Category: Music Theory

The Best Slow Carb Breakfast You’ll Ever Eat

Hi, my name is Andrew, and I am a slow-carb dieter.  I can’t help it.  While browsing through my local library for books on yoga, I stumbled upon The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss.  I skimmed a few chapters and attempted a few polyphasic sleep experiments before turning to the beginning of the book.  Needless to say, once I read through the chapters on the “Slow-Carb Diet,” I knew I had to try it.  And, hey, why not include my dad in the experiment as well?  We could both stand to lose a few pounds.

One month later, both of us were 20 pounds lighter, dropped four waist sizes collectively and looked and felt younger (I supplemented the diet with a P90X regimen for added results).

Conditioning yourself to eat the same few meals six days a week sounds like a challenge, but if your meals are easy to prepare, tasty and nutritious, then sticking to the routine becomes much simpler as time goes on.

Here’s a recipe for the Best Slow Carb Breakfast You’ll Ever Eat (I eat it twice a day):

 

MORNING MUSH (Scroll Down to View Full Movie Recipe)

Ingredients (serves 1, double amount of ingredients for 2 people)

Oil (grapeseed or unrefined organic coconut): 2 tbsp

organic spinach (fresh or frozen): 1 cup

black beans (opt. refried black beans): 1/2 cup

salsa: 2 tbsp.

organic eggs: 3 whole eggs

guacamole: 2 tbsp

salt: to taste

pepper: to tastes

curry powder: 1 tsp

smoked paprika: 1 tsp

chili sauce (sriracha): to taste

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Preparation (15 min)

1. Heat oil in skillet on medium-hi

2. Add spinach and allow it to cook down

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3. Add spices to spinach and mix

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4. Add salsa, beans and eggs; mix until thoroughly cooked (8-12 min)

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5. place on plate, add guacamole and chili sauce, mix.

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Enjoy!

Please leave a comment for the recipe below 🙂 Have a nice day.

Full Recipe Movie:

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Jose Rodriguez, The Holocaust and My Mind

It is May 1st, 2012.  President Obama just signed a 10 year accord with President Karzai of Afghanistan.  For the majority of my life, my country has waged war on the Middle East.

When beginning a discussion of deeply disturbing matters, how must I approach it?  Shall I approach this as someone who rationalizes human behavior with only his words, or through a direct expression of my own reaction, for an external reaction, ie. this writing, is an expression of my internal state, so let’s go with that.

This post is a response to a 60 Minutes interview with Jose Rodriguez, the CIA official who oversaw the “Enhanced Interrogation” techniques used by the CIA in extracting confessions from Al Qaeda operatives such as Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In short, Rodriguez defended his position on torture techniques and believed he was saving American lives with their employment. While watching, I listened and made no judgement whether or not the use of torture is effective in extracting information, for it very well may be. This is not the issue of this post, nor is the issue of morality. The issue I am talking about is my mind.

One cannot study the psychology of another, one can only glimpse into his own when ready. The study of oneself is an art and the insight gained from self observation is sometimes overwhelmingly true. But one is all the better to see truth than to remain in blissful ignorance, for that is no bliss at all, just a waiting room for death. True bliss can only enter when the heart is cleared of the things of the mind. And the things of the mind are many, so those things can exit when the heart remains open and the inner sight remains watchful.

Living and learning in this world is a test. Life is the teacher, your relationships are your classmates, but ultimately you are responsible for your performance. So this past week was a test of my emotional state. I read all of Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning, a first hand account of a prisoner from four concentration camps in Germany. I also learned of the enormous amount of civilians deaths, including many children, as an aftereffect of the drone strikes in Pakistan. As a cherry on top, I watched a man on a CBS evening news show, defend torturing another individual in the name of “Freedom.” My mood was shit.

Sometimes I am overconfident in my love of life. I push my awareness to such degrees where I am completely present, filled with joy and buzzing with energy. I see so much in an instant and my life is renewed in this state. I try to grasp it and its gone. It is an art that I am in love with. Naively, I wish that everyone could feel what I feel, see what I see, because then we could talk about fixing this world. But, we are all different, with different beliefs. And that is the problem.

Belief is a killer, belief can only cause division in humanity, internally and externally. One person has one belief and another person an opposing belief. The division takes place and in seeking comfort from the unknown, they fight and never see the cause of this division. A step in the right direction is tolerance of belief. In that way we can make civil laws designed to protect people’s rights to believe anything they want, but that is only the first step in an evolution that, if we don’t annihilate the planet first, will take us to such a cultural actualization, I can only imagine the effects it will have on the state of the world.

So, back to Rodriguez. He was pretty straightforward in his defense of torture. He made it clear that his definition of the enemy was anyone who was plotting against the United States. Those enemies, must therefore, be tortured or killed so we can defend the land. I cannot stand by a simple belief like this. I know he must believe he is doing right by his own definition. We all are the good guys in our own life experience, a direct expression of our ego, condemning what does not fall into our mental image of ourselves and how we relate to the world. However, can we not see the simplicity in this? Have we forgotten the holocaust, the atrocities committed against Jewish Europeans in the 30′s and 40′s? I feel silly having to recall this. Does one have to walk a death march in order to see the effect of violence?

I am not writing to condemn Rodriguez’s actions or beliefs, I am writing merely to say this is what is. Violence cannot be answered by more violence, or can it be countered by non-violence. Violence is a fact of life, and it is naive to dismiss it as a fluke of evil men from a bygone era. I won’t even go so far as to call it evil, for the human mind is capable of carrying out the most inhumane measures in the name of ideology or belief.

So, the holocaust, drone attacks, “Enhanced Interrogation” including “the contained drowning of waterboarding, slapping and stress positions, keeping detainees in a cramped confinement box with an insect, keeping them naked and awake for days on end by any means necessary, holding electric drills to their heads and telling them that their female family members would be raped in Middle Eastern prisons.”

There is a link between all of these things, my mind. How do I respond to this knowledge? Do I dismiss it, write it off and live my life in full acceptance of the capabilities of the human mind, for all of these atrocities are just the groundwork for the modern man to understand. The mind is capable of so much. Can you see this? Can we not accept nor condemn it, it is a fact, a fact of our ability as humans?

Now, in seeing it for what it is, can one see the belief, the twist of the mind that lay behind it? The belief is what makes a man pull the trigger, sign orders for torture, makes him feel superior than another. It is belief that does this, and belief is simply a reflex of the mind and we are slaves to it.

However, we evolve according to our resources. No judgment or analysis necessary, belief is the root. In seeing this, one can uproot belief and see the truth of what is, and what is is more amazing than what is not. How can a belief, a mental conjuring ever contend against life, living and breathing the atmosphere, ever discovering, smiling without effort?  These are the things that becomes so overwhelmingly important when one sees the false as the false. The mind is born anew, allowing the past to die, and the individual sees life with the fascination of a child, a sublime innocence. Without effort, love fills the emptiness and full integration is experienced, something anyone can experience. See the false as the false and the truth is made visible in shear beauty. I hope I’ve made myself a little bit clear.  It’s hard sometimes.


i felt like doing this tonight (tribute to Levon Helm)

A Song in Your Heart.

On the night of Levon’s death, we mourn the loss of a man and we send our prayers to his family as we say goodbye to a life of someone whose voice rang in our own voices. A voice that will stick around for a while, uniting us in the spirit of music, joy and love. I play “The Weight” tonight, because that is a song I sing with my friends, a song I sing because I know all the words, the chords, and the possibility of feelings it conjures in me, knowing that there are others out there who also know the words, and we’ll sing it again and again.

It is important to have a song in your heart, nothing more than that. A song in your heart will keep singing and if you let it, you’ll come to know the words, the chords and the melody too. And if you listen tonight, Levon is leaving us his backbeat. The snare on 2 and 4.

I had the amazing experience of playing at Levon’s Midnight Ramble when I was 20 years old, the only time I met him, and you could tell he was a kind, loving friend to many, and it was great to have that perception about a rock and roll legend. What I love about rock and roll is the potential for freedom it represents. We play music for many reasons, but I play music today because I know that music is teaching, music is beauty, music is the potential for disaster, the heightening of my senses that makes me see colors, makes me a better lover, makes me believe, makes me want, makes me laugh, brings me close to others, blows my mind, makes me jealous, takes over my mind. But the songs never stop, And you realize life is a song and you don’t ask why. Why is life a song? Why is life at all? Why do people cry? Why do we even ask why? Why do I see beauty in the stars at night, and why does a smile brighten my life? It is all so complex, but that is the 10,000 things. It must be. But why does the song mean love, and why do I love when I approach life with utter simplicity, music? I get so upset sometimes, when I truly understand how good life can be mirrored by how bad life can be! And is that understanding at all? I move on, I retreat to music. Music doesn’t ask why? Silence.

 

Silence, no music. Seeing what is, hearing, no backbeat, just silence.

 

And then you get that call to play that gig or that party.

 

The Band is the life of the party. Life is a party. Life is groovy. And death, death is a part of life. And these 10,000 things get very complex, but simplicity, the back beat, the groove, the heightening of the senses helps you feel, to see, to think you know, and then to stop, and listen completely.

 

We are all musicians. Music fits into a natural scale. The nature of that scale precedes life thus music precedes life. We are born from music. And the music exists as we grow. We die before music dies. So let’s give and take, live and die, and perhaps we will be happy and in love for the majority of our time spent here.

 

RIP Levon

Love

Andrew

Is There Any Greater Feeling…

Is there any greater feeling than when you step away from your life and look around

Your room is dirty and your first reaction is to clean it

But then you notice the bed

It is now two feet from the wall

The sheets now tangled

The pillows on the floor

The smell of sex

The towel hanging from your half open closet.

The books stacked on your keyboard

And the feeling of total love

For yourself and for everything

The knowledge and awareness you experience

You decide not to clean

But to leave the moment in existence

You turn to walk outside

And you catch yourself in the mirror

You look strange

A smile of a lunatic across your face, yet this is absolute sanity

And you step outside to where the birds are chirping and the wind blows through the dead leaves that still cling to the trees

The sun shines and makes the grass twist in its light, reminiscent of your previous journey inwards

Traffic and the birds singing

Is this happiness?

Maybe it was before you asked that question

It’s okay though

You know it was.

Musicians and Entrepreneurs Need a Blog Like This! – 5 Minute Read Time

Hello.  My name is Andrew and I play guitar.  BUT>>>

I do a lot of other things. A LOT…of other things.

Being in my mid-twenties, I find that the amount of time, in a given day, to invest in music has not really diminished; however, it has altered drastically since the days of long hours spent in the practice rooms of Skinner Hall at Vassar College.  

In order to find enough time to practice, considering you have a part or full time job, you have to feng shui your time around a bit.  You should take a hard look at what is most important to you and what you can leave by the wayside, just so you can devote a little more time to music.

The things you discard, in order to find time to compose, practice, listen, etc, should really be the clutter of your life.  So…you might ask…what is cluttering my life?  The answer might be simple to some, and much more elusive to others.  This question begins a series of far more personal and uncomfortable questions you will have to deal with in order to make progress as a musician.

I am not a fan of sacrifice. I believe whatever you give to a passion, whether time, or focus or financial investment, is not detrimental to you as a person.  It is beneficial.  What are we sacrificing for music?  If you just take a minute to brainstorm the others things you would be doing if you were not a musician, I think you’ll surprise yourself…

Go ahead, brainstorm for 3 minutes, in a text document.  I’ll wait…

Done?

OK…here are my other things I would be doing, if I didn’t do music:

1.  Searching high and low for a meaning to my life (and most likely, coming up confused and empty feeling at the day’s end)

2.  Watching way more television and wasting at least 25% of my day

3.  Hanging with lame people

4.  Maybe getting a job at some high tech company (seems to be the best outcome, but even that would lead to me being bored and unfulfilled after a few months)

5.  Flat out broke!

Okay.  So music is a necessary and critical part of my life, as I am sure it is for you.  I really can’t stand it when people ask me where I went to college…I tell them Vassar, and they ask why the hell I’m a musician, I could be making butt loads of money working at a Fortune 500 company.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand where these folks are coming from, it’s just that they have no clue where I am coming from.  If they truly listened to my music, maybe they would get it.

Which brings me to my next point…

WHO”S LISTENING???

The collective attention span of society is frightening.  Music has seized being a spiritual or even a semi-spiritual experience for people, at least, lots of people.  This is due to the fact that music is everywhere, all the time.  No matter where you turn, someone’s car, or the bar you’re in, or the super market, or the baseball game or the computer and TV ads that are drowning you in low quality music, both compositionally and sonically, all weigh down on your attention.

I have a habit of really listening hard to whatever music is playing around me, no matter the source and trying to pick apart as much as I can from it (ie. chord progressions, drum feel, orchestration, etc) It makes crappy music interesting to me.  Some people I know just write “bad” music off as “bad” music.  But let’s be serious, as Duke Ellington said, “There’s good music, and then there’s the other kind.”  The other kind is not bad, it’s just not noteworthy.

Back to FENG SHUI>>>

The first thing I did in order to remove clutter from my life was actually add a new element of discipline to my life.  I added exercise.  I used to think that exercise was taking away from the time I could devote to practice, when really, it adds to your energy and disciplined nature.  I now exercise everyday for at least 45 minutes and at most an hour and a half.  This has given me the focus to regiment my time on the instrument and not spend too much time on any one thing.

Secondly, I have blocked practicing off into 15 minute segments.  Something in this vain…15 minute warmup, 15 minute finger style practice, 15 minute free play, 15 minute speed exercises, etc.  This has made my practicing much more focused and productive.  I think this has a lot to do with Parkinson’s Law: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.  Do not give yourself too much time to practice.  It doesn’t pay to sit in your room with your instrument for 7 hours and get nothing done.  Set your goals for the following day the night before.  Just try it out and see if it helps.  Uberefficiency can be reached if approached in the right way.  Have very clear goals and then go enjoy your life.  Give Parkinson’s Law a try and please leave a comment and let us know how it worked out for you.

So in closing my first post >>>

I would like this blog to be a warm place that anyone may enter, whether they are musicians, adventurers, or just music lovers.

This is a place for ideas.  Let’s share ideas on how to be efficient and effective musicians.

Please comment  🙂