Played a lot of guitar today. In the late afternoon I recorded myself playing This Spring Release 10,000 Butterflies in the studio, using HD Video and ProTools at 24/88.2. Now I just need to replace the audio recorded on the video with the audio from the ProTools session… You will find the result here soon.

I keep turning to the Guardian for music news.

Pirate Bay’s purchase proves they’re not altruistic | Behind the Music | Helienne Lindvall | Music |
The Pirate Bay is not the first company (and, yes, whatever image they tried to portray, it was always a business) to have built their entire existence on making copyrighted material available for free, without asking, or compensating, the people who created the material. As far back as 2000, Napster was in the dock for copyright infringement; in 2008, the brand was bought by the American electronics retailer Best Buy for $121m (£74m). As I’ve previously reported, LastFM built their business on unlicensed music only to sell it to CBS for $280m (£171m). And let’s not forget Google’s purchase of YouTube for $1.65bn (£1bn). For supposedly “altruistic” ventures, these companies sure made a lot of money. Some would argue the artists whose music built these businesses should have received some of that money.

Read the whole article. Couldn’t agree more. I didn’t know all of this background stuff about the Pirate Bay.

Upaya Newsletter for 6/22/2009
The trick is to create a society in which the privilege of disposable income is not contingent on the existence of disposable people–to say nothing of the disposable tigers, ice caps, and arable land.
– Keizer

Or, our happiness should not be based on other creatures unhappiness.

Neuromancer is 25 years old… William Gibson wrote it on a manual typwriter, model Hermes 2000 (((scroll down to see that Swiss-built beauty)))

William Gibsons book Neuromancer was published on July 1st, 1984.
(Via Macworld)

Here is a link to a wonderful essay by Stephen Batchelor:

The Freedom to be No One
Poetry is abandoned in favour of reason.

In the essay Stephen Batchelor quotes Nagarjuna, who I mentioned here.


On Saturday afternoon I walked to KPIG to do an interview in their studio, the pigsty. Unfortunately the request for me to bring my guitar and play in the studio had been lost and so we just talked and listened to a couple of tracks from NF and The Hours…

Here is another shot of the orange chairs on Mint Plaza:

Now I am back home in Santa Fe, catching up… DK sent me a link to The Lazy Little Guide to Enlightenment by Stephen Batchelor… Stephen Batchelor is, of course, anything but lazy as he was a Tibetan monk and a Korean Zen monk for years.

John Diliberto writes about Matt Schoening:

Echo Location: Matthew Schoening’s Looped Cellos « The Echoes Blog
Echoes finds a lapsed classical cellist who is looped.

You can hear the Echoes program here.
You can find Matthew’s music in our ListeningLounge

BBC NEWS | Americas | US musicians demand radio royalties
I bet you cannot guess the answer to this one.

In which countries – apart from the United States – do terrestrial radio stations NOT pay performers for their songs?

Iran, China, North Korea and Rwanda.

Artists and their record labels are calling on members of Congress to bring the US into line with the rest of the world – and with satellite, internet and cable radio stations – by passing the Performance Rights Act.

This affects performers – composers have been getting paid all along. I do think that over-the-air radio should have to pay the same as cable, satellite and web radio.

Vegetarians less likely to develop cancer than meat eaters, says study | Science | The Guardian
For years, they have boasted of the health benefits of their leafy diets, but now vegetarians have the proof that has so far eluded them: when it comes to cancer risks, they have the edge on carnivores.

Fresh evidence from the largest study to date to investigate dietary habits and cancer has concluded that vegetarians are 45% less likely to develop cancer of the blood than meat eaters and are 12% less likely to develop cancer overall.

In a couple of decades meat will be a once every half year luxury anyway since cattle needs too much water! (((Maybe more people will keep chickens in their backyard?)))

Best architecture critique ever? At least the funniest one. Me, I don’t like any of Mr. Graves’ designs. Like the worst of the Eighties fashion…

Masonry "Masterpiece" or Mistake?
Over at David Byrne’s blog I came across this monstrosity by none other than Michael Graves, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in Houston, Texas. The former Talking Head memorably says, “This very out of place structure somehow lingers, like a fart left by someone no longer in an elevator.”
(Via Clippings)

(((I added the color for emphasis)))


Stephen Batchelor writes about the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s escape from India in Tricycle Magazine. Good article. On newsstands now.

Still, I wonder whether New Mexico is a good example. New Mexicans are quite happy with their culture, which is a unique mix of Hispanic, Native American and Anglo cultures (((Anglo is New Mexico-speak for everyone who is neither Hispanic nor Native American))) Some people say that New Mexico is neither Mexico nor the USA, which is confirmed by many tourists, including Americans, arriving here and wanting to change dollars for the local currency, or wondering how much international calls are to the States.

Maybe eventually New Tibet will emerge, a culture that might be neither the old Tibet nor the old China. It sure looks like that might be the best one can hope for at present.

Little Stuff

I didn’t like the Ultrasone headphones when I first listened to them on Tuesday afternoon. Since I had read that they need to be burned in for a while in order to develop nice bass – it’s very flabby and overwhelming at the beginning – I left them running for several hours and had iTunes pump a random selection of music through them. Yesterday evening they started to sound quite nice.

People are a like old oak tables. Knives cut into the table accidentally, sharp object are dropped on it, liquids are spilled on it and it may become either more beautiful because of that… or useless. It’s in the way we carry our scars that makes us appear beautiful or ugly.

Rode my fixie to my breakfast-klatsch with Jon. It’s almost perfect, as it silently glides along… the handlebar should be about 2 inches higher. Will have to investigate options with David @ Mellow Velo.

Was driving my car the other day, maybe Monday, and a thought came into my mind. In the car it felt like beautiful, if ephemeral thought, or maybe more like a feeling… After I came home, I could not express it well. I wrote some of it down anyway:

Happy, sad or enlightened? There are millions of books on those three subjects. I doubt that they are very useful, really. The old oak table needs to be aged and patinated (((I had to look that verb up!!))) in order to shine… A lot of people assume that happiness or enlightenment should be a permanent all-encompassing state. In fact, doesn’t the brain always look for some kind of permanence, something that does not change… or it defers permanence to the future – and if it can’t find anything permanent in this lifetime, it may find it in its next lifetime or in the afterlife – depending on your religious preference.

We have discovered that there is no such thing as one measure of intelligence. There are many levels and lines of intelligence. Math intelligence, emotional intelligence… a person might score off-the-chart on a Western intelligence test and might be unfit to tie their shoes, not to mention being able to hold a conversation. Having accepted that there are many, many different lines of intelligence, we should accept that happiness and enlightenment are similar, not a permanent state, but an opening that has many levels and can always be deepened. I heard Stephen Batchelor say Enlightened about WHAT exactly? Or, there are so many different lines and levels of enlightenment – which of them are you talking about?

Or take happiness – isn’t happiness just a way to accept what is here anyway. Otherwise happy would change a million times a day. They kept you on hold too long when you called the phone company, somebody cut you off in traffic, your cellphone fell between your car’s pedals etc. etc…

And that reminded me of this. Long-time meditators, monks even, have been known to fall apart at the sight of a woman, or alcohol or drugs. They had advanced very far along one particular line, but had not advanced at all along others?

Happiness and sadness seem only skin-deep with most of us. When we win, when things go our way, we are happy. A few drops of rain and some bad news and we are sad. Above the clouds the sky is always the same. White clouds, dark clouds, a storm or a clear sky… above it the sky is always blue.

Anyway, it is interesting that all of those words are merely a bad interpretation of a little feeling or thought that probably lasted a few seconds.

This afternoon: soundcheck for a private performance that Jon and I are doing this evening. We decided on upright bass and my Flamenca negra. It’s a wonderful rumble, when he bows the beast!

Saturday Burrito

Friday afternoon I took a walk. Sat down in front of a cafe with a coffee and read a couple of pages…
I am reading Gary Snyder’s book Back on the Fire: Essays on my iPhone (on the free Kindle application) and bookmarked this:

The moon shines on the river
The wind blows through the pines –
who is this long beautiful evening for?

– from the Cheng Dao Ke

Isn’t that wonderful? And here is another passage that struck me. I am quoting Gary Snyder who quotes Gregory Bateson

I would then suggest: as climax forest is to biome, and fungus is to the recycling of energy, so “enlightened mind” is to daily ego mind, and art to the recycling of neglected inner potential. When we deepen ourselves, looking within, understanding ourselves, we come closer to being like a mature ecosystem. Turning away from grazing on the “immediate biomass” of perception, sensation, and thrill…

What I like about ebook reading is that I have always have the books with me, on my phone. Books by Gary Snyder or Ken Wilber or Basho need to be ingested in small bites and well-chewed before they are swallowed. I remember when I first read one of Ken’s books in 1999 I would read a page or two and then put the book down and contemplate what he had written.

The above Gregory Bateson quote reminds me of something Stephen Batchelor said:

Buddhahood is simply the optimum mode of being that can be reached within human existence.

I quoted that from memory and it might not be word for word correct.

It seems to me that, just as every clump of small trees can eventually become a mature forest, humans can reach an optimum way of being, (((whether that’s colored atheist, buddhist, christian, moslem, pagan etc.))) given enought time. With the destruction of our ecosystem the race is on for humans to mature a tad faster, but as a species we handle pressure pretty well. In fact, we don’t seem to do anything until the last minute, until the water heating in the pot becomes so unbearably that we have to jump. :-)

Check this out – the water in that pot is getting hotter!

Played guitar for a couple of hours last night. Sometimes I notice that making music aligns all of the molecules in the universe. Things feel different afterwards. Rahim calls it settling the soul.

It takes an hour just to really warm up the hands and the last half hour of two hours is really fun. And in case you are wondering whether that means that the first half of a concert is a just the warm-up, no that is not the case because we play a lot during the day. Stevo and I find rooms to play guitar in and Jon walks around with his bass plugged into his in-ear monitors and plays a lot. And we always have a soundcheck that can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. I’d say on tour we each play an average of 3-4 hours very day. Sometimes more.

I was wondering about starting shows with Silence: No More Longing again. I hope the audience has not grown tired of hearing that song. I find that it perfectly tunes me, the guitar, the room and the air in it, and of course the audience. Afterwards I feel ready to make Music, no, actually that happens at some point during the piece… I enjoy playing it and I really enjoy when I start the tremolo and Jon steps up and plays a solo. Silence is a nice way to introduce the band to the audience, the music to the room, the audience to each other and so on.

Saturday Morning. Early. Santa Fe Baking Company. Breakfast burrito – no bacon, and coffee. You know what I mean, Stevo! Did I mention that a friend introduced me to an elderly woman once, who he said invented (((and he meant that literally))) the breakfast burrito a couple of decades ago. For as much sense as a breakfast burrito makes, it wasn’t always so.

Old school fixie riding!