Positivity

Since I decided to unfollow the negative, at the same time I decided to try and post positive stuff that I feel strongly about.  I believe it’s possible to get your point across without slinging mud.  It’s a challenge because it’s easier to point out the faults with my opposing viewpoint rather than point out the positives of what I am passionate about.  Or maybe it’s just a natural reflex or just bad habits.

It’s called positive reinforcement kids, look it up.

I don’t want to ignore the crappy stuff that goes on in the world, I just want to combat it with love, humor and hope.  You can catch more flies with honey, kill ’em with kindness, or some other such cliche metaphor.  But that’s how I look at it, I’m an optimist.  Or at least I want to be.  That’s not to say I don’t get angry and sad when someone shoots up a school or suicide bombs a rock concert.  It makes me want revenge.  I want to bitch about guns (I know plenty of responsible gun owners), I want to bitch about organized religion (which has nothing at all to do with extremists).  Maybe the best approach is to take a deep breath and stop thinking (about anything!) for a minute.  Then logically and methodically work out the problem and come up with constructive solutions.  Sounds to me like a better plan then arming everyone to the teeth or living in a police state.

Just because we don’t agree on stuff doesn’t mean we can’t talk about it rationally and in a positive light.  I think that’s the biggest problem with our current political and societal culture.  We’ve forgotten or never learned how to peacefully coexist.  In our own country for goodness sake!  It seems to me we could work stuff out without trying to convince each other that our way is better and you should just listen to me.  Perhaps both opposing viewpoints could exist and be ‘truth’ at the same time.  Or at least we could agree to disagree and find some sort of common ground on at least some of the issues.  I have to believe there’s got to be a way.  We’re smart we could find it if we try.  I don’t feel like I always have to be right, just heard.  I know I’m not going to change anyone’s mind, especially in a Facebook thread.  But maybe, just maybe we can come up with real solutions that might actually work, if we try to set aside our egos for a minute.

I don’t know am I just too much of an optimist?  Please, feel free to let me know!  Just keep it positive!  😉

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Negativity

This past week I noticed that I was getting increasingly aggravated by Crackbook, and then noticed I was a Crackbook junkie and needed a detox.  No, I won’t be leaving Crackbook or deleting my account or anything.  I realized I was being affected by stuff people post that I may, or may not agree on.  And by the interwebz in general in this election year.  I realized it wasn’t all the people who I’m friends with who I don’t agree on, it’s anyone be they bleeding-heart-tree-huggin’-commie or gun-toting-redneck-‘Merican-pro-lifer.

It was the negativity.

I have a fairly equal amount of lefties and righties whom I call Crackbook and RL friends.  And I love them all no matter what.  But there are some people on both ‘sides’ (why do we have to have sides again, I forget?  Aren’t we all humans together on this big blue polar-ice-cap-meltin-if-you-believe-that-sorta-thing?) who are angry about the people on the other wing, or just angry and negative in general.  <Insert meme with Native American  pointing out they’re both parts of the same bird>

I decided to start unfollowing people who are more often than not, posting negative, divisive stuff. not because I disagree with them but because well, they are bringing me down.  Not unfriending them, just un-following them.  Hopefully not permanently, hopefully only until the election and everything but the shouting is over.  And there are some very dear RL friends and family I will not unfollow, unless they get super, duper negative.  I think this is better than just throwing in the towel on the Crackbook altogether.  Plus, that won’t work I’ve tried that.  I’m also going try to not post anything negative, divisive, potentially offensive to someone’s faith or origin.  There’s plenty of people doing that.

I don’t feel like it’s putting on rose-colored glasses and avoiding the harsh realities of this crazy life, I think it will in fact be good for me.  Like not watching the news (which I stopped going a long time ago).  In fact, I think it’s better for me and for the world if I become someone who contributes positivity (and at the least, some comedy I hope) to the world we all live in.  Together.

Are you supposed to be impressed by this or think it’s huge and ground-breaking?  Oh heck no!  It’s a very small thing really, as is Crackbook and it shouldn’t occupy our lives very much at all anyway.  But as a Crackbook junkie it is a good step in the right (not wing) direction.  Hopefully it will help me spend less virtual time, lower my blood pressure and most importantly, occupy (not Wall Street) the real world. So bring on the unicorns and rainbows ’cause it’s about to start rainin’ gumdrops! (what does that even mean?  What the heck am I even on about?)

Bonstone Live at Rooster’s Roadhouse in Alameda 11/21/2014 CD Release Party

Video of our record release party last November.  I was waiting for well-recorded mix audio but decided to just go ahead and put this out using the camera’s audio instead.

If you want to buy the music, here’s where you should go:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/zombie-heart/id939947881

AIDS/LifeCycle 2015

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As most everyone I know is probably already aware of this, last week I participated in the AIDS/LifeCycle. A 545 mile journey on bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles in an effort to raise money and awareness and to end HIV/AIDS. The proceeds directly support the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the folks living with HIV/AIDS supported by those non-profit groups. I chose to participate in the ALC initially as a personal goal for fitness and to face fears and step out of my comfort zone. Once I learned more about the event and heard stories of why others participate I came to understand it’s a whole lot more than just an extreme fitness challenge. The minimum goal is to raise $3000.00, I ended up raising $4,234.25.

When I was first introduced to the ALC we were meeting our friend Philip Diaz at the finish line last year. Cindy convinced me not to sign up there on the spot but to wait till later in the year, just to make sure I’d had time to think about it and that it wasn’t on on impulse. But I think I had set my intentions on it because that November I did sign up. And this was before any training or before I even owned a road bike! I was considering doing the ride on my mountain bike. On the ride itself there were plenty of mountain bikes, cruiser bikes and even a couple of fold up bikes. One rider I know did it on a fixed gear bike! I started training on my mountain bike but quickly decided I should get a road bike. Our good friends at Bay Area Bikes gave me their ALC discount on a Giant Defy 2015 and I entered the world of road cycling for the first time this March. I trained with the East Bay WildCats, an ALC training group (not a team). I met some super nice folks and really enjoyed our training rides in the East Bay which I was told are more challenging than the ride itself.

As the ride itself got closer I began to get nervous and started saying “what did I get myself into”. I was also equally excited and felt I’d done plenty of training. I’d gotten a ton of great advice on what to pack, how to pack and what to expect. Most of it was very helpful. The first day’s ride from the Cow Palace through Pacifica and to Santa Cruz felt great. Through some mixup I ended up tenting alone that night. The next day’s ride inland from Santa Cruz to King City was quite a challenge. Not only was it 109 miles but it was super windy. At one point I was riding at about a 30 degree angle just to keep going.

To be fully accountable I didn’t ride every mile. I ‘SAGged’ a couple of times and I caught a few sweep vehicles on a couple of the days. For me it wasn’t the physical challenge, that got to be too much but rather my anxieties and fears that took over. One of my challenges is downhills and another that the East Bay rides didn’t quite prepare me for was riding on the freeway. And of course bridges. I did end up facing a lot of my fears and rode over most all the bridges and overpasses and the freeway riding turned out not to be so bad. So I’m satisfied I ended up facing a lot of my fears.

A lot of the days blur together, even on the ride I wasn’t always sure what town we were in.  In the town of Bradley we were greeted by probably most of the population of 120, selling us hamburgers to raise money for school activities like music, sports and the usual stuff not covered by the budgets.  Day 3 was the ‘quadbuster’ and the climbing was no problem for me, as was day two ‘the evil twins’.  Day 5 was red dress day.  A short riding day, only 42 miles but there was some climbing.  But it was super cold and I’d wished I’d dressed for it!  Also it was the day we got to Lompoc and Cindy reserved me a room so I got to ‘princess’ one night.  Day 6 was Lompoc to Ventura and turned out to be a real nice day, especially after the frigid day 5.  I was really comfortable getting back to the beach.  I think my years living in Alameda make beach areas especially comfortable.  Once we got through the mountains it was smooth sailing down the coast.  Camping in Ventura was on the beach and the candlelight vigil was held.  I stood out on the beach waiting for the main throng of people to hold the vigil on the beach but I got too cold and tired and called it early in the tent.  Day 7 was an amazing ride all along the coast to Santa Monica and on to LA.  I took it as slow as I could and hung back at the rest stops and lunch so CIndy could have time to reach the finish line before me.

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But I could only hold back so much, I waited till the kaboos (a red van that signals the end of the route.  if you stay back enough for the kaboos to catch up, you get SAGged!).  I think I might have been one of the very last riders in, not because of my ability but because I was waiting for Cindy but alas, I had to beat the kaboos in and rode in before she had a chance to get to the finish line.  However my brother Books and his family was there, waiting patiently for me and cheered me on to the end!

I’ve been asked a lot since the ride if I’d ever do it again.  I have to say my answer is that I’m never one to say never and though I’m very glad I did it I doubt I will again.  For one thing it took great effort and many hours of training that took me away from Cindy most importantly but also cut into making music.  And also, Cindy and I want to do a lot of traveling and I’d much rather pick something that we can do together.

Presence 

“The most precious gift you can give to the one you love is your true presence. So the first mantra is very simple: “Dear one, I am here for you.”

In our everyday life, most of us have very little time to cultivate our love. We are all so busy. In the morning while eating breakfast, we don’t take time to look at the people we love. We eat very quickly while thinking about other things, and sometimes we even hold a newspaper that blocks out the faces of our loved ones. In the evening when we come home, we are too tired to be able to look at them”

Excerpt From: Thich Nhat Hanh. “Fear.” HarperCollinsPublishers, 2011-01-10. iBooks. 

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