It is that time of year again...yup...the holiday season. It's amazing to me that it's about to be 2008 in a little over a month and Christmas will be here in a month.
As Thanksgiving passes I realized there is a lot to be thankful of. It's very easy to fall into the trap that nothing is going right, whether it's money, relationships, etc, but when you really sit down and analyze the situation you realize how much there is to be thankful for. I got to see my Grandparents this week and that has been great, I hadn't seen them since my wedding last September. I am healthy (as far as I know), my friends and family are healthy, I have a roof over my head, I get to eat everyday, I have a car, and my dreams are becoming a reality. I have nothing to complain about...nothing!
As the holiday's come upon us, let's try to remember what it's all about. It's not "what am I getting this year", it should be "what am I giving this year". Don't fall into that trap of "my life is in a shambles" nonsense, you might not be exactly where you want to be in life but think about how bad it could really be.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving holiday and got to spend it with family and friends.
As you all should know by now I am the biggest NY Yankee fan to grace this planet we call Earth. This week it has been reported that A-Rod will be returning to the Yankee organization. Now, off first thought one might say "great", "congrats", something like that. But let me explain how all this happened and why I'm not all warm and fuzzy about it.
A-Rod had the option to opt out of his 10 year $250 million deal this year. The Yankees advised him that if he did so, they would not be involved in the negotiations for him as a free agent. Well, he opted out and was ready to test the market. It was pretty well known that his next deal would be even more ridiculous than the last. So on the last game of the World Series, when that "other" team won...(you know, the "other" team), he announced that he would indeed opt out and pursue free agency. I was ready to burn my A-Rod shirt and move on. I wasn't upset, we haven't won anything since he's been here...so, oh well.
So this week I am watching ESPN and they are talking about the extreme likelihood that A-Rod would be returning to the Yankees. Why you ask? Well because after being in the market for a few weeks he and his moron agent Scott Boras learned that no other team was going to give A-Rod that kind of money. Nobody except who...yup...the Yankees. It is rumored that this new deal will be a 10 year $275 million deal (that is not a typo).
The best part is that he had to "crawl" back to the Yankees without his agent and talk directly to the Steinbrenner's and ask for a deal to be made. Classic! Reminds me of the old saying, "the grass isn't always greener on the other side".
Have you ever just stopped and looked at the sky on a clear & crisp blue day? I mean really looked at it. It has to be one of the most beautiful things ever created. And, boy, how was it created? Man, its things like that that really make me appreciate everything that I am and have in my life. Its like God gave us a masterpiece, our very own Michaelangelo sculpture, and said "here you are, you can have this for free. No strings attached." In a yin and yang way, a beautiful blue day makes me so appreciative of the rain and cloudy days (not to mention that rain would help us with this drought thing). I guess that it was a beautiful blue day that made Kellindo Parker stare out of his kindergarten window, while all of the other little kids worked on arts & crafts, sigh and say "the day is so soft." That day, I'm sure was soft, little Kellindo and so is the beautiful one that I am enjoying today.
I hope that you go boldly into the day and enjoy every moment of it. It is a gift to you and should not be taken lightly.
Wondalunch Yesterday Chili Corn Muffins
Wondalunch Today Fantastic Chili Happy Corn Muffins
We've gotta get up on our feet immediately. We've gotta stand straight up to see what in the world is falling down all around us. Somewhere along the shortcut to becoming a Superpower Nation Monster Beast... we became a Superpower Nation Monster Beast.
The U.S. currently holds more people in prison than any other nation in the world...we've got more hemmed up than South Africa did during Apartheid.
Iraqi Deaths Due to United States, U.S., us Invasion....................1,109,934
...it's hOT! Is it November or June?
We could've given over 22 million kids four-year scholarships to public universities for the cost of this war...
we've been at war for seven years...we've been at warfor 7 years.
The levees broke.
5%of the population of Georgiadoesn't have enough food.
The governor ispraying for wateron national television.
Your freedom's in a bind... Your freedom's in your mind..
Why my shirt is smaller than the average "urban" Puerto Rican...
I want to share something with you all. A little theory I have about Puerto Ricans in the United States. Yes I am Puerto Rican so I can speak intelligently on this subject.
A few years ago I decided to change my look in regards to the way I dress. I put down the name brand clothes and moved on to shirts that had pigs on it, hats that looked like a trucker would wear it and good 'ole Levi's jeans...I've since switched the jeans to Seven Jeans, they fit really good on me...I love those jeans. I also shaved off the "chin strap" beard I had and kept the goatee.
Now, I know you're asking "By golly Rico, why did you ever do that"? Well...I had to make a change so I wouldn't be lumped in with every other "urban" Puerto Rican that was walking around Atlanta.
"Urban" Puerto Rican?...does that mean there is such a thing as a "suburban" Rican? Why yes it does! In my 26 years of life I've noticed that certain nationalities have a harder time maintaining there culture in different places, such as Puerto Ricans. I will use Asians and Mexicans to support my hypothesis.
Asians and Mexicans to me are the prime example of being able to maintain their culture no matter where they are. It's very simple why...
The population of Asians and Mexicans are very high in the US, so that means they can move to California, NY, Atlanta, Texas, Chicago, etc and still maintain their culture because when they get to wherever the final destination is, they have the opportunity to meet many people who share the same culture as they do. Are you following me?
Now, Puerto Ricans on the other hand, don't have that wonderful luxury. We have that luxury in NY...that's it! And no, not Miami, those are Cubans down there. (Some people like to lump all Hispanic cultures in the same "pot") So for a Puerto Rican moving to Atlanta, they have 1 of 2 options...right...urban or suburban.
You either attach yourself to the black or white community. We can't come together and hang with each other because there aren't enough of us in the Atlanta area. I've met maybe a total of 5 Puerto Ricans in the 15 years I've lived in the ATL. I'm not exaggerating at all!
I myself fall in to the "urban" category for a couple of reasons. I've always been able to identify more with that category and I've always lived in "urban" areas. My cousins on the other hand are the exact opposite. They live in Cumming, GA...yes, there are people of color that live out there. So their lifestyle is more of a "suburban" style of living. The friends they have, the things they do for fun, and really their whole mentality is different. We both look at each other weird sometimes...like who are you trying to be? We all came from NY to Atlanta, but went in to 2 different areas and have 2 different mentalities. It is really interesting when you think about it. So that's why my shirt is smaller than the average Puerto Rican...separation!
It's hard to say everything I want to say and explain it in the detail that I would like to, but this is the overall theory I have. So when my book comes out, rest assure that there will be a nice section on this very issue. But I hope some of you understand what I mean. Have any of you had to conform to one side or the other? I would love to hear some of your experiences.
Till next time...
The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not reflect the views and opinions of The W.A.S. These are solely my beliefs.
So I was talking to Chuck Lightning yesterday before a meeting and we had a moment that we often find ourselves engaging in. He brought up one of my favorite songs of all time and then we decided to play it. Man this song brought forward so many memories that we instantly burst into song and an 80's/90's dance for an hour. This song was the perfect teacher for the transition that I was making at the time into a young man. I learned so much from its to verses and its hooks that when I really think about it I realize that I still refer to it to this very day. It was also, simply put, just great R&B. Its lyrics stated that "growing up can be a pain you're not a man until you come of age". I learned form that song that its the pain that challenges us to be better beings. Just as plants must struggle to break the soil to reach the light we must go through our own challenges to grow. At times it was a hard lesson to learn but others weren't so bad.
If you haven't viewed the video you may be asking what's the song...its New Edition's song Boys to Men. Man this song just takes me to a time when we still had really dope R&B acts. Acts that would commit to the record with sweat, blood and tears. Where have those artists gone? Did hip hop eat up R&B? These are some real questions that we should try to find real answers to because I want another Bobby Brown or Troop. Maybe this R&B drought is another "pain" or challenge that we must face to get to that next level of R&B. Either way I hope that we get there soon.
AHEM, AHEM...let me clear my throat...HEAR YE HEAR YE: yesterday the wondaland arts society took a meeting with Werner Wanderer Wieschnitzel, a leading german architect and outdoor space engineer, a.k.a. Konfunkteurin (hee hee, he said funk) or Raumfarttechniker (hee hee, he said fart) or Heizungsmonsteur (hee hee, he said monster)... sorry i'm listening...as I was saying...the W.A.S. took a meeting with a dude wearing leiderhozen, eating bratwurst mit kaas, who had little wee glasses, little wee mustache and little wee feet, but he had wonda big BIG designs, brains, thoughts...in short: he was ein Mann mit Ideen (a man with ideas, folks!)...
The German and the W.A.S. conjured efficacy and productivity spells all day and as the sun went down Herr Wieschnitzel presented us with the new Way to Work Wonders or Wundas. The W.A.S., starting with the Tonmeister (Sound Master) N8 Wonder, will be moving creation to the outside property that adjoins our forest and abuts our jungle here in Cascadeburg. Each member will have a Studiotechnik (work pod or twerk pod) on the grounds outside Wonda Proper (see images above) in which to create whatever their heart (or Jane, N8 and Uhuck) desire.
Lord Disassembler will have a pod in which to disassemble; Kellindo will have a pod in which to kake; Lord of Loins will have a pod in which to cook brown eggs and ham; Mean Martin will have a pod in which to sketch Bad Blood; Dalai Lightning will have a pod in which to brew rain delays; 2.0 will have a pod in which to couch jump; N8 will have a pod in which to kick the ceiling (he's a springy brotha); Ms. Lee will have a pod in which to be lovely lovely lovely; I Bam Bam will get a pod in which to recklessly drive, tear ligaments...wait...i mean sew the new cape, minister propoganda, find peace and make dreams come true. All interns will get a pod, except A JO...Lord Disassembler says she's not ready...
So watch for the Wonda Pods coming straight from Germany to our little village... It's all in the name of the Hitfabrik! Which Werner Wanderer Wieschnitzel explained means recording studio churning out hit songs in German. Wunderbar, fantastisch...
End Note: If you build it they will come, visualize realize, manifest destiny...you know what i'm saying...Wieschnitzel will be here any day now.
10. I legally purchased your music and I still own it.
9. I play this legally purchased music around other people. I especially show people the songs I love-- a capital offense.
8. I even play this music loud in my car. Other people, people that don't own it, hear it.
7. And then sometime in the mid-90s I began giving my sister all your albums.
Each Christmas, I would buy her a few more. By my estimation, she now owns everything through The Symbol Album. That's what? 13 albums. Wow. You're gonna have to sue her too.
6. I transfered all this music to my iPod.
5. I met you in 1995.
I'm sure you remember me. I was the one who refused to call you "The Artist." I'm sure you noticed. I walked over and talked to you without once uttering the magic words, which would have let you know how important you were, while also perhaps allowing me to meet one of the beauties on your arm. By the way, wouldn't "The Artist" be God? Guess not. But just a thought. Surely you knows these thoughts. Surely i'm about to get sued.
4. I saw you in concert for the first time in 1993.
For a long while, I kept the ticket stub in my pocket. It was more important than my keys. Then the ticket disappeared, but of course the glowing memories remained. I remembered how during "Insatiable" you ran across the stage, slid on your red high heel boots, almost fell, caught yourself, landed in the splits and caught the microphone as you let loose a scream. Wow. Still makes me break out in a smile. I know, I know. I've been running a little late with my good memory payments lately. You can add that to the tab.
3. I joined prince.org. GASP!
My username is takedisbeat. Pretty funny huh? Always loved that remix. I joined the site because in their huge gallery of images some superfan had scanned their ticket, the ticket to my first Prince concert!, and shared it with the world. When I saw the ticket stub, I was stunned. My heart dropped. I relived the moments: the way your guitar sounded live, the cold night I spent on the sidewalk, humming "Still Will Stand All Time" outside the Chicago Theatre, doing all I could just to get a good seat, and then the hot girl sitting next to me at the show, one of hundreds of Prince-like protoges wearing neglige, and her friend who was even hotter swaying against me during Purple Rain. I joined the fan site Prince.org instantly. So guess what? I haven't checked my Inbox lately. I'm probably being sued.
2. I preferred Uptown to Controversy.
And here's something you need to know: We ALL preferred Uptown to Controversy. Because we wanted the unadulterated truth, the vault stuff, everything. Not the official boring word from Paisley Park. I treasure issues of Uptown to this day. And I have no idea where my Controversy fan club card is. And don't care. It never meant that much to me. The last time I talked about the Controversy fan club was probably in 1992: I was talking to another Controversy member outside a record convention. I was looking for more Prince bootlegs, more incredible songs. He was selling Prince portraits. He was going to get in his van and drive to Paisley Park. He wanted to personally show you his paintings. It sounded to me like he was going to get shot. But he had a grand vision of working for you, painting you all the time. He could paint anything. He was actually really good. I asked him about getting an agent, getting into the fine art/gallery scene. But he just wanted to paint you. I thought it was tragic. And come to think of it, he probably did get shot-- and then sued.
1. I own the Vault I and II.
I know you know what that is. And I know now we're not friends. I just think you should put all this great music out so more people can enjoy it. All the vault songs I have. And the hundreds I don't. That might mean making friends with Warner Brothers again. The grand slave master. But didn't that plantation make you a superstar? Just a thought. Sue me.
Since the release and selling 10,000 copies of "The Chase", I have been courted by a few major distribution companies. I am in the process of selecting a company to partner with my label, The Wondaland Arts Society.:)
I have decided that it is time my music be introduced to the Universe. It is time for the W.A.S to take over the lands. It is time that our friends and family be able to come see me perform in your city and physically walk into Walmart and pick up all four suites. It is time for videos and movies to be made. It is time to move forward and take "Metropolis" to greater heights. It's just time...
Kate: Does this mean the music will change? No more kicking mic stands at your shows? Will your hair and clothes disappear too?
I will and can reassure you that I will not be compromising my image or figuring out how I can fit into the mainstream of things. It will not be that kind of situation at all. Any decisions made about me and my image will be because I decided it was cool. In fact, I am not even having discussions with companies who don't appreciate my artistic direction physically and musically. We are not wasting our time talking to such people.
I wanted to thank you personally for your love, prayers, word of mouth, magazine write ups, blog posts, college radio spins, and helping us reach 10,000 copies sold! All these things helped get me to this point. It is only right to keep you in the loop about these sorts of things. I will have to share my music with the rest of the world now and to know that my genuine supporters are behind me 100%, makes me feel so blessed.
I love you all and I will keep you posted. Feel free to ask questions or make statements.:)
It's that time again. This one will have to be short and sweet, gotta get ready for a wedding and the wife is sweating me...
Some good things going on for the Wondaland team. I wish I could elaborate...but I can't...in due time loyal readers...in due time.
I found out I won't be in town for Thanksgiving this year, it kind of bummed me out. My whole family is coming to Atlanta including my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I will be on a business trip on that day, so I won't get to see them. But the more I thought about it the happier I got. It's like my fellow Wondalyte Mitchow! said, "You grow up dreaming to play in the NFL, you get drafted and realize you'll be playing on Thanksgiving, Christmas, your child's birthday, etc, but it's all worth it". This trip could be the biggest day in my life to date. The day my dream gets realized...that's a big deal. Some people live their whole lives and never see that day, but here I am at the age of 26, and that opportunity is staring me in the face. It's exciting and scary all at the same time.
There have been a lot of things that I have had to sacrifice in this pursuit of my dream and in being JM's personal manager. I don't see my parents as often as I should, I don't talk to old friends that often, by the time I get home most nights the wife is asleep, so I don't see her that much, I could be working for my Dad and making pretty good money, etc. But the crazy thing is that I wake up everyday happy even though there are a lot of things going on that could make one unhappy. Why is Rico happy about all this? Well friends, because I wake up everyday doing what I want to do and doing what I know is right. I wouldn't change anything in my life right now, yeah I'm struggling a little bit in more ways than one, but when the goal is reached, it will be so much more appreciated.
There have been many times in the past where I was doubting the plan that was laid out for me by the "Man Upstairs", but each time I did, something positive happened and made me realize that everything is going according to schedule. It's hard to explain but it's REAL!
I go to to work at Wondaland everyday with a smile on my face. I might not see my biological family that often, but my Wondaland family isn't too shabby either...;) We laugh, argue, create magic, eat together, play together, just like a family would. And we all have a common goal and are all going through the same things. It's a very comforting feeling when you're not alone.
The moral of the story is that without sacrifice there are no accomplishments...bottom line. You have to work to achieve your dreams. You have to stay positive in life to achieve your dreams. You must have good people around you to achieve your dreams. You dreams becoming a reality is no accident, it's your reward for sacrifice!
I just needed to get these things out of my system and I hope at least one of you takes something from this. I didn't grow up in Bel Air with a white picket fence and a little dog. I grew up in the Bronx with a single mother. I didn't grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. I grew up where my mom SACRIFICED her dinner for me because there was only one piece of meat left. So don't let the hand you were dealt be an excuse for not winning, or not achieving your dreams, it's just that...an excuse.
We at Wondaland are inventors.
We wear tuxedos everyday. We jump in pools during performances.
We wear Civil War hats and rock vintage Jordans.
We believe truth can be broken down with the following formula: Truth= Love x Imagination.
We believe songs are spaceships. We believe music is the weapon of the future.
We believe books are stars. We believe there are only three forms of music: good music, bad music and funk.
We have created our own state, our own republic.
There is grass here. Grass sprouts from toilet seats, bookshelves, ceilings and floors.
Grass makes us feel good. In this state, there are no laws, there is only music.
Funk rules the spirit. And punk rules the courtrooms and marketplace. Period.
In this state, there is no food. We eat books and season them with wine and cotton candy.
When you want the news, you read a comic book.
There is also Love. Sex. Wisdom. Magic and Wonder.
These things add up to something new and ancient that we call WISM. WISM makes us feel good.
Who needs drugs when you've got WISM?
We believe women are much smarter than men. And strive to act accordingly.
We have built several cities.
We are always looking for a new city to live in. We have recently moved from Atlantis to Metropolis, a city of our own design.
It's the largest city in the world, but you can only see it by closing your eyes.
We are watching Steve Jobs the way Berry Gordy watched Henry Ford.
We believe in Moore's Law, in time pacing, in micro-chunking, in nanofying, in monetizing, optimizing everything, and shipping products.
We're like a cross between Guy Kawasaki and James Brown.