Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Make me wanna holler, The way they do my life...

It's funny... A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with a friend over AIM about homeless people. Now living in San Francisco, I've (sadly) encountered homeless people pretty much all of my life. I wouldn't say that I am completely accustomed to it, but seeing people living on the streets isn't a shock to me.  And if I have some dough to spare, I really don't mind helping others out.  However while I was going to college in the East Bay, when my friends (who weren't from SF) and I would kick it in the city, their reaction to homeless people were almost always the same: first they would start to feel afraid and panic, frantically looking for any possible route to avoid them, and after passing, comment on how 'dirty' they were or how 'scared' they felt (unless of course, it was the Bush Man). It really shocked me at first because I felt as if they're reactions were a bit over dramatic. But more importantly, I felt that it was unnecessary and uncalled for. These were real people who are down on their luck with no place to live; not wild animals that escaped from the zoo who are now out living in the streets trying to get a little money for their next meal. After talking with some of these folks, I found that at times, they were often embarrassed to be in this sort of predicament of asking for money in the first place. Just a month ago, I was stopped at a light off the freeway and gave a couple bucks to a guy at the off ramp. He thanked me and was briefly talking about how he and his wife were severely effected by the plummeting economy and forced to live out in the streets until times got better for them. But when he saw my daughter in the backseat, he immediately started to apologize, even wanting to give my money back. "Hey man, you have a family to take care of. I can't take this." Of course I didn't take the money back, but his reaction did catch me off guard.  But I digress...

Fast forward to a few days ago... I was at my homie's baby shower picnic when an old, homeless man wandered toward our party asking for food. Now two things struck me as being out of the ordinary: 1) The baby shower was not in Golden Gate Park or in San Francisco at all. We were in the middle of San Mateo at a very nice (and somewhat secluded) park at least a few miles away from the the downtown area; and 2) the old homeless man was Filipino. They offered him some food and he ate at one of the tables, almost blending in with the party. I sat there for a while, just watching him and I started to feel bad for him. By just looking at him, he could have been anyone's grandfather at the party. He didn't cause a scene, cause disruption or anything of the sort, but you can almost see it in his eyes how much he missed being in a family setting as he sat there observing the people around him and smiling to himself with the different things going on.

Now this may sound a bit strange, but if the person asking were Filipino, I would scrape extra hard to help them out. Call it what you want, but it hits a lot closer to home when I see my own people struggle in that sort of way, more so because I can imagine them being my own uncle, cousin, or what not.  I can only remember one other time that I've ever encountered a Filipino person asking for money on the streets (Aside from the Philippines, of course. That's just a whole other experience that really hit me that I might touch on at another time). 

It was about 2am and my wife and I were heading back to my car after a gig when I was approached by an older Filipino man. He approached me with the typical "Are you Filipino?" greeting, which I knew would be followed by him asking for something.  He came at me with a sob story about how he just got out of jail and had his wallet stolen. Then he started going on about how he was the owner of Lucky Chances and if I helped him, he would get me back and 'take care of me' whenever I came to LC. 

First of all, I knew he was bullshitting. No owner of a casino is walking around Van Ness at 2am in the morning with absolutely no one to call, wearing a pair of beat up Florsheim specials, a cheap wrist watch and some rusty looking hoop earrings. Despite the lies, I pulled out a dub, put it in his hand, looked him in the eyes (NH) and said, "Here you go, you already have the money. But I just want you to tell me the truth. You don't have to lie to me." I pressed him for minute trying to get the truth out of him, but he still kept to his story. I let him go, $20 dollar bill in hand, and got inside my car with mixed emotions. I felt good about helping out another Filipino man who needed it, but I felt disgusted that he would also use my same logic for helping him to lie to me, even after being assured that he can still keep the money if he came clean.

A few months later, I was having dinner at Lucky Chances and just to amuse myself, I asked one of the workers if the owner was there. The owner wasn't, but she described to me what he looked like: a completely opposite description from that of the guy I'd met that night downtown. Even though I knew he was lying, I still kinda held out on that slim possibility that he was telling me the truth...

Anyways, on to more happier things...

Big shout out to my dad; aka the source of my genes of which my gout is to blame; aka don't leave a bottle of Henny or Remy in the fridge cause he'll take it, hide it and drink it; aka I love to call everyone (including males) 'honey' (Pause); aka instead of watching my daughter graduate, I'll just drink beer at home and wait for them to come back; for turning the big six-oh this past weekend. The man doesn't look a day over fifty... but that's because he colors his hair.  Ooooowwwwww.....

Alright stop... Collaborate and listen...

  • What do you get when you take a pot of ABDC, throw in some Romeo Must Die, a dash of Matrix, and cup of Footloose? Boogie Town.
  • Anyone catch Barack on Leno the other night?  I got the opportunity to read his book, 'Dreams From My Father,' for my English class last semester while he was still running for president and from talking about and admitting to smoking weed, to his experience growing up a minority in America, to just seeming like an all around down to earth guy, I mean really, name another president that you really felt like you could relate to.
  • It's one thing to receive the fake warning about the gang initiations going on at Wal Mart. But why did I get an evite inviting me to the gang initiation???  It said, 'Bring a friend! Some kinda weapon would probably be good, too.' Ha!
  • Remember kiddies: Always eat your veggies kiddies!  They help you grow big, strong and keep you up for days on end.
  • Screw this whole nursing thing.  I'm going back to making videos and pursuing a job where I can use my art degree.
  • Been on the fence about getting an XBOX or PS3 for the new Street Fighter game.  But now that new DJ video game, 'Scratch,' is coming out, I might have to start saving up ends.
  • Speaking of DJing, if you didn't get a chance to catch me on Krazy Kids Radio a couple weeks ago, you can still download the episode here and ask yourself who the real King of New York is. 
  • And if you missed out on the past few weekends of booze and beats, or you were just too drunk to remember, you can relive the moments here and here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cause the greatest rapper of all time died on March 9th...

About a month ago I was going through some boxes in the garage and hit the jackpot: boxes and boxes of old cassette tapes; from cassingles, to LPs, to promo tapes, to mixes that I recorded off of the radio.  But one tape that I found caught me a bit off guard.  The year was 1994 and I had just started my junior year of high school (do the math).  Some friends and I were hanging out after school at the Metro Center in Colma, when we saw the KMEL van and a small line forming in front of the Wherehouse (RIP).  Out of curiosity, we made our way over to see what the small commotion was all about.  Inside, a rapper who was just starting to make some major noise coast to coast was signing samplers of his new (and future classic) album.  That afternoon standing before him, getting our cassettes signed, I don't think we realized the significant impact that he would make on hip-hop; from his soon to be classic 'Ready to Die,' to his role in the highly publicized East vs West coast beef, to his untimely (and unsolved) murder.  He signed the tape, "Keep Bangin'. -B.I.G."  And now twelve years after his death, his music has stood the test of time and still hits just as hard as when it first came out.  We'll always love Big Poppa...

Alright stop... Collaborate and listen...
  • Debating on who the king of NYC is: Biggie vs Jay-Z vs Nas?  Tune in to Krazy Kids Radio on youthradio.org tomorrow (Tuesday) from 5pm-6pm.  I'll be doing a King of New York set so you can listen, ponder and decide for yourself.
  • Among the cassettes that I found were a few mixes recorded from KMEL and Wild 107.  I'll be posting some from time to time when I get a chance to rip them.  But for now, feel free to download this one and enjoy.  (Wow, when was the last time you heard Brand Nubian, Sade, Black Sheep and Das Efx in the same mix on the radio???)
  • Speaking of dope mixes, my main man DJ Brigidope has a bunch of mixes available for download on his blog.  I highly suggest you update your playlists and bump his mixes on your ipod.  RIGHT.  NOW.
  • And while we're plugging blogs, the homie Vinroc has been making some major moves as of late.  Click the link and catch up on what's going on with his label, his latest beats and remixes, and videos too.  (His instrumental album Beat Freaks and single, 'Luv Luv,' are available on iTunes now.) 
  • Have you read the detailed account of what happened Chris Brown and Rihanna?  Wow!
  • And on top of that, he's STILL in the running for two Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards.  Warm it up Chris!
  • Big shout out to everyone that came thru to WORD UP! this past weekend.  If you couldn't make it, you can check out what you missed here.  (Don't sleep!  We'll be at Azul every first Saturday of the month.)
  • And as we keep shit moving, come thru to Milk this Saturday for some groupie love.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Frisco we go hard... (pause)

So we hit the snow this past weekend and got some rest, relaxation, and Street Fighter 4 time in at Lake Tahoe.

Kaylee dippin and dodgin...
Shit looked so fun I had to try it myself...
What do you do 3 hours away from home in Tahoe when there's wi-fi?

"How the fuck am I supposed to get a job when I smoke so much weed..."
My cousin Jason told me he got into an accident and rolled his car last week.  So I stopped by the shop where it was at and saw that the big green machine really took a beating.  The roads have been wet lately, so drive safe kiddies.

Alright stop... Collaborate and listen...
  • So after C Beezy put in work on Rihanna's face, it looks like the couple is back together trying to work things out.  On a related note, word on the street is that Chris Brown only fights girls.
  • Speaking of good girls gone bad, anyone peep Aubrey O'Day on the cover of Playboy?  (You can thank me later)  
  • N.O.R.E.'s not necessarily on the run, but he's definitely still eatin.
  • I was watching a show on TV the other day about ghosts and stuff and was shocked at how much the the actress playing the main character looked absolutely nothing like the girl did in reality.  I seriously felt like I was being mislead.
  • I thought I was in the running for father of the year, but this dude has me beat.
  • Fact: Lincoln's favorite sport was wrestling.  (By far, one of the most funniest MD commercials.  Ever.)
  • Anyone keeping up with the Curtis and Officer Ricky beef?  I can't lie, this shit can be kinda amusing but man, sometimes people can take things just a little too far.
  • I don't listen to the radio much anymore, but thank God T-Man is finally off the air (in the Bay at least) and JV is back.  The show has a different vibe from the Dog House days, but it's still good to have someone who is actually from the Bay on the air nonetheless.  I was always wondering what was up with a lot of the religious and psychic talk that went on toward the end of the show's run, but a friend forwarded me a quote from the Wild 94.9 website which really answered a lot of questions for me:
"This is something most people would be afraid to answer…not me…most people know me as honest and real about who I am and what's going on in my life. Here's the story… I've always been interested in religion, God, spirituality, the universe, etc.. My curiosities where never induced by drugs. Up until 2002ish, I never used drugs. Then around that time I tried a heavy drug for the first time. It was cocaine. What started out as a recreational thing turned into a place where I would go to escape. Just like you, I had pressures. I made the mistake of masking my drama and pain with cocaine. Then someone told me about crystal-meth. I tried it, and I got hooked fast. I was using it because thought it helped me deal with life's pressures and I also thought it would help me stay awake and work on my radio show. What happened was - it jacked me up. I was sleep deprived and not thinking rationally due to the drug's chemicals. So, I would go back to work, and what used to be an interest in religion and politics turned into a delusion and obsession. I want people to know, that I still believe in much of what I was saying back then, but to talk about it for hours and days on end, borders mental illness. And that's what happens to meth users. They may have SOME valid, rational points, but they become obsessed with their opinions and in many cases become delusional. I went over the edge a few times, and talked about things that were "out there" to say the least. Thank God, my girlfriend (who is now my wife) got me off of the stuff. Like I said, most people would not share such personal information. But I decided to for two reasons. First, I HONESTLY want people to know that cocaine and meth are no joke. I can't begin to tell you how much of my life it destroyed. The process of getting back on my feet and in my right state of mind was difficult on many layers. If there is ONE piece of advice you ever take from me PLEASE don't even try meth. It will take your frickin' soul and turn you into something crazy. And, believe me, it takes years to realize everything you did and then try to apologize for it. Secondly, I wanted to share this info. because I feel like I owe the truth to the listeners. All those people that were fans that listened to me ramble on about God and politics, deserve to know the whole story. NOW, you will hear me joke around about it…because that's who I am. I've never been afraid to joke about failures or dark eras. Last note: I want to thank Clear Channel from the top down, for understanding that I'm only human. They know I can't change the past, but we I can learn from it and walk away even stronger. I'm so strong now, I'm benching 220 lbs!!"
  • I've been riding all season for Beat Freaks, but after watching ABDC last week, Quest Crew officially has my vote.  But peep what Shane had to say at 5:32: "When you stood on the table and ripped your shirt off and you was buff, at first I was about to laugh.  But you buff though!" Mad A-Yo but it was hilarious. 
  • And if you don't have plans for the weekend, come thru to Azul and get live with Steve1der, King Most, Fran Boogie and me.  I know we're in a recession, so sign up to get in for freezy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Find our eyes and our souls will be free...

You know you're in a recession when the wifey gets you a gas card for Valentine's Day.  Either that or she's just on another whole level of creativity and practicality.  

So for Valentine's Day, Nook and I decided to celebrate as a family and take my 5 year old daughter with us to lunch and a movie. The movie of choice? Hmmm, how about that brand new, stop action, 3D animation flick? Now what can be wrong that? Well, nothing... nothing at all. Unless of course the movie is Coraline.

Now don't get me wrong. The 3D effects and overall feel/look of the movie were AMAZING. And they didn't give out those cheap, paper 3D glasses either. These glasses were made of strong plastic frames that looked a lot like a pair of Wayfarers. So help me God if I see any hipster or emo kids wearing these at the mall, someone's gonna have their feelings hurt.

But back to the movie. Without giving too much away, I personally thought the movie very good, but may have been a bit better if they had: elaborated more or revealed who (or what) originally made the doll of Coraline; elaborated more on the grandmother's background and how she actually came to own the doll; and although i understand the reason behind this, I still think they went a bit overboard when showing her parents' lack of nurturing for their daughter. 

Overall, the movie might not be appropriate for very young children. Many kids may be able to grasp the message of being careful what you wish for however, I think the multiple levels of symbolism may fly over the heads of the average child and to some extent, many adults (Although the symbolism may have been more obvious than the Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland). Personally, I think they would have hit the nail on the head if they marketed this to emo teens.

Leaving the theatre, I was seriously contemplating what my daughter had made of the movie. It reminded me of when I was a little kid and I had seen 'Yellow Submarine' or 'Fantastic Planet.' Shit had me feeling all funny inside... almost confused. I can only imagine what it must be like to watch Coraline on acid, X, salvia or after a visit to the dentist

Alright stop... Collaborate and listen...
  • So the West demolished the East at the All Star game. But the real stories are what happened at the pre game festivities:
  1. Shaq is the newest (and biggest) member of the Wacka Jobbeez
  2. Speaking of Shaq, him & Kobe are now the best of friends. But did anyone have flashbacks of Diesel asking Kobe how his nuts taste?
  3. Maybe NateRobinson should be asking Dwight Howard how his nuts taste?
  4. What??? Shug got knocked the fuck out AGAIN???
  5. And Kid Cudi gets tazed??? Don't taze me bro!  (Now he's gotta write a rap about it)

  • First Denny's.  Now IHOP.  Man, when times get tough, the tough get hungry.
  • Taste the rainbow you drunk motherfuckers.
  • How can you turn something that can potentially be scary into something absolutely terrifying?  Make it into a piece of art.
  • I was just flipping through the channels and caught the beginning of American Idol (by chance, swear to God) and one of the contestants who was being introduced pulled a Sexual Chocolate.  ("Gotdamn that boy can sing!")  Shit made me laugh out loud.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Everything will be alright...

Something cool happened to me and Kaylee the other day.  We had just finished eating fish tacos at Serramonte when we were walking around the mall looking for a Valentine's Day gift for the wifey.  As I was passing the fountain (aka meet me at the pountain dud), something caught my eye.  Sitting on a chair was a small painting with a note attached to it that read: "EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT.  THIS PAINTING IS YOURS TO TAKE FOR FREE."  After reading it, I immediately knew what it was:  The Smile Project.

I had read an article about it on the internet a few months back, but never thought I would actually find one... and of all places, in the middle of Serramonte.  Basically, the artist has traveled the world leaving paintings in public places with a similar note attached, asking that people can take the painting home for free if they promise to smile at random people more often.  He's left paintings everywhere from New York to Germany to Shanghai to Peru to everywhere in between.  

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty good that I had found one.  I felt like I just won the lottery: not the mega millions, but more like getting three matches on a scratch n sniff.  As I walked away, I was stopped a few moments later by a reporter from TFC and interviewed for Balitang America.  I even got a chance to meet the artist himself, who was a really cool guy.  Anyways, peep the steez here.

I'm famous now.  Google me bitch.

Alright stop... Collaborate and listen...

  • Come kick it like judo and celebrate Valentine's Day with your loved one (or find a loved one to take home) with me here.
  • If you're bitter about everyone else getting their fingers stinky except for you, then make a pit stop here beforehand.
  • But if you do have someone to spend the day with, then click here for some baby making music to get you in the mood.  (CD out soon!)
  • Fuck what you heard.  Jamie and Andy are killin the autotune right now!  (I think Andy's been practicing his patwa)
  • What's really good with baseball right now?  Everyone's snitching about steroids, Roberto Alomar been hitting it raw, and the Mets are in the running for freakiest team in the league.
  • God bless Salma Hakey for making African babies' dreams come true.
  • How in the hell did Chris Brown go from hittin Rhianna to HITTIN Rhianna???
  • And please America, lay off of Michael Phelps.  Michael if you're reading this (yeah right), don't trip son.  You can still be governor one day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Allow me to introduce myself...

Mic check... 1,2... 1,2... Is this thing on?  Someone turn my headphones up...

So the homie BJ helped me set this blog up over a month ago, but I never got around to writing anything in here yet (I think I've been too busy twittering to actually sit down and write an actual post).  Then the homie Tony hit me up about contributing to the Buddhapparel blog and it kinda pushed me to finally get on the  ball with my own.  So if you were one of the (very) few people to ever follow my old blog "Late Night Ramblings and Observations," then welcome back.  But if this is your first time visiting, then allow me to reintroduce myself...

My name is Ben.  I'm a father (of the year), a husband, and a DJ.  Welcome to my own little soapbox on the net.  I'm not sure what direction I'll be taking this thing, but I guess we'll see how that plays out in time.

Anyways, it's almost time for Lost, so I've got to cut this short.  Cause if I miss an episode of Lost, I tend to get kinda angry.