Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Norah's Serenade

About five years ago I had the privilege to catch a worldly talent at the cusp of... worldwide known greatness. Five years ago I watched one of the most graceful and beautiful, yet so young, singer/pianist perform at the equally ethereal venue here in Saratoga called the Mountain Winery. It didn't matter that I was so self-conscious at the time, having lost an opportunity to take a date on a great night of music and music discovery. It didn't matter that I went with another dude amongst a sea of couples. Her gracefulness and that lovely voice just put me in a good place. And so it was last night that, just about five years later, I came back to the same venue to catch Norah yet again at the Winery. A little different setting this time around - She was not just a pianist and vocalist anymore. She was also a guitarist, both electric and acoustic. She was a whistler. I did not come with a dude this time and came with a world of comfortness about myself. But - good times, years apart, never change - Norah's as graceful and so unassuming as before - It is so refreshing to see people who don't let ... fame and public recognition change their ego or lack thereof. My only complaint out of all the positiveness last night was that the show was really short. If you've ever gone to the Mountain Winery, their curfew comes at about 10:30, but, despite an encore, her band finished far before the time and was on for just a bit over an hour. As far as setlist goes, much material was taken from the latest album, with a handful of selections from the first two. Her politically-tinged number, my dear country, was a great number that surprisingly went well with the crowd!

I'll be taking off to Spain (and Paris) tomorrow for a few weeks - Although i won't have direct internet access, I'll try to hit the cafes' at some point to catch up with the world (although maybe I shouldn't with the way the news is just so depressing?). Take care of yourselves and I'll sprinkle some photos here and there!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

being human

What does it mean to be a human being?  Another way to phrase that question is: What is it we all share as people in the world?  That's a question that I've had a hard time wrapping around my head these last few weeks.  photo_02 I have been torn with this thought as my optimistic side of myself believes in the concept of redemption.  Although I have had the opportunity to witness and see this theory tested (and failed, in my opinion), I still am hopeful for the power of redemption.  This is not the greatest lead in, but I just wanted to comment a little on Michael Moore's latest film, Sicko, which delves a little bit into this abstract concept.  It is a great eye-opening  documentary on health care which is much less biased and more informative film than his last, F-911, and its impact should hit popular media as hard as Bowling for Columbine did years ago for gun control.   Moore poses a great question on how to gauge how a society's current state is, which is how society treats their lowest form/group in their supposed "social hierarchy" system.  It is, of course, revealed how blatantly different America treats their "scum" as opposed to those in other countries (Canada, UK, France, Cuba, as exampled).  One interesting parallel shown in the film describes the fundamental philosophy difference of France whereas "the government is afraid of the people" and in America, "the people are afraid of the government".  Throughout viewing, it is sobering to see the difference - And, for me, that isn't the hardest part - It, for me, goes back to the concept of redemption - Despite how our system of health care is, currently, will our society be able to redeem itself and find a way to not throw our poor into the streets?  Without a fundamental change in our mindset to fight for the "we" rather than the "me", it does not seem that way.  Please check out the movie if you can, I would write so much more but it would be giving it away :) 

OK I hate that I feel my writing is still very weak right now but it'll get more comprehendible as I flesh out my thought process better. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Exit Music

This is a song from one of my favorites, Radiohead, performed by some of my favorite people. It is a Chris Berryman recording (one of the best bootleg tapers out there) and from the Various & Sundry tour (featuring Glen Phillips (my favorite songwriter), Sean & Sara Watkins (from Nickel Creek, my favorite band), and Luke Bulla (formerly from Blue Merle) of which I caught a show of just a week ago! It's haunting and chilling, especially emphasized through the fiddles and Glen's falsetto vocals in action.

Listen Here :)

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Pacific Coast 5.27.07 055

So, here I am- An entire academic year has passed with me missing in action within the blogosphere.  First of all, I'd like to apologize.  (Hopefully there will still be people who have stuck around to accept this apology!)  My intentions were to continue blogging and to share with the world my experiences as a first year teacher.  That, obviously, did not happen.  It has been the rockiest year of my life - A year that tested my beliefs and questioned what I held most firm as values to live by.  I won't get into it quite yet, though I can imagine myself letting it seep out as I continue to blog in the not-too-distant future.  Let's put it this way - There has been so much that has gone on that I could most likely write not just a novel, but possibly an epic (with some elaboration here and there)! 

I also decided to re-establish this blog due to many people I have met along the way in the last year.  I have had the privilege to work with and become compadres with many, for lack of a better word, good and decent people who share my philosophy, principles, and values towards how to live and receive life.  Unfortunately, we are all going separate ways in life and since I've learned in life that it is truly difficult to find people who share the same values as oneself does (well for me at least...) I decided that this blog would be a way for me to make sure I can keep in touch with them and allow them a glimpse at what is the next chapter in my life. 

I suppose this is a good time to also catch people up on my history in the blogosphereExhibition 6.7.07 024 world.  I began with another site called Xanga back in 2002 and used it as an avenue to express my unhappiness with... different ways that we have become socialized in America.  It later became an outlet for my other interests, particularly music - I spent a good deal of time writing reviews, envisioning myself as a guest writer for music magazines such as Paste (a great magazine, by the way).  It was also a way to reconnect with family and friends that had moved away, to give them an idea of what was going on in my life.  In a way, it has and will return to that, but also to the other aforementioned themes.  Essentially, it will return as a blog about anything and everything.  I am happy to return - Hopefully a year's worth without writing (as well as correcting and speaking in third grade terminology) has not and will not disintegrate my ability to write :)  -johnny

By the way, if you'd like to read up on my back log of entries (and see how... optimistic and cynical I was) from the past, just look to the right and you can easily find your way back in time.