Monthly Archives: March 2012

I Am John

Now making music under the alias “I Am John”. Acoustic guitar, covers, originals and live layered looping! A cathartic re-invention of some old songs of mine, and a couple of new ones. Some audio soon, promise. Like on Facebook.

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Education.

Great, you got enemies. It means you stuck up for something.

I represent one of the most educated demographics in the world. Education is useless without action. Action requires forethought, but my challenge is overcoming the tendency to act without considering the consequences. It’s a great way to waste energy.

But on the other hand, too much contemplation is a recipe for inaction. Over-contemplation is a strategy often used by decision-makers who wish to stall the decision in order to maintain the status quo, from which they often benefit most.

And, of course, action without any forethought can be the most destructive.

Agreed?

So there’s this balancing act between those who have the ability to make powerful decisions and want to keep it that way, and those who have less power in their decisions but all the energy required to make positive changes in their own life.

We are all a bit of both.

And I think I fall somewhere to the right, wanting a change to the fundamental problems in modern society, but feeling too powerless to know where to start.

This is the value of educating oneself. Just standing in the kitchen arouses my curiosity. Where does my used water go? How much energy does a cup of tea cost, relative to the annual cost of the house, for example? How much is a kilowatt hour, really? Who are the major brands of washing powder? How many people does each one employ? What’s their annual net profit?

The more I learn, the more I learn how ignorant I am about the way my own personal world actually works. The more I know how it works, the more powerful I become. I have the gift of an education, and from that, a drive to educate myself further. I hope I am doing my duty in passing it on with grace, in a way that others can understand.

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What a wonderful day

10 reasons why…

1. I woke up at Kevin’s house after our gig last night and he’d already made me a fresh fruit salad.
2. I was not hung over.
3. I went home, changed into my riding stuff and took a 20km ride to Lake Park.
4. My ass was padded at the time.
5. I had music playing for almost every minute of the journey there and back.
6. I joined my friends Mass, Ian, Cindy, Lee and Sonya for an impromptu writing exercise and I wrote an entertaining short story in 10 minutes.
7. The weather a little nippy but clear and grand.
8. I only spent about $8 the whole day.
9. I did whatever I wanted and felt free.
10. I’m winding down now and it’s still going. Tea time.

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The Way

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My thoughts on Kony 2012

Magic is asking the question “what if this was real?” The audience subconsciously knows that they’re seeing an illusion, but the spectacle of the performance outweighs their doubt. The true art of the magician is capturing the imagination of the audience, and pushing plausibility past the threshold where the simple, obvious solution is diluted by the sensationalism of the unreal possibility. Random audience members have almost always met the magician beforehand. We know this, but we ignore the falseness of the endeavor for the sake of the spectacle.

Similar behavior is witnessed in the forwarding of viral video campaigns. The forwarder, in awe of the sensation being presented by having everyone in their social circle preoccupied with a certain video, entertains the possibility of the campaign reaching a critical mass and effecting real-world change. Sometimes awareness translates into action. However, the motivation for forwarding a viral video campaign is often not related to the actual aims of the campaign itself. Too often, sharing an appealing video is motivated by keeping the dream of positive change alive, rather than creating positive change itself.

It’s a subtle distinction. What’s the difference? It’s managing a problem instead of ending it. It’s feel-good versus do-good. It’s “someone else’s problem, but I’ll do my small part.” Sometimes, posting a video on your wall is a way of ticking a box in your mind, claiming that you’re contributing in your own way, and can very easily be an excuse for actual inaction.

I don’t mean to condemn Kony 2012 (which I haven’t even watched, so profound is my confidence that no real action will come of it). And obviously, sometimes the positive change does occur as a result of the critical mass being achieved. My point is that we have to be careful of our own motivation behind the forwarding of flash-in-the-pan fads. If it seems like the thing to do simply because that’s how people are behaving, and “what if it works?”, then ask yourself if you’ll really care who Kony is a month from now. If it resonates with you in a way that lasts longer than the time it takes to forward it, go ahead.

Bottom line?
1. Educate yourself about the trend before you pay it forward.
2. Ask yourself if you’ll honestly be thinking about it a month from now.
3. Look past the spectacle and consider what it’s really worth to you.

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THE DRIFT

i REFUSE TO LET ALL THAT WHICH IS INSIDE OF ME DRIFT AWAY
TO BE DISCOURAGED BY MY OWN INADEQUACY
THE DISREGARD OF OTHERS
i REFUSE TO BE CAST ASIDE BY THE COMPLACENCY OF MY OWN HAND
WHICH NEVER GAVE THESE HOPES A CHANCE
i WAS FREE TO BELIEVE i COULD BE SOMETHING ONCE
TO BE INNOCENT, SINCERE AND SIMPLE
i REFUSE TO ALLOW THE GENTLE BREEZE OF TIME
TO CARRY AWAY THESE DELICATE DREAMS

Electric Violinist ‘Johnny’

Gig programme. ‘Guest 1’ is electric violinist ‘Johnny’

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3 Month Wish.

Come to think of it, the goal is not necessarily to make a huge transition into the world of professional musicianship. That comes with all of its own baggage, which I will gladly pick up if the opportunity to have a serious go at it arises. No. The actual aim here is just to have the 3 months required to do a massive recording / production “dump” of the mountain of ideas piled up in my files, my head, my fingers. I look at these instruments every day, almost apologetically, thinking, “Sorry melodica. I know that you need some action. I promise I’ll give it to you soon. Sorry electric guitar, those riffs will have their time.” And quite frankly, I’m getting over saying it’ll happen some other time. 

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Note To Self

This is a personal note to myself for later in the year, for those times that I may be feeling less chilled and free and beached out than I am now. If you wanna reclaim the chill you now feel, here’s what you have to do:

🙂 Spend less time thinking. “Stop thinking, and your problems disappear.” – Tao te Ching

🙂 Do one thing at a time. Fewer browser windows, less checking your phone (there probably isn’t a message anyway). This may open up a whole new problem: What Do I Do Now?! (panic!). Well, if you just focus on what needs to be done, you’ll achieve it with ease. If there really is nothing to be done, go down and play the piano.

🙂 Be sincere in your interactions with all these Korean people. They’re just people. Be yourself, start conversations and ask questions. This is a powerful tool for getting out of your head. You don’t have to be Mr Funny all the time. It can be exhausting, so just be.

🙂 Have a cup of tea, then start preparing a class or whatever.

🙂 What stresses you out? Interaction with uninterested students. Running out of material in class. Both of these things can be avoided. First, you’re in charge so they do what you say. Second, do more less talking and more rhythmic drills. They learn by rote. Make it easy for them, you’re not here to save the world, just do a decent job and make it as fun as possible for you. Take the edge off yourself and give it to them. This is the way.

🙂 Don’t teach English. Teach about whatever you’re interested in, in English. Violin, Guitar, Yoga, Sports, Spray-Art, Computer games, Board games, childhood things you’ve forgotten, your family, your friends, travel, tourist stuff in Seoul (Itaewon, Hongdae), Google Earth

🙂 Find a Jimjilbang. Go there during lunch breaks.

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