Monday, August 13, 2007

Rock the Bells '07

saturday i ran across some free tix (well there was a $6 charge for sumthin but thas relatively free) for rock the bells, the san diego version, which was minus headliners rage against the machine, nas and public enemy. the show still had some good acts tho. wu tang, cypress hill, mos def & talib kweli, pharaoh monch and immortal technique were the ones i got to see.


wu tang: good show, good energy. they were all about a party, gettin high and claiming to be real hip hop, which i can only handle so much of, especially the first two. the fact that there's 8 (rip odb) of them on stage at the same time is good and bad.

cypress hill: good show musically, they sound great in concert. was feelin the latin infusion. b real played the drums and sen dog did some spanglish spittin. again, too much about smokin weed but overall pretty good show.

mos def & talib kweli: talib came on first and was great. brought on sd underground legend mitchly slick which was real cool. mos then came on. talent and energy was amazing but it wore off cuz he sings and does his own thing a lil too much. overall real good tho.

pharaoh monch: pretty good show. soulful. singers were amazing. overall good live show.

immortal technique: highlight of the show came at the beginning for me. flow is murderous. message is real. lacks any kinda rhythm other than military and his moves look a lil funny, but the music is real. between every song he speaks on some real political shit. i loved the statement that if ur dealin drugs in this country ur dealin for the government, callin out muthafuckers. real knowledgable about history. paid homage to hip hop by acknowledging the DJ as what got it all started, called the MC "the bastard child of hip hop." ended show by screamin "viva la revolucion." what else i need to say? plus my girl got a pic w/ homeboy.

the corporate sponsorships, the price of the show (that i escaped), the obsession with weed, all kinda bothered me but the show was real good, about as good as ur gonna get for a big show like that. $6 was worth it but $60 wouldn't have been. good show for what it was.

another disappointment was how little immortal technique's message got thru to the people, but thats to be expected. when r we gonna be ready to face reality? hope it comes soon.

Monday, July 30, 2007

ON THE CLOCK: Mao's Little Red Book

Inspiration: Mao's Little Red Book

It's my last week of my summer internship so there are a few projects that i have to finish up before i leave. i have to modify and order some cables, order a tool kit for the group, help someone finish making about 20 simulators, and maybe finish up a drawing.

A personal goal i set for myself was to finish reading Quotations from Chairman Mao Tsetung at work. i finished it this morning, with plenty of time to spare, having read it in its entirety at work "on the clock." i am now moving on to read Abolition Democracy, by Angela Davis; however, as small as this book is, it fits nowhere near as nicely in the cell phone pocket of my Dickies.

i really enjoyed Mao's book. Mao was pretty deep and a lot of what he talked about is relevant to a lot of different situations and aspects of life. His thoughts on Communism, war and revolution were extremely interesting, but it was his overall attitude towards what he wanted to accomplish that really struck a chord with me.

Other revolutionaries such as Malcolm X and Assata Shakur, whose autobiographies are two of my absolute favorite books, stress devotion to their respective causes, but perhaps not to the same extent as Mao, as evidenced by his repeated emphasis of criticism and self-criticism and the idea that one should be constantly aware of and live according to what one is trying to accomplish.

Mao's cause was Communist Revolution and he, according to what he wrote (history may tell a different story), lived and breathed it. Of course, he may have written about being devoted to the cause which he headed to support a quest for power and prestige; regardless, his words have meaning and really make a lot of sense.

If i take nothing else from Mao's Little Red Book, it has really strengthened my convictions that people should live according to what they believe in.

It is a constant struggle for me to deal with always hearing about "giving back to the community" or the philanthropic work of billionaires. i hate the fact that non-profit organizations have to constantly hit up people for monetary contributions. At school this past semester, i was a part of UNICEF@USC and we organized a big concert to raise money for Angolan children, and i couldn't get past the fact that some 25-30 college kids had to put in hours of their time for a few months to organize an event that would not even raise what was equivalent to one of these student's year's tuition. It all just doesn't seem right.

Although i digress, the point i am trying to make is that, if people believe in doing good, how about living your life completely devoted to the idea of doing good. Most people would probably pass this off as Utopian and idealistic, just as people label socialism, but i think it's possible if people are able to let go of some of their selfish tendencies (namely consumerism and the constant competition against the fellow man, which is perpetuated by capitalism).

Regardless of whether this idea is applicable to everyone, i personally hope to devote my life to learning and thinking about, and acting upon what i believe in. For me, this "what i believe in" will probably constantly be changing. The important thing is that i stay true to what i believe in and work hard to accomplish everything i want to accomplish.

i would like to challenge everyone around me to do the same, but even i realize how idealistic and unrealistic that is. This is something with which i continue to struggle. i think the best solution to this personal struggle is to apply this set of standards to myself and be an example of how one can live according to these standards. Maybe when i'm completely convinced that i'm able to live up to them, then i can start to slowly apply these standards to others, especially those who are close to me.

Until then, it's just on me, and i got a LONG way to go.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Inspiration: "Mr. Cassidy" et ALL

It's a disease that plagues all humans to some extent. Like many diseases, it has many different forms. Most of the time it infects its victim without any noticeable or extraordinary effects, therefore, there are very few people capable of diagnosing it. Even fewer know how to treat it. It is widely accepted in most cultures, so much so that most people choose to suffer its effects rather than fighting against it for fear of being an outcast. There is no cure (and most likely never will be) and there is no way to escape it; it's alive in everyone and is extremely contagious. Under certain (many) environmental circumstances it spreads like wildfire. It often gets stronger with each new person it infects and can infect the same person again and again, often worsening the condition exponentially.

This disease is a serious problem that we seem not to be concerned enough about. Organizations put on concerts to benefit AIDS research, celebrities hold golf tournaments to raise money for cancer research, yet no research is going into how to combat this plague, this disease, that is so powerful that it can often infiltrate even the aforementioned events put on to combat these other well-known diseases.

The plague that i'm referring to is B.S. aka bs, bull shit, bullshit, bull, bush lit (as an old Little League coach often put it). It's everywhere and it gets on my last nerve (supposedly, and thankfully, i'm not alone in this).

Regardless of the fact that i'm not alone in my disdain for B.S. i all too often feel like i am alone. It surrounds me with a stench i cannot stand and that no one else seems to mind or even notice.

B.S. comes to us in many forms from many sources through many means. B.S. can be harmless; however, it most often contributes to unhappiness and can limit our potential as a human race.

Harmless B.S.

It's hard to come up with any B.S. that is completely harmless because all the B.S. i can think of somehow contributes or is a part of what holds us back as humans. All i can think of is the personal aspect of a lot of the B.S. is harmless, or at least should be. Here's an example:

So a few weeks ago, a co-worker (who is not my boss but is a superior) asked me for some help with a drawing for a room layout he was doing using the program Microsoft Visio. He had done the groundwork such as figuring out the size of the room and what needed to go in the room and left me with the task of situating the objects in the room so that they would all fit with certain specific requirements. Basically, i ended up designing the entire room to make everything fit and it was pretty damn good.

So when i finished it, he asked me if he should tell our boss that i did the layout or if he should just take all the credit. Since i figured he was joking, i joked back, saying "ughh, do what you gotta do" or something to that effect. Sure enough he took full credit and my boss still has no idea that i had anything to do with the design.

This is harmless B.S. from my perspective only because, given that i am completely against adhering to any B.S. myself, including hubris and egotism, i had no need to react. Since i am not in constant pursuit of recognition to better my situation, this act of B.S. does not harm me.

Indirectly Harmful B.S.

The above example is not completely harmless, however. My co-worker did adhere to hubris and egotism, and furthermore, his act serves as a testament to how human beings operate under the system of values we have in place currently. We value such things as wealth and success and people act accordingly, doing whatever is necessary to get recognized and achieve those things so they can feel some kind of self-worth, even if it means they must take advantage of others to do so.

So there is a lot of B.S. that is indirectly harmful in different ways. Arbitrary titles of respect, "business attire," correct grammar, "educated speak" all serve to divide people. They are all accepted aspects of life and even have real value at times.

Respect is a good thing to have for someone who really deserves it. Clothing should, at times, be worn with a purpose, including business purposes. Correct grammar and lofty diction and syntax are sometimes necessary to be able to convey an idea at a high level, or to serve as a common language to bring people together.

Yesterday, i was waiting in line at the cafeteria for lunch when the chief executive of the company, whom my friend insists on always calling "Mr. Cassidy," comes and tells the cook to serve this other man before me. My dad leans over to tell me that the man is actually the company's owner (actually Cassidy's boss) and then tells me that he probably should have let the owner go ahead of him. i didn't say anything but i think it's B.S. that someone's stature automatically garners them respect. i would be happy to let someone cut me in line if i had respect for them, but they do not automatically command my respect based on some company status.

So such things as titles are most often used to divide rather than unite. Power is mistaken for true respect. People dress, write, speak and act a certain way to include themselves in a certain mainstream "successful" in-crowd while distancing themselves from those who do not belong. This divisiveness is B.S. and so, therefore, are the things that cause it.

Directly Harmful B.S.

There are many ideas, customs, traditions, institutions that are partially or entirely B.S. that i think are very harmful. These often have real value to people and serve real purposes as well.

Organized Religion - Religion serves great purposes for so many people in so many ways. With that said, is there really a need for such organization in what is supposed to be an individual's spiritual connection with a supernatural power? Organized religion ultimately serves as a means by which people can exert power and control over other people. It also serves the same B.S. purposes as the aforementioned "business attire," correct grammar, and "educated speak." Just ask Ben Franklin. And it's so divisive. To think of all those people who have been killed in its name.

Politics - Politicians play games and these games have to be considered B.S. There's really no need to go any further with this. The B.S. applies at least as much to "liberals" as it does to "conservatives," and i think Malcolm X would agree.

Blind Patriotism - Malcolm comes through in the clutch again: "You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it." Come on now, is this not common sense? Let's not blindly believe in things we don't know everything about. Also we should educate ourselves so that we know what to believe in based on what is real and true.

Materialism/Consumerism/Greed - There is just no reason for materialism, especially to the extent it is prevalent today in our global society. Greed kills and it's not necessary. i think that qualifies it to be considered B.S.

Propaganda - If you really want someone to believe in something, make sure it is something good and true; then educate them about it.

Bonus B.S. Entry: Charity Events - i just struggle with the idea of throwing a ritzy glamorous event with overpriced food and a dress code to benefit something as unglamorous as poverty or AIDS. Just me?

So these are just a few of the things that i believe qualify as B.S. i'm sure i'll think of more good examples on my way home from work, or while i'm at the gym, or in the shower. maybe i'll add them to these lists and maybe i'll just leave them as they are.

Even with all this said, i am able to accept that a lot of B.S. is a part of human nature (the raw form of which has ceased to exist) at this point, and plays a huge role in the way we live our lives. There are many reasons why these things exist and why they're so prevalent. i guess pride, survival, a constant quest for power and self-worth, would be just some of the reasons. Would i like to change the fact that B.S. is such a huge part of life and rid the world of it all.? Of course! Is this possible? No, but hopefully i can make a dent.

Obviously there's a lot we need to change and we got a long way to go. B.S. is something we gotta get rid of for the most part and i'm keeping some kind of optimism about it. i guess my hope is that, as things become more transparent and the truth comes out more and more, we will get smarter and start thinking for ourselves more, questioning everything that we do and then we will eventually realize that much of what we do has no real purpose and actually impedes our growth as a human race.

Please don't drink the kool-aid. Sip the truth juice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lesson(s) Learned: Food Poisoning

Food poisoning sucks! Anyone who's had it will tell you. It's like a really bad flu except, instead of being able to get all comfortable in your soft, snuggly bed, you spend half the time in your cold, hard bathroom. Not nice...

The Story

So my friend Dominica, who i've known since 4th grade and haven't seen in about 6 months, came down to SD for the weekend to visit and brought her friend Christina, who had never been. We had a kickback on Friday night and Dominica, not surprisingly got us (me and my girlfriend) up the next morning to go do something. We thought about the beach but then figured that we should show Christina what TJ was like (so now you know where this is heading). We went and parked by the border, walked across, and got to TJ around 5:00.

We were all hungry and we stopped at a taco shop that we had been to many times before, cuz they got tacos 3 for $1. Christina is a vegetarian so she splurged for the $1 fish tacos. After the taco shop, we walked up and down Revolucion and stopped at a couple bars to have some drinks and dance before deciding to head home at about 9:30.

Sunday was a nice, relaxing day.

Woke up Monday and felt a little weird, then it really started to hit me after lunch.

Missed work Tuesday and when i called my girlfriend, she was sick too. My girlfriend calls Dominica and, sure enough, sick too. Christina's vegetarianism and willingness to splurge on $1 fish tacos saved her from the same fate.

Lesson(s) Learned

So i'm hesitant to tell people how i got the food poisoning because people's perceptions of Mexico bug the hell outta me, and this almost adds more fuel to their argument. A lot of people i know refuse to eat food, especially tacos, in Mexico, and i resent the fact that people are so quick to believe rumors about how bad the food is. My resentment causes me to be foolishly bold when eating down there and i am not too prideful to admit that. The fact is that the food down there, although very safe the majority of the time, is not as safe as the food in the states (which is not 100% safe either) because of poverty and other circumstances. This brings me to my first lesson learned:

The Practical Lesson: Be careful about food that is not cooked before your eyes.

Ok, so this one definitely pertains primarily to corner joints, especially in 3rd world countries, but it's still something to think about for any restaurant, regardless of the fact that the overwhelming majority of food we eat out is not cooked in front of us. We've all heard horror stories of what they can do to your food purposely, let alone what can happen due to human error or unsafe or unsanitary practices or conditions.

The More Important Lesson: Don't let fear determine the way you live your life.

It's ridiculous to let fears, other people's horror stories, or even bad past experiences scare us away from the things that make life great. If you're smart, the majority of the time, what you are able to experience will be worth the minute risk of something bad happening. Yeah, i had this one horrifying experience with food poisoning,which i hope i never experience again, but it would be foolish of me to stop eating tacos in Mexico. It would honestly take hours to try to figure out how many times i've eaten tacos in Mexico, and the joy those numerous tacos have given me is basically immeasurable. So i'll take that any day. And if you wanna look at it in probabilistic terms, then the risk is definitely worth the reward.

Be smart but don't be ruled by fear.

Friday, July 13, 2007

ON THE CLOCK: A-Rod to Robin Hood

this is the first of what i hope will be many installments of the ON THE CLOCK series. the idea's not too complex: i'm at work, i've clocked in, and i'm yet to clock out, so i'm on the clock. The Man's time is MY time.

inspiration: a-rod

so me and my dad are driving home the other day (i'm thinking wednesday) and we're listening to sports radio like we usually do...

some guy comes on the air to talk about this whole a-rod thing, that he can opt out of his 10-yr $252 mil contract at the end of this year and that he'll probably be asking for somewhere around $32 mil a year instead of the measly $25.2 mil that he's been getting for like the past 7 yrs. so basically the yankees are trying to work out a deal with him during the season (which is against "team policy") so that they dont get caught in a bidding war after the season. blahblahblah yeah yeah, right?

so im not a huge fan of bullshit or hubris, so i say to my dad, "if he's gonna sign with the yankees anyway, why dooesnt a-rod just stick with the outrageous amount of money he's making right now and maybe the fans will give him a break for not trying to squeeze every last penny out of steinbrenner's pockets, given a-rod's not-so-great relationship with new yorkers since he got there." (i dont think thats the quote since i dont talk like that but we'll stick with it for now)

and my dad says, "well i can see it if he wants to stick it to the man, and maybe he's a big charity guy and will use some of the extra money for that, like he's taking money from a billionaire and giving it to people who need it more."

my dad's not too big on welfare and i'm pretty much a socialist, so hearing this point from him kinda made me feel stupid, but i guess it just goes to show how much (little) faith i have in professional athletes, or any professionals for that matter.

so what i think a-rod should do is just what my dad said: hustle the man and use the money to do good. that's what i would do...i hope.

on a much less grandiose scale, this kinda sums up my life right now, at least that's how i'm justifying working an engineering internship at a company that relies almost solely on defense contracting from the u.s. government. what i'm making right now has to be applied to something that's gonna help others, and, according to my plans, it will.

hey, the jury's out on what a-rod will do with his extra money if he gets it...and the jury will be out on me until i figure out how to apply this money for a good cause (right now i'm thinkin that i'll help pay for my education in some form so i can go to law school and fight for justice of the oppressed). there's plenty of better places this money could be than staying in the hands of the owners of the company so i'm not too worried...

i think its sad that the world comes down to hustling the man for the sake of the oppressed, but hey, until we come up with a better system, we just need a bunch of people to be like robin hood.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

seed 1.0

my blog title: as creative as i could be so forgive me. love is last only because i think everything should be done with love, so its no afterthought. educate yourself so u have stuff to think about, create your own ideas, act on those ideas, w/ love! thats it...and its a cycle in that u live (act) and learn so acting leads to learning.

the blog's gonna be a work in progress...

Sometimes I will capitalize/use correct English; sometimes i wont. all dependz on my mood. since my favorite book prolly ever (so far) is ASSATA, u prolly wont see me capitalizing "i" when referring to myself; that'll prolly be kinda universal. btw read that damn book, freaging amazing!!!