Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Five for Phive

Since I have joined the fun on Twitter the amount of loving, caring, quality individuals I have met hs been staggering. Austin has been the well from which most of these people came (although there are others all over the world). It's been a wonderful side benefit to learning how to use this platform to help my clients. In the process, Twitter allowed me to help people on a larger scale than I'd been able to do in the past. My desire to help others stems from my father's influence. In CA he runs a children's charity called the Orange County Children's Book Festival. He is also active in Kiwanis International, March of Dimes and some others. His lifelong example has instilled these same values in me.

There's a guy I met that is truly a cool cat. He's been putting on these INCREDIBLE dub reggae shows at Ruta Maya because he loves the music and is trying to encourage a more vibrant Dub Scene here in Austin. He's from North County, San Diego where dub has a big presence locally. There is definitely a market for this music here. After all, we host Bob Marley day in April at Auditorium Shores and the place looks like it's going to overflow with concertgoers during that weekend.

On New Year's Eve I actually left the sold-out show at Stubb's (sorry BJL love you guys) and met up with a good friend and we hit Ruta Maya. I could feel the bass in my chest, OUTSIDE the coffee/kind beer house. When we got inside, I gave the nice lady (Phive's wife it turned out) at the door my name. When I did, this tall, ginger-haired guy exclaimed, "Dude! You're Greg Ackerman?!" and reach out to give me a big, warm hug. He was awesome. So positive. The kind of person you WANT to hang around.

Phive encouraged me to check out the show. Which was great. There were a number of DJs spinning that night, but the guy who seemed to do it for me was McPullish.

Later, in front of the club, Phive and I were talking. I asked him how he ended up in Austin. He told me it was a cool place to raise his family and hang. He also told me he had to sell his top of the line Nikon Camera along with both his lenses to put food on the table. He said it with a smile on his face and quickly changed the subject. But I could tell he was crushed.

You see, Phive is not a concert promoter. He's a professional photographer. With no camera. He told me Music Festivals INVITE him to shoot. It would sure be nice to have him shooting SXSW. I asked Phive last week what gear he'd owned. After calculating costs to replace these items, I created a button named Five for Phive at the bottom of this page. If 600 of you caring ATXers I've met in the past six months decide to help by donating only $5 to the fund I created (I set up an account at Velocity Credit Union), I'll be able to turn over enough funds for Phive to get back to his bread and butter, shooting fantastic live music photos.

Please use Pay Pal or a CC to donate at the top of the page . My goal is to raise $3k by March 1st. I know it can be done. Read my post on the Build Texas blog. Thank you for reading. And for donating.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Another Step ~ Sunday Reflections

Seems like Sunday is the day I tend to review the past week as the work week approaches. Funny how we still have the same dread of Monday coming regardless of whether it is school, work or even the thought of the unexpected which makes us gulp back fear. Fear is an interesting thing to examine if we allow ourselves get past the uncomfortable feeling that comes with it.

Fear does not have to dictate our actions. According to Neal Donald Walsh who penned the cult classic, "Conversations with God", human beings are created in God's image as it says in the bible. Meaning we can manifest anything we desire. Both positive and negative manifestations are possible. If you allow your mind to open and remember instances in your own life where this is true, it will be a powerful moment.

You'll realize it is within your own power to effect what ever change, event or even material object you want. You may also realize that with that power comes an awareness that one could manifest negative influences your life as well. Maybe instances of these occurrences are evident if you one meditates on how things "happen to you".

I've found this to be true in my own life. There came a point of realization. Of self-realization, if you will. I understood the mind and heart to be separate but equally important aspects of my existence. When one make the determination that the heart or soul if you will, is in fact leading the mind, many things change. The biggest change is perspective. Now instead of asking why, you'll find yourself asking why not?

I know each moment in my life where the choice was made to move forward, good things came to be. So imagine your best case scenario next time you're pondering the future. Allow yourself to visualize the ideal moment. If your focus is on the process you will be surprised how immediate the results come.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Step

At the request of a good Twitter friend and some others, I created this personal blog to share my thoughts with family, friends, colleagues and even complete online strangers (for those voyeurs and curiosity seekers I suppose). There is still some hesitation to make my personal thoughts public, however, in light of recent personal recognition for my online efforts to promote local bands and charities, for now, my musings will be published for all to see. It's a bit scary. It makes me think of Tweedy's words in the Wilco song, "What Light" where he shares his thoughts on his "public art".

And if the whole world's singing your songs

And all of your paintings have been hung
Just remember what was yours is everyone's from now on

And that's not wrong or right
But you can struggle with it all you like
You'll only get uptight

I've had similar thoughts about my writing on music and the surprising reactions I've received from family, friends, publicists and artists. I was reminded of my high school classmates reactions to my sports reporting at the Tustin News. They were surprisingly forthright in their opinions of my work, occasionally cornering me in person to express their displeasure at something I wrote that they disagreed with.

The fact that published words mean so much to people is something I have learned to respect. There comes responsibility with writing to the web, paper or text. With the power of words come the moral obligation to tread lightly where people are concerned. And nearly everything we write affects someone personally.

A good example of this is a short comment left on the Austin KXAN YouTube page. My friend, Lorrie Meyer's company, Bonza Lounge was profiled on the station this morning. It's a dating site that has a different angle than eHarmony or Match.com. The site encourages group activities so that people interested in meeting others in their area can do so both efficiently and without worrying about awkwardness in a traditional blind date.

As is the custom with most news agencies, the two-minute spot was posted to their YouTube by the time I looked for it. I was so excited, I quickly copied the link and posted it to Twitter to share with my friends and followers. Someone must have seen the link (not a Twitter follower) and made an insensitive comment regarding Bonza Lounge users.

This person who is an older, white man nearing retirement age may not have realized his comments would bother Lorrie so much. Or that she is unemployed and desperately searching for a job while she attempts to create a web-based business with no working capital and only one employee, herself. But the fact is, his comments hurt. He hurt Lorrie where it matters most, her potential income. Bonza Lounge is a startup company. Lorrie has just begun to gain some traction with the help of some of her Austin Twitter friends.

I decided to write this person and explain how his comments affected people and asked him to remove them. I tried to appeal to his sense of moral values which I assumed to be similar to my own since he is a resident of Austin which in my book means you have no excuse for intolerance, ignorance or insensitivity because real ATXers treat their neighbors with respect.

The primary reason I still reside here after my divorce in 2003 are the people. I have little family here, less friends than in CA where I grew up and no real business advantage. CA would be easier for me professionally. But Orange County, although beautiful does not have the kind of people and community that exists in Austin. People CARE about each other here. They say hello to their neighbors, hold the door open for each other and share that secret smile that says we KNOW we live in the greatest town in Texas and we are PROUD of it.

What's the point? To demonstrate how powerful words are when used properly and with care. While this was being written, the gentleman (I can safely call him that now) read my carefully worded message to him and removed the comment. All I had to do was ask him nicely. Thank you kind sir.