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Subject:unification
Time:09:52 pm

how powerful a feeling when you share a common purpose with other people. when you can create something beautiful with other people. when with other people you feel love and energy. there are these strong, intangible bonds that we form through our experiences when we share them with other people. when that strength grows, our strength grows, and we grow. as a musician i experience these collaborations, the comming together of people, a lot. in any ensemble setting, no matter what the size, i find strength in others that i make music alongside. i could never imagine a solitary life. sharing time, music, in all - life elicits a plethora of feelings. in past few days i've had some really strong experiences that made me feel some of those feelings.

here i am at suny potsdam. there is this fantastic basketball team that is currently running undefeated that plays d iii representing our school. one of my homies had this notion to start a pep band, and rally potsdam bear support. it's a band, with a rag tag instrumentation that had never played together before, and we barely practiced - we were horrible.
 it was our first appearance this past weekend in two home games. the second game was going tough the 1st half with potsdam 16 points under ithica and no real composure to speak of. it looked like the undefeated potsdam bears were going down for the count. so being the pep band (and #1 fans by default) we really kicked things up with multiple chants and cheers, dogging the other teams players, and really trying to the pull the crowd into the game. potsdam ended up driving back through overtime to beat ithica by 2 points.

as exciting as the victory was, it was the yelling and screaming in time with all the fans that felt the greatest. there were lots of people who didn't want to see potsdam lose. i honestly believe, that the banter from the pep band pumped up the home team so much that they were able to keep the momentum up, and the encouragement of those cheers boost their spirits. had it been an away game and they played like that in the first half, they would've gotten trashed. it's that feeling of unity, the feeling that there are hundreds of fans in that same gym who are screaming and singing at the top of their lungs that pulled the potsdam bears together. that was a feeling of strong, brute encouragement. like we, as the fans, were apart of some struggle, and assumed as much resposibility as the players to keep the drive alive.

another fact that is ever present is the fact that i have found here a fantastic group of friends. college is the toughest challenge that any of us have had to face, and it's a lot of pressure on us. i will swear by the fact that music is my ultimate escape, but here at potsdam it's my escape and my chore. the only purest release i have here, that really helps me unwind is heading up to ks2 and knowing that there is always at least a few (if not several) people to just sit down and chill out with. Or heading out for the day with Billy, tripx, and company. we're just a bunch of kids commin together to chat some, and relieve the major stress that is college.

i would quickly liken the feeling that i get with these homies to family. just knowing that i have some people to watch my back, keep me on track, help me with hardships, support me in my accomplishments and share some woes makes me so comfortable up here. this college thing has been so difficault and i'm greatful that they're apart of my experience here. much love for them.

finally, there was this talent pagent last week at crane called the holiday convocation. there were a whole bunch of goofy acts that we watched. there is a tradition in potsdam, that for the final act everyone: participants and audience sing silent night together and then silently leave the theater. everyone stood and the group broke into several harmonies and it produced this gentle, magic sound that echoed through snell theater. i have never heard a more beautiful version of silent night.

there was something about how all of us, some strangers, some friends came together for one purpose. to uphold the holiday tradition and sing silent night to add some closure to the semester. and somehow we all understood that this was something that was meant to be made beautiful. together, without words, we created a soft, divine sound. i know it is cliche, but really - my spine tingled the entire time. i really felt the precence of the ensemble, and the purpose to make beautiful music. for a few minutes we were unified.

i was exiting the theater and before i could think that i was one of the only people who really felt the experience, there was a girl crying and she said to her friend "i can't believe tommorow is my last day in crane, ever." music is powerful, music made together can at times create something indescribable.

so - thank you friends and thank you strangers. one

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Subject:vision
Time:01:38 pm

here's a question for you - what if we didn't have vision? no dreams, foresight, or goals. no creation by our mind. what if we couldn't see in our head? what if we couldn't hear music when there was none? what would we be?

animals that just took the world for what it was, believing that we couldn't change it, or our way of living. the only thing we would understand is how to survive and multiply. no great structures. no grand overtures. no cutting edge technology.

it's become apparent to me that vision is the biggest separation between us and every other being that lives in this world. and as we advance, as a people and as an individual, our ability to translate our ideas into some tangible (or semi-tangible) form become more powerful.

so is it not the most pure and ultimate goal to be able to translate our visions with impeccable fluency into reality - this so we can better serve ourselves and the world community?

here's to promise myself that i will work my hardest to translate my visions to reality. what are your visions?

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Subject:giving thanks
Time:04:18 pm

a soul. an intangible phenonmenon that some attempt to objectify - placing it in some mechanical part of a person's physical being (such as the heart). it is throughout our entirety but entirely seperate. it's not apart of the physical world, or perhaps it isn't even in the world at all. what if our "souls" were just a collection of reacting chemicals in our bodies that told us what we were? what if we were simply organic machines that are here only because of some balance struck in one small part of all that there is? i'd like to think otherwise:

imagine that there is this endless sky - not the one we look to the stars in, but a place above all that is tangible. and in the endless sky are infinite souls. each a quintessence of what we all were before we were born or concieved - what everyone to come could be. all these souls in a super-celestial place that none of us could understand.

and when i was concieved, my soul fell from a high beyond highs, into a place where it was trapped by matter. prisoner to a mass of cells that would be a morula that would be an embryo that is now me. and now here i am - a conglomerate of bone, muscle, and nerve in a chemical cocktail. but all about me is my soul. i am in me.

and so people created the mediums of expression to aid the soul in escape of body. but the soul escapes only to be captured by others. if your soul escapes but nobody is there to observe it's departure, does your soul exsist?

in a painting: slipping through paintbrush, trapped by the matter that is paints and paper - stays the soul of the painter. a small glimpse of the prodigious light that is the painter's soul.

in music: illustrated onto the air, a saxaphonist's soul transcends physical matter onto the invisible soundwaves. the soul seemingly escapes into the free but the soundwaves are still only a medium: a translation into a less illuminative form so that all can "hear".

the beautiful thing is that because the mediums of expression produce only a general and vague portait of what somebody's soul is - others can interpret the product of the medium, and make it mean something to themselves. as simple as somebody nodding to the beat of a jazz combo: they are taking the collective soul, the collective groove and understanding what it means through their own interpretation.

so if everything else is just for and by our physical self - why not nourish our souls? why not communicate our souls? i see no better activity.

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Subject:surfing
Time:08:29 pm

by far was the most unique experience of my trip here in la. i had a great time.


hang ten

let me first say that i am not an authority on surfing. the real phenom is my old man. my very old man at the age of 55...but he still had enough backbone and enough guts to come out surfing with me. i am grateful that he took the time to show me the ropes. i was also fortunate enough to rent from a surf club that had instructors out on the water to give you some pointers. so i picked up some terminology (excuse me while i try to use it in proper context).

the object, obviously, is to catch a wave and ride it for as long as you can. the feeling when you are riding the top of a wave, or when you're being pushed briskly along by a white, foamy surf is amazing. it is like you are floating, gliding even. it's like the water isn't what you're riding on. when you first catch a good ride you're forcefully pushed along by a curling wave. once the wave finished "breaking" (turning over onto itself to where you see it have a whitecap) you are gently driven by the churning foam of what used to be the wave; at which point you feeling like you are floating. amazing.

surfing certainly was not as easy as i had thought it to be. paddle out, pick a wave and float back in on that wave right? i found that many fine balances must be struck in order to be able to catch a wave. the following is the process as i was taught: the first task is to be able to time it so you ride a wave right as it is breaking. smaller waves break further towards shore, larger waves break farther out. second you must paddle to match at least a 1/4 of the breaking wave's speed; if you paddle too early, you get too far ahead of the break, if you paddle too late you float right over the wave or worse: it throws you face first into the ocean. third you must balance on your board so that the nose does not dive into the swelling water, or so that the wave does not take your board, but not you. finally, you must be able to balance on your board either at the stomach, knee, or full standing level. not amazingly difficault, but it took me a hard 3 hours to figure out how to catch a wave and be able to stand.

anyway, the more interesting quams and perils of surfing:
- squeezing into a wet suit, which is the spandax of a lifetime and is like fitting a basketball through a 20oz bottle neck. (and of course it's ammusing to watch a peon upstate new york kid try to fit into his surf tights so i had many spectators.)
- paddling out to the proper starting place and having to cut (dive into or float over) through 5 feet tall waves (with the intention to be on the otherside)
- having that same 5 foot wave break exactly as it passes you: one, big, aquatic bitch slap all across your body.
- the feeling of ocean water shooting up your nose at a rate you would never think possible.
- swallowing that same water that was injected through your nose.
- the extremely salty aftertaste following your marine chugging.
- "pearling" (having your nose go under the water's surface), doing an amphibious face plant, getting tumbled around by the victorious 5 foot wave, losing track of which way is up, continuing to be pulled around by the wave...under water, thinking to yourself whoa, am i actually going to drown?, panic sets in, (all while taking in at least a liter of salt water, at least)... flailing to the surface in fear, (much to your humiliation:) living through it and finding that your board is ashore and it's a long swim in.
- did i mention getting smacked by a 5 foot wave? because it happened a lot.
- "killing somebody's ride" (somehow obstructing another surfer while they are on a wave) by accident, watching them wipe out, watching their renegade board fly at your face followed by massive amounts of wave, getting hit directly in the face (yes it did happen), getting smacked under water by the board, getting drug and tumbled by the wave, again thinking to yourself whoa, am i actually going to drown?, and finally after gasping air for your life having to apologize for killing somebody's ride because it's your fault that you forced them to wipe out and throw their board in your direction to which it hit you in the face. no nose bleed, no worries.
- after getting out of the especially cold ocean, the hot sand feels especially hott. the kind where you gasp everytime you take a step.

but i list these qualms and perils with pride because it was all apart of the experience. they are the aspects of surfing that indeed put it into the category of extreme.

also, if you're one of those people who loves the ocean, and you haven't surfed...surf. it truely is ultimate bonding with the main. 5 minutes of struggle and fighting the element to 10 seconds of riding one of it's endless waves. i felt like a true man of the brine.

surfing was awesome, i'd do it again in a heartbeat.

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Subject:extended family
Time:11:25 am

extended family. those people beyond the people who gave you life. the ones who shared their life with your parents. or the people of the people who shared their life with your parents. somehow, even if just through marriage, these people are connected to you.

i'm sure every person when they are young are told that these people give you their love and their attention. therefore, one must give their love and respect in return.

apparently, these extended families are worth much: people who will love and support you, people who you can take interest in/care for, the people you get together with to celebrate special occassions and more. i believe everybody values their extended family in a certain way.

so we must be greatful that these people, of relation to us, are a part of our lives. but what if they're not? what if these people live so far away that it's hard to see them regularly? what if niether party tries and keep in touch? what is this extended family worth now?

it is very painful to visit your extended family and not feel apart of the group. these people share my blood, but we still have a very hard time connecting. but i wouldn't expect it to be easy: we hardly ever see each other and i never write or in some other way inquire how they are doing (on the other hand they never do either). therfore, these people have become strangers that i see for a week at a time every so often.

if i could trade in all the holiday presents they sent me, all the money that they sent for my special occasions, just to feel like i am more apart of my brickman family, i would. all those things become worthless when you just don't fit with the very people who sent you those gifts.

so as i have learned, i beg you to take that extra effort to keep in touch with the people who love you unconditionally. i'm sure they can have a very important role in your life. i know now that i should've tried to keep in touch and am left to wonder what visiting here would've been like if i had.

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Subject:la's overpopulation glamour
Time:11:04 am

here are photos dedicated to the previous entry:


the view from the plane of la suburbs


traffic backed up for at least 6 miles on the oneohone. for no reason; general congestion.

don't get me wrong, this place is beautiful and a wonderful area to visit.

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Subject:concrete
Time:12:57 am

it's an amazing view flying into LA. you look down and all you can see from over the eastern mountains all the way out to the west coast is development. if it's not a building it's a road. a huge blanket of concrete with only sparse green/brown (because the grass quickly dies in the summer here) spaces. there is very little contrast here in this huge city.

of course after we landed my first experience was on what they call the 4-0-5. a long stretch of freeway that runs north/south, just west of downtown. 6 lanes in either direction. the open road?

so much about this place is different from home. you're lucky if you reach 30 mph on the 65 mph freeway during the 5 o'clock rush. what would be a 10 minute trip turns into a 30 minute trip. but such a delay is considered making great time. when you roll down the windows, the fresh air is accompanied by the smell that can likened to sucking air out of the muffler of a truck. absolutely everything here is concrete. something that is a rare sight in new york due to the extreme change of seasons.

but the biggest experience off of the 4-0-5 is the view. nothing but residences and commercial buildings for, literally, as far as the eye can see. the scenery never changes.

and my grandparents, who have lived here for a good 50 years of their lives laughed when i told them that the population of my fair home city syracuse is a modest 200,000.

LA is exciting and always awake. it's unique and awe inspiring. it's interesting and diverse. however, the view from the northbound 4-0-5 reminds me that i have much love for my middle america town.

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Subject:a four letter word
Time:01:29 pm

you know what is really easy to say? "i love you". this phrase seems to be falling out of people's mouths and stumbling onto profiles/away messages quite a bit. it would be hard to go about our teenage lives without comming across the likes of it daily. have you ever stopped to look up the meaning of this integral word?

something so simply said is not as easy to describe according to the 10 different definitions given by trusted www.dictionary.com:

love   Audio pronunciation of "love" ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (lv)
n.

  1. A deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection and solicitude toward a person, such as that arising from kinship, recognition of attractive qualities, or a sense of underlying oneness.
  2. A feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.
    1. Sexual passion.
    2. Sexual intercourse.
    3. A love affair.
  3. An intense emotional attachment, as for a pet or treasured object.
  4. A person who is the object of deep or intense affection or attraction; beloved. Often used as a term of endearment.
  5. An expression of one's affection: Send him my love.
    1. A strong predilection or enthusiasm: a love of language.
    2. The object of such an enthusiasm: The outdoors is her greatest love.
  6. Love Mythology. Eros or Cupid.
  7. often Love Christianity. Charity.
  8. Sports. A zero score in tennis.

oh the whole page goes on and on offering up tons of different spins on it: http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=love

so who are we to know for a fact that we have a total feeling of every single aspect to be able to bring it down to one word: "love"?

the fact is, is that, clearly this word has become one for interpretation. i personally believe that that is exactly where it belongs. everybody may say it, but i think that everyone means it in a little different way. so who are you to say: that person doesn't love that other person because [blah blah blah]. well, how do you know? how do you know what the coveted term "love" means to them?

really, if you absolutely must put a label to how you feel to sum it up in one word...then by all means: drop the big L. because it feels good to say it, i know. (or type it about fifty times in your ode to your loved one at the bottom of your away message)

"love" has only as much meaning as you give it. so if you use it to describe those new more simple feelings that you feel early in a relationship, then how will you possibly describe the more complicated ones later on? is there a word out there that surpasses l-o-v-e? you could make one up.

perhaps we should leave the term to tennis (def. #10) and try elaboration on for size.

drop some comments and let me know what "love" means to you.

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Subject:a look into the mature college social life
Time:10:41 am
this is ventre. he just finished an exhilarant freshman year at rutgers.
check out an account of one of his adventures:
http://www.eden.rutgers.edu/~mventre/articles/mv/060204.html

you don't need to know him to appreciate this, you just have to be under the age of 25.</p>

witty as hell matt. nice work.
this story intimidates and excites me all at the same time.
i encourage you to check out the rest of his site illnetworx

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Subject:one kindness every day
Time:09:17 pm

according to the population reference bureau (http://www.prb.org/), there are over 291.5 million people living in the united states. imagine if every single person residing in america did one act of kindness today. perhaps something a little more involved than holding a door open for somebody, but not as extreme as buying them a new car. what if such charity was felt on a daily basis at the national level? would there be more of a citizen bond? would the mood of the population be higher?

i was on the job delivering ice again today. things were going smooth, but since i had just delivered yesterday i was quite sore all day. it was uncomfortable, and it put me into a kind of sore mood. i was in the middle of what would later wind up to me a 10 hour work day. my partner and i had a delivery stop at an iga market out in elmyra. because my partner and i had a large delivery schedule, we were working quickly to get everything delivered so we could get out as fast as possible. (that seems to be the way it is in the delivery business. hustle so you can get the job done and go home. every once in a while you're hustling so much that you even step on some toes. but it's in the business right?) we finished up the delivery when a perry's ice cream truck pulled up to the loading dock.

one man, driving an 18 wheel delivery truck to places all over the boonies of new york to deliver ice cream had to be in a real big rush too. but he stopped me in my hustle to ask "hey, do you want some ice cream?"

you can imagine this came as (somewhat) a shock to me. not only had this one guy that didn't i know stopped me in the flurry of loading dock madness (it really was busy at the iga this morning), but he stopped me to offer me some ice cream. so of course: "sure, i love ice cream", he went into his truck and quickly reappeared holding two triple chocolate king size drumsticks. he handed them to me abd i gave my thanks after which we both rushed our seperate ways to continue our routes.

because i had been working so hard through a lot of pain today that ice cream tasted extra good. plus (the jew in me) it was free (so it tasted even better). it also just so happens that eating sits at about number 3 on my list of favorite things to do. all i could think about as i sat on the truck enjoying this ice cream was how great it tasted. not the fact that i had 10 or more stops to do. not the fact that my whole body felt like a bruise. but that this stupid ice cream cone that this random guy gave me tasted good. thus i ended up in a better mood.

i can attribute the rasing of my spirits 100% to the beneficence of the perry ice cream delivery man. he didn't save my life. he didn't buy me a house and five cars. he gave me an ice cream cone, just because. and in a day that all you think about is lift, drop, shift, place and damn my hands are cold, that can easily become the highlight.

what's even crazier about today is what i just so happen to get in my forutne cookie tonight:


"your good deeds are never forgotten."  (on the back it also taught me how to say spring roll in chinese...which is also very exciting)

so what if everyone, all 291.5 million people of the United States, got their ice cream cone today? what if they recieved an uplifting gift or service? would this not be a happy place tonight?

this is not a new concept. the interest in this topic lead me to search and find an organization that has put a label and a cause to this kind of chiarty. they call themselves the "random acts of kindness foundation" (http://www.actsofkindness.org/). it is here that one can find tons of information on designated kindness days, efforts if kindness in their community, examples of kindness and much more having to do with doing good unto your fellow people. it's a benefaction revolution.

"remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. every act creates a ripple with no logical end."- scott adams

any random acts of comments?

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