Wednesday, May 27, 2009

56 Months

Went to see Jens Lekman yesterday at UCSD in a great new space called The Loft. He was a real gentlemen, down to earth and accessible, the furthest thing from a rock star. It was a pleasant and wonderful evening where Xtimu and I (along with my cousin Yeshua) were able to escape for awhile, which has become a renewed blessing now that Quinn is growing up so fast.

We really had to go because he's been on our radar for a couple of years now and we figured that he's the type of musician who will probably come through San Diego maybe once or twice during his career. We appreciate his music quite a lot and were not disappointed at all. One of the great things about the show was the venue. It's a small intimate place and the show was sold out but they didn't cram the room full of people. So the rush to the stage wasn't so overwhelming and if you wanted to stand at the back, the band was still only a few paces away. They even had sofa-benches and table in the back, which Xtimu and I lounged at the end of the show. It felt like we were listening to Jens live in our living room.

Another aspect of the night that felt really refreshing was the opening act. I searched high and low to see if there was an opening band but couldn't find anything listed anywhere. When we arrived we quickly found out that there was going to be an opener but it was a comedian, Tig Notaro, who Jens introduced himself. It was nice to have a light laugh before a rock concert because, maybe I'm beginning to show my age, I can only take standing before a wall of noise for so long. Very few opening bands ever have the stuff to keep me in the room but we enjoyed the entire length of Tig's routine from only a few feet away, which is quite a gamble considering her affection for insulting people in the audience.

We thought about taking Lucas because Mr. Jens is one of his favorite lyrical artists right now. He even played Lucas' favorite song where he knows all the words and sings it to us often. He even told me that he wanted to go but we weren't sure about subjecting his ears to the monster amplified sounds of Swedish pop music (the samples were outrageously loud!). I don't know, I guess 56 months is a little too early to get him into stuff like concerts and cooler than thou activities. I always imagined that I would be one of those parents that took their kids to everything but once you're raising them, it's easy to see that there are times when it's okay to let them wait. I'm an Aries and we don't like to wait for anything. It's taken many, many years of diligent patient meditative practices to get over that infuriating habit of wanting everything now, of worrying that maybe I'm going to miss something (when all I was missing was what was happening to me right at that moment). Lucas has a tendency toward impatience as well. Christ, our instant gratification culture trains us all to indulge that impulse as quickly as possible so I can see how people tend to become antsy at the thought of missing out (maybe it has nothing to do with astrology?).

I know that I am a better person when I can appreciate my life just the way that it is, at the natural pace that occurs. I call it the life pace. Life is never happening too fast or too slow. We don't ever have too much time on our hands or not enough time on our hands. It's always happening at the exact same pace as it always happens. No matter where we go or what we do or how old we get or when it all falls into place, the pace of life will never change. One of the aspects of the Buddhism that I study is that there is a rhythm in the universe and a rhythm to your life. You meditate to connect with this rhythm and by connecting to this rhythm, the things that happen to you don't seem like such a difficulty. The essence of Buddhism really tries to help you appreciate where you are right now and help you try to comprehend what you want out of life so that you can start making effective decisions to get you to where you want to be tomorrow. It's not so complicated and obscure. It's simply a way of finding the wisdom to make your dreams a reality.

Lucas will have lots of exciting events to go to in his life and every day Xtimu and I include him in more and more of our activities. He's our friend as well as our son and we like him a lot. I hope that Jens will come back in a few years when Lucas is ready to attend one of his shows. In the meantime, we got him a t-shirt and let him listen to Jens Lekman whenever he wants.

And can you.

P.S. I can't say it enough but Jens is really a great guy. After the show he told us all that if we wanted to talk to him or get him to sign something then he would be available. So for over an hour he stood at the side of the room and greeted anyone who wanted to talk to him. There was a line of fifty people waiting and I saw him chatting with people as if he had all the time in the world. I saw him talk to someone's friend on the phone and he hugged almost everyone. Even Xtimu went up when the night was dying down and asked him why he would take the time to do all of that. He just said that he really appreciated everyone and wanted them to know it. It's kind of like that story about Mr. Rogers going in to say hello to his driver's family and staying for hours because he just loved the company. Mr. Lekman even told Xtimu that we could get the violin arrangements for his songs so that Lucas can play them if we just emailed him., thanks!

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Sunday, May 24, 2009


Here's my annual SpringFling mix of some stuff I've been listening to the first part of the year. Haven't been very impressed with much that has come out so far in 2009, so I've been searching the archives for music that I could fall in love with again. Hope it brings sweetness to the ears.

1. Shpongle-When Shall I Be Free?
2. Portishead-We Carry On
3. Ladyhawke-My Delirium
4. Styrofoam-You Pretend You Own This Place
5. Lykke Li-Melodies and Desires
6. Man Man-Whalebones
7. Hrsta-Swallow's Tail
8. Gui Boratto-Atomic Soda
9. Purple Penguin-Memphis
10. Psapp-Parker
11. St. Vincent-The Party
12. Johann Sebastian Bach-Concerto for violin, strings & continuo No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041: 2. Andante


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

16 Months (II)

Quinnita does not like to say goodbye. If ever you try to leave her company she will break down and let you know how selfish you're acting and that you are permanently required to remain in her presence or take her with you wherever you go.

It's rather endearing to witness when she's begging you with a loud vociferous voice to never part from her. It doesn't last long and I'm sure that once we've left her she's perfectly fine without us. She has a resiliency that seems so much larger than her tiny little frame will allow but she has no problem expressing her enormous wishes. She gets that from her mother and it's one aspect of Xtimu that made me feel such attraction toward her.

When we met, I was a very quiet subdued person and it meshed well with her strong opinions. As long as she tended to express those strong feelings for how she felt about me, then how could I complain. I also didn't have much ambition or awareness for what I wanted in life and for someone like that, it's extremely exciting to feel a sense of purpose, even if it's happening vicariously through another person. But that type of experience will never be fulfilling in the end and fortunately for me I was able to learn how to become a self-actualized person. Now I know what I want out of life and I'm comfortable with myself and my own wishes.

All of that occurred because I met an extraordinary person who didn't have a problem expressing herself. Now we have a daughter who eagerly lets you know exactly how she feels all the time. There are moments when it's overwhelming and rattles your nerves but mostly it shines a light in your heart. She is brilliant and dynamic and wonderful and a handful and opinionated and loving. Everything is full go, rarely does she hold back.

That's going to be hard for her in a society that inhibits original thought, especially for a young woman. Quinn has the potential to travel a road that can bring her incredible joy and satisfaction in her life but that path is hidden and confusing in our culture. Both Xtimu and I are constantly trying to understand what will be the best thing for our children and now that we have a daughter, the challenge has changed. My wife knows all about it, having to deal with the extreme stress of the world around her for years, she never wanted to have a daughter because she didn't want another woman to be forced to experience the burden of not being male.

But now that Quinn is here, we wouldn't take it back for anything. She seems to be capable of anything (just as we all are) and as the days move forward, I'm trying to understand my role as a parent and a father and a male and all the subtle ways we squash childrens' dreams. If I know that my natural presence isn't geared toward stifling them and that I'm doing everything I can to help them keep hope vibrant in their lives, then I know that their joy will bring me great joy. I just want them to be happy. It's so hard in our culture to discover real happiness. If I can help my children do that in some way then I feel like I will have served my purpose as a parent.

Twenty years from now, I want my little girl to have grown into a wonderful woman and I hope that she's still expressing herself with confidence and volume. I want her life to rise above the repression and give strength to herself and her generation.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

55 Months

Lucas the violinist continues.

Lucas' Violin Lesson from RAMunoz on Vimeo.

It's such a delight to watch him develop. He's only been practicing since last September and in a matter of a few months he already has a tremendous foundation of music in his life. I'm so happy for him. I hope that he loves to play and that as he grows, his musical appreciation will grow with him. It's not something that he must do. It is only important for us to know that the incredible beauty of music is one of the roots that ground him to his life. I want him to know that the creative spirit that thrives in the dignity of humanity is boundless and when I watch this video, I can be witness to that truth.

My violin development is going along as well, although not as diligently or as confidently. It's intriguing to observe the structure of music. It's very linear and logical. It's a form of math with the way that we convey it in language. So that part is very easy for me to understand but there's also a tenor within the waves of sound that can't be explained. You can only hear it and try to express your own personal form of it through sound. I always believed that it was a strange and magical entity but until now I never felt that in my heart. I am now journeying down that path and I hope that it will help me grow for the rest of my life.

Quinn and Xtimu are next. One day I imagine we'll give impromptu concerts in our living room or out in the open under the stars. It'll be a family affair and that's what I want my life to be about.

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