Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We are all one.

self and cosmos

A neat idea from ProgressiveBuddhism.com - that all religions, when you break them down, are about one idea: the one dissolving into the whole.

The one (us, our spirit, whatever) eventually finds the whole (God, Brahman, etc.). We lose ourselves in religion.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Everything's amazing, nobody's happy.

Money quote: "You're sitting in a chair in the sky."

It's all so true. My big foible is sitting at red lights, and people not going fast enough down suburban streets. To think: I could be walking in November while it snows.

PBS had a marathon re-showing of "The War," an amazing documentary about World War II and its impact on four American towns. One scene in particular spoke to me, and it's when a lady - a little girl at the time - lives in a prison camp run by the Japanese. Her entire family almost starves to death during the War. She says how, when she got home, everyone was complaining about rations and the bad news coming from overseas.

"They just didn't get it," she said.

And boy, isn't that true for folks our age and younger? I've already talked with my grandma about this. I told her that, in a few rare cases, I've never known the kind of want that her generation and, especially, the generation before hers experienced. For that reason, any complaining I do will be consciously kept to a minimum. What right do I have to complain, when hell - it could be a lot worse.

Happiness comes from within, says the Buddha, not from without, and that lesson keeps popping up in my day-to-day life. Thankfully, I'm very content with my situation right now. Life is good. It might not always be that way. But at this time, and at this moment, I can breathe and eat and stay warm and enjoy typing on my Macintosh computer that also, amazingly, can talk to space.

Who can complain about that?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Party like it's 1979.

Fun with Poladroid

Polaroid film may not be available for long, but man - I'm glad an application like Poladroid is.

If you're a photo fiend, and a Mac user, you have to download this app. Poladroid basically takes your digital snapshots and "Polarizes" them using vintage light filters and settings. You can see the results above after I messed around with a few of my Flickr photos.

Seriously - this is a hoot. What better way to make Myspace or Facebook photos than a higher-quality Polaroid shot? If you're stuck without a Mac, and you're nice to me, maybe if you send me something I Poladroid it for you. Maybe. If you're nice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Don't stop believing.

What is it about Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"?

What is it about that song that has our generation in such a craze? Maybe you've heard: "Don't Stop Believin'" (hereafter referred to as DSB) is the number-one selling song of all time(!) on iTunes. All time. Number one.

It's friggin' Journey, for Pete's sake!

I keep hearing that its inclusion in "The Soprano's" finale, or how the 2005 World-Series-winning White Sox made it their song, that that's why it's so freaking popular now. But I just can't believe it. I think it started years before then, because I've seen how our generation has latched onto it like nobody's business.

It makes sense. Released in 1981, right at the buttcrack of Gen X and Gen Y (and my own birth year), DSB lives in the foggy troughs of our childhood memories. Most Journey songs do. "Anyway You Want It" has always been my personal favorite, because I remember listening to it on our local rock station, Q106, growing up. "Stone In Love" is pretty damn good, too, and makes a great summer song.

DSB, though, is in a class all by itself. I have been struck stone sober as a bar full of twenty-somethings set down their drinks, raise their fists, and struggle to reach the highest notes of "some-where in the NIIIGGGHHHTTTT!"

Andrea's wedding featured a white person's dance floor, complete with air guitars and arena rock. And what song was, arguably, the most popular - besides "Bohemian Rhapsody" (probably Gen X's own DSB, at its height, thanks to "Wayne's World")? You guessed it. Every friggin' person on that dance floor knew the words. It's amazing.

And now I've learned that our generation, the iPod generation, has taken to this song so much that they've blessed Apple with ungodly amounts of money via iTunes downloads. It's not Britney, or 50 Cent, or that cracker Jack Johnson. It's not even other arena rockers like Boston or Foreigner or...hell...even REO Speedwagon. No, it's Steve Perry and his dysfunctional bunch of Frisco hippies.

Don't get me wrong: I like the song. I've probably karaoke'ed it a couple of times in some drunken stupor. Don and I have covered many Journey songs, in fact, and slaughter each one of them. As with Def Leppard and Bon Jovi, bars gravitate toward these kinds of songs - and Jesus Wheeping God, only a few people screw up the lyrics. It's frightening to think that an entire generation of misfits that drink from the well of YouTube and quench their thirst on Facebook would have the brain capacity to remember songs from just before they were born. What sense does that make?

I understand the longing for something from the past to hold on to. Each decade brings back tricks from previous eras (grunge and Sabbath, Interpol and Joy Division, pop punk with whoever that one band is that sucks). Then what, in this grim time on Earth, can we learn from Journey?

Maybe that's just it. There's nothing to be learned. Maybe it's all in the mindless fun. That boy from "South Detroit" (they would call it "Downriver")? He's us. And to a generation who has never been without want, we never stop believing. We don't know any other way.