lextopia

my thoughts . my memories . my family . my projects . my fears
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Archive for December, 2007

Forget It

December 31, 2007 By: admin Category: General, Living

Why does New Year’s always suck? I remember the last good New Year’s I had was with Zan in P-Town. We were standing on the frigid wharf with 1000s of other screaming gay people, calling out to the fireworks as they each blew off: “YAY!!!!!!!!!!” We were so cold, and we had SO much fun.

People in the office I used to work at used to make jokes about how I was always leaving the city on the weekends. I remember one such incident and thought: “I guess we do go away a lot.” Zan and I loved to go on weekend trips. Anywhere. We would just pick up and leave. Anything to have a small adventure, to get away from all of the heaviness of the daily working life. Clearly,when you don’t have a daily working life leaving is harder. You don’t make any money so movement is restricted. The thing is… I think that’s bullshit. I do. I’ve seen a SHITLOAD of poor people travel like they were runnin’ from the law, so the “I don’t make enough money” argument don’t sit too well with me.

The thing I have to ask myself these days is: what am I doing? Right now. What am I doing? And who is benefitting from what I’m doing? And if it’s no one, then why am I doing it?

Mom let herself get trapped. By fear. She never moved unless Dad said they were going somewhere. No wonder the man almost went insane. I don’t want to do that. Live in fear of going somewhere I’ve never been. I want to go. I still don’t want to jump out of an airplane, but maybe a river raft ride on the Colorado would be a good idea…

Happy New Year.

2008-A-Comin’!

December 28, 2007 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008, Politics, sustainability, Video

Okay. This brought a bit of a tear to my eye. The Grassroots. That’s what we are.

Christmas

December 25, 2007 By: admin Category: India, Video

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I’ve been having a wonderful time here in Oregon, but I’m ready to go on to the next thing: India. I’m committed to throwing all of my energies and creativity into this film we’ll be shooting, and have been “studying” accordingly.

Recently, Urmi sent a wonderful newsletter describing all the amazing things going on at New Light. The organization is really doing well! This, of course, means that a lot of people are working very hard, but also that the model is working. This is incredibly gratifying to hear. Alison also sent an update on the most recent graduates of Uddami, the computer school. Among the photos are two girls I recognize, but it’s actually best that I don’t recognize anyone, as that means that Alison and Bryan and are kickin’ ass getting students.

I’m just really, really psyched to go. Nandini and I have been talking about this for so long…

Eve

December 24, 2007 By: admin Category: India

Today is Christmas eve, and I guess I don’t know what that means anymore. Growing up it meant going to Trinity Church to hear Michael sing in the choir. It also meant snow. Mostly, it meant tradition.

I’m having a wonderful time where I am but I realize more and more that I don’t have any traditions in my life anymore. M and I try to hold to some, but it’s hard when others are involved. I’m sure traditions will come back into our lives, but for now I feel a bit of a lost soul without the grounding of the repetitive.

I’m still so excited to go to India. Ohmygod… I’m so lucky. But I also know now that this won’t be last trip to Kolkata. Not even close. I can see myself spending an even longer time in a few years, but I also want to go back to visit the rest of the country.

Anyone reading this, I don’t know what your traditions are, but most things all over the world are probably closed so I humbly wish you all, Happy Holidays. :)

“Eat, Pray, Love”

December 21, 2007 By: admin Category: General

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I think everyone in the entire world is reading this book by Elizabeth Gilbert. I just came from my hair stylist and her co-worker was reading it. We dished about Italy… A couple of days ago a friend sent me an email telling me that she was reading it. We gushed over India. Every where I got, carrying the book, someone will ask me “How is that? I hear it’s amazing.” Eyes wide I answer simply: “It’s AMAZING.”

Updates

December 21, 2007 By: admin Category: Faith, General, India, Music, The Album

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Every time I tell someone I’m going to India for a month they’re baffled at why I’m staying in Kolkata the entire time. But there’s a famous Zen saying: “You cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water” and that’s how I feel about Kolkata. It’s full of contradictions: beauty & filth, pain & joy, clarity & confusion, and that’s why I love it. I can imagine it would take years and years and years to get to know Kolkata, as it did to get to know New York. Once I left NYC, I knew her. I think I would, indeed, like the chance to get to know Kolkata. “You cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.”

THE ALBUM, an Update:
In other news, The Albu is going extremely well. I accompanied M to Capitol Records on Tuesday for the mastering. This is a process where the mixed songs are placed in the order that they will be in one the CD, and then are leveled so that no one songs is louder than the others. This is an incredibly simplistic description of a beautiful and complicated process. Our engineer, Evren, is a ninja audio-geek GOD. He mastered an award-winning Greatest Hits CD for PAT BENATAR. Just sayin’… He would listen to each song at full volume–which will make your ears hurt a bit–then will put on head phones and start turning knobs that you couldn’t hope to understand without decades of training & patience. After about 20-30 minutes of this he comes up for air, throws off the headphones and has you listen. Every time, the song sounds better. Sharper, softer, more tender, more powerful, more effective, more MORE. He’s just fucking amazing…

Next are the graphics. M is designing the CD packaging entirely herself, and it’s a boatload of work. Scanning, resizing, coloring, cropping, effecting, layering…. UGH! So intricate it makes me dizzy, but, as with Evren’s final product, when you see what the CD looks like you’ll be amazed and so thrilled. It’s just so organic, and works so well.

Lastly, M had her 28th birthday recently and I gave her this:

I know it make seem like too much at first, but the second she had it out of the box, she was playing songs I’d want to hear. She’s a wunderkind and I aim to keep her in instruments.

Okay, that’s it for now. More later! Pictures of Capitol!!!!

The Album is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G

December 12, 2007 By: admin Category: Music, The Album

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HOLY.
SHIT.

I drove M to her mixing session today. She’d had no time to eat so she scarfed something in the car while I drove. On the way home we listened to a couple of the tracks that the mixer had finished and…oh my god… do they kick ass.

M really hit the fuckin’ nail on the head with her performance. Ohmygod… I was crying as we drove. I can finally see that everyone’s hard work has paid off, and that M’s stuff is really, really worth it. When you’re this close to something it’s so hard to keep the proper perspective all the time, especially when you don’t know enough about recording music, like me. :) The mix has brought these songs and M’s performance out into the light — where it should always be — and will make selling this puppy a cakewalk. Hallelujah! I see her playing with a huge orchestra, and kodo drums. :)

Generosity Is Sustainable

December 10, 2007 By: admin Category: Faith, India, sustainability, Video, Web 2.0

Sometimes the behaviors of some people just amaze me… There’s a lot of talk here and there. Talk, talk, talk. Some folks think they’re so wonderful, and all they’re doing is amusing themselves or angling constantly to make money.

My philosophy of life is borne of sheer terror: that on my death bed I will look back and see that I was selfish or missed an opportunity to do good. That’s why I’m going back to India. I woke up in a cold sweat one night after having gotten into a fight with M over money. We don’t have “enough,” but we have enough for food and shelter and some gas to go and visit friends to laugh and talk with. We were fighting over needing to make more money and I was thinking that there was NO WAY I could afford to go back to India because I just didn’t have the scratch.

Then I had The Dream.

I dreamed about a friend of ours back in Kolkata who was going through a terrible personal situation. Her brother had been beaten up very badly. I was corresponding with her in real life and trying to keep her spirits up. In the dream I saw her going through all this anguish because all she needed was a little bit of money to help out with a lawyer. That’s when I woke up. I sat up in bed in a cold sweat because I realized that I was putting my petty needs and fears over HER BROTHER’S LIFE. I instantly called my friend Nandini and said: “I’m going.”

A lot of folks who make their living on the internet have an inflated view of themselves. They talk about the truth but don’t live it. They pass judgment but don’t offer to help anyone. I’m happy where I’m at. I meditate, I drink green tea, I go to India, and I don’t want to kill anyone anymore. Generosity is sustainable.

Imminent India

December 07, 2007 By: admin Category: General, India, iPhone, Mom, NewsQuake!, sustainability, Video

My mother never missed a chance to say a word in Spanish. One of her favorites was “pa-sa-port-ah” for “passport.” *head shake, smile* She certainly had a unique charm about her…

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Plans for India are going well. My renewed passport finally came, so I guess I’ll have to wait on that heart-attack, and the visas are easily filled out online, although I did have a mini heart attack when I realized I hadn’t sent them via trackable method. After getting the smog check done on my car I ran back to the postal place and redid the passports to be sent via certified mail. Dodge a bullet. The visa process is actually surprisingly easy. Fill out the form take a couple of mugshots, send it in. Everyone is upgrading to online…

Also just found out today that we’ll be going to SXSW Interactive Fest for work! Very cool! I’ll be running around trying to get ideas of how to expand the site. We’ll see. I’m currently exporting one of my videos using Apple’s “for iPhone” compression settings. I want to see how well original video looks on the iPhone so I can have a couple of the Sustainability videos to show folks at SX what we’re doing…

Bull In A China Shop

December 06, 2007 By: admin Category: Angus, Gadgets/Tech, General, iPhone, Living, Randomosity

How many times have you dropped YOUR iPhone…???

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This is why the phrase “resale value” has no meaning for me. I’m a dropper, and a slammer-into, and a glass breaker. M and I have a joke that’s no joke at all: I’m not allowed to touch the wine glasses. ANY wine glasses, actually. And I wonder, since he always drank wine from a square-bottomed “water” glass, if my father doesn’t also suffer from The Affliction. I wonder, but I don’t think so. My father is the parent who gave my brother his coordination. You can literally not knock Michael over. Ever. He’s a stone. Or a cat. Whatever, he has SICK balance. (The same, actually, can be said for his spirit and psyche, but that’s another post altogether….)

So, I’ve dropped my iPhone a lot. Just now it was in a Starbucks in Los Feliz. I’m all the way in the back, sitting comfortably in a cushioned chair, with my feet up, listening to ranchero music and drinking really good coffee. My life is AWFUL. Thank god I drop my iPhone, otherwise things would be too perfect.

I actually don’t have shitty balance at all. I’m not the acrobat my brother is, but I’ve got some game. My problems come with forgetting–like that I have my iPhone in my lap when I stand up and not in my pocket–and with impulsive passion. I swing my arms around or throw them up into the air when I’m excited.

I’m painting kind of a circus-monkey image of myself, aren’t I…??? Oh well… what is is what is.