First Day.

Today was day one of being employed in New York City.

Not sure what to make of it yet, and I suppose I cant complain.
In a country where the debt is at an all time high, and jobs are at an all time low, I feel pretty lucky.
Beggers can certainly be choosers, but not if they want to get paid.

The job itself is pretty menial, and sadly I was unable to utilize most of my mental faculties.

Like I said...not sure what to make of it yet. But I now know how it feels to be one of those people who stand around with empty faces and feelings of disillusionment.

'Just smile, asshole.'

You know the ones...like, Walmart greeters or airline ticket agents. You know they're not really 'thinking,' but their subconciousness remains vivid and alert. Waiting for something, anything, to happen. A waking life that resembles more of a dream state. During the entirety of the day I can't recall a single tangiable thought of my own. Is that what work is? A way to remove my individuality? The answer should become more clear with time.

When I lived in Florida I worked retail nearly every day for over six months.
During my stint in the massive fluroscent dungeon, it was the little things that made being there worthwhile. Not the money, not the free clothes or discounts...
It was seeing people getting caught stealing. All of us would stick our heads out into the hallways like gophers to catch a glimpse of anything that would make our days more interesting, and pass the time.

I hope that I find my place in the world. My true calling.

But until then, I will continue to plug away and be the good worker ant that I am. That we all are. Providing a service for the betterment of the colony. To make sure that it can function normally, and efficiently.

I don't mean to sound cynical.

Actually, I do. All I can hope, is that whatever I do, means something. Even if just to me.


A Winter Walk In The City.

White Winter Hymnal

The sky is falling... The sky is falling.

The white winter snow flakes reminding me of a peace and serenity that can rarely be found in the city that never sleeps.
I can still remember the days of my youth. Forging into the silent, cold white abyss. Pretending I was the only one in the world. But keeping the imagination and wonder alive is a task that becomes exponentially more difficult as I get older. I think this is true for many people. No matter how much we would love the world to stand still--even for an instant--to recapture the magnificence of our golden days, it remains impossible.

The Earth keeps spinning.

People keep moving.

And the only thing that stays the same are those white, winter flakes that fall gracefully down from the sky. Each one as different as the next, as purposeful and necessary as each breath in my body.

Sometimes I imagine how Heaven would look.

I like to think it resembles those golden years. Standing atop a snow-capped hill, looking out into the grey, endless abyss. A time and place where anything and everything is still possible.

House Of Strangers.

When I was little, my parents tried to explain to me that I was adopted. Of course I had no idea what the hell that meant. To me and any other elementary school child who happened to live in my town it only meant one thing—that I was a different color than mommy and daddy. I knew from a very early age that I was going to live a very strange and probably emotionally damaging life. My brother—my real, real brother who was older, also adopted from the same birthparents said this to me, the day I was delivered to my new white, Jewish family: “Hey lady, you forgot your baby.” He’s only twenty months older than me, but the differences that existed between us were apparent from early on. He was always outspoken, brash, and uncouth. He yelled and fussed and it drove my parents crazy. They even tried to put him on Ritalin but that only seemed to make things worse. We never played much together and when we did, it usually resulted in hurt feelings and time-outs. One time I threw a cast iron model plane at his back and landed him the hospital. One time he pushed me down a flight of stairs and I had to get stitches in my chin. I think we’re even. When he started school and got to ride a big shiny yellow bus off into the morning sun every day, I had no idea he was supposed to come back. I had no idea where it even took him. I lived in a house full of strangers. People who generally don’t get along and have little in common with each other—if anything.

As I got to be a little older and my brother started middle school, the executive decision with my parents was to send him to a private school that also happened to be in our town. It used to be an all-girl school and the year he went also happened to be the first year that the school allowed boys to attend. Kinda seems nice if you think about it…a big school full of girls who had never had any interactions with boys before. Sounds like a crazy plot to some cheesy nickelodeon show, or even a really bad porno. But it wasn’t something for me. Not yet. Turns out I had already been afflicted by the peeling paint, the odd assortment of juveniles and overall mediocrity of the public school system too much to give it up. I was hooked. Something about it just felt normal, and that was fine enough for me. It wasn’t like I felt a burning need to be popular or smart. I didn’t even like being there, I just thought of it as some place where I wasn’t forced to be like everybody else. I could just be me. Fortunately it turned out to be the better decision to stay in public school. I got great grades without having to try; was always on honor roll and felt decently proud of myself. But like I said, I wasn’t popular or anything. In fourth grade I even had a ridiculous afro-mullet. I guess it use to be the style for Blackish-Whitish American Cosby-type kids back in the nineties. It was also a catalyst for several fights—among other personal characteristics.

The lesson here people, is to let your kids pick their own interests. Get to know them without owning them. And for god’s sake, dressing them in ridiculous sweaters and Lacoste polos and slacks then sending them on their way to school is no way to get a kid’s self-esteem up. How is a child supposed to learn about the world if he or she can’t try new things? This is part of the reason I never really got a chance to explore my interests as a kid. My parents were terribly overbearing. Like lions fighting with, but ultimately protecting their young from outside influences. I was just sort of pushed this way or that way by authoritative forces.

Often times it felt more like Stalin’s communist regime than a household. I don’t mean that in the sense that my life might have ended at any minute, but insofar as that I followed strict orders without explanation or ability to think for myself. I had no sense of self. No purpose. No clue even what toys I wanted or even if I liked them at all. I could never articulate my own desires or needs. I just knew I had to do what my parents said I because they said so. No reasons—no sit-downs or lessons about right or wrong, just blunt instructions on how to live life and essentially become like them. It drove me and my brother crazy. In fact he often would run out of the house a lot as if to say he was running away and never coming back. This would also make my mother cry; but my father was very stoic and unemotional. He rarely had a real reaction, and if he ever did, it was usually one of apathy and disbelief, as if he was annoyed that stuff was happening that he couldn’t do anything about. I remember being jealous of my brother. I thought that whenever he did runaway—even when he came back—that he had a plan. That one day all his planning would lead to his freedom. One time, he actually ran away for three days, hiding out in a tree house deep in the woods behind my house, surviving mostly on Slim Jims and Ginger-ale he had stashed away for a while. He had begged me not to tell our parents where he went and I obeyed. When it came to standing up for himself, I was proud. I looked up to him for that. My parents kept threatening me with severe punishment if I didn’t break my code of silence. But I didn't. I just told them ‘I have no idea where he went’.

When I got a little older still, around thirteen or fourteen years-old I use to try to run away from home too. I can recall on more than two hands how many times I tried to run away. My mom would chase me down the street and around the neighborhood in her old gray Saab, driving slowly next to me pleading with me to talk to her. Much screaming would ensue and occasionally other people would take notice. But I always knew I wasn’t really running away. And I think she knew that too. But for some reason it just seemed that serious so often, that maybe—just maybe; had she not chased me that one time, I may never have actually gone back...

[to be continued]


Sweet. Street. Beatz.

When venturing out into the urban jungle, its good to be accompanied by good music that will act as a conduit to your soul, and amplifies your mood no matter what that mood might be..

Today's post is all about Truckin'. Otherwise known as the act of walking with purpose, confidence and perhaps even a bit of arrogance. Not directed towards anyone (or maybe so), but just the kind that lets people know you have swagger.

This first album I'm putting up I have dubbed 'Truckin: Beats For The Streets." It is a compliation of songs that I put togethor that compliment a mood that involves, well...truckin'. If your on the move, this is for you.
1.   Eels - "Love Of The Loveless" - Shootenanny!
2.   Foo Fighters - "Keep The Car Running" (Arcade Fire)- Let It Die
3.   Jimi Hendrix - "Drivin' South" -BBC Sessions
4.   Kings Of Leon - "Fans" -Because Of The Times
5.   The Von Bondies - "Cryin' " -Lack Of Communication
6.   Incubus - "Deep Inside" -S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
7.   Queens Of The Stone Age - "Burn The Witch [UNKLE Mix]"- Burn The Witch
8.   The Kinks - "Powerman" - Lola Vs. Powerman..
9.   The Doors - "L.A. Woman" -L.A. Woman
10. Sneakerpimps - "6 Underground [Nellee Hooper Dub]" -Rewired
11. UNKLE - "Mayday (Feat. The Duke Spirit)" -War Stories
12. Cage The Elephant - "Ain't No Rest For The Wicked" -Self-Titled
13. Amy Winehouse -"Valerie [BBC Live 10-01-07]"-Other Side Of Amy
14. The Black Keys - "Keep Your Hands Off Her" -Chulahoma
15. G. Love & Special Sauce - "Free At Last (Reprise)" - Best Of..
16. Warren Zevon - "My Shit's Fucked Up" - Life'll Kill Ya
17. Sean Hayes - "3 A.M." - Big Black Hole, Little Baby Star

This album starts off nice and mellow, allowing you to catch your breath with the Eels "Love Of The Loveless" and the Foo Fighter's cover of Arcade Fire's "Keep The Car Running", before working your heart and soul into a sweat with the Von Bondies and Incubus. Both tracks providing a more upbeat and funky climax of sorts. The Kinks and Doors remind us what era rock swagger really started in and transitions very nicely into the new-age trip-hop sound provided by the Sneakerpimps. UNKLE is a great semi-industrial rock group and usually has a dark club feel, but this particular song feating the British group The Duke Spirit is an undeniably great walking song. Perfect for a hardened walk with a bit of that arrogance I was talking about. Cage The Elephant is a great rockin' anthem that sets itself apart from the other songs due to its alternative sounding production, but nonetheless catches your attention and holds it to the very end. We start to wind down with Amy Winehouse's live performance on BBC Radio and smoothly finish up with a couple of chill jams from the always funky Black Keys and Philly's own G.  Love.

So next time you're out and about, just walking tall, throw this mix on and let the world know what it means to keep it truckin'.

I Decide. (Part I)

I decide that roots are the trees of the ground...and that trees are the roots of the sky..and I also decided that air is the water of the sky, and the water is the air of the ground...

I decide that animals are like people, only usually covered in hair (much like Robbin Williams)..and that people are like animals, only they have the potential to be much more vicious and can talk...

I decide that time and reality are figments of our imaginations...and that our imaginations are a figment of a greater reality...

...And I decided that to be truly free...and to be truly happy, is to not want anything you dont need...

...[to be continued]

Death & Transit.

A few years back I saw a man die.

It was a very existential experience.

It was a warm, summer day and I had just left Grand Central Station. I was making my way downtown, walking of course, as I often do. I find that it affords me the opportunity to observe people, places and life as it happens--something I feel that is essential to cultivating my own existence.
I was not far from where I had started when I saw a man collapse on the sidewalk.

He was alone. But at the same time not at all.

He was a middle-aged, silver-haired man who was simply waiting for a bus.

There was nothing that stood out about him. He was wearing a pair of plain, non-pleated beige Dockers, and a canary yellow polo shirt. Tucked in. And he stood, patiently, and alone.

The crowd of strangers that surrounded him was in awe of such a happening. As if they had been jerked back to a reality where in fact, people do die. I couldn’t help but feel the same at that very moment.

We live in a world where we hear about death and destruction on a daily basis. The media never lets us forget that. But to see it happen is something very different. If we were to think about the possibility of death or perhaps even our own demise on a regular basis, there is no doubt we would drive ourselves into the arms of insanity.

But this man, this unassuming, simple man, was the unfortunate recipient of a fateful reminder of the power of life. More precisely, the power it has to be taken away from us.

And in that instant, we were all reminded of the tragic, duplicitous nature of life as well.

As easily as it comes, is as easily as it goes.

I watched helplessly as two men of a crowd of twenty attempted to revive the simple man. Who was without a doubt—alone.
For almost thirty minutes the man lay there, motionless. All attempts had failed. And all around us and in the distance the world continued to turn and nothing changed. At least on the surface...

I couldn’t help but be reminded of something a friend once told me. When someone dies it is not without significant importance. One person has the capacity to reach out and affect thousands and thousands of people. This man, whose final chapter had just been written, will be in the book of life for his family, their family, friends, their friends and countless other people whom are all interconnected whether they know it or not.

I would like to think that death is just as important as life. And just as with transit, there are many stops we make on our way to the final destination. And along that ride, people get on and off; sometimes without notice. But reach out if you can and realize that along this ride we are all on, the people we meet, and their lives are what make the ride more enjoyable and more meaningful than it could ever be if we were riding alone.

This is the nature of death and transit.

Do Not Seek Yourself Outside Yourself.

      Only through exploration of self, can redemption be found....through self-doubt can trust be built. It takes the love of oneself to shine through to the ones that matter...from my point of view--life is nothing unless you believe in yourself. How can you expect anyone to care if you give up on yourself? Or before you even began to have hope in yourself?? I ask you---no...I implore you...love youself and only then can you love another...you are only as meaningful as you appear to others...'to have faith in yourself is to have faith in the world of mankind....'. And if there is one thing I wish to leave you all with, if anyone is absorbing this...is that you should never expect anything from anything but yourself....you are THE means to the end...and life is too short to sit idely by and pretend nothing matters...or that what does matter, doesnt. God bless us all and I pray we all will find our way through this maze we call life....Amen.


Personal. Development.

As long as I can remember, I have always marched to the beat of my own drum. I was different right from the start and I always knew that. I was adopted from Texas and grew up in New York with two white Jewish parents, my real biological brother and I were one of maybe four Black kids in my town. From a very early age I have expressed myself through art, music, and observational studies. Together, I always found these interests to be a helpful collective in being an objective observer of society while still maintaining a complete understanding of myself. I can recognize and appreciate what other people enjoy while still appreciating my own uniqueness. And when I mean unique—I mean unique.

Right before Middle School, I started to explore my inner desire to be different and independent by trying to break away from the social constraints of suburban living. I’ve worn bright silver pants David Bowie would have been jealous of and t-shirts with strange, ironic phrases (before that trend even existed) and I listened to music that complimented my alternative yet thoughtful lifestyle. From Sneakerpimps to Sublime, or Bob Dylan to the Deftones, I’ve listened to everything and always enjoyed finding new musical and artistic influences.

Teaching myself writing and drawing from an early age, I invited artistic creativeness from all areas. Salvador Dali and the abstract movement cultivated my desire to think outside of the box, while literary icons such as Kurt Vonnegut and Chuck Palahniuk heavily influenced my writing style—making it a much more personal undertaking. Often times I would get lost inside my own head and the consequences were pages dipped in madness, sorrow and hilarity.

Still enjoying my creative pastimes today, I find that I have evolved in such a way that I have become more open and aware of the world around me, both culturally and socially. I'm pretty sure this was a response to being an uncomfortable, restless youth and trying to find my place in the world. For example my fashion sense these days no longer ascribes to just one style and nor should it. Instead, it is an eclectic combination of fashion and functionality that borrows bits and pieces from various aspects of life. As for the musical side of my mind, it does not discriminate against but instead invites genres from around the world—rock, reggae, rap, punk, pop, electronic, trip-hop, trance, folk, funk and everything in-between. I like to think that I am an individual who has forged my lifestyle from the fusion of many ideas. Most recently I have been exploring my creative side even more. In high school and college I participated in bands, fashion design, literary groups and psychological research that has only added to my understanding of the world and the appreciation I have for it.

Phoenix Rises Again!

//This is a mag. article that I created about some incredibly gifted French electro-rockers.
You may know them simply as,

//the layout was fairly simple. Using autoshapes and color gradients in MS Word, as well as some interesting fonts. The article istself is all me. A Greg Shaw original production.

//the band is just fantastic. Featured in almost every music magazine, and many festivals, this band is impossible to ignore. Even reinventing their sound over the years hads only added to the success. I also embedded some of my other new favorite albums of the past in one of the sidebars.

//It was fun to play around with different ideas for the overall feel of the article, and choosing the right images and placements was the best part. It really made the whole thing fall into place nicely. In addition to this 3-page spread, I also created an advertisment for the music and arts festival Bonnaroo. But that I will save for another day...

Let me know what'cha think.

Still, Life..

Lately, I have been contemplating the idea of Abstract art, versus the merits of Still Life. I enjoy them both equally, and I think I finally understand why..

Still Life-which can be accomplished through mediums such as sketching or painting is an attempt to recreate and capture the world as it appears. As hard as a person may try, it is impossible to create a tangiable copy of something that exists in the world. But this is why artists try. Because the idea is to come as close as possible to this recreation. And the closer we come to this recreation, the more we feel we understand the beauty it holds.

But the world is more complex than that. You cannot simply draw or paint what you see and have it mean anything close compared to the orginal subject.

When I create something, it is not about copying some inert, meaningless object. No...
It is about that particular subject, in that particular space, at that particular time..each line containing as much significance as the subject itself. The beauty we seek to capture as artists is in each and every line we make, eeyelash, shade and hue, strand of hair, dimple and smile.

As hard as we try to control and create a two-dimensional representation, the more we learn about ourselves. So the meaning and emotion of a painting or a drawing is not in the finished product, but in the process of creating it. Because when we look at what has been created, we see ourselves, and what's important to us.

They say art imitates life...Id like to think it works both ways.