So Here’s The Problem

So on my way to work today, I decided to check out the new Kanye West track “All Day”.

Now, I would never label myself a Kanye West fan per se, but he is from Chicago, and I do have a special place in my heart for Chicago area artists (Kanye West, Common, Rhymefest, etc).  Also, I’d read a few music news outlets who had heralded this track as Kanye West busting out as a real lyricist with great musicality, blah, blah, blah…

So I listened to the track, which will be in rotation 24/7 on Urban Radio stations from here till May.

The only problem?

The track ain’t s**t.

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In 2015…Find Your Hype!

I’ve been told that my life experiences have left me with a nice amount of wisdom. I’m not sure if I agree, but I feel that we all have something to impart on others.  I’m trying really hard to make 2015 an awesome year (insert Kid President voice right there), and I’d like to perhaps influence others to do the same. Needless to say, my year is off to a very rough start, but I’m keeping my head up, and hoping for the best.

So, if we’re going to take the world by storm in 2015, I think the first thing we have to do is find our hype.

What is “a hype” you say?

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Monday Morning Pick Me Up: Christmas Playlist

Hey Everyone! I’m only a few hours off of the morning. I almost made it! I’m getting better!

Anywho…Let me start by saying if you haven’t heard the album from which the above video comes, you’re missing out. The band is August Burns Red and the album is August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill. It’s really good. Very unique I would say. Definitely rivals Transiberian Orchestra.

So, let’s talk Christmas music. I’m long over the traditional stuff for the most part. 30 some years later of hearing it, I’m burned out. However, Christmas JAZZ music….oh yeah? Even something like the tune above. Just hearing the old tunes in a new way…I can dig it.

So, I’m gonna give you some offerings of some awesome Christmas music I’ve been listening to over the past week. I use Spotify to listen to all of my music, but I’m pretty certain all of my suggestions are available on Itunes, perhaps even on Youtube, and if you enter them into Pandora, you’ll get a kickass Christmas channel.

So, my top Christmas albums this year:

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Big Band Christmas (1996)
The Chris McDonald Orchestra

This is my favorite Christmas album of this year. It’s tasty, and consistent with great solos. 2 thumbs up.

99215c77e201aaf73391185d9c220e38A Jazz Musician’s Christmas (2002)
The Tom Kubis Big Band

This was my first year hearing this album, and it is wondrous. The highlight of the album is O Holy Night. When you hear it, you’ll know why.

boogie_woogie_christmas Boogie Woogie Christmas (2004)
The Brian Setzer Orchestra

This is exactly what you’ve come to expect from Brian Setzer. Fresh, hip, and it swings so very hard!!!

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What A Night! A Christmas Album (2008)
Harry Connick Jr.

This album has the best rendition of Winter Wonderland I’ve ever heard, as Harry swings out with his daughter Kate.

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The Nutcracker Suite (1960)
Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn

No explanation needed.

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Sleddin’ Hill (2012)
August Burns Red

This album is the newest one on my list. It’s also the most surprising, considering this is a very tasty bunch of Christmas arrangements from a metalwork band. Take a listen before you judge.

I hope you enjoy some of this music as much as I have. It’ll add a little spice to you Christmas for sure.

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Monday Morning Pick Me Up: All I Want For Christmas Is You

Two weeks in a row?!?!?!?!

Late that is.

Sorry. I’m officially a bad baby! As if you didn’t already know!

But seriously, I do apologize. I’ve been keeping super on the run in pursuit of my health and fitness goals. I rode 50 miles on my bike yesterday alone. The activity as a result leaves me tired, and I end up napping and sleeping more.

Anywho, I saw this weeks pick me up on Monday afternoon. It’s one of those videos that will go absolutely viral in a day or two, and you’ll surely see it in multiple places as Christmas quickly approaches.

Well, YOU SAW IT HERE FIRST!!!!

Maybe not, but hopefully it puts a smile on your face.

Enjoy!!!

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Monday Morning Pick Me Up: 3 Little Birds

Hey everyone!

Well, last week was a rough one for me.  I haven’t blogged about it, I may, but my sister was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer, commonly known as GIST (Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor).  I think I got that right.  She’s in pain most of the time, which is hard to see.  So, the monday morning pick up now has a new dual purpose.  Every Monday morning pickup I post, I will also be posting on her Facebook as well.  She loved last week’s Kid President, as I know some of you did as well.  So, I’m sure you’ll see more KP in the future, but this week, I wanted to share some music.  I think I will alternate weeks of videos, poetry, speeches, etc, with some good old fashioned pick me up music.

Three Little Birds is a song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It was first released in 1977, but later released as a single in 1980.  I love this song because it just has a great, positive, reggae feel.  It’s also hard to listen to the song without picturing the lyrics in your head, of three little birds singing well wishes and uplifts to you.

It’s a song that has always put me in a good mood, and I hope it does the same for you.  Let us start the week off right.  As always, share this video, or this post, with any and everyone who might need a little extra boost this week.

Normally I would post lyrics, but as you can tell from the video, there’s no need this week.

Namaste!

Stuff That Kicks…

In many ways, I am the quintessential teacher. I love sharing information!!! I love opening the minds of others to new and interesting things. Any teacher will tell you how awesome it is when you see that light bulb go on in a students head, that “oh wow” moment. There is nothing like it.

In the same vein, I enjoy sharing things I enjoy with the world. Particularly, for my intent and purposes here, what comes to mind most is art and culture. Music, movies, books…there is rarely a day that goes by that I don’t share a song, or video, or comment about a book on my personal Facebook.

Well, I’m gonna start sharing those things here on my blog. I’m calling it the “Things That Kick” series…that means it kicks ass. So, in the future, I’ll be sharing art of various mediums with you all. I hope that over time, you’ll at least see one or two things that you’ll enjoy, or will be new to you, or will possibly broaden your horizons, or challenge your notions in one way or another.

Also, I’m in the process of creating some new pages, so I’ll be posting something when those are up.

I hope you all are doing well. Things in my life are moving at a crazy pace…I’ll let you know how things look in the dust settles.

Namaste.

Music Is A Time Machine

A few weeks back, I was listening to the Joe Rogan Podcast… Kevin Smith was the guest. I actually blogged about a portion of that episode previously, you can read that post here.

But, in another segment of their discussion, Joe Rogan and Kevin Smith were talking music. evin Smith mentioned how he currently enjoys a lot of music from his past… that he never was interested I when it was popuplar…bands he never listened to in their heyday.

Joe Rogan inquired as to wh that he is, and Kevin Smith offered his opinion that music functions as a time machine. He went on to explain that he feels thT music takes us back in time, on a subconscious level, and even though it may not be music that you enjoyed back then, it could still hold a close tie to pleasurable events or memories, even if you do’t realize t. For example, you may not have been a Led Zeppelin fan, but maybe Led Zeppelin was playing on the radio when you had your first kiss,etc, etc.

I thnk he’s absolutely right, because as the years pass, I find  myself. Listing to more music from the past, 70’s and 80’s particularly… music would have heard in my house as a child. My love of rock, metal, and classical came later.

In addition, I think music can take you back to a particular time , or place, or make you thnk about a particular person. That’s what happened to me the other day.

I was driving down the street when the song “Hunter” by Bjork came up on my Spotify. If you’re never heard it, it’s an amazing song.

It immediately took my thoughts back to the person who introduced me to Bjork. It was a woman…she was seeina guy worked with.  woman. I couldn’t tell you exactly how or where we met.

A few weeks back, I was listening to the Joe Rogan Podcast… Kevin Smith was the guest. I actually blogged about a portion of that episode previously, you can read that post here.

But, in another segment of their discussion, Joe Rogan and Kevin Smith were talking music. Kevin Smith mentioned how he currently enjoys a lot of music from his past… that he never was interested when it was popular…bands he never listened to in their heyday.

Joe Rogan inquired as to why that he is, and Kevin Smith offered his opinion that music functions as a time machine. He went on to explain that he feels that music takes us back in time, on a subconscious level, and even though it may not be music that you enjoyed back then, it could still hold a close tie to pleasurable events or memories, and also unpleasant, even if you don’t realize it. For example, you may not have been a Led Zeppelin fan, but maybe Led Zeppelin was playing on the radio when you had your first kiss, etc., etc.

I think he’s absolutely right, because as the years pass, I find myself listening to more music from the past, 70’s and 80’s particularly… music I would have heard in my house as a child. My love of rock, metal, and classical came later.

In addition, I think music can take you back to a particular time, or place, or make you think about a particular person. That’s what happened to me the other day.

I was driving down the street when the song “Hunter” by Bjork came up on my Spotify. If you’re never heard it, it’s an amazing song

It immediately took my thoughts back to the person who introduced me to Bjork. It was a woman…she was seeing a guy I worked with. I couldn’t tell you exactly how or where we met.

I can tell you that she was breathtaking. She was Puerto Rican, from New York City. She had beautiful, caramel colored skin. Her hair was curly, and wild. I can’t remember her eye color, which is a bit odd for me since that is usually a trait I notice and remember. She also had one of those bodies that was made for a pencil skirt.

The song immediately brought me back to a day trip we took together. In our conversations, we discovered that we were both musicians. She told me that she sang jazz back in New York, and dabbled a bit also in Germany. She asked me if I’d been to this huge music store about 90 minutes from Bamberg, Germany, which is where we lived at the time. I told her I hadn’t, and she told me she would take me the following weekend.

So there we are, in her little sports car, travelling through the countryside of Bavaria. She turned on her radio, and the tastiest music filled the car. I said ’who is this?”

“You’ve never heard Bjork? She’s my favorite!”

And Bjork has been a favorite of mine ever since. I just remember looking over at this divine creature as she drove, sneaking peeks of her legs, and her beautiful face, listening to her voice, mindlessly chit chatting as the fields went zooming by.

Hearing this song while heading to Jiu Jitsu training immediately took me back to that moment. It was strange, and oh so pleasant, all at the same time.

Music is definitely a time machine
~D

And When I Die…

…this topic has been on my mind quite a bit as of late. The thought of my death. I don’t know why. I suppose it’s one of those topics that you find yourself thinking about…and so you tell yourself not to think about it…thus thinking about it more. The epitome of a vicious cycle perhaps.
Some people think that when you find your mind fixated on something, it’s a harbinger of what is to come. I don’t much worry about that. I’m not afraid of dying. I have yet to see someone come back to complain. I don’t even fear the pain that some deaths bring as I once did.
I suppose my biggest fear is for my life to be meaningless. To die without ever really living is my only real fear.
We are all born, and death will come for all of us. It’s the time in-between that truly offers us fear…that we’ve done nothing, stood for nothing, or amounted to nothing.
As my mind wanders though, I find myself thinking lots about my funeral.
How many people will be there?
What will they say?

…etc, etc, etc.

I hope there isn’t a lot of crying at my funeral. That’s a thought I don’t care to bear. There shouldn’t be a lot of liturgy and all that either. I don’t want mourning and sadness. I want a celebration of a life lived.

Let’s be real; this place kind of sucks. I mean life is grand and all that, but it’s hard living, full of crappiness too. The next life has to be better than this, so let’s celebrate that transition.

There should be lots of laughing. I laugh all the time. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t do serious well. It’s just not my style.
So, definitely laughing. There should also be music. Music is the cornerstone of my existence. There should be lots of music. A few songs in particular:
The gospel song. “I Feel Like Going On”

“You’ll Never Walk Alone”

“Somewhere over the rainbow”

“Georgia on my mind”

All of these songs have deep sentimental meaning to me.  They very well frame a life well lived.

I want there to be stories…lots of stories. I love a good story. I tell a decent one too. But people should share their memories and moments.

I don’t want to be buried in a suit. Once again, so not my style. Also, what a waste of a good suit. Bury me in a nice pair of jeans, and a button-down shirt. That’s be ok. I can’t fathom the thought of someone trying to stick me in some clown suit and dress shoes. I shudder enough wearing that jazz in my professional life. Perhaps they could bury me in one of my gi’s. I think that would be perfect…ready to choke out any ghouls or the devil himself.

It’s weird how these thoughts have filled my mind.  I suppose it’s also nice to get them out.  It’s often hard to talk to people about some things.

On and ever upward.