A cold December day in north Vancouver. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect setting to explain the events of October 29th , the day my view changed. The night was young, I had just finished another menial shift at “The Bakehouse” scraping food off of endless dishes and scrubbing greasy kitchen floors. As I walked away from the back door of my job a depressing thought came into mind, “Is life always like this? This constant cycle of work in hopes of pursuing happiness one day? Will I ever break out of this repetitive existence I am living right now?” As these thoughts started to overwhelm my mind, one other thought came into play. My girlfriend, Maybelline. We had been together for close to 6 months. I started asking myslef, "Where do we go from here? Are we wasting our time? Do we have a future? She's already graduated, and i'm graduating this year. What if she wants me to move in with her? Am I ready for that?"
I got home. I was walking downstairs to work on some music to get my mind off of everything, when I got a call from Maybelline. She invited me to the PNE (Pacific National Exhibition's) annual halloween "Fright Night". I thought to myself that it would be a good way to get my clear my head, so I accepted and within 20 minuets I was picked up by Maybelline's family driving across "Iron Workers Bridge" towards the PNE.
When we got to the gates of the PNE, dark green light shimmered off the smoke pouring out the fog machines. Actors dressed as popular horror icons ran around the entrance scaring and wowing standing patrons. After getting inside the PNE I realize they have renovated the whole park to halloween for this one night. There was even graphic model displays of mannequins getting their heads chopped off, gushing blood. Right after we had walked about 50 steps inside the PNE, An actor dressed up as the main character from "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" came running at me with a rubber chainsaw that had an actual motor in it, I almost had a heart attack as he ran by me to scare a younger girl with her family.
We decided to explore some of the "Haunted Houses" after purchasing some Cotton Candy from one of the snack stands. Approaching the door of the "Asylum Haunted House", hands moistened with sweat, I turn to Maybelline and ask "Are you ready?". She looked nervous yet confident as she replied with a soft "yes." We opened the doors and explored the low budget haunted house full of rubber limbs and actors dressed as mental patients throwing themselves around barred cages. I felt Maybelline's hand clench mine with each frightening scare around every corner.
As we left the haunted house, I though me and Maybelline would head to the ferris wheel for a spin or two. On the way there we passed the most obscene ride I had ever laid eyes on in my entire life. "The Revelation". Maybelline noticed me looking at the mechanical atrocity and keenly asked "Have you every been?!", pulling my hand closer and closer toward the entrance to "The Revelation", I replied with a hopeless "No.", knowing that Maybelinne would insist that we face this fear of mine together.
As we approached the entrance of "The Revelation" I felt my throat drop deep beneath my stomach, straight to my feet. This mechanichal monster towering 200 ft over the amusement park, hurled its passengers throughout the night sky propelling them vertically in full circle rotations. This, added with the chair your strapped into being on its own full spinning axis, resulted in one very frightening, and what seemed some-what dangerous, form of entertainment.
As we waited in line to board the death vessel I felt Maybelline's hand squeeze mine in an attempt to make to moment a tad more comforting. "Really, you have nothing to be scared of. Hundreds of people ride this a day", she went on to tell me. She explained how she has ridden it before, and how her first time she was intimidated up until the pause at the top of the ride. "Pause at the top of the ride?" I asked, swallowing a lump in my throat. "Yes silly. After we go around 5 or 6 times the ride pauses at the top to give us a beautiful view of Vancouver"
As we watch the last couple board the machine before us, I felt nervous and excited about this journey we were about to embark on. Could this be the last amusement ride I will ever experience? We walk to the seats, the roll cage opens and we enter, climb into the cramped cushioned seats, and got strapped into our seat belts. After all that a final secure bar locked down and the roll cage was closed. I was so nervous my whole body was sweating.
We started moving. The comfortable tranquillity of sitting still was abruptly shattered with every rotation we made. Colors started to blend, my whole body felt tingly, I started to feel my stomach moving into my mouth when we gradually began slowing to a stop. Maybelline was right. It was beautiful. Vancouver. As far as my eye could see. It felt comforting. Suspended in air. Suspended in time. I had a relization at that moment, everything in my life isn't all about to erupt on its own individual clocks of doom. It was quite the opposite. Everything is exactly how it should be, supspended through air and time, approaching when it meant to, and meant to be faced when it arrives, not worried on in anticipation. "Beautiful isn't it" Maybelline said in a soft voice, noticing that im staring into the distance in deep thought, "Yes, it truly is." I replied. The perfect moment. The type of moment that is forever remembered, shaping us for the rest of our lives.
The perfect environment, broken by the movement of gears. I seemed to have forgotten that we were on this ride, and we slowly began to fall, until we were hurled around backwards another 6 times in a whirlwind of motion. We once again came to a stop. "Not so bad was it?" Maybelline asked as we climed off of the chairs and began walking away from "The Revelation". "Not to bad at all." I replied as I put my arm around Maybelline. We stumbled around the PNE for another hour or so and returned on the journey home.
I always am thankful of that night and experience I got to share with Maybelline. How just when I thought everything was about to explode, it resolved itself and layed way for new train of thought. That night I thought nothing would bring me happiness, but that realization showed me ,wether your on a roller coaster or sky diving out of a plane, happiness can be found in the most unlikely of circumstances and you should always be open to let that happiness in.
Money is the economic fuel upon which our world runs, but human nature inevitably exploits it for personal gain at the expense of others. Without a standardized monetary system, society today as we know it could not exist. A catch-22 of any social or financial system is that inevitably a handful of individuals will gain too much control. Conversely, a system in which the individual is not free to gain wealth/control as he pleases also leads to the same end result. In our 21st century North American society, the power balance is such that the money lenders have dominated the power market. The gap between the rich and poor is growing, and fast. The richest members of society have become so powerful that they can simply buy the legislations they want, in most cases. Capitalism is sold to the public as the system in which you are free to achieve your own goals, on your own terms, but because capitalism requires a central bank to print the currency, a nucleus of control is created. The power/money distributors then use their influence to rig the game in their favor. Eventually, massive cartels form, such as the Houses of Rothschild, Rockefeller, and Morgan.
One of the most obvious sign of this escalating disparity is the lowering of non-upper-class standards of living. In the United States, the top 20% of income earners control 93% of the wealth (2010). The next 20% of income earners, the middle class controls just 6%, with the remaining 60% of income earners, the lower class, controlling just 1%. What happens when the economy takes another turn for the worse, and the upper class moves to protect its investments with layoffs, or send manufacturing jobs overseas? People are willing to work for less pay because there is less work, and the lower classes are forced to acquiesce to the upper classes' economic strategies. Economists are predicting an eventual "phasing out" of the middle class, creating a modern feudal system in which the majority of the populace is in the working class, serving the economic interests of the power holders. Is this a reality you want your children to grow up in?
So what is the solution to our society's ills? Is money inherently evil? The staunch opponent of capitalism, communism, proposes that a system in which everyone is given an equal share of resources in exchange for work on a government-run progrom is the logical solution to the capitalist problem. As we can see, this does not work in the real world. This also leads to the same problem: power consolidated in the hands of the few, to the point where it is detrimental to the society as a whole. This is much worse than our system in which the working man is held to a low standard of living, but is still free to vote with his dollar. Another alternative suggested is Anarchy, in which there is no financial or government system, and individuals are free to live however they want, on their own terms. For obvious reasons, this is not a suitable system. Capitalism, for all its flaws, really is the best system man has invented thusfar. Man is accountable for his own success, there is mobility between social classes (although it is difficult to move up a rung), and man can live the way he wants to, within reason. Everyone is free to accumulate as much wealth as they can, and the more you make, the more you are taxed. So what could possibly go wrong here? The problem is that those who win the game get to make the rules, and they start acting in their own selfish interests. Society as a whole suffers. How do we stop those with vast amounts of power from damaging society?
The winners have won, and have reached an endgame state where they are able to influence global policy in their favor. The only weapons we have against the problem of power consolidation is to give the government more oversight, increase progressive taxation, and end campaign donations. Unfortunately, the system we have created for ourselves here will likely continue in perpetuity. There will always be those who win the game, and those who live in poverty. The money movers at the top of the power pyramid will continue to dominate world affairs, and the working class will continue to serve their wishes. This is morally wrong, but this is the system we have created for ourselves. There is no question about it: too much money is evil incarnate, but the absence of a monetary system is just as bad. The consolidation of power is society's oldest struggle, and is not a foe that will be vanquished any time soon.
At dawn, we rise.
March single file
line by line
into two ton
to hurtle along concrete veins
the red blood cells of an industrial earth.
a factory line.
no chance for promotion or benefits.
and please keep your body parts inside the cubicle at all times.
Force those smiles,
lie through your teeth,
and you might make it to retirement.
One day at a time
another step closer
to the end of the line.
Step into the real world,
full of debt, fears, goals,
do it right and strike the gold,
or lose your sight and life unfolds,
which way will this road take me?
I dont feel safe,
the ground is shaking,
to upset my aching gut,
and shake up my font,
which turn should i be making,
will I mistake what I want,
and jump without looking,
straight under the gun,
I thought when i was younger growing up would be fun,
but now Im nervous and stunned about my graduation.
Let us fly through this hazy maze,
A sea of stars amongst a devious horizon
eyes transfixed on this mysterious island,
realize my minds a paradise in my eyelids,
shining in a blinding luminescent light,
a restless night,
a zone where darkness and stress unite,
test the essence of my life,
run with me,
id really love your company,
its like a drug so comforting,
theres no one there to comfort me.
Since the 1940's Cannabis has been demonized and made out to be a gateway drug that triggers a descent into insanity. William Randolph Hearst made sure of that. For years, we have all heard the propaganda denouncing marijuana, claiming it is a dangerous drug on the level of opiates, cocaine, and methamphetamine, capable of turning little Johnny next door into a serial rapist and drug mule. But why does marijuana's social stigma persist, years after it has been repeatedly determined to be many times safer than societies legal vices? Why does the civilized world continue to fill their prison systems with non-violent offenders? And why can any adult freely purchase a lethal dose of alcohol?
In a side-by-side comparison with any other recreational drug, marijuana is always the lesser of two evils. Even with societies "safe" recreational drugs, alcohol and tobacco, a laundry list of side effects and chronic diseases far outweighs any benefit or fun to be had. Alcohol is one of the only recreational drugs on earth with a potentially fatal withdrawal. Lifetime consumption of tobacco inevitably leads to heart disease, organ failure, or cancer. But we can freely purchase these poisons from a grocery store. This does not make sense by any stretch of the imagination or twisted logic. Marijuana has been proven time and time again to have no physical ill effects (allergies exempt), minimal psychological effects, minimal effects on driving, no possibility of fatal overdose, and neuroprotective effects. It actually undoes some of the damage done by chronic alcohol abuse. If marijuana were legalized, regulated, and taxed like tobacco, it would be a cash cow for the government.
The primary motive for marijuana's continued prohibition is the United States' privatized prison system. Profit directly correlates to the number of prisoners held. This means that it is in the prison owners' collective interest to lobby to keep these laws in place. 45,000 americans are in prison right now for marijuana possession charges. At approximately $36,000 per year, this equals almost 1.5 billion dollars a year spent to keep stoners behind bars. (And this is not counting all the money spent on the 800,000 marijuana arrests made). The United States Government spent 15 billion dollars on the War on Drugs in 2010, and they have nothing to show for it.
One could say William Randolph Hearst was the grandfather of the prohibitionist movement. Marijuana posed a threat to the paper industry, of which Hearst had significant holdings in. He spent vast sums of money on a lifelong slander campaign against marijuana, claiming it was a dangerous, violent drug that would cause white women to seek relations with "negroes and mexicans." He succeeded. To this day, there are programs dedicated to scare the general public away from marijuana. Prohibitionist propaganda today claims that marijuana has 4 times the tar of tobacco, causes lung cancer, and increases risk of a heart attack. These have been repeatedly disproven by both funded and independent studies. If consumed orally, no ill effects are even possible, other than consuming more than intended. The founders of America were even proponents of marijuana consumption, Thomas Jefferson has been quoted as saying "Some of my finest hours have been spent smoking hemp on my back veranda and observing as far as my eye can see."
In conclusion, the war against marijuana has cost the United States many billions of dollars, and has gotten us nowhere. Many lives and dollars would be saved if marijuana was legalized and regulated like tobacco or alcohol. There is no reason whatsoever to keep marijuana illegal, as this only puts more money in the pockets of the gangs and cartels. Legalizing marijuana would save lives, create new jobs, and give people a new, safer social vice.
I have always been fascinated with music. It amazes me that music can take a person out of their ordinary life and place them in a world of their own imagination. It amazes me that people have collaborated over time to create this beautiful form of expression. For me, it is precisely the thrill and excitement of being taken on a musical journey .
I remember my first experience with music was my mother playing classical music for me during nap times. I remember specifically listening to"Claire de Lune", that tune has followed me throughout life to this day . It was a magical song that took me on a journey, even as a child and formed the person I am today. Ever since that initial impression became solidified in my imagination many years ago, music has became a form of release for me. Even if I am having the most stressful day of my life I can turn to music and all my problems dissipate.
The first concert I ever went to was Bruce Spring in Rotterdam, Holland. I was only 8 and I was there with my father brother and mother. As my father led me into the arena by my hand, the air heavy with legal marijuana smoke, I heard loud blues rock music. As the concert got more intense Bruce Springsteen stood on his piano and danced along with the music. I remember my dad lifting me up onto his shoulders and scooting his way through intoxicated fans trying to get as close to the front of the stage as possible. We were getting closer when we were confronted with two large bodyguards, my dad didn't have passes to get into the section closer to the stage, but I guess they felt bad because I was with him and let us in. My dad scooted his way closer to the stage until we were there, right in front of Mr. Springsteen himself. I specifically didn't think of Bruce Springsteen to be a hero of any sorts, but i knew he was my fathers idol. I remember a new song came on and Bruce decided to come to center front stage and started high fiving fans, my dad got me as close to him as possible, and I touched his hand. I remember how excited my dad was after that experience, I remember thinking that one day I want to make music so I could influence someone the same way that Bruce Springsteen influenced my dad.
With each year my love for music grows. Every new journey I discover through a new song always leaves me feeling such deep emotion. When I make music on my programs on my computer I feel such a deep connection to the form of creation. When I begin working on a project I can get so deeply hypnotized in it I don't even notice time passing. I have had times when i've sat down to make a beat and upwards to four hours had drifted away right before my eyes, kind of like sleeping throughout the whole day and awaking to a dark sky, you feel like your dreaming.
My fascination with the environment music creates is deeply engraved in my soul. A trip through "Flying Lotus: Golden Diva" never fails to thrill me. Sometime I wonder if I could have been a Musician in a previous lifetime, or conducting a symphony. Music is truly the most beautiful form of creation I have found to date and it will stick with me all my life.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?", A question iv'e been asked my whole life. For a peculiar reason I have always half assed the answer with saying an artist, because i've always known i'm a creator. I have, however though, never fully questioned myself as to what type of artist I would like to be, or what medium of art i'd even like to create. As children, we think the words "growing up" mean becoming like mom and dad, when in reality, we are much too young to understand the real concept behind those two dreadful words. If only someone had told me the truth, I could have prepared for the shock.
The phases of growing up are like a horrible date. They start off real nice and eventually smack you in the face. I remember back in kindergarten when there used to be nap time. Oh how I took that for granted! If only they still had an hour of sleep a day at school still. If school over the years wasn't difficult enough, now you have to prepare for college and life on your own on top of graduating high-school. All happening rapidly with no time to breathe.
Growing up causes the "unthinkable" to happen, it brings more responsibilities. The days of mom coming in my room every morning and saying, "Time to get up!" are now limited. I never thought i'd have to go out get a job, be responsible for my life. Weren't mom and dad supposed to take care of me forever? Today, I have to make sure I have money to get a bus pass, pay a cell phone bill, buy my own clothes, and have at least a dollar left over for the ninety-nine cents menu at McDonalds. Someone also failed to mention that as I got older the prices would rise and an apartment could be as high as six hundred dollars per month.
Growing up leaves no time for fun. I remember being eleven years old and going to Chuckie Cheese's or the movies every weekend. Sometimes my friends and I would even get bored because we had nothing to do. That isn't the case anymore. My weekends are now spent looking at the walls of my bedroom, along with the stack of books I have to read and analyze by Tuesday morning. My days of "cruising" with friends down Lakeshore and kicking the shit have almost vanished.
Children never really think about the future because it seems so far away. They figure that they will be young forever. I think there are a lot of us who never grow up. Sure we get older in appearance and become forgetful, but inside we are still little kids. Although I can't stop it, I will always hate growing up. It's one of the reasons why I've decided to do what I've always said I would. I plan to move to Never Never Land and never grow up.
As I correct my posture, noticing I’ve been slouching for the past half hour placing stress upon my neck, I slowly start to realize my lack of concentration is directly related to an over awareness of my surroundings. It’s a sense that I can’t turn off, as if a natural ability to pay attention to everything around me except for what I’m trying to focus on. It’s frustrating to really want to excel in every aspect of my life but having a disorder weighing you down. I have been offered to go onto attention deficit medication in the past and have declined. I have an extraordinary imagination that will never be suppressed by meds. I refuse to do that to my creativity or my future. I’ve seen one to many of my friends be prescribed to Ritalin, Metadate, Concerta, Dexedrine ... the list goes on, and be converted from lively personable people to mindless androids of themselves, going about their day in a kind of haze. Like the look a really hungover person has right after awaking from a deep slumber. I don't want that to be my life. I want to live an extraordinary life full of extraordinary things and I wont let any attention medications jeopardize that.