ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

December 9, 2011


Anything that happens, happens.
Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.
It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order, though.
       ~ Douglas Adams
Most people do not comprehend,
[no matter how] they encounter such things,
nor do they understand what they learn;
they believe only themselves.
       ~ Heraclitus

Every thought is a seed.
If you plant crab apple, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.
      ~ Bill Meyer

All the lessons of history in four sentences:
Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad with power.
The mills of God grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.
The bee fertilizes the flower it robs.
When it is dark enough, you can see stars.

       ~ Charles A. Beard

In the spirit of Thirty and Thirty-Five comes the following awesome, beautiful, and creative web of thoughts that occupy my brain.

No matter.

I’m not patient enough to write poetry or prose, so I’ll just count down after Futurama.

Don’t you worry about life, the universe, and everything; let me worry about blank

42. We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

41. Everything is about inclusion.

40. Everything is everythang.

39. Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.

38. As human beings, our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

37. Let it go. This too shall pass.


35. Lessons are repeated until they are learned.

34. The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

33. Reflect on happiness.

32. People are very bad at predicting what will make us happy.

31. There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.

30. We are feedback loops. We are the stories we tell ourselves.

29. Love is when you open your heart to pain.

28. To get over grief, be there for someone else’s grief.

27. Kittie heaven is mousie hell.

26. Bird is the word!

25. The ride does not require an explanation. Just occupants.

24. It’s not going to stop till you wise up.

23. Character is destiny.

22. Reflection creates identity.

You can do anything.

20. We can change the world with a pen and paper. We keep waiting, waiting.

19. Starting is hard.

18. We’ll see.

17. Life is… delicious ambiguity.

16. Beware drift. Do what you love!

15. True happiness comes from within.

14. Get yourself a giant panda! (Super kawaii!)

13. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

12. That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.

11. It goes to 11. (Be sure to read through to Andy Weir’s story, “The Egg”!)

10. Life is like business. It’s 20 percent what happens to you, and 80 percent how you respond.

9. 80 percent of success is showing up.

8. Our attitudes produce our luck.

7. Love more, fear less.

6. Be grateful for every breath.

5. Be who you are, as hard as you can.

4. Be here now.

3. Be excellent.

2. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

1. Only kindness matters in the end.

********* …enlightenment… *********




May 12, 2011

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.

I think of Emily Dickinson’s poem as I reflect on the shockingly sudden passing of my dear friend Omar Ahmad, who left this world on May 10, 2011. 

Omar was a great optimist who made me think about possibility, and he made me want to do something great and live everything

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually without even noticing it, live your way in to the answer.
Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Stephen Mitchell (via Kristen Collins)

The past few years I’ve felt the pain of loss of several close friends.

It hurts. I miss Omar. A lot. Even as I watch Omar’s memorial.

I remember from ten life lessons: Don’t take yourself too seriously.

I do feel like I didn’t spend enough time with Omar.

And neither did Rohit. Or our little friend. Though we be successful.

I loved Omar. He was truly a friend who inspired me to be kind.

I will watch Omar’s TED talk again and again as a reminder to be active.

I truly miss you, Omar. I truly do. And I still feel connected to you.

Thank you, Omar. You and Steve Jobs inspire me to do something great — to design something simple that brings great happiness to others with what is left of my life…

Almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

It’s worth repeating what Steve Jobs said. “There is no reason not to follow your heart.”


June 8, 2010

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

“We are feedback loops; we are the stories we tell ourselves…”
~ Doc Jensen on LOST  

“He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder…”
~ M.C. Escher

In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness. We all were one.

And then we said, “Oh haiLet there be light.


And then we LOOK closer and more carefully. We could see that there was nothing. Which is a funny thing to say because sometimes words are inadequate, and sometimes words have two meanings.

And then expansion started… Wait!

And we added things. And the universe expanded. And we added more things. And the universe kept expanding to accommodate adding more things. And everything was awesome. Fundamentally.

It might seem like everything was added randomly. And perhaps that is the case. But that’s not what we believe.

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

This idea was kept in the dark for billions of years. Instead, the reigning belief was detachment: “I don’t really want to know how your garden grows, ’cause I just want to fly.” And so, we lived forever…

…and life was but a dream. Edgar Allan Poe waxed poetic, “All that we see or seem… is but a dream within a dream.” (Thanks Ankita!)

And we thought about the words of Rumi…

We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your

They say there is a doorway from heart to heart, but what is the use of a door when there are no walls?

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.

And the Primitive Radio Gods whispered quietly in the corner…

Am I alive, or thoughts that drift away?
Does summer come for everyone?
Can humans do what prophets say?
If I die before I learn to speak,
can money pay for all the days
I lived awake but half-asleep?

Suddenly we woke up with a kick. And we were no longer detached when we woke up with the idea. Not to spoil Inception, but merely to praise Inception:

What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.

For our idea, Douglas Adams offered enlightenmentSpecifically, Dirk Gently illuminated us.

I’m very glad you asked me that, Mrs Rawlinson. The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs Rawlinson. Let me give you an example. If you go to an acupuncturist with toothache he sticks a needle instead into your thigh. Do you know why he does that, Mrs Rawlinson? No, neither do I, Mrs Rawlinson, but we intend to find out. A pleasure talking to you, Mrs Rawlinson. Goodbye. 
    — Douglas Adams, Dirk Gentley’s Holistic Detective Agency

And then Tim Berners-Lee — or was it Dan Connolly? — distilled the words to their essence:

We believe in the interconnectedness of all things.

And then Jamie Zawinski reflected on the Vannevar Bush-influenced words of Ted Nelson:

Intertwingularity is not generally acknowledged —
people keep pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t.

Everything is deeply intertwingled.

And then the Internet developed its own connective tissue. Which itself is unsearchable.

And then I couldn’t believe what happened next. Free association. Say what? We’ll see.

…continuing. LOOKWe didn’t start the fire. America, fuck yeah. Freedom isn’t freeTerrible Disney lessons. The virus of faith2000″ TVYou’re the man now, dawgBlue ball machine. Facebook is a lobster trap, and your friends are the baitTrue happiness comes from within. It comes back to you, you’re gonna get what you deserve… lovin’ is what I got, remember thatThe ride does not require an explanation, just occupants. Imitation of lifeNoah’s photosI’m expressin’ with my full capabilities, now I’m living in correctional facilities. Now let me welcome everybody to the wild wild west… California love… Regulators!!! I want it all: brand new socks and drawers. Why do I live this way? Heeeey, must be the moneyAlright stop, collaborate and listen. How can I find a woman like that? Guitar: impossibleFrench bulldogs. OMG pwnies. Ready, set, bagSpeak with meMeditate. Mediate. Kick. Things that make you go hmmmShow me how to dance. Alejandro. Ra ra ra ah ah ah roma ro ma ma gaga ooh la la. Cameron Diaz dancesStephen Hawking rocks. Time travel is horrifyingOuter space sucksCrumbling cities. Pink housesIconic bras. Mad menAh, l’amourDisney perversionsEpisode 200. And 201. FreedomUnconscious trumps free will. Disney deathsSerial killers. Corporate slogans. At-atCanned unicorn meatWhat if you’re wrong? The purpose of purposeThe empathetic civilizationEmma BatesQualia. Reid HoffmanHegel’s philosophy of history. The unexplainable. Time-traveling brandy thievesLife on Mars. LOST. The Little Prince.

I love The Little Prince. Whi
ch reminds me of some of my favorite words that Robbye Bentley has posted recently

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Life and Jah are one in the same. Jah is the gift of existence. I am in some way eternal, I will never be duplicated. The singularity of every man and woman is Jah’s gift. What we struggle to make of it is our sole gift to Jah. The process of what that struggle becomes, in time, the Truth.” ~ Bob Marley

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.” ~ Stephen Covey

Thank you, Robbye. I have some favorites of my own, too.

The words of Rumi echo in eternity, “The face of the unknown, hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your perception.”

Which takes me full circle…

Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” ~ Henry James

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for” ~ Bob Marley

I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~ Marilyn Monroe

If success or failure of the planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do… How would I be? What would I do?” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller

We are all connected to each other, in a circle, in a hoop that never ends. How high can the sycamore grow? If you cut it down, then you’ll never know…” ~ Colors of the Wind

And Scott Adams said, “The best you can hope for in this life is that your delusions are benign and your compulsions have utility.”

So it goes…


And then a lot of peoples’ brains exploded. Such is rock n roll.

And then we rested. Or at least, we tried to relax and breathe and reflect

And appreciate that nothing can ever be truly, fully understood. Seriously.

Still, three fundamental questions remain:
  1. If everything is everythang, are being and becoming just limited beings’ perspective of the oneness?
  2. If happiness is part of the oneness, why is it so difficult to be here now and connect to that happiness?
  3. If lessons are repeated until they are learned, is learning just finding the right connection to the oneness?

And are there things we can never learn? We’ll see.

If some connections cannot be made, perhaps there is no spoon at all.

If Internet is the substrate for interconnectedness of all things, perhaps The Architect knows.

And are there things that cannot be taught? Richard Feynman refuses to explain how magnets work. Feynman concludesI really can’t do a good job, any job, of explaining magnetic force in terms of something else you’re more familiar with, because I don’t understand it in terms of anything else you’re more familiar with.

Breathing is neither learned nor taught. It just is. And yet sometimes we must remember to breathe. And to be here now. And to be grateful for every breath.

And then when that gratitude gets us reflecting about the meaning of life, we learn to let it go; this too shall pass

It’s one who won’t be taken, that cannot seem to give, and the soul afraid of dying that never learns to live, sang Bette Midler.

So it goes.

Savor every second; enjoy every sandwich, as the dying Warren Zevon put it.

So it goes.

You need to live before you die, said Steve Jobs…

You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have
to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.

So it goes…

It is through death, too, that we make a connection with Randy PauschCon te partiro.

In the end, there is no greater job than enabling the childhood dreams of others.

And in the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

And in the end, only kindness matters.

So we dance. And LOOK. And simplify. And reflect. And breathe.

Which takes us back to the beginning.

And then… Bazinga!

May 26, 2010

Be grateful for every breath.

Samantha Graham wrote to me today because I was down about the death last week and funeral tomorrow of a loved one, and how grateful I am to be alive. Sam texted:

Be grateful for every breath you take!

The yogic breath … when you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth … in Sanskrit is ‘ham sa‘ … which literally means ‘that I am‘ …


Breathe deeply, with cleansing, soothing breaths…

When I say “that I am”, I hear “be here now“…

Sam continued:

In Sanskrit the meaning of Om is avati or raksati. It is used as a symbol that must be revisited to be learned.

Raksati means ‘one who protects, sustains‘.

Om is the name of the lord who is everything.

How do we connect with everything? We’ll see.


Jai guru deva om… 



By the way, this is the first posterous post I’ve composed entirely on the Sprint Evo phone. I wrote it sitting on a porch in southwestern Virginia where cell coverage is roamy but 3G coverage is decent! Thank you Sprint Evo. That it is. Beautiful.

May 24, 2010

Is all of LOST about letting go and moving on?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 5:07 am

I’m reflecting about The End??of LOST.

Doc Jensen’s??first reactions??and??full writeup??make me??wonder if all of LOST is about reflection, the central concerns of life, and redemption.

The characters are LOST souls, not quite sure about their identities and uncertain about where they’re going.

Through the LOST journey they learn not only who they are but also??how to let go, which is the key to moving on.

These are the themes of my favorite Doc Jensen columns, for “we are feedback loops; we are the stories that we tell ourselves“…
Doc Jensen on reflection:??
Reflection creates identity.

“When I started watching??Lost, I found myself more intrigued by the mysteries than the characters. Over time, though, I have become more moved by the themes and the redemption struggles. In the third season, my engagement with??Lost??changed completely. I???ve previously shared how my wife???s cancer affected the way I processed the show and expressed myself about the show.

I began to see??Lost??not as a mystery to be solved, but an allegory for living in a state of profound, unsettling ambiguity that dealt with the central concerns of life. Why are we here? Why do we suffer? Is there hope? Do we accept our fate or fight it? What happens to us when we die? Will we see our loved ones again after death?

I appreciated that??Lost??ruminated on these questions.”

“Jacob seemed to think that the broken people and damaged souls who came to the Island would embrace the opportunity of a fresh start and naturally blossom into the super-Buddha he was looking for. And why not? As Jacob told Richard, the Island is a place where ???the past doesn???t matter.??? But what he realized is that people have a really hard time letting go of the past. I might also argue that people??shouldn???t??let go of the past; at the very least, we can???t let it rule us, but we do need it to learn from it.

“Mother, Jacob, and Man-in-Black were contemporaries with Guatama (also Siddhartha) Buddha, who lived from 580-480 BC. The core ideas of Buddhism include the idea of letting go of the things of this world that keep us from recognizing and growing our spiritual nature
and reincarnation and evolution of consciousness through a myriad of lifetimes

Ultimately, we should reflect, but we shouldn’t overthink it. LOST, after all, was created by the man with??the mystery box.

P.S. — In an odd??synchronicity, congrats to Bret Michaels for winning Celebrity Apprentice. That just happened to happen simultaneously with the ending of LOST. Life goes on, so enjoy this one-minute re-enactment of??LOST using cats.

Still LOST? Let go. Move on. Be here now.

May 18, 2010


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — ifindkarma @ 6:23 pm

Apparently there’s a grand plan the writers have in mind for the end of LOST.

That plan is REDEMPTION.

Doc Jensen:

If history is stuck in a rut of corruption and catastrophe, can it be unstuck? Can the vicious cycle be broken? Can the hopeless myth of damnation be replaced with a new, better myth? I would like to suggest that these questions represent the Great Work that Jacob has been pursuing over the past couple thousand years. And after much trial and error, and after a few failed approaches, Jacob has found a way to do it ??? though it will be up to the castaways themselves, and perhaps one castaway in particular, to actually finish his Island redemption project.

Damon Lindelof adds (in the New York Times):

If there???s one word that we keep coming back to, it???s redemption. It is that idea of everybody has something to be redeemed for and the idea that that redemption doesn???t necessarily come from anywhere else other than internally. But in order to redeem yourself, you can only do it through a community. So the redemption theme started to kind of connect into ???live together, die alone,??? which is that these people were all lone wolves who were complete strangers on an aircraft, even the ones who were flying together like Sun and Jin. Then let???s bring them together and through their experiences together allow themselves to be redeemed. When the show is firing on all pistons, that???s the kind of storytelling that we???re doing.

I think we???ve always said that the characters of ???Lost??? are deeply flawed, but when you look at their flashback stories, they???re all victims. Kate was a victim before she killed her stepfather. Sawyer???s parents killed themselves as he was hiding under the bed. Jack???s dad was a drunk who berated him as a child. Sayid was manipulated by the American government into torturing somebody else. John Locke had his kidney stolen. This idea of saying this bad thing happened to me and I???m a victim and it created some bad behavior and now I???m going to take responsibility for that and allow myself to be redeemed by community with other people, that seems to be the theme that we keep coming back to.


So forget looking for the answer to every question, and instead focus on redemption as it applies to the characters.

May 17, 2010

#LOST: All the people who died.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — ifindkarma @ 10:16 pm

Thanks, Jezebel.

April 26, 2010

Bret Michaels & Brain Hemorrhages, The White Apple of Death, and Back in Black

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 5:09 pm

We left on our On the 10s Road Trip??almost two weeks ago (on April 13!), and we have had many, many adventures, many of which I have not yet blogged about because I fall asleep exhausted at the end of every adventurous day!

The blog posts about our adventures after??New Mexico will be coming in the days ahead.

Our blogging in real-time has been complicated by LIVING in the NOW, actually HAVING??the adventures. It was further complicated this weekend when I was stupid enough to LIKE a Jon Stewart clip on Facebook from my iPhone. Let me be the first to say that Facebook LIKE button + iPhone app + AT&T service = The White Apple of Death.

As in, the finger of death I used to do a one-pawed operation (LIKE, fersure!) crashed my iPhone — 48 hours & counting, it won’t reboot, and is stuck on The White Apple of Death:

All the pictures I’ve taken on our Road Trip might very well be LOST if iPhone can’t figure out a way to boot itself. Right now my iPhone’s like a supine bug struggling to get to its feet.

My business partner Joyce of course tells me to just let go. Joyce tweets, “Isn’t the Apple of Death apropos for Death Panda???Let those photos go. Never look back, dahling, it distracts from the NOW!

(Aside: I thought letting go of photos was more the domain of Death Bear.)

So stay tuned for more Road Trip blog posts soon, with or without pictures, depending on whether iPhone resurrects.

In the meantime, 5000 words on Metal Monday.

Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice front runner Bret Michaels, lead singer of heavy metal band Poison, has suffered a brain hemorrhage. As anyone who reads this posterous can attest, aneurysms are front of mind for me.??

But I’m not the only one. Even Megan Kelley Hall says, “not quite sure why I’m obsessed with getting updates on Bret Michaels’s condition, since I’m not a fan of Poison and never watched Rock of Love (but I do really like him on Celebrity Apprentice)… I tell people at my book signings that facing death kicked my butt into achieving my goal of becoming a published author. Do what you’ve always dreamed of doing TODAY. Right now. Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity. Just do it. Make every day count.”

Apparently they can’t find Bret Michaels’s aneurysm with CAT, MRI, or angiogram! So they can’t operate to fix it, and it’s still bleeding. (This is related to Joyce’s aneurysm:??Joyce recently learned that she can’t have an MRI on her head because the metal clips and screws in there could be dislodged by magnetism.)??

The blood from a subarachnoid hemorrhage irritates the brain tissues and can result in an ischemic stroke and permanent brain damage.

Once again we are reminded that the human brain is delicate, fragile, and mortal. We’re made of meat.

On the other hand, being made of meat has its advantages. For example, it gives us great pleasure to listen to heavy metal while on an epic Road Trip. And music just might be the key to redemption and salvation. As Don MacLean said,

Do you believe in rock n’ roll,
Can music save your mortal soul???

It can. More on that soon.

Metal artists fall into two main categories. There’s the moody apocalyptic wailers who flirt with the devil and employ rock n’ roll??to save their mortal souls when all they see is death and destruction and dementia all around them. Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead, and those who try to be like them… they’re great for escape when you’re having a shitty day, but not really the stuff for Road Trips.??

Joyce tells me that The Road Trip metal artists are the ones who sing about fucking, having a damn good time, and being awesome. Example: Bret Michaels??injured himself performing Poison’s “Nothin’ but a Good Time” in 2009! These are the folks that Bill & Ted and Wayne & Garth and Beavis & Butt-head are most into, and they revel in being excellent to each other and of course partying on, dudes. Van Halen, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Poison, and the king of them all, AC/DC.

(As an aside, David Lee Roth of Van Halen was accused by critics of writing songs about nothing but sex, partying, and cars, which made him realize he had never written a song about cars! So he wrote PANAMA!)

On our On the 10s Road Trip we listened to a lot of road metal, and AC/DC most of all. And then we came to realize that songs like “Hell’s Bells”, “Rock n Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, “Let Me Put My Love Into You”, and “You Shook Me All Night Long” all ??came from one, single, spectacular album: BACK IN BLACK.

“Back in Black” is an album that lives at the cross-roads of metal, appealing to BOTH the road-tripping party animals and the broody, dark, in-their-rooms-with-headsets-blasting headbangers. And it was written right after the album named after perhaps the greatest road tripping song since Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild” — namely, “Highway to Hell”!

“Back in Black” is a masterpiece that was in the process of being written exactly 30 years ago — and released July 25, 1980.

What I didn’t realize until now is how important this single album is in the entire canon of music:

1. It is the second-highest-selling album of all time worldwide (behind Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”).

2. It is the top-selling album of all time by a rock band.

3. Much like Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”, it was never the top-selling album in the United States in any given week. This album has unbelievably steady longevity for almost thirty years — ironic for heavy metal, which in general believes it’s better to burn out than fade away.

4. Many of the guitar licks on this album were original, catchy, and highly influential. It is clear that Bret Michaels listened to “Back in Black” many, many times. And the album still sounds fresh today, 30 years after their initial release. (Even Nickelback and Maroon Five have tapped Mutt Lange to produce a similar sound in 2008… and 2010!)

5. This wasn’t their first album or second album. This was their SIXTH album. It took them that long to get their craft perfect. However, it wasn’t written by a single, cohesive vision from a single person, despite having a grand unified theme. You wouldn’t know it was written by multiple people, but it was. More on that soon.

6. The album is BOTH about sex & partying AND about death. More on that after the video for “Back in Black”.

Bret Michaels’ brothers-in-metal, AC/DC were at a cross-roads in early 1980, and this album might never have been made, because their lead singer and songwriter on their first five albums, Bon Scott, died unexpectedly from alcohol poisoning on February 19, 1980 at the age of 33.

The surviving members of the band considered disbanding following Scott’s death, but they ultimately decided to continue and shortly thereafter hired Brian Johnson as their new lead singer and lyricist.

The group decided to finish the songwriting they had started under Scott and Back in Black was the final result.

According to Angus Young the album’s all-black cover was a “sign of mourning” for Scott, as black is the traditional Western colour of mourning.

That’s right, they turned to rock n’ roll to comfort them in a time of sadness after the loss of their great friend, to write songs about fucking, having a damn good time, and being awesome.

AC/DC could have been torn apart by the death of their great friend. Instead, they used it as their inspiration and motivation, and put themselves completely into their art, and as a result have become ageless, timeless, and eternal:??

Much of AC/DC???s appeal lies in the group???s consistency, its unwavering focus on cranking up the rhythms of early rock into stadium-sized anthems. Although AC/DC has fans of all ages, it is almost unique among ???70s bands in that it never tried to grow up with its audience. The band never experimented with different genres, made an ???unplugged?????album or even recorded a ballad, and none of its songs sound rooted in a particular time.

The group???s raw aggression is as relevant to teenagers who listen to its albums on iPods as they were to those who heard them on record players. ???Back in Black,??? which has sold 49 million copies worldwide since 1980, according to Columbia, could serve as a catchy soundtrack to teenage frustration for as long as it exists.

Radio signals carrying AC/DC’s awesome tunes will traverse the universe for as long as there is a universe.

And still relevant today: AC/DC is featured in such iconic pop phenom’s in 2010 as the entire Iron Man 2 soundtrack and an AC/DC version of “Rock Band”.

Every Monday is Metal Monday, but today especially so. AC/DC inspires us, and Bret Michaels is in our thoughts.

Bret Michaels prognosis??is hard to read: “Worst outcome = death, middle of scale = permanent speech and vision deficit.” I hope he does even better than that. They’re still not sure if it was an aneurysm that caused his brain hemorrhage.

Apparently they don’t know what caused it — just that he was lucky!

To Bret Michaels and your brain hemorrhage: I hope you get well soon, buddy, and hope that this unfortunate situation inspires more heavy metal art. We play “Nothin’ but a Good Time” and think of you:

Want to know more about my thoughts about aneurysms and brain hemorrhages? See also:

1. Death Panda — about the aneurysms of Joyce Park, Craig Johnson, Jill Bolte Taylor, Takuya Kimura, David Mills, and Jerry York.

2. Frequently Asked Questions About Aneurysms — by my business partner Joyce Park, who had a brain hemorrhage last August.

3. Do Aneurysms Strike Type A People More? — a question that has no good answer.

4. Every Aneurysm is a Reminder — to get busy with the business of living your life, NOW.

5. Lessons Are Repeated Until They Are Learned — knowing that our time in this world is limited, we often seek happiness externally, but that is not a good use of time, for happiness comes from within.

From the White Apple of Death to “Back in Black”, one message rings clear and loud:??
Whatever you do and wherever you are, BE WHO YOU ARE, and BE HERE AND NOW.

April 13, 2010

On the 10s Tour.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 7:37 am

Death Panda.

The past week I’ve been thinking a lot about Death — about missing those who’ve left us, about feeling the pain of their departures, about grieving and how to overcome grief, about why we die, about what we should do about the things we never had a chance to say or do.

In short, I’ve been a “Death Panda”, repeatedly thinking about these five tenets:

1. Missing is a part of living.

2. Pain is proportional to the love you give.

3. To get over grief, be there for someone else’s grief.

4. Be here now, for those in your life who are here now.

5. Lose your regrets and carry on.

Concurrent with my thinking about death, this past weekend Joyce trekked out to Death Valley to see the wildflowers. She drove five hours each way to spend one hour with the flowers. She has literally walked through the Valley of the shadow of Death.


Death used to be an abstract concept to me. The last two years of my life have made it ever-more concrete.

1. April 11, 2008. My 29-year-old brother Damon died. He was too young. (He’s actually my brother-in-law, but he’ll always be a brother to me.)

2. July 2008. My 94-year-old grandmother Tia Rifkin died in her home.

3. May 2009. Billy Hinton, one of Joyce’s best friends, died after a long period of ill health. He was too young.

4. June 2009. My friend and advisor Rajeev Motwani died. He was 47.

5. August 2009. My friend and business partner Joyce Park had a brain aneurysm. 60% of aneurysms are fatal; 35% result in brain damage. She rolled a 20 on that 20-sided die. She lives despite coming very, very close to death.

6. October 2009. My friend and advisor Craig Johnson also suffered a stroke. He was 62.

7. April 4, 2010. My friend for almost 16 years Bob died on Easter Sunday, April 4. The week between Bob’s death and now culminated in yesterday’s two-year anniversary of Damon’s passing. The last week has been long and sad.

Thinking about death made me think about what I want in life. Mid-week I composed a bucket list. One of the things that is missing from that list is that I’d like to not feel sad about death.

So I talked with Michelle about our sadness and I came to realize that sadness has two components: the loneliness that comes from losing someone close, and the regrets that come from not having spent as much time with that person as I now wish I did.

To assuage loneliness, give love. But how can a person lose regrets?

I thought about Death Bear, whose purpose in life is to remove the pain associated with memories attached to physical objects.

Then I wondered if there could be a variation on this theme — a Death Panda! — whose purpose in life is to remove the pain associated with memories attached to regrets.

If we could lose our regrets, we could get busy living the rest of our lives, and truly be here now for those who are still in our lives.

Not just regrets attached to commission and failure, but regrets attached to things we think we should have or could have done, but didn’t — regrets of omission.

I think regrets weigh very heavily on the brain, and I wonder if that kind of emotional baggage is correlated with brain diseases.

Joyce lived to answer questions about brain aneurysms, yet in the past month I’ve personally been reminded of aneurysms on three occasions — by an athlete/coach, by a screenwriter/producer, and by a businessman — all at different ages, all of whom died of stroke-related complications.

1. 37-year old Japanese baseball coach Takuya Kimura (not the actor) – who could play every position except pitcher – died of a brain hemorrhage.

2. David Mills, 48, screenwriter on Homicide, The Wire, and Treme died of brain aneurysm.

3. Jerry York, 71-year-old Apple Board member, died after being stricken with a brain aneurysm.

I wonder what else these three people had in common. I wonder what else they can teach us.

If nothing else, every aneurysm is a reminder of the five tenets of Death Panda.

1. Missing is a part of living.

2. Pain is proportional to the love you give.

3. To get over grief, be there for someone else’s grief.

4. Be here now, especially for those in your life who are here now.

5. Lose your regrets and carry on.

Rock on, Death Panda. Rock on.

I’ve had enough of death for now.

I want to get in a car, and drive and drive and drive. Two words: Road trip!!!

April 9, 2010

My bucket list.


2. Drive On the 10s across the USA, coast to coast. DONE

3. Build a successful Internet business and Save the Web.

4. Ride the San Jose Sharks Zamboni.

5. Take a private jet to Hattiesburg, Mississippi so that for once it doesn’t take an entire exhausting day to get there.

6. Write a children’s book based on the many adventures of intrepid, majestic Bob the Cat and his brother Beavis.

7. Make enough money to rent a blimp to take to Chengdu to do #1. And do #5 in good conscience. Dirigibles and private jets are not cheap.

8. Own a successful bar or restaurant where people like to gather. (Update: Working on it.)

9. Stay at Yosemite between Labor Day and Halloween on at least one occasion. Reflect on happiness under the stars.

funny pictures of cats with captions


BONUS BUCKET ITEM. Make enough money to buy the New York Islanders and rename them the Long Island Iced T’s. New logo: polar bears sipping tall drinks

April 8, 2010

Life is… delicious ambiguity.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — ifindkarma @ 11:24 pm

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some??poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning,??middle, and end.

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking??the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to??happen next.

Delicious ambiguity.

??~??Gilda Radner??(magnet)


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