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Cult Records own The Virgins have teamed up with Oddka: Vodka By Wyborowa and Jay-Z’s Life + Times to create a mini-documentary on a day in their life in NYC. After releasing their debut album in 2008 with Atlantic Records to great success (the video for their debut single Rich Girls has over 1,000,000 views on YouTube), the group talks about the freedom of releasing their sophomore album through Julian Casablanacas (lead singer of The Strokes) label Cult Records. The documentary also gives you a look into their recording process as they work on their new album Strike Gently.

About The Virgins: The Virgins is an American band formed in 2006 in New York, consisting of Donald Cumming (vocals, guitar), Max Kamins (bass), Xan Aird (guitar) and John Eatherly (drums). They have opened for The Killers, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, Patti Smith, Kenneth Anger, Abel Ferrara and others.They have also enjoyed several television appearances on the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Last Call with Carson Daly. Their first full length album titled The Virgins was met with great critical success. Since then they have played at the All Points West Festival, SXSW festival, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, Leeds, Reading, and T in the Park festivals, among other major French, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Dutch, Spanish and Italian festivals in the summer of 2009. The song “Rich Girls” was on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Best Songs of 2008. Their sophomore album “Strike Gently” came out on March 12th 2013 as the first release of Cult Records, new label recently founded by Julian Casablancas, lead singer of the Strokes.

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Disclaimer: I reference God a few times in this to articulate my point on what a leader should be. I’m not particular keen on pushing my personal ideals out in my writing unless what I’m writing is tuned into that topic. This is a little different though… So I don’t give a fuck if you believe in God, Spaghetti Monsters, Nothing, Something or if you’re a Mormon… This is me speaking to you about how I feel about leading and leadership roles.

Enjoy. 🙂

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I was proposed with the challenge to write a blog about being a leader and/or leading people…. And it had me caught up in a serious dilemma. I had to ask myself, “Can I be a true leader?”

And after a week of reflection, research and conversation… I came to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as a true leader in this world we live in. We can only take on “leadership roles” to give people the proper “guidance” in their existence. Whether it’s work, school, life…. We look to people in leadership roles to guide us to another level and hopefully pass on what they know and expand on it in an innovative and productive manner.

When I think of what a true leader is the concept of a “king” is the thing I put the most weight on. I always felt if I were at that level I would want people to feel a certain sense of full “adoration” towards me, but let’s be realistic…. There’s only one King who deserves that type of respect and that’s “God.” Can a mortal man ever fill those shoes?

Maybe, but not really…God’s power isn’t something we can even begin to imagine and after all, he created all this so we should adhere to that notion no matter what. The fact of the matter is, God is a hard guy to get along with even though he wants us to get along with him. He gives us the options to do what we want and people in roles of leadership provide us with the guidance to make sure we do what we think he wants us to. Hence why I say leadership roles are so crucial in our existence.

Now back to myself… What am I becoming when it comes to these “roles of leadership?”

UUUghhhhh… I hate labeling myself, but for sake of conversation, I would consider myself a Thought Leader in the works…. I’m someone who can lay out a concept, get people to listen and maybe even follow, but I don’t want to change one’s worldly view unless they want it and if whatever I have to offer works for them. Basically live your life the way you see fit, if what I say makes sense, then go with it and see if it works for you. My big problem is articulating my thoughts into real time examples and actions in a way that everyone can understand. I also tend to be a bit overstated in my words and lacking in my actions. I’ve just recently learned how to not just talk about it, but be about it. As cliche as that sounds, it’s necessary in any leadership role.

And not to get all preachy or push my faith out there, but my relationship with God has a lot to do with how I’m starting to articulate my thoughts to the world. Like I said, there’s basically only one “king” and that’s God. To be picked to reflect on people what he wants them to learn is a blessing and a task I’m more or less prepared to take on. It’s actually something I find to be easier than you’d think. I’m driven with a passion for people and knowledge. I take in experiences like a dry “sponge” 😉 to water and live my life by the lessons I’ve learned from them. God gave all of us this power, but some of us are admittedly not prepared to use it or are to weak to ever acknowledge that they even have it.

But God does use circumstance to speak to all of us and give us the seeds to take on leadership roles. He gives us useful guides (books, science, people, faith, etc…) in our journey through life. But we will often be led astray if that is our only means of determining God’s directions. It’s our nature as humans to fall into a state of disillusion because of what we perceive to be true…. It’s very rare that we find individuals with the courage to question what we think God has to offer us because so many people settle for what’s in front of them as how it will be and that’s that.

People that inspire change…. Innovators, inventors, people of vision and hope…. They aspire to change or even discredit old ways of belief/thinking to make things new… The Thought Leaders.

So you want to be a Thought Leader, but don’t believe in God? No big deal…

From the perspective of an Atheist let’s say your “God” is someone like Steve Jobs. The epitome of what a Thought Leader is suppose to be. Someone who can take on old ways of thinking, question it and innovate/change it into something new. He motivated people to think outside the box, he worked hands on in creation and people had so much adoration for this man that his death was something the world mourned… And all he created was a computer… An iPod… An iPhone… An iPad… Kinda makes you think about things doesn’t it?

The closest thing to a God we have in our society is a guy who makes gadgets. Are we so jaded and let down by the people we have in leadership roles that we turn to a man who didn’t actually help the world as a whole, but just changed the way we consume the world’s vast sea of information?

I’d say yes and he’s the fucking man for it too! Jobs shows us that times are changing and our values are as well. My generation is filled with people that reject the old way of thinking that old men has instilled in us for centuries… From kids protesting in Iran to this “Occupy Everything” movement… Those who choose to speak up might fill these leadership roles that have become so stale…

Now since I did bring up faith and God we need to know what were Steve Jobs’ personal beliefs? Did he look to God or even believe in God?

Jobs believed in Buddhist ideals and was arguably an Atheist, but I know a lot of religious/faithful types that still use his products, but won’t eat Kosher or Halal based off the preparer’s ideology… The change he brought onto the world transcended his personal beliefs and people took what he had to offer in without question. Him doing this shows us that we’re beginning to grow past things like racism and religious & social casts. He made us open to a universal change by throwing an “I” in front of some shit and making it cool to use and have. AMAZING….

I strive to be more of a Thought Leader, but still hope that my faith in God keeps me level so I don’t aspire to be a “king.” I don’t want that nor do I want people to follow me like that… I think Jobs felt the same way, but he gained peoples adoration because he inspired them so much… To a level that they believed so strongly in what change he had to offer. And even though he just did it through technology, it was something we needed because it united all of us as a society to think outside of the box just a little bit.

I think bigger than that though and as I grow in my love of God and my knowledge of people, I see the world differently. I don’t reject old ways of thinking, I want to refine them and rewrite what some of us perceive to be true… I want to enlighten and give people the keys to find knowledge within themselves to do big things… Shit… For real though… Someone has to…

-H

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Wrote this way back in December 2011 and made some small revisions. I think my head’s back into writing again. I’ve found my Muse again! 🙂

12/2011:

Off another long hiatus from writing, but with good reason. I’ve been on a spiritual journey/test for the past 6 months that’s been tying me down emotionally (yeah…) , mentally (too much time to thinking) & physically (no sleep). Last time we spoke I had conflicting views on my Faith and where I fit into the “Kingdom of God.” I have no doubt in my mind now that I’ve chosen the right path in that today, but the second part I also have no doubt about either and that’s where this latest entry comes from… A place called the “Psyche” where our inherit (true) feeling & traits are harvested.

Enjoy…

The Pleasure Principle

Let’s start with a few definition so the more novice readers can follow along.

Id, ego and super-ego – are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction mental life is described.

The id – is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends.

The ego – is the organized, realistic part

The super-ego – plays the critical and moralizing role

The things that we want…. The simple yet increasing difficult to attain things like Comfort, Sex, Shelter, Food… We always want them and we want them all the time. Which brings me to the Id…

The Id doesn’t learn…. It doesn’t grow up. It has the “ego” telling it what it can’t have and it has the “super-ego” telling it what it shouldn’t want, but the Id works solely out of the “Pleasure Principle.” It WANTS. Whatever social skills we’ve learned… However much we’ve evolved; the Pleasure Principle is at work in all of us.

So… How does this conflict wit the “ego” manifesting itself in the psyche? What do we do when we can’t have what we want?

I really don’t know. Faith has taught me to pray for things I want to work out for ME. While life has taught me that I only want things I can’t necessarily have. My ego has kept me in a constant struggle between what faith has to offer and reality. While the super-ego has sort of made the lines blurred even more…

If you think about the super-ego’s moralizing role in our lives and it’s battle with the Id, you’d understand where Faith seems to be the perfect solution to that mess. The Id only wants. The faith I’ve chosen only teaches us to want and repent when that want is immoral or unjust, but if you truly believe in the Faith it constantly forgives… Blurring the lines even more. Showing me that hope and prayer will give me what I want, when in reality I’m just demoralizing any rational thinking I once had while basing crucial life decisions on no more than a hope and dream.

So, yes in essence the Id can be more than just primal/instinctive needs. It can be the need to be a better person or to believe in something that’s larger than life that provides everything. Remember it’s the inherent instincts with in us that make up the Id. What those instincts are is based on the individual. Some of us don’t need sex or shelter or money… Some of us just need love or understanding or the feeling to be needed.. And that’s what Faith provides.

The Pleasure Principle takes everything the Id represents and makes it into what we yearn for.

Let’s take a Segway ride into EMOTION for a bit…

Sometimes I feel like I’m driven by my emotions. I put so much behind my emotions that it drives me to a point where I rationalize everything I do with them. Sometimes I’ll break into a cold sweat or tear up during normal conversation because something has struck me emotionally. My nature is to try and hold back the emotion, but my body language is screaming out-loud to have a heartfelt word in edgewise.

So where does this emotion I have drive me?

If I can’t be fulfilled emotionally I’m driven to a side of myself that encompasses everything the Pleasure Principle represents. It’s sort of how a vampire craves blood and violence. I basically do everything demoralizing and wrong to:

1. Prove the point that, “I could do it.”

2. To fulfill every urge I set aside for my emotions.

3. To somehow/someway show the world that I truly have never really given a fuck about anyone or anything in life.

Which in hindsight isn’t true, but what’s ill though is that I’ve learned over the past few months (through Faith) that there’s more to it then that bit of evil thrill. Even though Faith is sort of rooted in this “Pleasure Principle” discussion, it definitely has its strong points. For me, Faith has given me a little patients. If I can sit through a boring church service, read the Bible and seek meaning in prayer, then there’s more to it for me than justifying the Id through sin and repenting.

But, too much Faith can have the same adverse affect as steps 1,2 & 3 in the Pleasure Principle too. Where we think that what we want is the answer when it’s working for us at the moment. But that’s not reality… People’s interpretation of such things as “Faith” is driven by the teachers and the herd of people (sheep) they lead. The individual’s right to Knowledge Of Self is stripped away in this case and that individual is now subject to different ideologies that may or may not be right just because of their leaders and then they turn to the herd for justification. That’s definitely not what God intended… That’s definitely no life I want to lead… But personally I listen to learn and hope to eventually lead people in the right direction myself some day and let them make their own decisions in matters of Faith. But for now, I’m caught between two worlds of different understanding.

One side pulls me towards what I know… The “Fast Life.” The up all night, live the life that’s a party and pretty much not give a fuck about feelings & people, but only the moment. It’s one hell of a life if you can handle it… And I do it so well and honestly even with this new understanding, I can cope with and rationalize these actions because that’s what I know, even though it’s not inherently who I am.

The other side of me pulls me towards what I’m afraid of… The “Unknown.” The origins of life, love and my Faith… I question it as I embrace it. I doubt it, even though it leads me… I love it, even though it’s almost 180 degrees different than who I know myself to be… It confuses me, it drives me and it makes me coo coo bananas… But something or rather someone that came out of it has driven my Id into a certain direction… Yeah, yeah it’s very sheepish of me to be like this. It makes me think that maybe there’s more to it than the “Unknown” and that’s what keeps me level and willing to move ahead into the “Unknown.” I personally think it’s a love that is slowly growing into what seems to be an “Understanding” of sorts, but that’s whole other conversation… A whole other thing to write about.

This though is about the Pleasure Principle…. The WANTING… I’ve made a life based on WANTING… And frankly I think we all have in one way or another. We’ve got to just take a step back and stop thinking about what we want or what’s wrong with us and just deal for a change and move along the path God has set for us.

The reality of the situation is that when you have doubts… When you can’t see clearly… When you know something isn’t meant to be… Just think about the Pleasure Principle and how it relates. Once that’s done, you’ll never have a doubt in your mind about what WANT is.

…:::MOOD MUSIC:::…

Allure

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Faces

11.18.2011

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Nickelus F – Ouch! (10-21-2011)

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