Hey, Creative peeps! — It’s sure been a hot minute, hasn’t it?

Not to worry, the insane brain possessing all this flesh and corporeal tangibility has not gone away for good, but has rather been in a bout of writing hibernation. And, as it should never logically follow, the snows of New York’s bitter winter have taken me out from my own literary hibernation — and here I am: Fresh from the cave, unkempt, unshaven, and slightly gassy…

(For instance, and for proof of purchase, ever wonder if the phrase “hot-minute” is an unexpectedly clever twist on the Einstein “theory of relativity”?? Oh to dream…)

Yeah, that's the one!

Yeah, that’s the one!

 

Methinks this site needs a makeover. And, in due time, that’s precisely what she’ll get, but for today I’d just like to begin anew.

To post SOMETHING, to get the proverbial log-rolling. The hypothetical hypodermic plunge onto its descent. The meteorological transpermia action impregnating forlorn rocks, so that worlds may flourish anew. So, with all that in mind, I began free writing. Just once a day, stream of consciousness stuff — and I’d love to share it all with you. So, and without further adieu, I give you what I’m calling (after a team of wildly untrained organtuans flung poo at a poster board full of words, selecting the vehicles for the prose, leaving the leftover for the title.)

Influence

I could smell, but not taste. Feel, but not see. I couldn’t move. Couldn’t breathe. Yet, I was alive… Wasn’t I?

How long had I been this way? What was the cause? Now, it’s obvious that those two particular lines of inquiry were fruitless — yet it was all my beleaguered mind was willing to offer up. So there I was, slung from my achilles, dangling prostrate, inverted, inert, numb, and left betwixt the cages of parroting inquiry that shut out possible rational thought by endlessly squawking at my ears in turn: “Why”, and “How long”.

I find now that it’s embarrassing to admit…

My training should’ve here kicked in… manacles could always be undone — blindfolds removed, Gags spat out — all things I’d done, and studied, and committed to muscle memory, things I shouldn’t even have to consciously think about to do. Somehow they’d removed my instincts… That’s what they’ve achieved. They’ve engineered a poison to sneak past the blood brain barrier… something that we’ve proved impossible. Or so we thought…

Wait… THATS IT!

I know what’s in the pill! It’s not a medicine, or a drug, or some natural additive… Nothing of that nature could’ve done this. There is however, another, rather sneaky, way to achieve these detriments; sensory deprivation, memory fragmentation, recall haze, non-responsive motor function.

God, it’s so obvious now…

But, with this insight, surely we can win the war!

The only way to do this, to effect all these regions of the mind, without surgery, is to make a placebo… but here’s the twist — the sugar is merely fuel. Or rather food… You ready?

What’s really in the pill is…

is…

Oh, my…

They’d even thought of this too.

The agent hinges forward, crashing hard onto the desk

— dead–

office-killing-desk-dead

Dear, good-natured, sweet and gentle readers…


…The host of this blog has deceived you!

That’s right, and GASP you should!

See, this Jared guy sure puts up a nice front, acting all wizened and caring and whatnot, but he never fooled me! No sir, not for a second! Well maybe ONE brief second, I did discover him by reading and following his blog after all, but not for a second longer than that initial second… which was an inordinately brief second to begin with! (I swear!) He’s not some nice dude, concerned about your happiness and well-being — NO — he’s a sham! A rouse. A villain! A vampiric siphon for your digitized web traffic and time, operating solely to further his own dastardly and duplicitous motives!

(Go on, have another GASP!)

Who am I, you say? What proof do I have? Well, for security’s sake, let’s just call me a concerned citizen. Someone tired of all the BS. And on behalf of all of us subject to said BS, and in order to seek out the truth behind this tyrannical monster, I’ve broken into his home in Astoria, Queens and am perusing his bedroom. I know, the irony’s not lost on me. It’s just that, well, someone needed to learn the truth, and learn the truth I have!

Firstly, I have to say, this place is a mess! Papers everywhere, scattered about without cohesion, dirty dishes stacked irregularly along the floor, hand-written pages with hastily scrawled and satanic looking images taped all about the walls, a pair of wooden nunchaku left abandoned on the bed alongside stacks of dirty clothes (one, a canary yellow button up, has blood splattered all across the fabric…) and, possibly the most ominous and disturbing facet to this whole incongruous scene — a lifeless parrot hangs helplessly upside-down, forgotten, serving as a misbegotten gate-keeper to lead you through the portal which is his bedroom door…

He’s named it “Nolon Effe”, two palindromes. Curious, that… Remnants from what I believe was a pirate party held here at his apartment… Curiouser and Curiouser…

Does this seem like the type of place an honest, caring man would keep!?

I would think not. You, his good-natured, gentle and sweet readers, deserve better than this. I know you think that he’s preaching about pacifism, love, creativity, openness and well intended insanity on here, but, trust me, it’s only a matter of time until his subtle brainwashing technique kicks in, and he’s got you walking the ole’ zombie shuffle up toward capitol hill. Still not convinced? Well, let’s have a look-see at his calendar than, shall we?

Oh — what’s this? Knife class? Fight lab?

That’s right. Sounds mighty peaceful, doesn’t it? For the last month your ‘enlightened’ author, who wont shut-up about creation, love, invention and non-violence, has, every Wednesday night, taken a two and a half hour course with knives, at a place called Combat, Inc. A knife is a very personal weapon, readers, and one which requires you to fully embrace and acknowledge the pain that you are about to inflict on another person… sounds rather violent, wouldn’t you say? Psychotic, even. Furthermore, every Tuesday and Sunday, he has his calendar marked with something he’s calling, “Fight Lab”. I wonder what could that be? Do you suppose he kicks cute little Labrador puppies? Fight Lab(rador)!?!? Oh, I bet that’s it… and every Tuesday and Sunday too!

ThE MoNsTeR!

Oh wait — crap — someone’s coming! I hear keys jingling just outside the door. Now someone’s slid one into the tumbler! Ahh, oh no! There’s no more time! I have to go, gentle readers… but remember, FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY IN THE WORLD, stay away from this creepoid! For, after all these lies, who knows what he’s truly capable of?!

And I’m off!

………………………………

………………………..

…………………

(Screw it, I’m stealing Nolon Effe!)

……………

………

…..

..

.

OK then…

So, wow, yea… uh, hey guys. It’s me, J, now. Evidently some nut-job, some sunflower loving fan, broke into my house while I was away at the dentist today, and left, not only this crazy rant on my blog, as you can plainly see up above, but also tons of bar-b-que flavored sunflower shells all over my floor. WTF!? He also stole my prop shoulder parrot. Double WTF!? Who steals a shoulder parrot, I mean really? Nolon, was the man! He’s irreplaceable! Ugh… Plus, evidently, he broke my window during his hasty escape.. Seriously, what is wrong with people? You think I have the money to replace that? I’ll give you a clue……… NO. Why don’t you all go ahead and take a wild guess at, “who has two thumbs and will be eating salad for a month so he can pay for a busted window?”

Yea, that would be me… on both accounts.

But, whoever he was, he wasn’t completely off…

I haven’t been completely honest with you all, and I’m a bit ashamed that it’s taken all this insanity to make me come clean… I — aside from genuinely believing in unilateral love, cooperation, hard work, and general pacifism — am a fighter.

As a child I’d studied multiple forms of martial arts, and, as I got older, I traded my know-how with a good friend who was a boxer, picking up some of that. My years in school were not kind to me; I was picked on a good deal — leading to at least a fight or two a week. Yea, that many… Most of these I lost, I did not like to hurt others and so I held back what I knew, but I did learn how to end a fight without landing a blow, and how to take a beating without being hurt — mighty valuable skills in and of themselves.

I then became a wrestler in hopes to advance my physical capabilities further, finding that I was rather talented at it too. I took a few tournaments, pinned plenty of people who were purportedly out of my league, and had a damn good time while I was at it. Also, as my confidence grew and as rumor of my winning circulated, I was picked on less. I guess no-one wanted a ‘fair fight’ after all, just lunch money.

But, after six years in the sport, during which I had moderate successes in all three styles of wrestling, I began to feel that I no longer had to worry about fighting. And, being that it was so tied to a negative memory from my past, I was more than ready to let it go too. I’d learned plenty about self-defense by then in my life, and, because of why I’d begun to learn, I worried that it would only be detrimental to my psyche if I kept moving forward. Who wants to have their history solely dictate their future? Not me. No sir. So, even though I enjoyed the sport, I hung up my violence cap once and for all (or so I thought), and took, instead, to the sanctity and freedom of the stage.

I should’ve seen this coming…

I mean, what did I expect? A whole chapter of my life to just… disappear? Sure I’d left fighting and the whole physical aspect of myself in the past, (where I’d thought it belonged), but my body knew, all along the years that preceded this stoppage, that something was missing…

So I kept in shape, I couldn’t really tell you why, and not the, “Look how much I can bench-press”, rounded shape, which some guys prefer, but rather the, “I can do hand-springs, back-bends, and a whole bunch of push-ups” shape — practical stuff only, nothing just to look flashy. I never had the biggest biceps, but I took first place in a college arm wrestling tournament with my dominant arm, and second place with my non-dominant one. It’s still, to this day, one of the first images that comes up when you Google me ;-).

But why, right? Why bother? Well — I liked it. I knew this. I liked being physical. However, simultaneously, I denied myself of this same pleasure in order to ensure that I was pursuing it only for the right reasons. I never wanted to be anything like the kids who used to harass me, enjoying violence for the manipulation and fear that it could create in others. And so still, all throughout college, I ignored anything physical — even when it came to cooking up some good Theater, my major, despite it’s inevitable healthy dash of Stage Combat.

Now fast forward eight years — to my accidental encounter with Fight Lab.

“Lab”, as in laboratory. As in the way that Dexter says it.

Firstly, the sunflower jerk was wrong in his assumption. Fight lab is not at all about punting Labrador puppies, (nor full-grown ones for that matter), it is about taking fighting to the laboratory. A dash of this, a hint of that, stir it all up and see what works. Now this is not to be confused with “Fight Club”, for, if it were that, I’d be breaking the first rule by even writing all this (and Brad Pitt would already have a lackey en-route to deal with me). No, this is Lab; a controlled environment where a group of talented people get together twice a week to geek out on all that is fighting for stage and film.

For me, my involvement began when I met one of the fighters, Dina, by chance on a film I was doing for a friend: Sweethearts; a film made for Valentines day, about just how screwed up love can be at times (I’ll try to tuck a link in here later so you can watch it). Throughout the day of shooting we got close, as actors tend to do, and I told her about some of my past in combat.

“Well than you should come to lab tonight”, she said offhandedly.

“Sure” I said, without really thinking much about it.

See, I thought I was being polite by agreeing, I’d not really expected to go, but she thought, (cause why shouldn’t she), that I was serious. Now, you have to understand, Dina’s the type of person who could sell Ice to an Eskimo, Sand to an Egyptian, Funk to Parliament Funkadelic, and so, despite my objections post filming, even after no sleep and a thirteen hour shoot day, I found myself running home to Queens as soon as we wrapped to go grab some workout gear.

Yea, she’s that good.

What can I say — I got hooked. It’s been every Tuesday and Sunday now since I’d worked with Dina back in early February, and I wouldn’t give it up for the World. The people there are all hard-working, honest and real, easily the first group of genuine friends I’ve had since moving to the city all those years ago, and, under their tutelage, I’ve been chasing away my own private demons. It’s exactly why I took that knife class the sunflower bandit highlighted too, to support my growing knowledge of choreographed combat. So you see, gentle, good-natured readers, I am NOT — contrary to sunflower-boy’s claims — a violent person. I am just one who enjoys exploring the potential for the human body. It’s just another form of creative obsession, and, let me tell you, there is plenty to be obsessed about over at Lab. Check us out!

Here on the blog for the Deranged and Enlightened, we often talk about breaking out of our comfort zones in an attempt to keep growing as a person — so what kind of hypocrite would I be if I kept running from my past? In Lab we choreograph, rehearse, and then film a new fight each and every night, and, though I still get butterfly’s when I have to hit someone, I am slowly getting accustom to the practice. Hold the pencil. Punch the parrot. Sell the strike. This stuff is fun incarnate.

It’s not all just for fun either…

…These guys have a master plan, and one which has already been initiated. If we get our way, we’ll be the guys and gals that flood your movies, TV shows, and stages, heralding in a truer type of combat for all to enjoy. As a matter of fact, the timing of this break-in couldn’t be more fortuitous, (that is, if any break in which resulted in a stolen parrot and a broken window could honestly be labelled fortuitous), as the group, CKT (Contact Kick Therapy) has just released their first Commercial! I joined a little too late to be a part of this glorious foray, but I’m just so gosh-darned impressed with the product that they’ve put out for “The Baconery”, a bakery where everything is made with — yep, you guessed it — BACON, that I couldn’t resist sharing.

Now I’ve really got to run, it is Tuesday night after all, and now that my deep dark secret is out you all know exactly where I’m headed (plus I still have to clean up all this glass before I go…), but, please, go on over to You-Tube and “thumbs up”, as well as “Favorite” this video, as it greatly helps us as a group.

Thanks everyone,

Let me know what you think in the comments 😉

And, sunflower man, if you’re reading this… please bring back Nolon. I miss him dearly.

~J

Why are we here?

Aja

What is the purpose of our existence?

Mankind has been taking blind flailing swipes at this curious conundrum for many a millenia now; spawning religion, philosophy, and science as potential divining agents along the way.

It’s no surprise we’re so focused on it, really — after all, it’s the original question.

Without doubt, as man, through whatever means, found himself separated from the other animals due to self-reflection, his inaugural novel thought could have been nothing other than, “What now?”. In other words, “Now that I have the freedom to choose what I want to do, now that I find myself above solely instinct — what should I do?” Followed closely thereafter by the reduced version of the thought, “What is my purpose?” Or, “Why am I here?”

At the time, it must have been quite a burden.

After all, where do you begin when you don’t know what you’re after? We need a game, don’t we? A way of keeping score. Before, it was merely survival. If you did — hurrah — you were winning! But now… what were we to think? Past instinct, past simply surviving, what was our angle — what else was there to life!? Advancement? But, why? Where would that lead us? How would that be preferable to where we were?

And on and on our ancestors thoughts spiraled…

…Until, at the end of the day, (since it was simply untellable), we had to do something in order to move on. We desperately wanted to get to the truth of the matter, but, in a cruel twist of irony, what we choose to do at this juncture of our past — in order to merely begin our journey — would prove, over time and more than anything else, to carry us farther away from the very same truth we so desperately sought…

Because we so direly needed that game, that direction, that purpose — a primitive type of insecurity that has been insulating us from honest truth since before we’d known it to be a worthy pursuit — we devised a clever way to put the distracting query on the back-burner, involving, mostly, a curious type of mental gymnastic which we still employ today — namely: Religion.

Now, I try not to talk about Religion much,

though it is often on my mind.

Religion and I have traveled down a rocky, uneven road, and, being not able to objectively answer some simple conversational questions I’d had along the way, I respectfully parted ways with the thing long ago. These days, I cling to the questions. I, honestly, find greater comfort in the acceptance of non-knowlegde, than in the attempt to describe the theme park from the entrance-arch.

That’s not to say I don’t empathize with those who are religious, as a matter of fact half of my family, whom I love dearly, are members of a devout Pentecostal faith, it’s just that I don’t personally believe their revered books to be anything more than a somewhat-decent collection of historical science fiction. This, for me — along with being an only child (within a vast familial average of 3-plus), produced of a divorce, who grew up in an all around unwelcoming environment — caused me to travel along quite the lonely path of life inquiry and discovery. A path which, up until a few days ago, I had thought, of my family, I had traveled alone.

Turns out, I was wrong.

Fate, destiny, or just dumb luck: I might never know what had brought me to see John Rullo’s show that Saturday night before Easter, but whatever it was, there I stood, unnoticed — across the overly sticky barroom floor from someone who, like me, had chosen truth and isolation, over faith and family. The man jammed away blissfully on the dimly lit stage. He was quite good.

John had made himself known to me, not too terribly long before this, via Facebook, as someone who was on my vibe spiritually — which came as a surprise at the time, particularly because, initially, I’d known him from the religious world I’d been born into. As far as I knew, John had a Wife and two kids, and all of them were diehard Born-Again Christians, much like my family, who should, by all rights, have less than zero interest in the type of things and topics that find their way to my main-page. So when he let me know that he’d been not only been reading my blog, but enjoying it, by sending positive and helpful feedback through the Facebook comments, I was, understandably, a little shocked.

All I could think was, what happened to this man?

After all, this place of honest inquiry and unabashed truth could easily be described as an anti-religion. Common sense, logic, truth and reason? Hogwash! Honestly, I’ve been expecting the accusation of being the anti-Christ for some time now. But his words were true, this I was sure of. There was no pretense, hesitation, or double meaning to his comments whatsoever — he just honestly enjoyed the conversations I was putting up. So, curious as to what sea-change had manifest within this man to make him speak as he now was, I began to check out his work, and it didn’t take long for me to discover he’d written a book, “Planet Love; The end of the world as we knew it“.

Now where was I?

I had come out to the Island that Saturday, rather than solely on Easter, as was my custom, because I hadn’t seen much of my family and was hoping to play catch up. I had a vague recollection of the invitation to go see John’s show, but A) I originally hadn’t planned on being in town while the show was going on, B) Being I was playing catch-up with the fan-damily I thought I wouldn’t have the time, and, (of most relevance), C) I don’t own a car, and thus had no means of traversing the two towns necessary to get to his venue. But as fate would have it, and as the evening slowed the motions of the day while everyone in the home settled somewhat (having mutually relinquished the noteworthy stories of our recent lives to one another), my phone rang.

It was a dear old friend from high-school. She’d just been broken up with. Right before a long scheduled vacation was to happen with her, and her then man. She wasn’t happy. She needed a beer. I, in my defense, almost always can use a beer. We agreed to travel together and go hunt out a gaggle. She came by, scooped me up, and we went to the first local pub we could think of.

The guy was a jerk, that much was sure, and she was confused and in need of a good night. Aside from me, she had also reached out to another school-hood friend of ours, another cool ‘dude’, like us — evidently at some point I’d ruined his car antenna, but that’s a story for another day (it’s funny what you forget…). So, we then left the bar not long after we got there, went to this “dude’s” house across town, where we met his girlfriend and learned about what we were going to be doing for the evening — going two towns over to the very same pub that John was scheduled to play at, the “dude’s” lady had a job interview.

That's odd...

Now, look, I’m not entirely sold on the whole fate thing…

… I don’t like the idea of a predestiny any more than the inevitability of annual dentist visit, but, occasionally, something like this comes along and forces me to stop and think twice. So there I stood, against all odds and obscured by the volume of voices and the density of the crowd, directly across the way from someone who had, somehow, walked the same queer path as me. It felt like spotting an albino zebra in the wild.

Though I still hadn’t known what had happened to the man, not exactly at least, I could tell by his commenting on my work that we were alike. Mind you, I still could’ve left the bar undetected at this point, but felt like I needed to connect. When you believe as I do, it’s an opportunity that simply couldn’t be ignored. Though not completely sold on fate, I felt this was the reason I’d gotten that call earlier in the evening; this was the reason I was even here…

Finally, after the show, I got my chance to say hello.

Having only had online communication up until this point I don’t think John recognized me right away, but as soon as he did a brief flicker flashed throughout his eye, and a broad smile quickly formed about his lips. We dove into conversation, as if a gasp for fresh air, conversing about life, the universe, and the potential origins of it all — much like our ancestors had once posited, but had invariably supplanted with religion — and found that, on topic after topic, we had a similar sentiment. Truth, love, and acceptance seemed, constantly, to be the unifying threads.

Though, because the spirit of this venue was such as it was, not exactly lending to a lengthy exchange, (particularly when his Wife likely wanted to go home and my friends were all wondering where I had gone), what might have been quite the meeting of the minds had to be cut short, but before we parted, John was kind enough to thrust a copy of his book into my hands — Gratis. It took me a little over two weeks to read it, but, now that I have, how could I not share? The book is, quite literally, the quintessence of this blog as a whole, and, having fallen into my hands through such an inplausable chain of events, it just plain feels right.

Planet Love, The end of the world as we knew it

Told in a whimsical first person, past-tense narration, this work of Fiction John’s crafted, based loosely on fact, addresses just about everything that is near and dear to this blog. It is honest, raw, real and unyielding in the face of anything but truth, love, or compassion — quite inspirational indeed, (particularly to someone who still pulls punches in the face of the specific type of adversary that his awakening had riled).

It follows John throughout the days which unfold just after he has an encounter with an extraterrestrial craft, which, upon viewing, had flooded him with visions that imparted on him the knowledge of truth throughout the universe. He is left both enlivened, and bemused — as he is not sure what to make if it all. Unable to tell many people about the wondrous experience he’s had, knowing, full well, he’ll be dismissed as a nutter, John has to suffer alone with the fact that there is more to life than what those around him insist upon.

Soon, through curious and quirky twists of fate, like-minded people from varying and sporadic stages of his life make their way back in toward him, all finding that, to some extent or another, they’ve all shared in his experience. Together they begin to understand what is to come: another visitation, possibly the last, an event tantamount to the christian rapture. Gradually John begins to comprehend that this is what the ancients had reported into the biblical texts he once worshiped, merely misinterpretations of what they couldn’t fully understand at the time, harkening the third of Arthur C. Clarke’s laws on prediction: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

I wont give away the end, you should buy it and check it out for yourself, but what I will say is that it’s a very good read, which, personally, came to me at an important point in my life. John, though his story, reminds us all that life should never be about defining our differences from one another — I.E. Race, Religion, socio-economic status, gender, etc… — but, rather, should be about identifying our collective commonalities. We are, in the end, ALL AS ONE, each on a different path of experience which adds to the collective of mankind’s whole, and we all have our own paths to walk, none better than any other.

At the beginning of this post I’d mentioned that our inaugural thoughts as man, once we became self-aware, must have had to do with our purpose here on earth. At the time it was a question without answer, and so, to put it aside, we invented a system of belief, which became religion. The reason I’d started here was because this was the one thing that this book really drove home for me — when you seek truth, you don’t look for a workaround, you merely seek truth, and that’s enough. It’s OK to not know. Scary, sure, but just plain fine. Only when you know enough to know what you don’t know, can you then learn.

Did you follow that?

I think it’s important, uncertainty. But what I find equally as important is the understanding that if this is the path we all wish to follow; this blind and uncertain meandering of drunken discovery, than we must support each other — with love. Love is the glue that makes it all work, Love is the driving force behind it all, and, as beautifully illustrated in John’s book, only through the lens of love, can we ever hope to discover genuine truth.

Check it out people 😉

~J

Don’t you just love a good rule?

I know I do, and I know you do too — don’t play coy. They’re just so darn comforting, is what they are. The more the merrier, that’s what I always say. Otherwise, I mean, how else would we know how to behave — am I right? For, without rules, why wouldn’t we all just be purse snatchers, pickpockets, thieves, card sharks, or, better yet, politicians?

What a world that would be…

Yep, without a doubt, there sure is nothing like a nice, tidy little set of parameters to let us all know when we’re well within the guidelines of society. Nothing quite so comforting as an automatic feedback function to jerk our choke-chains and let us know when we are acting as we should, and when we’ve simply stepped over a line. Indeed, nothing is better for a budding society than a voluminous set of thorough, intertwined, and rigorous rules.

Wait a minute — what am I saying !?

I loathe rules! Nothing more efficiently stifles experimentation, or novel thinking — they’re pretty much the worst thing conceivable for society. Shackling guidelines, put in place by those who came before us, with the expressed purpose of making people do whatever seemingly made sense at the time, but was likely only sensible at the precise second of their origin — and, OK, maybe fifteen minutes or so after that?

No, thank you!

Rules, by nature, establish the status quo. They seek balance, normalcy, and comfort… but since when have any of those things actually been good for us? With respect to our progress — the only true goal of any society, other than survival — every innovation we’ve ever spearheaded has come about, to one extent or another, by being the exact OPPOSITE of these things, I.E: unbalanced, a little odd, and certainly well outside of our comfort zones. Do you suppose the first man who proposed going to the moon thought it would be tantamount to a Honeymooners marathon spent on the sofa?

He really did it. Wow...

Doubtful…

But I get it. I do. Particularly in the professional world, there’s more than a mote of logic surrounding the idea of detailing proper behavioral practices. After all, with the ever-present ‘lawsuit’ looming overhead, one would be wise to take pains and properly insulate oneself from the stupidity of those who merely operate around you — which can be as vast as the ocean is wide… That, at least to me, is somewhat practical.

However, notwithstanding, and that being said, why than would we, any of us, wish to actively impose extra rules onto one another, especially when outside of the professional realm? Why on earth would we ever seek to add additional restriction to our lives? Aren’t there enough guidelines imposed upon us which we have little to no say in, without imposing more upon ourselves? Guidelines that we expect our friends, loved ones — and complete strangers alike — to adhere to, despite their lack of utility, semblance of sensibility, or even the slightest ease of comprehension?

I am, of course, referring to Taboo.

Click this image for a better look. I might still suck at Photoshop, but I've compiled a set of at least 15 taboo's here in this picture. Can you find them all?

Taboo just is…

…and that might just be what irks me the most about it. Rules should serve a purpose and, when that purpose is exhausted, then be eliminated. I, admittedly, have logical issues. And by that I mean, if I can’t make logical sense of a rule, and nobody can aptly explain that rule to me, I will, and have, take(n) issue with it, and will proceed to go out of my way in order to break it.

It’s my nature.

Be the change you want to see in the world, and all that…

I want to see a world full of people who think for themselves. I want to see individuals do what makes sense to them, not some senseless stigma — and if that entails wearing white shoes after Labor Day to match an outfit, (despite the fact that that snob, Becky Sievermore, from the local community watch-group will attempt to oust you from the next local chapter meeting), well, by-golly-gee, I want to see you confident in doing that! To hell what others think about you — you do what makes sense, and if that loses you friends, well, than, why in the heck would you want to associate with those people anyhow?

Don’t follow, simply for comfort.

Comfort has never achieved a thing!

I invite you, here, today, now — be uncomfortable!

Break free from the status quo, and begin traveling new and exciting roads!

Isn’t it high time for a change, people? Aren’t we all ready to usher in a new world? A world where ‘Common Sense’ is just a trifle more common? I mean, for the love of all that is cheese, how can extra rules possibly help with that? I guess that’s my real grudge with rules, standards, expectations, and Taboo’s alike, their execution accomplishes the exact opposite of their intention.

Seriously!

Think about it…

The intention of a rule is to ensure that people behave in a civil manner. OK, I can dig it. The problem isn’t in that, the problem arises when we have acclimated SO MANY RULES that people cease to THINK about WHY the rules exist in the first place. What this inadvertently creates is a society of people who are living up to expectation, rather than thinking for themselves. These type of people are, by nature, followers, and will find it nary impossible to do anything the least bit satisfying with their lives. This, often times, can lead to depression, personality disorder, and overall mental discord.

My friends, all that made us human arises from thought, and when we sacrifice thought, or even expression — on any level — to some nameless, faceless, and, potentially, unjust system of caste based rules, we forfeit everything that might move us ahead.

Why would we ever want to do that?

Instead, as currently unrealistic of an ideal it is, I would like to see a world with no rules what-so-ever. Yea, that’s right. Sure, it might be messy at first, but when people hold others accountable for their faults, and the whole of our society begins to think about how others feel, work, live, and even dream, then, and only then, will we truly know the face of humanity, and, for the first time in history, be able to know what to do, collectively, in order to improve.

So, in conclusion, and contrary, I’m sure, to everything you’ve just read, I do believe in taboo — yet, only the one — the one and only thing that should be taboo is, in my opinion, the ultimate Taboo itself — Taboo.

~J

We see only what’s in front of us…

Cute... no?

…And even then, only what we’ve told our feet to carry us toward. Choice and conviction, too, play their roles at the behest of your own personal direction. Something must physically change, than, in order to view what lies beyond the boundaries of our peripheral — but at least that remains an option.

So how might one begin to look within?

Should we place our faith solely in others? Depending on them to focus our peevish perceptions of the world and ourselves — or is there another way? Can we learn who it is that we are, somehow, on our own, and yet still be free from bias?

I believe we can.

It might be my youthful naiveté, but I have been convinced, for quite some time now, that the self can be known — though it takes a preternatural resolve towards the necessary work, and, even then, years. First and foremost: Honesty. Honesty with ourselves, and, as well, honesty with others. Before we go spreading “information”, which, truthfully, when is unproven, is nothing more than mere rumor, we must know that what we’ve heard or seen was true — and not merely an illusion…

Looks like you're the butt of the joke. Bet you didn't see that crack coming! 🙂

There is a passage in the Pulitzer prize willing, John Patrick Shanley play, entitled, “Doubt”, that I always return to in my mind when I think on the concepts of rumor and gossip, which speaks volumes, as well, as to what havoc they reap on our own psyche, along with others’.

It reads,

VI

Father Flynn, in blue and white vestments, is at the pulpit.

Flynn: A woman was gossiping with a friend about a man she hardly knew — I know none of you have ever done this — and that night she had a dream. A great hand appeared over her and pointed down at her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O’Rouke, and she told him the whole thing. “Is gossiping a sin?” she asked the old man. “Was that the Hand of God Almighty pointing a finger at me? Should I be asking your absolution? Father, tell me, have I done something wrong?” (Irish brogue) “Yes” Father O’Rouke answered her. “Yes, you ignorant, badly brought-up female! You have borne false witness against your neighbor, you have played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed!” So the woman said she was sorry and asked forgiveness. “Not so fast!” says O’Rouke. “I want you to go home, take a pillow up on your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me!” So she went home, took the pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to the roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old preist as instructed. “Did you gut the pillow with the knife?” he says. “Yes, Father.” “And what was the result?” “Feathers,” she said. “Feathers?” he repeated. “Feathers everywhere, Father” “Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out on to the wind!” “Well,” she says, “it can’t be done. I don’t know where they went. The wind took them all over.” “And that,” said Father O’Rouke, “is gossip!” In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Fly, my pretties!

How many feathers have we all cast to the wind over the years?

If you’re anything like me, quite a bit. Embellishment makes for better stories. You instantly become more affable, enigmatic, and entertaining — but, at what cost? In my humble opinion, the feathers that are impossible to reign in which, in the parable, have graced the townsfolk’s ears, are similarly released into your mind whenever you’re not honest with yourself. And soon, if not held in firm check, when you release enough, you’ll find that your living in delusion. Or, rather, you wont. Sometimes you get so deep in the rabbit hole that you can forget that you’d ever gone down it at all…

This is why the self, and knowledge of it, is paramount.

It’s about growth. It’s about improvement. It’s about getting better. You simply can not grow if you cover up your failures from yourself. When you spin lies you become blinded to what is, what can be, and the work — as, there is ALWAYS WORK — required to get there. Blind as you will be, you won’t find the road, and, if you do, you won’t be able to recognize the path anyway to your true happiness. You will forever walk a twisted path of your assumed success, miserable, for some untold reason, with every gaining step.

Surely this is not the way

However, and again, it is possible that all this is just my 28-year-old, unrelentingly child like, naiveté talking (It’s an admission I must make if I hope to believe my own words), but I am skeptical. I’ve been doing my best to relay information honestly, to others as well as myself, for a while now, and though it’s not won me many accolades, nor hoards of acquaintances, it has brought me into some meaningful relationships, of which I would not sacrifice for the world.

In any case this is all very personal, and unique to each of us individually. There is a journey to be taken when searching for the self. An expedition I’m still on, say thank’ya. But I feel that this is the real fun of life. The meat of it. Simply: the path.

It wont be easy, cleaning the mirror we face — but what award would be worth it’s shimmer without a fight? And when you feel down, or lost, or simply out of gas — which you will, if you’re driving at the path with everything you’ve got (as you should) — a good Quote will always be there to remind you of who you are, or at least of how to remember. This is why most quotes revolve around The Self, and this is why I’d like to share with you all my quotes on the subject as well.

The Self

People who base decisions on one factor alone cannot possibly understand the matter at hand. — Jan 1st, 2012

There are no absolutes — only a spot on a spectrum within your own private perspective. If held in mind, this makes life easier to bear. — Dec 21st, 2011

Verbal or mental judgement of others is an obvious and ugly reflection of the self. Don’t judge others — change yourself. Lead by example. — Dec 26th, 2011

If you overly concern yourself with the adventures of others, you will never experience any for yourself. Live or observe — those are the choices — Dec 26th, 2011

The only thing you will ever regret learning, is nothing. – Feb 21st, 2012

When people use words to hold you at bay; to bring you down, make you small and incite a bad day — remember then this one shining truth: You’re fine, they’re in pain and their salvation relies on you — Dec 30th, 2011

You might have the best idea in the world, but present it poorly and no one will notice. If you’ve worked hard, than you’ve earned faith in yourself, and it’s not hubris. – Feb 18th, 2012

A life led in pursuit of understanding the self, is a self that’s lived misunderstanding life. Be good, be, then — be happy. — Jan 2nd, 2012

Health should be regarded as existing in three distinct places: Your body, your mind, and your awareness — all essential, and each no more important than the other. — Jan 3rd, 2012

It’s not everyone’s destiny to be great. Some are destined to be mediocre, to be worthless, pathetic and scared, and some, the smart ones, forge their own paths, knowing that destiny is highly overrated. — Jan 9th, 2012

Inspiration leads to Creativity, Creativity becomes Invention, and Invention lends itself to Inspiration — Thus is the wheel of life.
If you can’t find your place on the wheel of life, well, than — You’re not living it. — Jan 21st, 2012

Discernment above instinct is all that has made us man. Never sacrifice who you are for a group, as you yield to the very thing which has made you. – Jan 17th, 2012

When presented with opportunity, never ask, “why?” — that road leads only to excuses. Instead, try, “why not?”. – March 7th, 2012

Never sacrifice your own uniqueness in order to worship someone else’s. – Feb 28th, 2012

~J

People and Politics,

Both just reflections of the state of our world…

… or, possibly, just the state of our own minds. One’s considered a dirty word, a thing taboo; not breached lightly nor often in public, and the other IS the public itself, often dirty and taboo too, in its own way. You have to be nice, in public. Empathetic. You have to recognize, in an instant, a whole other system of belief and boundary (one you may or may not agree with…), and partake in a delicate, sort of, ‘push and pull’ in order to achieve anything — which can be exhausting. Particularly if you’re anything like me, and wish that we’d all just judge a little slower and love a little faster.

“How does all this relate to quotes?”, I hear you ask…

(Quiet back there — I’m getting to it!)

Jeez, give a guy a second…

OK. See, here’s the thing… Generally, quotes deal solely with the self. “Bring about change from within”, they’ll say. “Learn to do what you know to be best”. “Listen to your heart”… Now, and without doubt, all this, very good advice, would be wise (and easy to heed), were we to live atop an isolated mountain, feasting upon the bits of shrubbrage that popped up about our unwashed, untrimmed and likely calloused, lotus crossed feet. But — and I know… I’m going out on a limb here — I’m willing to bet that nobody reading this is a Mountain Yogi. I happen to know there’s terrible reception up there. I’m willing to bet that if you’re reading this, than, A) you have a computer (yes, wise-ass back there, I hear you again… smartphones are computers though — so please put your hand back down.) B) you have access to the internet, and C) you MUST interact with people, in one way or another, on a daily basis — which can seriously muck up that whole Zen thing you’ve got going on. Unless, that is, you take some time to seriously consider your own philosophy as it pertains to, “homo-erects interconnectedness”.

Hence; People and Politics.

The real, "Angry Birds". (Sorry Rovio.)

See, jack-ass back there, told you I was going somewhere with all this — now go sit in the corner.

Now, and don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to discredit quotes, or internal philosophy in general with what I’m saying here, quite the contrary actually. It is very important to work on the self, as, to others, you too are people, and while interacting your engaging with them in politics whether you like it or not. Thus, you first must be whole from within to properly function in society. However, that alone is simply not enough. You must consider more!

“When will the thinking stop!?”

Alright, , that’s it, enough interruptions out of you — to the principles office with ya!

No, no, leave the dunce cap on!

You go now!

You go now, you been here for hour!

Phew…

Sorry about that… It’s just SO distracting. Now, where was I?

Crap.

Great. Now I forget…

Well that’s just wonderful! Oh well, I’ve got to get off to work anyway. Just imagine I wrapped this all up beautifully and had some brilliant segway into the reason I’m regaling you all with quotes about People and Politics today. I trust you cool, creative peeps got the gist of all this by now anyway.

(Oh, and just a heads up, the blog will return to normal after this weekend, as I’m finally done (for now), with my recent, ‘Crazy-busy’ job. So, soon enough, I’ll be back on topic, and off this string of quotes. Just one more set to go after this.)

And now, without further ado (what the hell is an “Ado” anyway… crap, this is more ‘ado’. I lied! NOOO!!!), I give to you, (That rhymed. Huh…) People and Politics!!!

People/Politics:

Always be grateful for those in your life who know you best, yet still — somehow — manage to love you. — Dec 23rd, 2011

Changing yourself for others, so long as you’re aware of it, is not necessarily indicative of a weak individual – rather, an empathetic one. — Dec 31st, 2012

When you care about someone, in part, it’s because you see a bit of yourself in them. This is precisely why when things go awry you feel so very mad, it’s as if you’ve let yourself down… However, accepting the truth in this alleviates all pains — as rather than causing dissonance, it should highlight the beautiful dividing line between you and another unique individual. — Jan 14th, 2012

Much like making love, life has its ups and its downs — and if you medicate your way through you’ll never finish happy. — Jan 5th, 2012

“Power” is having leverage over others and using that leverage as you see fit.
“True Power” is having that same leverage over others but only using it when it is right. — Jan 23rd, 2012

Ah blanket assumptions, how warm your embrace. Yet, one would be wise to prepare for the shocking cold that is sure to come once the veil is lifted. — Jan 7th, 2012

When someone’s done something wrong, and you call BS, they will generally fight twice as hard to convince you that the lie is true. When this happens, take pity — as their need to maintain the illusion is all that remains of their reality. — Jan 7th, 2012

True wisdom is hard-earned; it begins with study, the acquisition of voluminous knowledge based in fact, and manifests over time, with empathy — this is the only mark of a worthy leader. This is why talking down to others as a means of asserting dominance will always be nothing but laughable. You would like us to believe that you are better than us, that you should have the right to rule us, to lead us, and your means of expressing this is by belittling us? A true leader, despite the fact that they are likely more knowledgeable than their subjects, inspires — for they are worthy of their ranking, and they know it. The only motivating factor for using fear in rule is the desire to keep someone in their place. In truth, it is a fear of competition and a fear of toppling from a precarious throne.
Only someone uncertain of their power would wish to publicly reinforce it. — Feb 20th, 2012

When you step back and look at the big picture, everyone’s there — It’s just all a little bit fuzzy. It’s then your job to ensure that you come into focus. — Jan 20th, 2012

Learn to identify and love the similarities between yourself and your fellow-man, rather than striving to seek out and loathe the differences. We are only as alike as you are willing to see: exactly. — Jan 9th, 2012

Empathy is all that binds us as a people. Without it you may become rich, powerful, and quite successful indeed, but when you do you tear apart society at it’s very seems. — Jan 12th, 2012

Who do white-lies said for comfort, comfort?
If the liar knows what’s true, and the one being lied to does as well, isn’t this all just a whole lot of wasted effort? — Jan 19th, 2012

Not wanting to feel depressed is not an acceptable reason to stick your head in the sand — it’s selfishness in its purest form. — Dec 31st, 2011

Because we have created an ‘industry’, for all intents and purposes, where an individual has to work their entire life toward the goal of ruling over the masses, which also necessitates that they be fully convinced, all the while, that they are the best prepared in the world to do so, we should expect, than, that the type of person this system attracts to possess an unhealthy tendency towards narcissism and delusion; as these are the only traits which could possibly convince someone of something so far from the truth. Therefore, individuals who seek out and actively desire this type of power, are, quite literally, the last people in the world who should ever obtain it. — Dec 11th, 2011

Before people fight — with words, wars, or fists — they should be forced to break not bread, but dark chocolate. Let’s see you swing with your eyes lolling into the back of your head like that! (Ritter Sport Marzipan is recommended!!) — Dec 20th, 2011

~J

We are the champions!

Hit play, and try to read along with the music’s timing.

🙂

We’ve paid our dues — time after time. We’ve done our sentence, but committed no crime. And bad mistakes, well, we’ve all made a few. We’ve had our fair share of sand kicked in our faces — but we’ve all come through!

Still we must go on! And on! And on!! And on!!!

We, are the champions, my friend. Cause we, we reached success, in the end. We are successful. WE are successful! We are true winners, cause we knew what success was — from the start…..

We’ve done the hard work. And we tried without end. Sure we failed time and time, and time again, but it’s not stopped us yet. True, it’s been no bed of roses. No pleasure cruise. Cause we put ourselves to task against the whole of the human race, and were determined not to lose!!

Still we must go on! And ON! And ON!! And ON!!!

That’s what success is, in the end. Never, ever, giving up on your dream… That’s what success is, THAT’S WHAT SUCCESS IS. Following your passions and knowing you’ll be successful, all along!

~~~ End ~~~

Apropos, I thought.

We are the champions, my friends. We are the fighters. The warriors. The steadfast few who reach for the stars, despite their height in the impossibly dark nights sky. That’s what true success is, my friends. Picking out what you want from life, and going after it. That’s all it is, really. Truly, it’s quite simple. Know yourself. Figure out what you like, and then — go get it.

And Enjoy every step of the way.

I’m not perfect. I wouldn’t claim to be. None of us are. I expect to fail. I have before, (hard), and I surly will again. This I know. But, when success is found in the pursuit, and not only in the goal, than we are always there.  We are ALWAYS on top. We are ALWAYS SUCCEEDING!

You must just be honest.

And try.

🙂

That’s it.

You got this.

(trust me.)

Anywho, enough music and merriment. Here’s my list of quotes for this day. I sure hope that all you successful types aren’t to busy to take a gander. And if you are, no offense taken. You drive the world – and I thank you.

Success:

To view yourself only through the prism of past successes and failures is to forget that you are still alive. — Jan 9th, 2012

To be the best that you can be, at whatever it is that you love yo do, is the only real pursuit in life — other than aiding others with the same quest. — Dec 16th, 2011

Every days a fresh start, every moment a new chance. You can improve who you are, who you were, who you thought you had to be — just take that chance! — Dec 18th, 2011

Life is funny, and unpredictable, and the more you try to control it the more it laughs in your face — might as well just slap on a smile then, and enjoy the ride. Weeeeeeeeeee! — Dec 15th, 2011

Your potential is limited only by the depth of your imagination and dedication. Dream big and work hard — reach for the stars. — Jan 2nd, 2012

Everyone’s a genius in their own way. Everyone’s beautiful to someone. So leave your fears at the doorway. Become a person YOU love. — Dec 25th, 2011

Don’t take a risk and hope you’ll get there, work hard, have faith, and know you will. — Jan 6th 2012

It is a good fact to know that in Japan the streets have no names. So if you were to ask someone for directions there, they could elucidate to perfection and you would still have no idea where you were headed if you thought only in terms of yourself and what you know.
In life too, there will be those who will attempt to direct you. If you listen, not just for what YOU are looking for, like street names, but really listen to it all, wholeheartedly, remembering what was said, you then might someday realize that, even though you still lost your way, what you had once been told was right all along. — Jan 12th, 2012

Passion is the fuel which lights the fire of desire. Without it, the fire can never roar, and will never cure the log into creation. — Jan 23rd, 2012

It’s about more than just being true to your vision, it’s about having a vision to be true to in the first place. —  Jan 27th, 2012

The first step in getting anything done is believing it can be done. — Feb 29th, 2012

Words are merely concepts symbols; something good to remember when facing the impossible. — Feb 25th, 2012

Always step your best foot forward, even if you have to step one back to be able to do so. — Feb 15th, 2012

If inspiration is 90% perspiration… Than is contemplation 90% constipation? If so, it explains why I do all my best thinking on the can… — Dec 26th, 2011

(Don’t know how that last one got in there 😉 )

~J