Archive for year 2011

The Path to Enlightenment, or “I Knew I Should Have Taken a Left at Albuquerque”

Spirituality and more specifically, religion, is a topic I tend to stay very far away from. It tends to be very personal and, moreso, it tends to be very divisive and inflammatory. However, today I feel the need to explore these dangerous waters with you. “You” being no one really since I’m pretty sure my only readers are Google’s web scouring index-bots.

I am a very spiritual person. I, however, am not at all religious. I am not a part of any organized religion, nor do I care to be. That’s an even more inflammatory topic that I won’t go into as it’s not really relevant here. I have always had a very personal spiritual relationship with the universe at large. I think a lot of religions all have good things to teach and offer and so I’ve sort of made my own little spiritual casserole with a bit of this and a dash of that.

Eckhart Tolle was a name that had crossed my attention several times in the great zeitgeist. I’d seen him on friends’ lists of favorite books and seen references here and there and it always seemed to be from sources that made me think I should investigate. People with similar outlooks to my own. Recently, one of my closest friends who I feel more spiritually in sync with than anyone I’ve ever met, highly recommended Tolle’s works and lent me her copy of “A New Earth” along with Einstein’s “Ideas and Opinions”. Both are great in totally different ways. The Einstein is wonderful but very crunchy on the brain, in a great way. I have to digest it in tiny bites. The Tolle has been nothing short of life changing for me.

Now, my head is always filled to bursting with a million different things and my mind is always racing at light speed around the universe. It made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. Suck it, Han Solo. Recently, I have been going through a very difficult period. Full of anxiety, angst, pain and just a general maelstrom of tumultuous turmoil. I’ve felt like a barely functioning human being in a lot of ways. There is epic, gargantuan, really heavy stuff (to me any way) that’s crushing me and making me feel like I’m in a catatonic state just because I have to direct all available energy to fighting the storm, struggling to find the path through to the other side where it’s calm and serene. Truly caught between Scylla and Charybdis, where option A sucks and so does option B. Now don’t get me wrong, I am equally filled with love, beauty and gratitude but the funny thing is, even of your life is 95% absolutely amazing, that 5% can somehow seem like it taints and overwhelms the other 95%. Which is why this book could not have come along at a better time.

I swear to you this book is psychic. Every time I sit down and read it (and I mean every time), the next chapter addresses something that’s going on in my mind that day. I feel almost like I could think “Hmm, I’m so torn as to what to have for breakfast” and then I’d sit down to read and the first line would be “Chapter 12: Bananas and Peanut Butter”. When I’m reading this book, a still, calm peace comes over me and everything just makes sense. Unfortunately I have not yet mastered holding on to this serenity long term and as soon as I stop reading, like a slippery eel, the effects start to fade until I’m fighting the good fight again but I am getting better. Much better. Like going to the gym, I can feel my mental muscles strengthening. I can feel myself changing. I know I’m in the middle of a huge metamorphosis right now and that I am closer than ever to being who I want to be (though that is a journey that will continue for the rest of my life).

Luckily I had already come a long way down my path before reading this book so I was well ahead of the game but I find that I’m learning the finer tools to battle my personal monsters. I am becoming a stronger, better, more conscious person with every day of my life. If you find yourself lost, adrift, stagnant or just in need of something, I highly recommend this book but go with your own gut. It might not be for you. Your spiritual journey is not the same as mine. Your battles will not be the same as mine. I am still chock full o’ insecurities, doubts and fears but I know I’ve made progress.

I’m learning patience and to tame the control freak within me that wants to mold the universe into what I want it to be. I’m learning to let go and let the current take me to my destination. These things, however, all go against my nature so it’s not going to be an easy journey. The world doesn’t work like I want it to. People don’t work like I want them to. Relationships are not what I want them to be. I’m someone who needs to be fed. Not a lot but at least a morsel. Often. So many times I don’t understand why something happens or why someone acts the way they do and those voices kick in and try to read all kinds of negative things into it (one of the downsides to having a very vivid and active imagination) but more and more I’m able to recognize the static in life and tune in to the real signal.

Don’t be afraid to tell people that they are beautiful and that you love them. And if you are reading this, you are beautiful and I love you. Even you, Google Web-bots.

Spirituality

Something personal
You must find it within you
It’s not religion

Renewing An Old Love

Is there anything like that warm feeling cascading across your body? I’d forgotten how much I loved you. I remember how much time we used to spend together and how I looked forward to your every caress. I’m so glad to have rekindled our love.

Yes, I have rediscovered my love. Of a nice hot shower. The water pressure has never been what I’d call “great” in this condo but in the beginning it was certainly adequate. We don’t have individual hot water heaters but instead, a central boiler system for the whole complex. I always liked this as I am a fan of long luxurious showers and I have never run out of hot water here. Then came the infamous “renovation” or “the beginning of the dark times” as the mystical sages call it. And by mystical sages, I mean me. They replaced the old boiler and all the plumbing to every building and suddenly the hot water pressure ranged from a pathetic stream that, if you were lucky, you could kind of use your hands to sadly splash over yourself until you were something that desert nomads might call “wet”, to something I imagine to be “old man with enlarged prostate trying to urinate on you”, or almost non-existent. Like Al Swearengen from “Deadwood” when he has those kidney stones.

Luckily I try to go to yoga 5 times a week and shower there. However there would always, of course, be those occasions where I HAD to shower at home. Maybe I was all sweaty from a gig or or had to shower and shave before a film project or had been making sweet, sweet love down by the fire (O.K., only two of these apply…I’ll let you decide which two). I seriously dreaded any time I had to try and shower at home. The condo management kept suggesting things to check internally but I knew it wasn’t internal. Firstly, everyone was apparently having these problems. Secondly, it was every water source in the condo. Showers, faucets, washing machine intake, etc. Thirdly, it only began after they replaced the boiler and this tells my keen problem solving mind that those these two things are most likely related. (SCIENCE!)

So fast forward a long time. I have no idea how long. Maybe a year. We’ll call it the “Hydropathetic Era”. They bring in a company and pay them lots of money to “descale” the old pipes here which apparently have lots of mineral buildup. The first company sucks and doesn’t have strong enough chemicals to deal with the super minerals here, apparently. Several tenants end up with flooded units. The management fires this company and brings in another highly recommended company who apparently can handle our super tough minerals. The kind of minerals that bully other minerals, take their lunch money and make them pay “protection” fees to Johnny “The Rock” Diamante.(SCIENCE!)

They descale one section. It helps a little but they discover that when the boiler was replaced, management was told by the city they had to have some “backflow valve” on the boiler. Now I know that sounds like some vaguely dirty euphemism, but trust me, it’s not. Well maybe it is now, but it wasn’t in this context. The new descaling company checks into this and finds that was not true. Turns out we didn’t need these valves. Oh and it just so happens that these valves SUCK YOUR WATER PRESSURE LIKE A SUCCUBUS SITTING ON YOUR CHEST FEEDING ON YOUR LIFE FORCE!

Valves are removed and, BAM! WATER PRESSURE IS BACK! So as I’ve been saying since the beginning, it was a problem directly related to replacing the boiler. Ah, but our mystery isn’t over yet. Now I notice a nice increase in water pressure but my shower and the washing machine still seem kind of sucktastic. I decide to remove my shower head and investigate. I find that it’s almost totally clogged with buildup. I had bought a new shower head made for low water pressure so I put that on and find that I have AMAZING PRESSURE! IT’S A REAL SHOWER! It’s like, spraying! With a measurable amount of force! A good amount, in fact! I jumped around my room like Doctor Who after solving a universe saving conundrum. I then pulled my washer out and disconnected the hot water hose to find the same thing. I cleaned the little filter screen of all the buildup and restored full flow to my washer!

I had forgotten how much I used to love showers. They weren’t just for hygiene. I loved to just take my time enjoying the hot water. I took hellaciously long showers. I didn’t realize how Pavlovianly conditioned I’d become to dread showers until now. Now each time I turn on the shower and witness that glorious, forceful spray of hydrogen twins having a three way with that oxygen, I smile and laugh giddily. Today, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I showered just because I could. Because I wanted to. Because I was bored. You’d think someone had installed some wonderful futuristic device in my house with how happy my shower makes me. I have to recondition and re-acclimate myself to life with a working shower at home. Never take your shower for granted, people. Hell, I may have a second shower before this day is done. Maybe I’ll do my best Charlton Heston getting sprayed with that fire hose in “Planet of the Apes” and scream “IT’S A MADHOUSE! A MAAAAAAAAADHOUSE!” That ought to confuse the downstairs neighbor.

Renewed Love

Oh how I’ve missed you
Your warmth across my body
I love hot showers

Musings

Songs from the ether
Many thanks to my kind muse
My soul in music

Insomnia (The Birth of a New Song)

The other day I walked to Torchy’s Tacos for some lunch. On the way home, a song just suddenly came to me out of nowhere. I just started singing the first line and almost immediately had a pretty full idea of where the song was going. It’s like it was just suddenly channeling through me, pouring out of me. I knew that it had at least a dash of inspiration from a Sheryl Crow song, and Elvis Costello song, Muse’s version of “Feelin’ Good” and a Butch Walker song that had come on my iPhone “shuffle” 2 or 3 times in the last week called “Pretty Melody”. While it was nothing like the song rapidly birthing itself from my mind, I remember noting the quality of the vocals and that I really liked how they sounded raspy and kind of “tired” like he’d just woken up. I think another ingredient was that I’d been playing “L.A. Noire” on the Xbox 360, an atmospheric detective story set in the 1940’s. A few scenes took place in a jazzy club complete with a sultry German songstress.

Whatever the ingredients, I was being blessed with an aggressive muse that would not be ignored. About 2 hours later I had completed writing the music and lyrics. I immediately started recording. Keyboards first, then drums, then bass, and lastly guitar. Roughly 10 hours after the first notes and words had come to me from beyond, I had finished recording all the music. The next day, I took care of the vocals. A day or two of intense listening and fine tuning and it was complete. And I loved it. It was absolutely everything I wanted it to be. It said everything I needed it to say. Had exactly the atmosphere, feeling, passion and emotions that I wanted infused into it.

So throw on your best gown or suit, pull the brim of your hat down low, come on into the club and picture a sweaty little trio, traditional in some ways, ahead of their time in others, performing a song called Insomnia.

Waiting For Ms. Elusive (An Old New Song)

Just realized that in this age of Twitter and Facebook, I’ve been neglecting my own site and never even wrote about releasing “Waiting For Ms. Elusive”.

This song began at a gig with The Rock-A-Fellas at the Lakeside Icehouse. We were all ready to play “Hotel California” by The Eagles, but Donnie Wilson was having technical issues. So I just started improvising. Singing things like “Waiting for Mr. Wilson, to figure out what’s going wrong, waiting for Mr. Wilson, so we can all play our next song”, etc. Afterward, several people commented that they really liked it and I myself had thought it was a great basis for a real song.

On the 2 hour drive home that night I wrote the first verse in the car. I knew that I didn’t want to keep it about “Mr. Wilson” for several reasons, one being King’s X already has a song called “Mr. Wilson”. So I toyed with a few different variations, “Lucy Lusive”, “Lucy Elusive” but in the end decided “Ms. Elusive” fit the best. It wasn’t until some months later when inspiration found me again and I finished writing and recording it. I kept faithful to its origin by using my 12-string acoustic sound in my Variax, capoed on the 7th fret, just like Hotel California.

And so here is Waiting For Ms. Elusive

Epic Zeppelin

Dreams of Robert Plant
Conversing in song titles
Heath and Heather rock

Under Construction

A work in progress
A glimpse into the process
Watch the art take shape

An Epic Masterpiece Starring Me, Heather Del Rio and Robert Plant

Heather Del Rio
Had a dream Robert plant was my best friend. It was magical and amazing.

Heath Allyn
Did he give you a Whole Lotta Love during your Dancing Days until you had a Communication Breakdown leading him to believe you were a Heartbreaker who was Going To California and so as he reminisced about Good Times/Bad Times he jumped off The Bridge and took the Stairway To Heaven?

Heather Del Rio
Heath, That is amazing. But you left out the fact that before he jumped off the bridge, he said “Kashmir, (because that was his nickname for me), Ramble on, baby! Next time we meet I will be over the hills and far away!”

Heath Allyn
That Black Dog just wanted a piece of your Custard Pie Down By The Seaside. “I Can’t Quit You Baby because You Shook Me” he said In His Time of Dying, In The Evening. Now he does the Misty Mountain Hop by The Ocean knowing that You’re Time Is Gonna Come when you will see him again.

Heather Del Rio
Hey, Hey, what can I do? He left me dazed and confused, like a fool in the rain, making me wonder “how many more times, will I put up with this”. My momma said when the levee breaks it won’t be nobody’s fault but mine. So I was trampled under foot, but his time is gonna come.

Heath Allyn
Rock and Roll.

Heather Del Rio
Thank you.