Tag Archives: Star Wars

Self Defense for Sexual Assault

Since there’s more and more news about sexual assault and sexual harassment these days, here’s some basic information on self defense.

I know not everyone is going to take a self–defense course or register to carry mace so here’s some things you can do to defend yourself that don’t require any specialized skill. Of course it would be nice to whip out a Lightsaber and slice the arm of an attacker like Obi–Wan did to that schmuck at Mos Eisley Spaceport.

Not everyone has the luxury of being a Mafia daughter. Ever notice how this stuff never happens to them? Because if you’re dumb enough do that, you’ll at the very least need help brushing your teeth the rest of your life.

One of the things about a lot of men in their teens and 20’s nowadays is they’ve never been in a fist fight with anyone. So they don’t know if they can take a punch. They don’t know what a punch feels like and it’s definitely not pleasant. This can be used as an advantage—the shock of being hit for the first time.

1. Hammerfists

This is done by clenching your fists tightly and raining blows down on an attackers face/head from above like you are slinging hammers. Two hammers coming down on someone’s face who shouldn’t have been in your face to begin with; Like you are a drummer playing drums with your fists. Think Chris Hemsworth in Thor. Hammerfists are your Thor’s hammers.

This type of punch is not allowed in professional boxing. It is a way to generate a lot of force and is useful when an attacker has grabbed you and/or when you are close or standing still—you don’t need to back up to hit someone.

Jumping up and down can add to the impact, and you can switch to this after you’ve already stung an attacker. Hammer them like a nail to the ground and run away to somewhere safe then get to a Police station.

Try a Hammerfist compared to a horizontal punch and see how much harder you can hit from above than throwing a punch like in boxing.

Skilled Martial Artists can knock someone down flat with one Hammerfist—not a slow backwards fall, a “Spagetti Legs” collapse. I experienced this playing Nerf football (so much for safer) taking a blow to the side of the head.

The other thing is when you are shorter than the attacker, you have to punch up at them which can limit the impact. Hammerfist is a more natural motion of the entire arm—this is how we’re hardwired to run. Watch Olympic sprinters and see the arms pumping up and down like pistons for speed and power in Hammerfist motion.

I had a few fist fights in my life I never went looking for but sometimes it’s the only way to get someone to leave you alone. From those, I learned I could take horizontal punches in the face, stay standing and keep punching—and those were against guys who are stronger than women. And I’m no Rocky Balboa. So don’t think normal punching is the best way to ward off an attacker especially if you don’t practice this kind of thing regularly.




2. Go for the neck

Land any kind of blow to the front (preferably) or side of the neck: punch, forearm, side arm Hammerfist, Spear Hand (when you tightly hold your hand in the shape of a spear).

Spear Hand is a Martial Arts move and will impact the throat with the 3 longest fingers. Because of it’s small profile as opposed to a fist, it can sneak in where a fist may be blocked. If you don’t think 3 fingers will hurt, hit yourself in the neck lightly with them. That part of the body isn’t exactly a turtle shell.

Land some blows and run away to somewhere safe, call someone you trust if you’re not able to drive safely & get to a Police station immediately. Don’t hang out to see if they need medical attention. They weren’t going to give you any measure of sympathy.

Don’t hang out to see if they need medical attention. They weren’t going to give you any measure of sympathy.

Spear Hand is thrown in normal punch motion. Palms can be facing down, upward or slanted facing left or right if you are left or right handed, whatever gives you an “in” to land a blow. Think of it like a cobra striking the neck.

If an attacker has grabbed you from the front facing you and there’s little to no space to hit the neck from the front, you can curve the Spear Hand and hit the sides of the neck—you don’t need a large range of motion for any kind of blow to the neck to hurt.

Playing sports growing up I’ve experienced all kinds of accidents and injuries—broken bones, dislocation, cuts, gashes, pain and bruises, concussion.

I’ve gotten accidentally hit in the kidney (illegal punch in boxing), and taken groin shots. In both cases, as well as broken bones, a little Sgt. Barnes from Platoon could have appeared on my shoulder telling me “Take the pain”, and I did. It hurt but I was able to function and keep going. I also wouldn’t panic or worry if I was bleeding—”I ain’t got time to bleed.”

The scariest thing that happened to me though was accidentally taking a blow to the neck. I paid the price for that layup (basketball). This is one of the reasons boxers fight chin down to not expose the neck*. If a boxer gets hit in the neck, it’s pretty much the end of the fight. They’re back in after groin shots and often kidney shots though.

*Chin fully to chest is also what friends and I do for turbulence on flights

 

Think of it this way: The thing everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Screech on Saved By The Bell have in common is we’re all 10–15 minutes of oxygen away from leaving this dimension at any given time. A blow to the neck is a kink in the fuel line. You kink the fuel line, you shut down the machine.

A blow to the neck is a kink in the fuel line. You kink the fuel line, you shut down the machine.

What happens with a blow to the neck is fear, panic and self–preservation taking over. The neck swells and there’s a reduction of oxygen, you want to curl up and protect yourself, it’s tough even to stand up, and it takes much longer to recuperate because it’s a scary experience to a very vulnerable part of the body.

Lions, cheetahs & leopards kill by suffocation. Even the lower animal kingdom knows it’s own weak spots.

If someone has you pinned down, their face and neck will be exposed but it’s more difficult to thwart. If you can still do these 2 mentioned above, they’ll still hurt even really close without full range of motion.

Fingernails jabbed or pressed into the neck can be done if you cannot punch, bite fingers, go Mike Tyson (bite) on the dirtbag’s ear if you have to. But ideally you want to shut it down before it ever gets this far—in other words, land as many blows while you are still standing.

Knees and elbows are among the strongest parts of the body and can take a lot of force. If you are being grabbed from behind, elbows into the chest/face can stun an attacker enough to escape and run. Keep them close to your body and go straight up/back for maximum impact (a motion like you are on an elliptical machine at the gym or power walking).

A blow to the breastbone or diaphragm area can knock the wind out of someone. It’s happened to me a few times in sports. In professional football, you’ll even see 250 pound men in full gear need a few minutes to stare at the sky to recoup after getting hit in the center of the chest.

If you see a lot of blood from Hammerfists, it’s probably a broken nose. The end part of it breaks easily and when they’re bleeding that much, they’ll have problems breathing and leave so much DNA everywhere for Forensics that they’ll get a nice orange jumpsuit and feel what it’s like to be raped themselves in prison. You reap what you sow.




Being followed/stalked:

It’s happened to me in a foreign country. I’ve also been targeted by thieves in popular tourist areas. See it before it happens and shut their window to act down. Be aware of your surroundings, who’s around you and stop looking at your cellphone every 5 minutes. Attackers prey on distracted, drunk/stoned/under the influence of drugs people and thrive on the element of surprise.

When I’m doing photography/video outside, I’m either not listening to my iPod or I only have one earbud in my ear. I need to hear what’s going on around me for my safety. Jogging with 2 earbuds in isn’t safe for even street traffic in the daytime never mind hearing if someone is approaching you or hiding nearby.

These are what I would do if I was attacked: Land a few blows then get out of there ASAP.

Land a few blows then get out of there ASAP

There’s too many unknowns to hang around even if I had gained the upper hand—You don’t know if the attacker has any kind or weapon or if there’s other people in on this and the attacker is just the first one to lure you in. Many people including trained Martial Artists have paid the price because they stuck around too long—the assailant had a weapon and used it out of spite, humiliation and frustration.

Learn to avoid risky situations before they happen. Hopefully you won’t have to use this information but practice doing these. This will help commit them to muscle memory if needed in situations where shock and panic can overtake you and freeze you from acting. In those situations you will not have time to think. Just knowing this intellectually may not be enough in a real world scenario.

As musicians, dancers, Martial Artists, athletes, etc., we practice the same moves hundreds and thousands of times so we can do things automatically, quickly and effortlessly.

Remember The Karate Kid? “Wax on, wax off?” Mr. Miyagi had Daniel do the Karate moves hundreds of times so he committed them to muscle memory (which is faster than having to think about what you should do). And when Daniel needed to, he was able to pull out a tool box of moves that was quick and automatic to attack and defend himself.

Be prepared that with any emotional or physical trauma that you will not be thinking clearly and have weird/inappropriate thoughts afterwards. When I broke my arm as a boy, my first reaction was laughing that I’d be missing school. The “Dude your arms in pieces” reality of the situation didn’t set in until later even though I looked right at it and knew that’s not how an arm should look.

I’ve also been close to Vets in my family who had PTSD their entire lives—though marriage, kids, church, careers, etc. So expect that as well (flashbacks and things triggering unpleasant memories) and go to a therapist or counselor to diffuse it as much as you can as soon afterwards as you can.

Don’t think being in love or falling in love by itself will heal it. Pop songs and movies aren’t reality. Don’t wait years for it to ferment and build up momentum. It’s bad enough it had to happen in the first place but the emotional aftereffects can continue to be crippling years later if untreated. Don’t let it continue to assault you the rest of your life. It takes courage to fight back. Continue being a survivor and get professional help.

© Composer Yoga


Related Posts:

Spiritual Consequences Of Sexual Harassment




Edge Of A Broken Heart: The Runaway Bon Jovi Song

As if Slippery When Wet could have gotten any bigger. Well it COULD have.

 

When we think of 80’s mega albums, Slippery When Wet rubs elbows with Thriller, Purple Rain, Make It BigMadonnaHysteria, Can’t Slow Down, Toto IV, Sports, Born In The U.S.A., and Back In Black.

 

The Bon Jovi Holy Grail spent 8 weeks at #1 (Billboard), 38 weeks within the top 5 albums, became the best selling album in 1987, is among the 100 best selling albums (currently #48) in the United States, and has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.

Richie Sambora’s white Fender Stratocaster

 

Those of us who lived through the New Jersey invasion of the airwaves from Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, remember the 4 singles from Slippery When Wet:

 

You Give Love A Bad Name” (#1)
“Livin’ On A Prayer” (#1)
“Wanted Dead Or Alive” (#7)

 

The above trifecta here gave Slippery When Wet the notable distinction of being the first Glam Metal/Hard Rock album to have 3 top 10 hits. The Hair Metal floodgates opened from there. It was indeed a great time to own stock in Aqua Net.

 

The power ballad, “Never Say Goodbye” was released as the 4th single but not domestically so it wasn’t able the chart on Billboard’s Hot 100.  However it did reach #28 on another chart, the Hot 100 Airplay which measures how often a song is being played on radio stations and more recently streamed online as well.

 

That was the first missed opportunity for another official Bon Jovi single off of Slippery When Wet. The demand was certainly there. The second was “Raise Your Hands”, which was on the soundtrack of the classic 1987 Mel Brooks Star Wars spoof Spaceballsstarring John Candy as Barf, Rick Moranis as Lord Dark Helmet, and a pre Independence Day Bill Pullman as Captain Lone Starr.

 

The movie literally opens up with Bon Jovi. Can anyone picture flying a Winnebago in space without rocking out to “Raise Your Hands?” I mean what the hell did Han and Chewy do on the Millennium Falcon, listen to NPR and knit sweaters? Leave it to a comedy to portray something more accurate,

 

 

But the most egregious lapse in Bon Judgement was not including the amazing track “Edge Of A Broken Heart.” For whatever reason, it missed the tour bus for Slippery When Wet and has been thumbing for a ride in Bon Jovi limbo ever since. It’s a stronger song than many that were included on the album.

 

Slippery When Wet (1986) was the 3rd studio album from Bon Jovi, sandwiched between 7800° Fahrenheit (1985) and New Jersey (1988). It was also the first album they brought in songwriter Desmond Child who co-wrote the album’s 2 biggest tracks “You Give Love A Bad Name” (#1)
“Livin’ On A Prayer” (#1) with Jon and Richie as well as a few others. “Edge Of A Broken Heart” should have been on that list and on the charts.

 

For the longtime Bon Jovi fan or people who just know their songs from the radio, in either case the reaction is the same: WTF?! Why wasn’t this track [“Edge Of A Broken Heart”] released as a single?

 

Slippery When Wet (1986) had 10 songs on it of which 4 were released as singles. For comparison, other albums in this pre-CD era released more songs as singles from their respective albums as shown below:

 

Thriller (Michael Jackson, 1982) 9 tracks 7 singles all becoming top 10 hits, 8 Grammys, best selling album of all time
Can’t Slow Down (Lionel Ritchie, 1983) 8 tracks 5 singles.
Lionel should have released the title track “Can’t Slow Down” as well. It could have been his 6th single.

Back In Black (AC/DC, 1980) 10 tracks 5 singles
Sports (Huey Lewis & The News, 1983) 9 tracks 5 singles
Make It Big (Wham!, 1983) 8 tracks, 4 singles
Purple Rain (Prince, 1984) 9 tracks, 5 singles

Hysteria (Def Leppard, 1987) 12 tracks, 7 singles
Toto IV (Toto, 1982) 10 tracks 4 singles
Born In The U.S.A. (Bruce Springsteen, 1984) 12 tracks, 7 singles all becoming top 10 hits
Madonna (Madonna, 1983) 8 tracks 5 singles
Like A Virgin (Madonna, 1984/85) The 1985 reissue included “Into The Groove”, a track from the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan making the album 10 tracks with 6 singles

 




 

“Edge Of A Broken Heart” is chock full of classic Bon Jovi ingredients in their proprietary Jersey Shore stew: David Bryan’s keyboards, Sambora’s crisp crunchy power guitar parts, Jon singing a few long notes during the verses (the words “I’m” and “Now” in both verses of the song) teasing us for the bigger payoff we know he’ll deliver come chorus time.

 

The same kind of vocal hook was used in the verses of “You Give Love A Bad Name”:

Oh, oh, you’re a loaded gun
Oh, oh, there’s nowhere to run

 

This singing device is so Bon Jovi and we drink it up like like bacon flavored Kool-Aid, ready to become drooling rock zombies wearing overpriced tour T-shirts. The nutrition label on this track indeed gives us more than a full days RDA of RAWK—and you’ll still find yourself wanting second helpings of this lost hit.

 

There’s also the “Bon Jovi build” which starts up the song with Tico Torres drums, Sambora’s guitar riff and Bryan’s keyboard work until the band enters in for a full tidal wave of fun smiley 80’s rock before it recedes and gets calm again to let Jon sing about the latest fictionalized Femme fatale that crossed paths with a peaceful tour bus just trying to spread the Gospel of Rock & Roll. The lyrics even mention “Private Dancer” another classic 80’s hit/album from Tina Turner.

 

Then there’s the deluxe call and response vocal parts during the chorus between Jon and the band’s backing vocals giving us a double shot of satisfying volleyball of energy for the ears:

 

Bon Jovi Tickets

 

 

Rock chemists the world over have devised strategic formulas over the years and “Edge Of A Broken Heart” uses a tried and true mixture: The Root, Four, Five chord progression (AKA I IV V)—A classic example  being “Louie, Louie” by The Kingsmen.

 

Another well known chord progression is Root, Five, Four (I V VI) like Baba O’ Riley by The Who better known by as “Teenage Wasteland.”

Chords in Baba O’ Riley:  F  C  Bb  (1 5 4  or I V IV)

Chords in Edge Of A Broken Heart:  E  B  A     E  B  B  C#  A  (1 5 4   1 5 5 6 4  or  I V VI    I V V VI IV)

 

You can see and hear the first part of the chord progression is the same as Baba O’ Riley but just one note lower.

“Edge Of A Broken Heart” is also in the key of E Major like a few other classic rock tunes:

“Limelight” by Rush

“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey

 

So Slippery When Wet COULD have had a total of 6 singles released by our count here.




Savvy Glam/Hair Metal fans will know the band Vixen also had a song in 1988 of the same name off their debut album Vixen which peaked at #26 .  This “Edge Of A Broken Heart” was actually written by two other 80’s vocalists/songwriters: Richard Marx and Fee Waybill of The Tubes. Richard Marx actually co–produced the album.

 

As you can see, the #MeToo movement back in the 80’s involved sharing each other’s hair care products as well as song titles:

 

 

But you can’t copyright a title. And Bon Jovi also has song called “Runaway” which Del Shannon had a hit with back in 1961. “Runaway” is one of the “Carpal Tunnel Classics” where there’s Eternal triplet notes for keyboard players like Toto’s “Hold The Line” where a bucket of warm epsom salt is a welcome spa treatment after a gig for your wrist.

 

A fun trivia tidbit here is Steve Vai is married to former Vixen bassist Pia Maiocco (playing the red guitar in the above video). They met at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Richard Marx makes a cameo as well at the 2:41 mark.

 

The Bon Jovi “Edge Of A Broken Heart” was included on the 1987 film Disorderlies starring The Fat Boys who are best known for the single “Wipe Out” (1987) with The Beach Boys doing back up vocals. It was a rap using The Surfaris 1963 hit instrumental of the same name.

 

And speaking of films, there’s an interesting connection with drummer Tico Torres. He was also a studio player for fellow New Jersey band Franke and the Knockouts who are best known for their 1981 hit “Sweetheart” which reached #10.

 

Namesake and lead singer Franke Previte also went on to have a few of his tunes appear in movies like his Bon Jovi brother. Previte is co–writer (along with John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz) of “Hungry Eyes” and “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” which were the anchor tunes on the classic 80’s film Dirty Dancing (1987) with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey.

 

The original versions were recorded by Franke and the Knockouts but went onto greater acclaim as covers by Eric Carmen (#4 in 1987) and Bill Medley (of The Righteous Brothers) & Jennifer Warnes (#1 in 1987) respectively. The later won an Academy Award, Golden Globe and a Grammy.

 

Looking back, 1986 and 1987 were great years for both New Jersey bands. And here we are some 30 years later coming full circle from when Bon Jovi seemingly took over the world on a steel horse. The funny irony of Slippery When Wet was that it had massive international success with one of the cheapest album covers EVER. Just a step up from Metallica’s The Black Album, where Jon write “Slippery When Wet” on a wet trash bag.

 

So with that, we extend an esteemed “Shock to the Hearty” congratulations to Bon Jovi for making it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Class of 2018. A photographer I know worked on the New Jersey tour and had nothing but positive things to say about them. It’s always a bonus when people who aren’t a bunch of arrogant egomanics get a deserved honor. Jon is an authentic humanitarian who has his own charity feeding homeless/low income people as well as homeless veterans:

JBJ Soul Kitchen (www.jbjsoulkitchen.org)

Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation (www.jonbonjovisoulfoundation.org)

 

Oh and Jon has stated this lost Bon Jovi tune should have been included on Slippery When Wet and actually apologized believe it or not. So they’ll have to answer for the “Edge Of A Broken Heart” transgression on Bon Judgement Day, but in the meantime, we can forgive them because we’ve found their missing runaway.

© Composer Yoga


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Hair Metal Heaven: Cinderella “If You Don’t Like It”

Awesome 80s Albums You May Have Overlooked

Closet Singles: Billy Idol “Hole In The Wall”

Sound Mines: The Outfield “Taking My Chances”

Sound Mines: Prince “Mountains”

George Michael: The Careless Whisperer

Closet Singles: The Outfield “New York City”

Yoda’s iPod: “When Doves Cry” By Prince

 

Recommended:

Hair Metal Joke (Hair Metal And Horror Movies)

Hair Metal Joke (Hair Metal Salad)

Prince Joke (Little Red Corvette)

The Prince Prophecy & The Let’s Go Crazy Code




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Entertainment Earth

When Compliments Aren’t Compliments

We’ve all been there as artists and creative people. Someone notices you have talent and thinks they’re complimenting you with something like…

“Wow you’re really talented, you should work for [whatever company]” or  “You should work in [name of profession where you’d wind up working for another company].”

 

You thank them on the surface for the half compliment but know deep down know they still don’t get it—or you. You want them to see your talent and creativity as an end in itself and valuable in it’s own right not simply a tool to be used by someone else.

 

They still don’t get that being an artist/creative person for many including you is about personal freedom to do what you want, do it your own way and on your own time—and get the maximum benefits from owning your own intellectual property to generate income now and in the future via royalties and/or licensing fee income.

 

The problem is most people including those giving “compliments” to you just want any kind of job they can stand and don’t absolutely loathe to get needed income so they’re not focused on being independent and self–sufficient. Art and creativity is not their lifestyle and overriding driving force.

 

The act of creation is air and energy to those of us who know the joys of creation.

 

 

Getting to do what you like to do for a living is a step up for most people. It’s a foreign concept from most people’s family environment since most of us observe people around us working to make money because we have to and the need is brutally immediate. But it’s not looking at life long term. Think about it, if you’re going to spend 4-5 decades doing something, why not choose something you really enjoy doing?

 

And why retire when you’re really living your ideal authentic self and life’s work? Think John Williams is going to retire and stop writing music? Think Oprah’s going to retire and crack open Coronas with Stedman on a tropical island she could buy for the rest of their lives? These people don’t need another dollar. They still “work” because they’re living their authentic selves, and IT’S NOT WORK—it’s fun, it’s play, it’s deeply meaningful and fulfilling.

 

So what is your authentic life’s work? We can define it as “What you would still do even if you weren’t paid to do it.” I know musicians that would still practice and perform, actors who would still act, writers who would still write and dancers who would still dance—paid or not. And day jobs are an interruption to what we’d rather do with our time and lives.

 

But some may ask (let’s call them the Consensus Chorus), “So why not just work for someone else and get paid for your creativity that way?” Fair question. Well, here’s the legal reason why that’s NOT the best way to gain the benefits of your talents and creative efforts over a lifetime…

 

Slavery 2.0

Laws favor the company over the individual employee. So WHEN YOU WORK FOR SOMEONE ELSE, YOUR CREATIONS ARE NOT YOUR OWN ANYMORE. THEY ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF THE COMPANY YOU WORK FOR.

 

In other words, everything you create working for a company becomes property of the company, not you the originator of the art, invention or idea. So working for Big Successful Company ain’t really no compliment now is it? You just continue to get paid hourly or get a salary and won’t make any royalties even if what you thought up goes on to make millions of dollars for the company. And you may not even get a big corner office and promotion out of it either. But the CEO, top management and shareholders will all get dividends and higher pay thanks to your ideas. Sound like the deal of the century?

 

No one would expect Tom Brady to work for $40,000 a year. He makes millions for the New England Patriots. Yet, the All Stars of the Creative Sector, (writers, animators, etc.) working for large TV, film & entertainment companies get paid slave wages compared to the company’s owners, upper management and top stockholders while making them millions of dollars from their work and ideas.

 

The copyrights aren’t yours, the patents aren’t yours, they’re the company’s. You become a non–entity in some Twilight Zone of creativity and inventions without what SHOULD be your legal rights and benefits as the creator/inventor.

 

Intellectual Property 101

Sucks eh?
I can hear Isaac Hayes in the “Theme from Shaft” say “”Damn right!!” from beyond the grave.

 

Say for example you create a new character for an animated movie that Disney will release. You and the other writer–animators came up with all these characters kids will absolutely love. There’s going to be ticket sales, soundtrack sales, DVD sales, and a global merchandising juggernaut up the wazoo: backpacks, sippy cups, stuffed animals, T-shirts, figurines, pillows, pajamas, blankets & bedspreads, gummi multivitamins, toys, toothbrushes, you name it.

 

The wake up call: You’re likely not going to see a penny above your normal pay from any of those sales because since you’re an employee, your ideas are owned by the company now and you’re in no position to negotiate from Cubicleland. You might get a small year end bonus for your hard work though which is more of an insult that what you and your ideas are really worth.

 

You may not even get bragging rights that you’re the creator of Marvelous Margay and Fantastic Ferret. If there’s a clause in your employment contract stating so about non–disclosure, you can’t even make your fame at conventions singing autographs and doing interviews on talk radio/TV shows or in print unless the company books it for you. Nope that’s for upper management to be drooled over as business wizards in newspapers, trade magazines and on esteemed panel discussions where everyone worships their “genius” over yours. The Stan Lee’s of tomorrow are anonymous.

 

And such animated characters really do go around the world. I’ve seen SpongeBob and Hello Kitty in several different countries that don’t speak English.




 

A Better Strategy that Compliments YOU

Better to work on such ideas OUTSIDE of your day job so you can sell the idea to a studio and make some real money—possible even the one you work for. More than that, you can earn your freedom to lead the life that’s more you as a creative person instead of punching a time clock for someone else. Most companies will only pay you enough to keep you showing up for work the next day.

 

It’s not fair to artists, inventors, innovators and creative people being used as “Financial Camels” to further carry and support top heavy management salaries and shareholders.

 

 

Most management type people aren’t the creative types the company is riding on the backs of but they’re making craploads more money than you. Why should they get paid more money than you? Do they really work a couple hundred thousand to a couple million dollars harder than you? Are their brains really a couple hundred thousand to a couple million dollars better than yours?

 

There is no real justification for the lopsidedness of pay scales. It’s a symptom of a sick society that doesn’t honor and award creativity and instead oppresses and corrals it so others benefit more than the originators. It’s like cattle being milked and sold for money, the privileges of wealth and freedom the cattle will never see.

 

Why is the pay scale so mediocre for most creative people who work for other companies? That’s how it’s been and will continue to be. I’m not betting Congress will grow a set to stand up against big corporate lobbyist money. Since laws will not change in your favor as long as you’re working for someone else,  work in a manner where Copyright/Intellectual Property (IP) laws work in your favor. For that, you have to make it on your own outside of putting your best efforts and ideas for someone else. You could be chewing saffron truffle quinoa Matsutake mushroom salad instead of hay.

 

Don’t set the bar too low for yourself just because of other people’s fears of making a living and lower standards for living a life more authentically you. That’s no compliment to yourself or your talents. And for that, you need freedom from 9 to 5 to do it. Your ideas and creations are your most valuable asset so don’t be so willing to give them away for pennies when they’re worth much more.

 

Look at The Blair Witch Project. I thought the movie was poorly made with a sparse script and plot. They only spent around $60K, which is low budget even for low budget independent films. Who’s laughing now though? To date, that first film has raked in over $250 million dollars worldwide. Not bad for only 8 days of filming.

 

Would you spend $60k for your freedom like that? They did and now they can do whatever they want for the rest of their lives. Good for them. Like the tattoo on John Wick’s back “FORTIS FORTUNA ADIUVAT” (Fortune Favors the Bold), working in Cubiceland isn’t being bold—it’s just playing it safe, and playing it safe only keeps you safe for so long. And our friend Mr. Wick being an A–list well paid designer tailored suit wearing hitman isn’t living his authentic self and life either. Even he wants to be free from working for someone else.

 

You can lose at playing it safe just as easily—perhaps even more easily since there’s more people in that boat versus the person who invents their own boat and becomes their own Captain.

 

 




Who’s George Lucas?

That’s right. See what we mean? You’d be asking that too if George started his career working for Disney. No one would know him by first name. At this point, there’s probably extraterrestrial civilizations that know who he is too.

 

Instead of working in a rookie pen for pennies on his imagination, he became a billionaire from his own creations and ideas and sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney decades later for a lot more than they would have paid him in wages/salary as an employee.

 

Who’s Bill Gates?

Bill too. If he tried to get the backing for his ideas on a new operating system with his superiors at IBM he may have gotten a grand old promotion and expanded his heirloom sweater collection with a slight bump in pay. But he wouldn’t have founded his own company, Microsoft, which IBM now buys products from. You can’t buy a megaphone like that to get your superiors to notice you when you’re working for someone else.

 

The best thing to do with success like George, Bill’s or Oprah’s is to nurture other artists/inventors/creative people with no strings attached financial support so they too can give their gifts to the planet. Venture capitalists are too attached to return on investment (ROI) within a timeline more aggressive than standard bank business loans. They often step on flowers they initially attempt and intend to water. I’ve seen companies go under once Venture Capitalists get involved. So it’s recommend to stay away from such money marionettes for your art, inventions or ideas, because guess who’s going to be the puppet in this relationship?

 

Real Compliments

I’ve gotten real compliments and they’re gold. They last and age like fine wine, increasing in both richness and potency. So when people see you and your art as valuable in itself, that’s a real compliment. When they don’t tell you you should to work for this company or that, that’s a real compliment. When they’re interested in your next project and tell people about you, that’s a real compliment. When they want to help you however they can to help your grow and promote your endeavors, that’s a real compliment. When they’re a legitimate fan of what you do, that’s a real compliment. When they’re happy to know you, that’s a real compliment.

 

Artists of the world need real compliments, not career advice from armchair HR directors.

 

 

Anything less is feeding you and your creative heart & soul to the sharks of the marionette marketplace. They’re forever swimming around Cubicleland, following the scent of money and new ideas from naive creative people to exploit for their own gain over yours.

And who wants to swim with sharks? You could be sipping an organic margarita with Oprah and Stedman on a financial island of your own creation.

 

© Composer Yoga

Resources for Artists/Inventors

US Copyright Office Website

https://www.copyright.gov/

 

Registration Fees—these are less expensive if done electronically online versus mailing your work(s) in:

https://www.copyright.gov/docs/fees.html

 

There’s various kinds of copyright forms: Form TX, Form VA, Form PA, Form SE, and Form SR. The form instructions describe the purpose of each in more detail but here’s a brief explanation of what each is for:

 

Form PA (Performing Arts):

Screenplays, plays, musicals, dance,choreography, comedy, motion pictures, audiovisual works

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formpa.pdf

 

Form TX (Text):

Books, poetry, etc.

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formtx.pdf

 

Form VA (Visual Arts):

Photography, prints, sculptures, models, paintings, etc.

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formva.pdf

 

Form SR (Sound Recording):

Music, audio masters for CDs/albums, music spoken or other sounds by themselves not part of a larger audiovisual work

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formsr.pdf

 

Form SE (Serial):

Periodicals & serials, newspapers, etc.

https://www.copyright.gov/forms/formse.pdf

 

 

 

Patents are done through the US Patent and Trademark Office. This is a more expensive and time consuming process. There are different kinds of patents as well.

https://www.uspto.gov/

 

Application Fee Info:

https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/fees-and-payment/uspto-fee-schedule

https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/fees-and-payment/uspto-fee-schedule#Trademark%20Fees

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Spiritual Consequences Of Sexual Harassment

On this planet, even Mother Teresa would post #MeToo.

 

Sad but true. Most everyone has been aware of Sexual Harassment long before Alyssa Milano and the #MeToo tag and posts across Twitter, Facebook and the other virtual continents of social media. And the majority of women victimized by it weren’t anywhere near the Entertainment Industry or a dream stained casting couch.

 

I’ve heard stories from women I know over the years from music, dance, modeling, Hollywood and everyday life at corner package stores and checkout lines.

 

It’s amazing still hearing men using the “She was dressed provocatively” excuse in their defense. Guys, You learned to control your bowels at around 3 years old so why is this so difficult? There’s also “primitive” societies around the world where women walk around nearly nude and topless due to the climate who aren’t sexually harassed so what’s your excuse?

 

Granted the people that really need to read this article and take a deep look at themselves and their behavior are the ones who won’t bother. Their ego, arrogance, narcissism and sense of entitlement form a massive wall of denial that excuses their behavior to themselves.

 

But the fact of the matter is even if you don’t ever get caught or sued in a legal setting, there ARE consequences of Sexual Harassment beyond just your Human life.

 

The What And Why Of Sexual Harassment

Let’s call it for what it is on the spectrum of Higher Consciousness: Sexual Harassment is spiritually pathetic. It’s another example of DNA at it’s lowest level of expression—the toxic cacophony that includes power, war, terrorism, tribalism, religious fanaticism, mental rigidity, gang violence, racism, and sexism among others.

 

See the behavior for what it is. Sexual Harassment is done by those with lower consciousness so don’t be fooled by someone’s back account, success or level of fame.

 

Sexual Harassment is about power but ironically it’s done by those without power—Spiritual power. The economic and social power that the abuser often has is temporary and positional. Spiritual power isn’t and doesn’t depend on others fearing you or being subordinate to you in any way. You can still have Spiritual power stranded on a deserted island. Your economic and social power? Forget it. The palm trees don’t give a rat’s ass you’re a CEO, film mogul, famous athlete or media personality.

 

Sexual Harassment is done by men who have no authentic Spiritual practice and have no greater experiences and pursuits than sex and money.

 

There’s also men who pose as enlightened gurus and use spirituality as a ruse to sexually harass and abuse their female followers. This is particularly heinous due to the ongoing psychological manipulations and long term damage to victims who are often young and underage.

 

On a deeper level, the current form of Humanity is a primitive species. Earth is one of the lower worlds. Our sun is a small star so Humanity doesn’t grow at a faster pace in consciousness. If our sun was bigger it would send out more energy which causes greater and faster Spiritual Growth. These aren’t easy things to hear because it’s not the “pat on the back” anthropocentric view of ourselves we like mirrored back at us in TV, film, literature and religion.

 

The fact is, we’re a long way from the evolved culture portrayed in Star Trek.




 

Poor Role Models

From Hollywood to Hip Hop, the prizes most often portrayed across culture and media are money and women. Men fantasize about a Hugh Hefner Playboy life like there’s nothing higher than it or the Universe has nothing grander and beyond those in the vaults of Infinity.

 

There’s more scum in Hollywood than Mos Eisley spaceport.

 

Millions are stuck in the culturally fixated worship of he benchmarks of materialism: money, power and sex.

 

Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, some presidents, actors and professional athletes, the list goes on and on. You don’t have to look too deeply to find entitled bulldog egos in the kind of men who sexually harass women. Some hide it better than others as that’s why it’s called acting. The public sees their “fame face” and thinks that’s who they are 24/7.

 

The sad reality is, I live on a planet where people are constantly excusing the behavior of abusers because of their money, power and fame. It’s like they cannot believe people who’ve attained the success they dream of are capable of such behavior.

 

If you have to excuse or defend your heroes, get better heroes.

 

How about raising the bar? There are male role models like Yogananda and the Dalai Lama. Find any dirt on men like them. You also don’t need to excuse, rationalize, defend or intellectualize away their behaviors because there aren’t ethical violations on other people. Look up to role models who live a higher degree of ethics.

 

The Human experience is too limited for Yogis who seek to transcend it. They don’t wish to get bogged down in the endless addictions, distractions and attachments on the Earth Plane and actively practice to rise above it.

 

If you need a more “down to Earth” role model, Paul Newman was light years from douchebag as well. Look at all the positive charitable things he did with his wealth and fame. That’s called GRATITUDE, which is a polar opposite of ego, arrogance, entitlement and narcissism. His legacy isn’t stained with shame and disgrace or the Karmic damage incurred when abusing the gifts of wealth, fame and power.

 

Deeper Consequences

If you mistreat any girl or woman, how is the Divine Mother ever going to like that? People with lower consciousness do not have such forethought and don’t believe there are consequences to their actions outside of this dimension. And that is beyond dead wrong as they will not be pleasantly surprised by.

 

You can’t hide from or fool Divine Beings. They see you on levels you cannot even see yet. Only an unconscious person ignores that fact and violates the freewill of others for their own needs or addictions. Doing so is sociopathic behavior. Sociopaths have little to no concern for how their behavior affects others. The also do not care about the consequences of their behavior.

 

You can’t wear the Halloween costume of lip service faith, and be the “Go to church on Sundays” crowd and expect it to pass off as genuine to Beings with Higher Consciousness. You can hide your behaviors and thoughts from your friends, family, co–workers and neighbors but not them.

 

Those who get away with Sexual Harassment, they’re only getting away with it on Earth.

 

Keep that in mind. With behaviors like Sexual Harassment, doorways to Higher Consciousness and greater powers will be closed to abusers. Such abuse is not evolved behavior and definitely not looked upon favorably. The material powers of money, fame and status abusers wield on Earth are small change compared to what’s out there in Higher Dimensions.

 

When you commit Sexual Harassment, rape, sexual abuse, molestation, domestic abuse you are disrespecting the Divine Mother—which is part of you and everyone, part of WHAT is sustaining your own life. There is enormous negative Karma for doing such things against forces that sustain you. These are all very deep spiritual crimes that cause lasting psychic damage to victims. And that Karmic boomerang you set in motion doing such acts will return to the red handed source of the reckless ripple better than laser guided munitions one way or another.




 

Higher Ethics

God, the Creator, or whatever you want to call the ultimate creative energy of the Universe, manifests itself in countless forms yet still exists outside of all form and beyond all form. And all Gods and Goddesses are part of the Body of God. Beings who are beyond form can manifest in a myriad of forms to better connect with people and races at a more familiar comfortable relatable level of their understanding.

 

The Divine Mother can manifest as Mary and fiercer forms like Durga and Kali, the Goddess of the Siddhas. Even Yogis who don’t want to or need to be with women anymore still honor and seek the Divine Feminine archetypal energy of the Universe. So it may only appear as “renunciation” at an Earthy level. Both male and female energies are needed to become more of the whole.

 

And to pass the tests of Kali, one has to have zero impurities as she sees all your flaws, all your darkness. All such dreck must be burned away before she grants one passage to the level of consciousness of a Siddha. Needless to say, Sexual Harassment is not something the fierce Mother Goddess looks kindly upon. She cannot be bought, tricked or coerced. Billionaires are still ants compared to the wattage she cranks out. And anyone who wants to dance with Kali, best be sure their hand or even thoughts don’t slip inappropriately.

 

It’s hard to prevent antisocial and predatory behavior in people who are so unconscious, asleep and spiritually poor they don’t understand the value of a clean conscience. And millions or billions of dollars can never buy it.

 

Worldly money, power and fame do not by themselves give Higher Consciousness. Instead they more often become stumbling blocks to it. The observation Jesus made over 2,000 years ago about it being easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man getting into Heaven is just as accurate today, perhaps more so in our time period with it’s greater wealth and power lateralization and panoplies of distractions.

 

Still, there are advanced Yogis whom all worldly pursuits are a joke to, a waste of their time on the planet. The things most men seek are bread crumbs compared to the forces they are connected to. The abilities and experiences that are normal for people at their level of consciousness are off the scale of the material world. Even a few appetizers of experiences from these Greater Realms and it’s all over for many.

 

You really can get to this point without even being advanced. It’s surprising. It makes you see human life from a higher plateau how “lost in matter” most people are because you have reacquainted with yourself on higher more subtle levels of the ultimate reality of YOU, which your physical human body form is only a small part.

 

In my pursuits towards Higher Consciousnss, I’ve had encounters with fiercer facets of the Divine Mother (Divine Archetypal Female Energies) in the forms of Durga and Kali. Kali hammered myself and another friend of mine—lots of energetic and emotional upheaval.

 

Durga has periodically dredged up several dark internal weeds and energetic albatross anchors in me as well. All these occurred during voluntary practices and ceremonies mind you. Furthermore, my friend and I haven’t committed the devolved behaviors of the abuses and transgressions against women mentioned here.

 

The Divine Mother’s standards of purity and integrity far exceed and are far more rigorous than Man’s. This is what is meant that the Divine Mother, with your permission and request, will knock all darkness and impurities out of you to hammer out the sword of your spine to her precision forging and attunements. These were unbeneficial things inside me I myself could not yet perceive and I’ve been on this path for a few decades. And those were kind, friendly wallops. For the men guilty of the topics in this article, what do you think you’re going to get?

 

What’s going to happen to you when meet more powerful female energies in this Universe who do not require bodies, meaning your physical size and strength as a man in a mortal frame does not apply? Ever think about that?

 

And with that, Sexual Harassment is seen as another form of spiritual poverty in the person who engages in such behavior—Someone who is asleep, a soul still in diapers who hasn’t passed even entry level soul tests.

 

And they not only accrue heapings of negative Karma for hurting others but close doors to themselves to wealth beyond their limited levels of understanding all for small temporary pleasures.

 

And moreover, worldly success does not hide spiritual failures.

© Composer Yoga




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Sights That Made Me Gasp

Being a videographer and photographer, I’ve been fortunate to see amazing things all over the world. You learn to seek out these locations and experiences like a visual drug, and while it increases your tolerance for beauty, it doesn’t diminish your appreciation of it.

 

However, becoming a “Beauty Junkie” elevates your scale for impressiveness and it becomes more challenging to see something that’ll knock you into next week. But occasionally it does happen: Those moments when your eye cannot believe what it’s seeing and triggers the drawbridge of your jaw to drop involuntarily.

 

These are moments when I heard myself gasp. Photographs of them would not do the moment justice. They have to be experienced in real time, in first person.

 

The Hall of Mirrors

Palace of Versailles, Versailles France

The grandeur and opulence of Imperial France under King Louis XIV was on a scale you have to see to believe. Beverly Hills and Hollywood wealth is a joke compared to the Palace of Versailles.

 

Experiencing it, you’ll get why the French Revolution happened a few Kings later under Louis XVI. Keep in mind that that The Louvre was once where the King of France lived but that wasn’t good enough so the Palace of Versailles was built.

 

I’ve been in upscale country clubs, resorts, hotels and some posh mansions but there’s only one Hall of Mirrors. You’ll be guillotined with gold, bronze, crystal, marble and mirrors. I’m sure the floor has seen it’s share of drool outclassing even Frat House parties and via “sober drool” on top of that.

 

There’s also a lot of history in that room. The Sun–King Louis XIV would walk daily from his apartment to the Palace Chapel through the Hall of Mirrors. The Treaty of Versailles, ending World War I, was signed right in that very room. Numerous Heads of State and Embassies met there, marriages consecrated, and real Royal Balls of Cinderella fantasies were held there.

 

One time during a visit to France, I arranged to meet a friend at the train station Gare Montparnasse as he was visiting his parents outside Bordeaux. I gave him my tour of Paris and had to take him to the Palace of Versailles.

 

We hopped on a train at Gare Saint–Lazare en route to Versailles. I remember his first words once we entered the Hall of Mirrors: “This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”

 

So if you’re ever in Paris, take the 20–30 minute train ride to Versailles and get your gasp (or drool) on. Get there early (there’s always a line of sometimes an hour wait or longer) and plan on being there the entire day to take in the main Palace and the even larger manicured grounds.

 

Your eyes will do a double take that rooms like this actually exist for real on this planet and not just via computer graphics in movies like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.

 

As a tip, for optimal photography inside the Palace of Versailles, kneel down and take your photos. It’s always crowded and there’s mirrors everywhere so crouching down and taking your photos from a lower angle cuts out the reflection of tourists—a photographic guillotine without the mess.




Pharaonic Statue Room

Musee Egizio
Turin, Italy

I was walking around doing photography in Turin (Torino), which is a beautiful old European city with cobblestone streets, idyllic rolling hills and a plethora of storefronts with way overpriced women’s Italian designer leather boots.

 

This northern Italian city is where the famous Shroud of Turin is located but that’s not something you can just buy a ticket and popcorn for. The Royal family has it in their possession and only takes it out for display every so often and there’s a waiting list years in advance for that once in a blue moon occasion.

 

Since I was going to take a train back to where I was staying with a friend later that evening, I decided to take in the Egyptian Museum since I’ve always been fascinated by that ancient civilization. I’ve been to plenty of museums with Egyptian artifacts before including the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. But I’d heard the Museo Egizio had one of the most extensive collections outside of Cairo.

 

I went through the entire museum taking several hundred pictures communing with the past. Artifacts, artwork and mummies, the stuff of Indiana Jones’ wet dreams, more so than I’ve ever seen (over 30,000 in the collection).

 

The museum also has the oldest known copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead on the planet. But then you go into the final part of the museum, the final room. And that’s when your eyes REALLY get transported back to Egypt.

 

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing—it was my Howard Carter moment (the archaeologist and Egyptologist who discovered King Tut’s tomb).

 

I walked through the doorway into a room the size of a supermarket and gazed upon those “wonderful things”: rows and rows of massive Egyptian statues; statues bigger than I’ve ever seen before—some over 20 feet tall; statues in better condition than I thought possible after several thousand years with the intricately ornate paint scheme still visible.

 

It was like seeing an afterimage where I could extrapolate just how incredibly awe inspiring these statues once were, and the extravagance and grandeur it must have burned into the eyes of the Egyptians who worshipped them. Art can encapsulate and preserve the Sacred even if those Gods and Goddesses are less popular now than Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian.

 

And wow, seeing that was seeing the Aura of ancient Egypt still thriving and preserved in time for anyone who hasn’t become culturally comfortably numb to their innate sense of wonder by the superficialities and “cosmetic” concerns of modern industrial technological societies.




The European Alps From The Air

Switzerland

This was flat out the loudest most involuntary reflex gasp I ever made. It was like nature hit a kneecap somewhere in the heart of my being and I heard myself making a sound and remember feeling it escape from my mouth.

 

I felt my jaw drop. In some way it was as if the consciousness of the Alps interacted with me somewhere over 30,000 feet. It was like seeing a gargantuan ice castle piercing the clouds in a subtle reserved display of it’s awesome power.

 

It was on a flight into Geneva, Switzerland and the Captain got on the intercom and gave us an early heads up on the right side of the aircraft. We flew over a high ridge temporarily obscuring our view, then once the flyover was complete, the Swiss side of the Alps was revealed beaming reflected sunlight off snow and ice like a majestic mountain lighthouse.

 

I was sitting on that side of the aircraft but stood up and moved to an empty row to get a better view. A few seconds later, I took a picture still dazed in the moment, still stunned by retinal overload. The sight actually interfered with my ninja photographer reflexes and my body’s normally quick neural connections.

 

When you approach the European Alps, the telltale sign you’re getting nearer is the crystal clear translucent blue water runoff from the ice–capped mountains stains the rivers with it’s unchallenged purity. And you know the Ice Queens are nearby.

 

There are places on the planet right out of Lord of the Rings and the European Alps are one of them. Even Superman would probably want a vacation home there as it’s a Fortress of Solitude par excellence.

 

In the era of the attention span challenged, people get desensitized to the marvels and quiet regality of nature. You’re not going to experience these heightened moments of transcendence and keyhole peeks into Divinity being a slave to the LCD screen of your cellphone. You’ll miss the times nature sends YOU a text.

 

When we landed, I strolled around downtown Geneva with my friend and window shopped watches that cost more than the photo and video gear I had on me. Nope, I thought, I just saw something more incredible than the finest Swiss watch ever made.

 

I cannot wear those jagged giants emerging from the cauldrons of molten mantle on my wrist but I wear it around my pineal gland in it’s collected orbits of awesomeness.

 

 

There’s dimensions missing from that moment in the pictures I took. I look at them and only see what’s not there. The Alps didn’t interact with my camera, it interacted with another living consciousness and that connection cannot be photographed.

 

But I knew in that moment I would remember that mighty wink at my Soul the rest of my life. And I do.

 

Sometimes even lying down in bed before I fall asleep, the Alps visits me in an afterimage and the power of that moment’s residue is still there. The pulse of that Infinity in the Alps still echoing inside me.

© Composer Yoga


Related Posts To Check Out:
Somewhere On The Road, Somewhere In My Life

Thanksgiving, Gratitude And Emotional Alchemy

Celebrities And Fame: A Videographer’s Perspective

Swiss Time Was Running Out For Deep Purple And The Pet Shop Boys

 

Recommended:

When Compliments Aren’t Compliments

Spiritual Consequences Of Sexual Harassment

Make Making Music A New Year’s Resolution

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The Mos Eisley Brothers

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Going Solo: Iron Maiden “Caught Somewhere In Time”




I discovered Iron Maiden totally by accident. Up until that time I was listening to bands like Van Halen and Def Leppard and that was as "heavy" as I was getting as a preteen. No heavy petting or heavy metal quite yet. I was still usurping my older brother's music collection and whatever I could forage on local rock stations. Pyromania and 1984 were played to death in our bedroom. I remember Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry and Quiet Riot's Condition Critical vibrating the stereo speakers often and somehow our parents were "able to take it"---that being when Dee Snider aurally materialized as an uninvited house guest. Perhaps the fact that our bedroom was on the opposite side of the house as theirs had something to do with it. When we moved to a bigger house after I entered 7th grade, I began working out in the basement and had just a bare stereo on our second freezer along with my workout albums. Old school Rocky Balboa approved. Okay, it did look nicer than Clubber Lang's apartment. But I was having a hankering for heavier stuff to get the Eye Of The Tiger amidst the sound of Leppards.

 

Back then, Judas Priest was the only "really" Metal band that actually got airplay on the Classic Rock radio stations I listened to where I grew up. It seemed if you had two guitarists, it was "too heavy" for a standard Classic Rock station. It's as if there was an "Elevator Weight Capacity" for bands not to exceed a set number of pounds---4 band members: okay, 5 band members: Holy Crap, it's Metal! Of course there were exceptions. Bands that had 5 members (and 2 guitarists) and passed through the Rock Radio Checkpoint Charlie were The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bon Jovi, and .38 Special, all of which were never considered Metal. The subject matter of a band's songs was a deciding factor in if they were considered Metal or not. Because if you're Metal, you don't write whiny ass songs about relationships. At least that's the way it used to be before Hair Spray and Metal met in a Paul Mitchell salon somewhere west of the San Andreas Fault in southern California. I see a children's book in the making right there.

 

Back to my Maiden voyage. For someone who didn't have a learner's permit yet, I was at the mercy of other people who knew how to drive. And with that, used to go to backyard parties with my older brother and his friends or some of my older friends. It was at one of these backyard evening parties standing around a fire where the serendipity of discovering Iron Maiden happened. I wish I could say Eddie appeared and we roasted marshmallows by the fire from his long scrawny fingers, but this was more towards the Pabst Blue Ribbon spectrum of soirees than Burning Man peyote fest.

 

Somehow several adult beverages landed in my hand and my new friend buzz and I were digging all the rock tunes playing on the stereo blasting raccoons back to the nosebleed seats at the edge of the woods. I remember hearing the words "Deja Vu" on one of the songs. That was all my brain cells bathed in Bud or some other cheap beer could recollect the next day anyway. And with the finest Sh*tfaced Sherlock Holmes determination for solving "The Case Of The Mystery Song" in someone's back yard I didn't know and cannot remember, I set out asking "Hey, who sings a song called 'Deja Vu.?'" I got a lead on this band called Iron Maiden. I then set out to canvas some stores and look for what album the song was on. With the sobriety of Sergeant Joe Friday, a few Iron Maiden albums later (or so I thought), I found it---Somewhere In Time had a track listing of "Deja Vu." It also had amazing Science Fiction cover art (inspired by Blade Runner from the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) and since I was a huge fan of Star Wars growing up, that sealed the deal. I took Somewhere In Time to the register and with that, owned my first Iron Maiden album. And to this day it's still my favorite.

 

The opening track "Caught Somewhere In Time" just blew me away---Bruce Dickinson's vocals were crazy good, like one of his parents had sex with an amplifier good. I kept having "Holy Crap" moments---this was the first Metal album I actually owned and knew I was hooked for life. I was so blown away by all the songs I'd heard before "Deja Vu" (the second to last track) that I didn't even care it WASN'T the song my drunken ears heard at that party mentioned earlier. Turns out, I found out later the lyrics were actually "Danger---" and it was the the song "Danger" by Motley Crue off Shout At The Devil. The sustain and vocal effects when Vince Neil sings the word "Danger" sounded like "Danger....ooooh" which my slurried braincells misheard as "Deja Vu":

 

Danger
You're in danger
When the boys are around Danger
You're in danger
And this is my town
This is Hollywood

"Caught Somewhere In Time" for me was one of those solos that makes you want to become a guitarist. It shows how much fun you can have on a guitar, how freely you can launch energies from your fingertips and dance across the fretboard like a Whirling Dervish. I was just starting to play guitar and "Caught Somewhere In Time" blew my (back then) short hair back like the famous Maxell "Blown Away Guy" ad of the dude sitting in an easy chair listening to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" which conveniently blows a glass of wine to him:

The "Blown Away Guy" moment I had was hearing solo #2 by Adrian Smith which begins at the 4:05 mark continuing to the 4:50 mark:

The solo ends with a recapitulation of the opening fast tempo riff heard first at the :53 mark. Iron Maiden switches keys often in songs and the solo baton passing between the two guitarists is no exception.
Dave Murray leads off with his slippery bluesy frolic in B flat then Adrian Smith punches it into orbit with this masculine metallic montage in G. The driving ascending staccato triplets across the neck and legato two handed tapping are the solos highpoints for me. You can almost hear the Silverback gorilla.

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At times I reflect how long I've come since buying that album and listening to it in my bedroom as a teenager. If someone were to have told that teenage me that I would someday see all the places I would, I probably would have thought they were talking about someone else. Like "Wasted Years", I saw those cities go by in the night, went from coast to coast of the United States, flown over a few of those "seven seas." On whatever journey, I was always packing Metal, packing Somewhere In Time to listen to. Towards the end of the final track on Somewhere In Time, "Alexander The Great," there's the verse lyric:

 

The battle weary marching side by side
Alexander's army line by line
They wouldn't follow him to India
Tired of the combat, pain and the glory

 

As if the Somewhere In Time album were a personal prophecy or subliminal travel itinerary, I even visited India and got my Indiana Jones on. Years before going to to other side of the planet (which is brutal jetlag), I had tickets for John Williams Night at Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in Lenox Massachusetts. It's been a Tanglewood tradition where Williams guest conducts a program of his greatest hits: Jaws, E.T., Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc. At one point, Chewbacca and Darth Vader got on stage with Maestro Williams, but unfortunately you cannot conduct an orchestra with a Light Sabre. It was called the Electric Light Orchestra not the Electric Light Sabre Orchestra there Darth.

 

So there I was, visiting ancient temples all over southern India in the state of Tamil Nadu, which actually sounds like a planet in a Star Wars movie. I was even in a tiger preserve in the mountains and walked out a Survivor. And as for "Jedis", Tamil Nadu is famous for producing more Saints and Realized Masters (Advanced Yogis) than any other location on Earth. On the other hand, Gary Indiana is famous for producing more serial killers (which happens to be a Maiden song and earlier album) than any other location and also The Jacksons for some Thrilling reason. In India, my eyes met the sacred Mt. Arunachala (pictured on the package of some Organic India products), the mountain where Carl Jung spent over a month traveling on steamships just to see in his lifetime. Jung pioneered the concept of Synchronicity which was the title and inspiration for the incredible final album by The Police, which has the tracks "Synchronicity I" and "Synchronicity II" (the tune where Sting is yelling in the intro).

 

So sometimes mishearing lyrics can be a good thing. People mishear lyrics sober so accidentally discovering Iron Maiden was either some jolly good luck or Divine intervention of the Metal Gods. These days the Pope drinks more than I do (My Metal collection is WAY better than the Pope's though). But "Caught Somewhere In Time" is still one of my favorite Metal solos of all time---it's even among my favorite solos of all time. I've since listened to this album on 4 continents, numerous times at 30,000+ feet, watching mountains, plains, oceans and coastlines below me; In and through several countries, dozens of states, countless miles of Interstates, slicing across the country in the night; and also countless nights peacefully lying down in bed falling asleep to it. Somewhere In Time is like a companion I've taken with me in life on the leash of my iPod.

 

Some people don't "mellow with age" as far as their musical palette and tastes go. We just expand in both directions of harder and softer to integrate more of the whole. I still love Metal and know I could listen to it in my 80's, 90's and past 100. I'll never outgrow it and will definitely look better than Iron Maiden's mascot Eddie, who at some point I'm betting will look better than Keith Richards (heroin will steal your youth, health and possibly your life folks---it's taken too many musicians far too early). I just know wherever in time I'll be, I'll want Metal beside me within earshot. I've come to realize I exist "Somewhere In Time" and with music, I'll always have a portable home. And YO ADRIAN!!!

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