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Archive for August, 2011

Unhinge Our Future

When two people meet on the opposite of a door at the same time disaster can strike.

Incidents occur where a person is hurt or injured when a door unexpectedly flies open at them

as if from nowhere

right before they go to grab the knob – annually the numbers reach nearly into the mid-fifties.

Doorway situations like this often result in pain.

Confusion.

Situations requiring insincere apologies.

Disability.

Even embarrassment.

Hands become bruised, shoes get scuffed, toes get hurt, and occasionally foreheads are bumped. When you consider that accidents such as these sometimes even may even occur multiple times in one day, you’ll soon realize that entire lives can be changed just that quick.

A split-second moment of truth, or moment of torture?

This danger threatens all of us any time we enter or leave a room, whether it be at home, at work, or an investment property you’re scoping out because you’d like to build some equity leasing it to a bank or insurance company.

What tools do we have in 2011 to protect us from this situation that so often ends in tragedy?

The police can’t seem to show up until it’s too late. (You’ve seen the TV)

Our soldiers are busy fighting wars and are too sleepy to take on any more missions. They need rest and generous nutrients, not a foe wicked beyond most civil folk’s imaginations.

I know I can't.

Are you ready to deal with this portal of certain risk every day for the rest of your life?

I’m not.

There are windows that can be put in some doors to show you whether or not someone is on the other side, but is that always going to be enough warning?

Scientists in Germany have developed countless devices that consist of sirens, closed-circuit cameras and lasers that alerts door users to another person’s presence on the other side, but these are often expensive and produce tremendous amounts of heat and gamma radiation to those in the building.

How many knuckles

and knees

and lives

might be saved by protecting America against their #1 threat to security and prosperity?

This doesn’t always have to be the scene of a crime.

And we can stop it now.

But we have to act fast.

Lawyers representing the door lobby are already rushing to Washington to silent our votes with their “hinge safety” rhetoric and fat cat money. They’ve even reached the growing Latino constituency and started a grass roots organization mobilizing the concerns of Spanish-speaking citizens from Buckley, Oregon to Winona, Arkansas. “Los Puertos” have been hugely successful in a short period of time and their influence will continue to grow until our very identity as Americans is no more than that of another Push/Pull society. A people crippled by the growing cost of healthcare and skyrocketing worker’s compensation payouts.

How many of these share a similar root cause – doorway injuries.

We – must – strike – now.

Those of the anti-concern are desensitizing our children and mocking the severity of a feasible 9/11 on hinges.

And it’s working.

We have to endure these portals to hell – with no choice whatsoever and no end in sight, just so the politicians and CEO’s can continue making millions off the sale of doors, door knobs, knockers, and an ever-growing assortment of accessories and seasonal decorations .

Do you know hundreds of years ago people were forced to use doors like these?

In the early ages people risked the bruising of life and limb when coming in, and going out, of churches, buildings, structures, and brothels.

Just because they can’t whip you at work anymore doesn’t mean we’ve escaped the olden days.

This is not from a movie. This isn’t a figment of a bad dream about Nazi enslavement illusory manifested in greyscale before you. This is the bathroom at my office. It has a hairpin trigger on the knob that allows it to be opened with the force of a super atomic Einsteinian war bomb.

This is why I speak out to you now.

Are we ready though?? Are we fed up and angry enough to do something about this?

Ladies and gentleman, children, and intelligent door-using animals…

more than anytime in the history of man we now have the tremendous need to come together and fight for change. If all of these deadly hinge-based entryways, “swingers”, were to be replaced by sliding doors we could eliminate Simultaneous Multi-Human Door Injuries Related to Temporary Pain or Injury (commonly, Door Bump) in a few short years.

Sure there may be some accidents that occur during misuse or Ace Ventura balcony scene reenactments…

but just picture approaching a door and as you reach forward instead of searching for a confusing, germ infested knob (ancient technology really). You instead find a small circular divot that allows you to whisk the panel sideways into the wall, safely removing the barrier that once stood in the way between you and your future. Metaphorically and literally.

The Chinese style of sliding door has had Door Bump (or 門撞 in the traditional tongue) extinctionized for practically 150 years.

How are the Chinese doing today??

Think about that.

Besides, how much more often would movies have those scenes with a sexy Asian alluringly undressing behind the closed sliding door, the simple silhouette of which revealing more than she probably meant to do. Wouldn’t that be kinda sweet?

If you’re ready to DO THIS…!

If you’re ready to TAKE A STAND and say ENOUGH…!

If you’re ready to catch a beaming purple heart in your hand, you can learn more about the cause at stopitnow.org (previously http://www.come on dude quit it.com)

Gwyneth Paltrow’s all about it. And her support in getting this cause off the ground has been substantial. She demanded that national attention be given to the safety of our future children.

Gwyneth, naturally as an actress, feels.

It doesn’t hurt that she’s an estimated 7% Italian either.

Her heart goes deep.

We had the technology in the 70’s, but was shut down by the American Doorway Concern who bought the designs and stopped production immediately.

All we got in the end was a folding version that bastardized the efforts of the original architects.

The technology of which later revolutionized the board rooms of the countless offices subscribing to the Door lobby and their old paradigm.

The sliding version is incomparably better and even presents a certain mystery in its presence.

(Where do they all GO??)

Stylish and sexy…

sliding doors have a solution for everyone.

These examples of modern day science solve a complex, and often painful, problem. Yet they are increasingly simple to install.

You just do that.

It’s easy.

Does this look like a door you want to walk through?

Jimmy Peterson didn’t think much of it one cold October night.

(Image reproduced with the written consent of the NYPD and the general awareness of the Patterson family.)

Help us stop this abuse occurring every day.

In 2012, it’s going to be a sliding door victory.

Door Bump can be defeated.

“SAFE DOORS NOW”

(cuz what’re we gonna do? go over the fence?)

*Check out stopitnow.org – it’s a good cause.

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My Drive

I found myself behind four people driving to work today . The same four people I see every morning, although they’re not always exactly the same, or in the same order.

 

They’re always mushing into line late when we have to merge. Sometimes they almost cause themselves or others to wreck. Other times they just cause lags and delays in the free forward movement of traffic. I know them well and will tell you about them now.

 

In the first car was Myra. Myra is pre-diabetic and will inevitably reach the full, permanent condition one day soon. She doesn’t change her behaviors until it’s too late. She has the warnings and no reason to not fully trust the signs, but Myra won’t do anything different with herself or her body until it’s almost too late. At that point she’ll look around and hope to get on a different path just seconds to then end.

 

Alise was in the second car. Alise is bad at saving money because she doesn’t see what’s coming until it appears right in the windsheild. She gets emails from her bank notifying her the account is getting low (only 500 yards left) but Alise can’t think of any reason to deal with it until she sees her demise in sight. She hopes that once she’s there someone will let her out and give her some space to keep going since she’s run out of her own.

 

Steve, in the third car, elects not do have health insurance. He’s also a last-second merger. His philosophy says to him “They have plenty of space.They’ll let me in.” and prevents him from preparing for the inevitable. Steve is more than happy to inconvenience the person next to him when that time comes. Other people who have planned ahead will end up giving their place to Steve so he can have what the rest have prepared for. He’ll frustrate everyone who has purposely gone to the fast lane though they normally do not unless it’s an emergency.  Ultimately they’re going to end up spending more of their resources in their state of hurry on Steve, even though he’s only making a routine trip.

 

Chris was the fourth car. Chris you can see from a ways away because he’s always signaling that he’s going to get over but never manages to get around to it until it’s nearly too late. He occasionally even goes onto the shoulder if the circumstances are unfortunate enough. Chris goes along telling you what you want to hear but his actions don’t follow suit, ultimately revealing his true lack of ability to act. When Chris starts merging he’ll cause a stir because most people aren’t expecting it. His signaling is meaningless by the time he follows through with it.

 

The fifth car is an early merger. “This lane ends in 1,000 yards” doesn’t mean “Stay here and don’t merge for another 990 yards!” They try not to miss any signs and imagine what end might come if the warnings aren’t given attention. They make their own space while there is plenty to be taken and make arrangements for others who are going to crowd in, unprepared at the last minute. They’re ready for rough terrain, pot holes, accidents, weather, and anything else that may come their way but still hit their brakes harder, more often and on occasion nearly avoid collison due to the others.

 

I’ll see these same guys and girls tomorrow.

And keep striving, trying my hardest to be the fifth car, not any of the first four.

 

Health, money, integrity, trust.

All our destinations.

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The Prophecy

When I stand around an angel I can feel the beams reflecting

but the settled light suggests a word confessed has been infected.

If she sings as bright as Venus life expansions soothe the hurt in me,

and wings align in skies that raise the sacred birth of Mercury.

The waters run a little quicker. Cleaner. Clear as tears and dreams.

An ocean of angelic frost assembles over fields and streams.

But when she minds her bothers and facilitates emotion

there’s a fleeting feeling altered from a peace become commotion.

The astral inflections fade to distant riffs and rumbling.

Humble be the thundering conun-drumming in front of me.

Valleys sink with instant rifts while crumbling the knolls

and mighty seas disseminate, the mountains were atolls.

The tempest runs from dense to thin but wings are finally folded in.

A golden grin can end the swell, the zinfandels will grow again.

When I stand around an angel I can feel the inner struggle.

I can sense a  soul and know the beauty rooted deep with trouble.

A scarab with a center born of lightning strikes and Westerlies

cushioned in a heart of crystal, amethyst, and destinies.

I feel awash with senses brought to stratums never pioneered.

A moment of intense intrinsic listening from higher tiers.

I never feel fraternity like the solid strains that grab me

transferring exotic tapestries by synaptic veins of clarity.

The strangest love of all pronounced with tongues of seraph heritage

with equal parts of light and dark I see the cherub cherishes.

I’ll pity life within the sites where focal points align

but something other than my own existence fits within this guise.

After I’m around an angel vespers fade to wordless whispers.

I’m alone with knowledge known of silent tones I won’t remember.

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One True Thing

Back when I was half as young as I am now I had a friend who was a very talented musician, compulsive positive soul, and hilarious son-of-a-bitch. One of those people who just jumped in and started hanging out, the way you can only do when you’re 15, 16, and 17. He was a cool guy, had a girl, went to school, and kept his britches up. Honestly enough was life with him that years later I’m working out in the downtown YMCA and see him on the cover of Style Weekly. Old School Freight Train had formed itself from a few boys and one chanteuse who could saw horse hair as good as she could likely write.

“Good for them” I remember thinking.

Soon after I started seeing them play around town pretty often and saw an Old School Freight Train debut album in Plan 9’s Local section. A couple of friends were digging ’em too and so we had a number of good times driving up to an hour or so to see them at hippie venues, outdoor festivals, and random other settings.

It was a sunny morning in a Dutch town named Breda when I laid in bed and listened to their second album. To slow tones of the opening song “Runnnnnnnnnnn” are a heart warming parade of harmony to my heart still. The sounds later changed from the acoustic, new grass, celtic, jazz and soul covers, onto more developed sounds and instruments.

That was all around ’02 to ’06 more or less. Now there are 3 OSFT LP’s with an additional live gem of a various hits CD recorded from Ashland Coffee & Tea. Jesse spent the last few years playing more on solo ventures and explorative collaborations than with the original members. A few of which had come and gone at this point. In 2011 he still sees the gang but has launched a more independent identity and been interactive with his personal mailing list and social media pages. Last year I downloaded his first solo Jesse Harper And His Best Intentions album that was available early via download. Anyone who followed his links know that he only suggested you pay whatever you felt was appropriate.

That’s background up until two days ago.

I received an email from him this past July with “Help Me Make My Next Album” in the subject line. Kickstarter.com is a webpage that helps people raise funds for various purposes, so he was asking for donations that would allot him the opportunity to go to LA and record his next personal LP and had set up various packages and levels of contribution using its service. Everyone got a bear hug and a high-five, and depending on how much you put towards it, CD’s, downloads, tickets to shows, postcards, and even jam sessions. I think he probably sold a ton of people immediately somehow. His personality transferred through the communication clean as a whistle.

“From me to you:”

After having problems using the payment option where I can log on through my Amazon account and apply those settings to the kickstarter page Jesse and I ended up emailing and talking a refreshing number of time. It had been a while but he seemed identical to the man we used to call Guitar-zan back in the day. I hadn’t seen him in any real way for 5 or 6 years. Most of those years I missed 9 out of 10 shows just due to my work schedule but the touring schedule had become larger and larger. The second album was actually released on a label owned by David Grissman (a big deal) and they were playing coast to coast and knocking ’em out at some of the state’s largest music festivals.

They didn’t play here but every so often at that point.

Jesse’s email had reached and touched enough people to climb deep into the seat of success and the end was all but spoken for. He felt so good about it he opened up his home to everyone who contributed to the cause and made plans for a grand evening of high-fives and bear hugs.

I RSVP’ed.

It ended up being a grand old shindig born and bred from a two-way valve of generosity and gratitude. I met a friend of theirs on the porch who was bringing out cups to a little table on the front porch and then with perfect timing was greeted by Jesse’s wife Kate who peeked through the screen with a smile, stepped out with a “Hi! Are you WillyJac?”.

Funny.

That little ditty came from Jesse the first time we hung out way back when and stuck in an odd way over the years from people who knew both of us. He typically stuck to his guns on calling me that and mixed it up with WallyJac sometimes too.

She introduced and hugged and talked about how we’d probably met sometime before (Kate’s the same girl) and then as if on cue Jesse came out too. “Heyyyy”. Big hug and “What’s up WillyJAC”. They showed me around, I helped ’em set up and we all had a blast as we chipped and dipped through some of the most amazing Texas caviare and enchilada dip and washed it down with homemade margaritas. More specifically, his margarita is 100% fresh squeezed lime juice met by tequila and a jigger of Orange Patron.

Cinco de Mayo on Mars is probably only half this good.

Some of the people there were good friends, family, and a few were just big fans. The first ten or fifteen people who showed up I received a formal introduction to and realized quickly that one was just as open and talkative at the other. We all chatted around in different groups, inside and outside, and we all checked the laptop at varying intervals to see how high the funding had reached. It got “stuck” it seemed around $9,908 or so. Less than $100 from the goal. We all kind of knew it was gonna be taken care of. In between coming back to it we talked about Jesse’s music and how glad we were to see him supported by his listeners so he could continue on his chosen path as an acoustic creationist.

It was a high spirited group entirely.

Jesse had a funny sign reiterating his thanks, and suggesting we use the laptop freely to spread the word during the final hours of the project. He had a big parchment covering the desk that said “We are all part of One True Thing”, a heart, and markers to leave your signature and/or a message.

Mingling around gave Jesse chances to chat with other people as much as it gave other people a chance to say Hey to him.

When we’re young, guys bond a lot of the time of jokes and comedy and humor and riotousness, and I had always thought Jesse one of the most humorous people you could know. So after getting used to him telling people I was WillyJac and asking me why I don’t tell people that’s my name, he emphasized to the friend of his I had just met and says “Hey, so and so, you’ll like this. WillyJac here I knew back in the day and was an influence on like 90% of my sense of humor.” I’m not going to go on about it but that was a compliment I’d wear on a shirt. Awesome.

After, who knows how many, margaritas (little but amazing, every one) I had to head out. I had made a 2:20:00 mix recently that was perfect to give me something to rock out to for the trip there and the trip back. The road to Charlottesville was a crescendo of mind over a traveling body. The time at the house of an old friend held the course on a slow and steady elevation. The event as it was had no room for improvement. And though it was tough I headed back home and picked up where I left off on my tunes made and mixed for a road trip. Windows down, sun roof open. The night was nice and just cool enough.

A ways down 64 I thought, “I was right.”

I had thought on the way down about how I was probably at the time heading to something I was always going to think back on and smile.

Smile.

Think a little more about it.

And smile.

It was good to know myself and so many others had tried to help an incredibly appreciative person.

and that “One True Thing”

was going to happen.

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This weekend posed the opportunity to see a very special wedding between two people who, like small town people tend to be, are treasured in ways that most of us can only envy. I love a wedding when strangers are friendly, open, and fun. Even starting the day feeling pretty crumby and struggling with some issues until late in the afternoon couldn’t keep my spirit down from wanting to enjoy this day. The event took place in the Northern Neck, which is very similar to our own little hometown except that instead of thinking about train tracks you have the river. This is where bride was born and raised. The groom is a person who was firmly embraced by long standing family friends as well as those of his own life. Doubly so after being diagnosed with an extremely rare heart condition that required him to under go a full heart transplant as a young adult preceded by a period of painstaking waiting and worsening in condition. To see him in love and getting married to someone who was as good a fit as she is was simply endearing to give audience to. Uplifting. The day was fraught with surprising elements and features adding accent that personalized event. They had wooden beachy looking signage around the ceremony and reception that had their names or one-word philosophic reminders like “dream” or “hope” or “dance”. The inspiration that love created was everywhere. They had two arondack chairs to sign before going to the reception and lemonade to treat those waiting for a marker. It was the kind of wedding that showed how easy it can be to live and love and bring people together for a fun and memorable day. With an envious heart and misty eyes I wish them a lifetime of endearment and connection, and I thank them for bringing us all together to make today so meaningful for everyone.

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We’re at an age where some people are commenting on being too old in regards to something or make a remark on another person who’s younger than the bunch.
At our house it’s bit of a retired argument in a lot of ways, but there’s a bit of perspective that just revolutionized my interest in persuading those against feeling too old, too ahead of time.
I’ll refrain entirely from the truth that “age is a state of mind” for this one.
When I look at pictures from this weekend and see so many adults having totally wicked, entirely wholesome fun, my mind jumps to visions of when my parents or my aunts & uncles would talk about the fun things they used to do. Back when they we’re always at the lake on the weekend during the Summer, or camping in Hatteras. Back when there was a Camptown Race every year to go to. They always talked about these times being some of the best years of their lives. The picture is certainly that of someone’s hay-day.
Then it hit me that this was when they were our age. My sister and I were kids, so my parents would have been in their 30’s back when we were hanging around different places trying to behave while they carried on with their friends. It made me think we’re living in those times right now and don’t even realize it.
I don’t hear most people I know really talk about getting older with this go ahead and stop trying, why go out and act up, how dare she try and wear that at her age, kinds of mentality. So maybe some of us aren’t spending time dwelling on not being 19 or 20 still.
Keep in mind, no matter what, we’ll never be 19 or 20 again. But would you really want to be? Would you rather trade your last vacation and well-needed break from the norm for staying out late tonight and getting up early to take an exam? I rather be here and no than anywhere, any time else.
I think nowadays things are better than the last decade. Better than college. Better than high school. My friends have meant more to me since the early 2000’s when I cleaned shop and got rid of all the people who caused me problems and were more of a drag than they were fun. My understanding of life and times and the meaning of it all I think grows each year. I’m personally more and more in touch with myself and accepting my accomplishments along with my room to grow. Now is hot you guys. Now is what’s in.
I don’t think all the stories our parents and the friends of the family love to talk about were tainted with worries about being too old to do what they were doing or whether or not they looked like adults trying to hang on to their youth.
I wish everybody had the experience to spend so much time with seniors and the elderly that I did between ’02 and ’11, because I was privy to all kinds of conversations and situations that influenced one’s perspective on age. To try and act, or make yourself seem “old” at 30 around them was insane. They remember themselves at 30 and talk of it like it was their childhood still. All kinds of different people have told me their best days started in their 40’s. My mom would tell you she’s loving her 50’s a lot of days.
Doesn’t that make it seem like there’s no use in worrying about being 30-something? Not only because time is inevitably going to keep moving forward, and we’ll continue getting older by the day, but also because you’re missing out on what beauty is being offered to you as you stand in the here and now. Worrying about the person next to you having the energy you use to have, or being able to maintain their body image more easily than we can now – all of it’s just rubbish thinking. A Buddhist would say these are poisonous thoughts, and things we have control over if we decide we want to change from that way of thinking.
I think a lot of times we want to be younger “just because”. And obviously theres no substance in the desire; even those who want to most won’t ever get the chance to “go back”.
So whenever you’re having that anxious moment where you’re totally fixated on the age you “are” as a problem because you’re no longer the age you “were”, try and remember what you have. And even if there are a few things that are nicer or easier about being that age, there’s probably not much you would enjoy, the way you think you would, if you were back there.
Besides, if all that were true it would be such a “downer” of a conversation.
This is all part of my Feel Good To Be You campaign because, I’m really on your side.

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