Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Back from San Diego with a new attitude!

For the past week, I've been in Mission Beach with my brother Jason. It was really a much-needed respite from the every day life in Firebaugh. While I was there, I got back into my old fitness routine, and more than that, rediscovered who I am and where my inner peace lies. It sounds kinda cliché, but it really is true. In dealing with personal issues, and the day-to-day dreariness of my life, I really did lose myself and my focus along the way.
So this past week, with my brother there to support and encourage me, we did a lot of running (with my two dogs Bocce and Cowgirl). We also set up a bootcamp-style training gym right in the sand on the beach of Mission Bay. Next we started a new plan to fire up our ACN business, that's a surefire winner. I helped him set up his office, we ate great meals al fresco, right by the bay... It was almost purifying!
I learned not to succumb to negativity. from now on, I'll take control of my life again. it's a good feeling. A key factor in my new attitude is Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements. This is a collection of ancient Toltec wisdom, made easy to follow in todays' world.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Charlton Heston, a great American

I was really saddened by the loss of Charlton Heston this week. Not only was he a great actor, and a film legend, but he represented all that's good about America. He was the first actor that I actually recognized and got familiar with when I was a kid. Being a sci-fi geek, his leading performances in "The Omega Man", "Soylent Green", and of course, Colonel George Taylor in "Planet of the Apes". Not to mention all the other roles he was famous for that don't even need mentioning. his voice was commanding, and his screen presence filled the room.
Another thing I admire about Mr. Heston, is his commitment to what he believed in, even if it proved to be unpopular. His position on gun-owners' rights, and his love for America earned him criticism from many people, including those in his own industry.
Thank you Mr. Heston, for what you've done in my life and inspiring me and others.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Don't cry, Ramiele!

This week's departure of Ramiele Malubay came as no surprise to me. I did come in late to the Idol game this season due to a work project, missing all of Hollywood week and the elimination of the first twelve. So, I didn't get to see the early performances that earned her top twelve status. But, that being said, as I watched the diminutive and undeniably cute Rami perform, I had her pegged for an early elimination.
I just got the feeling while watching her, that she's just not a performer. She has an incredible voice, no doubt about that. She just seemed to not know what to do on stage. She gave off a look that seemed to say, "I've seen other singers do this, so this is what I'm supposed to do!" as she stood awkwardly or tried to look as-cute-as-can-be for the camera. That always reads across the TV airwaves, and sooner or later, the audience will lose interest and stop voting. I imagine her fanbase was a good percentage of Filipinos and other Asians giving her support (and valuable phone votes!). At the very beginning of the season, during her audition phase, she'd remarked that she aspired to be the first Asian-american Idol. Or did she say it without the hyphen; the first Asian American Idol? I couldn't tell... Either way, it was a very admirable aspiration.
Coincidentally, Ramiele's departure episode displayed video clips of "What-are-they-doing-now" clips of previous seasons' finalists. Most of them seem to be doing really well (The clips did not feature Jessica Sierra), and following their musical dreams in some capacity. Not to mention, being a top 10 finalist, Rami gets to go on the American Idol tour. With that kind of exposure, and the right kind of planning and representation, she has a great chance of continuing as a successful performing artist. After all, that's what it's all about, right?
This led to one of my patented "bright ideas™"... I mentioned to the lovely Mrs. Shoehead that Ramiele could not only be an "American" Idol, but she could go global with this. If she started representing herself as an example of Asian-american pop music talent, and also started booking concerts and releasing albums in the Asian nations, and the Pacific Rim, I believe she'll be hugely successful! A truly global talent, representing America, Asian-America, and the American Idol franchise to over a billion people! I hope her representation and management have at least entertained the possibilities. I told the lovely Mrs. Shoehead that I would be willing to represent Ramiele, if she needed me. So, cheer up my diminutive cutie, you could be bigger than Miley Cyrus, and not even have to concoct a "Hannah Montana" persona.


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Friday, April 04, 2008

Martin Luther King reincarnated?

It's a happy 40th birthday to my buddy from a previous life, Keith AKA Shrek. It seems he was born on the same day the esteemed M.L.K. passed away. Coincidence? I Think not... Any spiritual person (or non-spiritual, for that matter) would see the obvious fact that Keith "Shrek" is the reincarnation of Dr. King! Shrek was part of a little underground business that I got involved with when I first moved to California. One of the other guys in that little circle just happens to be the reincarnation of Elvis. Dennis, or "D" was born on August 16th, 1977, the same day as The King checked out of that Heartbreak Hotel we call life.
Can you see the parallels? Martin Luther KING, The KING? How can anyone miss that?

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SHREK!!! The big 4-0!

Thank you Dr. King

Just a little reflection on this 40th anniversary of Dr. King's death... The "I have a dream" speech from 1963 was one of the defining moments of the 20th century.

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Martin Luther King, Jr., delivering his 'I Have a Dream' speech from the steps of Lincoln Memorial. (photo: National Park Service)

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

A day in the life...

Another great day in Firebaugh... It rained a little yesterday, but today is sunny and warm! One of my cats, a cute kitten named Buster who went missing two weeks ago, came back! He was hiding out under the house, and the were sightings of him, and rumored sightings (like Elvis or Bigfoot) but he finally returned to the warmth and comfort of Casa Shoehead.

Now, I'm finishing my coffee, and working on my screenplay. ah, yes...



Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Maybe I'll join the C.I.A.

Three men answered and ad for CIA agents. The ad stated
the men were to bring their wives.

The first man was called in for the interview. The Agent
in charge handed him a gun, then said, "We must have
absolute loyalty in this service. Take your wife in the
next room and shoot her."

The man looked shocked. He thought and said "I'm afraid I
can't do that. I just got married 2 weeks ago and I still
love my wife." He left.

The second man came in and the agent gave him the same
pitch. The man, almost in tears said, "Oh no. I can't do
that to her, she's about to have a baby." So he left.

The third man entered and was given the pitch. So he took
the gun and his wife into the next room. Soon "bam bam
bam bam bam!" Then there was noise of furniture being
broken, woman's screams, then nothing. The man comes
back out.

The agents asked, "What went on in there??!!"

The man said: "Some idiot put blanks in the gun
so I strangled her!"