13 April 2011

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED

THIS BLOG HAS BEEN MOVED!

Please visit:

http://blog.paulduane.net

There will not be any new posts on this page - please visit the new page and subscribe (on the right hand side) so that you can be updated when I post new awesome things.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo,
Paul Duane

08 April 2011

The controversy begins

I had the privilege and pleasure of FINALLY shooting my piece de resistance, "The Blood And Sins Of This Generation". I have not released the final image yet, as I'm still doing some work on it. I did, however post a few behind-the-scenes images on Facebook. I've been planning this shoot since last October, and anyone who is close to me has been hearing me ramble about it for MONTHS on end. SO.... I figured that a few out-takes and behind the scenes photos would be fun to share.

I put up several photos, including this one of myself with my model, Amie. Someone reported it to Facebook as "inappropriate", and it was removed. I now have to sign all of these stupid agreements that I understand the terms of facebook usage, that I agree not to post inappropriate material in the future, etc. What a pain in the ass! At first I was really angry. A few minutes have passed, and I have regained my perspective. Of course it happened. That kind of response is what this shoot was calculated to evoke.

The final piece is layered in symbolism and social commentary. I'll give you the short of it right now: On the first level, it is a recreation of a firing squad execution, inspired by the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner by the state of Utah in 2010. My goal is to create a photograph that is incredibly repulsive, to evoke even a small part of the horror that is the reality of our society's practice of capital punnishment. To do this, I decided to sexualize it. My decision to sexualize the scene is a satire upon the right wing portion of society's tolerance, and even fascination with, violence. The naked, sexy girl, of course represents the repressed desires of this same portion of society. The fact that she has been executed is a representation of the way many people must "kill" their desires, because they are unable to come to terms with them in a healthy way.

In summary, I am:
  • depicting the revolting reality of capital punnishment
  • satirizing and critisizing the dichotomous hatred and fascination with sex
  • satirizing the tolerance of violence and intolerance of sexuality in mainstream entertainment
  • raising questions about 2 conflicting models of moral accountability (I have not given this any treatment yet... it's a longer story, and I'll write more about it soon).
The role of the artist is to disturb.

I'm not here to make pretty pictures.
I am here to free t
he slaves.

UPDATE:
As I logged on to Facebook today, I was presented with a screen informing me that YET ANOTHER one of my photos was reported as inappropriate. I had to check a box agreeing that I would not post more inappropriate photos before I could log in. I also have been banned from uploading photos for the next 7 days. Here are two more photos that got removed:





24 February 2011

by NO, I mean YES.

I am plagued by ambitious dreams. There are so many things I love and so many things I wish I could spend time doing... one of my greatest downfalls is that I try to do them all.

I just got off the phone with a local photographer friend of mine who is very busy doing a lot of projects that I WISH I was doing. I started perusing his images... with all due respect to him, my quality of work is absolutely commensurate with his. But he most certainly has an edge on me...

...and then I saw a photo of Geddy Lee. HE SHOT RUSH on this last tour, and I did not.

HE SHOT RUSH.

R - U - S - H......!

That lit an incredible fire under my ass. DAMMIT. GOD DAMMIT. ROB has done one of my dreams shoots, and I don't think he even gives a shit about RUSH!!!!

That's all I needed to see in order to drive this point home. I have spread myself too thin, and many of my goals remain unaccomplished.

This is not me giving up - this is me realizing how ACCOMPLISHABLE my goals really are... and realizing that I have been saying yes to too many things, and in doing so, have unwittingly said no to some very important things.

So, here we go.

No. I will not shoot your family portrait.*
No. I will not shoot your senior portrait.*
NO, I will not shoot your paintball team.
No, I will not photograph your baby.**
No, I will not take pictures of ____________.

*Unless, of course, said photo shoot will take place in a very exotic, exciting location, or there are famous people involved, or you are paying me a god awful huge fee to do so, or some other reason that makes it an exceptional case.
** Unless you are my sister.

I am getting laser beam focused on what I want to accomplish. I am going to straight up start asking for work in these 2 or 3 categories. I will make phone calls. I will shoot for free at first. I will do bust my balls to create epic pieces on these gigs. I will say NO to anything that does not fit into one of these groups.

By saying NO, I can now start saying YES to what really matters.

06 February 2011

the words you aren't saying are deafeningly loud

8:29 am, sunday morning. I've just dropped off Makelle at Mireesa's house so she can go to church with her. Today is the day for Makinley and I to go to breakfast together. It's our regular daddy-daughter date. I do this every visit with the girls on an alternating basis.

I'm sitting at the computer in my mom's living room doing a little bit of foot work for my newest project while I let Makinley sleep in a bit. I know she loves her Z's.

My mother is getting ready for church. The only sounds you can hear are the rapid fire clicks of my fingers on the keyboard, and my mother's labored sighs. Every minute or so, she emits a sigh that, though only a few decibels loud, carries crushing, thunderous weight. This is the sigh I've heard from her my whole life.

This is a sigh that cries of exhaustion. It is fear, regret, a deep unspeakable knowing that she just may have missed the boat. It is a sigh that is hoping, praying, pleading, to a God that isn't answering her. This is the sound of her trying to tell herself that everything is going to be okay, because she's going to church.

This is the sigh of a slave.

A self imprisoned slave.

My mother is not happy doing this. People who are passionate and fulfilled in what they are doing do not make this sound.

Mom, if you are reading this, I know this will be very hard to hear from me, so... I'll let you hear it from someone else.

Sheryl Crow! HAHAHAHA

"If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad... if it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?" - Sheryl Crow, "If it makes you happy"

All the tearful testimonies in the world, all the proclamations of knowing with "every fiber of my being" cannot speak louder than this little sigh.

There are a few things that are arguably compulsory, like going to work so that you can pay for life's necessities. Sometimes work is a bitch, I'll give you that... but today is different. This is a 'day of rest'. You don't have to go to work today, mom. You don't want to go to church! You don't want to go to these meetings! You really don't want to do this, and it's shockingly obvious to all within ear shot of you. It has so been for as long as I have known how to use my ears!

"By their fruits ye shall know them.” - JESUS (Matt. 7:20)

Mom, you have told us a truth that you are afraid to even admit to yourself. Your body and subconscious mind cannot hold the sighs in. You are not happy.

I know that you lose sleep at night wondering why all 3 of your children have abandoned the church. The answer may be found in your sigh. If it doesn't make YOU happy, how do you expect any of us to find joy in it?

Mom, I love you - and I want nothing more in the world for you to BE happy. I do not know what that path would look like for you; it is my most sincere hope that you find it.

10 January 2011

Didn't realize I was into that kind of thing

I'm almost embarrassed to admit this. I really didn't think I was that kind of guy. I mean, I was CERTAIN that I wasn't that kind of guy.... until a few days ago.

You see, I'd always thought of cars as mere tools... just a way to get me and my things from point A to point B. Nothing more, nothing less. I have a long history of economical, practical driving relationships... 1990 Accura Integra, 1989 Toyota Camry, 2001 Honda Civic, and most recently, a 1997 Kia Sephia. No-frills, high miles, and for the most part, very fuel efficient vehicles. My most recent tool, the Kia, had been showing signs of trouble all year... the driver's side door handle broke, the vent system for the heating / AC did not work, it seems to have an annual appetite for ignition coils (not something one should have to replace every 5,000 miles), and the car reminded me of someone with nicotine shakes... the voltage in the electrical system would flutter - the headlights would pulsate in small cycles of brightness. It almost looked like I was running a stereo that was SO powerful, the amplifier was selfishly sucking up most of the car's juice to make the bass hit hard.... except that it wasn't.

Last tuesday morning, like an onery 6 year old who refuses to put her shoes on to leave for church, the Kia was not in the mood to start. It was obstinate. Cranking the engine over brought only sputtering protests. I knew this day was coming. I proceeded to jog to work, deciding to just go to work without her. Damn Kia can stay home, see if I care.

One of the routes I frequently deliver includes the Audi / Porsche dealership. There seems to be a certain kind of douchey person that the Audi dealership attracts... everyone is in a black turtle neck, everyone has a meticulously messy haircut, and everyone is wearing thick black rimmed glasses. Everyone reminds me of Steve Jobs. Everyone seems to look "artsy" but yet, one can tell that they really are just "accountanty". Audi drivers are lame, lame, lame.

Back to my dead Kia...

I was very stressed out. It was over due for inspection, it needed a host of repairs before it would pass, and I was not in a position to dump large amounts of money into this car. For those of you who have known me for a while, there was a point where I lived for 18 months without a car. My lifestyle has changed quite a bit since then, and a car is a complete necessity. I have weekly bass lessons in Draper, band practice (requiring me to transport bass and amplifier), and weekly photo shoots that often require some driving. And then there's the issue of getting to Logan to see my girls... I was stressed about my stranded state.

I was chatting with a friend about finding a repair shop, when he suggested that I buy his car from him. He had a car sitting in his driveway that he just never used, and was pretty happy to liquidate. I initially laughed, as said car was, in my mind, fantastically out of my price range. I shared that perspective with him, and he replied with a price that was shockingly low. After confirming that he was not drunk or high, I quickly accepted the offer. The amount he wanted for this car was, in all likelihood, very near the amount of money I'd need to sink into the Kia to get it back up and running in a reliable way... so it seemed a no-brainer.

One of the big lessons I seem to keep re-learning in life is that we often become just like those that we chide.

I just bought an Audi.

Hold on while I find my black turtleneck douche bag uniform...

The car could have been an old Honda, and it would have still been a fantastic deal. I really knew nothing about what it means to drive an Audi. For years, I have slightly scoffed at those who put resources into driving luxury European cars. It made no sense to me.


....until now.

See that filthy little A4 sitting in the garage? She and I just got done with a dirty romp on I-15. She is NOT a cheap date. She likes premium, and drinks it like a fish.

I must say though... she puts out. WOW, does she ever.... that was an amazing ride. She has more energy than cars 1/10th her age. Flawless body, incredibly responsive, and curves... I mean takes the curves, in a most enchanting way.

I get it now. I hate to admit this, but I'm in love with this car. I never thought I'd say that about ANY car, but I'm there now. This 1999 Audi A4 Quattro 2.8 is an amazing machine. It's got 127k miles on it, and yet it feels more new than most new cars. The leather interior is in perfect condition. The engine is oozing with power. The speedometer goes up to 160, and I totally believe it. I drove through snowy conditions in the canyon, and the quattro all wheel drive made that car stick to the road like white on rice. I've never been in a more sure footed vehicle. On the way home, I-15 was relatively empty and the roads were dry. I really struggled to not cruise at 95mph. This car drives so quietly, so smoothly, and with so much untapped power, 80mph feels like a granny's pace. The engine's boredom at anything less than 100mph is palpable. Like a man whose lover wants it again for the 7th time, but is overtaken by an inescapable 3 hour refractory period, I wished I could give Ms. A4 more, but I could not.

I won't bore you with all of the details about this car, it must suffice to say that it's really a work of art. The construction and design of this vehicle are incredible. Okay, I will bore you with this detail... I stopped for a latte before leaving Logan. Just before entering Sardine, I noticed that there was a pleasant, understated red glow illuminating the white lid of my coffee cup as it sat in the designated cup holder. I shit you not - there is a tiny red spot light that comes on to illuminate your drink, that matches the color of all the rest of the illuminated dash controls. Art, I tell you.

ROBBERY! Robbery, I tell you! At this point in the story, we have arrived back in SLC, and I'm topping off the tank before going home. I say "topping off" in a very liberal sense. What I really mean is "filling up". I left for Logan with a full tank of gas, and somehow, I've burned a large portion of it. 11 gallons in 211 miles? But... but... but.... my Kia got 35 miles / gallon!

I know, I know... I should not compare the two, just like you should not try to compare your current girlfriend to a past lover. You'll always walk away from that inner dialogue feeling funky. The Kia is probably not capable of speeds sufficient to arouse the interest of a highway patrolman. The Audi could probably outrun the highway patrolman, and if I'm to be honest with you, I fantasised about doing just that, all the way home.

I'm still mulling over the new ramifications of this new relationship to driving. I never thought I'd be a "car guy".... but I'm seriously considering committing. I've never had so much fun driving. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, that car will require a lot of maintenance... but wow. I'm kind of hooked.

Driving kicks ass now. I'm 16 all over again.

01 January 2011

Magazine Cover!


My photo of the Salt Lake Temple, "Reconsiderations", was feartured on the cover of Sunstone Magazine! Check it out:

http://www.paulduanephoto.com/2011/01/01/cover-of-sunstone-magazine

This is a huge milestone for me, for sure, and a wonderful way to start 2011.

I am here to free the slaves.

28 December 2010

Is it any wonder?

I have a little story to tell about the home I grew up in as a child. I was born to 2 very good people. Very mormon people, it's worth mentioning. My mother, in fact, is not just mormon, but has a mind and heart that is kind of stuck in the victorian era. She is a tad fanatical about modesty, champions repressed sexuality, and just looooooooves the 'establishment'. I think she should marry it. I digress.

My parents still live in the same house they moved into when they got married. I'd like to introduce you to the bathroom - specifically, the bath tub area, in which I spent time every day of my upbringing.... naked, wet, and alone with my thoughts...
More on that in a second. Let's first take a look at the bath tub area:















Here we have an antique porcelain claw foot bath tub. On the walls that the tub faces, we have some wall paper that is worth examining a bit closer... (It's worth noting that this wall paper has been on that wall for all 34.5 years of my life. )

Here are some detail shots:
















Hmmm... let's see. Here we have a man playing the piano, with 2 very sexy ladies standing there, adoring his musical talents. A musician getting chicks... veeeeeery interesting.
To the right, we have a scupture of a nude female. Naked women = art. Another noteworthy lesson. Moving along...
















On the left, We have what appears to be a barber shop trio. Where is the 4th man? It's supposed to be a quartet, is it not? I'm sure he's off with one of the barber shop groupies, having relations behind the bar. To the right, we have a painting of a show girl on a swing, furthering the notion that pretty girls are valuable decorations in a naked, wet man's life. What else is a hot girl on a swing good for, anyway?

Next exhibit:















This may be my favorite set of frames in the montage. On the right, we have the trusty bar tender. He's a man of solid build and solid character. You can, and have, told him all your troubles. He knows exactly what elixir to serve you on any given day, and any given mood. As you can see in the paintings behind him, he, too, appreciates the finer points of feminine beauty.
To the left, we have a lovely portrayal of a naked woman. She's strategically covered up by a sheet. Now that I'm a more experienced man, I recognize this as a classic post-sex semi-covered up pose. As a young boy, I simply marveled at the mystery of this naked lady in waiting. Who is she? What pleasures is she about to experience? What shape are her breasts, that the artist has deftly left to my imagination to decide?

One does not need to understand Pavlovian conditioning to be affected by it. Naked women - musicians - booze - sexily dressed women. All there for my daily contemplation as a naked, wet, curious young boy, beginning from the time I was a baby.

Is it any wonder that I've turned out the way I am?

:-)

Thanks mom!

26 December 2010

Christmas 2010.... So soon?

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you may recall my blog post from last christmas...

Tonight, I post in incredibly similar, yet vastly different circumstances.
Last year, I was laying on the sofa in my parent's house, near the christmas tree. I was wrapped in blue blanket with some forgettable floral pattern on it. On my earbuds, my ipod was playing a playlist aptly named "nite tunes". Its a collection of about 120 mellow songs that I love to drift off to sleep to. This year, the same playlist is softly singing in my ears, the very same blanket is keeping me warm, and exactly as last year, in the wee hours of the morning, I lay here and tap out an entry on my blackberry.

Last year, my dad was in the Huntsman cancer hospital. My mom was asleep alone at my apartment in SLC. My kids were asleep in the other room with my sister. We were all scattered, sick, afraid.

2010 has been triumphant in many ways.

Tonight, my mom and dad sleep together in their room. Kin and Kel are with me tonight. They share a bed and enjoy that kind of happy slumber that is unique to a kid that has been spoiled on christmas day.

Mireesa, though the kids aren't with her tonight, has her parents and brother, Nate staying with her tonight.

There is a certain peace in the air tonight that I'm grateful for. I think tonight's tranquillity is particularly salient as I contemplate the state of affairs 365 days prior. We all have a lot to be grateful for.

2010 has been a wonderful year for me. I'll be writing more about that, soon. I am absolutely certain 2011 will be nothing short of thrilling and grand.

Whatever significance the 25th of december holds for you, I hope it has been an excellent day.

Much love-

Paul

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

21 December 2010

Powerful Beyond Measure

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

- Marianne Williamson

02 December 2010

All biology textbooks become obsolete today

Today, NASA will give a press conference detailing the discovery of a new life form. The bacteria was discovered in Mono Lake, California. This bacteria breaks every rule of biology we have ever known. Up until today, we have thought that all life forms are composed of 6 things: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. These are the building blocks of all living things on earth, and we had confidently assumed that these are what make life possible.

Until today...

The NASA scientists have discovered a bacteria whose DNA is made of arsenic, which was thought to be impossible.

All of the biology textbooks become obsolete today. Every "fact" about life is no longer as hard and fast as it once was. What a brilliant and exciting thing!

"Whom the gods wish to make a fool, they first make certain" - Tucker Max.

I love paradigm shattering discoveries like this. I love it when we humans are reminded that we, in fact, DON'T know everything, that our "facts" are merely one sided observations of a world whose facets evade our enumeration.

It is moments like this that make the certainty of atheism seem like a childish, agenda laden rant.

There is really only one thing of which we may be certain:

One can never be sure.

If this offends your sensibilities, I ask you - why is your ego so attached to certainty? What would it take for you to let go?

read more here: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/12/nasa-finds-new-life/

01 December 2010

lonely in SLC

I'm ready to admit something. This is hard for me to say...

I am lonely.

In the past, I equated loneliness with being desperate. I thought that only weird, socially inept, romantically unworthy people drifted into the cold weird space called 'lonely'. That certainly can't be me. When I go out, people know my name, even when I don't know theirs. People buy me drinks, they hug me, they high five me as they walk past. I can walk up to the hottest clubs in town, skip the VIP line, and walk in any time, never paying a cover. I get friend requests on Facebook from hot girls I've never even met. I regularly turn down invites to go out because I already have a previous engagement. I have 2 awesome daughters, great parents, and several friends that I'm very close to who will pick up any time I call. I've got a group of awesome guys, 'The boys', that I go out with and have raucous good times with. I've got great band mates that I really enjoy spending time with, I have extended family close by that I love to hang out with. I even have beautiful, intelligent women in my life that I could date on a serious basis if I would just say "yes".

Let's be honest. I have a really good life.

...and yet, I feel a void in my life. I've been blessed to have lots of great people in my life... and yet, none of us share the same orbit. We merely orbit near each other. I've realized that it's okay to feel lonely. I crave a partner in orbit.

I see people like Jon and Hillary, Monica and Allen, Tom and Carey... I watch them carry on life together, sharing awesome times with each other, creating memories.

Creating memories.... that thought carries a lot of weight in my soul right now.
If I died tomorrow, nobody would know anything of the greatness that my life has been so far. Many people know small parts of me. A few know a lot, but nobody knows me entirely. As they say, God is in the details, and those details are only known by me right now. I crave to share the glorious little bits of life with someone.

The aforementioned Monica is the drummer in the punk band I play with, The Toros. She and her boyfriend Allen have the most adorable relationship. We all stand by and admire what a fun, sweet, well suited couple they are. Monica and Allen are uber-nerds (she's a star trek fan, jew from texas, meteorologist, rock drummer), and Allen is a writer. If you know me at all, you know that I, too, am certainly not a one-size-fits-all kind of guy. She mentioned that they met on a dating site called Okcupid.com , and that the site used a very good matching algorithm. A few weeks ago, I decided to give it a shot, and posted a profile.

Initially, I was very impressed with the selection of local women on the site. One of the features of the site is a series of questions you can answer that create a profile of you on matters of ethics, religion, sex, politics, family, recreation, etc. I answered a few hundred of them, wanting to give this thing a fair shot.

Among several interesting prospects, I met a girl we will call Jane. According to OKcupid, we are a 97% match (for what that's worth). She looked like a cute girl in her profile pics, we have loads of things in common, and seemed to have good banter over text. On paper, she is AWESOME. We went out recently; she was pretty much what I expected - an adorable girl with a great head and heart. I had a great time with her. Just one problem... in the passion department, I wasn't feeling it.

Otherwise, I have found many absolutely awesome, fascinating, compelling women on there, and none of them live in UT. San Fransisco , New York, and D.C. seem to be the hotspots for the women I like.

I am feeling more and more like an oddball here in SLC, even with a decent number of non-religious folk in the city. I fully recognize that I'm an oddball, but it just seems that.... fuck, I don't know. It just seems like there aren't many people who are going about life the way I am. I find this very disappointing, to be honest. This life is an amazing path, and.... dammit! I just want to share it with someone who would appreciate it! Somehow, sharing always makes great things grand. I want to make memories with someone amazing, is that so much to ask?

I'm starting to feel like 98.76% of the single adult population out there is just really, horribly fucking bad news, totally unfit for any kind of relationship that is worth putting your heart into.

It's so weird. Growing up as a naive little mormon boy in Logan, SLC was THE BIG CITY.... seemed full of infinite possibilities. So many big buildings filled with different, interesting people.

I'm now realizing that those buildings are filled mostly with people who are busting ass to keep up with the Joneses. They leave those big buildings, rush home to watch TV, and get visually force fed more ideas of how they should dress, act, think, talk, spend, and love. They don't think of it as being force fed though. They think they are being entertained.

I'm losing my taste for SLC every passing week.

It's starting to feel like a tiny little town run by a good 'ol boys club. Though there may be a breadth of diversity, there is no real depth. Yes, there are 42 black people that live here. 17 muslims, 98 hipsters, 117 metal heads, 68 outed homosexuals, 45 catholics, 32 athiests, 134,876 closeted LDS homosexuals (this is the only pocket of diversity with any depth), 17 jews....

The rest are just wonder bread SUV driving whiteys of two varieties: those that are currently Mormon and secretly wish they weren't, and those who aren't Mormon anymore and can't stop stewing over it.

Where have the beautiful, curious, fascinating human beings gone?

SF, DC, and NY, I wish you weren't so far away from the place my 2 daughters call home.

18 November 2010

An Army of Thieves, of Self Freed Slaves

"Privilege has ruled for thousands of years
Wars have been fought with bibles and tears
Yet liberation can't deny the temptation
And soon becomes the oppressor

Show me a leader who's fit to lead
Who don't sew his seed in anything
Wounded enough to breed
Because after all what fun is power
If you can't act like a rock star?

See me, I've been cruel
I've been petty and unkind
But I know my own mind
And since it seems clear
There's no one leading us here
The only thing left it appears
Is to task ourselves to be better each time
Then those before us

We'll be an army of thieves
Of self-freed slaves
Of mild-mannered maids
We'll fight with whispers and blades
So get ready, a new day is dawning"

- "The New Wild West" Jewel Kilcher

04 November 2010

seeking musicians

Here are the first tunes that the band will be learning, in order to get stylistically oriented and learn to gel as a group quickly:

(pause the main music player on my blog before starting THIS one, of course:)


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

02 October 2010

The Cage Is The Problem

How many addicts do you know? How many people in your world are curiously tied to something... pot, TV, porn, prozac, heroin, apple pie?

For years we have been taught about addiction in terms of the disease model. In a nutshell, it goes like this: Our brains have a reward system that makes us feel good when we do certain things. Typically things that have survival value trigger the reward system... food, sex, etc, thus increasing the likelihood that we will do these things again and thus survive to perpetuate the species. The disease model states that addiction comes from a manipulation / problem with the brain's internal reward system. Cocaine, for instance, causes a rush of the same neurotransmitters that are present during orgasm. The disease model states that we then become "hooked" on these increased levels of activity in the reward system. The culprit is a chemical reaction between the outside substance and the mechanisms of your brain.

Seems pretty reasonable, eh?

BUT... have you ever noticed that some people are able to do certain drugs without getting hooked on them? Nancy Regan's "DARE" anti drug program ttaught us all that if we even TRIED heroin one time, a hellish and lifelong addiction would result.
I know that you can think of exceptions to this rule with everything from cigarettes to any number of hard drugs.

Several years ago a researcher decided to take another look at addiction. First, let's look at how addiction was studied in the past. Rats would be placed in small cages (about the size of 2 shoe boxes), and were offered two water sources: clean water, and heroin laced water. When the rats developed a preference for the heroin laced water, researchers concluded the seemingly obvious: heroin is addicting.

Researcher Bruce Alexander decided to manipulate one of the variables: the cage. He created a huge "rat park"... a large habitat complete with trash piles, room to run, breed, etc. It was an expansive and fairly realistic rat habitat. He put rats into the "rat park" that had been "addicted" to heroin in the previous lab situation. Again, they were given 2 water sources: clean water and heroin laced water.

The rats came to favor the clean water.

Perhaps the problem is not the drug... it is THE CAGE.

You can read more about the study here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Park

Though there have been some criticisms of the study, it still provides something for us to ponder...

So often, we self medicate. We do things, we take things, we indulge, to make ourselves feel better.

What is causing this discomfort in the first place?
What cages are you in?
What would you feel like if that cage were to be disolved?

In freedom -

Paul

20 June 2010

two wrongs do not make a right

Today's headline on KSL: "Ronnie Lee Gardner executed by firing squad"

If you have ever paid taxes in the state of Utah - you, along with me, have participated in a murder today.

Some of my money - albeit a small amount (murder comes cheap these days), was used to kill a man. You probably also helped pay for this killing. And if you didn't help pay for Gardner's killing, you've probably helped fund the murder of someone else, particularly if you live in Texas, home of the most prodigious execution chamber in the nation.

Ronnie Lee Gardner is guilty of murder, and my deepest sympathies go out to the loved ones of his victim.

The whole basis of this proposition is that killing another human is wrong. This is why we put him in prison and charged him with a high crime.

And our solution?

Commit the same wrong.

Some of you may argue that capital punishment is a fair "this for that" treatment.

It is a fact that many innocent men have been executed due to missteps by the "justice system".

How much is an innocent man's blood worth?

10 guilty killers? 100 guilty killers?

What if that innocent man sitting in the execution chamber was your brother, or father, or son? How much is HIS blood worth?

Let us end this barbaric, hypocritical, and often imperfect practice.

22 May 2010

The Toros - Live at Liquid Joes! 19 May 2010

Here are a few songs from our set at Liquid Joe's. Special thanks to our guitarist Mike for making the video happen.

There are VERY few things that I enjoy more than playing with a band. Life is GOOD!

16 April 2010

1:57 am

1:57 am:
As I pull into my parking spot, the cool night beckoned me to stay and contemplate for a moment. I pulled my bass amp out of the car and sat on it in the parking lot and took stock of my day. I got paid today to walk around the city in this beautiful weather. I got a date with a beautiful, interesting girl. My band finished recording our demo CD tonight. I got paid to take pictures at what is fast becoming my own "cheers", the Sandbar. I made some great new friends there tonight. A dear friend of mine finally found peace in her own life. Creative opportunities are showing up just a bit faster than I can produce them.... and this is what we call a "quality problem". I live in the middle of an interesting, opportunity laden city. I have a home that perfectly suits and facilitates my prefered lifestyle. LIFE IS GOOD. I just want to say THANK YOU.

11 April 2010

marriage and cheeseburgers

My daughters showed this brilliant video to me... Weird Al managed to capture the essence of marriage.


27 March 2010

Who's idea was this?

We live in a society of laws.

If you defy those laws, you will be forced to comply with them, by men who are pointing guns at you.

Most of those laws were created many years before you were even born.

You never were, nor will you ever have, a functional opportunity to decide whether or not you agree with those laws, and wish to live amongst them.

Here is the building that houses the men in suits who imagined those laws:

It's a pretty nice building.

It's fancier, more ornate, more expensive, than virtually any other office building in the state.

Ever wonder why a traditional, modest square office building wasn't good enough for the writing of those laws?

Why wouldn't an efficient, cost effective (albeit boring to look at) building suffice for the empowerment of the men with guns who will violently force you to obey the laws that you never had any say in?


And some say that capitalists are tyrants...

11 March 2010

The Toros - this is what we've been up to lately

Here are a few rough recordings of my band, The Toros:

"Cheerleading Is Not Just For Gay Boys Anymore"

Begging For The Surgery

And, a video of us playing "My Dad Used To Play Hockey" - our first gig at Bar Deluxe in SLC.

09 March 2010

Value

Some of you may know, during the past few years I've done a lot of reading, listening, research, etc, in the personal development realm. I have discovered a group that produces a podcast that has made a big difference in my life. They have done over 100 podcasts; I've posted links to a handful of podcasts that I feel exemplify the best of what these guys have to say.

The context of these conversations are dating for single guys... they talk in terms of principles that apply to all men, though. They don't spend time talking about the nitty gritty details / techniques of dating; they keep it at the conceptual level.

If I had learned this stuff several years ago... I probably could have saved my marriage.

Intro to Value Series 1:

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3


Advanced Value Series 2:

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

The rest of the podcast series can be found by clicking here: Pickup Podcast on iTunes

21 February 2010

Music that will matter

I often wonder about the direction of the music business... Whenever I listen to a great artist... Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, U2, (and of course, RUSH ;-)

I wonder... 20 years from now, which of today's emerging bands will still "matter"? Whose names will we recognize? Which of them will be major influences on bands that are emerging in 2030?

After listening to, and watching this video... I have to say... TOOL matters.

13 February 2010

Acceptance Speech - 14 Feb 2010

A few nights ago, my friend Erik and I were pondering the many wonders of life... and it came up that a life well lived should feel like you are IN an awesome movie, every day... that each day should be full of excitement and intrigue.

Indeed, I feel like my life is a movie... and you are all cast members.

I was thinking about what KIND of movie my life is...
It's definitely NOT a mainstream, cookie cutter story line. Not a chick flick (well.... it has it's moments). It's not an action / adventure / drama type of film either.

I think my life falls more into the "cult classic" category. My flies under the radar... is quietly subversive, full of irony, bad puns, biting social commentary, and ludicrous characters that seem to parody that which we loathe most in ourselves. The sex scenes are fantastic - as if I had read your deepest, darkest secrets... but I don't kiss and tell - so don't expect to ever hear about them. Oh, and the soundtrack? EPIC.

Strange Brew + Spaceballs + Pay it Forward +Fight Club + ___(insert some awesome, artsy film here)_________ + Spinal Tap = My life.

At first I thought of doing a weekly write up in a "closing credits" kind of format, but I decided that it would be too tempting to name names when it came time to give credit to characters like "asshole at work", "douchebag at the club" and "friend who seriously needs to get a life".

Nobody needs their worst moments immortalized. What DOES need to be immortalized are our finest moments - mine and yours... and so, I have decided to treat this column like an acceptance speech for an Academy Award.

That being said, let's get on with giving credit where credit is due this week:
In no particular order....



I'd like to thank Jeremy Tyler for being so the kind of guy who has razor sharp intuition and overflows with good, positive, constructive energy. I love people like you. Keep that up, my friend... it will take you places. I know that you already know that. :-)

My neighbour Maria, for bringing over a flashlight. Has anyone told you that you are beautiful today?

Big thanks for Jason Van Orden for introducing me to the concept of Mind Map software. I've started using mindmaps, and it has been a great tool for helping set my creativity free. I used mindmaping to do the artistic direction for a photoshoot this week, I outlined the structure of a book I am going to write, and will be using them today to get ready for an interview with a local artist tomorrow. I have a good feeling about this. I recommend Mindberry (www.MindBerry.net) for the Blackberry, and Freemind ( freemind.sourceforge.net ) for your desktop.

Nicole Atkinson - you are full of good energy and passion - I'm very excited to create these portraits of you. Thanks for coming along!

Erik Wendling - another fine week, my friend. Your positivity and centered, self secure nature are golden. Your superman comment has been on my mind all week - thank you.

Ursulla at Starbucks... thank you for admitting that Sade is hot enough to make you switch teams. That made my morning.

Karmen Samford, thanks for keeping me up waaaaaayyy too late on Monday. You are an interesting girl.

3 paw
, thank you for making this week an adventure. I got you, SUCKA.

03 February 2010

Hey Mom & Dad, Thanks for the awesome name!

UrbanDictionary.com gives the following definitions for my first name...

paul

1. A common given name for males, derived from the Roman surname Paulus (Latin: "small" or "humble"). Put simply, it is the greatest name to grace the Earth. Seriously. It is the best name in existance.

Why is the name Paul so awesome?
Cause' Stone Cold said so.

2. People who own, such as paul mccartney and paul rudd. usually they are offered the job of being pornstars but they prove themselves being too good for the camera, so they all decide to become porn directors to give the others a chance, which makes them very selfless people as well.

"i wish my name was paul it wouldnt be so hard to get chicks on the bus"

"having a name like eric really blows i wish the 4 letters in my name were p-a-u-l"

3. a guy that is sweet, cool, handsome, athletic, cute, nice, and thoughtful.

"my boyfriend is cheating on me,what should i do?"

"girl!,you need to dump his ass and find yourself a Paul"

24 January 2010

A doll

"Hey Dad, we should get one of these for grandma"
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12 January 2010

the artist and the lover of art

"Too often in the past we have thought of the artist as an idler and dilettante and of the lover of arts as somehow sissy of effete. We have done both an injustice. The life of the artist is, in relation to his work, stern and lonely. He has labored hard, often among deprivation, to perfect his skill. He has turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is marked by intense application and intense discipline. As for the lover of arts, it is he who, by subjecting himself to the sometimes disturbing experience of art, sustains the artist - and seeks only the reward that his life will, in consequence, be the more fully lived."

- JFK, 1962

25 December 2009

4:24 am christmas morning

My father is laying in a bed at the University Hospital.

My daughters are asleep next to my sister in the guest room at my parent's house.

My mother is sleeping on a futon at my apartment in downtown Salt Lake City.

I am laying awake on the sofa at my parent's house next to the christmas tree and Santa's deliveries.

My little girls' mother is at her house in Logan.

My sister's fiancé is in Phoenix, arms empty.

There is little semblance of christmas at my apartment where my mom is staying.

The university hospital offers even less.

My parent's house is an empty shell without them here.

We are all torn away from those we love this christmas day.

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Semantics of the Season


During the last few years, I have spend the majority of my days outside, not forbearing rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail... I've become very cognisant of the sun and it's effect on the earth. After spending countless hours working in the bitterness of deep winter, I understand why some cultures have found themselves engaging in sun worship. I nearly do it, myself. I LOVE the sun.

The 3rd week in December features both the winter solstice and a major Christian celebration. 21 Dec is the shortest day of the year; 22 December marks the beginning of the return of the sun, and all it's life giving energy. During this week, I longingly look to the sun, distantly perched in the southern sky, and anxiously beckon it home for spring - the sun returns to a more prominent position in the sky, bringing warmth and ultimately, new life into the world. Plants and animals thrive, thanks to the sun. It does for them what they cannot do for themselves.

On the 25th of December, much of the world commemorates the birth of an infant who was also called The Son. As the old story goes, Jesus of Nazareth fed the 5000, caused the lame to walk, the blind to see; he illuminated the dark recesses of our own consciences with his unique teachings. The legend of the man is that he spent his life doing for mankind what they could not do for themselves. Regardless of your personal stance on the historical veracity of the Jesus story, the principle remains.

Let us take note of these two luminaries, and do likewise.

Let us make lights of our lives, and do for others, what they cannot do for themselves.

Much Love -

Paul

14 December 2009

A modern day Martin Luther


(click on image to see a larger version)

I'm sure many-a-mormon went home and repented of their latter-day-saintly ways immediately after reading this awesome flyer.

11 December 2009

"Jesus of Nazareth... who went about doing good"


http://www.sltrib.com/ci_13965607?source=most_viewed

For those who are not aquainted, the LDS church proclaims that it's (former) 3-fold mission is:

1. To perfect the saints (help keep one another out of trouble)
2. To proclaim the gospel (help keep YOU out of trouble)
3. To redeem the dead (do ordinances by proxy for dead folks... help get them out of any trouble they may have caused while alive)

It's nice to see the LDS church finally institutionalizing the main hallmark of Jesus Christ's ministry.

06 December 2009

wires and tubes

I sat by my father's bedside for 4 hours tonight. We didn't say much. He can't.
We never have; his cancer surgery furthers that scenario.

Tonight, I heard my dad laugh, saw him smile, for the first time since his operation. He laughed easily, as if he were just looking for even the slightest reason to laugh and cling onto some of those much needed endorphins. Most people are more reluctant to laugh; he seemed to need it.

Sitting in a chair, a dozen wires & tubes connected to his body, bound to this small room, silenced and hungry...

My dad broke down and cried.








My head may just explode.

05 December 2009

Christmas Revelation

New revelation given at Temple Square: baby Jesus born stranded in the middle of some freakin' pond - not in a manger as previously thought.

01 December 2009

And it must follow...

”This above all: to thine ownself be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
-Shakespeare-Hamlet

During the past several months, I have had experiences that have forced me to look deeply at my own motivations for things. It never ceases to amaze me how much pressure there is on each of us to comply with the will of some other person or group of people. We did not evolve as solitary animals; we are social creatures, courtesy of hundreds of thousands of years of natural selection. None of us should feel bad upon realizing how much we are susceptible to the opinions of others; let us each become aware of this tendency so that we may transcend mere humanity and become something more grand - our true selves. Only when we have learned to be honest with ourselves, can we ever share truth with others.

11 November 2009

Lacuna Coil


I was able to photograph and meet Lacuna Coil - what a great experience. Check out someof their best songs here:
http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewIMix?id=340050636

You can see the complete set of photos here:

24 October 2009

In the business of killing

10 years ago, this would have been science fiction. As if tax payer funded murdering was not perverse enough...
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04 October 2009

Elusive love for those who have wandered

It is general conference weekend; I'm in logan visiting my daughters. We are staying at my parent's house. My mother is watching conference in an adjacent room. I hear an apostle admonishing his sheep to pray for love for those who "have wandered". Condescension lies in the shadow of this pseudo spirituality. The irony is so bitter- a message that claims to be about uniting people has the unintended effect of creating the wedge.



"They shout about love but when push comes to shove- they live for things they're afraid of" - Neil Peart, "The Weapon"



I believe we all have love in us innately. Our primal source is love, we emanated from it. We ARE it.



Let go.



Let go of your illusions that others are different from you. Let go of your need to fix them. Let go of your need to be right. Let go of the notion that your path is better than theirs. Let go of any thought that causes you to see yourself as separate from others.



Be open to the idea that love is your core energy, love is your greatest natural trait. Consider that it is your upbringing and messages of separateness that have covered up your natural tendency to love, like many layers of poorly applied paint.



When you have stopped clinging to ego driven ideas.... When you have let go, you will find that your arms are open, and you will have returned to that natural state of love that has no conditions.

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25 September 2009

IMG00007-20090923-1627.jpg

Hmmm....
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30 August 2009

33

I'm now 33.
Below are two self portraits, taken 33 months apart.


August 2009

December 2006


My mind races to anticipate what the next 33 months will bring... it is hard to imagine; and yet - I know that imagining it is precisely the first step in creating it. Here's to an exceptional 33!

04 August 2009

Life in two dimensions is a mass production scheme

I had a small serendipitous moment today, which I shall share.
My iPod was shuffling various things, and seems to have a preference for the Gym Class Heroes lately. As "papercuts" was fading out, I approached a house on 10th east. A man emerged to get his mail from me, I noticed he was wearing

As I approached the house on 10th east, a man emerged to come get his mail from me. He had on a T shirt from the RUSH Counterparts tour. As I complimented him on his choice of shirts, my iPod shuffled to the following RUSH song... I've heard this song a million times, but for some reason, today, the lyrics sunk deeply into my mind and heart:

GRAND DESIGNS

So much style without substance
So much stuff without style
It's hard to recognize the real thing
It comes along once in a while
Like a rare and precious metal beneath a ton of rock
It takes some time and trouble to separate from the stock
You sometimes have to listen to a lot of useless talk

Shapes and forms against the norm
Against the run of the mill
Swimming against the stream
Life in two dimensions is a mass production scheme

So much poison in power, the principles get left out
So much mind on the matter, the spirit gets forgotten about
Like a righteous inspiration overlooked in haste
Like a teardrop in the ocean, a diamond in the waste
Some world-views are spacious
And some are merely spaced

Against the run of the mill
Static as it seems
We break the surface tension with our wild kinetic dreams
Curves and lines
Of grand designs...


- from the album "Power Windows"

26 July 2009

Reality is not much stranger than fiction... but at least the fiction has a kick ass sound track

Last winter, I saw this really crazy film:


...and then this morning, I read this story in the newspaper:
Jul 25, 4:32 AM EDT
Brooklyn man accused of buying, selling kidneys


NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -- Levy Izhak Rosenbaum of Brooklyn called himself a "matchmaker," but his business wasn't romance. Instead, authorities say,
he brokered the sale of black-market kidneys, buying organs from vulnerable people from Israel for $10,000 and selling them to desperate patients in the U.S. for as much as $160,000.
(read the rest of the story by clicking this link)
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_BLACK_MARKET_KIDNEYS?SITE=VASTR&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

19 July 2009

Somalis in SLC

I met a group of Somali refugee families while delivering on an obscure backstreet in downtown SLC. The families fled from Somalia to escape the war.

I'm always curious about how foreigners experience my home country, my home town. I'm curious how my neighbors treat them. Out of the large multi-family group. only a few of them spoke english - albeit broken. I asked about their experience here.. they remarked that Utah is much more hot than Somalia (and colder), but that they really like SLC.

"America good!
Americans good!
Thank you!!"

I'm not one for nationalism. I eschew identifying too strongly with anything larger than myself. And yet, for that moment, I felt proud to be an American.



Click on the image to see more from this series

18 July 2009

25 June 2009

Random snippet of dialogue from my past #47

Bishop: "Have you ever wondered if you are bi-polar?"

Paul: "Well, yes... in fact..."

Bishop: "My son is an artistic type - he paints. His doctor diagnosed him as bipolar, and he went on medication for a while. He didn't like it..."

21 June 2009

I went to a movie



I took my little girls out to a movie tonight. The storyline was familiar:

Boy meets girl
Boy grows up with girl
Boy daydreams with girl
Boy and girl daydream of a life of adventure
Boy marries girl
Boy grows old with girl
Boy loses girl to old age...
...boy continues on alone.

I cried.

Those damn tears, in needing to be wiped away, brought my physical self and my inner self's attention to a focused point - made me consider my losses. I've been that boy in a wide eyed state of wonderment... meeting a girl whose sense of adventure, whose life and love, seem perfectly tailored to my own. I know the ecstasy of letting my guard down completely, and finding that step into the unknown rewarded with the awe and wonderment of discovering a soul mate. The word 'home' took on new meaning, and new place - at her side.

Boy lost girl.

Boy is pretty philosophical about it now-a-days.

Boy wonders if he'll ever be able to trust enough to just free fall into love again.

Boy hopes so.


Though I don't pine away for her to return, my tears revealed a still open wound. We are all different now.


Boy wonders if being philosophical about it is just a bunch of bullshit.

01 June 2009

sidewalk scripture


Jesus is easy to trust. It's his followers that you must be wary of.

31 May 2009

grandeur of the sky


The grandeur of the sky demands nothing in return.

ghosts at home

This is the place:
My home town is a peculiar place. Mount Logan to the east, the Wellsvilles to the west... you always know where you are. Winston Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings; thereafter, our buildings shape us". Though our forbearers hardly shaped these majestic peaks, they did choose to become boxed in by them. One has to wonder how the mountains mold the malleable minds of men who live here. The businesses here are Run by people who grew up here, whose parents grew up here whose parents grew up here whose parents grew up here whose parents grew up here whose parents grew up here whose parents...

Heathens, visitors, and boxes:

On a sunday morning, only 2 cafes will serve me breakfast. One is full of lapsed mormons who seem to revel in the fact that they are not at church. This group is so concerned with "the box"... that one with the steeple that they are absent from... they seem to go to a certain effort to make sure people know that they are outside of "the box". The cafe is frequented by another class of non-believers: university professors. They have been imported, and sometimes seem befuddled at the presence of this box and all the fuss it receives.

Gravity of memory:
This town is full of ghosts. As I write this, I remember something about the table I'm sitting at. I once sat in this very space, and sipped iced tea with the love of my life - the girl I gave my whole heart to, only to have it broken. In this same spot, on several occasions, I sat with my laptop working on college papers - at times, painfully unaware of the futility of that pursuit.

Roads of ruin:
There are only so many roads in this town, and they are all veneered with memories. I can't go anywhere without traveling the path I took on my way to propose to my future ex wife. I remember driving to the drive-through with my mom, dad, brother and sister... the unique excitement of a hamburger, french fries, orange soda and a toy, all housed in a cardboard box of joy. I drive on the street I worked on when my grandmother died. I traverse the road I took home the night I lost my job. I drive past the office I entered to have my have our divorce papers notarized.


100 south... I could write volumes about this simple street. This is the street I grew up on. The church of my upbringing is on this street. My highschool is on this street. The studio I was photographically born in - is on this street. The highschool auditorium that hosted so many of my performances, is on this street. I walked this street hand in hand with love... and spent many nights running it when love had left me. This is where I came when my family was torn from me. This street houses the altar at which I sacrificed all I had in the name of God... and here, my cross was crudely constructed...even after paying "the uttermost farthing", I was beaten, broken, and left bleeding my most humble state of desperation. This street also is the place where the stone was put in place - the stone that would one day be moved from the cavernous tomb of my consciousness, letting the light of day in, and my consciousness, out, to live again... I wonder if, IF die... I will haunt this street as a forlorn ghost.

It's no wonder that people die. This tiny town is compacted with memories... which become tales, sad stories of what might have been. It's hard to not feel my age when I'm here. In a place that constantly reminds you of how old you are, it's no surprise that one grows old.

My new home is far from my family. It is also far from the sedimentary layers of sadness that are my home town. It is a place of change, a million people and a million-and-one opportunities. A longing heart, I suppose, is the price I pay to walk streets that are paved with possibility.

grave yard of dreams


Some office buildings are filled with ghosts.
3/4 empty, with tenents who seem to have all but given up on coming to work.
The forest green carpet once was so stately.
You can still feel reverberations of pride that once radiated from the brilliant new start up in suite #311. Echoes of ambition still haunt this space.
The once crystalline light fixtures have developed coffee stains too- the flickering fluorescent tube can barely stay awake.
These empty pastel plaid halls are the grave yards of dreams.

17 May 2009

congregations of the wicked

Good morning! This morning at my parent's home, they are, as ususal, playing BYU TV. A program is on, featuring a couple of "professors of church history and doctrine". (I'm certain that these obviously bright people eat prozac like candy just to keep the depression / cognitive dissonance at bay).

They are discussing a passage where the missionaries are told to 'cast the dust from their feet' as a testimony against those who they have taught.

For the uninitiated, this gesture is an outward sign that the missionaries are no longer accountable for the sins of the people they have taught. Apparently the Lord told them that they didn't need to do it RIGHT IN FRONT of the people (turns out, it was highly offensive, and they were getting beat up a lot). God told them they could do it in a more private setting... because omnipotent God, Alpha and Omega, needs them to brush their shoes off, to help him remember that these folks are now on the eternal naughty list...

I digress. let us revisit the 2nd Article of Faith:

2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

Right.

Jesus just loves hyperbole.

14 May 2009

filling your body with light


Is it any wonder that our bodies are thrive when we feed them robust proportions of fruits and vegetables?

During my monthly scramble to get ready for gallery stroll, I searched my kitchen for a midnight snack. I stumbled upon a few opportune oranges. As I started peeling the orange, I thought about where it came from. This fruit is the sum of 3 things: Sunlight, water, and soil. Have you ever really thought about how amazing fruits and vegetables are? In a few short months, a plant is able to convert minerals from the soil, water, and energy from the sun, into huge quantities of food. Have you ever thought about how amazing it is that something like an orange tree, produces something from, seemingly, nothing? A tree may have hundreds of pounds of fruit hanging from it at the end of the growing season, and yet- there are not hundreds of pounds worth of soil missing from underneath it. It's really quite astounding. Magical, it seems.

Physicists argue a lot about whether light is a wave or a particle.

Perhaps the orange is proof of the particle.

01 May 2009

the drive to create is divine

A friend of mine shared this with me the other day. I love it. Acts of creation, whether they be in an accounting office, a painter's studio, or a 3rd grade art class, are the seeds of godhood.

08 March 2009

what of the muse?

What of love
and what of the muse?
Might the muse be a woman
demure
and dangerous
whose soul is the uncharted depths
and heights
of sea and sky - beckoning
with the siren song - irresistible to the adventurer of life and love?
Might the sage
love the Ten Thousand Things
and speak the Language Of The World
communing with The Way
and need
no one?
Might the sun and stars and soil and strangers
be the seduction...
the stuff
of a poet's dreams?

16 February 2009

we were once salesmen

I know the things we used to say
about people "like that"
deceived!
proud!
awash in sin
self loathing
unto damnation
And now I am he of who we would speak.
Tell me we are still brothers
I need to know you've changed too.
I cannot bear your pity
of 13 years prior
We used to speak of love
and sing of the cross
the man made famous.
We were once salesmen
of a shrink-wrapped eternity
Bound by the saving of souls
our two year labor of love.
May we now be bound by a truth
even higher?
I'll take no righteous pity
for love IS god.

08 February 2009

racial profiling - Jesus style

It's sunday morning, 9:32am. I've dropped the girls off to Mireesa so she can take them to church. My dad turns on the TV to watch "Music and the Spoken Word", the weekly broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A TV spot for the church comes on... (they like to do these quick little tv spots promoting different wholesome values...)

The narrator is speaking with a distinct mexican accent:
"when I was young, I once stole something from a store..."

Just curious why the narrator didn't have a thick... oh, dutch accent, perhaps?

This message about racial profiling brought to you by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

:-P

05 February 2009

Godspeed, Elder Webb

As I approached 1296 Magnolia St, I assembled the letters and larger envelopes to go into thier mail box. They only had one large envelope... from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Missionary Department. It was addressed to an Elder James Webb. I felt the small spiral bound booklet inside, containing such instructions as what suits to buy, what kind of haircut to get... this envelope is unmistakable.

I was instantly taken back to that June morning in 2005 when I found a similar large white envelope in my mail box. I was called to serve in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Mission.

Much has transpired in my life since I opened that fateful envelope... things I would never have dared to imagine...

...and even now, at this moment, I am instant messaging with a missionary I served around during my mission.

There is something incredible about dedicating your life to a cause that is bigger than you. I was so happy when I recieved my mission call. I was SO happy when I landed in Philadelphia and met President Wagstaff... it was a wonderful time of my life.

If you've read much of my blog, you probably understand the complicated subtext in which I say this... I loved my mission. I am glad I went. I only have a few regrets about my missionary service. Elder Webb, if you are reading this... (and I'm sure you aren't, but maybe some other preparing missionary will read it some day)...

1. I spent WAY too much time obsessing over my 'worthiness', and thus left little room in my heart to let the love of God in.

2. I spent WAY too much time trying to convince everyone that our church was 'the true church'.

3. If I could re-write one aspect of my mission... I would have relaxed about 1 & 2 and just LOVED the people more. That's what the people in the world need - they need to feel love. They need to believe that they are lovable. And when they feel lovable, ONLY THEN will they be able to love thier own neighbor.

I just wish I would have loved people more.

Elder Webb, I want you to know, even this AP-gone-agnostic, could not stop smiling for the rest of the afternoon, as your mission call sat in your mailbox.

Godspeed, Elder.

29 January 2009

hope

Inauguration Day

27 January 2009

George Clooney wishes Israel would cut it out with the rocket attacks, allready

Wow, who knew that Khaled Meshall, militant Hamas leader, is actually George Clooney?

25 January 2009

the alchemy of light

a tiny silver halide crystal
shown the light of day
for 1/100th of a second
was forever changed
and I was made immortal

ramble on

I encounter hundreds of strangers every day... as it turns out, by the nature of my work, most of the people I meet are those who are sitting around, waiting for something...

...waiting for something to arrive. Waiting for that check for "a million dollars". Waiting for some good news. Waiting for something... anything... to give them a jolt from the mundane, something to make them FEEL.

Concerning the man at 1246 Carousel Drive - there was a certain air of surrender about him.
Sometimes I think I can read a whole person's life in the few tones they utter during the space of "thank you, have a good day".

(horribly presumptuous of me, I know...)

He was a sad man. His face told volumes of doldrum tales...

You know what I'm afraid of?

I'm afraid of becoming like that guy who, one day, wakes up in the last half of his life, surrounded by a bunch of people and stuff that he's accumulated... and thinks...
"my God, I don't really like any of this. How did I get here?"

...and even sadder, realizes... that he's not getting out.

I just want to be free. I want my life and heart to always be unencumbered. I want to always be moving forward, always on the bleeding edge of discovery, always knowing that my greatest moment of brilliance is just around the corner.

If I ever die, I want to be young at heart on that day.

16 January 2009

The Dreaded Day of Reckoning

I am the mail man. Today is the day that I cause Mr. Anderson to have a very awkward conversation with Mrs. Anderson over the dinner table...

It is the day that husbands all across town must quickly and convincingly explain to their wives how they ended up on Playboy's mailing list.


"Really, honey, I promise, I have NO IDEA how Playboy got my name and address! That's sooo wierd! Maybe the GOVERNMENT is selling my info to them..."

It's okay, Mr. Anderson. She's getting hers, too.

You would never believe all the shit that she buys online and has delivered to her office, so you won't ever see it...

So happy together...

Last sunday, during my bi-monthly grocery shopping trip, I was contemplating the state of my wood floors. I was seduced by the Swiffer Wet Jet... a quick skeptic of love-at-first-sight, I immediately sent a mass text to many of the women in my life, asking if I should bring this purple beauty home with me.

You, the women in my life, overwhelmingly promised that it would, indeed, change my life. I'm happy to report that after our first encounter the other night...(we did it on the floor), we are a happy couple.



first major publication

Just had to share this... I licensed the image that Mel Bay used for the cover of this book... as the rush song goes, "One little victory"! The book is on shelves now.

21 December 2008

The Birth of the Sun


Today is the twenty first of December. Tonight the sun will fall into it's deepest abyss in the eastern sky, giving us the longest night of the year. An astrological death of day.

Tomorrow morning, the sun will emerge from it's yearly grave - or it's yearly womb, however you choose to view it - and take on a new crown of crescendo - reborn, destined to grow ever present in our lives for the next 6 months.

As I write this, I eat a lunch that I've created with the help of the sun. The sun gave warmth to soil that coaxed the germination of seeds that gave rise to the grapes of my wine, the tomatoes of my sauce, the wheat that became my pasta. I cooked my lunch using electricity which was generated from a coal fired power plant... coal that once was organic matter that photosynthesizing the sun's rays millions of years ago... The sun warms the atmosphere and oceans, creating systems of storms that have watered the plants that have eventually become electricity, farfalle pasta, tiny flakes of oregano, and chardonnay...

Today I celebrate the birth of the sun. I give thanks that when the sun rises tomorrow,and each day after, it will bring an increasing amount of light.

Whether you celebrate the birth of Sun of the sky, or the Son of Mary, I hope this week brings you much happiness.

11 December 2008

Makes you want to be married...

Flight of the Conchords - "Business Time"

A New Chapter

The winter solstice is almost upon us; the rebirth of day is about to commence with the days becoming longer. This is but one of many forces that conspire to indicate the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

Sooo....

New blog title, new photos, new music. (the great photo of me in my studio is by my dear friend Stephanie: www.stephotographyonline.com) While a certain period of my life was mos appropriately titled, "A lover's quarrel with the world", and though I do still feel that strife in my soul, other reverberations feel more fitting these days.

"A memo to a higher office
Open letter to the powers that be
To a god, a king, a head of state
A captain of industry
To the movers and the shakers...
Can't everybody see?

It ought to be second nature
I mean, the places where we live
Let's talk about this sensibly
We're not insensitive
I know progress has no patience
But something's got to give

I know you're different
You know I'm the same
We're both too busy
To be taking the blame
I'd like some changes
But you don't have the time
We can't go on thinking
It's a victimless crime
No one is blameless
But we're all without shame
We fight the fire while we're feeding the flames

Folks have got to make choices
And choices got to have voices
Folks are basically decent
Conventional wisdom would say
But we read about the exceptions
In the papers every day

It ought to be second nature
At least, that's what I feel
Now I lay me down in Dreamland
I know perfect's not for real
I thought we might get closer
But I'm ready to make a deal

Today is different, and tomorrow the same
It's hard to take the world the way that it came
Too many rapids keep us sweeping along
Too many captains keep on steering us wrong
It's hard to take the heat
It's hard to lay blame
To fight the fire while we're feeding the flames"

- Neal Peart


I'm a most fortunate man. I'm grateful for all the good that has come - if you are reading this, chances are, you've been a vessel, bringing stocks of that goodness into my life.

Thank you.