Monday, January 28, 2013

My Friend Ken Stiles - Chico

Thank you for the good time friend. You will be missed. Peaceful journey.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Another Meditative Song

In college, my painting professor, Professor Smith, gave me a nickname that was the best compliment ever. I don't think he meant it to be a compliment, but I don't think it was an insult either. He coined me "nature boy", which was based on his observation of me innocently, and often ignorantly, diving into unknown and uncomfortable environments. There was no real technique with me when it came to painting; no humility to be witnessed in my work. I was merely engaging in things the best I could, finding my way eventually in the end.

Consequently, I love the song Nature Boy by Nat King Cole, which may have been influenced by this assigned nickname. I often think of that nickname, and it takes the edge off of things. I remember that in most things, I have no idea what I am doing.

The words below are to those who have found themselves in a strange and uncomfortable environment, a place of the unknown. Give yourself, your thoughts, to it fully. You will be surprised how prepared you are for the challenge.

As for this nature boy, I will see another landmark in his life soon; one that I am grateful for. The journey has been quite the experience..........quite the experience.

There was a boy
A very strange, enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far
Very far, over land and sea
A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he

And then one day,
One magic day he passed my way
While we spoke of many things
Fools and Kings
This he said to me

The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return
Professor Frank Smith (Painting)

Professor Starmanda Bullock (Design)

Professor Lila Asher (Drawing)

Professor Raymond Dobard (History)

Professor Edgar Sorrells-Adewale (Life Coach & 2-D Comcepts)

Professor Winnie Owens-Hart (3-D Concepts)

Professor Asher to the left

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Rhythm. The Groove.

In order to develop things of quality, you must have enough productive time to accomplish the task. I am finding my schedule packed full of events, tasks, and activities that get in the way of my large projects, such as finishing my dissertation. I know some say that you should just get it done, but I am convinced the robotic action of just meeting the bare minimum requirements has a negative impact on how we condition ourselves for excellence. If it doesn't include meaningful activities like finishing a doctoral program, completing a unique project, or repetitive tasks that contribute to problems in your life, then when does one give it the good effort? When the time is convenient? When there is an immediate incentive to do so? When we perceive that it's important to others? I'm not so sure we can calculate these circumstances with accurate certainty.

The legend has it that Michael Jordan played just as hard on an off-night than in the crucial game seven situations in the NBA Finals. It's even said that other legends often practice harder than they play. I'm rambling here, but you get my point. You have to find a way to get more out of the experience than the day before.

Today, I am finding a good stride in my prospectus work. This has been more than a marathon, because there is not predetermined route, no set start time, and definitely no set end time. But, it sure does test your endurance - mentally. In any case, I encourage everyone to reserve the time for the more in-depth project to moments when you can give them the attention they deserve. Trust me, I understand that time is difficult to come by in large chunks. But that's the challenge in placing everything in its designated priority. Five minutes here and three minutes there will only lead to a compilation of random rambling.


Monday, January 07, 2013

The Benefits of Music

I often think about the times when a good song carried me through a rough situation. This one was a classic for me in college:


Mary wants to be a superwoman
But is that really in her head
But I just want to live each day to love her
for what she is

Mary wants to be another movie star
But is that really in her mind
And all the things she wants to be
She needs to leave behind

But, very well, I believe I know you-very well
Wish that you knew me too-very well
And I think I can deal with everything going through your head

Very well, and I think I can face-very well
Wish that you knew me too-very well
And I think I can cope with everything going through your head

Mary wants to be a superwoman
And try to boss the bull around
But does she really think that she will get by with a dream

My woman want to be a superwoman
And I just had to say good-bye
Because I can't spend all my hours start to cry

But, very well, I believe I know you
Very well wish that you knew me too
Very well, And I think I can deal with everything going through your head

Very well, think that I know you too
Very well, wish you knew me like I know you
Very well, but I think I can deal with everything going through your head
Your filthy head

Very well, dum dum da, dum dum da
Very well, wish you knew me too
Very well, And I wish I could think of everything going through your head

Very well, dum dum da, dum da, dum da
dum dum da, dum da, very well
And I think I can deal with everything going through your head

When the summer came you were not around
Now the summer's gone and love cannot be found
Where were you when I needed you-last winter, my love?

When the winter came you went further south
Parting from love's nest, leaving me in doubt
Where are you when I need you, like right now?

Our love is at an end
But you say now you have changed
But tomorrow will reflect love's past

When the winter came you were not around
Through the bitter winds love could not be found
Where were you when I needed you, last winter, my love?

Oh I need you baby, I need you baby

Our love is at an end
But you say now you have changed,
But tomorrow will reflect love's past oh

Spring will fill the air and you will come around,
With your summer love that will let me down,
Where were you when I needed you, last winter, my love?

La la la la la, la la la la la
La la la la la, la la la la la
Where are you when I need you, like right now?
Right now, right now, right now

Where were you when I needed you last winter, my dear
I need you baby, I need you baby, I need you baby
Oh, Where were you when I needed you last winter, last winter

Yea, Need you Baby, need you, need you baby,
Oh, you want me too need you baby
Oh where were you when I needed you last, dear

Saturday, January 05, 2013

My Mecca

Always have a method of calibration.

If Libraries Had Coffee & Beer

I would be there, instead of here. When the reading, writing, and studying gets crazy, I'm glad I have me places of refuge. Shout out to Casablanca Coffee in Nashville (Gulch).

Friday, January 04, 2013


I like style; always have appreciated good taste. I often think about my dream home, and the way the environment can allow for beautiful thoughts and expressions.

When I see someone with a little style, it let's me know they thought it not robbery to go beyond the typical to show some appreciation for things. Style says a lot about a person, and there is no standardard equation. It really has to do with your personality and how you allow style to enhance it through a unique perspective on presentation. Most people try to use style to make them something they are not, or to draw attention. Those with real style are noticed more in silence and in isolation - screaming that their personality can stand on its own. Have you ever seen a ghetto-fabulous person standing alone? They look out of place and insecure. That's not style. Style is the old lady in New York that sits calmly on the train, reading the paper, and holding the most dope bag you have ever seen. It's guy in his 20's that works for a legislator, and sits quietly in a committee meeting, but has the audacity to put on the coolest pair of brown shoes with his gray suit. It's the Asian lady wearing some cool western-looking outfit, that you notice only when you look closely.


Yeah, that's style.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2013 is Here

Well, 2012 is clearly over, and what an eventful year it was for me and the entire world. There was plenty of political friction and business uncertainty. And socially, we are all settling into a new incremental world. Personally for me, I completed my course work in the Ph.D. program, passed my oral and written comprehensive exams, began writing my dissertation prospectus, changed jobs, completed my first level in Toastmasters, made significant gains in my health, and launched a new focus on philanthropy, investing, and community service. We all now have to close the book on 2012, and begin working on the plans for 2013. So, what are the plans for me this year?

My theme from my ritual last year was "Base Hits", a mindset that was helpful for such an eventful year. I now realize that home runs are not always possible, much less helpful to the overall problem. But base hits make up the small pieces that lead to scoring, leading, and winning. The strategy turned out well for me in 2012. I found myself being more realistic, more patient, and more focused on the things in front of me. To build on this progress, I have decided to make the theme for 2013, "Uncut", or pure for the lack of a better term.

My goal is to get at the purest essence of everything I want to experience this year. I use the term uncut to reference the value of the raw essence of things. What it means to taste sugar from the cane. How it feels to see how green Ireland really looks. Having the conversation with someone that influences positive change in all that took part in it. It's all about basically removing those things that interfere with having the true uncut experience. Of course, most things must be cut with something, or cannot be totally separated from other things. And this point leads me to my revelation during the ritual this past week.

I realized that in order to experience the uncut this year, I will be required to do and be more. How convenient is it for me to just say that I want everything I experience to be pure, and SNAP it shows up on a silver platter. If it were that simple, it wouldn't be a theme or a challenge for me. No, it means that in every experience, I must be determined enough to do the things that lead to an uncut experience. It means that I must take the liberty to remove the impurities, and develop new methods - new tools - to produce the outcome I want. This means that I must put aside my tendencies of appropriateness and conflict-avoidance, because the desire to experience the uncut experience is my problem. Finally in order to expect that my world will offer me the uncut experience, I must be willing and able to provide experiences that symbolize the spirit of uncut to those around me.

I look forward to writing and talking with you all this year. It will be an outstanding year, and probably the final year of preparation for something transformative for us all. Happy New Year, and best wishes in 2013.