LOLLA OH EIGHT

Posted on April 8th, 2008 by george.
Categories: friends, fun, music, travel.

Ladies, gentlemen, the lineup is here.

Lolla 08 @ Yahoo! Video

Chicago. August 1-3. Be there or miss Radiohead, Rage, NIN, Wilco, Kanye, Blues Traveler, Jamie Lidell, Bloc Party, Cat Power, Dierks Bentley, and Newton Faulkner!

17 comments.

Calling all music nerds

Posted on December 27th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, fun, music, travel.

They Might Be Giants.

Orlando.

Thursday, March 13th, 7pm at the House of Blues.

BE THERE.

I will give you a ride and a place to say, all you need is transportation to Florida.

And I guarantee we will ROCK OUT.

5 comments.

Happy birthday, blogosphere!

Posted on December 17th, 2007 by george.
Categories: fun, future, history, technology.

I can’t believe you’re ten years old. My how you’ve changed things!

In other news, the future of the electric car is starting to look very promising!

What, you want more good news? Okay!

How about I up the ante with some great writing?

Something for your adrenal glands.

Something to get your mouth watering for the winter. (Watch the videos)

What about real, breathtaking HD video of orbiting our Moon? (Thanks Kevin!)

Speaking of breathtaking.

For the curious, an expert explication of the forces behind the headlines.

There. That should tide you over while I’m at SED.

3 comments.

Ojos Mexicanos

Posted on October 10th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, friends, fun, life, love, photography, space, synthesis, travel.

It’s 11:30. Let’s see if I can crank this out before another midnight rolls around.

I got off the plane in Miami yesterday, and by some miracle sailed through Customs. Straight to South Beach, where I had a panini and an iced cappuccino at the only dedicated Segafredo cafe in the world. Caught the parade on Lincoln Road, then sauntered over to the beach for my first ocean-water ablutions. No visit to SoBe is completed without a cruise down Ocean, and I must say Kashmir was feeling pretty hip with her sunroof open and Air on the stereo. Stopped by the giant sculpture of a hand on the way out of town, only to discover it was a Holocaust memorial. Spent a haunting hour reliving that nightmare in words, photos, music and art. The tour was free and I was undisturbed by any other visitors, thanks to the kind security guard. Took the scenic route out of town through Surfside, Bal Harbour, Haulover, Sunny Isles and Golden Beach, all the way to Hallandale before hopping on 95. An hour and a half later I was in Port St. Lucie, visiting Denise, catching up, eating protein pancakes and discussing the spirituality of extraterrestrials. We talked so late I ended up crashing in the guest room about two a.m. (after posting the nightly obligatory photos to flickr). Up by seven for a quick goodbye, on the road and into work by 9:30. Full day catching up on emails that arrived during my time in Mexico. Had the incredible honor and distinct pleasure of meeting Sunita Williams at the Expedition 14/15 presentation this afternoon. What a singularly amazing person! She is unbelievably kind, upbeat, fun-loving, intelligent, positive and happy. What a joy to meet someone so deserving of astronaut wings.

George, Suni, and Luke

Finished up a work, drove home to catch up on the scuba class I missed Monday. Managed to digest 90 pages of information in 45 minutes; enough to ace both tests today. Got out of class around 10:30pm, quick bean burrito from the border, and now this. I’m starting to get upset that I simply have no slots in the day in which to fit my gym routine. What a great problem to have, eh?

I relate all this to you in order to contrast the experience of the past five days in Mexico. People, I could write a small book describing what happens to me in that place; suffice it to say I took over one thousand photos. And you wonder why I’m six months behind on flickr. Though I will remind you that I’ve been consistently six months behind over the past year. So at least I’m keeping the pace, if not catching up.

But pay attention, chico! Mexico. Taxco was a dream. There’s no other way to describe it. Imagine waking up one morning and praying for the perfect day, then having your wildest dreams exceeded at every turn. Just wait til you see the photos. It was so idyllic I’m loath to even tell you the name of such a magical place, perched high atop cliffs in lush, pristine mountains. From our meal on the rooftop terrace overlooking the zocalo, to finding a nine-pointed star in the endless silver shops, to wearing one of my fifteen (!) new lucha libre masks through town and creating a scene…well, you just had to be there. Heck, if you want to go, I will take you there. In a heartbeat.

We fit a month into five days. I’m not even beginning to exaggerate. Floating languidly down the canals on a pole boat in Xochimilco. Dancing at one of the hippest clubs I’ve ever seen in Polanco. Racing through the empty, rain-soaked streets of one of the world’s largest cities at the wheel of Lulu’s Liberty at 4am. Quiet dinners and home with my Mexican family. Profound glances. Unspoken truths. Learning more Spanish than most people would in a semester.

Of the hundred epiphanies that were visited upon me during my stay, one stands out: on the last night, as I watched the lights twinkle on the mountains that ring this dream of a city, I realized:  I am a different person here.  Not once had I thought of my home in Florida, or my job, or my mortgage, or my bills, or my obligations. It dawned on me that my personality had changed; I was literally seeing with new eyes. Mexican eyes. What everyone had been telling me was true. “You’re at least half Mexican.” “No wonder you like Mexico, we’re all like you!” “You are my cousin, mi primo.” “You are my brother.” “Te quiero mucho.” “I love you.”

It’s a good thing I came back “home” through Miami. Otherwise I might not have survived the reverse culture shock.

8 comments.

7 Stars

Posted on September 28th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, fun, future, life, mathematics, music, photography, space, synthesis.

Half the band
Rockin' out
Guitar man

The Apples rocked hard at the AKA Lounge tonight. I was sorta disappointed that a city like Orlando couldn’t muster a better crowd for such an amazing band, but any chagrin quickly evaporated as I realized it meant I’d have plenty of room to dance on the front row. First off, I gotta give props to my friend Karen for introducing me to the happiest, catchiest band since Fleming & John. Second, kudos to Andropolis for keeping the flame alive with his recent mix CD that included the stand-out track from the Apples’ new album, New Magnetic Wonder.

On lead

After the show, Uncle Billy and I had the privilege of meeting the creative force behind the band, Robert Schneider. It’s not hard to see how such wonderful music comes from so effusive a personality. After thanking him profusely for creating such a positive influence through his mathematically- and astronomically-inspired, crazy-good music, I had but one quick question to ask: what was his inspiration for my favorite song, 7 Stars? I knew it had to be about the Pleiades, but I wanted to know more. I could not have imagined what came next.

Face to face

Let’s just get this out of the way: Robert is as big a nerd as I am. Super smart and curious, he’s the kind of guy who, not satisfied with conventional tonal scales, invents his own harmonies through logarithmic divisions of the sequence of frequencies from 4 to 16. So he may be as nerdy as a rocket scientist, but considering he’s the lead singer in a rock band, he’s considerably cooler. Turns out the Seven Sisters make up his favorite constellation. He is huge into astronomy and mathematics, as you might have guessed from his music, but what you may not know is that he studies advanced math on his own. For fun. He’s an automath in, well, math.

Intense conversation

In fact, Robert is slowly working towards a PhD (one can imagine touring might involve certain time commitments), with his dissertation undoubtedly piercing the veil of primes. But his geek cred rolls mad deeper: he wrote a computer program back in the eighties, when he was in middle school in Lousiana, that graphed out those same 7 stars.

Explaining the finer points of prime numbers

Before we knew it, we’d shared a half-hour conversation on prime number sequences, space exploration, star systems and the underlying language of the universe. It wasn’t long until his wife tapped him on the shoulder to say, “Honey, there are others waiting for autographs.” So he graciously attended to his fans, then we picked right back up where we left off.

Yes, grasshopper

Unfortunately by now it was nearly 2am, so we had to part. We said our goodbyes, but not before he slipped us a couple of personalized 7″ LPs and told me he’ll soon be taking his son to Huntsville for father-son Space Camp.

I get it now!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have found a new friend. Robert, if you’re reading this, I can’t wait to escort you and the Apples to a Shuttle launch. Good luck with those primes.  And stars. And frequencies.  And the mathematical music that ties them all together.

I've found a new friend
Bonus:  the finale from the show!

5 comments.

Serendipity

Posted on September 17th, 2007 by george.
Categories: enlightenment, epiphany, food, friends, fun, future, history, life, love, music, prayer, synthesis, travel.

Fere, Farah and Sarah

If there’s one thing I’m learning about writing it’s that when inspiration strikes, you must strike back, while the iron is hot. Some of you are probably wondering after the whereabouts of that potentially controversial essay I planned to write on Thursday, the day Lazi got into a car accident that left her and her friend upside down, hanging from their seatbelts. Don’t worry, she’s ok. But you see how easy it is to get distracted? Now it’s three a.m. after a life-changing weekend and my head is full of five pages that I can’t afford to sacrifice sleep to commit to words. God forgive me, but I feel I must resort to the dreaded bullet list. Behold: as many highlights from the weekend as I can remember. Rest assured there are hundreds more my poor brain is already forgetting as the cup overfloweth.

• Working extra hours in advance to leave work early Friday for Savannah to attend Louis and Shezel’s wedding
• Picking up Sarofsky and Justin in JAX
• Seeing happiness in the eyes of the four parents of the bride and groom
• Meeting Louis’s and his father Michael’s brothers
• Meeting Cara and Rob from Orlando and learning about life at Guantanamo and the difference between an interior decorator and an interior designer
• Bonding with Justin
• Bachelor party laser tag
• Gourmet brekkie at the posh hotel downtown, included with the room
• Getting half price on said posh hotel
• Meeting Brittany, the vibrant soul with light in her eyes, a lilt in her voice, spring in her step, and heart in her service, a senior in interior design and our cashier at the sandwich shop
• Hearing the words “Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona” sung by a local artist at an outdoor cafe the moment we rounded the corner to the sandwich shop
• Making it to the wedding in advance to help set up
• Enjoying the honor of reading 1 Corinthians chapter 13 during the ceremony from the microphone between the bride and groom, their silhouettes framing the faces of an audience brimming with love and support for the couple
• Reuniting with members of my local Brevard County family on the lawn
• Meeting Brenda and Nancy, kindred spirits, by the hors d’oeuvres as the sun went down on a beautiful day
• Sharing tough but enlightening conversations with Ladan and Ramzi and family
• Witnessing the impossibly beautiful blending of the cultures of two different families manifest itself on the dance floor
• Busting several moves on said dance floor before the rug-cutting was cut short
• Listening to Darrell dedicate his poem to his little brother
• Eating wedding cake in honor of Mom (it’s her favorite dessert)
• Throwing Persian “rice” at Louis and Shezel on their way to the limo
• Finishing off the last of the wedding cake
• The Saturday night misadventures of $20 covers at bowling alleys, full car sing-alongs, and visiting the beach at Tybee Island for the first time at 2am, spending hours splashing in the ocean, looking at the stars and talking about the universe
• Waking up late Sunday to bid farewell to so many wonderful new friends (including the third interior designer!) like Navid, Adeeb (my new cousin), Shawn, Mona, Nissa, Cheryl, Sarah, Jalil and Sina
• Eating leftover wedding cake before lunch
• Enjoying lunch on the sidewalk in downtown Savannah with Sarofsky, Farah, Fere and Justin
• Justin’s eagle eye spotting Brittany walking straight toward us from across the street
• Marvelling at the serendipity of meeting a complete stranger twice in two days in a major city, embracing the second time and realizing you are old friends
• Hitting the road like Juan Valdez in order to make it to St. Augustine by 7pm for the once-a-year 1905 Day at my favorite restaurant in Florida: The Columbia
• Arriving at 6:35
• Being informed that no more reservations are being taken
• Sweet-talking the hostess and getting a table for 8:45
• Stepping outside to inform the group that we need to wait two hours and can enjoy the city, the second wonderful historic Southern town to introduce Justin to in the span of two days
• Being caught by the manager just before we set out and being taken to a table right away
• Enjoying the best gourmet Spanish food this side of Spain and paying 1905 prices (Cokes were ten cents, soups fifty cents, salad a dollar, entrees $2.05)
• Paying the tab without blinking and tipping the waiter double the bill
• Enjoying the ride home with my sisters Farah and Fere accompanied by good music
• Thinking the night was over only to be introduced to five religious refugees from Iran, family of local Baha’is who arrived in the United States 10 days ago
• Welcoming them to our community, learning about their lives and their journey, sharing stories and gaining amazing insights about prayer and destiny
• Being blessed with tangible evidence of the undeniable unity of all humans in the form of five brilliant souls
• Mentioning the five sisters and noticing the five-pointed star on Mehrvash’s necklace
• Listening to Siroos translate from Persian to English, and noticing that Kazim used the word “rouhani” several times in Persian
• From what I can tell, rouhani means “spiritual”
• Rouhani is Shezel’s maiden name, bestowed upon her family in the early history of the Baha’i Faith
• Kazim had never heard of the Rouhanis until tonight
• Thanking God for the limitless divine outpourings accrued over what must be recorded as three of the most intense days of my life, three days which are a direct result of the spiritual journeys taken last weekend in Texas
• Witnessing firsthand the soul-stirring, foundation-shaking, happiness-inducing, resolve-solidifying, purpose-endowing power of the Tablet of Ahmad, the Fire Tablet, and the Tablet of Visitation of Abdu’l-Baha

9 comments.

Internet Dream

Posted on August 8th, 2007 by george.
Categories: fun, music.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Tay Zonday.

“So every day, I swear, I’m gonna go to bed at like, eleven.  And all of a sudden it’s 4am and I was just watchin’ YouTube and readin’ Wikipedia for five hours.  It’s like, man.  You ask me the next day, I can’t even remember what I was doin’.  Heh heh heh.  Crazy.”

Props to my old friend Mike Driskill for this one.

5 comments.

Wet ‘n Wild

Posted on July 16th, 2007 by george.
Categories: friends, fun, life, travel.

I mowed the lawn today. Because I didn’t mow it yesterday.

May Neda George Nika

9 comments.