Friday, February 26, 2010

Shutter Island

This isn't quite a movie review, cause I'd hate to ruin the flick for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.
But I will say, I just came from Shutter Island, and it's got me dying to talk to someone about it. There were so many aspects of the movie that I've been playing back, saying, "Well, wait...what was that part then?"

I enjoy a movie that forces me to analyze the possibilities early and often throughout the plot development. And this one did not disappoint. It kept me guessing and guessing and guessin! It was great.

However, the conclusion gave rise to all types of questions. Many I'd love to voice, but I don't wanna ruin the flick. Soooo, feel free to holler at me, and share your insights on it. And ask YOUR questions about it, cause I'm so very much in need of dialoguing about this movie!

Peace and Love

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Goodbye to a Legend

My stomach dropped when I saw the news. The Eagles have done the unthinkable. After 8 seasons of highlight after highlight. Marred only by recent injuries (concussions) the Philadelphia Eagles have let go of our all time leading yards gainer, Brian Westbrook.

It all makes sense from the business stand point. Aging back, questionable health, lots of money tied up in him. But DAMN, that's Brian Westbrook. He's delivered so many magical moments for this franchise. It's downright frustrating to see him shown the door on any terms other than his. Call me a fanatic, but this is where the business of sport rubs me the wrong way. After all the beatings this man has taken for this team. All the health issues that will surely plague the rest of his days, this team kicks him to the curb with no remorse whatsoever. I hate it.

Who knows, maybe we'll miraculously re-sign him for less in the future. But for the time being, we Eagles fans are being forced to say goodbye to another beloved pillar of our franchise. Thank You Brian for all the years of excitement, dedication, and playing the game the right way!

And for the record... if Mc Nabb goes, I go!! :)

Til then...Go Eagles

From Purpose to Worthless and everything in between

One of my favorite all time movie scenes takes place in the Matrix Reloaded. It's when Neo first comes across the new and improved Agent Smith, who is now capable of multiplying himself.
He introduces himselves by spurting off a spiel about PURPOSE.

"There's no escaping reason, no evading purpose, because we both know, that without purpose there is no reason to exist. It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us, that defines, it is purpose that binds us."

I've had numerous conversations recently that have revolved around this theme. And it never ceases to amaze me how each of those in my circle continue to strive to redefine their own sense of purpose through their works, whether that be within the community or by way of their careers.

I recall awakening many a morning (or afternoon) with a very tangible feeling of emptiness in my gut. Often times it came spontaneously, but the most notable occurrence came just days after my college graduation.

At this time when the 'real' world seemed to be beckoning from below as I stood on cliff's edge, I remember feeling sick as a dog. Overwhelmed with not only the inherent responsibilities to come, but also the lack of clarity as to where I was heading.

Numerous times I blamed this sensation on my whereabouts. At 1st it was Horseheads, NY. "If I could only get out of this town, maybe I can do something with my life." Then it was Maine, "I swear I have so much potential, but I'm trapped up here in the corner of the country with a bunch of moose!" It wasn't until I graduated and ventured off to Egypt that a chilling realization set in.

I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was living in Aswan at the time, when I awoke to be revisited by that oh so familiar feeling of hopelessness. Every time I'd experienced that sensation prior to this, I had rationalized it as being a result of my surroundings. But it took me traveling to the other side of the planet, and being surrounded by all things exotic, to awaken to the root of the problem. ME.

As time has progressed, I've accumulated enough experiences to grasp that surroundings do still play a part, but it's purpose that truly fuels the days activities. And as I contrast the opportunities I've engaged in versus those I've declined, the underlying question remains is this difference making work? Whether that be in music, career or even social interactions, it's a beautiful standard to remind self of from time to time.

And I must say, that is a large part of why Santa Cruz resonates with me. The majority of the people in my circle are living lives full of purpose. They've chosen work that is a reflection in some degree of their highest good. And it's evident in their self esteem and overall sense of joy.

Although our reasons for living may vary from time to time. And our motivations will certainly change throughout life's phases. I think one of the true keys to a joyous life is cultivating a path that calls forth purpose. From the simplest of action, to the most calculated, I can only hope that each of you is so lucky as to continuously rediscover yours within your daily interactions.

One Love

Sunday, February 21, 2010

League Championship

As many of you know I've been assistant coaching at Santa Cruz High School. The experience has been undoubtedly one of the most profound of my life, especially in terms of dealing with kids and having the opportunity to build based on a common love.

As great as many of my classroom experiences have been, I'd have to say they pale in comparison to what we've shared throughout this season. Overseeing the growth and development of a team from November to now has offered a very unique set of dynamics that's ranged from exhilaration to borderline insanity.

Yet through it all, the one constant has remained coach. Simply put, Bill Domhoff is the man. I couldn't have asked for a better person to assist. His approach to the game and his demeanor with the guys is extraordinary. What's impressed me most has been his ability to read the guys and modify his interactions with them based on what they need most in that moment.

Of course some of the guys didn't see the bigger picture when it all began, but that's what's been equally impressive. After a few initial conflicts, everyone has bought into the team concept and the foundation laid by coach. We had one kid quit, which was an absolute blessing because he lacked the character to be a piece of the team that was steadily finding it's identity. And more than anything learning to trust each other.

As ideal as coach's vibe is, ultimately it boils down to the guys. And these kids put the C in Coachable. From day one they've been receptive and willing to work on whatever we put before them. The results of which led to a 15-9 regular season record with a 10-2 mark in league. Both losses coming at the hands of St. Francis. A senior heavy team that finished the season at 22-0.

As fate would have it, we met them in the league championship last night. In a jam packed gym, the guys laced em up and went to work with a very clear purpose. Be Champions.

After great preparation, our guys came out and played the perfect game. Defensively they communicated like veterans, boxed out with discipline and maintained an intensity that deflated any hopes our opponent had of continuing the magical ride. We held them to 11 points in the 1st half, including just 3 in the 2nd quarter. It was a clinic.

On the offensive side of the ball, we executed with patience and diligence. Not really having an impressive shooting night, we still managed to come up big when needed. This was highlighted by one of our Junior's Zen Maki, stepping up big. Sinking clutch bucket after clutch bucket as he knifed through their defense seemingly at will. He finished with 19 and almost all of them left us pumping our fists and nodding our heads as if to say Hell YEAH!

When the final buzzer rang it was 40-31 Santa Cruz. And for the 1st time all year it all made sense. Every practice, every coaching point, every frustration, every celebration, it all culminated and took shape right there before our eyes. The end result...Champions!

I couldn't be happier for these guys and their families. Cause it was definitely a magical night.

That being said...time to get back to work cause we've got sectionals to come.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Not your ordinary DMV experience

Who said a trip to the DMV has to be boring?!?
A friend of mine just reluctantly made his way back to Japan. After a 5 year stint here in the States, his visa was on the brink of expiring and despite his love affair for this country of ours, he was 'forced' to return to his homeland.

This is not a sad story, however. Before departing, he decided to pass on his whip at a very reasonable cost. One that made me smile. And aligned a trip to L.A. which proved to be monumental. (I shot my 1st 'official' music video)

Upon return, I had to take care of all the logistics. Registration, Insurance...all that good stuff. The registration bit, landed me at the DMV for a brief stint initially. Coincidentally, the lady who took care of me (whom sighed heavily as I approached as if life could be no worse,) had a picture of her grandson pasted to her wall. Her grandson who just happened to be one of the stars on our JV squad. The connection enlightened her exponentially and made for a quite the pleasant experience.

HOWEVER, the result of our exchange led to a return trip. After getting my vehicle smogged, I had to come back with the proof. THIS time, the line was damn near out the door. I looked, turned around and began walking out. Two steps toward the parking lot, a GREAT friend of mine, Krystal, comes prancing in my direction. NOOO WAAAAAY! Alright. Ok..I can do this.

So we ventured in, waited. Got our numbers and then debated on whether or not to stay. Well, she debated, I pretty much said 'fuck this, I'm out!' Don't ya know, as I headed toward the door, I ran into another friend, Donda, who happens to sing for a Brazilian band out here Sambada. We chatted about their upcoming album release and ensuing tour, before she turned the mic over to me. I mentioned just filming the video down in L.A. this past weekend and her eyes lit up!

"You have to meet my husband. He makes videos, documentaries...all that." I just smiled and he appeared moments later. Upon mentioning the video business he proceeded to mention the forthcoming Santa Cruz Film Festival competition which is for 'Best music video.' And get this, the prize for the winner is a new MacBook Pro. What so big about that? I just talked to the producer who shot the video, and he dropped his computer about an hour before I sent him the message about the contest. Rendering it, all but useless. Go Figure.

Anyhow, my friend, Krystal and I decided to stroll over to Verizon to kill some time. The convo enroute was hilarious. We peaked into DMV upon return and we were still a good 20 #'s down. "I'm feeling like Ice Cream!" she proclaimed. Music to me ears. We ventured across the street and copped some haagen daz. Sat outside and enjoyed the Cali sun. Eventually, we casually strolled back to the DMV, and the second we walked in the number was being called!!

How amazing is that!

We both handled our business, and left with our hands full of papers, but our souls rejuvenated from undoubtedly the most adventurous trip to the DMV I've ever experienced!!