Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Charon's Vessel

"All souls that die from every nation gather here, as one. Charon's rough crossing awaits those who did not fear the Lord."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bastardized Vernacular

Okay, why in seven hells have I heard two commercials in the last half hour that have used the word "ginormous?" Is this now an acceptable word in common usage?? Don't get me wrong. I have no problem with using slang. I do it ad nauseum. But I know if I were to use a word like ginormous in a meeting at work, I would probably lose a million respect points among my co-workers and supervisors. Oh well. I suppose that word will soon be in the dictionary along with "wuzup" and "lol." So I'll just have to sit back and accept it...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Metrosexual Chill Factor

This is an update of an old MySpace blog of mine from years ago. I have changed drastically since those days, and my attitude has adjusted accordingly.

I look back on the days when I was capable of simply shrugging off anything, any situation, that most people would be infuriated by, and I wish I still had that ability. Stress, however, tends to add up until it culminates into a generalized sense of irritation capable of turning even the sunniest days into days that you just don't want to get out of bed.

I still hold to the notion that in order to be truly cool, you cannot care about anyone or anything. There should be nothing in your view that feels pressing, or stressful, or daunting, or nerve-wracking. You can never be in a hurry, you can never drive faster than the speed limit, and you never try to save time, because when you're cool, you don't care when or if you ever get to wherever you need to be. Being angry is NOT cool. If you're constantly irritated or infuriated, and you still think you qualify as "cool," I respectfully disagree.

So I now find myself in a position where I am forced to strike a balance. My life has thrown so many curveballs and excruciatingly stressful trials at me in the last four years that there is simply no way to shrug them off anymore. But that doesn't mean I'm willing to compromise my cool factor in my reactions to them. Sadness, anger, irritability, and the mistreatment of others are unacceptable in my mind. I don't care if thermonuclear holocaust is occurring outside my windows on every side of the house. I don't care if it scares me or stresses me. I won't show it. Nobody will know it.

Today, I hold within me stress and sadness that I could not have fathomed in 2006. I have more responsibility and more worries than I could ever have begun to imagine. But it matters not. You will always see me with a smile on my face and a friendly "what's up?" on my lips. If you walk into my office on one of my bad days asking me for help, you're gonna get it, and you'll get it with a smile, even if the sight of you bugs the hell out of me inside. A modern metrosexual male such as myself knows the value of a pleasant demeanor, regardless of how fake it may be.

If you have a chance, read the greatest book ever written, shown above. Even women can learn from it, and maybe you'll start to sort of understand that men, especially men like me, are more complicated than you might have thought. Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011


So I’ve been on this online dating site for several months now. For the most part, I haven’t run into any psychos or major pervs like a lot of the women on there deal with. I have no complaints about anybody I have met on there (there have not been many, by the way. But I do have issues with many of the women’ s profiles that I come across on there.

Nearly every woman on there has a profile headline that says something like, “Looking for an Honest Man,” “Looking for a Good Hearted Man,” “How Many Frogs do I have to Kiss?,” “Looking for my Best Friend,” “Where are all the Good Guys at?,” and “ Tired of the Games.”

All of these women seem to imply that somehow every nasty, dishonest, selfish, horrible man in the world has somehow gravitated toward them, disguised as the man of their dreams and been able to trick them into falling madly in love with him. Then as part of his diabolical masterstroke, waited until just the right moment to screw them over. How tragic.

Let me clue you in on something. You’re getting all the bad ones because YOU allow them to get with you. I can assure you, whether you realize it or not, you’re shooting down ten nice, caring men for every douche bag you “fall in love” with. Because you don’t really mean that you’re looking for an “honest,” “good hearted,” or “caring” man. What you really mean is that you want an honest, good hearted, caring man, who ALSO, is good looking, not fat, makes good money, doesn’t live with his parents, listens to the same music as you, will send you flowers on a daily basis, will make you breakfast in bed every morning, likes the same pets as you, has a nice car, etc, etc. Well your “prince charming” simply does not exist. Do you understand me? Even if he did exist, what makes you think you deserve him?

When you meet somebody, and subsequently fall in love with him. You have to take the good with the bad. Stop thinking that your relationship will be the same fairytale tomorrow as it seems to be today. Such naivety will only lead to massive heartbreak in the end.

When I was married, I loved my wife very much. I can remember thinking that I wanted to marry her after being with her for only about a week. I was so excited about the idea of spending my life with her and her daughters, and in my eyes, I could see no wrong in her.As our marriage progressed, even in the first month or two, I started to notice things that I didn’t like about her, things that annoyed me, and yes, even things that grossed me out. But at the end of the day, despite all of her faults, when we laid down to go to sleep at night, and I could smell the coconut shampoo in her hair and the cherry blossom lotion on her face, all I could think about was how the bad things and the imperfections are what made me love her even more. There were times that she made me very angry. There were times, especially toward the end, that I didn’t trust her. But none of those things were ever able to change the fact that I loved her.

Even today, after all she has put me and my family through, and despite the hatred for her that burns in my heart, keeping me up every night, there is still a part of me that loves her. As difficult as that is for me to say, I simply don’t believe that love is something that can be turned on and off. You either love somebody forever, or you never loved him or her at all.

So listen ladies, stop looking for Prince Charming. Because even if you do meet him, you’re eventually going to realize that he wakes up with bad breath, he shaves his back, sometimes has uncontrollable gas, and contains within his personality a million different things that will annoy the hell out of you.

Stop looking for a fairytale, and start looking for a man that loves you.

Friday, September 24, 2010

999,999 IN A MILLION

As I enter what is typically considered the second half of an average human lifespan, I realize more and more that my dream of being a hero in one way or another simply cannot be realized. I'm not special. I'm not brave or tough. I don't possess super strength or intellect or intelligence. I'm nothing more than a 31 year-old redhead with a high school education, who draws a GS-05 salary. My life consists of numerous failures, and no accomplishments since being voted prom king in May of 1997.

So many people point to the fact that I have a daughter as being a great accomplishment in my life. Don't insult my intelligence. Any idiot can create a child. I've seen too many welfare case, illiterate crackhead lowlifes create child after child to believe that the act of doing so is somehow miraculous or virtuous.

I don't want to be one of those people that uses a blog to broadcast a bunch of "woe is me" crap for the faceless masses to laugh at. But today has just been an awful, awful day. I think I have finally realized that I am nothing more than average, and even below average in many aspects. Let me list a few things that maybe I could have done, or done differently:

1. I should have gotten a bachelors degree ten years ago. There is no excuse for me to have spent more than a decade in college with nothing to show for it.

2. I never should have gotten married. I felt as if God had sent me the perfect woman that I had always dreamed of, and I always thought was too good for me, and for some reason, she loved me. She just came out of nowhere, and for the first time in my life, I felt that I had met a woman that I was willing to forsake all others for. It turns out that the decision to get married began a chain of events that systematically destroyed what little life I had before that. I know now to never put anybody before myself. The ones you love and trust will be the first turn on you at the first sign of trouble. Fuck marriage.

3. I should have stayed involved in bodybuilding. I'm just a shadow now of what I could have been. I was on my way to being in the kind of shape I always wanted to be in. I guess I have to blame marriage for that failure too.

4. I should have continued my martial arts training. I think I could maybe have actually become a real superhero if I had continued to perfect my hand-to-hand fighting skills. While I'm sure I could still defend myself against petty thugs if need be, I'm definitely no Batman.

5. I should have continued to perfect my turntable skills as a DJ. I never felt as alive as I did when I was in front of a crowd, and every track I played, every cut I made, would compel them to stay on the dance floor and keep moving. Not to mention, as DJ-Edit, Jayson was quite a big hit with the ladies.

These are only five disappointments and/or failures that haunt me to this day. But even more discouraging than that is the realization that I am not special. Every little boy grows up dreaming of being a fireman, a police officer, a fighter pilot, or an astronaut. They dream of being a hero. But the sad fact is that steel foundries, janitorial services, and fast food joints are filled with the men those little boys became, and they dream no more. I am one of those men. I am a dime a dozen, a needle in a needle stack, a black dude at the Million Man March, or a white dude at a NASCAR race. I am 999,999 in a million.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


This was originally a paper I wrote for school. But I think it has some interesting insight.- Jayson

I don’t quite remember exactly when I first heard it. But I do remember that it was before I could read or write. It was back when girls were still infected with “cooties”, and school was little more than the culmination of snack time, coloring time, and nap time. It’s existence and implementation predate my birth, and yet this “new” sound opened up a wider view of what I considered to be cool music. The “scratch” is a sound that can evoke jubilation in one crowd and utter revulsion in another. The former most accurately describes how this auditory anomaly struck me. I can’t put my finger on it. But something inside my subconscious said “I like this.”

It could have been while watching the video for Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” on MTV Europe. Watching the Ray-Ban clad Grandmixer DST moving the vinyl record back and forth on his Technics 1200’s in perfect harmony with Hancock’s synthesizers sent chills up my still-growing spine. More important than it’s “hey that’s cool” effect on an impressionable youngster however, was that this video dared to put a DJ right up on stage next to the keyboard player, the guitarist, and the percussionist for all the audience to see. He wasn’t simply some anonymous guy pushing “Play” and prodding the crowd into line dances over a static-muffled microphone. He was a member of the band. He was a music maker rather than a music player. The DJ contributed to the piece of music just as every other member of the band did, and I would dare to say that the song would not have been nearly the hit it was had he not been involved, winning 5 MTV Video Music Awards and a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental in 1984.

At that early point in my life, I never aspired to one day be the man behind the turntables. I would grow up taking for granted the sounds of needles over vinyl. Most members of my generation could not remember a time when “mixing” and “sampling” weren’t a part of popular music. The acoustic sets of Herb Alpert, the quasi-rebellious anthems of the Beatles and down-home folk rock of James Taylor, so revered by our elders, were nothing more than music credits at the end of “Forrest Gump” to those of us who grew up in the post “Rapper’s Delight” era of electronica, hip-hop, and bubblegum pop music. I don’t venture to contend that every member of my generation embraced a single style of popular music. In fact, I remember as if it were yesterday the ridicule I received even in high school for my musical preferences from the plaid-wearing, long-haired sycophantic disciples of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and other iconic bands of the “alternative rock” era. These were the “in” bands. This was the trend. This is what you had to listen to in order to be one of the cool kids. Yet the appeal of these Seattle-bred, melancholy dirges escaped me. I felt this musical genre better suited to coffee shops filled with bespectacled pseudo-intellectual Poetry majors than to radio play. Perhaps that was what most of the general population would describe as a band, but not me. As a young boy, I was enthralled by the masterful beats laid down by RUN-DMC’s Jam Master Jay. As a preteen I was amazed by the comical yet expertly mixed beats of DJ Jazzy Jeff. As a young adult I was blown away by the ghostly, hard edged beats of the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and the ingenious production of Gang Starr’s DJ Premiere. I loved these sounds, but I was ignorant of the skill and creativity possessed by those who produced them. At that time, I would have fallen into the category of the naysayers. I would have conceded to the popular notion that DJ’s don’t make music, they play music. I would not have been alone.

Are DJ’s Musicians? The answer to that question depends upon who you ask it to. One could contend that the existence of a piece of music does not necessarily endow it’s creator with automatic “Musician” status. Does a computer programmer who encodes a video game program with Basic consider his or herself a musician based simply on the fact that the code can manifest itself as music when read by a computer? Can a teen pop star made famous by appearing on the Disney Channel be considered a musician despite the fact that he or she can neither read nor write music? It’s a debate that will never be won by either side simply due to the self satisfaction possessed by the purveyors of both popular and contemporary music. However, arguments for both points of view cannot be branded as meritless simply because the subscribers to those viewpoints are also the creators of the music.

Let’s make sure that we understand the basic terminology of those who use turntables to create music. Some of the most successful DJ’s who consider themselves to be legitimate musicians would consider the term “DJ” to be far too generic. The word “Turntablist” is more desirable to many of these artists. Roc Raida of the New York City based DJ band, The X-Ecutioners, quoted in the November, 1997 issue of Rolling Stone, says, “A DJ will play somebody else’s record, say, ‘All right, that was this tune,’ and play another record. We do more than that. We beat-juggle, scratch, do body tricks, play bass, guitar, drums. A turntablist is the same as a pianist or anybody else who plays and instrument. And therefore we’re called turntablists instead of DJs” (McDonnell, 28.) This is quite a bold statement when you consider the esteem held by instrumentalists like Kenny G and Yo Yo Ma. You could say with relative certainty that a large percentage of the general population have heard of these musicians. But can the same be said of Mista Sinista, Roc Raida, Rob Swift, Total Eclipse and Radio of the X-Ecutioners? Perhaps not, but is popular acceptance the measure of one’s status as a musician? Turntablists write, produce, perform on and sell their own records just as conventional musicians do, and they tour and perform at sold out venues just as other musicians do. And if you think that that there exists no rhyme or reason to the music that turntablists perform and sell compared to that of more traditional music styles, you may be surprised.

For centuries, musicians across all genres have utilized a variety of graphical notation systems which help translate sight into sound. Everybody has seen these systems at one time or another. And millions of people are able to read, write and interpret them, using them to create compositions that can be preserved without the use of audio recording media. There is nothing more worthy of the nomenclature “music” than a written work that can be performed by any musical entity from a symphony orchestra to a thrash metal band. These systems have always been the measure of what constitutes music. And the only people capable of deciphering them are commonly referred to as “musicians.” So that leaves DJ’s and Turntablists out of the running, right? Wrong. There exist at least three notation systems that are indigenous to the art of turntable manipulation. Although these systems, when compared to other methods of musical notation, are in their infancy, their existence nonetheless puts major cracks in the once rock-solid common argument that scratching, beat juggling and other turntable techniques are “just noise.” Once thought by the lay person to be incoherent and improvisational party tricks, unworthy of recognition by true artists, turntable sets can now be arguably just as legitimate and well thought out as anything that flowed from the quills of Mozart or Beethoven. The first such system to be commonly accepted was developed in 1997 by American producer and director John Carluccio. Known as Turtablist Transcription Methodology (TTM), it became the first widely accepted notation system for music created and performed exclusively on turntables (MIyakawa, 81). Another such system was created at approximately the same time by Canadian turntable prodigy and 1997 Technics DMC World Champion DJ A-Trak (Walters, 86.) Although A-Trak’s method of scratch transcription failed to garner mass appeal among the general population of turntablists, it remains a viable system for allowing turntable sounds to manifest themselves visually. Another transcription system that is currently in it’s early stages of development is the brainchild of French designer Laurent Burte (Walters, 87.) Neither a conventional musician nor a turntablist by trade, and admittedly respectful of Carluccio’s TTM system, Burte nevertheless felt that scratch music’s graphical translation deserved a more aesthetically pleasing way of being transcribed. Seeing a market amongst DJ’s for a standardized notation system for scratching, Burte set out in 2001 to develop ideograms inspired by the calligraphic forms of Arabic and Asian scripts. These glyphs, Burte hopes, will one day capture visually the unique sounds that thus far can only be distinguished audibly. Could this artistic endeavor eventually be the catalyst that sparks the music world’s acceptance of “scratch music” as a legitimate art form? There’s no way to know for sure. But it is undeniably a huge step toward legitimacy for a style of music making once assumed to be rooted in improvisation.
So we have established that DJ’s are capable of writing and performing musical compositions that are as well rehearsed and painstakingly planned out as any works within the realm of contemporary musical standards. But what about the apparatus that they use to create those compositions? Can a 35 pound machine with the sole intended purpose of playing back pre-recorded media really be considered a musical instrument? The industry standard Technics 1200 MKII doesn’t possess the aesthetically pleasing curves of a cello or the undeniable majesty and angelic connotation of a harp. But it may surprise some people that a seemingly static device such as these turntables can be used to manipulate recorded sounds into new pieces of music. It is simply a matter of how one uses a device that determines it’s application. Turntablists use two or more of these devices linked together by a multi-channel mixer to weave together the sounds pressed into vinyl so that they become a unique composition. Much the same as a pianist weaves together the variously pitched sounds created by each key to culminate into something that the human brain perceives as a single piece, the turntable can be used to create new songs from old ones. Can we therefore say that a pianist and turntablist occupy the same artistic plane? Once again, the answer lies in the eye of the observer. The Japanese sound equipment manufacturer, Vestax, which has developed and marketed some of the most advanced DJ turntables in existence, was featured in the 2002 documentary film “Scratch” as it appeared at a the 2000 N.A.M.M. Music Convention, a musical instrument exposition. Surrounded by representatives of some the world’s most prestigious manufactures of musical instruments, Qbert of the turntablist band The Invisbl Skratch Pikls, showed of the capabilities of the Vestax products on behalf of the company. Strange indeed were the sounds of scratching and cutting echoing throughout the expo center filled with people whose entire careers revolved around the marketing and distribution of conventional musical instruments. Nevertheless, sheer morbid curiosity, if nothing else, caused these esteemed representatives of the music world to gravitate toward the Vestax kiosk to witness up close what most of them had no doubt only seen on television. The impromptu critiques of these onlookers seemed to point toward some kind of collective consciousness or telepathic connection between them. Ingenious comments such as ,“It just sounds like noise to me” and, “It’s kind of a silly way of making a noise that’s not too pleasant to hear” seemed to be the only way these “serious” musicians could articulate their disgust at the fact that a DJ was being prominently featured next to them (Pray, Ch. 19.) What better way is there to gain an understanding of the music world’s attitude toward the turntable than to witness firsthand the on-the-spot snide criticisms of it’s best and brightest? I feel that the condescending attitudes demonstrated toward Yoga Frog by the crème de la crème of the music industry speak for themselves. In the eyes of the people who know musical instruments best, the turntable does not fit into that category.

Perhaps the myopic views espoused by aficionados of more traditional genres of conventional music are not the best measure of musical legitimacy for turtablism. Popular music seems to have more effectively embraced the DJ as a valued performer. The most noticeably measurable beginning of the Disc Jockey’s regular inclusion in musical genres outside of Hip-hop was during the era of so-called Rap-Rock in the mid to late 1990’s. This new genre was an attempt by numerous pop groups of various success levels to infuse the flexibility and street savvy of Hip-hop with the popular appeal of Rock music. With some bands such as Limp Bizkit and Crazy Town reporting records sales in the millions, and other groups such as the Blood Hound Gang selling records in the hundreds of thousands, it seemed that Rap-rock was to be the industry’s newest exploitable resource. DJ’s were a prominent fixture of these bands. Limp Bizkit’s DJ Lethal and Crazy Town’s DJ AM were nearly equal in popularity to Fred Durst and Shifty Shellshock, the respective band’s lead singers. The basic reasoning seemed to be that you can’t be classified as Rap, without at least the token presence of a DJ, who during the early years of Hip-hop took center stage, relegating the rapper (more properly referred to as the “MC”) to sidekick status. Even pure Rock bands like Sugar Ray, Incubus, and Linkin Park incorporated the DJ as a necessary member of the group. Rap-Rock’s dominance of the Billboard charts would however, be short-lived. In 20/20 hindsight, the phenomenon appears to have been little more than the hastily expedited product of corporate strategy, attempting to capitalize on the widely accepted demographic statistic that up to 70 percent of Hip-hop music, a genre dominated by African-American artists, is purchased by white males aged 18 to 24. This is exactly the segment of the population that mostly gravitates toward rock music. The combining of the two art forms would be a natural inclination for corporate big wigs that operate with profit foremost on their minds. While Rap-Rock is little more than a fuzzy memory in the fickle minds of today’s pop music consumer, a number of today’s most popular and financially successful Rock bands are those that boast DJ’s as members. Linkin Park and Incubus have had continued success to this day. On a somewhat less culturally relevant note, one hit wonders like late 90’s mambo novelty act Lou Bega, despite he and his band’s rather hasty recession into the annals of pop culture obscurity, also counted a DJ among their ranks. It is a safe bet to assume that while classical musicians may look down on the Disc Jockey as a musician, the powers that be in the pop music industry (arguably the only profitable facet of the music industry) take them very seriously. Hollywood has also zeroed in on the potential profitability of turntablist compositions, recruiting producers such as The RZA to score movies like “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” and other films whose gritty street-themed moods are accentuated by the rawness of turntablist beats.

No matter which side you take in the “DJ’s as musicians” debate, the turntablist’s influence on the modern music landscape is undeniable. While I have serious doubts about ever seeing Disc Jockeys performing in tuxedos as members of the London Symphony Orchestra, perhaps that is not their intended niche. While classical music may not benefit from the ingenuity of these “masters of the 1 & 2”, it is clear that modern musical palates have become accustomed to the omnipresence of DJ’s in their music of choice, as producers, performers, and band members. So even though the thought of DJ’s ever being revered as serious musicians might make Beethoven spin in his grave, the fact is that that the success of modern popular music is dependent on those capable mixing, producing, and annotating sound. DJ’s do it all. And that’s why, like it or not, they’re not going away anytime soon.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I've been wondering as of late about the possibility that I possess some sort of low-level extrasensory perception abilities. Why am I drawn to certain rooms or objects, and I seem to be fixated upon them without any idea as to why? Why do I seem to sense something out of the ordinary, and later have those feelings validated by tangible evidence? I'm not going to go into detail about exactly what I see or feel. But I can tell you that it has not been since I was very young that these types of feelings have surfaced.

Maybe it's the highly stressful current circumstances that I find myself in as of recent months causing chemical and electrical signals to fire in my brain with unusual patterns. Maybe it's my ADD medication that makes me feel like The Incredible Hulk for a short period, and then causes me to crash shortly afterward. Maybe any number of nuerochemical processes or medicinal factors are playing into my sudden spike in cognitive abilities. But whatever it is, I don't like it.

I'm not gonna say that "I see dead people," or some Hollywood crap like that. But I just seem to have a way of scanning an environment or person, especially a new one, and being able to extrapolate certain details that shouldn't be immediately noticeable. It's almost like having that "Terminator vision" that you see in the movies, where you look from side to side and your internal CPU flashes graphics and information about objects and people in the field of view.

Listen, I know this sounds crazy. But I'm gonna wait and see if this "psychic ability" either diminishes or gets worse. I can tell you right now that this is certainly an ability that I do not want to possess. Hopefully, I'm just imagining things and my supposed ESP is only a set of incredibly creepy circumstances. But still, it scares me.