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Hungry for Love

Thinking about the #WaterProtectors on this day dedicated to love, during the Hunger Moon-the coldest month of the year in this hemisphere. Only through our desire to respect the environment will we overcome the significant challenges we face. Now is the time for renewable energy. Now is the time to let go of fossil fuels. No more pipelines. No more tar sands. Solar, wind, hydro and bio-energy are more than adequate to fulfill our energy needs. Now is the time. Let’s make a change. Barney had this idea that if everyone on the planet thought the same thing at the same time, then anything could happen. I believe it is true. We’ve never been more divided and we’ve never had more reason to come together.

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Power Like Water

The Oroville dam is about to bust. Somewhere near 180,000 people had to be evacuated, but that is just the start of the problems. People are losing their homes and there’s no telling how far that water will spread once it is set free. Water is like power is like money. It flows freely and seeks its own level. It is only with major acts of engineering or natural acts of geography that it is ever stored in one place in large amounts. So many of the tragedies we see today are actually symptoms of deeper problems, of engineered imbalances. Building border walls is like building nuclear power plants is like building dams: all bad ideas with consequences nobody wants to experience. Meanwhile, here in little ol’ Santa Cruz the morning was preceded by flash bombs and helicopters. Was it a raid in the planning for 5 years designed to arrest truly violent gang members, or was it a raid on immigrants without the right legal paperwork?
One day, sometime not too far away, this cave will collapse. It kinda makes you appreciate it more when you think of that.

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Creativity and Media

 

Surface Tension part 1

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Vintage Stories

The Blues are back. Santa Cruz is one of its unlikely new homes. How do these things happen? How do cultural scenes coalesce? Bigger than the sum of its parts, a cultural movement is the product of people who will it into being. JJT.15.April.2016.blog-6Big Jon Atkinson is a large part of the reason why the Blues is prominent in Santa Cruz, these days thanks to Larry Ingram, owner of Aptos St BBQ and Mission St BBQ. Larry is the huge force behind this development, bringing Christopher “Preacher Boy” Watkins, Big Jon Atkinson, and a deep pool of legendary Blues talent on board. Larry has live Blues music in both restaurants 7 nights a week from 6-8. Big Jon and Larry have been JJT.15.April.2016.blog-7My last two art exhibitions have had the Blues as part of their theme, explicitly and implied through tone. The first was a series of experimental paintings with poems that was entitled “Pogonip Blues.” It was a series inspired by the idea of the Blues expressed visually and with words, in response to things that were happening around the world and here in Santa Cruz. The next extended series I worked on was entitled “Dark Fields, Bright Spots.” The Blues have historical roots in the US American South, but they speak to a universal spirit of resilience in the face of uneven odds and challenging times.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-8

Remedies for the Body

There’s a lot to think about, these days. Being thoughtful is usually considered a good thing and in an age of phone-scrolling zombies all too rare. Mindfulness, we mainly agree, is a technique that everyone could use a little more of. We can’t forget about the body, though. Sometimes, it’s ok to let go and let the body have its time at the wheel. That’s one of the goals of meditation and one of the effects of beer; freedom from mental slavery.JJT.15.April.2016.blogPhysical discipline is also a path to freedom. Every kinetic form has its own unique ways of getting the body to grow dominant during the time of practice. It’s not just about building the body in a pleasing form, but attuning the mind to the body and giving the body control in relation to the mind.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-2Medical Cannabis is truly a panacea. It helps with so many things, including: building a strong appetite, creating restful sleep and providing pain relief. Training and living in the contemporary world can be enhanced by this medicinal herb.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-4

What You Eat

There is so much more to food than meets the eye. Food is an expression of culture, of life itself. Food is about connection. Arctic Char, for example, is a fish related to Salmon and Trout. It is loved for its flavor and chosen for its sustainability. This fish was served at the Cremer House and it came from Royal Hawaiian Seafood.JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-5JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-6JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-7

Blue Roots

JJT.ASB.19.March.2015-7Blues music is a world music. Its melancholy theme of unrequited love is felt by people from all walks of life. The power of the Blues is to turn depressed feelings into beautiful sound and to transform feeling through the alchemy of music.JJT.Alabama.Mike.MSB.18.March.2015-16JJT.MSB.15.March.2016-5JJT.MSB.15.March.2016

Local World Class

There’s no excuse for mediocrity, today. Quality makes all the difference between a life well lived and a life endured. This doesn’t mean that you have to be excessive or spend a lot of money to achieve quality experiences. Quality shouldn’t have to be as rare as it is. First of all, if you consume less you can consume better. Buying a bottle of cheap liquor makes sense if your goal is to forget your worries for a night even though it’s going to cost you the morning. Buying an expensive bottle of whiskey that you savor and drink small amounts of over time actually creates a greater value even though you spent more money at the time of purchase, because you give the experience time and space to happen out of respect for the quality of the drink. If you pick up a bottle of Wayward Whiskey by Venus Spirits from 41st Ave Liquor and you have a visitor to entertain, then you can offer them a nice glass of whiskey on the rocks and your life will be fun and filled with more drinking scenes like those classic vignettes in detective fiction by Raymond Chandler and less like those bleary-eyed laments in early Bukowski. JJT.41st.15.March.2016-7Great drinks compliment great food. When it comes to what you put in your body, don’t you want the best? Again, this is a quality over quantity equation. I’m not saying that you should break your bank by shopping for the most expensive things. I’m merely suggesting that if you value quality you can find ways to incorporate it into your life. This Bob Salad from the Cremer House is an example of a way to treat yourself well. The Cremer House is a reflection of my sister Emily’s desire to share quality experiences with people. The Corned Beef that is featured above is also her creation. She owns a brewery and a restaurant and she spends her time working to deliver the best possible experiences to the people of Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Mountains and beyond.JJT.Cremer.10.March.2016-2What would life be without music? It’s impossible to say, but surely it would be much more difficult. Music is a powerful art of connection. When we listen to music together we share an experience. Evoking visceral emotions, playing with words and tones, drawing out time with rhythm, engineering a body of sound: musicians create an amazing happening when they play. The Blues is central to American music. The influence of Blues on almost all other American musical forms cannot be denied. We are lucky enough here in Santa Cruz to have some great music that comes through town. Added to our already rich musical heritage, Aptos St. BBQ and Mission St. BBQ have been hosting world class Blues acts. These intimate and free concerts are one of the best things happening in Santa Cruz 2016. Every night from 6-8, you can eat dinner while listening to live music that is a direct continuation of true American roots music. Last night, Alabama Mike played with Big Jon Atkinson at Mission St and brought the heat, soul, and style that makes Blues music so universally enjoyed.JJT.Alabama.Mike.MSB.18.March.2015-10

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