31 January 2007

Mayhem in Mumbai

The whirlwind that is my travel schedule these days found its way to Mumbai in India today. For most of you from the west coast of the United States it will be the middle of the morning when this post goes out. Here in Mumbai it's 3:30 in the afternoon following a wicked flight schedule.

To get things started, our plane was delayed about an hour leaving LAX. Considering that we only had a 70 minute window for our connection in Singapore, this was not boding well for us. We made the connection (barely) but that meant no showers, or downtime at all. We walked off one plane, skipped down 5 gates and jumped on the next one. The first leg is 18 hours, the second leg only 6.

Upon reaching Mumbai we learned that my traveling companion had his bags misplaced by the airline. They were nice enough about it, but that doesn't give you clean clothes to wear now does it?

After finally leaving customs we looked for our customary hotel driver (funny how familiar it all felt this time around) who was nowhere to be found. It turns out there was a mix-up in the schedule and we weren't booked into the hotel until tomorrow. And tonight they were completely full up. Ugh.

We managed to find the Marriott rep and got booked into another Marriott (very sweet). After a much needed bath I'm catching up on my email. It seems like an eternity since I've used my computer. And by computer I mean the internet.

Hopefully tomorrow our driver will locate us, the missing luggage will surface, and we can get down to work. Sure. Whatever happens, it'll be exciting.

24 January 2007

Melting Points

I have a new theory. Let me tell you where it came from.

On the advice of one of my friends, someone much cooler and smarter than myself, I have been reading the book Satisfaction by Gregory Berns, M.D., Ph.D.(aka Dr. Smarty-Pants).

The book gets a little technical from time to time (which explains why my friend liked it), but is very well written and full of interesting story-telling and novel concepts. Which is good because a major theme of the book is Novelty.

So as I'm reading this book, Gregory (we are on a first name basis now, evidently) divulges an interesting bit of trivia of which I was previously unaware. This is generally not a hard thing to do so in and of itself wouldn't be noteworthy. It was the content of this little gem that set my mind a swirling and eventually birthed my new theory. I share it with you now.

The melting point for chocolate is the tempature of the human body.

My response, much like yours I am sure, was first one of incredularity and wonderment. As this amazing bit of knowledge percolated fully around my cerebellum it pricked my curiosity until a new and interesting (to me) theory of unification started to form. All me to share it with you.

I am postulating that everything has a melting point at precisely the tempature where it can do the most impact. Sounds obvious but let me dig a little and elucidate because I'm not just talking about food. Or even things that melt.

With our relationships, our desires, or behaviors, and yes with our food, I believe there is a melting point. I point at which the solidity of a thing gives way to an altered state. A more fluid, volatile, malleable state. It is at that precise melting point that the maximum impact can be obtained. Chocolate is a great example of this. Precisely as it melts (which remember is at the same tempature as the human body) is the point when its versatility is tantamount. You can mix it into pastries and torts, or imbibe it as a liquid. You can spread it on graham crackers or marshmallows or strawberries. The possibilities feel limitless.

Consider the same effect in your job, your relationship, or with your dreams. When the heat is increased to just the right tempature so that the solidity of thing breaks down, wonderous new possibilities emerge. Challenges in your workplace become opportunities for advancement. The stress in your relationship can help you break patterns and envision the future in a different way. Struggling to accomplish your personal goals can clarify your motivations and hidden desires which in turn may open your eyes to alternative perspectives on satisfaction and quality of life.

Admittedly the idea is still fledgling but it has already altered my internal vocabulary. Now I just have to find my own melting point...

22 January 2007

Forget My Unforgetfulness

Last night at El Corazon (formerly Graceland) I was able to rock out to a great happy-punk show headlined by Bowling for Soup.

Actually, in my opinion the best sound on the bunch was from Quietdrive. They have a runaway hit with "Rise From The Ashes". After their set I naturally went and picked up their album. I'm a big believer in supporting the bands that play the music I enjoy.

After Quietdrive, the O.C. boys Melee gave us a fine performance. I hadn't heard them before but I was very impressed with the vocal performance and use of keyboards to move them out of happy-punk into other genres. They are coming out with an album but gave away a sampler disc which I picked up.

Next on the list was Over It. These guys brought a solid performance with a couple of juicy songs. As they wound down I meandered over and acquired their latest release as well.

When Bowling for Soup came on they pulled off something I have never before seen. By interacting with the audience and each other they took 30 minutes of music and drew it out into a 90 minute set. They were really funny, and it was a unique experience. I must confess I prefer a little more music, but then again, they played all the favorites including their new single and I didn't necessarily need to hear any of their lesser known tracks.

It was a very good show.

So I head back to my hotel and something about the tracks I've acquired seems very familiar to me but I just can't place it. Sure enough it turns out I'd already bought each of the albums I acquired tonight. So once again, I've supported the creators double again. I don't really mind of course. Their sweat is in this music and you can tell. Now I have an extra copy of each CD so I can give them away and turn a few more listeners into fans.

I'll throw up some pictures soon.

20 January 2007

What A Week

This week I spent time trying somewhat unsuccessfully to reconnect with the some friends. For all my big talk about putting time into relationships and keeping up the friendships, it seems I've been just a crappy friend and let things go too far on a few fronts.

Work-wise, something is changing. Not sure exactly what is transpiring but every now and then in the background I can hear Dylan crooning "The Times They Are A Changing" and the impact hits me like a ton of bricks.

Evidently my desire for personal success can totally get in the way of the happiness of others. Sounds obvious I know, but I mean it larger than that. Usually we are all striving for those win-win type moments. Where we feel that those around us are equally encouraged by the positive movement. We all Get It. When we make a win that we are all sharing in the spoils. But alas, even when we've succeeded and pushed the ball further down the field, we stepped on a hand here, and a toe there. This week brings the phrase bumbling idiot a whole new facet of meaning for me. Now I have to see if the bull can't put some of the china shop back together.

I did however uncover the time to see a good friend and along the way relaxed with the band Shim over some cold ones.

Just when I'm feeling especially isolated, a connection is invigorated and some semblance of normalcy returns.

Then on the way home, I got a flat tire. So now I have to take this car back and get another one. Oh the joys of full-time travel. I should be grateful and not feel quite so inconvenienced. But I don't. Selfish bumbling idiot returns.

Somebody shake me.

15 January 2007

Shoulders of Giants

Do you have a calling? Maybe you prefer to call it a destiny? A plan? A future? A purpose, perhaps? I know I do.

One of the things that has always helped see me through times of indecision and fear is my belief in my calling. My reason for being on this earth. When my choices are unclear, or any time when I'm struggling it gives me peace to know that my future is assured.

From time to time though, the situations I am faced with become to great. The challenges seem simply to much to overcome. Do you have those times like I do? Those times when my faith is shaken, when I can't seem to remember that I'm part of something greater. Forgetting my place seems the easiest thing I ever do.

In times like these, I find myself seeking around for the strength of others. I recall the light of those that have gone before showing the way. Taking time to reflect on their lives and purpose can really snap me out of my own selfish quagmire.
"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountain top and I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will, and He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy tonight; I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
-- Dr. Martin Luther King
Basking in the glow of such phenomenal poise and purpose, humbles me. It brings the frail simplicity and meagerness of my own meddling into sharp relief.

It is good to have the shoulders of giants to stand on sometimes. Else the little guys like myself would get lost in the crowd and never see the sunsets.

10 January 2007

Sick. Ugh.

Why is it that I am such a baby?

Someone got me sick (it feels better blaming the ethereal someone) and I feel like I've been sitting on the bar in a dunk tank and the starting line up for the Yankees has been having a go at the bullseye. Repeatedly.

I go from lying in a pool of sweat with a fever, to shivering uncontrollably. My body aches so much I shuffle around like a 90 year old man being tasered. I've been trying to write this post for like half an hour.

The upside of being sick is that I have time to think. The downside is that I can't do anything about what I'm thinking. I'm not so good at the not doing part.


09 January 2007

It Catches Up With You

For the last several weeks I've been successfully avoiding the bouts of sickness that everyone else has been experiencing. They keep trying to catch me in their web of near-death and all around grossness. Up until yesterday, my plan of simply refusing to make-out with anyone in the office, and avoiding any casual snuggling at the movies, was working just fine.

Now I am at the mercy of antibiotics in an attempt to battle a small sinus infection. This is particularly unfortunate as I just started a round of two-a-day workouts.

Self-medicating. Yay.

02 January 2007

A Party Agenda

For New Years I was pleased to attend The Fenians New Years Party. If you haven't enjoyed their music you should make time to have a listen.

The high point of the evening for me was when I managed to get the girl from the back of the room to dance. My heart breaks to see someone at a party, not enjoying themselves. She was sitting at the back of room all by herself and just watching all the festivities with the loneliest look on her face. During "Wiskey in the Jar" I seduced her into joining the crowd jumping and shouting.

Later, as the evening wound down I won her to the dance floor again for a jig and spin. It was great clean fun. The Irish sure know how to party.