how a light bulb causes a light bulb to go off

Sometimes, editing photos is like deep meditation. Plug in the headphones, clear the head, and just groove. It’s at these times (and bath time) where I get my thoughts from.

Perspective told within a story, and how my parents didn’t fuck me up.

It was coming up on Christmas at the Falco house. Let me paint a picture – simple small 60’s kitchen, small table with 4 chairs, dinner is on the table, We’re all sitting at the table like we normally do for dinner. Happy Happy Family – in my perception.

Flash back a few days earlier, as my dad was preparing the Christmas lights to be installed and checking all the bulbs my dad came up with this ingenious idea of making a “test socket”. Now mind you these were the old school lights with full on lamp cord as the wiring and glass bulbs that screwed into a mini Edison socket – none of this low-voltage LED technology but good-old-fashioned high voltage lights. He’s so proud of his invention, it’s going to save him so much time testing bulbs. His invention, basically he took a lamp cord and wired one end right to one of the mini bulb sockets, the other end a plug that goes directly into the wall. Now I do not remember how old I was, but suffice to say, I was on the lower end of the Gaussian curve of “life experience”.

I see a shiny object, and it glows this wondrous light, and I must have it in my possession!!!

My dad specifically warns me how dangerous it is, that it’s not a toy, and I can hurt myself if I touch it. Clearly he did his full disclosure parenting conversation and he was absolved of all responsibilities and liabilities if I were to touch this light tester.

As he thinks I’m making eye contact with him and fully comprehending the gravity of it all, I’m just nodding my head mesmerized by the shiny.

A few hours later I go grab the shiny and bring it to my room. Plug it in and stare, and stare, and stare. As I get called to dinner I panic, knowing full well I am not supposed to be playing with this high voltage light tester my dad had made.  In my panic I stuff it under my mattress and run to the dinner table.

Remember that lovely image I painted earlier, the 4 of us around this cozy kitchen table, being a family and eating and talking.

I think it was my sister who first said “do you smell something burning?”

My parents put their forks down, sniff in the air, and say “Yeah, something is burning”

Michael stares at his plate and says nothing.

As they are sniffing the air, clearly smelling the smoke I also smell, my sister looks out of the kitchen and sees smoke billowing out of my room. Well I assume billowing because the way she screamed; it could have been the towering inferno. I do not know because I didn't see any smoke, I dared not move, I just kept my eyes down on my plate, stoic.

My dad jumps from the table, runs to my bedroom and proceeds to put out the fire I created by shoving this high-voltage light tester between my mattress and box spring. My mom and my sister follow him in a panic. I do not move from the table, not saying a word, starring at my plate. This is how I remember it.

The following events are still foggy, lets just say there was lots of yelling, explaining how horrible this could have been, that if we had left the house as I stuffed the light tester under my mattress it would have easily burned down my family’s home. This was a HUGE! I processed the gravity of the moment and it was a lesson for me.

My actions directly effect others, whether I like it or not, I have no choice in this. Now I’m not saying I was all Zen like at an age where I didn’t even know Zen existed but it planted a seed, it caused a ripple.

Anyhow, my point I was trying to make is simple and I went all Falco. The point is after all the yelling and screaming my dad did, he also let me understand that he was mad at the situation, and how my inexperience could have put my entire family in danger.  He may not have thought he got through to me, but he did.

This is my perception of this story, my father taught me a lesson, one of many. My mom also taught me a lesson as well – by simply saying “he’s your son” to my dad diffuses a lot of situations into uncontrollable laughs. I think my dad eventually learned this lesson as well because eventually he started directing the same comment to my mom years later.

I could have easily made this life lesson a horrible scar on my psyche, but I didn’t. I turned it into a valuable lesson, one of many that my parents taught, and that’s how they didn’t fuck me up.

Nick Cage said it best in portraying his character Ben in “Leaving Las Vegas” –

“I don't know if I started drinking 'cause my wife left me or my wife left me 'cause I started drinking, but fuck it anyway.” We all know how that movie turned out. You see the lesson there? Perception my dear friend, it really is that simple.

One simple, elegant equation that explains everything in the universe.

Forgive me for I have been remiss, really really remiss.

So, it’s been a time of deep thought, hard work, and the finding of balance between the two that has lead me to writing. Some time ago I posed myself with a question, sparked by Stephen Hawking himself. OK, it was really the movie “Theory of Everything” where I first heard of the simple, elegant equation. Balance – this is my simple equation to define everything in the universe.

It’s the delicate inputs that keep things from going haywire.

Balance, it’s as simple as that. Isaac Newton said it, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Einstein expanded on it. You forcefully try to offset the balance; it forcefully pushes right back. If you start doing slight input fluctuations, you will find balance. Think about pushing someone on a swing. It’s a bitch to get them a swinging, but once they start swinging other forces take over, you find a balance between all those forces and you see, it’s the delicate inputs that keep things from going haywire. Most of you have pushed someone on a swing, am I wrong?

You first start learning to drive, you mash the gas, you mash the brake. Do you not learn that gentle, gradual input is what gives you the smoothest ride?

I remember the first time my dad let me drive. I will never forget, we were putting up the soccer nets at Udall Jr. High and my dad had this old skool full size Dodge van. I begged him to let me drive it “come on dad! It’s a soccer field, I can’t hit ANYTHING!” Apparently my logic worked and my dad came up with the bright idea of keeping the driver side door open and standing on the step-up, with me in the driver seat. He felt this was the closest he could be to helping me out of trouble but still letting me get into trouble. Well, of course I go and mash the gas – we take off! MY dad tries his best to remain calm by screaming STOP STOP STOP!!!! Ok, I’m a kid, who never EVER drove a car before, what did I do?? I stopped, by mashing the brakes to the floor. This was my first experience with the impact of forceful motions, not sure what lesson number it was for my dad. I have since progressed and my driving skills have increased exponentially. Oh, side note, when my dad told the story to my mom when we got home, she laughed and laughed and laughed. I love my parents.

Oh, side note, when my dad told the story to my mom when we got home, she laughed and laughed and laughed. I love my parents.

Did you see what I did there? I threw a little zen at ya

Of course all this needs to be proven with graphs, charts, and shit – so if that’s your thing, google’s got it, that google guy knows his shit) In other words, I’m coming to you my peers, prove me wrong. Make this viral, I want my theory proven by the only people who can truly prove me right, the naysayers and the disbelievers.

Help me prove the simple, elegant equation balance=balance

Equal and opposite, for every action is a reaction. No matter how you say it, it’s how you perceive it that matters. If you can truly take comfort in knowing that if you continue forcefully, you will always be exhausted. Take a chance and try to focus (consciously) on every action you put out into the world. You might just find that becoming fully conscious might just be a kick in the pants.

I remember my first kiss, I do not remember the specifics, specifically her name.

The details I remember are faded, specifics all but gone, but I’ll do my best to tell a little story. I believe I was 13, it was a school trip to go to a Mets game, GO METS!! It was afternoon when we got on the bus; details are vague here so just imagine a bunch of 13-ish school kids on a bus, going to a Mets game, circa 1981. Got a mental image? Do you see their clothes, the music playing on a transistor radio, the conversations they are having. Imagine a small boy, not tiny but small enough to be made fun of. He’s wearing some hand-me down outfit, something he didn’t actively have a say in, he didn’t get to define his style, it was what someone today might say is “poor-couture”, it was clothing.

The game comes and goes, specifics totally lost to me, and we get on the train to head back home. I just now realized we were on a train, not a bus!!  Good old LIRR. Anyway, back to this smaller than normal sized boy in clothes he did not choose, sitting on a train after a day at a Mets game he has no memory of in NYC; heading back home to Long Island. In the various conversations and discussions around the train car he spots a girl. What exactly brought my attention to her I could not tell you, but I was transfixed. As the train ride went on, my apparent infatuation with her grew and I became the topic of conversation. I remember mumbled voices, muted laughing, maybe a push or a shove as 13-ish yr olds do when they are teasing each other.

I do not remember specifics, but I remember my focus on her. Everything around me faded to this golden hue that only a sunset can create, a hue I am continually fascinated with, along with sun-flare that made her look like an angel. As the train ride continued I remember these things: she was older than me, she lived around the corner from me – close enough I could ride my bike to her house, she had red hair (ahem Kimberly, I think we figured out why I love you as a red-head). She smiled at me and she was polite. Not once did she tease me for being this pie-eyed smaller than average sized kid in clothes he did not chose to wear.  I was … in love.

End scene: cut to next day or few days after (remember those lost specifics?)

We are standing on a street corner, there was a fire hydrant, I was on my bicycle, and she was much taller than me. I cannot tell you how many times I rode to her house, how many conversations we had, or even if she actually liked me or not. I have no recollection to any of the details. What I do remember is she kissed me on the corner with the fire hydrant, as I stood over my bike, on my tippy toes to reach her. She kissed me and her name was Gabriel (I think)

There’s a story inside that story. Did you see it? It was subtle but it was there, the main point of the story actually. 

The leading role in the story of my life

I may have written about her once or twice, I may have even posted a photo or two of her, but today I’d like to take a moment and thank her, once again.

So many thoughts of late, thoughts of re-locating to LA to chase a life-long dream, thoughts of leaving a secure job after 12 years, thoughts of leaving so many loved ones in various states over the years. So many memories, so many stories. Here is another one, Cheers! Please remember, this is not a love story - this is MY love story.

We often think of our lives and how we’ve lived it, what we did wrong, where we should of done something different, that one time … everything in our life story is egocentric, after all it’s OUR life story right?? Wrong. So many movies I’ve watched where 2 or more individuals come together to accomplish amazing things. Then there’s that one movie where one person stands out amongst the others - as the leading role. In the story of my life, Kimberly has clearly defined herself as the leading role.

If you want to be king of your world, first make her the Queen of her world.

Kimberly has been such an amazing influence on me. She sees me, and she knows how to keep me grounded when I’m flying like a kite in a very crazy windstorm. YES, she is the person holding the string while I fly aimlessly in the sky, trying to stay afloat with the entire world crashing around me. OK, now that you have that visual in your head - some crazy kite that looks like me flying in a crazy ass windstorm. Get rid of it, and think of this - A warm summer day, not too warm and not too cold, the wind is blowing gently, and there is a kite, and as you follow the string down, there is a simply stunning and confident woman holding onto it, effortlessly. Enjoying the beauty of it all, not a care in the world.

Do you see what I see?

We are all kites in the sky of our lives. We all deserve to have someone holding on to the strings. We all deserve to hold onto someone’s strings while they float around for a while. We all deserve happiness in the balance of it all. 

 

NOTE: I am now at the point of my story telling to leave the interpretation up to you, I hope you enjoyed our little interaction, I enjoyed sharing it. I float effortlessly in the sky knowing full well the Queen of my world is holding tight onto my string.


 

Congratulations – achievement unlocked: lane-splitting

Let me preface this post by saying first and foremost – gather your own facts about lane splitting before actually doing it. This post is based solely on my Internet research, face-to-face conversations with CHP and observing CHP on the highway.

As the title suggests, I truly feel life is but a game and just like any other game when you level up and unlock achievements, the game gets just a little bit sweeter and a little bit tougher. Man do I savor a good level up.

When K and I decided to move to LA one of the first thoughts in my head was to get some 2-wheeled transportation so I could lane-split. This would hopefully cut down my travel time from gig to gig. I researched to make sure I could in fact bring a used motorcycle into the state of California and register it without hassle, and procured one of my dream bikes (more about LadyHawke in another post).

My first few days riding around LA and on her sidestreets and highways I never really hit any terrible traffic. I was getting a little sad, thinking that being able to lane split wasn’t going to be this awesome new achievement. A few more days and then it happened – bumper-to-bumper traffic. HA! Now to play around with this new found achievement! I went very slow, getting used to the idea of trusting humans in a motorized box to notice me amidst their texting/song picking/phone calling/ make-up applying/shaving/whatever else but driving distraction. I was amazed – people actually moved over a little, knowing that it was illegal to impede the movement of a motorcycle.

WOW, people actually MOVED OVER and let me through.

I could not fathom this, how, why, when did I get to deserve this?? Do not get me wrong, I was white knuckled the whole damn time - 2 fingers on the clutch, 2 on the brake (riders know EXACTLY what I mean here) But here I was – lane-splitting and cutting my commute time in half of what Google Maps said. HALF- you read that right, HALF THE TIME. It was awesome to say the least – remember the little bit sweeter, a little bit tougher? I have now successfully traveled over a months worth of rush hour commutes only to say my experiences lane-splitting are entirely positive. Do I come across a few people that think their Prius is as wide as a Semi trailer- you bet ya! Do I get people that clearly do not like the fact I am passing them and they DO NOT move to the side- every damn day. But over all, for me, lane splitting is fantastic!

In closing, I would like to thank the State of California for allowing me to lane split in their grand state.

One last thing – if anyone reading this has not moved past the thought that all motorcyclists are self-entitled assholes that expect the world to bow before them and say “cool bike” Please know I’m a commuter first and foremost, someone just trying to get to their job and make a buck. It’s not all a bed of roses, remember, we’re sitting on a hot engine – about 200 degrees hot. We do not have air conditioning or even a vent fan to cool us off. Being able to lane split not only cuts the time required to be sitting on your engine, but it also adds a nice breeze even if 15 or 20 miles an hours worth.

In closing, here is a quote from my lovely wife, Kimberly on her first experience lane splitting:

I also got to experience lane splitting on the 5 during rush hour traffic. Let's just say as a passenger with no control it was best to focus on the back of his helmet, hold on tight, and think skinny thoughts.