Monday Night Pick Me Up: Six Rules of Success

I apologize for not having this posted on Monday morning. I’ve been on the run.  However, I can say that I needed this weeks pick me up as much as anyone. In my current transition, I’ve been having lots of doubt, and feeling topsy turvy, not sure what direction I am headed, or how to get ahead from my current position. I’m also willing to bet that at least one person reading this is going through something similar, and at least one person is going through something worse.

It’s for that reason I consistently watch videos similar to this one. I need reminders of how to keep on a good path, and how to face the fears of uncertainty when you’re not even quite sure where you’re headed.  I hope this video provides at least one person some reassurance, and hope, as it does for me. I constantly remind myself that I’m not alone, and I want you all to know that none of you are either. I hope you all have a wonderful week, and look on the bright side in all facets of your day.



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.


The Ice Bucket Challenge

I intended to post this some time ago…and just never got around to it.  I feel myself saying that a lot nowadays.  There’s probably not anything I could tell you about ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrigs’s Disease that you haven’t already heard over the past few weeks.  If you’re a social media and Youtube savvy person, you’ve probably also seen tons of “Ice Bucket Challenge” videos.  However, here’s mine.  There’s probably nothing too special about it, other than I did it with people special to me in mind.  Enjoy!

The Perfect Words at The Perfect Time

Below is a transcription of a podcast I listened to recently.  Let me start by highly recommending listening to the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast. Such riveting conversation on there.  The Transcription below is JRE #134 featuring Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith is a director/actor famous for such films as Clerks, Mallrats, and Dogma. 

So below is a small portion from the episode. The transcription below is not mine, and is not perfect, but you get the gist of the message.

These words hit me at the perfect time, and led me to making a very important decision, to take a job in Dubai or not. I definitely think these are words to live by, so wanted to share them with others. Enjoy!

You can listen to the podcast from the website, on ITunes, or watch it on Youtube as a webcast.

Kevin Smith:  Play it with passion. Do it. Here’s my philosophy.  It’s everybody’s philosophy. It’s not even an original one.  One life you fucking die.

Kevin Smith:  That’s it. You don’t know what’s on the other side.  We hope for this and that. We hope for candy land.

Kevin Smith:  But we don’t know.  It could be as simple as getting in a box.  Stay there for fucking eternity.  You had your shot.  You’re a computer, we shut you down and you’re finished.  So if that’s the case, it…it…behooves you to shoot for your dreams every time.  I know it sounds so dopy and Tony Robbins-ish

Joe Rogan: But it’s real

Kevin Smith:  It’s real.  In a world where you’re gonna fuckin die. Like this is what I think about it.  An example that’s real close to home. My old man was a good dude.  My father, good guy.  Not many good men in the world.  This was a good fucking guy.  Did work at a post office.  Ah cancelling your fuckin stamp.  What a soul killing horrible job that is.  For years just to pay for a fucking family.  Who knew if he had dreams?  Maybe his only dream was to like.  Oh get married and have kids. Work wasn’t maybe a big deal to him.  He did what he had to put food on the table.  And stuff like that.  Good dude, took me to the matinees.  Every Wednesday go see a movie.  Take us out of school a half day.  Go see flicks and what not.  Not a Parent who fucks around with a kid or anything like that, or Oh he’s all good except there is that. Good straight arrow fucking dude. Went to church cause his wife made him.  But wasn’t big into the church.  Fucking mowed his mother-in-law’s lawn all the time.  Good guy.  Raised pretty good kids.  Or at least 2 good kids and me.  And so, my father would go out to eat one night.  He’s about 68 years old.  We go out to eat at Morton’s in Philadelphia.  Ah.. and its one of those special nights where whole family winds up in the same place.  Hadn’t been that way in years.  My mom, my dad, me and my wife’s with me.  My sister and her husband.  And she lives out. At this point I think she was living In Kobe, Japan or something like that.  So she rarely back in the states.  And my brother, he’s married to a dude.  But his husband wasn’t with us.  He didn’t make the trip that time unfortunately.  Here we are at the back room at Morton’s.  You know, eating having a great time.  Chit-chatting. (coughs)  And the old man is putting away a steak.  Cheesecake.  A couple of manhattans.  That was his fucking poison.  And you could tell. And I don’t even like paint this in retrospect.  But it was clear on the night.  Parents love seeing their kids all in one place.  Happy, healthy, not fucked up in the heads or something like that.  And you can tell he’s enjoying it.  Their worst kids shooting the shit.  Everyone is making each other laugh and shit.  Trying to make him laugh.  He.. everyone sits.  Everyone’s paying attention to everyone else.  Maybe no one is paying attention to him.  Maybe too much cheesecake that night.  Fuck it we’re all having a good time.  Put him on a cab that night.  Hey now see you all in the morning.  He’d come out to Philadelphia to see me do a Q&A at the ah.. Wizard Comic-Con.  Off he goes in a cab.  Go home.. ah.. go to a hotel. Go to sleep.  Got a phone call 6 in the morning from my brother.  And my brother was like uhm..  You gotta get down to the hospital on Walnut.  And I say why?  Cause Dad..  And uhm my father was in and out of poor health.  He was diabetic and what not.  He had like ah.. strokes, heart attack and what not..

Yeah.. he was.. bad health dude.  But I’m.. but.. so when my brother is like..  Dad is in the hospital.. Okay like,  What now?  Fuckin throw a rock and dad’s got it.  My brother you could hear in his voice.. and he was just like.. you gotta get down here now.  And I was.. oh shit!  So I was like.. hang up, got dressed, went down.  I get to the emergency room.  Open the door first thing I see is.  My mother who looks more scared, than I have ever seen in a human being in my life. Fucking terror on her face.  Not.. I’ve seen my mother cry in my lifetime, you know.  I’ve made my mother cry in my lifetime.  I’ve watched her cry.  I watched her cry to fucking falcon crest when I was a kid.  This was different.  This was like terror.  Fear.  You know, almost like there was a fucking gun to her head.  And off of her face, I looked to my brother, and my brother just says this expression where it just kinda gives me a slow nod.  Which is he’s gone.  You know my father is dead. And I went and I saw him on a gurney and shit. And it was so strange.  I go outside.  I was a smoker like cigarette smoker in those days.  I was gonna have a cigarette.  And uh.. Donald comes out.  And I was like ah.. Oh this is a shock.  Oh whatever, you know.  Your upset and stuff.  And ah.. how was it?  Cause he was there.  So what happened?  Donald felt, his story was like.. Dad woke up and had this like big reaction. Where you just like.. I’m hot, I’m hot.. then thrown his sheets off.  And mom freaked out..  what’s the matter?  what’s the matter?  She told Bob call an ambulance, call the hospital.  And he was gone within seconds.  So.. that’s.. you know.. bad enough.  You know, he was hot and uncomfortable.  You don’t want to hear it like.. Oh he died in his sleep.  And we woke up and he just didn’t.  But then my brother says this thing,  probably defined my life.  My brother goes.. ah.. he died screaming.  And I go.. what?  And he goes.. he died screaming.  And I was like.. I mean is that a figure of speech?  He goes.. No he literally died screaming.  And you could see my brother was haunted by it.  And my father wasn’t like ah.  I wouldn’t say he was a butch man or strong man.  But he wasn’t a soft man by any stretch of the imagination.  And I never heard him get real loud or anything like that. Then the notion of my father dying screaming.  Changed my life, cause I was like.  Even a good man in this world.  He played the game.  He played it straight.  He played it by the rules.  You do everything you’re supposed to.  You’re gonna die screaming. 

At that point, there’s no point in not trying to accomplish every stupid fucking dream I got.  Even this dumb shit.  Like fuckin.. you know.  Oh my god, I always want to collect this many fucking Wayne Gretsky cards in one binder.  Or if its like, I wanna make a movie.  Or if its like, I wanna put on podcast.  I wanna do a TV show now.  I wanna write a book.  Chase it all down.  Chase some whimsies for what I have been doing for the last few years.  Smoking weed and chasing and went whimsies.  Anytime I’m like.  Back in the day, I had a good idea.  Something I really want to follow through on.  You know, suddenly you get scared.  You start thinking, what some motherfucker is gonna say.  It will be like, oh that’s stupid why would you fuckin do that.. fuckin why? why? why? 

A lot of why people in this world. I try to surround myself with the why not motherfuckers.  It would be like, I wanna try this.  Like.. why not?  Lets go, lets give it a shot.  You gotta be game, Man.  People help you achieve your dreams and shit.  So for me ah.. the last few years.  I’ve just been trying to accomplish every dopy dream.  Big shit, the little shit.  You gotta do them all.  You cant just do the.. climb every mountain shit.  You know, sometimes lay the bar down, step over it and be like Tadah!  So you feel accomplished.  But chase it all.  Do it all.  Cause we all gonna die screaming.  And you might as well enjoy it here.  And when I say chase it all.  Don’t fuckin do it at the expense of someone else obviously.  Don’t hurt somebody else.  But go after your dreams, man.  If you dream is like.. I wanna kill 12 children.  That’s.. I’m not saying.. I’m not talking to you.  But go after your dreams if that’s not gonna hurt anybody

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.

Finding beauty in everything…

Beauty is one of those things that’s simply hard to nail down.

Most concepts are.  To me, beauty is just about as tricky as love.

Beauty is so vast, yet so subtle.  What’s beautiful to one person may be grotesque to another.  One thing that I think is beautiful, another perosn may think it’s completely dumb and insignificant.

Anyone who knows me…who really knows me, knows I’m a sucker for beauty.  Whether it be a pretty face, or hair..or a sunrise…or sunset…aurora borealis…or a great museum exhibit….a beautiful piece of art….sometimes just a beautiful sky on a warm spring day can be the epitome of beauty.

And to some…all of that is insignificant.  Variety is the spice of life they say, and I suppose in this particular situation, that holds true.  However, I am a firm believer that beauty is significant.

It was beauty in a big part that kept me sane while living in Alaska. For all the negatives, there’s nothing like seeing the sun rise and set over the mountains, or seeing a snow scene straight from a post card.

Oddly enough, many of the same features are what I found so beauteous about Afghanistan.  The mountains…seeing the sun rise and set.  The beauty of the culture I found myself surrounded by, and the beauty of the personalities and spirits I was able to encounter.  Beauty is a wondrous thing.

So I recently came across a video in Camille Crimson’s Blog: Lifestyle of a Geeky Redhead Blowjob Devotee.  Now, I warn you before you go clicking that, it is NOT SAFE FOR WORK.  Camille Crimson is for all intents and purposes a porn star.  However, she’s not your typical one.  She and her husband make female and couple friendly videos…but they’re just oral sex.  Nothing else.  If you’re so inclined, it’s quite interesting.  yet, I digress…

She recently spoke of this video, “Projector Snow”.  When I watched it, I intially was a little like “Umm..what am I looking at?”  So I had to watch it a few more times.  In actuality, I love the still photographs more than the actual video.  The stills capture the absolute beauty of what is transpiring.

To make a long story short, when the snowstorm Nemo hit his locale, filmmaker Brian Maffitt set up a projector in a window, and projected the film “The Lorax” out onto the snow.  Who would really think to do that?  But, the effect is so mesmerizing.  Put it with some excellent music, and you’ve got yourself a great moment, captured in time.

For copyright purposes, I will not share any of the photos here, but I will give you the link, and I definitely encourage you to check them out.  Absolutely gorgeous.

Brian Maffitt’s Projector Snow Stills!  

Try to find beauty in every moment of every day.


“Don’t Stop Believin’…Unless Your Dream Is Stupid.”

First things first, watch this amazing video!!!

Now, I don’t even know where to start about this video.  I wish more people thought like this.  I don’t know the story behind this video, or the kid featured in it, or the organization Soulpancake.  However, after seeing it, I immediately thought of the Holstee Manifesto:


The Holstee Manifesto

So I assume that the best question to ask is,

“What’s going to be your Space Jam?”

I personally thought that movie sucked, but the intent behind it stands true:

“What are you doing to leave your mark on the world, and make the world awesome?”

What are you doing to not be boring?  Are you mixing it up?  Looking to the stars?  Moving onward and ever upward?

Acquaintances of mine often will inquire as to how I’m always so pleasant, upbeat, and optimistic.  Well, for the first time ever, I will honestly answer that question:


Every day, we have the option to live our dreams, to move one step closer to our end game, or we can whine, and cry, and live in a constant state of uncertainty and unhappiness. Now, please allow me to share one other video with you: “Birds of a feather, flock together!”   How many of us are cynical?  Negative? This is one reason I love Gracie Barra Chicago.  The Redzovic Brothers, and my training partners…they are people who are growing, successful, and moving towards lofty goals and expectations. They want more, and are reaching and stretching…they all want to be on top. As opposed to be on the bottom. So how do we do that???

There’s really no other way than the old Nike maxim:

“Just do it!”  

But yes, I know what some of you Negative Nancy’s are saying right now, because I’ve heard it so many times before: “It’s easier said than done.” Allow me to officially declare Shenanigans! What in life is not easier said than done?? When people say that to me, what I actually hear is “I’m afraid to fail!  I’m scared!”

We’re all scared….Get over it! I spent so many years living like that. I was moving along like life was a lazy river


Just gliding on down the river….

but not anymore.  I’m in the freaking race.  If Michael Phelps looked over and saw me on the starting block, he better be ready for the race of his life.

Well, actually no…’cause I can’t swim a lick…but you know what I mean.  I’m grabbing life by the neck and strangling it.  I plan on killing it long before it kills me.

So, for 2013, let’s erase that “Easier said than done” crap from our existence. Let’s take advantage of each day, each moment.  Let’s live life, and let’s allow negativity to rest in the trunk, and our minds and hearts to sit in the driver’s seat.

“It’s not about what happens to you, it’s about what are you going to do about it?”  

So, Kid President, I salute you.  Don’t be afraid to learn a life lesson even from an adolescent, or words of wisdom from Les Brown, or find inspiration in the Holstee Manifesto. So, let me ask you again.

“What’s your Space Jam, and what are you going to do in 2013 to make the world awesome?”  


So, the idea for this blog came to me after a friend shared a video with me last night.  She said her sister had shown it to her, and she thought it was hilarious, so she passed it on.

Now, I’m familiar with the song “Sail” by Awolnation, but I’d never seen a video for it.  So, when the video started, I thought that maybe this was simply the regular video for it.  A sexy young lady, dancing in the rain, singing the lyrics.  Standard enough.

Then at 1:30 in, I officially said “WTF???”

Then at 2:30, as you see, all hell breaks loose.  This video is oddly riveting.  Hilarious in a very non-conventional way.  And when it’s all done…I suppose, a very natural question is  “Why?”

Why make that?  Why spend the time?  What is the point?  We as a very time and efficiency driven society always have to know the point.

So how does that relate to me?  Well, over the past few days, since this new blog of mine has garnered a bit of attention, from friends and strangers alike, and sparked some very interesting conversation, it isn’t before long that someone asks,

Why do you do it?  What’s the point of blogging?

It’s a fair question.  Honest enough.  So why put your thoughts, feelings, and expressions out there for the world to see?  Most people can easily understand and grasp the concept of a diary…but that’s private.  Why make it public?  What makes you think that anyone will care?  Are you some kind of egomaniac?

Well, I have always been the kind of person to have a vice.  As a juvenile, video games were my vice.  If I wasn’t in school, I could be found in front of a video game.  While I truly enjoyed books, video games were a distinct joy.

And then I discovered music.  Music encapsulated and fulfilled my world.  I was decent at it, and it brought me hours and hours of joy.

As I became more skilled and advanced in music, the joy of learning transformed into a desire to create.  Creating something new, as a musician, is one of the most riveting experiences that I suppose one could have.  And to have someone, enjoy that creation….I can’t even think of a way to put that into words at this moment.

And then life marched on, and things changed.  I was doing bands, rock music, and creating…lyrics and singing…it was all good.

And then I got my throat crushed in a training accident.  I remember going 4 or 5 days without being able to talk, let alone sing.  And things have never been the same since.  There’s not a day that goes by in which I wish I could still sing, at least as well as I could, and continue to create.  But it’s so frustrating, and before I know it, I’ve just given up for the day…and the week….and months have flown by before you’ve touched a guitar, or a horn, or opened up Fruity Loops, or Acid Pro, etc, etc, etc….

At first I was in denial.  I’m now ok with the fact that my voice is different, and it’s now a different instrument.  In my brain, I think of it as my voice used to have valves, and now it has a slide on it.  I simply have to learn to manipulate it in a different way, to produce sound in a different way…but it is hella frustrating, and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same vocalist I was.

While most people would now think of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as my vice, which it very much is in many ways…it’s not really an art of creation.  Not yet…not for me.  It’s more of manipulation, of borrowing and modifying someone else’s creation.  Kind of like jazz.  I’m borrowing licks from everyone and everywhere, but I’m years away from being able to have a deep enough understanding to construct my own.

…but that burning desire to create doesn’t ever really subside.  You simply find other ways to nourish it.  Blogging, oddly enough, has lended itself to be a perfect outlet.

I’ve been told that I have a way with words.  I often refer to myself as a Chatty Cathy (I suppose that should be a Charlie, but it’s all good).  I use words a lot.  LOL.  I also like to think that due to my rather varied life experiences, I have a fairly interesting if not unique outlook on life.  Few people can say they protested the wars in the Middle East, shortly before meeting Colin Powell, shortly before deploying to Afghanistan.  I once dated a woman who called me  a “dichotomy of contradictions.”  She was probably right.  I probably still am.  I spent a year in a war zone, but I hate violence…yet I love Mixed Martial Arts. Hmm…

But as I watch this video, I get it.  I understand the why.  A better question is

Why not???

What else have we to do?  Cure cancer?  Pray for world peace?  Why not create something that will endure, and resonate with people?  It’ll either bring a smile to their face…perhaps even a frown, but you’ll have affected them with your words, thoughts, or actions…and isn’t that something unique and dynamic?

I do find joy in the fact that my words, this blog, affects, and will affect, people in a way that nothing else quite will.  It may not affect them as deeply as other things, it may not be extremely profound, but the ideas that swirl in your head at this moment, and after….nothing else will cause that to be true.  So, in a way, my creation is utterly unique….and that is something special.  Not to mention if even 1 person reads my blog, I feel like John Grisham.  🙂

I’ve watched that above video 5 times.  It definitely resonates with me.  Partly because I have a total fetish for lips.  Perhaps because I have a total fetish for redheads.  Perhaps because I love seeing a good cat fight.  Perhaps because a woman dancing in the rain is super sexy to me.

Whatever the reason…it’s definitely unique…



…and over 33 million other people in this world agree.