Monday, October 29, 2007

RED SOX!!!


Ever since moving to Hawaii, every day I consider myself a little more Kaamaina and less Masshole ...but still, always a member of Red Sox Nation.

On behalf of all decent former New Englanders living on Maui:

Mahalo, Muchas Gracias, ども ありがと and Thank You for the GREAT JOB this year, guys!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mantras, Movie Dreams and a Trapped Bird

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been somewhat fascinated with the work of Deepak Chopra and certain Vedic perspectives on spirituality. My interest sort of started with this video in particular and just kind of expanded from there.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6165305576181681554

Relatedly, a few days ago, I read some interesting stuff about brainwave coherence through listening to Vedic chants, very similar to what is discussed in this video.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=heQRzysMVbo


...and yesterday, I was giving this phenomenon some serious thought while contemplating taking up yoga. Yoga and transcendental meditation are things I’ve tried on occasion in the past, and for years now, a few people have been suggesting I take them up more seriously ...and lately, I’ve been taking the suggestion more seriously. Anyhow, while pondering all this, on a completely unrelated web search, I came across two websites that had Vedic chants you can download as mp3.

…and when the universe speaks, Chris tries to listen. :)

I already meditate almost daily, and every once and a while, I try incorporating something new into it. So, early last night I figured, "what the heck? Why not?"

(Chopra should really write something about wearing a seatbelt when you meditate.)


After just a few minutes of meditating with these Indian mantras playing through my headphones, I noticed tingling sensations over several parts of my body and my breathing patterns had changed dramatically. Feeling unusually calm, and not a total stranger to unusual phenomena, I just went with it. At some point (couldn’t have been more than an hour) I fell asleep. I fell deeply asleep and had a very unusual dream. The dream was an extremely vivid, linear and coherent dream. It had mountains of symbolism I’ll be mentally working through for days; symbols that included things like misdiagnosed death, fake money, misguided travel, causality, perception of divinity, blocked paths and the costliness of visiting in places like Boston.

Now, much more often than not, my dreams tend to be extremely fragmented, hazy and mostly forgotten when I wake. This one was unusually easy to remember and a very linear narrative that jumped back and forth between first and third person, complete with implied narration. It was almost as if my subconscious made a detailed movie and I was somehow playing it out as an actor well-versed enough to do it on auto-pilot. There was even bad casting, most notably of which was Jerry Stiller as my dad (Don’t get me wrong: I love Jerry Stiller's work, but in real life, my old man is a poster-child for Irish Catholic Baby-boomers). Oh, and a lesser Baldwin was in there too, by the way. Long story short, it was a very atypical dream for me.

Now, most interestingly, as I write this, I realize that the surrealism of my night and morning didn’t end with that oddball dream. I awoke euphoric and not entirely sure I really did wake up. As I looked to the clock on my computer to see the appallingly early hour, my instant messenger blinked with the beckon of a friend in need. This was not just any random friend, of course. It was one of those friends who some how magically knows when you are there, and almost always summons when you are authentically needed.

So, a small pep talk and several minutes of other exchange later, my friend signed off (hopefully the better for wear) and apparently, she’s headed off on a trip to Boston today. Yes, the same Boston from my dream. (On an unrelated topic: I just realized that game 6 for the American League is today at Fenway… Please pray everyone!) Upon pondering this possible synchronicity, as well as the overall oddness of my dream, I recognized that I was not getting back to sleep, no matter how early it was. So I headed out for an early breakfast.

Way too early for Da Kitchen, I ate breakfast by the outdoor section at the Denny’s at Kihei. Like most mornings in Maui, it was (and still is) incredibly beautiful outside. As I pondered my unusually memorable and vivid dream over breakfast, I looked across the way and something caught my eye. At an adjacent resort, I couldn’t help repeatedly noticing there was a guy on the roof doing yoga (hmmm… Yoga). Afterwards, I took a walk on the beach at Camp 2 and simply enjoyed the morning view of Molokini for several minutes.

On the way back to my place, I encountered even more weirdness. A bird was trapped in the display of one of the tourist shops by Denny’s. Not just trapped in the shop, but trapped inside the front window display. Knowing the shopkeeper would open the store and likely let the poor little guy out in a couple of hours, I couldn’t help but stare and chuckle at his dilemma. How the Hell did he get into the closed store to begin with, let alone into the front window display? Then of course I remember that misguided travel and blocked paths were also themes in my dream.

Now I’m back in my place, mentally sorting it as I write this long blog entry. What does it all mean? Being a fan of synchronicity and a disbeliever in coincidence, I guess I’ll have to spend some serious time figuring it all out.

Am I one of those assholes who sees or tries to see deeper meaning in every little thing, looking from hidden messages from God, the universe and my own subconscious in hopes I can create better understanding and higher meaning out of the seemingly chaotic progression and limited procession of perception that is human existence?

You bet I am… because life is more fun that way. ;)


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Causes Round the World

Over the past several weeks, many of my friends have been rather involved in charities and other causes. In an interesting case of synchronicity, just yesterday, not one, but two of them, contacted me for support, and from opposite sides of the planet no less.

1. In New England, my friend Karo is walking to fight breast cancer. Now, just about any cancer is evil, but cancer that attacks women's breasts?!?
...jeez! Who wouldn't want to fight that? http://thekaro.blogspot.com/2007/10/rays-of-hope.html

2. Also, from Singapore, my friend Little-K beckons for support to repeal a law over there that isn't exactly gay-friendly. http://repeal377a.com/?page_id=11

So if you agree that either of these causes are worth supporting, please click the links above and help them out.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It Could Always Be Worse...

Earlier today, my super-cool friend from back east informed me that she recently discovered a great life lesson:

No matter how bad things are, at least you're not a freezing, three-legged chihuahua trapped on top of a tall garbage can.

"Yo Quiero... ah s#!%."

Friday, October 12, 2007

Island Professionalism

I am an artist, and I live on Maui. I love Maui. It’s the most beautiful place on Earth. (Only a few of the best spots in Australia even come close in my opinion.) However, for certain kinds of artists, Maui isn’t exactly the best place to be. Perhaps I’m missing something, but in my experiences so far, Maui is very a quirky little market for creative people. Sadly, this island tends to be a bit of a short-sighted environment where the great business mantra: “you get what you pay for” goes somewhat unheard. As such, many so-called “creative professionals” find themselves inadvertently creating and sustaining an underpaid market built upon questionable aesthetics and cultivated comfort zones based on the varying ignorances of their clientèle, as well as the desperation of their fellow creative people; making the term “Maui professional” an almost complete oxymoron in creative circles.

Take this recent ad on craigslist for example:


It’s bad enough this kind of reminds me of a stint I once did in retail electronics, where poverty-conscious customers would request stupid things like, “the best computer you have for the least amount of money.” So basically, something that does almost everything that you can pay next to nothing for …but to make matters worse, in this ad, if you look down at the smaller print after the mention of crappy pay, (amidst other crappy grammar) note the sentence fragment, “If you are a female and beautiful.

If you are female and beautiful, what?!?

WTF is that? A sexist typo? A mislaid copy and paste? Some kind of NLP trick gone wrong? Based on the following text, to me, it looks like he's saying, "If you're hot, you can have the privilege of modeling for me." Hmmm... Great job, idiot. Way to make female readers comfortable.

Sadly, although a little extreme, this example is in some ways indicative of mentalities I have been dealing with here as a freelance designer, both from fellow creative types AND clients alike. Not to say I've seen a lot of sexism, but there is an certain level of useful professionalism and tact that seems to get rather undermined. On one occasion, I had a client insist that I do on-site work with blatantly pirated design software, even though his multi-million dollar business was operating in the black at the time. Apparently he missed the part of my website and resume that mentions I own a Micro ISV company in Massachusetts. Compromise ethics much? *sigh*

Now generally and realistically, it’s rarely ever easy for people in creative fields. So please bear in mind, I am venting a bit here, and don’t get me wrong. There are A LOT of good hearts on this island, but there are also A LOT of lessons in patience. So dear reader, if you ever have aspirations of being an artist or designer on Maui, just consider that the international money and the mainland professionalism I once nearly took for granted are both rather elusive prey out here... At least, so far. ;)


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Adventures of the Tommy

As many people know, I'm less than thrilled that my childhood friend Staff Sargent Thomas Sullivan has been sent back to Iraq. The poor guy got, not one, but TWO purple hearts last time he served over there, and now, in a display of infinite push-your-luck wisdom, the powers-that-be have sent him back for another round.

Now folks, I'm no military expert, but doesn't getting wounded heroically in warfare twice warrant someone like Tommy doing something else... like maybe swapping places with one of those annoying Colonel's nephews who has a cushy recruiting job at some mall.

I dunno, am I crazy for thinking that would be fair?
(...Shut up, I know life isn't fair.)

Well, fortunately, Tommy being Tommy, he's making the best of being sent back into the catastrafuck. (Thank you, Jon Stewart) Recently, on Myspace he posted a picture of his new spot for naps.



So, after a hard day of fighting for... um... whatever the Hell our guys are still fighting for at this point, you bet your ass they deserve to a nice nap in a comfy throne. After all, it's not like Saddam needs it anymore... he's bunking with Adolf now.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A Good Day

The best combination of phrases you can ever hear on any day in the MLB post-season:

"The Red Sox win" + "New York loses"

Between that and a morning full of South Maui boogie-boarding with a couple of good people, today was a very good day. :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

New Blog

Not that I'm the most avid blogger in the world, but in recent months, I have been growing increasingly unsatisfied with the way blogs on Myspace work. So, from now on, when I blog about stuff that I normally put into my personal blogs, I will be blogging here.

Here I go again... BLOG BLOG BLOGGITY-BLOG! :P