LGN 80: Let’s talk about how amazing I am

I know, right?? We could be here for days. Okay okay. Not everyone at once. One at a time, please. Settle down, everybody. Settle. No, thank you. You’re too kind.

Yep. And there’s that. I do do that, don’t I? Thanks for noticing. Oh, are these for me? You’re a sweetheart (call me).

You should know me well enough by now to know that my titles aren’t 100% accurate. There isn’t much in this one about physical stuff, just so you know. I figure that the quest to look good naked isn’t just physical. It’s about mental health and life health. Self improvement, in general. The same way that looking good without being physically fit is kind of a joke (I did see a Groupon for LipoLaser), the same goes for looking good and being physically fit but not having some sense of fulfillment and purpose. Right?

PASSION

I have hobbies. I have passions. I don’t have many goals, now that I think about it.

I write and record music that no one hears. I write stories and blogs and occasionally poetry (I guess lyrics can count as poetry) that no one will read. I draw and paint — okay, it’s been a while — things that no will see. I explore places that my loved ones will never see or share.

I’ve got two blogs. This one and an art/painting/photography blog. If you click “fiction” in the tag cloud of Why We Blog, I’ve got a bunch of fictional short stories.

Got a SoundCloud page. Do you like jazz? I’ve got an instrumental jazz CD online you can listen to. All original compositions and I’m playing upright bass.

There’s a story behind it. It’s more mellow than I intended but it’d make good background music.

Or maybe you’re in the mood for some of the live NeoSoulGrunge from some of the gigs I was doing a few years ago. Original and one semi-spontaneous song. Playing guitar on these ’cause I wanna be a rock star.

There’s also a few dozen other original tunes for “Anteros” which I will some day re-record with more live musicians. And accomplished vocalists. My vocals are admittedly pretty rough, but check out the ones featuring Karla and Sadie.

I have a very outdated website that I plan on revamping for the responsive web design age. It has a link to the beginnings — the very rough, unedited, chaotic beginnings of a modern day fantasy novel for my nephews titled O-World. A story that they, as young middle class black kids who live in a multicultural and technologically marvelous world, can relate to. I’m going to follow through with it but it’s been so long now that my nephews are much more grown than when I started. That’s okay, though. It fits into the story.

In the torrential turmoil of the Information Age I can’t expect people to take the time out of their day to — I dunno — consume what I come up with. Frankly, I know a bunch of people way more talented than me at everything I do. Some of them are under the radar. Some of them work like dogs so that the world — or one little corner of the world — will know that they exist.

The amount of effort and resources it takes to get your creations out there in the world in front of people is daunting. And it’s not like I don’t think it’s worth it. It’s just that it takes so much time and energy that it sucks the joy out of the thing you’re passionate about. Some people live for the hustle. I’m not one of them.

Still, I’m getting to a point where I see the path ahead. I see the convergence. I don’t think of my hobbies or talents as separate things. They’re all part of … something. Hmm.

PHOTOGRAPHY

It is because of the fine people at Underground Athlete that I am able to pursue photography. Not only did many of them invest financially to help jump start my efforts but they continue to morally support me and keep an eye out for opportunities. It gave me the confidence to be willing to invest in myself, if that makes sense.

Note: Before Jan. 1, 2014 you get the rookie rate.

Seriously. Thank you all. And thanks, especially, to Justin Case for being intentional and finding a way to kick me into gear.

I’ve still got a lot to learn but it’s happening by leaps and bounds. One model shoot with the Pixel Poets (NSFW) meetup group increased my knowledge, experience and charisma points exponentially.

I did a photoshoot of a friend’s son’s homecoming gathering this weekend. I was nervous about it. I get a little nervous before photoshoots. I usually forget one thing or make one mistake. For Sky’s shoot last night I didn’t have the flash adapter (Sony has a bad habit of making proprietary connections instead of industry standard). So, indoor fluorescent lighting for gym portrait shots. Not ideal. Made it work but I had big ideas for more dramatic lighting. Next time.

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, friends and benefactors. Frienefactors? Sky’s the limit.

ACHIEVING YOUR DREAMS

I’m going to tell you a secret. Well, it’s not really a secret. It’s just one of those things that anyone with good sense would keep to themselves. I’ve only told one other person this …

In my dreams — my sleeping REM phase of sleep dreams — I never get what I’m questing for. I dream often of looking for something: food, a particular food like pizza, sour candy, water, juice, fruit, a person, a pet, a bathroom, a place, a tool, a-sex, a book, whatever. Some totem.

One of two things tends to happen. When I get close I wake up. The dreamscape will suffer a dreamquake and things will change. The place where I am will change into another place. You know, work turns into school. The Shenandoahs turn into the foothills of the Bay Area and I’m suddenly trying to catch a BART train. The people I’m with will change into other people. Focus is lost. Sometimes at that point, the tension between the quest caused by the quake-transition will stress me out enough to wake me up.

I don’t know what that means. I used to fly a lot in dreams, but I usually I needed some kind of apparatus. Or I have dreams where I can jump or trick out on a bike but then I’d end up in a falling dream.

The trails are in my bones. The Coyote Ridge Trail at Stevens Creek County Park and Hunters Point at Fremont Older Open Space Preserve in Cupertino are grafted together with the trails at the boundary of the cemetry behind Holabird Middle School in Dundalk (or Holabird, I guess) and the McKeldin and Avalon sections of Patapsco State Park. In the dreamverse in my head, they’re all connected. I usually have to start the same way, though, and I never make it to the end of whatever it is I’m trying to do or wherever I’m trying to go.

I have zombie dreams now and then. I don’t like zombie dreams. All that running and futilely trying to save people. BUT … my zombie dreams almost always have music in them and sometimes I wake up remembering the music. I’ve written songs based on zombie dream music before. No joke. It’s not creepy horror music either.

It’s pretty cool, though. Other dreams have music, too. It’s like a gift, waking up with something new in your brain that you can carry out into the waking world.

My point?

I have a goal. To achieve dream quests every now and then. And to fly again. How am I going to do that? I have no idea. I don’t necessarily want to go the lucid dreaming route. I’m not sure if controlling the dreams is the way.

How much does the way we live affect our dream life? How do our anxieties manifest themselves subconsciously? What is there to learn? What are the dreams of fearless (I’m defining fearless as not being afraid of fear) and willfully successful people like?

We’ll see.

OCTOBER BABIES

Some of my favorite people were born in October. My mother, father, stepfather, an uncle, bunch of friends.

My father’s birthday was October 2nd. He died on October 15th, 2010.

It’s a reflective time of the year.

Back in 2010, it was a big factor in an avalanche of lowness that ultimately lead to my … one of those points in your life that makes you choose. Like in the Matrix when Trinity was running from the agents. She jumps from one building into the window of another, lands at the bottom of some stairs and is momentarily paralyzed with fear that something is going to come crashing through the window after her. She talks herself up: “Get up, Trinity. Get. Up.”

Getting up is what took me to meetup.com to find … something. I was looking for painting classes. I ended up going the fitness route (since I had gained a lot of weight and physically felt horrible) to PIES Fitness Yoga and Underground Athlete.

It’s been a fun, wild, brutal ride ever since. What keeps me going back to training? By my calculations that’s approximately 450 training sessions. 450 hours of getting worked. 450 hours invested into my health, wellness, fitness and hopefully longevity.

And I ain’t done yet. By all that is fit and lean I will get down to mid teens in body fat. This I vow. Gonna take some vigilance over the taste buds and such but it’s within reach. I’ve got a game plan.

ON THE WATER

It’s time to wrap this up. Weather permitting I’ll be taking a REI class for basic kayak lessons this weekend at Fountainhead Regional Park. I’m afraid of drowning and I’m hoping that it’s a sit-on-top kayak. Wishful thinking.

Ultimately, I want to take photos of rivers and waterways from the water. Got a waterproof camera bag-case that will, in theory, make that possible.

The last time I was in a kayak — or was it a single person canoe — I had a collision with a beginning wind surfer on Shoreline Lake in Mountain View, CA and ended up in the water and not happy about it. I was wearing a PFD, of course, but it’s hard as hell to get back into a canoe/kayak from the water. That would give my Potomac River project some oomph.  This video is a proof of concept. The music is a song I wrote called “A Noble Endeavor”, which is influenced by M83.

Alright. That’s a lot o’ bloggin’. If you made it this far, I thank you. A good blog shouldn’t have so much stuff loading at once and paths off to here and there.

Also, you know I’m not an egotistical didgeridouche that goes around talking about and thinking how awesome he is. It’s taking a lot of effort to leave that title up there, even half jokingly. All the same, I think it’s a sin or an offense to not acknowledge what you’re capable of, y’know? To squander your potential out of fear, insecurity or whatever. To squander potential because we’re too busy consuming mass media instead of creating or supporting creatives or supporting our own creativity.

Just some thoughts.

Have a good week. Take care of yourself. Live it up.

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