BennyEast.Com/Blog The official blog of Kenny West

28Feb/110

Free Rice

I think it was 5th grade?  Maybe, yes.  I would have a “Current Events” weekly assignment.  Every Monday the class would have to take an article from the Sunday paper and write a response of one single solitary page in length.   It was to be about how this article related to our own life.  I always had so much trouble with this assignment.  But then again, I had trouble with nearly every assignment in school.  Why?  Simple, my mind was always other places.  Back then my life was Super Soakers, Nintendo games and remote controlled cars.  Our course my life is vastly different now from what it was then.  Or at least I like to think it is.  It’s odd how your priorities change.  I’m sure even my priorities of today will again be vastly different 10, 15, or 20 years in the future. At some point my love of video games, water guns and toy cars eventually gave way to guitar’s girls and guns.  Kidding about the guns!  I’m not a fan of guns.  Who knows, maybe when I’m 75 I’ll retire to Texas and own a cattle farm and carry around a big shotgun?  Anything is possible.  I’m going to say PROBABLY not though.  Today my priorities still include guitars and girls, but they also include reading, finance, computers, coffee, tea, beer, and of course blogging.  Part of me feels as though I’m either on a precipice of another change, or at the very least another significant addition to my interests and life.

So why was that assignment so difficult?  Well, my biggest issue with this assignment was the fact that we didn’t subscribe to any newspaper.  Why?  It’s a long story… but the short version is basically the living situation at the time was 3 kids (me included) and a one parent working and going to school at the same time while also raising those 3 kids.  For the most part my Mom raised us.  This is NOT to say my dad couldn’t have been around.  He’s a GREAT guy!  And I have nothing but the best to say of him.  It was just the dynamics of the situation at the time.  My mom was and kinda still is, a stubborn proud do-it-your-self-er and refused any help from anyone or her parents.  So here we were not able to afford even lunch (we were on the free lunch program in school) yet we have grandparents that drove Mercedes and lived in the California next to celebrities (see yesterday’s post on celebs).  Not that I entirely disagree with trying to make it on your own.  But accepting help sometimes is ok too!  Anywho, so in order to get the paper we relied on left-overs from neighbors and family friends.  Not food, just the Sunday paper.  I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.  It’s made me much more humble.   Yea maybe it wasn’t the best way to go about things but she didn’t do too bad of a job teaching us the right morals and work ethic.  At least I think that’s what she was trying to prove.  Something to the effect of that just because there are things available to you doesn’t always mean you should take them.  You should def try to go out on your own and get them for yourself.   This is a much more rewarding experience I think.  And I’ll disclose that the Cali lifestyle lived by my grandparents was as well the product of TONS of hard work and core ethics of saving and living wisely.

So sometimes you don’t always have things available to you and it takes a slight bit of extra effort to get the same thing that someone else might have more readily available.

That’s the thing.  For one person just getting up in the morning to make coffee takes all the energy in the world and this will always change throughout your life as well.  What might be easy, OR hard right now could eventually reverse and most likely will.  Or as was my case in 5th grade just obtaining a newspaper wasn’t easy.  Let alone having to write the article itself.  Yet when I would come into school that next morning the teacher had no way of knowing all the work that was put into each kid’s article.  He simply graded on how well the assignment was done.  Some kids, I’m almost positive either had the articles entirely written by their parents, or they were 50 or 75 percent done by them.  This is one of the things about looking at others in life.  We don’t look at them and think about where they are starting from or their handicaps.  We just think about how WE do it and how easy something might be for us and that we don’t understand why this person is having such a hard time with something that should be so simple.  This happens a lot with computers and myself.  I’ll often not understand why someone doesn’t get a concept.  Only after taking a step back and trying to see it from their shoes do I get a better picture.  So what I’ve learned from reflecting back is to keep an open mind and know that everyone isn’t starting from the same spot.  Some people start from an extraordinary advantage where others have extreme disadvantages.  I recently read the first 2 of 3 books in The Hunger Games series and this was a prominent theme throughout.  Those who are extremely disadvantaged and those who are extremely advantaged living in completely isolated worlds.  Worlds, LITERALLY isolated by giant electrified fences.

If I had to write that “Current Events” article today, I would have a plethora of news sources to choose from: Google news, New York Times online, and thousands of other website that push news content over the web.  It’s very easy to find articles and even copy and paste the bits you want to react to and then write something in a word document and whip it up in only a short period of time, unless of course you don’t have a clue as to how to type or a computer let alone to type on.  Now if you are reading this you are probably thinking… “WHAT???!?!?!  WHO DOESN’T OWN A COMPUTER?!?!  Or have a connection to the Internet.”

The answer to that question is… most of the world.  The most popular device on the planet is actually the mobile phone.  Not the computer, and not the tv, and not even the automobile.  This clip is pretty long.  But if you have time it’s a good watch.

http://fora.tv/2009/09/24/Mobile_Phones_The_Next_4_Billion_with_Tomi_Ahonen

So what am I getting at with all this?  Well most of the idea for this post today was inspired by something said at yesterday’s sermon by the pastor at the Victory church.  As I said previously I have no real strong ties with any one religion.  So as a full disclosure I don’t specifically identify with anything at the moment.  I wasn’t really raised any specific religious background.  I had bits and pieces and so what I’m doing is simply being an observer.  My goal was to go and listen and take in everything at this church for as long as I am recording my current song. But…

I’ll be honest.  I’m enjoying it.  I really am.  I even got up enough guts to say hello to the pastor and shake his hand yesterday on the way out.  He asked if I had been there before and I said it was my third visit.  He said he’d be interested in talking more with me if I felt up to it next week.  I said ok, sure why not?

I apologize for wavering off topic.  So, yesterday’s topic at this church was financial hazards.  The theme for the past few along with next few sermons is mayhem and how to deal with it in your life.  The basic gist of it was that money, property and economical prosperity etc. changes hands and comes and goes.  But that it really doesn’t belong to any of us ultimately and that in the long run you’ll only really get what you need when you need it.  More specifically it will be provided to you when it’s most needed.  At least that’s what I got out of it.  But it makes sense.  I know that I may not be living the highlife right now.  But I am very satisfied and completely happy with what I have and as well I have yet to go a day in my life without food in my belly…

This was the part that really interested me.  This actually wasn’t part of the main sermon/teachings of the day.  This was an afterthought that was mentioned that had to do with a trip this summer they are taking to Uganda to help with distributing medical supplies and food.  This came up because the pastor was re-telling a story of just this past weekend where some kids went on a retreat (I know of retreats from where I work, but I don’t know if they are the same kind of thing.  I’ve never done this sort of thing myself, I only know of what it is.)  While on this one of the nights they gave the kids only rice for dinner.  This was to show that in some parts of the world kids receive only rice for nearly every meal, if they are lucky.  He said they later had a pizza party that night.  The idea was to let them believe they were only going to receive just that small bowl of rice for that entire evening.

It’s a pretty bold way to make a point.  Much the way my mom refused help as much as she did from her parents during my youth.  But I’m sure it will leave a lasting impact on the kids.  That story more than anything else I heard yesterday got me thinking for today’s writing.  The world.  How lives are vastly different not years ago from today.  But instead of spanning time, spanning geography and culture.

As of right now I sit writing this on my 2 thousand dollar MacBook pro in Cosi while drinking a cup of coffee and eating a sandwich that I paid 10 dollars for.  I can only imagine how many mouths my MacBook pro ALONE would feed in many parts of the world.

If anyone who reads my blog regularly remembers there was a post a while back with my favorite educational and academic video websites.  One of these sites is Fora.tv, which is the site that hosts the video mentioned above.  That site often has videos relating to distressed parts of the world where people live in sometimes pretty dire conditions.

One site attempting to help with supplying food to impoverished parts of the world is a site called Free Rice (hence the title of this post.)

http://www.freerice.com/

Free rice has been around for a few years now.  The goal is to donate rice in exchange for correct answers by the user to vocabulary questions.  They also have many other topics now.  Large corporate donors who display ads on the page pay for the rice.

Now the pastor was suggesting if you can’t go on the trip, then it would be great if you could sponsor someone to go.  I don’t think I am THAT well off.  But I’m never opposed to being charitable.  So I might consider giving if allowed maybe 20 or 50 dollars to the cause.  I mean you’re talking to someone who gave 1,250 dollars to the lupus foundation in exchange for a hat on eBay… it was a nice hat (I talked about this a while back in my blog posts.  It was for a contest that Julia Nunes was doing.).  I’ve been giving 10 dollars during each, what’s it called?  “Offering” right?  I mean I’m there for an hour and to me I get something out of it… I’ve decided this is maybe some sort of food for thought or food for the soul.  As I sit writing this at Cosi, I paid 10 dollars for a sandwich and cup of coffee.  So the 10 dollars is if nothing else for them to let me sit and think and enjoy the experience.  I’m using it as well as a thinking and retrospective time on what’s happened that week in my life.  So speaking of thinking…

I’ve just been thinking a lot about current events and about those in the world who live lives vastly different from how I live my own.  They all have priorities.  Again this point is driven home MANY times by the main character Katniss in The Hunger Games.  She will often speak of how vastly different her world is compared to those who live in the capital.  My take on the series is that each of the districts really represents a nation or group of nations around the world.  And that District 12 along with the other impoverished districts is most likely meant to represent any of the countries living in third world conditions.  The capital is perhaps representing America?

So what was the precipice of change I alluded to earlier in this post?  Well I find something very spiritually filling about attending church.  Not to say I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for all my life.  But It’s definitely changed how I feel about priorities.  I think maybe spiritual direction has just as much importance as finances, music, girls, and toy remote controlled cars.  What has started more as an experience for music has affected me much more substantially than I had anticipated.  What really does interest me is that everyone who attends seems truly genuinely happy to be there.  I like that.  If nothing else then I believe in the feeling that comes from this.  There’s a feeling of community for sure that you can just pick up from the vibe of everyone there.  Again, not that I’m saying I’m making any choice on anything about religion.  But there’s a possibility that I might end up continuing to go after I finish the song I’m working on.  If not to this place explore other churches.

So what I’m trying to say is that there is a lot going on in the world that I feel I haven’t been paying attention to.  There are so many ways of living that I’ve completely missed and all of it I believe from Uganda to the local church has significant value that I’ve been over looking in my life.  So what I’ve decided to do every Monday in honor of my 5th grade assignment is to write a response piece to worldly current events.  So come back next Monday for a current events reaction piece.  Change is always around us.


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27Feb/110

You’re Famous! Let’s do lunch.

I know, I should have done this post 2 weeks ago for the Grammy’s, and then should be posting something about the Oscar’s tonight.

I apologize for the delayed posting of this.  But the Grammy’s happened before I started posting a blog a day!   So… how about this… I’ll do something special for you my blog readers… ready?

I’ll make this post a “2fer”.  You know, like in that one Dane Cook skit.  When he talks about people turning around in his driveway.  If you don’t know the skit, here’s the audio on youtube…

Yea… that’s the skit.  I think that’s actually pretty neat in that clip with the words and all animated to it.  Ultra creative!  My hat goes off to whoever made that clip.

The “2fer” part actually comes from earlier in that whole comedy routine where he talks about one time he wants to say something to someone and have him or her say back “Are you out of your mind”… and then he does something and they say “You REALLY ARE out of your mind!”

Any who so this, my blog reader friends, is a 2fer JUST for you!

So in honor of the Grammy’s two weeks ago and the Oscar’s tonight I’m going to talk musical artists and celebs.  Or mostly just 1 musical artist and 1 celeb.

I was thinking about these two award shows.  My first thought was I SOOOOOO want to be on these.  I think my biggest dreams in life are to be a real musical artist and as well I’d LOVE to be an actor on a TV show, preferably something comedic in nature.  Anywho my second thought was about meeting celebrities.

Quick side story:

One of my friends who resides in LA actually had a legit celeb spotting the other week…  guess who the celeb was?

Moby.  MOBY!  Ya know moby... he made that video with Gwen Stefani back in the day…

 

I think Moby is an interesting dude and I wonder what it’d be like to talk to him.

So this got me thinking, who would I want to chat with?  Let’s start with the celebs I have chatted with so far in life.  These are the celebrities I’ve crossed paths with so far:

Dr. J:  He’s a B-Ball player who used to play for the 76ers.  My sister went to camp with his daughter and so one year they had a reunion at his house.  It’s a pretty massive house and I got to go and hang out at his house and shake his hand and shoot some hoops with his kids on their very own court.  It was neat.  As well they had an arcade in the attic so all the kids went up there and played arcade games and since I was a kid, I went with all the other kids.

Kyle Massey:  He was on a show “that’s so raven”.  I met this dude cuz my next door neighbor is his personal acting coach.  So Kyle got invited to a party at their house and I got the invite too.  So I got to like stand next to him and eat chips and salsa and say “sup”, “not much, sup with you?”, “not much”, “that’s cool”.  But then again what else do you talk about?

Parker Posey: I was just an extra in a movie with her.  It was cool.  I’m working on the blog post about this.

Steven Spielberg:  Went to summer camp in maine with his kid.  I got to meet him at the end of the summer when he came to pick up his kid.  It was like… whoa… you’re Steven Spielberg!  He was like “hey”.  As you can tell my depth of conversation is lacking whenever I meet these people.

Kate Capshaw:  Kate was there at the beginning of the summer to drop off her kid.  Kate and Steven were married… so it was the same kid.  Mom drops off… dad picked up.  Here’s how I picture the convo going early that summer “Kate dear, ET and I have a lunch date the day our son is supposed to be at camp… would you mind dropping him off at summer camp and I’ll pick him up at the end?”

Chelsea Hertford:  She’s the littlest one in the show “Major Dad”.  I was in first grade with this girl.  Honestly… I remember very little of this.  I just know I have a class picture with us in it together.

The Gin Blossoms:  I got to talk with these guys because they came to play a free show at IUP.  The power blew and without any power they decided to come down into the crowd and hang out and talk.  There was free popcorn so we ate popcorn together.  When power was restored they finished their set.

So yea, I’ve met my fair share of famous peeps.  There’s more, but those were just the first few that came to mind.

Actually… how could I forget my awesome friend Brit!  We actually dated WAY back in summer of 2002 but decided we make way more awesome friends… she totally counts as a celeb too… My friend Brit was on season 8 or as they call it cycle 8 of America’s Next Top Model.  If you watch the show you probably saw her in 2007

(Brit there are a LOT of pictures of you on google images... just FYI... it's kinda freaky... i'm not gonna lie.)

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America's_Next_Top_Model,_Cycle_8

Actually look about half way down that page at the episode that aired april 4th 2007 called

“The Girl Who Gets Thrown In The Pool”

You notice Brit’s personalities for that photo shoot were:

Innocent, Spacey, Secret Evil, Goofy

Now go over to my recordings page and look at the lyrics for song number 134 “Shape Me (You)”

“Spacey, goofy, you don’t know what you do to me

It’s secretly evil how you’re innocent and fooling”

Yep.  Can you tell where the chorus for that song came from?

 

Like I said there are other’s but maybe I’ll post about all my celebrity meet ups at another time…

It’s about a Grammy winner Oscar and a Winner I’d like to chat with

So who are my picks?  Both are ones you probably might never have guessed…  Let’s start with a Grammy winner:

Tracey Chapman


Yep.  I think she’s a fantastic songwriter.  Never have I seen a songwriter put what seems like their entire heart into their work.  I think she’s just an amazing woman and her biography is pretty interesting too.  She definitely overcame some very bleak times in her life to get where she is.  I think as well from what I’ve read and just the way she carries herself on stage, she would be a VERY personable and GENUINE human.  I don’t think there would be a fake bone in her body.  She just seems like a completely honest and awesome person!

I’ve liked her music for as long as I can remember discovering her.  I used to listen to “New Beginning” on repeat when I first got my hands on it.  But the songs on all of her CD’s are just raw emotion.  This woman is writing songs from maybe more than the heart… maybe somewhere deep within herself and her soul, no doubt.  She is writing songs from her soul’s inner core.  She writes as an outlet and not as a way to make a quick buck.  If you listen to the messages in the songs they are full of hope and inspiration and just raw passion!

There is just something different about her from any other musical artist that inspires me.  I’d love to have a conversation with her and listen to what she has to say on life.  Along with her passion for music, she has a passion for giving back… she performs often for charitable causes involving both poverty and AIDS.

Tracey Chapman, you inspire me as a person and a musician.  I’d love to meet you one day.

 

http://www.lyricsfreak.com/t/tracy+chapman/biography.html

 

Ok so the second part an Oscar winner…  Actually this one is a little less inspiration in nature and more someone that I think would just be fun to chat with!  Although don’t get me wrong, I think she’s a great hardworking inspirational person too!  But… well… let’s face it.  I had a crush on her since I first saw speed.

Sandra Bullock


I don’t know what it is about her… but she’s just magnetic!  I love her vibrant personality and her smile and her energy and let’s be honest.  I still have a crush on her.  She’s a fun actress to watch in any part she plays no matter the movie.

As well she’s a generous and giving person too!

This is from Wikipedia (I can just hear the librarians from work right “now never cite Wikipedia!!!”), but I’m sure it’s accurate

“Bullock has been a public supporter of the American Red Cross, twice donating $1 million, first to its Liberty Disaster Relief Fund and four years later in response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunamis.[54] In 2010, she donated $1 million to relief efforts in Haiti following the Haiti earthquake.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandra_Bullock

 

Sandra Bullock.  I’d love to do lunch some time.

 

So there you have it.  Those are two famous peoples I’d like to hang out with and have a convo with and really get to know on a personal level.

What about you?!?!  What celebrity peeps would you like to meet and really get to know?

I’ll be honest... there’s just sooo many choices that I had the hardest time picking.  There are so many others I’d love to meet.

All this celebrityness aside…

I’m happy just sharing my life with everyone I know that isn’t a celebrity!  Every person has value no matter what they are doing in life.

 

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26Feb/110

My Theory On Sleeping In

 

I love sleeping in.  Sleeping in just makes me happy.

 

 

Almost as happy as that song makes me.  I don't think that's the official video for the song.  But I do like that video as well.

So here's my theory on me and my sleeping in.

1. I was born in California.  When I sleep in, I generally will naturally sleep till about 12 noon without the influence of an alarm clock.  In Cali time this is 9am.  Which would probably not be considered sleeping in.  Here's what I think: My body is still naturally stuck on west coast time zone and that I naturally like to wake up at 9am.

Maybe there's a lesson in there... try not to deny your past or roots but try to figure out a way to mesh them into your future?  Much like there's probably some sort of great symbolism going on in that video with the red string in the woods?  I'm not the best at interpreting symbols.  And it's a Saturday.  So i'm going to go easy on the whole deep thoughts thing in this blog post today.

2. Here's my other thought.  When I sleep in, I generally sleep 10 hours.  Actually 10 hours seems to be my natural sleep cycle time.  So last night I went to bed at 2am.  My plan was to go to sleep early, but I always fail at that.  But maybe I just need 10 hours sleep.  However since I'm so bad at actually going to sleep early yet I need 10 hours of sleep a night sleeping in is the best option for me.  And for when I don't have ample sleepy sleeps time... There's a magical thing that exists called caffeine.  It comes in many different forms and it's very amazing.  So I am very thankful for it's existence!

I'm just glad I get to sleep in one day a week at least.  Some weeks it's two days a week.  I suppose I have something to look forward to in retirement?  I plan to sleep in every day.  Although, everyone I know that's over the age of 65 gets up at 4 am and goes to sleep at midnight.  Maybe their plan was to sleep in everyday when they were my age once they reached that age?  Although maybe i'm one of few people who just seems to require sleeping later or more sleep.  Not sure.

So tomorrow I'm going for my second church visit.  Now the good thing about this place is that it's at 5pm.  THAT means, wooo hooo... I can still sleep in!  They have earlier services and i've been fighting with my thoughts as to should I attend an earlier service.  The problem with the 5pm service is that there aren't many people there.  I stick out like a sore thumb.  OBVIOUSLY i'm one of the few people there that doesn't come regularly and everyone can tell.  this isn't that bad.  But I just think maybe if I went to an earlier more densely populated service I'd feel a little more comfortable and i'd be able to focus more on things?

Like with every decision there's always the pro's and con's to weigh.  As long as the pro's win out over the cons, then I think it's an OK choice to go with that option.  You'll never get 100 percent pro's on anything in life.  At least that's my findings.  I just try to go with what best fits and feels comfortable.  Ya know?

So... last week I was given "homework" and I failed to complete that.  haha, maybe that's part of why I want to hide in a bigger crowd:

1: Memorize 2 Corinthians 6:14... I don't even know what that is?!?!  A little help?  Memorize?!?!  Can't I just read it off my iphone?  I have a problem even memorizing my own songs for live shows... that's why I play live with a laptop with the lyrics on it.  Let alone memorize an entire Corinthian... let alone TWO of them!!!!  At 6:14 AM?  Or PM?  I'm confused.  What is a Corithian?

2. Attend next three Sundays of the "Mayhem" Series... Ok I got that one at least!  Or, that's my plan.  Last weeks lecture/class/sermon... whatever it's called was actually pretty good.  It was on relationship road hazards.

and number 3...

3. Invite someone to attend church with me next week.  Yea, I tried this... no takers.  Anyone who reads this blog want to go with me tomorrow?!?!?!  Hello?  No?  sigh.  It's ok, i'm supposed to be doing this alone anyways.  That's the plan.  But if anyone's interested i'll buy you a favorite dish at your favorite resturant or cup of coffee or something.  Anywho, just let me know yo what the dealio is fo ta-marrrow (that's the philly accent).

 

So 1 out of 3... that's what 33 percent?  Crap.  I failed.  33 percent is def not passing.  I need a tutoring.

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25Feb/110

MUSCLES!

No... not the kind you eat... the kind you have on your body... or in your body?

This is somewhat of a follow up to yesterday's post about running... So... continuing on with the fitness theme.

It makes me slightly sad when I can't find a funny clip on youtube to go with what i'm attempting to articulate.  If pictures speak a thousand words then videos speak like at least 1500.  Or maybe 2 or 3 thousand.   Or a million?  Maybe.  I'm not an official expert on the word to clip/image ratio theory, so I'll have to get back to you on that one.  Topic for another post?  Perhaps.  At any rate...

I couldn't seem to find the scene on youtube... but it's from this movie:

There's a scene when the next door neighbor's kid (Thomas Wilson Brown) is working out. And the dad (Matt Frewer), I think says, "When I was your age, I put on twenty pounds of pure unadulterated blitz-the-quarterback-and-rip-his-head-off muscle, Russell!" or something to that effect.

It stuck with me.  So now every time I see someone with any sorta "beefy machine gun tanks for biceps" thing going on I think of that scene and line from that movie.

So... i'm a dude who really doesn't have much muscle mass.  Ok, honestly, I never have really ever had any of these so-called "guns".  I mean I think maybe once or twice in my life i've tried to bulk up.  Even one of the times was on accident, because I was playing drums a lot and if you play a lot of drums you tend to get a little bit more muscular.  Think of every drummer you know... for the most part, all of them have some kinda gun action happening, right???

 

 

I mean look at the GUNS on that guy!  I DO NOT want to pick a fight with this dude.  NO WAY JOSE.  You go ahead and pick a fight.  But i'm not.  I'll watch.

 

JUST LOOK AT HIS FACE!!!  He's ready for a rumble.  and then maybe a nap after.

 

Sorry, ok back to the blog... right so, I'm like just this little nerdy wimp.  That's kinda always been my style and that's what I am.  Buuuuuuuuuuuut... what if I wasn't anymore?  OK here's the story:

A few weeks ago this juice was on sale (only the first one was... but I bought the second one as well, which wasn't on sale)...

Normally I'll buy one of these Naked Juices every few weeks or so.  Especially the power C one when i'm feeling sick, but never the protein ones.  Because normally i'm like what do I need protein for?  This stuff is for body builders and it just never interested me.  Well... on a whim I was like what the heck?  I'll buy it and try it out.

Umm... that was a mistake.  I can't stop drinking it!  ITS SOOOO GOOD!  Crap.  This is not good (well I mean it's good... but it's not... The JUICE is good... but me drinking it EVERY DAY can't be).  Here's the two problems with this:

1.  It's kinda expensive.  It's like 4 bucks a bottle usually!

2.  I think it's loaded with extra calories.  Not to mention all that protein! Not that i'm a nutritionist or anything, but I don't know what this is going to do to my body drinking it on a regular basis.... but I can't stop!

 

So now I've been buying one every couple days.  Well after the first few, I got curious and  I did a little googling and researching on muscles.  Then pictures came up of guns...

big guns...

SO I decided.  I ALSO want tickets...

 

TO THE GUN SHOW!

 

 

I mean, come on... how bad could it possibly be if I looked a little more like this....

 

and less like...

 

 

So... to deal with the increased caloric intake from these yummy Naked juice shakes... I've been doing 2 things:

1. Riding my exercise  bike more.  I've been riding for years... but I usually only did it every few days.  Now i'm doing EVERY day pretty much no matter what.  I have a stationary bike and I like to read and ride.  Or watch episodes from TV shows streaming on my laptop while riding.  So when my boss asks me about the latest episode of family guy that I missed because I wasn't paying attention to the time it was supposed to be on TV.  I can watch it online and still be prepared to laugh WITH him instead of be laughed AT.  Oh, small piece of advice: I know the phrase is Laugh WITH instead of laugh AT... never laugh AT your boss... you probably won't have a job for very much longer.  Unless he's a comedian and he tells jokes that you are supposed to laugh at.  In which case you'd be laughing at the joke... not the boss.  Laugh WITH.  Got it?  Ok cool.

Kinda like how I say funny things in this blog and you the reader are laughing WITH me AT those funny things... not AT me...

Ok, moving on to numero dos as in dos equis.  AKA two.

2. Pumping a little iron.

 

 

I bought some free weights last year and I used them a little here and there but decided to start using them a lot more in the recent weeks.  So this is an experiment, in a way.  Let's see how buff I can get!  Who knows... maybe the next time you see me I'll be able to bench press your cat.  Or dog.  Or goldfish.  Or at least pick up the bag of goldfish from your counter without straining myself.  If nothing else... at least i'll be able to help people move furniture around easier.  Or carry groceries for old ladies.  etc.

Now, of course, this is me we're talking about.  I'll probably look exactly the same even 6 months from now.  But i'm gonna challenge this.  Maybe i'll take a picture of my "guns in progress" every day for 6 months and then compile them all into a movie of 10 photos a second and post it to you tube to see the progress.

 

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24Feb/110

Valley Green, Running, Spring

Like most everyone else, i'm starting to get antsy for spring.  I'm going to say I enjoy all the seasons equally (actually I like fall a LOT more than the others... and maybe then spring... but don't tell the other seasons.  I don't want the other seasons getting jealous).  So winter is OK, but i'm ready for some warmer temps and to get out and start running again!  I don't like to run when it's cold out.  I'm not a diehard runner like those people you see who run at 4 am when it's 6 degrees out, in those insanely tight shorts and they have a huge... grin on their face like they get more joy out of this than they do anything else on the planet...  Like this guy...

So, yea, no running for me in the winter.  It's too freakin cold.  But once it gets warm out.  I like to do my thing.  Where do I like to run?

This place:

I apologize for the uber small picture... it was the best I could find on short notice.  So, where and what is that you ask?  It's called Valley Green.  I work across from it and it's one of my all time favorite places I've ever encountered.  It's part of the Fairmount Park Philadelphia's Park System.

http://www.fairmountpark.org/trailsintro.asp

They have running trails galore.  So... ok i'm not a traditional runner.  I don't have all the legit running gear that all the pro's have.  Here's what i like to do.

1. Put on trail hiking pants from The North Face (I like NF, they make quality stuff, at least from what I own)

2. Put on an audiobook. (I like audiobooks lots,  they are just awesome, I listen to them when i'm doing things around the house too... like dishes, or ya know, cleaning the cat box... icky cat boxes.)

3. Disappear up into the trails for hours.  There are MILES and MILES of trails to explore and they wind up into the hills and forests and past meadows.  It's really relaxing.  Some times I walk, some times I run, sometimes I hide, some times... I put Britney Spears on and sing "sometimes" out loud while I run...

P.S. Actually I don't ever hide in the woods... that's creepy.

P.P.S. Also I don't sing out loud in the woods either... that's also just plain weird.

P.P.P.S. Oh and yes I don't listen to Britney Spears... often.  haha, no seriously... I don't.  Sometimes I listen to Robyn though:

(Dear Robyn: You don't have to dance on your own!  I'm sure lots of guys, and probably girls too would love to dance with you!)

Well, now that I've officially made everything awkward here... moving on.

Ah yes, in the middle of the park is a restaurant place.   There is seating by the creek outside.  it's always very nice and everyone always looks like they are having a good time.

Here's the linky thing: http://www.valleygreeninn.com/

I just can't wait to get on my running shoes (I don't really have running shoes, I just use the shoes I wear every day) and hit the trails under the warm sunshine.

The BEST part about this park is that it's all free for public use!  Also there are MANY parking lots provided and parking is ALWAYS free!  So it's usually easy to find somewhere to pak ya ca... or for those NOT from bean town... park your car.

So there ya have it.  The next time you are in the area. Check it out.  Here's the general location:

View Larger Map

As you've noticed... Today's blog was a "little" shorter.  Yes, I said "today's blog".  I think i'm going to try and post a blog once a day.  As well, instead of writing mamoth crazy hour long reads.  I'm going to break them up into smaller blogisodes... and if necessary include cliff hangers, if it happens to be a multi parter.  You know, kinda like on TV shows...

(in tv voiceover voice)

PREVIOUSLY ON KENNY WEST'S Blog:

...Cut Scene...

I'M HAVING YOUR BABY!!! WHAT?!?

...Cut Scene...

So THAT's where the last piece of pizza went to... now if I could only find my stash of roofies

...Cut Scene...

How was i supposed to know you had a pet giraffe when you were a little kid that ran away?!?!?  That's SO unfair of you to hold that against me!  I was just joking!

...Cut Scene...

Stay tuned...

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23Feb/110

Sick compy? Here’s a few tips.

As you know... by day i'm a computer nerd guy guru at a college.  By evening... i'm probably still a nerd... but I turn my efforts towards being creative and writing music and attempting other things.  Like writing blog posts.  Or playing with construction paper and trying to make funny videos... but never seeming to come up with anything good.  One day i'll get the whole video side of things happening.  I also write lots of short stories, but those haven't made it up here either.  So we'll just say, I'm an idea man/ music guy/ computer tech wiz person.  I also like to use "..." a lot.  I should start a "..." club.

Sooo..... that being said...

...

I've decided to show everyone the "secret" or AKA "special sauce" that I pretty much use for nearly 95 percent of all computer problems I encounter.  For the other 5 percent of problems... well... let's just hope those problems never happen... while they can be fixed, it usually requires calling in a professional.  So, if you have a sick PC and it run's on Microsoft Windows operating system, here are a few of the best ways to fix it on your own.  I'm going to try and make this as plain English as possible, at least in the beginning (some of the later fixes get slightly more technical).  If you have a Mac... two words: apple and store.  If you have a linux machine, well, you probably already know way more than what you could possibly read on here.  So yes this is for anyone who knows maybe just enough to get by and is willing to give it a try (ooohhh that rhymed... I should write a blog one time entirely in rhyme... poetry and prose.  Maybe I'll try that in my next entry!).

This is for pretty much any basic issue where some window won't close or spyware/malware/virus issue you might ever have.  And some other basic problems too.

Ready?

ok... here we go:

PLAN A: First thing to try: Restart, with ooomph


Most of you know how to do a normal restart as in the video above.  I'm not talking about just hitting the start button and then hitting reboot.  This, or just hitting the power button and then turning it back on again once it's been off for 10 seconds.

This is something else.  let's talk about 2 things here.  1: If the LED is not GLOWING... the PC might not even be on.  That could be your problem right there. :)  ok, that's just me being a smarty pants... Sorry!  I know you know how to turn a PC on.  Ok.  So second thing 2: This is called FLEA power.  Don't ask me what it stands for... just listen, i'm sticking with the KISS principle for this entry.

KISS = KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID (not the rock band, or the thing you do with your lips and the lips of another person)

FLEA power is the excess power left inside the PC once you turn the PC off.  Ok so, even with the PC off there's still little bits of, we'll call it, "ghost data" stuck inside the PC.  Here's what you do to clear it ALL out and scare away all the ghosts.

1. Turn the PC off.  IF the PC is "STUCK" and won't power off.  Just hold in the power button until it quits, or makes that sad robot sound of a robot powering down.  If that didn't work, yank the cord out.  If the PC is STILL on... it might be time to call a priest.

2. Unplug it completely (if there's a battery, remove that as well)  This is slightly redundant... but just make sure there's NO power source going to it.

3. Hold the power button for 10 seconds... use Mississippi's in there when counting.

4. Reconnect the power button, and battery if you had one of those.

5. Power it back up.

That fixes something ridiculous like HALF of all computer issues.  Don't ask me how it works or anything like that.  As I said, ghosts... inside the PC.... need to be scared off.

If that didn't work for ya... here's the next thing to try...

PLAN B: JUST KICK IT A FEW TIMES.


Kick it!  ok just kidding!!!  KIDDING!!!  This is more of a pre-emptive strike than a repair fix: Don't ever kick or drop your PC or water it... Computers don't ever need to eat or drink!  I PROMISE YOU THIS.  Especially sticky liquids on the keyboard... coffee, tea, beer, juice... etc.  Also if it is broken and you don't know what you're doing... don't take a knife or hacksaw to it.  and most important...

DON'T FREAK OUT! Just stay calm and contact a professional PC repair dude such as myself.  PC's are machines and lines of code and just one proccess firing off in sequence one after another...  They break because something fails to happen in that chain.  Just like a line of domino's if you replace one or break one or move one... the whole thing will stop at that point.  This is what a blue screen generally is.

Computers are NOT possessed by satin.  They don't have minds of their own (yet) and they aren't TRYING to ruin your day on purpose just to get back at you for not being around enough like cats do.  Cats are MEGA witty and mischievous little balls of fur, but we can't help but love em!

Just stay calm.  When something has gone awry.  Nearly all computers issue can be fixed.  Everything is easy when you know the answer!  It's just a matter of using troubleshooting skills to find that answer.

Ok so that's really all I can recommend for most novice users... if you are feeling SLIGHTLY less novice here are some additional things you can try...

PLAN C: REMOVE STUFF


Things get installed by accident.  If you are having an issue and you weren't a short while ago... think about what you've added to the PC!  Here are some things to consider:

1. Toolbars.  Toolbars are the WORST.  They consume system resources and track personal information and SLOW down PC's like no other.  They cause MEGA issues in browsers especially after an update has been run.  Most toolbar companies are EXTREMELY lazy about updating their products to update with bug and patch fixes that come through on windows update.  STAY AWAY FROM ALL TOOLBARS IF YOU CAN!

2. File Sharing programs... ok first off... it's illegal.  Obtaining software that doesn't say in the software agreement THIS IS FREE TO DISTRUBUTE is yes illegal.  As well so is downloading music, tv shows, movies... from those sites.  Copyrighted material took a lot of time to create and produce and write etc.  I am a songwriter and I give my stuff away for free.  But trust me.  Most people want to get paid for their work.  All that good TV and music and movies you consume takes more effort and creative energy than you can possibly imagine!   Also... it screws up your PC if you get it through file sharing... so it hurts you too!  OK... i'm off my box of soap now. Sorry abouts that!  just don't be a mooch, instead, find someone to smooch (I made that up myself).

3.  Have you installed anything else that you REALLY don't need?  Those silly "insert smiley faces into your emails" programs?  Anything else?  Just be attentive to what you are clicking accept to.

Ok so... let's say you did install something and you can't seem to remove it.  There's a lot of programs that are like that in the spyware and malware classification....  Let's get rid of those...

PLAN D: Malwarebytes


This program works wonders.  it's free too... So... if you don't already have it installed. Go over to www.malwarebytes.org and download it and install it.  You can even just do the quick scan and it should find most of the junk that might be causing your issue.

http://malwarebytes.org/

DL that shtuffs.  Install it. run it.

That's a video on how to, I think harry potter is giving the tutorial, although that isn't confirmed (it sounds like harry potter).  Also I didn't screen the video... so forgive me if there's anything in it lewd or annoying or he moves too fast.  I just kinda skimmed.

ok moving on....

PLAN E: TRINITY RESCUE DISK JUNK FILE CLEANER


You probably have some files "Stuck" inside of windows.  Again, i'm not going to go into all the reasons that files can get in effect stuck... but it can happen.  One of the best ways to clear stuck temp files is to boot off a rescue disk and clean out the PC using the clean windows junk files option.  Just choose the clean ALL junk files and then hit "Y" after it scans.  Head over to http://trinityhome.org.  And download the what's called an ISO file.  Burn that ISO file to a CD using your favorite burning application.

There is a free application available on a site called portable apps (www.portableapps.com)  they have something called the Infra Recorder.  That lets you burn ISO files as well.

F12 should get you the boot device list so you can boot off the CD.

this is kinda advanced so I'm assuming if you got down this far, either...

1. you are a quick learner

2. you already know this stuff

3. your just bored and wasting time reading my blog.

ok so now for the FINAL plan.  IF nothing else worked... here's the best weapon against PC problems on the planet...

PLAN F (F For FREAKING AWESOME... not fail.  At least i hope not fail... unless it doesn't help... then it's F for Fail.  OR, F for FML): LIVE VIRUS REMOVAL RESCUE DISK

No matter HOW infected your PC is.  This will always move the virus and move the virus again OR as most people call it: "remove".  Even if you can't boot into the windows it self.  This still will work. The only way this won't work is if you didn't listen to my plan B and took an AXE to it out of frustration...

(I couldn't find the REAL office space scene from the actual movie on youtube.  There are just TONS of remakes of it... so this will have to do.)

Basically boot off the disk, make sure the PC is HARDWIRED into a network connection and let the thing run it's course.  When it's done remove anything it detects.  This thing will removed tons of virus's more effectively than any windows "in os" antivirus because once you load up windows you effectively lock files in place and so you can't ever scan and remove every file.

it's like this:  If you clean an empty dinner table... it's a lot easier than trying to clean a table at which people are currently eating.

All antivirus programs run while the computer is doing it's thing... so it's like that annoying waiter/waitress that comes by to grab dishes from you at a restaurant even though you are still eating!!!!  Bit defender is like the server that waits till you pay your check and leave to come and clean everything up.

Make sense?  Kinda?  Maybe?  OK.

I like the live rescue disk from Bit Defender the best because it seems to be the most effective.

Download the disk from:

http://download.bitdefender.com/rescue_cd/

It's the file that ends with "ISO" and it's the one that's pretty large in size, like a few hundred MB.

here's an article on how to create a rescue disk:

http://kb.bitdefender.com/site/article/627/

Once you have that on CD you can then run it by booting off the CD.  Again, I think on most PC's it's F12... Or could be F10, or F2... or one of the F's...

or if that doesn't work just use the other F...

F__k it.

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20Feb/110

Song #156: Outlaw Lover

I present to you my newest song... "Outlaw Lover"

I was going to write a whole big long blog post about how this song came about and the meaning behind it all and how it’s supposed to be interpreted.  But, instead, I’m just going to leave it up to you: the listener.  Let your imagination wonder.  Just listen and enjoy it for what it is and make up your own meaning for it.

www.bennyeast.com/recordings

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17Feb/110

Cubase 6 has arrived in the mail!

So I got the new version of cubase in the mail!!!  I'm VERY excited to load that onto my Macbook Pro.

The new version has a few cool new features that I'm excited to play around with.  I decided that I'm going to wait to upgrade from Cubase 5 to Cubase 6 until after I've completed my new song.  I'll be uploading the song to my site this Sunday!  I'm very excited for everyone to hear it.  I think it's one of my most favorite songs I've ever written.

Anywho I just wanted to share that i got the new version in my actual hands (even if i haven't loaded it up on my computer yet) and for those of you who also do music recording things that want to check out the features and information on cubase, head over to their website:

http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/cubase/cubase6_start.html

Oh and for those of you who may not be interested in music recording software watch the video anyways, it's guaranteed to give you a chuckle. :)  I'm almost ashamed to admit that I use this program.  The promo video is the single most cheesiest thing i've ever seen in my life... it had me cracking up the whole time.  Especially every time that dude winks at the camera.  Oh gosh.  It just had me on the floor laughing.  It's almost as funny as that show An Idiot Abroad.

Watch for the cat on his lap....  That's my favorite part... oh and ricky's face on the cell phone... remind me to send a picture like that to one of my friends one time.

and here's another best bits of him in china...

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16Feb/110

Storyline photoshoot brainstorming (feedback needed!)

So this is a fan participation blog!

I'm starting to brainstorm for my third professional photoshoot.  Nothing is set in stone or anything yet... I'm just trying to do something new and original for the shoot.  I was thinking I want to have maybe 15 photos in a row tell a story.  Ive decided to call it my storyline photoshoot.  I have a few ideas already but I need feed back!   If anyone has any ideas feel free to email me at kenny AT kennywestmusic DOT com (I wrote it like that so them spammers peoples won't scam and spam my email).

So here's what I have and know right now:

  • 10 to 15 photos
  • Boardwalk location, so maybe one of the jerrrrrrrrsssssssey shores.
  • I want to make some sort of inanimate object come to life in the scene and interact with me... ie maybe a balloon or something.  Or have something chase me and then hide from me etc.
  • Comedy.  I want it to be very slapstick 1920's vaudeville type of comedy thing going on.
  • I want the pictures to be color modern day still frame versions of old black and white silent movies.
  • I want to wear some sort of costume or something interesting.
  • Anything else anyone can think of.

So that's what I have so far.  Anyone who has any idea... feel free to help brainstorm!  I know it's not much, but I want to wait till maybe summer time to do the shoot so I have plenty of time to come up with something good!

Thanks for any feedback. :)

-Kenny

P.S. stay tuned for a new song hopefully this weekend!

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6Feb/110

Idea #17: Digital Scents

Digital Scents

Idea #17


How FREAKIN COOL would it be if we could transmit smell over the Internet!?  I’m not talking about picking up a scratch and sniff card in your local supermarket then visit website X to play along.  Square number 12 goes with this smell.  No, I’m talking about smell EVERYWHERE online!  Attached to the computer screen would be this little odor emitter much like we have sound emitters… or as most people call them “speakers”.  Just as sounds are reproduced, scents would be reproduced.

Where would this be useful?

Think about all the different places this could be used.  Just with shopping online even!  One can only imagine: Teas, coffees, food, perfumes, and colognes.  Think about how great this would be for looking up recipes.  You can actually waft the deliciousness of a dish before you go out and buy the ingredients.  Or if you are thinking of taking your family out to dinner on family fun night you can smell the aromas of all the wonderful different dishes the restaurant has to offer!   Wow, I could really get carried away with this.  Think about just shopping for candles, or flowers!  “Oh my heaven that one smells absolutely magnificent.” Click… buy.

How does it work?

Well, I’m thinking ok audio and light are both waveforms.  So transmitting pictures and videos and sounds was accomplished by reproducing the wavelengths.  However smell remains ever so elusive because it is chemical based.  Thus you can’t use electricity to reproduce it (as far as I know).  So I suppose it would need to have some sort of cartridge filled with base notes and top notes and everything in-between to reproduce the needed scent on cue.  So just as ink cartridges are available for printers.  One could purchase a scent cartridge for this device.  So as to not use up your entire cartridge in the first 5 minutes smelling EVERYTHING the Internet has to offer.  I think something akin to a print button, or a “Smell” button would be needed.  Would you like to smell this?  Yes please!  “Smelling started!”

Goodbye “scratch and sniff” hello digital scents!  Mmmm Ooooo, ahhhhh!

For previously posted ideas visit:

www.bennyeast.com/ideas

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