Sunday, December 24, 2006
I watched Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" tonight. Was absolutely astonishing... They did such an incredible job with the film. I had no idea it would be so powerful and inspiring...
Last week I felt so powerless about everything that is happening with the environment. The intellectual, motivating part of me was saying "you can make a difference, go for it!" and this other part was saying - "nothing you do will matter, we're all fucked". and honestly i was so overwhelmed... like so often, both feet were on opposite sides of the fence and i was caught somewhere in the middle - thinking and thinking.
someone said to me "you know what you get with thinking??
-a lot of thoughts" ;)
So perfect and so typical. How often do I sit around thinking about what i could be doing and getting overwhelmed and flustered b/c - jesus..... there's just too much to do and i can't do everything at once!!! and then i get frustrated and put it on the backburner and then my shoulders grow another knot. its absurd ;)
Someone I love inspired me tonight with a bulletin on all the little things we can be doing to make a difference with global warming. We don't realize just how huge of an impact these little things make - but they do. Watch "An Inconvenient Truth" - you will be astonished at the dramatic difference it will make if we all take on the willingness and committment to make a minor shift in the way we live day to day.
print this out and put it on your fridge so you remember every day:
Things YOU CAN DO to lessen the effects of CO2 / Global Warming---------------------------------------------------------------
30 steps to save our planet!
REDUCE YOUR IMPACT AT HOME
Most emissions from homes are from the fossil fuels burned to generate electricity and heat. By using energy more efficiently at home, you can reduce your emissions and lower your energy bills by more than 30%.
In addition, since agriculture is responsible for about a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, you can reduce your emissions simply by watching what you eat.
1) Replace a regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb (cfl)
"CFLs use 60% less energy than a regular bulb. This simple switch will save about 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. If every family in the U.S. made the switch, we’d reduce carbon dioxide by more than 90 billion pounds! You can purchase CFLs online from the Energy Federation."
2) Move your thermostat down 2° in winter and up 2° in summer.
"Almost half of the energy we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy has more tips for saving energy on heating and cooling."
3) Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioner
"Cleaning a dirty air filter can save 350 pounds of carbon dioxide a year."
4) Install a programmable thermostat
"Programmable thermostats will automatically lower the heat or air conditioning at night and raise them again in the morning. They can save you $100 a year on your energy bill."
5) Choose energy efficient appliances when making new purchases
"Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances to choose the most efficient models. If each household in the U.S. replaced its existing appliances with the most efficient models available, we’d eliminate 175 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year!"
6) Wrap your water heater in an insulation blanket
"You’ll save 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple action. You can save another 550 pounds per year by setting the thermostat no higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit."
7) Use less hot water
"It takes a lot of energy to heat water. You can use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year) instead of hot."
8) Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible
"You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year."
9) Turn off electronic devices you’re not using
"Simply turning off your television, DVD player, stereo, and computer when you’re not using them will save you thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year."
10) Unplug electronics from the wall when you’re not using them
"Even when turned off, things like hairdryers, cell phone chargers and televisions use energy. In fact, the energy used to keep display clocks lit and memory chips working accounts for 5 percent of total domestic energy consumption and spews 18 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year!"
11) Only run your dishwasher when there’s a full load and use the energy-saving setting
"You can save 100 pounds of carbon dioxide per year."
12) Insulate and weatherize your home
"Properly insulating your walls and ceilings can save 25% of your home heating bill and 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Caulking and weather-stripping can save another 1,700 pounds per year. The Consumer Federation of America has more information on how to better insulate your home."
13) Be sure you’re recycling at home
"You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of the waste your household generates. Earth 911 can help you find recycling resources in your area."
14) Buy recycled paper products
"It takes less 70 to 90% less energy to make recycled paper and it prevents the loss of forests worldwide."
15) Plant a tree
"A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Shade provided by trees can also reduce your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%. The Arbor Day Foundation has information on planting and provides trees you can plant with membership."
16) Get a home energy audit
"Many utilities offer free home energy audits to find where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. You can save up to 30% off your energy bill and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. Energy Star can help you find an energy specialist."
17) Switch to green power
"In many areas, you can switch to energy generated by clean, renewable sources such as wind and solar. The Green Power Network is a good place to start to figure out what’s available in your area."
18) Buy locally grown and produced foods
"The average meal in the United States travels 1,200 miles from the farm to your plate. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in your community."
19) Buy fresh foods instead of frozen
"Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce."
20) Seek out and support local farmers markets
"They reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you by one fifth. You can find a farmer’s market in your area at the USDA website."
21) Buy organic foods as much as possible
"Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. If we grew all of our corn and soybeans organically, we’d remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!"
22) Avoid heavily packaged products
"You can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide if you cut down your garbage by 10%."
23) Eat less meat
"Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which they exhale with every breath."
REDUCE YOUR IMPACT WHILE ON THE MOVE
Almost one third of the carbon dioxide produced in the United States comes from our cars, trucks and airplanes. Here are some simple, practical things you can do to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you produce while on the move.
Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit wherever possible
Avoiding just 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year! Click here to find transit options in your area.
24) Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates
"Sharing a ride with someone just 2 days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds a year. eRideShare.com runs a free national service connecting commuters and travelers."
25) Keep your car tuned up
"Regular maintenance helps improve fuel efficiency and reduces emissions. When just 1% of car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide are kept out of the atmosphere."
26) Check your tires weekly to make sure they’re properly inflated
"Proper inflation can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Since every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, every increase in fuel efficiency makes a difference!"
27) When it is time for a new car, choose a more fuel efficient vehicle
"You can save 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year if your new car gets only 3 miles per gallon more than your current one. You can get up to 60 miles per gallon with a hybrid! You can find information on fuel efficiency here and here."
28) Try car sharing
"Need a car but don’t want to buy one? Community car sharing organizations provide access to a car and your membership fee covers gas, maintenance and insurance. Many companies – such as Flexcar -- offer low emission or hybrid cars too! Also, see ZipCar."
29) Try telecommuting from home
"Telecommuting can help you drastically reduce the number of miles you drive every week. For more information, check out the Telework Coalition."
30) Fly less
"Air travel produces large amounts of emissions so reducing how much you fly by even one or two trips a year can reduce your emissions significantly. You can also offset your air travel by investing in renewable energy projects."
Take the quiz and repost your score. It is astonishing to see how much you contribute to polluting our planet. Once you see the results hopefully you will help by completing the steps above.
Collectively we can make a difference!
Monday, December 11, 2006
So I was on the train, thinking how sad it would be if one day there was no longer snow. And it seems like it is going in that direction. The weather is freaking me out... My friend Jesse told me that in 50 years if things don't change quick, we will no longer be able to eat seafood. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1731305/posts
and that we are running out of fresh water even quicker.
I got off the train and stood outside Landmark for a while looking at the smoggy NY sky and the cement ground and felt so overwhelmed... I felt hopeless - like the world is dying and there's nothing i can do b/c i'm just one person in a world of people that seem so set on destroying themselves and everything around them. Everywhere I look, it seems that we just want to killkillkill. We kill ourselves, we kill the earth, we kill others, we kill our hopes. We are so busy trying to prove ourselves, trying to be right, trying to possess - being unconcious, and we leave no room for anything but destruction. The sad thing is that we make these decisions not b/c we are "Bad" or "Wrong" - we make them b/c we don't know any better, b/c we think we are right, b/c we are afraid... Bush, Bin Laden, You, Me - we're all the same... At the end of the day, we are just like them. We want to believe that we're different - that one is "Right" and the other is "Wrong"... But that only proves how we are the same. We live what we know. Guaranteed that what you think is right, someone else thinks is wrong. and what they think is right you think is wrong. Does that make you right? Does it make you wrong? or is it possible that right and wrong only exist in our heads? We all make decisions that we believe are right and those decision are based on what we know. Unfortunately, most of us know jack shit and tell ourselves that we know it all. That's why we fight. That's why we kill.
I went into the seminar not wanting to be there - i was just so sad... i wanted to crawl up in bed and cry or write a song, but i forced myself to go in. By the end of the class I realized that I was doing to myself exactly what I see us all doing in the world - I was killing myself off by being hopeless and small. It's so easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless b/c the world is so big. It's so easy for me to go into my whole bullshit story - oh, I'm just some poor songwriter, not big enough to make a difference in the world, so why bother? That's what I say to myself when I'm looking for an easy out. It would be so much easier to just curl up on my couch and put on my headphones.. to give up.. but then what's the point of being alive? If I'm not out there making a difference, life is pointless.
The fact of the matter is - this is OUR world. If we don't all start to make a difference, start to change the way we treat the universe, if we don't create awareness for one another - we all fail. There is no "I" here... butterfly effect - karma - whatever you want to call it - we all live and die in this world together.
The universe will take care of itself - the cyclone in London, freak tsunamais and hurricanes, disease... Is it possible that WE are all responsible for these things that are happening? WE are causing these freak incidents. The way that we treat the environment - how wasteful we are - how unaware. I don't believe that any of us do it out of malice - we all have basic goodness - we treat the world the way we do b/c we don't know any better and/or b/c we are trying to protect OURselves. But it hit me tonight - we have to work together. All of us. Every single one... There is no "I" in the universe - only in our heads - and if we remain divided, things will be no different that they were yesterday. If there is one thing in our world that is universal - it is to learn how to take care of the universe. It doesn't matter who we are, where we come from - we all share the same world and its our responsibility to care for it and create awareness for others.
So I am starting to think about what I can do... I don't know exactly how it will show up yet, but it will.
I'm exhausted... I need to go sleep. I didn't go to sleep on Saturday and on Sunday we rehearsed all afternoon and then played this jello wrestling party ;) was a riot... I stage dived into the jello pit. freedom baby ;) too fun... thank you for reading this.. if you have anything inspiring to add, please share.. if you want to add facts about the environment, or even better - things we can do to help create awareness, etc - please share b/c it will benefit all of us...
Sunday, December 3, 2006
so, i haven't really written about the solo record i'm recording b/c i've been afraid that people were going to think i was not dedicated to Valeze or something... but i realized that is ridiculous - i am so excited about this record and dying to talk about it... so fyi: i am more dedicated to Valeze than i ever have been - the guys are my family and i fucking looooove my band... However, music is my life and i'm an obsessive compulsive workaholic - now that that is cleared up...
I've been working on this record since August. i had all these songs that i love that don't fit Valeze. they're definitely softer. i've been compiling them for a while and just putting them on the backburner for "someday"... It hit me last June that i just needed to get them recorded and stop making excuses for not getting it done - ie. money... people thinking i wasn't dedicated to valeze... etc.. so i recorded some basic piano/voice demos of the songs and started looking for someone to produce the songs for me - then my next excuse - "its not possible for me to do it myself - i need someone else to produce it"... Then my next excuse - "i can't afford to work with these producers"... the cycle's never ends;)
my friend mikki james(also one of my favorite songwriters/bass players) was self producing his record all summer and it was pretty inspiring for me to watch him do it... last july i was asking him for advice on getting my record done and he said - "produce your own record - you know how to engineer and you have good songs. just do it..." i don't know what about that made it hit home - i've heard it before - but i guess the combination of admiration i have for him as an artist and watching him produce his record pushed me to it. i had this idea that my record had to be some big production that was impossible for me to do... then i realized i was just making it up and creating more excuses to not get it done. self sabotage... why do i love it so? ;) anyway - i decided that i had to just get it done...
ive had no plans for this record. no "vision" if you will. take that how you want to, but i think its pretty beautiful... there's been no plan - i started with the piano/voice demos and have added piece by piece - percussion, synths, electronic drums, beatboxing (yes i did, and no its not what you think it is...). i've never produced before, so i have no idea what im doing. i figured the music would just create itself and i'd be surprised at the end. it definitely feels very "free" - nothing is contrived in the least since i have no idea what's coming next! not that there's anything wrong with having a plan either - its just that its been really fun for me to do this record like this - very spontaneous.
i started getting a little more ambitious along the way and decided to stereo track live drums in our studio - which was a blast - miles tracked some of the drums, i played on a couple tracks as well - of course, not as good as miles ;) he's such a great drummer - banged them out in one take! i love the drum sound and love that its just a stereo track. (i'm a geek)... so the drums led to guitars, lap steel and it started to grow into something bigger than i thought it would. I've had some incredible friends record on this record and everyone who's been a part of it has really brought a piece of themselves to it. i keep finding myself surprised everytime something new is recorded - which makes it even more fun.
Two weeks ago i had spent the entire weekend recording bass with Mikki, who came in from CT, and trumpet with my friend Joe Bennett. As I was about to back up the record my hard drive crashed and i lost all the bass, trumpets, and a drum track.. thankfully i had backed everything else up - but regardless, it was a weeks worth of work and I felt awful that Mikki and Joe's work got destroyed... i was kind of a mess, but i realized i couldn't do anything except retrack and do it better than before. honestly it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Last weekend I re-recorded the bass in CT w/Mikki and it completely breathed new life into everything... Also rerecorded trumpets with Joe - they sound insane... we ended up doing some very "grand" trumpet arrangements, added some more lapsteel too. ;) and yesterday i tracked some guitars with my buddy RJ as well. gogogo
In any case, its finally coming to the final stages. Gotta go edit and track some more guitars so i can start recording vocals this week.
oh - other great news - we got Valeze up on itunes this week - very excited about that as well. download it and show some love!
Saturday, December 2, 2006
"The word "responsibility" has been continuously used in a wrong way. It gives a feeling of burden: you have to do it, it is a duty; if you don't do it you will feel guilty. I want to remind you that the word `responsibility' has none of those connotations. Break the word in two -- response-ability -- and you enter a totally different meaning of the word, in a different direction. Response-ability is not a burden. It is not a duty; it is not something you have to do in spite of yourself.
Response-ability simply means spontaneous response. Whatever situation arises, joyously you respond to it, with your totality, with your intensity. And this response will not only change the situation, it will also change you.
There are two words to be remembered: one is "reaction" and one is "response-ability." Most people react, they don't respond. Reaction comes from your memory, from your past experiences, from your knowledge; it is always inadequate in a fresh, new situation. And existence is continuously fresh. So if you act according to your past, that is reaction. But that reaction is not going to change the situation, it is not going to change you, and you will be in utter failure.
Response is moment-to-moment. It has nothing to do with memory, it has something to do with your awareness. You see the situation with clarity; you are clean, silent, serene. Out of this serenity, spontaneously you act. It is not reaction, it is action. You have never done it before, but the beauty of it is that it will suit the situation, and it will be a joy to you to know that you are capable of being spontaneous.
There are very few joys in life greater than spontaneity. Spontaneity means to be in the moment; it means acting out of your awareness, not acting according to your old conditionings. Those days are gone -- those conditions, conceptions are absolutely invalid." http://www.otoons.com/politics/osho_end_of_the_world.htm
I love Osho... I've been reading a bunch of his books (Check him out on Amazon - my fave is "Intimacy") He can come across as very extreme b/c of his use of language - he just loves to stir people up to think for themselves. One minute he says one thing, the next another - but he is always speaking from his heart.. I don't always agree with him, but most of what he has to say is incredibly powerful.
I was thinking about how often i say "yes" or "no" to things without even thinking why. I automatically say yes or no b/c of a past experience, instead of actually thinking about the options and possibilities first. I make decisions constantly instead of choices and I'm not even aware of it most of the time.
thought this was kind of amazing.. I've never even thought about the difference between using words like decision vs. a choice... But the distinction is so different... Deciding or Reacting is to do something based upon your past - you don't even Consider that there are other options when you decide and react... When you choose something its because you've considered all the possibilities and then responded to it... :
the word "decide" has the latin root -cide in it meaning "to kill"" Words ending in -cide come from the Latin verbal root of caedo, caedere, cecidi, caesum ("kill").
2. to make a judgment or determine a preference; come to a conclusion.
1.to select from a number of possibilities; pick by preference
Just thought it was kind of fascinating... thought i'd share ;) some amazing stuff is happening... i will write about all of it soon..
Monday, November 20, 2006
my entire life i have felt trapped. i wanted to be free - i wanted to express myself without having to constantly worry about what others would say. but it happened over and over again. everyone always has something to say ;) throughout my life everything i did seemed to be abnormal to people around me. all i wanted was to be myself and be accepted - but i constantly felt like an outcast. i have always had support and lots of love, but there was always those people that no matter what i did - i felt different and inside told myself they hated me for it.
so i have spent a lot of my life putting up walls to protect myself. i became righteous and said to everyone - fuck you and what you think - i don't care b/c i am who i am whether you like it or not and fuck you for judging me. everyone in my life... anytime anyone has said to me that they disagree with my choices i have told them to go fuck themselves time and time again b/c I WAS RIGHT and THEY WERE WRONG.
i thought this gave me courage and power, but what it did was destroy my trust with people... someone would disagree and deep down inside i felt like it was a personal attack on me - like they were trying to prove that who i was was wrong - so i'd shut them up and push them away pretending i was stronger than they were.
in August i GAVE UP BEING RIGHT. i never thought it was possible... but it hit me - i had never seen it before. i really got that NO two people on earth can possibly see things the same way and it doesn't mean anything when someone disagrees with me. they just disagree with me and it doesn't mean anything... not only did i realize that different perspectives are inevitable and valid (as opposed to a personal attack on me), but i also realized how much i can learn and be inspired by someone else's viewpoint... its amazing how much you can get from a viewpoint that is the polar opposite... the thing that's incredible is that everyone thinks that their viewpoint is right - me, you, everyone.. and you become so powerful when you can validate the most outrageous viewpoints. realizing this has changed my life b/c i see that right and wrong only exists in my imagination.
i realized that my entire DIY life has been something i've created to keep myself from needing help from anyone else. "i don't need anyone - i don't trust anyone - i'm doing it all myself b/c i can only count on one person - me". what has changed my life in the past couple of months was to realize how these ideas i created have pushed away people and opportunities in my life. yes, i have created many opportunities in my life by being driven to do things on my own instead of hoping someone else would do it for me and i am grateful that i know how to be driven - i will always be driven and always do things for myself. but it is not enough. one person cannot take on the world. we are all part of this world. we are all together in this whether we like it or not. and the only way we can be powerful is to see other people's perspectives and validate them no matter what the circumstance. that is how we can make a difference in the world - to appreciate one anothers differences.
who i am is freedom through self expression. we will never see eye to eye - its not physically possible for two people in the world to see the same perspective... i will tell you if i don't agree, but i will never make you wrong. i will never take away your freedom to be who you are, say what you feel and when you challenge me i will be grateful, even when it hurts.
i am nothing without the people in my life. i am a songwriter, i am a musician, i am an artist, i am many things - but none of means anything without you to share it with. without you i am nothing.
i tried to find freedom in music, dance, art, sex, love - i let go of my past and found it finally ;) the conception of Valeze was to encourage people to "check their baggage at the door", accept and love everyone for their differences, to feel safe expressing yourself as you are. inside i was still holding onto my baggage and couldn't give myself freely, but now i am truly free and entirely yours. thank you for being who you are and inspiring me to be who i am for you and for myself.