Psychic Swag

File under “A Venn Diagram without pizza in it???”


So a couple days ago some different parts of my life which have felt relatively unconnected slid together, and for about 60 minutes I felt an incredible sense of bliss and satisfaction. It’s a simple thing that made me feel this way: I listened to a podcast. But some of life’s greatest gifts come in humble packages, right? And maybe I am overstating this shit a tiny bit, it’s just that listening to intelligent, aware and hilarious people talk about things that are important in my life is exciting.


Here’s the deal: Russell Simmons was a recent guest on one of my favourite podcasts, The Champs. What I already knew about Uncle Russ is that he co-founded Def Jam Records with Rick Rubin (big important rap music shit). What I didn’t know about Simmons is that he quit smoking angel dust about 25 years ago and started meditating. He’s been writing books about and sharing the practice of meditation for years. He hooked up Oprah and Ellen with a teacher from David Lynch’s meditation school who taught meditation to them and all their staff. And, once they reached an age where they could sit and shut up for a few minutes (8-10 yrs old), he has meditated daily with his two daughters. Children learning to meditate is very cool (I first began to think so when I watched that doc about the champion spelling bee kids — uhhhh, Spellbound, I think — one of the spellers was a daily meditator and he was hella smart and very chill).

I was super jazzed to hear someone who has been such a huge player in the game and an empire builder talk about ideas of happiness, attachment, materialism and success in what felt to me like a real and balanced way. Sure, you could be a real Skepticon and say that anyone with 400 million in the bank can afford to be a little detached, but I’d wager the truth is that more often people go the opposite way, and are inclined to let their wealth define their identity.

Even better, in another interview, Bill O’Reilly apparently tried to get Simmons to pass some kind of judgement on Beyonce for singing about having limo sex with her husband (classic), and Russell wasn’t having any of it. A) Ain’t nothing wrong with that, and B) Bill, what do you care? Simmons, from his “enlightened” seat, didn’t condemn the hedonistic, acquisitive culture of rap and pop music, and didn’t seem to need to separate himself from it, either. Instead he talked about how the artists who are singing about money, sex, hoes, drugs and violence are simply reflecting the consciousness of the society they are a part of. This jives with one of my life’s primary philosophies, which is why the fuck would you spend any energy worrying about or judging what other people are up to? I think often of the yogic, uh, saying (?) “Where the mind goes, there goes prana.” Which means that wherever you focus your mind, naturally your life’s energy follows in that direction. So spend your time thinking and worrying about what is going to build you the life you want and grow you into the person you want to be. Other people are their own responsibility. Hi fives, Russ!

Really, there is even more to chew on in this episode. Simmons talks about the function and benefit of stillness in the mind, the addictive nature of externalizing your markers for success and happiness, and in general is a wise and genial chiller. Give the ‘cast a listen here.

And if you like stand-up comedy, rap music, and/or charged inter-personal host dynamics on a podcast, check out other Champs episodes by clicking on the image below.

Shitty Thumbnail




(one thousand apologies for the shitty thumbnail, they apparently have better things to do than render a clear image of their logo for the world wide web)

Have U Seen My Missing Emoticons?!

File under “NBD just solving the worlds problems today”


I love Emoji emoticons more than lots of stuff and use them with an enthusiasm that may border on abuse. Twinkly hearts and slyly smiling heads and palm trees and ice cream cones season the majority of my text communication. Several years ago Google and Apple even thoughtfully lobbied to have Emoji incorporated into the Unicode standard for computer-based communications, and I’ve been emailing footballs and crossed-eye faces  and clapping hands ever since. BUT(T)! In a few key areas I have found Emoji’s emoticons to be woefully lacking, and have a few serious suggestions for the Unicode homies who are in charge of this stuff.


  1. Tacos! Because the burger doesn’t always cut it, and I eat tacos 700% more frequently. Like, I’m just constantly eating tacos and texting about eating tacos.
  2. Vinyl record. Because there are TWO compact disc emoji and a fucking fax machine but no record. How am I supposed to compose a rebus-style Emoji story about DJing on Saturday without a record emoticon?
  3. A butt. Global worship of the butt has been in ascendance for at least a few years now and is reaching fever pitch. The people need a butt Emoji! It could even have pants on, IDC. With all the hands and mouths the possibilities for cartoonishly suggestive sexts are already good, but the introduction of a butt emoticon would be a vast improvement. I’ve tried using the salmon ngiri a few times but it’s just doesn’t feel quite right, and I hate having to explain that salmon ngiri = a butt.

5 Reasons Why Everyone Must to Stop Writing Lists of Reasons

File under “Rants not chants”


If I see another posting titled “12 Words You Need to Stop Saying Now” or “35 Things Successful People Don’t Do” (huh?) I am going to light the Internet on fire. Just like titling a blog post “Most Inspiring _____ (kitten/puppy/bunny/sick child/poor person) Video You’ll See All Week,”  the numbered list title conceit is being abused by Interneters everywhere because every other Interneter on Earth (myself included) can’t help clicking on it. 


Every single fucking day, dozens of attractively listy articles clog my Facebook newsfeed (get off Facebook!) (I know! But I wont!) Whenever I succumb to the charming allure of “84 Things You Need To Do Right Now to be Truly Happy” or “6 Reasons He’ll Never Ask You Out” by the end I feel empty, like I just watched Monuments Men or five minutes of CNN. The hackey writing and nonsensical content have said exactly nothing, clearly having been whipped up in some marketing strategy vitamix and then squished into shape to fit the clever, click-attracting title. I want this trend to go away, and have composed a list of 5 compelling reasons why errybody should cut it out:

  1. I don’t care
  2. I don’t care
  3. I don’t care
  4. I don’t care
  5. Stop telling me what to do

Pass the sucrose

File under “Facebook is for parenting”


Mom’s response after I told her I think I’m addicted to sugar.


I luve shugar


Here is the video, by the way. In case you feel like getting really real right now. I still haven’t watched it #norealtalkplz

Purusha T

File under: “Headphone Thinkin”


Yooooooooo so you think Pusha T is Hindu??

“She’s not the angel that you think, she’s reincarnated too” (@ 1:33)

I know it’s probably more just a clever line than a window into Terrence Thornton’s secret spiritual life, but I can’t help idly wondering this every time I hear it. Which is often because My Name is My Name is the JAM — minus a couple of tracks whose hooks are annoying, overly-Kanye’d, auto-tune moan-a-thons — and this is probably my favourite cut off the album.


The Moon in Beyquarius

File under “Late Nights Gettin Hella Philosphical”


It’s 2:18 AM. I forgot to close my blinds tonight and couldn’t sleep because the mostly full moon was shining intensely, brightening the room and eventually driving me from bed. I went to the window to sit and stare at the glowing satellite and I thought, you’re still so beautiful moon, even when you’re not full. And I guess we’re all like the moon, always whole, even when we’re not full. Alternately bright and dark. Never seamlessly one side, one way. Yet we all seem to strive constantly to appear somehow perfect: always happy, always succeeding, always having a real good time. It’s taken more than 3 decades for me to begin to see what a strange game of masks we’re all playing at when we behave like that, to understand that what is presented on the surface is more often a cover for what is within than a representation.


When Queen Bey sings “I woke up like this. Flawless.” We hear, I’m perfect. We’re all more inclined to believe in her apparent perfection than consider what kind of a shadow self a figure like Beyonce might possess. But even the ultimate woman/mother/partner/performer isn’t perfect and she knows it. She gets Jealous, and the pressure she feels to be Pretty Hurts. When I say I woke up like this, flawless, I want it to mean that however I woke up, quarter full, completely dark, is flawless. Every way that I am is the flawless expression of my self. Sometimes we fill up so completely with love and life that we shine extra bright and it feels so good we never want to stop shining. But that light wanes. It’s not a problem. We’re not in trouble. Just sometimes we are overcome by our own shadow. The trouble comes when we deny our own dark side, when we try to compensate and manufacture a false brightness. Like raising a lamp in the woods to replace the moon, when we can see perfectly well in the dark without it. It’s hard to trust yourself in the darkness, to stay quiet and still in it without terror. But the dark is not the home of monstrous evil, it is the deepest of wells from which we can draw knowledge and creativity. The dark is a place where we can come to know ourselves more fully. A while back, I learned from a wonderful teacher to keep in mind that we are not our thoughts, that we create our thoughts. This understanding helps me on the daily with letting go of habitual, negative thought patterns, and with calming the anxiety of self consciousness. In a way I think it is also an encouragement to live like the moon. To embrace waxing and waning cycles, the darkness and the light, of my own spirit.


I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole. (C.G. Jung)


Beyoncé – “JEALOUS” (Official Video) from Alexander Hammer on Vimeo.

I looooooove this video. Dang it, I love all the videos!



Impending dance party, hold on to your butts!!!


It’s National Grilled Cheese Day, Doi.


We are well underway planning the 4th Annual Amazing Grilled Cheese Giveaway, so stay tuned to our FB page for updates and announcements!


Lonerism is portable and joyous in an unforced way, a soundtrack for the times when you’re walking downtown and look up at a collection of skyscrapers, or driving through a mountain pass on an interstate or even looking at a Ferris wheel next to an ocean thinking, “Holy shit, how did this all get here?


Two-thousand-and-twelve has been an incredible year for music – at least in my ears it has. New albums by Frank Ocean, Dirty Projectors, Father John Misty and Cat Power have all had my lid in a constant state of flip and re-connected me with the album as the premier listening unit (confessions of a playlist junkie).


The headline quote is from Pitchfork’s review of Tame Impala’s new album Lonerism. The album was released earlier this month and after just a couple of listens I know it will be joining those artists mentioned above in heavy rotation. I’m usually a couple of years behind on new releases, listening to the “best of” lists printed at the close of every year by those more diligent and committed than I. (Example: I’m obsessed with Big K.R.I.T.’s Return of 4eva right now, which came out in March of 2011). But this year each of these albums has shown up early and set up camp in my stereo like country cousins moved to the city – irresistibly charming, impossible to ignore, and not going anywhere.

That “holy shit” feeling the reviewer describes is, I think, a feeling we all have from time to time. But it is also a feeling near impossible to put into words. There is no one way to feel about being alive and bearng witness to wonders both natural and human-made - Lonerism is the sound of the awe, confusion, nostalgia, isolation and elation of awareness. No biggie.


I feel like I was getting a little too serious there for a minute, so I thought I’d fix that. Butts.