Posts Tagged ‘westmont’

Now The Days Go By So Fast

August 19th, 2009

track_sm

My Grandpa Joe recently came out from Florida for a visit and I enjoyed my time with him.  I had to pull some crazy hours at work to try and fit in all the fun but it was well worth it.  We went to the Del Mar Track one day, followed by dinner at Tony Jacals in Solana Beach.  I blame my Grandpa (and Grandma, but more gramps) for my enjoyment of the races at Del Mar (and maybe gambling in general).  I have vivid memories of walking around on the infield with him, looking at the horses.  He would ask me who I would want to bet on in the next race, and then he’d place a bet for me.  Living in Solana Beach they would go often.  I don’t really know how many times I was able to go with them, but I will always picture myself with him, walking around the infield in what seemed to be the early foggy morning.

On Thursday we played afternoon twilight golf at Carmel Mountain.  The following day, still sore, we played golf out on Coronado on the Military base.  We all played absolutely rotten on the friday at Coronado.  It was during this round that I got to thinking.

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However, after waking up at 4:45 AM this day, my thoughts were not really sinking in.  I started to think back to my Rhetoric classes and the lesson that I hang onto the tightest.  We studied about making communication effective sometimes requires one to create an illusion of the first or last time experiencing something.  Anytime you do something new or fresh, the experience takes on a more vivid feeling.  Likewise, if you realize that an experience might be the very last time you will experience it in your life, you appreciate every bite, every laugh just a little bit more.  In all, it comes to appreciating a moment more vividly, and creating a deeper sense of awareness of life.

bench_smThe golf course this day was one of those golf experiences where you ask yourself “how many holes left” over and over because you are playing so badly, you can’t wait for the round to end.  I caught myself doing this repeatedly and it was troubling me.  I wanted to break this thought pattern, and appreciate the moment more.  After all, could this be the last time I possibly play golf with my grandpa?  I practically learned the game from him going to the driving range with him as a 5 year old.  I attribute any and all of my golf playing to him, as my teacher and mentor.  Could this be the final round I ever play with him?  How many years of golf does he have left at his age, and with him living on the other side of the country we only see each other every couple of years.   The day before in Carmel Mountain, I think might have been the first time I ever shot a lower round than him.

cart_smI wanted to focus on this, but I was just too worn down and playing so poorly, that I came away disappointed that I hadn’t had that vivid experience that I was hoping for. 

Regardless of these thoughts, I had a great time this week with my grandpa.  I hope and expect that this was not my last time golfing with him, or being active with him.  I’m continually trying to appreciate life each day.  Viva La Vida.  Life goes by way too quickly.  Another one of my favorite bands has a lyric that rings true for me in my attempts to viva la vida, and to experience things through the perception of it being my first or last time:

Now the days go by so fast…
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass

I love you Grandpa.

outback_sm

Smother Me With Words

July 31st, 2009

My friend from college, Annette Richards, wife of Andrew-who once wrote a guest snide– recently made a list on her facebook.  Her list was of different musicisans she had come to like, because a friend of hers shared them with her. 

annetteslist
I thought it was really cool, and at the same time, I wanted to be on that list.  So I was determined to come up with some good songs or artists that she might not have heard of.  I sent her a list of songs and artists, and she had heard of a few of them.  So I took the remainders, and along with my great birthday cd of 2006 (I should post that one too), I sent her 2 cds with artist samplers.  Maybe she will fall in love with one of the artists (I predict Phoenix), and I can make her list.  Here are the cd’s.

The Chaos Around Me
The Chaos Around Me Side Two
Smother Me With Words
Smother Me With Words Side Two

It Was The Sound Of A Crescendo

June 26th, 2009

As He Came Into The Window
It Was The Sound Of A Crescendo
He Came Into Her Apartment
He Left The Bloodstains On The Carpet
She Ran Underneath The Table
He Could See She Was Unable
So She Ran Into The Bedroom
She Was Struck Down, It Was Her Doom

billie-jean-jacksonYesterday afternoon at approximately 3:00 PM pacific time, the “King of Pop” passed away.  Michael Jackson was a tortured soul and must have lived both a thrilling and a stressful, worried-filled life.  While learning his A-B-C’s as a child, he seemed to take no greater joy than being on stage performing.  He was a smiling, dancing, happy kid.

After becoming “King of the World” you could see a person that both wanted to heal the world (perhaps as Captain EO), yet despite his success, he had to retreat and isolate himself.  He would have to remind himself that he was not alone.

He had odd moments with marriages, odd moments with his own children, and questioned moments with other children.

He was both one of the most celebrated and revered musical artists not just of our time, but in the entire history of the world.  But he was also a little off the wall, and confusing to the world.  The part that confused me the most, was the fact that by the end of his life, you really couldn’t tell if his appearance was black or white, human or alien.  He had multiple surgeries on his face.  He just couldn’t help it.  He could no longer recognize the man in the mirror.

mjgloveNo matter your perspective–whether your view of him is of a musical dancing genius, or whether you see him as a bad, deranged man– the fact remains that he was a global icon.  His popularity went further then just the girl named Billie Jean, but stretched throughout the world.  The girls were his, the men were his, the world was his.  At the height of his popularity, he could do no wrong.  He was invincible.  He could even walk on the moon.

He is gone too soon.

News of his death quickly passed around the eInternet and it even caused sites to go down.

News of Jackson’s death spread quickly online, causing many websites to experience technical difficulties under the unanticipated swell of users. Google announced technical difficulties after a sudden swell in searches for “Michael Jackson” led the company to believe it was under attack from hackers, while social networking site Twitter reported a crash after record numbers of users used the site to spread the news of Jackson’s death.  Wikipedia itself had temporarily experienced technical difficulties and crashed at 3:15 PDT reportedly due to excessive edits and user overload. Many news organizations were generally very cautious about the initial reports of his death.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Jackson#2009:_Death

mjleanAs I heard the news, and quickly reflected on his life and death I wondered if he would be remembered as Elvis or Buddy Holly are remembered.  Author Samuel Roy has argued: “Elvis’ death did occur at a time when it could only help his reputation. Just before his death, Elvis had been forgotten by society.”  You could probably say the same about Michael Jackson.  He had become an anomaly to culture.  Hopefully his death will make people remember the time when they danced, sang, and just couldn’t get enough of his music rather than the disfigured man, sharing wine and beds with boys, trying to free willy.  Will Neverland Ranch become his Graceland?

As I contemplated his legacy, I at first thought that although I viewed him as filthy (in the baseball sense–amazingly good), I didn’t have any sort of connection or tie to his music.  But then as I thought about it more, I realized that I have 2 (actually, just thought of a third) vivid memories of his music.

The first was when I was only six years old.  It was late 1982 and my family was renting a winter cabin for a week or weekend in the mountains.  When I was younger this was kind of a tradition.  We had another family come visit and share our time for a few days.  One of my brothers friends (I think it was Tyler Monroe), brought with him the new Thriller album.  We listened to the album non-stop and even pretended we were making a video for it.  I also remember being scared and having nightmares of the title track.  It was really a freaky song for a newly six year old boy in a dark musty cabin.

mjperformingMy next vivid memory (both of these memories I can still see very clearly in my mind’s eye), took place when I was in junior high school.  It was a Sunday morning, and I was waiting in our Volvo (Volvo for life), for my dad to finish chatting with people after church.  It was parked on Martincoit road, along the street, right outside my former elementary school that housed our church.  I was sitting there listening to the radio, and Casey Casem’s top 40 countdown.  The number one song that day was Man in the Mirror.  It was a spiritual moment for me, as I sang and cried to the song.  It inspired me that day, to want to make myself a better person, to want to help people, and to focus on my own problems, rather than the faults of others.  It’s a trait that I have hung onto and grown my entire life–within each problem, fight, scenario that I might encounter, I look to see where I could have blame so that I can attempt to change that pattern in the future.  I think this is sometimes a detriment to myself, as I too often claim more blame than I should.  But overall I think it is a good concept.  Why blame others and hurt them with anger, when I can find and fix the role I played and build up the esteem of the other person?

michaeljacksongloveThe third vivid memory that I have in my photographic memory (or would it now be called a videographic memory?), is my senior year in college.  It was a week before school started, and I was hanging out preparing for the year with the other R.A’s in my dorm–Erin, Erin, Angeline, Rebecca and Jon.  We were setting up our R.A office (does anyone remember “the Dugout?”), using bleach to clean out the mold in the refrigerator from a long summer.  We were setting up our pet miniature illegal turtles (what did we name them?  M.J was one I think), and getting the entire dorm prepared for the rush of students and the new year.  Our dorm,V.K, was shaped similar to how you might view a Motel 6.  It was two stories, rectangle in shape, that all surrounded a large green courtyard with cement walkways.  While we were busting our humps cleaning, laughing and enjoying new friendships and experiences, we were blasting in the courtyard Jackson’s album, HIStory.  We just couldn’t get enough.  It was a precious moment in my life, and along with laughter, love, and hope, Jackson was providing the soundtrack.

There are probably many other moments of my life that Michael Jackson provided soundtrack to.  But these 3 are the most vivid.  I remember them so crisply and can picture them on a loop in my head.  Whether I am 6, 12, 21 or now practically 33, his music and life have been integrated with mine.

Will you (if I have any readers) share any specific memories, moments, or flashbacks that you may have had with Jackson and or his songs?  How did he make you feel?

michael-jackson

mjreagan

President Ronald Reagan and Nancy in 1984 before receiving an award for his contribution to a drunk driving awareness program.

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Friends In Florence

May 15th, 2009

May 15th 

ilpirata_smWent to Il Pirata for breakfast and enjoyed a couple of delicious Sicilian pastries, and then we caught the train to La Spezia then Pisa and finally on to Florence, having to change trains at each station.  Carting luggage up and down stairways onto the wrong tracks and then finally to the correct Binari.

Arrived and exited the Firenze train station, but exited the wrong side of the station, and then started walking in the wrong direction away from the city of Florence.  Oops.  400 yards away, we asked for directions to the Duomo, and was told to go back the direction we came from.  

We found our way to the hotel, and it was a beautiful hotel in which part of it was a museum as it used to house a roman bath, a jail, and a lookout point.  It definitely was the 4 star hotel that it advertised itself as–at least compared to the other places we have stayed.

republica_smAfter checking in we took a little stroll to Piazza Republica and ate a pizza and some wine.  Following that, we headed towards the duomo, to check out its graceful, colorful beauty.

After our 7 hour hike yesterday, we were kind of interested in a massage, and so when we stumbled across a place that looked like one, we headed in to examine it.  But it was mainly a tanning and waxing place that was a little odd, and they had no openings for massage.

Spent some time on the Internet, and then walked towards the River Arno to find a restaurant.  We went down the street next to the Arno, but there wasn’t anything interesting there.  So we crossed the Ponte Vecchio to the other side, and guess who I saw at the base of the bridge?

I noticed the back of his hair and the side of his face first.  I’m less than a foot away from him, and I realize that it is a Wold brother.  Was it Josh?  Jeremy?  I don’t recollect the name at first.  I say “Josh Wold!” but didn’t get a response.  Then I said “Jeremy Wold” and didn’t get a response.  But then I realized that it was Josh, and said it even louder.  This time he turned around.  

Josh is the brother of one of my dearest friends, David Wold whom I met and lived with in college.  Josh was currently living in Holland, and was merely in Florence for the weekend.

pvech_smWe had a short conversation and then continued on our ways.  Why is it, when travelling on trips like this, that it is bound to happen that you run into someone that you know?  That has happened to me frequently.  When has it happened to you?  and with whom?

I took a picture of the Bibo restraunt where we all ate 11 years ago.  They weren’t quite open yet so we went to a nearby restaurant where our waiter Victor entertained us with his friendliness.

Fun Fact #5,033

April 18th, 2009

I recently started messing around with a vhs to dvd converter.  I have been practicing with an old vhs tape from a trip I took with school through Europe.  It was the best time of my life.  Here is Andrew dropping dimes of knowledge on us from St. Mark’s in Venice.

Cause Edge Is On A Completely Different Timing As Usual

March 30th, 2009

Mycenae

Music touches my soul.  I love how lyrics, or melodies will shed light on life for me.  A simple song can resonate with my heart and make me feel in union with emotions.  You may have noticed throughout these snides lyrical references.  It is plain to see, that music accompanies my life.  If you haven’t read it yet, you should read the guest snide by Andrew.  He quotes Hans Christian Anderson who says “Where words fail, music speaks.”  I have not been much of a talker in my life.  My introversion doesn’t mean I am much of a thinker either, so don’t be too confused.  I am a feeler.  The trouble comes in trying to express those emotions.  Music potentially then, is something I find release in.  A heavy lyric opens a well of emotion inside me.  As Andrew writes, music is “something your soul needs to hear at that moment… something that resonates with the tonality and rhythm of the song.”

Chris Brahmer walking amongst the columns

Chris Brahmer walking amongst the columns

Anyway, all this is brought up cause I was looking through art journals and personal journals from my trip to Europe in May of 1997.  On one particular day in my art journal, we were travelling through the biblical city of Corinth, as well as some old Macedonian cities.  We were looking at architecture and tombs that dated back to 1250 B.C.  Up to this point I had been having a fascinating, eye opening trip.  I was learning from the time, from the art, and from the crazy collection of people I was travelling with.  Despite the constant community, my emotions were feeling mostly isolated at the time.  I felt, not really at a crossroads, but I could feel the winds of change (yes, 2 cliches, on purpose!) approaching off the Greek waters.  I was about to enter my senior year of college.  “The greatest time of life” was soon to end.  What was my legacy?  What had I accomplished?  What did I want to suck out of the remaining year?  What would be my final memories of friends and places?  And I held with me a fear of the future.  I had never planned past college.  All of my dreams post college were of wives and kids (OK, one of those was in a singular sense).  I was soon to be venturing into the deep unknown.  What did I want to do in life?  What sort of job did I want to find?  I had no direction.  All I had known in life was one grade to the next, one school year the next.  I don’t plan ahead very well.

Dori, Karen, Courtney, Karen, and Autumn under the Lions Gate

Dori, Holly, Courtney, Karen, and Autumn under the Lions Gate

As I was walking through the lions gate, and viewing the beehive tombs, I wrote at the top of this particular art journal entry, a poignant lyric that was resonating with me that day.

I am standing at the entrance
To a new world I can see
The ruins to the right of me
Will soon have lost sight of me
Love rescue me

-U2
Love Rescue Me
Listen Now

This is a beautiful song.  Even the “sha la la la” touches my tear ducts, as cheesy as that sounds.

I wonder if I am the same person as the person that was writing these things back then.  Life is full of lessons and experiences.  I have learned that I am spoken to, and speak out of lyric and song.  In the journey, I must seek occurrences in my every day life that challenge my reflections.  Finding the little lessons is sometimes the joy of life.  Whether I am the same person mentally and emotionally as I was back then, is tough to know.  Maybe a lot of that me remains.  Maybe a lot of that me has washed away.

On that same days art journal I wrote, “Also, while on this bus tour, it wasn’t a scheduled stop, but I saw something I felt was remarkable and worth noting.  [There] was a pier from 200 B.C built at the Port of Corinth or also known as Sinclair.  This port led to big steps in exploring and travelling to Asia Minor.  All that remains is a few stones.  I found it beautiful.”

 My life is like that pier.  Sometimes my life is full of travel and exploration.  Sometimes my life is a vital part of existence.  And other times, I may feel incomplete.  Life, in some seasons, may be down to just a few stones.  But I find it beautiful.



Ok, this is not the same U2 song as the one I quoted.  I used the term “heavy lyrics” which is a term I always think of because of this clip below.  In it B.B King says to Bono, “Those are some heavy lyrics, young man. You mighty young to be writin’ lyrics that heavy.”

Two other tidbits on this video clip. 
– I love when they are backstage and Bono starts talking about “not the first verse, first chorus, not the second verse…” and then Larry is being a drill sargent about the song.  And then he says the title to this snide:  “Cause Edge Is On A Completely Different Timing As Usual”

– B.B says “I’m no good with chords…I’m horrrrible with chords.”

– “A lot of emotion right there, that’s alright young man, that’s alright”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH81Klu1FAw

Spring Is Around The Corner

March 29th, 2009

I love spring time in San Diego.

Most spring breaks during college I would go on a mission trip down to Ensenada, Mexico.  One year I went as part of a team teaching vacation bible school in a little town.  Another year I went on a basketball team and we played against military, city, and prison teams.  Each year instead of spending the night in a high school gym on this side of the border the night before, my team would crash at my parents house on Camino del Valle

caminodelvalle

My parents had this 50 yard daisy bed along the street.  When my team would stay there before our trip to Mexico, it would not be in bloom.  But when I would return a week later, it would be full of big bright purple and white daisies.  There would be a dramatic change all in a week time.  That was when I knew that Spring had arrived, and I would get a skip in my step.

My parents no longer live at that house, and the new owner removed that flower bed.  But its memory will always exist in my mind and will bring me great joy.  I still love spring, and now the consistency of the daisy bed, has been replaced by the love of the orange California poppies that perk up this time of year, this month of year, this week of year.

Eating Crazy Cheese Like You’d Think I’m From Paris

November 13th, 2008

So I suck at the game rockband. But for some reason, despite it sounding crappy, I am able to rock the microphone. Check out this score I got last night, and the level!  Granted, it was on a song (So Whatcha Want) that didnt require much pitch, but still, on expert level.

And since The Beastie Boys are the topic of conversation, 2 other tidbits:

1. In 5th grade at a school “talent” show, Myself, Guy Cline, Jeff Glover and Mike Margeson did an airband to the beastie song “slow and low” (only after paul revere and girls and practically every song on that album got rejected for different reasons by the teachers).  We used tennis raquets that we covered in black electrical tape, as our guitars, and we looked pretty foolish.  Craig Markley and his crew won the event when they did an airband to a Poison song -that somehow made it thru the censors (Talk Dirty To Me)- but using real electric guitars that they had rented.  By the way, if anyone has a video of that event, that would be sweet to see.

2.  One of the best music videos ever (and awesome running song I might add), sabotage, is below for your viewing pleasure.  A college friend of mine, Matt “pickles” Pelascini once did a recreation of this video which was pretty sweet.  Matt, if by chance you ever read this, I would love to see that video again.

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