back.  The tips pierce the strings for just enough to let them vibrate the melody to the pick-ups.  Effortless is the word, the muscles in my arms relaxed, but not mushy, ready to strike the strings and deliver with the force of a KO blow.  The mind absent but observing, letting the feelings Maestro the duration, the speed, the tone of each note, directing scenes of joyous chaos.  Playing with your heart, but never breaking it.

It’s wrong to say that we just play with our feelings, because often feelings have no sense of direction, no movement, no force of impact just mushiness being splattered on a wall of sound.  The mechanical side practices a riff until its able to play it without memory or thought, just pure instinct.  But that side also has no concept of flow, no understanding of hearbreak or love, blinded by rationale.  So we mix the emotions with that instinctual playing (that was once mechanical) into a fury of sound.  A slow start, rising action with the hint that something deliciously sinister is on the horizon, then the payload.  But not all of it, just a small teaser, just enough to perk up the ears and direct your body in my direction.  Then more rising action, arpeggios rained down from heavens, little licks forged in the depths of hell.  Hot and cold, loud and soft, spacey and grounded, fast and slow.  Now we’re cooking.  The action builds, the drums start exploding, the melodies blossom into the open.  Then the payload, the climax, the big “O”.  Blistering solos, lighting fast fingers that defy the rules of gravity take over the fretboard.  The pick-ups speak the language of the vibration of strings and make love to the electronics.  The amp is like a loudspeaker for the guitar, the feedback is the threshold where sound starts transforming into noise.  Finally, the emotional unloading that you wish you could replay over and over and over.  Caressing you the right way, turning up all the light switches in your body, in your head and in your loins.  Now you feel the BOOM. 

I know you think I was writing erotica and not just playing a few notes on the guitar.  But my perspective is everything, when you look at it this way you can’t help but be drawn in, whether you like it or not, you learn to enjoy the ride.

Compounding Intelligence

“You observe that most great scientists have tremendous drive. I worked for ten years with John Tukey at Bell Labs.

He had tremendous drive.

One day about three or four years after I joined, I discovered that John Tukey was slightly younger than I was. John was a genius and I clearly was not.

Well I went storming into Bode’s office and said,”How can anybody my age know as much as John Tukey does?” He leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, grinned slightly, and said, “You would be surprised Hamming, how much you would know if you worked as hard as he did that many years.” I simply slunk out of the office!

What Bode was saying was this: “Knowledge and productivity are like compound interest.”

Given two people of approximately the same ability and one person who works ten percent more than the other, the latter will more than twice outproduce the former.

The more you know, the more you learn; the more you learn, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more the opportunity – it is very much like compound interest. I don’t want to give you a rate, but it is a very high rate.

Given two people with exactly the same ability, the one person who manages day in and day out to get in one more hour of thinking will be tremendously more productive over a lifetime.

I took Bode’s remark to heart; I spent a good deal more of my time for some years trying to work a bit harder and I found, in fact, I could get more work done.”

Electronic Wilderness

the dissemation of information over the last few centuries. while oral tradition passed information from person to person, it was very inneficient and prone to errors. then the printing press came along and allowed a wider access to knowledge/wisdom. with this was also introduced rebundance and info. overload. today we have an entity, a network where we can all plug in and surf away to our hearts content. it also presents the same pitfall as the printing pres, info. overload. you don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong, and since everyone has access to editing this info it becomes confusion and time wasting to sort through it. this has allowed the human race to build on their ancestors successes/mistakes as never before but also put us in a rut as we do not rely on our natural sense of curiosity and problem solving to tackle modern problems which require greater focus and depth. our memory is misused and our faculties of introspection is limited and needs work. too many distractions yield a need for self-discipline to cure overload of the senses and simplify life. “plugging out” as some would call it involves near-complete unplugging from technology if even for a few days. no lights, no screens, out in the wilderness, as close as to our primal selves as possible. this connection that can be re-established must yield some benefits to the soul, that part of us that is eternal and that is said to be “our connection to the original life force”. concerts to a certain extent facilitate this, as they allow a large number of people to tune in to the same wave length. but it’s strengths are in reality it’s weaknesses, the deadening of sense (being too loud) and the packing of people like sardines in venues (lack of connection) dull what could be very therapeutic for the user. a different kind of scene can be established, sound seems to be sometimes bordering on too fast, too intense and definitely aims to drown out rather that to open up. i look to videos of some artists during 60 and early 70’s where the atmosphere and the music itself is more wide and atmospheric than crafted for quick pop consumption. the new wave of electronic music offers a glimpse into where music can head into. off course, sound is both communal and personal and can be experienced alone in a room, yet amplified in a crowd of people who all share the same taste.

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