Monthly Archives: January 2014

My Birthday: 2 Years Barefoot! (with a splash of Paul)

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(This entry is a rant, a birthday barefoot McCartney rant with a certain random quality to it… but in my Maya it all makes perfect sense)

My birthday is upon me, January 14th. I am now 4; or in normally gendered years… 36; and in secret years…. well that secret is for God (and a few people who “know to much”) to know. That date also happens to coincide (roughly) with the day I stubbornly and absolutely abandoned “my” shoes, not that I had been wearing them anyhow. So, why is “my” in quotes? because shoes are never mine, they are THEIRS! Shoes are not of my spirit, they are something that had been forced upon me up to that point, rather like a prison sentence. Shoes are a part of their, or your, society, don’t try and convince me I need to stuff my feet into those culturally abhorrent suffocating torturous bacteria incubators. Two years ago this January 14th (yep, that’s 2 human years wholly committed to being barefoot) I decided to liberate myself from even the pragmatic arguments that persuade lesser barefooters to submit. Two years ago I said no, I will not submit. I will not conform. I will not be bullied, coerced, guilted or given “common sense” lectures. I am barefoot.

I had always loved being barefoot, had always done it, but had never committed to it. At this point I don’t even own shoes, nor socks, nor sandals, nor hose, nor slippers, nor even a Christmas stocking. I’ve saved a lot of money. Anklets and toerings outlast shoes big time! Funny, but poor as I am, I often feel guilty for “blowing my money” on anklets… but considering what I would have blown on shoes, from now on I’m just gonna shrug it off and buy whatever anklet I want. Take that Nike! Just do it, huh? Well, I done did it. Or as Ghoulardi said, “If you’re gonna do something… do it!”

I imagine there are a lot of questions… like… WHY? Why is it so important that I stay barefoot all the time? And here’s the thing, if you are asking the question at all, then I doubt any answer I could give would make sense to you, but I’ll go ahead and give a few.

Firstmost I suppose the answer is… ’cause I want to. This is my manifestation in Maya, you wear shoes through yours if you please.

But for a longer and more in depth firstmost: as far as I’m concerned, there’s not much difference between wearing shoes and going out every day with gloves on, or a blindfold on, or earplugs in. Being barefoot offers me a world of sensation, and I do not want such delicious sensations muted by shoes any more than I want my hearing muted by earplugs or my sight dulled by shades. Of course some might then ask, “aren’t you afraid of cutting your feet?” No more than I worry about something flying in my eye because I’m not wearing a blindfold; no more than I am worried about going deaf if there’s a loud noise ’cause I don’t have my earplugs in. I ironically, do have hearing damage, permanent, from when some bonehead at a Ren Faire set off a cannon… damn, shoulda been wearing my earplugs. Think on that, yes, indeed, I could hurt my feet, but is that a reason to wear shoes anymore than that single cannon blast that gave me permanent hearing damage is a reason to wear earplugs day in and day out? Nope. Seems like simple math to me. I do realize that if a corporation came along, say like the Nike or Purell people, and found a way to make billions on earplugs… everyone would be running about with earplugs in… and looking at me as if I were nuts for not wearing them. Shoes, like earplugs and shades, are a choice, not a necessity.

So, what’s the payoff for being barefoot? There are many, but it’s primarily a hedonistic if not fetishistic thing, as well as a spiritual exercise. Being barefoot demands that at every moment I be alive in the NOW and fully engaged and aware of where I am at every moment. It’s a way of shutting down the noise in my ears, the bullshit that drags me down. Being barefoot is a pure and simple pleasure that overrides bad moments. I can endure a lot of drudgery if I can do it barefoot. Quite simply, life is more fun barefoot! Look deep down… you know that to be true… no no… look deeper…. see it! Ah… there it is, the way the truth and the light: life is more fun barefoot.

Why did I choose to just do it? Why did I choose not to listen to that sensible self that would have me encased (against my will) in shoes? Blame some of that (like a whole lotta stuff in my life) on cancer in Korea and nearly drowning in Thailand. There came a time after that, after I had confronted my mortality in a very real way, when I thought to myself… fuck this! After all, isn’t “fuck this!” a major motivator… had Edison not said “fuck this working in the dark shit,” we wouldn’t have track lighting. There are things I want to do in this life, and I’m damn well going to do them! If I love being barefoot, then barefoot I will be. Nothing like facing your mortality–DEATH–twice in 6 months to set a person straight. That combined with the inspiring whiskey drenched misery of the period that followed the cancer and near drowning. I had worked as an illegal immigrant in Chile and had to spend all the money I’d made escaping the country. I came home to suffer through a divorce, foreclosure and bankruptcy. I was bitter, broken, and a whiskey drinking alcoholic. Why did I decide to commit to going barefoot 24/7? Because I had nothing to lose! I still have nothing to lose. Let me hip you to the real rub… none of us have anything to lose… there is NO security out there.

“We can do what we want
We can live as we choose
You see there’s no guarantee
We got nothing to lose”

Paul McCartney, New

When seeking truth I always turn to the sages.

Nothing to lose, so I do as I choose, and I choose to live without shoes. And it’s my right, the right to shoes, the right to choose, I choose barefoot! I choose to be free and brave in a land that promised I would be allowed to do so… it hasn’t worked out that way. Just like with the Native Americans, America breaks its grandest promises… ask ANY intelligent foreigner what they think of the myth of American freedom and bravery. Go ahead, ask ’em. One thing you learn when you are barefoot… we are not truly free. Our basic and simplest personal liberties are not granted to us under the great American God… the ONE TRUE God in America, and it ain’t greed… it’s FEAR! Sorry folks, not a lot of freedom and bravery here amongst the purple mountains majesty, but plenty of fear. We’re afraid of lawsuits, we’re afraid of germs, terrorists, glass, gays, gun control, socialism, and bare feet! Ever try going barefoot in restaurants? Here’s the deal… ain’t no health codes nowhere no-how, but everyone is so afraid that there is that they forbid it. Can’t go barefoot to the Top here in Gainesville, can’t go to Chopsticks Cafe, so you know where I can go? Foreign restaurants. See, the Vietnamese, Mexicans and Indians aren’t as uptight as we are, and evidently are far more educated in regards to healthcodes than their American counterparts. I love you Saigon Legend!

“There is a fine line, between recklessness and courage
It’s about time, you understood which road to take
It’s a fine line, your decision makes a difference
Get it wrong, you’ll be making a big mistake

Whatever’s more important to you
You’ve got to change what you wanna do
Whatever’s more important to be
That’s the view that you’ve gotta see”

Paul McCartney, Fine Line

Paul McCartney singing out, again, about being genuine, fearless, true to self. McCartney has been utterly true to his nature… hey folks, believe it or not, those poppy and old fashioned songs… he does them because he loves them and is fearless enough to mix them in with his darker and more experimental work. The man’s work gives me courage to stick to my convictions. The courage to be barefoot. The courage to, like Paul, be grossly misunderstood. Oh well, it’s not McCartney’s job to be understood by cynics, just as it’s not my job to be understood by the thoughtlessly shod.

How long do I plan on staying barefoot? Forever if I have my say. I guess this means I won’t be getting on any planes anytime soon, thank God. Airports, the one place Americans can go to have it rubbed in their faces that the terrorists won… who needs it! The things I can’t do barefoot don’t bother me much. The things I can do barefoot thrill me. It’s worth it. So I don’t get to go to an airport and have some flunkie tell me to take off my shoes and then put them on again… how fucking random is that anyway? OK… so explain to me why it’s OK to stand around barefoot in the airport when they want to rummage through your stuff… but not before or after then? What the hell is that? Random brothers and sisters, that’s what it is… random! I don’t do random. Well, I do MY random; your random, their random, not my bag.

Yep, 2 years barefoot, imagine that?

I imagined it, now I’m doing it. If you’re gonna dream it, you might as well do it. And THAT, my friends brings me to another point. I used to dream, I dreamt big, real stinking big. It turned out that the dreams I had been dreaming depended on others. Did you get that? That’s the trouble with a lot of dreams, they depend on others to be properly fulfilled, on others to judge you worthy, on others to buy your stuff, give you the job, choose you, make you famous and popular… those are not practical dreams. Any dream that requires another person, or many people, in order for it to be brought to fruition is not a dream I am willing to dream anymore. I am finished with dreams that are beyond my control. I dreamt of living barefoot… I am living barefoot, and no one, not the Top, not Chopsticks Cafe, not CFOP is going to control my dream, nor make me submit, nor make me conform. I dream things I can accomplish on my own now. Being barefoot, that is under my control, that is a dream that is self contained. I can choose to live that dream. If you’re gonna dream, learn the difference between dreams that leave you at the mercy of others and dreams that depend solely on you. It’s on you! It’s all on you. It always was and it always will be.

“There were rules you never told me
Never came up with a plan
All the stories that you sold me
Didn’t help me understand

But I had to get it worked out
Had nobody who could help
So then in the end it turned out
That I had to do it
By myself…

Lief’s a game rags from riches
Dogs and bitches hunt for fame
Difficult to know which way to turn

Lay the blame on the snitches
Wicked witches fan the flame
Careful what you touch in case you burn”

Paul McCartney, Queenie Eye

Thanks Paul, as for me, I won’t be touching anymore dreams that depend on others for their fulfillment. And that lesson the dogs, the bitches and I have learned through being burned. Barefoot… that is a dream I can fulfill, and no one is going to stop me.

Peace, Love and Bare Feet, (and a couple kisses if you want ’em…)
Justine

Addendum: Speaking of the whole barefoot birthday McCartney thing… I just got back from seeing the Beatle tribute band Rain with Miriam. Of course I went barefoot. It amused me that more than once people in the crowd responded enthusiastically over the seemingly apparent fact that I had dressed up for this thing. Funny thing is, as Miriam pointed out, these are just my clothes. I hadn’t dressed up for Rain at all… I dressed for Tuesday! I wore BIG bell bottoms with holes in the knees, plenty of toe rings, a beaded belt thingie, a dyed lace frilled blouse with breezy open sleeves, a denim vest, bangles and bare feet, a bindi, silver feather earrings, and my Ganesh medallion and Shiva choker; and over it all my fluffy freaking frizz-mop hair, a long purple knit duster (which is cool ’cause the sleeves of my blouse hang out the ends of it like something from Sade’s time), a denim purse, and well… isn’t that enough? I think people expect far too little of themselves when they get dressed. So, no, this wasn’t a costume, it was simply Tuesday.

Good thing this show wasn’t on Wednesday… they’d have gotten an eyeful then.

Follow Up to “Ooh Lala!”

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2841982We all know I’ve already written a piece on my embarrassing encounter with Lala Rukh… so, since I’ve already eaten that crow and offered that apology publicly, let’s talk about something not only more positive, but something that benefits Lala and her lovely book.

For a long time now I have been suffering a minor, let’s say, lack of interest in things. Primarily a lack of interest in anything that required a lot of work on my part for a big gamble on a little return. Nothing quite takes the fizz out of the joy of playing guitar like a few gigs in sports bars. Nothing quite takes the joy out of getting your work published like say… nobody bothering to buy or read it. In the aftermath of that joyless defizzing there came a burning desire to do nothing at all.

That got old.

I have been at a crossroads between bitterness and boredom. One thing I know about myself is that I am not happy unless I am learning, and for many years I learned to draw and learned to play, sing, and write songs. The desire to do those things has diminished, but my need to learn things and be productive had not. Combine this with my rather lackluster skills as a cook. I eat healthy, I cook the things I cook very well, but I never use recipes. I really don’t experiment beyond variations on dishes I already know, but I have always fantasized about learning to cook food from India or Pakistan. The problem with cooking that sort of food is… I was intimidated by the complexities of it all.

Now… mix all that together.

Essentially I needed something productive to do with my time, and since gigging in sports bars and creating ill-conceived esoteric erotic comics that were double-bagged but never read no longer holds any appeal for me… I was out of ideas, until Lala’s lovely book came into my hands. I can say without hyperbole that this book changed my life. Not only has it given me something worthwhile to do, it has finally gotten me over my fears of both cooking in general… AND cooking this favored ethnic cuisine! Her book made this food approachable. Yes, her book has literally been life changing! I LOVE food from this part of the world, and being able to fearlessly cook my own has been a blessing on so many levels… heck, being able to cook anything from a recipe has been a blessing… and ALL thanks to Lala!

I have cooked 4 dishes from her book, and have been as satisfied with those dishes as any song I ever wrote or any page I ever drew. Actually, more pleased, as NOTHING about the results of this food were disappointing… unlike the joy of performing in front of a group of people who would really prefer watching the Cleveland Cavs game on TV… cooking this food had only upsides. The biggest upside was that I got to eat every single bite of it. Yum! So much better than working my way to obscurity and poverty through “labors of love.”

She breaks the recipes down into things that are approachable and completely understandable! There is no guess work, no confusion, no unnecessary complications, nothing but delicious and perfectly spiced foods! Quite honestly, the food I have made myself from her book has been better than most of the food I’ve had in Indian restaurants… except perhaps for the restaurant “Chakra” (which actually served food from Pakistan) that I used to eat at in Korea, though I might actually attest that her recipes are every bit equal to the food served there.

Take, for example, my most recent meals, which consisted of potato ryata and chickpea curry. Not only were both recipes delicious and a breeze to make, they made so much food that I have been able to eat meals from what I made for 5 or 6 days! And all for so little work! Beyond that… there is quite literally nothing in the world I would rather eat than this ethnicity of food.

Dear Lala, well done! Really well, done, your book has not only enriched, but revolutionized, my diet and my life… and I’m not sure one could ask for much more from a cookbook.

Check out her book, “Ooh Lala,” as well as her website http://www.lalacookspunjabi.com