iamom: (Default)
I wrote the following review of a local jazz CD that will be published in this summer's Jazz Festival Guide. That will be fun -- with an expected circulation of 4,000 for that issue, a lot of people might read my writing.

The space constraints of 140 words prevented me from going into much detail on the record. And for whatever reason, I thought the backstory of the recording was pretty much as interesting as the music itself.
This album was conceived by CBC producers Glenn Meisner and Karl Falkenham in September, 2006. Its impetus was to produce the underlying bed tracks for a record by local hip-hop artist, Sean Ryan.

Hip-hop is usually created by mixing samples of vintage funk and R&B recordings with rapping or other tracks laid over top. Using live musicians to make dedicated hip-hop tracks such as was done here could be considered unusual, to say the least.

The album was recorded in two sessions: one with Doug Riley on solo piano; and one with saxophonist Mitchell, bassist Gatti, drummer Burton and guest keyboardist Dunn. Not all of the tracks are completely faithful to the hip-hop genre, but several tracks yield some serious grooves. On the whole, the album certainly spawns some curiosity about what the hip-hop version -- called "new tonic" -- might sound like.
iamom: (Default)
My old friend Jerry has never been a fan of fiction that tries to be nondual. Too often, it's written by people who may have nondual insight, but who are terrible writers of fiction. The two don't have to be mutually exclusive, but anyone whom he'd read that had tried to meld the two had been unsuccessful.

Until now, maybe. In Issue #2800 of the Nondual Highlights, Jerry provides an excerpt from a novel by Floyd Henderson called The Board of Directors of Wars (see author website). It's a passage of dialogue, but the portion I'm including just has one character making a little speech to another. When taken out of context like I've just done, the passage sounds a bit like the proverbial discourse between a spiritual teacher and a student. But I'd be interested in reading the book if it's good. I think this speech is quite good.
“Well look at every drama you’ve ever seen. The main character, who represents you and me and everyone, runs around like a chicken with its head cut off. He is confused and in the dark. Those who are in a position to sit back and witness the drama objectively can see that he’s just an actor on the stage and that none of the drama is real. But for entertainment’s sake, he and the witnesses can pretend it’s real. Both, in fact, can get so absorbed in the role that they take it to be the real for a time.

“But even amidst all of the drama, a time comes, that moment in the play when even the actor finds out the truth. It is called the peripetia in drama—that moment in the play or the movie when the lead actor finds out that everything he thought to be true is really false; when he sees that he was being misled at every turn; when those he thought he could trust the most, and who thought they were telling him the truth, were also wrong.

“It’s the moment of freedom that comes when one finds out that everything he ever thought or believed or held sacred (or thought worth fighting for) was a lie. The freedom comes when he gives up all of the concepts he bought into, drops his head in relief and amazement, shakes his head back and forth, wonders for a moment at how he had bought into all their crap, smiles at how easily he was duped, watches how all of the rest of the play unfolds automatically until its end, and leaves the stage after saying to himself, ‘Well, sonofabitch. I’ll be damned.’ And then he laughs. He laughs at it all. And then he’s done with it, once and for all.”
The other excerpt of literary nondual fiction that Jerry included in the same Highlights is also worth reading. It's a short satirical piece about memoir writing, and it smacks (I think implicitly) of nondual understanding as well. The excerpt I include here doesn't do the piece full justice, but hopefully it's slightly illustrative.
Had I been satisfied with one memoir, it'd have been all
right. But I was infested with the memoir bug. I wrote
memoir, after memoir, each one more bizarre than the
previous one. And to my children's dismay, they all were
best sellers. And now, their friends stared at them with
knowing smiles.

So, I can't really blame them for doing what they did.
They found a judge to declare me mad. Now, in my cell,
I'm deprived of paper, or laptop. But the memoir bug
has not died. I'm thinking about writing a new memoir
on these bare walls. One in which neither I, nor they
were ever born.

But I'm having a little trouble finding anything to write
regarding such life.

(x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] nonduality)
iamom: (Default)
This morning's local CBC Radio One show featured a guest who discussed her problems with being overweight and how she has begun to treat it through the Hypertension Clinic at the local hospital. Part of her treatment was with a dietician, who exhibited signs of actual insight into emotional eating as opposed to what I remember from any dieticians I've met, who basically just outline what I'm supposed to eat and don't deal with that in any way.

Anyway, I was moved to send in an e-mail in response to this guest. Maybe it'll be read on air, I dunno.
Information Morning
CBC Radio One
Halifax, NS

Good morning,

I was moved to write in this morning because of one of the key challenges your guest mentioned with respect to losing weight, that being the emotional motivations we have to overeat. As a classic yo-yo dieter who has gained and lost more than 200 pounds throughout the past 20 years, I am intimately familiar with the challenges associated with losing weight when your eating habits are so hopelessly entangled with sadness, helplessness, and other emotions. It's impossible to make any long-term positive changes to your eating habits if you're hurting emotionally or if you are one of those countless people who comfort themselves mainly with food.

Almost everyone I know who is overweight struggles with this key issue. For any number of valid reasons usually stemming from our childhood or teenage experiences, overweight and obese people learn to comfort and soothe ourselves through eating. We find genuine comfort in food, and filling ourselves with food has become a kind of replacement for the love and respect we feel we're lacking in our lives. Depending on our personal history, our emotions can become so deeply entangled with our eating habits such that we're scarcely aware from one meal to the next if we're even hungry. Many of us simply eat whenever we feel like it, and we only stop eating when we can no longer physically fit any more food into our stomachs.

A number of months ago, I recognized my emotional overeating for what it was and I sought the help of a professional psychologist experienced with eating problems. After several sessions with her, along with supplemental readings from the seminal American author on this topic, Geneen Roth, I've finally begun to make the kinds of permanent lifestyle changes that are resulting in my losing weight and improving my physical health. But I could only do this AFTER I started to deal specifically and effectively with my own personal emotional reasons for overeating.

The mechanics of which foods to eat in which quantities and how much exercise you need are well-known to most of us. But how to deal effectively with the emotional underpinnings of our eating problems is far more mysterious. And they require just as much, if not more work, than learning how to eat "properly."


Jul. 7th, 2006 11:59 am
iamom: (flying by)
emptiness is a hard thing to write about
the zen poets and masters have such beautiful, perfect metaphors to describe it
I have nothing but a bag of chips and a chocolate cookie

but I can say this:
there's a moderately floating quality, or at least flowing
and sometimes it almost feels sad, or at least a bit melancholy

one moment I'm stuck in the muck of my activity
in the frustration that something's not working or in the joy that it is

the next moment I'm suddenly aware that everything is whole and that I'm okay
that the frustration is an energy fizzled out, a mental construct (same with the joy)
that nothing is really happening
that there is only I AM
that I am nothing in a void of emptiness without quality
and that everything is okay

I take a deep, slow breath and bow my head
I relax my muscles and my breathing
and I am...

iamom: (pink)
1 - ID your dominant dosha
2 - balance your doshas through proper diet and exercise (i.e. hatha yoga)

From Vasant Lad:

-- ayurveda is from the Sanskrit, meaning "Science of Life"
-- promotes proper balance in life through right thinking, right diet, right lifestyle
-- conceives of proper health in terms of health being order and disease being disorder; the goal is to bring the full body into balance and alignment, hence order, hence health
-- the physical universe is manifest in five elements: Space, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth; certain combinations of these elements result in the three essential qualities of vata, pitta, and kapha
-- the cause of disease is rooted in an imbalance between (i.e. a deficiency or excess in) vata, pitta, and kapha

-- source elements: Space and Air
-- associated with movement: vata governs breathing, blinking, the circulatory system (pumping of the heart and working of the lungs) and all other physical movement associated with muscles and tissues
-- when in balance, vata produces creativity and flexibility
-- when out of balance vata produces anxiety and fear

-- source elements: Fire and Water
-- associated with the metabolic system: physical digestion, nutrition, metabolism, energy level and body temperature
-- when in balance, pitta produces understanding and intelligence
-- when out of balance, pitta produces anger, hatred,  and jealousy

-- source elements: Earth and Water
-- associated with the structural makeup of the body: bones, muscles, tendons, and the infrastructure of cells; also hydration, moisturization of the skin, and the immune system
-- when in balance, kapha expresses itself as love, calmness and forgiveness
-- when out of balance, kapha leads to attachment, greed, and excessive longing

Google searches and other resources:
-- ayurvedic diet vasant lad
-- ayurvedic diet robert svoboda
-- ayurvedic diet david frawley
-- doshas
-- Relationship between the 6 tastes and the doshas
iamom: (carclub)
My last attempt didn't seem to ring any bells -- but what about this one?
The first Thursday of last July, Jack Robinson received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. After collapsing at work and being taken to hospital, a large mass of abnormal lymphatic tissue had been discovered at the back of his throat. It was identified as a rare and deadly form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma called NK-cell, nasal type. It was in its advanced stages, and he was told not to expect to survive longer than several weeks, or perhaps a few months.

No fully effective means of treatment had yet been found for this rare lymphoma sub-type; especially for one which had reached such a late stage. However, in the odd path of progression that some cancers take, Jack was not yet acutely ill. And so it was that he was released from the hospital the next day with an appointment to see his new cancer specialist the following week.

Less than a day after getting home from the hospital, Jack made up his mind to kill his boss, Janet Akerley.
iamom: (john)
I just got lured away from my Gmail Inbox by a writing-related WebClip called TV Writers Must Sell, Sell, Sell, which linked to a Wired.com article about how TV writers are being increasingly obliged to write overt product placements and references into their scripts without being expressly compensated for it. From what I can gather, writers are looking at these stealth ads almost like a form of advertising copywriting for which they're not getting paid.

I don't watch enough TV to have noticed an increase in this form of marketing, but TV product placements are apparently being used more frequently than ever due to the ad-skipping technologies of hard-disk personal video recorders such as TiVo and the like. From the Wired.com article:
It's no small issue. The use of product placements has increased 84 percent on television in the last year, according to the WGA's call for regulations. "There is no clear line separating a TV show from an advertisement anymore," said Carrie McLaren, editor of Stay Free magazine.

A group of writers from the Writer's Guild of America (West)  has even started a website called Product Invasion which lobbies for change. On that site, there are several examples of embedded adverts, a short (in my opinion, poorly-worded) statement of purpose, and a strange interactive Donald Trump who will work words or phrases of your invention into a seemingly endless stream of references to Domino's Pizza.
iamom: (zoesad)
The thunder struck as I approached the house returning home from a walk with the dogs. The skies didn't open until just after I had retreated inside. The dogs escaped to their doghouse and I'm in a nest at my desk. It's 12 noon, but the sky is so dark outside that I need to turn on the lights inside.

The light in the forest just now was lush, dark. At a confluence of two paths, there was sufficient foliage that a full green ceiling of leaves closed the arch over our heads. It created a unique ambience of being inside at the same time as being outside.

Jerry Katz just hooked me up with this blog, which seems to come from a Ken Wilber kind of place yet also involves hip-hop music. (?)
Hip-Hop music represents all three modes of experiencing the All. An MC’s lyrical arrangement is largely based on analogy, metaphor, and simile where the content of the song is relayed as a connection to other things, events, places, people, or modes of thought. This helps a listener associate with the MC through things that take place in their life, but in a way that is relevant enough to see the association in their own lives.

from this post, authored by Justin Miles
Jerry has asked me if there's a connection between hip-hop's "diunital awareness" as described in this article and the spiritual aspects of jazz music. In other words, he has asked for my opinion on the convergence of three vital forces in my life: jazz, hip-hop, and spirituality.

Heh - it shall be my pleasure to open up this topic with him. Would be a most worthy entry into the discussion, imho.
iamom: (steady)
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer and now its current chairman as well as that for Pixar Animation, gave a great commencement address at Stanford.

Here's an interesting excerpt from the speech that follows his description of having taken a calligraphy course in college that taught him the difference between serif and sans serif typefaces, about changing the pitch of different letter combinations, and about making aesthetically-pleasing typefaces in general:
None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
To read the entire speech, go here:

iamom: (looking out)
In a recent Nondual Highlights, Jerry included an autobiographical essay by Guy Smith, an author of a new book called This is Unimaginable and Unavoidable: Irresponsible writings on non-duality (more book info here).

The excerpts Jerry has posted from the book recently have been good, but this mini-bio by the author really resonated with me. The whole essay can be read on the NDHighlights page I linked to above, but the part I liked the most was the following excerpt:
Now (May 2005)

There is a general sense or quality that might be described as 'settled well-being', 'relaxed, rounded content', and 'assuredness' that tends to be present often. There is some social awkwardness to do with seeing the misconceived premises on which so much common conversation is based, and not feeling able or willing (sometimes) to participate in this, play along with this. There is awareness of a number of uncomfortable emotional and behavioural tendencies that are hangovers from false beliefs of the past - mild shyness, for example. There is also a current uncomfortable heightened sensitivity to the illusion of social power-relations - I mean the endless instances of casting and being cast in different roles, in different narratives, with all the limitations, imprisonments and frustrations of this. There is an impassioned yet calm concern with dissipating dreamy beliefs about being a limited person, revealing this liberation that is, in order that there be more happiness, understanding and constructive, intelligent operating within the appearance of life. This is not, however, anything to do with nonduality; nothing has anything to do with nondualty; this is purely what might be cautiously called something like 'a particular response to a particular caring human emotion here'. There is a tendency to 'go with' a certain 'ease' or 'softness' or 'suppleness' that is felt, in terms of 'decision-making'. Currently, there is a strong, clear sense of 'how my time is to be spent now and during the next few months', though equally there is a readiness, a receptivity, for other possibilities, other projects. There is the writing of a novel involved in exploration of intimacy as the crudest, fuzziest dualistic perception, which is partly a function of a desire to express nonduality outside of the established "nondualistic community". Several other reasonably clearly envisioned writing projects are also lining up. However, like I say, I am wide open to and indeed keen to be involved in anything and everything to do with this. If there is interest, if there are requests, it is highly likely that this expression will present itself orally, possibly (and possibly not) sometime soon.
iamom: (flying)
Monday mornings are sometimes kinda tough for me. Since my weekends are always jam-packed with family activities (and this one even more than usual), Mondays are sometimes like a day of rest for me. Mondays are the days I wind down from the weekend and get back into my groove.

So today, I was doing my regular Monday morning thing where I stumble around the web for a half hour or so and soak up some net culture that's targeted to my interest profile and the stumbled sites I've indicated that I like. And I come across a blog by this chick named Natalie Dee, and near as I can tell she's a hot, funny writer like [livejournal.com profile] grammardog who does some good stream of consciousness stuff that's pretty funny to read. She also does these thick line-art drawings that are fun to look at (this desktop picture of the sun made me laugh).

Anyway, her blog is called dairyland (which I imagine is a spoof on the diaryland blogger) and while browsing her archives after reading some of her advice column, I couldn't help but click on the link for the entry called "the dangerous panties." In the vein of the great [livejournal.com profile] spoonfeeding's sex talk (who describes her method of soiling panties for online sale in her userinfo), this entry first made me laugh at the outrageousness of it, but by the end made me kind of sick to my stomach.

So like I say, it's not for the faint of heart. But worth it if you're up for it!


iamom: (Default)
Dustin LindenSmith

January 2013

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