Category: Uncategorized

MKE 16 Kindness Haves & Have Nots

I have made it point to look for Kind acts by others or RAKs… Random Acts of Kindness as well perform my own RAKs. I’ve noticed little things that are simple, common courtesies and deliberate acts that bring a smile to others.

Holding open doors is natural for me. Opening my girlfriend’s car door no matter who drives has become a game of sorts. If she opens her own door she has to get back the car and shut the door so I can maintain my “gentlemen status”. Chivalry, at least for me is not dead.

I notice servers that ask questions that make my dining experience more enjoyable. Sure it’s part of their job but some are more in tune than others. “Salad dressing on the side?”. “Would like extra napkins?” Of course. a few days ago when we ordered 2 for 1 wings the waitress inquired “Did you want Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing?” BLUE CHEESE Always! Glad she asked because I often forget to request it when to ordering. A little thing, seldom asked up front that saved having to wait for it and wasting the establishment’s Ranch. Kindness none the less.

I let grocery shoppers with a few items go ahead in line and notice when others do the same. Simple but kind.

There are instances where kindness Should have been exhibited but was not.

Friday I took the Amtrak train from my hometown Ventura, CA to my job in Goleta. The deadly mudslide in Montecito has the freeway closed indefinitely so when the railway opened up I took it. Hundreds of people had the same idea so we boarded a SRO, Standing Room Only train. Although I was annoyed that a senior citizen woman was not offered a seat, lack of kindness, I did see kindness displayed. Taller men help shorter females put luggage in the overhead holds. People pleasantly helping others squeeze thru tight, human clogged isles. The normal 50 minute commute took over 2 1/2 hours due the large number of riders detraining and boarding and the slow train chugging at only 15 miles an hour. Overall, it was a friendly, kind ride under the circumstances.




MKE Week 14: One Word Said Everything

Canada’s most successful musical export is the progressive rock power trio RUSH, my all-time favorite band. Since 1974 RUSH created fantastic music, a total of 20 studio albums, numerous live albums and videos, and performed over 5,000 concerts until their (sniff, sniff) retirement in 2015.

Rush has released 24 gold records and 14 platinum records (including 3 multi-platinum), placing them third behind the Beatles and the Rolling Stones for the most consecutive gold or platinum studio albums by a rock band.

For Forty Three (43) years (I’m 62) I have enjoyed these three good-natured, down to earth, and hard working Virtuoso musician’s talents. That’s over 69% of my existence!

What is Super Impressive to me is that all those decades, RUSH’s live concerts were consistently damn near perfect. I should know, I have attended close to 100 RUSH performances starting with their first U.S. tour in 1974.

RUSH songs have complicated arrangements and intricate time signatures, which are extremely difficult to accurately perform. Dedication, hard work and raw talent had to be the band’s recipe for success.

Well, there is one more ingredient, one that came to mind recently during my MKE sit (daily 15 minute motionless, quiet reflection after reading a weekly Master Key Experience lesson).

Prior to RUSH’s release of their third LP “Caress of Steel”, I attend a June 1975 show at Santa Monica’s Starwood Club.

While hanging in the dressing room (see pic) with the trio I walked with drummer/lyricist Neil Peart to get a drink at the club’s upstairs bar. We paused and looked down the stage stairs to view the opening act “The Hollywood Stars”. They had Two drummers (huh?) and I commented, “Neil, you have more talent in your left pinky toe than those two guys combined”. A little embarrassed, he simply replied “Thank you”.

On the way back to the dressing room I asked my drum hero a question:

“Neil, how come you’re so good?”

His answer is one that every person desiring greatness being should pay attention to. This super human, mega talented drummer, future winner of umpteen drum awards was giving me his tip for awesomeness.

Neil, later to be nicknamed “The Professor” by his band mates, is a voracious reader with an extensive vocabulary. He wrote almost all the lyrics over his 41 year RUSH career. His interviews are very articulate and thought provoking.

Why was he so very great at his craft? What would help propel him to super stardom and millionaire status? What was the magic potion to this future rock god’s success?

A deep thinker, what would Neil Peart “The Professor” say was his source of extreme talent at then, the age of 23?

Neil’s highly intellectual, insightful and valuable answer: “Practice”

That’s it? A simple, one word response “Practice”? That is what it takes to be super great at something, Practice?

I guess it’s true. My parent’s, coaches, teachers were right. My hero said so too.

Practice, perfect practice makes perfect.

To get great at something… Practice!

Perhaps later, I’ll share some insight to my music hero’s art of “practice” in future blogs.

Keep On Keeping On! Oh…and keep practicing.


Me & RUSH #2

RUSH at The Starwood Club Santa Monica, CA June 1975                                                       (left to right: Neil Peart, yours truly, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson)

FYI…Below is a list of some of the awards Neil Peart has received over his stellar career.

Modern Drummer Magazine Awards:

Best Recorded Performance (with band RUSH):

1981: Moving Pictures
1982: Exit… Stage Left (Live)

1983: Signals

1985: Grace Under Pressure

1986: Power Windows

1988: Hold Your Fire

1989: A Show of Hands (Live)

1990: Presto

1992: Roll The Bones

1993: Counterparts

1997: Test for Echo

1999: Different Stages (Live)

2005: R30 (Live)

2007: Snakes & Arrows

2015: Clockwork Angels Tour (Live)

Drumming Categories:

  • Educational Book: 2014 – Taking Center Stage by Joe Bergamini and Neil Peart
  • MVP: 2013
  • Best Progress Rock Drummer: 2013, 2012, 2011
  • Best Educational Video
    • Taking Center Stage: 2012
    • Anatomy of a Drum Solo: 2005
  • Modern Drummer Hall of Fame: 1983
  • Best Rock Drummer: 1980,1981,1982,1983,1984,1985, 2005, 2007 (see Honor Roll below)
  • Best Multi-Percussionist: 1983,1984,1985,1986
  • Best Percussion Instrumentalist: 1982
  • Most Promising New Drummer: 1980
  • Best All Around: 1986

1986 Honor Roll: Rock Drummer, Multi-Percussion

Awards from DRUM! Magazine:

  • Drummer of the Year 2016, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007
  • Best Live Drumming Performer 2011, 2008, 2007
  • Best Progressive Rock Drummer 2009, 2007
  • Best Live Performer (Runner-Up) 2010
  • Best Progressive Rock Drummer (Runner-Up) 2010, 2008
  • Best Mainstream Pop Drummer (Runner-Up) 2008
  • Best DVD (Anatomy Of A Drum Solo) 2007
  • Best Drumming Album (Snakes & Arrows) 2007

Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Inductee

RUSH Class of 2013

Work, work, work…ya dig?

Digging into one’s true self, the world within is much like digging a hole in the ground. There is purpose the activity. The hole is needed to accomplish something. Creating a garden for beauty or food, erecting a simple structure such as a mailbox, fence or perhaps a bird house. Massive holes create a foundation for a home or a building for industry or perhaps a luxury…a swimming pool.

Self discovery digging can reveal beauty of one’s Spirit or a simple revelation / confirmation of a healthy characteristic we own and never really thought about but suddenly value.  A feel good light shines inside and I appreciate myself a little more than before.

No matter the scale of the excavation there is bound to be barriers. Rocks, boulders, pipes, ground water.  Digging down to the foundation of my world within I come across barriers. The old nature, old habits that create doubt of the process, distractions strike from everywhere…work, family, chores or the lack of energy. Like the hole in the ground the barriers can be removed or circumvented. It will take extra effort, more time and energy and perhaps help from others that believe in the project, but the roadblocks can be removed. I’ll keep digging, put in the work and more work because I really want the satisfaction of creating MY foundation to build the life I believe I deserve.

Definite Major Purpose 1st draft

Writing an all encompassing, concise, effective DMP is going to be a challenge worth taking.  I tend to take a long time when composing a letter, even some e-mails due to my re-writing and perhaps too much thinking.

My 1st draft of my DMP isn’t my best work but knowing I’ll have guidance gives me comfort. I guess, no I know, I rushed this first attempt as time is flying and I wanted to submit something sooner than later. I really appreciate the coaching and critiques.

This s an important tool in my Master Keys journey so I will put much more time and effort into making it as effective as possible. Onward…

Growth takes Sacrifice

As I begin my journey of changing Me as a Master Key Experience (MKE) student, my priorities need changing too. I knew going in that my passion for NFL football and the time I use to dedicate to watching “all” the games was going to change, even to the point of being replaced by doing the assigned MKE work and Sunday webinars.

My “sacrifice” has been made rather easy with the timing of the recent irreverence towards my Nation’s Flag and American Anthem shown by some of the NFL players.

I wonder, is it still an actual sacrifice if I probably would be turning away from the game I love anyway? Hmmmm… perhaps the player caused Turn Off is a blessing in my case.