December 21, 2012

Scientific Observation - The Shift 2012 (Continued)

"I choose to live and to
Grow, take and give and to
Move, learn and love and to
Cry, kill and die and to
Be paranoid and to
Lie, hate and fear and to
Do what it takes to move through."
- TOOL, 46 & 2


If there is a shift, then it is the individual’s choice to shift from negative to positive experiences. 


There is really no true experiment to implement in an observational study such as this, but for consistency purpose I included this section.

Based on my research it is up to the individual to be receptive to the “spiritual guides whispering in our ears” and bring “love and light to places in ourselves that are dark and hidden” to make space for spiritual evolution. One must first recognize that one has dark qualities, then accept them with love, and finally be wiling to let them go to allow room for positive qualities.

Identifying the bad:
Dark, hidden places may include long held fears, resentments, and attachments that seem to now be a part of one’s genetic makeup. Some of us have started to identify ourselves with these traits: “I am afraid of commitment,” “I am an angry person,” “I am broken,” “I am only happy when I have XYZ.” These negative thoughts keep us from our true selves.

Accept the bad:
There is always a little yin in the yang. It is not bad to have these negative thoughts. They are what they are. Accept it without guilt or degradation. 

Let the bad go:
Ugh! What does this mean…? Negative thoughts are not reality, they are actually figments of our imagination. Really. Thoughts, beliefs, habits are not tangible; they only exist in our mind. And luckily these negative beliefs act as a roadmap to “show us where we need work to empower ourselves.” Set your intention to do better, and do better.


“The shift” is a shift in our thinking, a move away from suffering caused by negative thoughts we continue to cling to, to a higher state of consciousness where these negative thoughts are eliminated. It is one’s choice to do the work necessary to bring about the shift.

December 5, 2012

Scientific Observation – The Shift 2012

I've been crawling on my belly
Clearing out what could've been.
I've been wallowing in my own chaotic
And insecure delusions.

I wanna feel the change consume me,

Feel the outside turning in.
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and
Cleansing I've endured within
- TOOL, 46 & 2

Everyone is talking about it in one form or another – the shift. Either the world is supposed to end before 2013 or there is to be a huge spiritual shift whereas people become more in tuned to their higher, spiritually connect self.


Is there a "Shift" happening?  

I have recently found a need for a deeper connection. Normally, this would mean to me “a connection to a potential love partner.” But this time it means something else. For the fear of sounded kooky, lately I have been working hard (and it is hard work) on really connecting to my authentic self, therefore bringing me closer to my higher self, if you will.  Ok, I ended up sounding kooky.

But there was this sudden drive. So I decided to go all scientific on the subject and gather as much data on the phenomenon as possible. I have spent the last couple of weeks immersing myself in all types of “spiritually enriching” experiences and have made my self attuned to signs and indications of possible phenomena.


It started around the large full moon in October (October 29th). For some reason many of my interactions, arguments, and general feelings of agitations centered around the word “connection.” Simple. One word. But it showed up in so many situations that I had to take notice.

The next word that started appearing was “authentic.” It flickered here and there, and really hone in during Chuck D’s appearance at the New Noise Festival (November 9th).  “You gotta be true to yourself. You gotta be authentic to receive true appreciation for your art.”  There was that word again, slapping me in the face.

The third word that showed up was “gratitude.” It began with a Facebook event, A Month of Being Thankful. Then I got an email blast to join in a gratitude project (November 16). All this during the month of Thanksgivng. Yeah, it was even there!

I finally realized that these might be signs, so I took action. I enrolled, enlisted, and showed up at any new age event I could find in the month of November. I sat with a resonance healer, yoga’d with a women’s group, meditated with a monk, participated in a gratitude project, engaged in a chakra cleanse, sought the advice of a psychic, and went to an evening of spirit channeling. I read daily affirmations, went to sleep lulled by a hypnosis app (for various ailments), followed steps to practice positive psychology, and kept a gratitude journal.  All this I did solo. This way I was free to be in the moment and get in touch with my authentic self – without feeling kooky.

  • There was a full moon October 29th – “A Full Moon is the time to get connected. Information from our guides is heightened during this time so tune in to the subtle messages and promptings.” (
  • There was a powerful new super moon eclipse November 13th – This is a time of “connecting at a deeper level to our authentic selves.”  Before and after are times of uncertainty, followed by deep clarity. (
  • The month ended with full moon after a lunar eclipse in Gemini November 28th – A full moon is a time to manifest new beginnings; a time to “bring light and love to places in ourselves that are dark and hidden, release old wounds, and as an empowered self, move into your destiny. (

Psychic on the New Super Moon Eclipse (13Nov12) 
There is a shift. Now we begin moving towards destiny at a deeper fulfillment, a conscious upgrade.
- Let go of any beliefs, behaviors, and old habits that are preventing you from evolving.
- Embrace our darkness, so that we can be empowered on a conscious level.
- Fear shows us where we need work to empower ourselves, it is a choice.
- Heal old traumas, make space to connect more fully to your authentic self.
- Be mindful of your motivations.
- Set powerful intentions 

Monk on Being Happy (14Nov12) 
Allow yourself to accept and embrace positive thoughts. When there is suffering, it is the result of karma. Karma from this life or a previous life. But karma can be purified on four fronts: regret, doubt, faith, and unfulfilled commitment. Then you can move on with your life without the karmic suffering. 
- Keep a calm mind 
- Keep a clear mind
- Keep a positive mind

Gratitude Project (16Nov12) 
Be grateful for people, places, and things that once served a purpose in your life but no longer do.
- Savor pleasurable moments
- Say thank you to the people in your life often
- Be grateful for all that your body does for you
- Embrace receiving positive feedback
- Let go of things with grace to make space for new things & let someone else love what you have released
- Let go of playing the victim

Channeling Session (25Nov12) 
You are the Devine 
Man came to earth to experience joy. Suffering comes from not remembering you come from the Source. A schism formed in mankind’s consciousness, separating one man from another and from the Source. This was not the intention
There is a great “intervention” happening, where pure Source (“spirits”) are on this plane to help awaken the remembrance in mankind. This is what you may call a shift. 
- There is destiny: what your soul intended to do (intention)
- There is fate: spirit guides that provide assistance to you on your destiny
- There is choice: one’s free will to choose one’s own path

~ To Be Continued ~

November 26, 2012

Tis the Season – Have a Plan!

As the holidaze arrive, it is easy to lose oneself in all the hustle and bustle of holiday spending, consumption, and stress. This time of year can have a huge impact on your wallet, waistline, and sanity.

This year, to help me remain financially, physically, and emotionally fit during the 2012 Holiday Season, I have employed some “safeguards” into my normal routine. 

First off, I have enlisted the help of a personal trainer at my regular gym to help hold me accountable for any possible holiday excess.

The plan: simple math. I have scheduled weekly training sessions with a personal trainer at my gym during the month of December. The money I would usually put toward the admission price or bar tab at a holiday event in years past, I will now be putting towards working out, thus forcing me to limit the wonderful Santa Barbara holiday events to a very select few. Also, since I now need to keep a calorie journal for said trainer, it will also make me think twice about that second cocktail or third hors d'oeuvres. And as a by product, working out harder, going to less events, and consuming less alcohol will help with my emotional state as well. Merry Christmas to me!

Secondly, I have scheduled healthy, low cost community activities during the week to help me remain focused on this holiday survival mission.

The plan: diversion. I found some low cost community yoga and meditation classes in Santa Barbara to help me stay grounded throughout the weeks of December. This plan is to stave off FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome, the nasty ailment that has a tendency of making one deviate from one’s original plan. While my friends may be out at a fancy event spending lots of money, drinking, and staying out late, I will be meditating and aligning my chakras with a community of like-minded people. All good for the budget, body, and mind (the triad, right?).

These are my holiday safeguards, and I believe I have managed to create the perfect holiday survival plan. Well… as long as my family or friends don’t interfere by asking for pricey presents beyond my budget, or bring their grandmother’s double chocolate fudge to work for a holiday potluck, or by guilt tripping me into saying yes to an unscheduled party.  Cuz those things never happen during this time of year. Oy vey.

Here’s a list of events and activities to make your own list from:

Santa Barbara Events:
November 30, Friday – Downtown Holiday Parade
December 2, Sunday – Santa Claus 5K Fun Run
December 2, Sunday – Mahakankala Buddhist Center Meditation Day Retreat
December 6, Thursday – Downtown 1st Thursday – with carolers!!
December 9, Sunday – Santa Barbara Harbor Parade of Lights
December 10, Monday – KjEE Winter Round-Up with Metric, Arlington Theater
December 13, Thursday – Santa Barbara Young Professionals Holiday Gala, Granada
December 21, Friday – Power of Your Om, EOTWAWKI Hurricane Sandy Benefit
December 22, Saturday – A Tommy & the High Pilots Christmas, Lobero
December 30, Sunday – An Evening of Channeling, Yoga Soup

Community Meditation Classes:
6:30 pm Wednesdays @ Mahakankala Buddhist Center, $10

Community Yoga Classes:
6:30 pm Tuesdays & Thursdays @ Yoga Soup, $10

November 11, 2012

New Noise Music Festival ~ Saturday, November 10, 2012

Making It Rad

Last day of the New Noise Music Festival, and it went off with a bang.

There was the block party. Closing off part of the funk zone to build a stage, beer garden, and food court, New Noise managed to pack an outside house.  The crowd was large and mellow, the bands were rocking. But for me the real treat was at Muddy Waters.

Punk rock icon Gregg Attonito, front man for the Bouncing Souls, played punk rock jams for kids to a packed cafe. But it was packed with kids and kids stuff. It was very cool to see tatted dads and their kids dancing along to toddler jams. Muddy even had craft stations to keep the unruly crowd occupied. Stellar.

Then in to the night I went. I choose to stay at just one venue for the night. But it was, in my opinion, the most rockiness venue. Sure SOhO had Latin hip-hop sensation, Ozomatli, but the showcase at Velvet touted Old Man Markley and Nerf Herder. Come on.

Old Man Markley have matured into quite the performance band. The seven piece tore up the stage with their punk bluegrass, complete with washboards, harpsichord and stand up bass. The large band effectively maneuvered on stage, whipping the crowd up into a frenzy.

Nerf Herder then quickly took to the stage. The nerd rockers played all their hits with the intensity of men coming home. With fast guitar riffs and a whinny voice, Perry got the crowd moving. I really don’t know who knew the lyrics better – him or the crowd. My favorite moment was when they played the Buffy The Vampire theme – twice.  Rocking.

This year’s New Noise Festival was on of the finest.  Can’t wait till next year!

November 10, 2012

New Noise Music Festival ~ Friday, November 9, 2012

A Day In The Life

The New Noise Music Conference and Festival is simply inspiring.

There is something to be said about being in a room filled with liked-minded people listening to a panel of industry leaders intelligently explain their craft. It lends itself to inspiration. The New Noise Music Conference managed to up the ante by bringing in Chuck D of Public Enemy as their key speaker this year. And Chuck dropped some knowledge on Santa Barbara. I got so much from his interview, but the most important point he emphasized was accountability. Be accountable to your fans, your craft, and yourself. That’s a strong message.

Then the Music Festival began. The night was again filled with so many options.

I started the night at SOhO where the showcase was packed with organic rock performers.  Matt Armor debuted his new solo project, a country roots rock band that relied on honky-tonk rifts and poignant lyrics, and got the crowd swaying. Followed quickly by local folk rock band Indian Trading Furs, armed with fast-paced banjo driven melodies, the crowd shifted to full swing. I was sucked in, and was so grateful I stayed for Wil Ridge. Wil’s deeply honest lyrics and soulful voice always pulls me into his story. I had forgotten how much I loved him until that moment.

Onward I went to seek out more new music. Velvet Jones housed some of the night’s most exciting new music. I got there in time to see Larry and His Flask. They were out of control good. The six-piece band just attack the crowd with rapid bluegrass goodness. Banjos, stand up bass, guitars, drums, and harmonies were just thrown out, and the crowd sucked it up.

But the star of the night was legendary Mike Watt. (Pause out of respect). Amazing. Watt is the ultimate punk rock icon. His music just seems to appear, no real melody or chorus to follow, it just “is.” He slaps his bass, screams a bit, then whispers, then screams, then it stops. Then another song appears. You just never know what is coming at you next. He had the crowd mesmerized.

It amazing how a day full of this kind of talent can make you so grateful for music.

November 9, 2012

New Noise Music Festival ~ Thursday, November 8, 2012

Focus. Focus. Focus.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by choices or sucked into a showcase – but my mantra: “focus, focus, focus.” And that ain’t easy with so many good showcases during the New Noise Music Festival.

So I made a plan.

I started at SOhO, where I planned on seeing Leftover Cuties, a rag-time indie band from LA, and managed to take in “Awkward” Little Indian, SB’s little songstress, as well.  The venue had seats tonight, which was a perfect arrangement for taking in soulful artists. With a piano player that also played the accordion & trumpet, sometimes all in the song, and a vocalist that sounded transported from the blues era, Leftover Cuties wove their way into the audience’s hearts.   

I managed to make my way to Muddy Waters where I planned on catching Kevin Seconds (of 7 Seconds), and managed to catch Wilson Gil (of DTEASE) as well. I was so glad that I did! This is where miracles of festivals happen, when you fall in love with an artist you did not intend to see. Wilson was the ultimate sleazy heroine sheik modern day punk rocker. Complete in a slick suit and greasy hair, he lamented about doing too much crack on a dirty mattress to rapid punk rock rifts then smashed his guitar, and it was instant love.

The last stop was at Whiskey Richard’s where I planned on taking in The Reverend Payton’s Big Dam Band, a heavy alternative bluegrass punk rock trio. I wasn’t sure if the last part of my plan was going to pan out, but I am so grateful it did. The Reverend played “bass” with his thumb while plucking the guitar with his fingers & glaring at the crowd like an angry beaver, as the mean but lovely washboardist (yep) clucked around the stage like a hen giving him the stink eye. I was in awe, and quite frankly afraid. This stop ended up being an hour and a half long as I danced around like a headless rooster in the crowd. And I wasn’t the only one in the barn yard. 

It really does pay to have a plan.

November 8, 2012

Lindsey Stirling @ SOhO ~ November 7, 2012

En Masse

Amazing energy filled SOhO tonight for the New Noise Kick Off Party, and not all of it was coming off of violinist Lindsey Stirling. With a screen behind her, armed with a violin and an electro savvy band, Lindsey played her way through Africa, to Mordor, around crystal castles, and down some dub-steps. The violin wailed songs new and old, while Lindsey interpreted through choreographed dance. Although she was responsible for the vibe, the crowd gratefully reciprocated through a dance of their own. It was a unique experience, and a great way to kick off a festival bringing new music to the masses of Santa Barbara.

November 7, 2012


A Little Help For My Friends.

Navigating through a three (actually 4) day music festival can be a bit daunting for the uninitiated. That’s why I am here to help… Follow me!

WEDNESDAY, November 7, 2012

Wednesday is the official “New Noise Festival Kick-off Show” and it’s the easiest day to navigate – there’s only one venue!

Lindsey Stirling (Provo, Utah)
Dub-step Violinist
Deets: Wednesday, 10:00 pm @ SOhO
Don’t let the “dub-step” fool you. Lindsey is a classically trained violinist, integrating choreographed dance and electronic beats into her violin compositions. On the tail end of her first release, it’s the perfect time to see her while she’s hot.

THURSDAY, November 8, 2012

So this is when it gets tricky – when the festival actually begins to spread across four venues and you want to be at all four at once. It ain’t possible. So here’s one of my festival rules: only see one band you know, the rest should be new music.

Leftover Cuties (Los Angeles)
Ragtime Indie Rock
Deets: Thursday, 9:15 pm @ SOhO
Putting a modern day spin on the classic 20’s blues sound by combining brass, accordion, jazz drums, ukulele, and a big bluesy soulful voice, Leftover Cuties could easily play any good speak easy on the west coast.

Kevin Seconds (of 7 Seconds; Sacramento)
Acoustic Rock
Deets: Thursday, 10:15 pm @ Muddy Waters
This is my “one you know.” The punk icon mellows out and plays great home grown rock. And it’s freaking Kevin Seconds!

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (Bean Blossom, IN)
American Country Blues
Deets: Thursday, 11:30 pm @ Whiskey Richards
Blues – I had to repeat it. Deep voice, washboards, electric guitar; this three piece band delivers deep rooted dirty southern blues. Bound to be a knee slapping good time.

FRIDAY, November 9, 2012

You’d think it would get easier as you move along – it doesn’t. And it only gets better. Friday is packed with the New Noise Digital Music Conference, a New Noise Festival happy hour, and an early all ages show BEFORE the night time music festivities. Pace yourself… Today’s festival rule: play with flavors.   

*Saul Williams (NYC)
Breakbeat Spoken Word Poetry
Deets: Friday, Early Show, 8:00 pm @ Velvet Jones
Poetry set to fast beats. Not to be confused with rap.  This is performance art trying to get you out of your proverbial box.

Matt Armor (Santa Barbara)
Alternative Country Roots Rock
(No website – I goggled him)
Deets: Friday, 8:45 pm @ SOhO
Ok, so I picked Armor because he is a Santa Barbara local and a very talented musician. This is his first show to promote his debut solo project. Any new music from this guy is bound to be good. SB represent!
This showcase includes Indian Trading Furs, Wil Ridge, and The White Buffalo –home grown alternative country rock flavor.

Sparrows Gate (SLO)
Alternative Folk
Deets: Friday, 10:15 pm @ Muddy Waters
The easy melodic harmonies and reflective lyrics are intertwined with poignant guitar rifts. Sparrows Gate is reminiscent of driving with your parents along the coast listening to classic rock. They’re grooving and introspective. 
This showcase includes Islay Street, The Kinds, and Howlin’ Woods –folk rock flavor.

Larry & His Flask (Central, OR)
Bluegrass Punk
Deets: Friday, 11:30 pm @ Velvet Jones
Along the lines of an unhurried version of Dropkick Murphy’s, Larry & His Flask offer up a horn-infused, old-timesy string-band, punk-ish bluegrass experience.  You’ll dance in the pit.
This showcase includes Mike Watt & The Missingmen –ultimate punk rock flavor.

SATURDAY, November 10, 2012

Today may be a bit more hectic – due to the New Noise Block Party. Yes, a whole block of party. Again pacing is important… But hell, you can sleep on Sunday, right?  Today’s festival rule: cluster.

*Play Date: Gregg Attonito (Bouncing Souls) & Shanti Wintergate
Deets: 3:30 pm @ Muddy Waters
Ok, I love Bouncing Souls, and I might be slightly obsessed with Greg Attonito. But throw in the fact that this is a kid friendly punk rock show – and I have hearts in my eyes. While you’re down there, cluster this with the New Noise block party.

Buster Blue
Western Swing
Deets: Saturday, 10:15 pm @ Muddy Waters
A bit of a country twist on classic swing, this band has a unique “alternative western swing” sound. Cluster this with SB local’s Naked Walrus playing Muddy Waters at 9:15 pm, and you have a good 2 hours of folksy fun.

Nerf Herder (Goleta)
Pop Punk
Deets: Saturday, 12 am @ Velvet Jones
Locals gone big (they did the theme song to Buffy the Vampire Slayer) coming out to show SB how we do. Sure to bring a hilarious good rocking time. Cluster this with Old Man Markley playing Velvet Jones at 11:15 pm, and you’ll be dancing the night away. 

Jane's Addiction @ The SB Bowl ~ October 21, 2012

Photo by Paul Dunkley

Saint Vincent & David Byrn @ The Arlington ~ October 11, 2012

Photo by Paul Dunkley

May 31, 2012

Waikik, Hawaii - May 2012

It was to become what is now known as a “ThriftCation.” It wasn’t our intention when my dad and I set out on our adventure to Hawaii, but journeys have a way of directing themselves once set into motion.

Sure, when booking our hotel and air accommodations we were trying to be thrifty. We were unfamiliar with the city of Honolulu and only picked it because of an airfare special I saw on one of my many daily thrifty travel email blasts. The hotel was a “buy now and save” special on a different blast, so off to Waikiki we went.

I didn’t get leied when I arrived in Hawaii. My dad was very disappointed in that fact. It was an omen of what was to come. As we hustled to catch a cab to our hotel, we watched others receive beautiful flowers around their necks as their fancy hotel shuttles took them away to their fancy hotel. Ours was not fancy – ours was a Ramada.

Nestled on the side of a busy street at the resort end of Waikiki and above an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet was our home for the next 4 days. This Ramada is ranked a 3 star, but I believe it to be only a 2. There is no restaurant (other than the separate buffet), no bar, no lounge, and no room service in this humble facility. The pool on the 2nd floor was built directly over the Chinese restaurant with a view of the bus stop. The hotel also apparently serves as the home for Japanese Airline personnel, who reserve the “penthouse.” All quite intriguing.

Upon arrival, we immediately found a cheap bar with cheap late night eats down the street, thus inadvertently setting our ThriftCation into motion. Snapper’s Bar & Grill is a local hang out with cheap prices, big portions, and tasty food. We ate there a lot - it was a good find.

Across the busy street is the Hilton Resort, which was a selling point on picking this location blindly. It took us a bit to get our bearings, but after going out of our way around the resort, we learned our way through the resort. Our first morning we went around, but happened across Ala Wai Harbor and a kick ass pub buried in the corner of a building touting cheap eats. Harbor Pub looked more like the galley of a ship than a restaurant - we were sold on the place immediately. I had my only “authentic” Hawaiian breakfast here: 2 fried eggs over white rice, with fried spam, German sausage, and ham, add white toast and soy sauce and you have the reason why I only had it once.

That first day we wandered around, lounged on the beach, and got situated for the next few days. We had a list of “must dos”: luau, snorkel, surf, Pearl Harbor, and hike. We went about making them happen, again unknowingly immersing ourselves in our thrifty ways.
We didn’t skimp on dinner that night though. We walked downtown about a mile to Dukes at the Outrigger. This was where I had originally wanted to stay, but it was sold out. Next time – this IS where I am staying. The hotel and restaurant are on the beach, the service is impeccable, and the view is amazing. My dad wasn’t happy with his choice for dinner, he didn’t complain yet the waiter offer (offered!) to get him a new dish. The waiter did this with a smile and a no worry attitude. It was splendid. We later choose to splurge on a $2 trolley ride home that took us around the streets of downtown Waikiki. The trolley driver kept rapping on the mic and jerking the trolley, making it seem more like a party bus than a trolley ride. It really is the best and cheapest tour of the city at nighttime.

........ to be continued ......