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journalWelcome to my online journal. I'm Alex Mead. For many years people called me AMPro --so much so that it seemed like my name. More recently, a lot of people on the internet have come to know me as green.earth.al and in show biz...My Rap Name is Alex. Whatever name I'm known by, I still seem to have the same opinions and convictions, I still like to write and make public my introspection and try to say something that will provoke some thoughts and help people see the world in new and helpful ways.
April 2007
Sweet Victory
this journal entry posted on April.29.2007

I firmly believe that there is a major conflict going on on the planet Earth. A conflict between love and fear. I have been having this battle on a personal level all my life, and today I won a major victory where I kicked fear right in the eye and made it die.

When I was little, back before I realized there was any significance to this conflict, I had many fears. Perhaps not more or less than most youngsters, but in our society, youngsters have many fears. And I had my share. I was DEATHLY afraid of any flying insects whether they stug or not. Whether they bit or not. Just flying was enough. And I was oh so afraid of germs. GERMS ARE EVERYWHERE!!!! RUN! I was terrified of dirty dishes and dirtly laundry, and sure, it was convenient, but I was also resigned to it as a fact of life. These "phobias" are just always going to be with me. But the biggest fear of all, the king-daddy was the fear of rejection. The fear that people weren't going to like me. And that no woman was ever going to let me touch her boob. The possibility of that seriously traumatized me. A LOT.

So, I began scoring small but impressive victories before I was even really very aware of the scope of the confrontation. My mother was sick and made a lot of dirty laundry and could not do laundry herself and so somehow I just found the inner strength to start doing laundry. And even though the thought of her maybe saying no made my stomach wrench with flummoxed pain I found the courage to ask Heather for her phone number and then ask her out on a date. And then when she moved in and she was like "No, you just don't understand. I have SO much stress! I have to work constantly. Home. Work. Home. Work. If I have to wash ALL of the dishes I'm going to FREAK OUT!" And so I found the strength to touch the dirty dishes with ALL THE GERMS IN THEM! And after a while went by and I didn't die, germs didn't seem so scary. By the time Opus 2003 rolled around I was washing dirty dishes for 120 people.

All of that was well and good. But there was still something gnawing at me. Something that felt undone. I felt like I had something to say. Something that the world needed to listen to. Part of it seemed obvious enough. I had books to write. No problem, not at all afraid of writing a book. But, for some inexplicable reason, I felt called to perform. Do poetry in front of a live audience or something. Or even RAP. Terrifying!

This call made absolutely no sense. So I ignored it and just let the phone keep ringing. I was SO DEATHLY afraid of public speaking. I had a public speaking course in college. I gave my little 10 minute speach with my hand shaking and the paper rattling and my voice quivering and me trying to hide behind the rattling piece of paper more and more. I gave that speach, I passed that class and that was IT! I was never, ever, ever, ever going to have to appear in public again. Plus, I already knew with a certainty that I suck as a performer and my words should be read without having to subject people to my voice.

Yet, still... something was calling me. Made no sense. Until I met Amy. And I began to get the feeling that I wanted to impress her enough that maybe, just maybe, I could deliver a poem in front of people. So I tried it and it didn't work. Whatevs. No big loss. And then I went to Opus 2004 and I was feeling such love that my fear began to melt away just long enough that I could deliver a poem in front of my Opus peeps. That was such an amazing feeling. I felt very loved.

I got home determined to answer the call and do it some more. And I tried. At an open mic at a place that used to be on Elmwood called Coffee&. And it didn't work out. And I was daunted. But not enough to keep me from trying again. And again. And eventually I started getting it right. I was afraid. But my fear was manageable. I was learning coping strategies. I was improving with practice. I was receiving just enough love from my performances that I was able to push my fear away a little more every time.

Over the last couple years fear has mostly disipated. Audiences get larger. The nervousness gets a little less. I went from being nervous 3 days before a show... to two days before a show... to one day... to hours beforehand... to minutes... to only nervous while I'm performing. That's where I was last month when I played for the Bloodthirsty Vegans for the first time. I was just a little scared. But that's natural right? I mean I felt like that was the best one could do. You're always going to be a little scared I figured. That's no big deal.

And then I got the DVD of our performance and watched myself. I looked like I was having a pretty good time, but why was I so wooden? So stiff? The music is so awesome, so why was I holding back on the dancing and the smiling and the joy? Why?

Fear.

Watching myself on DVD gave me a new outlook on performing. I was going to write a "New Outlook on Life" blog post before the Lizzard Ball, but I was afraid to commit to it. I had it as a goal and objective to really pursue my joy at the Lizzard Ball and embrace love and ignore fear. Most of the people at the Lizzard Ball love me or only fail to love me because they don't know me yet. So that was what I wanted from the Lizzard Ball. To be loose and free. Freedom from fear is a very powerful kind of free.

So tonight I won. I succeeded. I got so loose that performing was just absolutely nayural and joyous. I would not have won this victory without love and fearlessness from my friends. We have this whole stupid society that conditions us to be afraid. BE CONSTANTLY, CONTINUOUSLY AFRAID. And so it's hard to get free from it by yourself. But my friends Lara and LJ were there. And Lara let me sing with her and that was so freeing. And then when the Bloodthirsty Vegans started performing Lara and LJ just started dancing so freely, so joyously that everything was going to be alright. And then Amy and Sophia from my Ice 9 family jumped up and they started dancing so joyously and so free too. And before you knew it there were almost a dozen free humans who could just exist in the moment of their freedom.

When it came time to rap, man, I just didn't care. All I wanted to do was return as much love as I was receiving but it was coming in faster than I could give it back. The Bloodthirsty Vegans were playing so amazingly and joyously so I just channeled the love as fast as I could.

Oh what a night.

Tonight the Green Party had the most profitable Lizzard Ball that they've had since I became a green. In fact it may be the first profitable one I've been associated with. That was just icing on the cake. And all of the solo performers got paid and the Bloodthirsty Vegans got free drinks all night, and I drank a lot of free water, and I just had the time of my life tonight.

I can't wait to do it again next year.

be Love,
-Alex


Upcoming Appearances
this journal entry posted on April.27.2007

Time for more performing:

Saturday, April 28th (tomorrow night) at 7pm is the Lizzard Ball. Show up early and make sure you don't miss Lara Buckley! Me and the Bloodthirsty Vegans will be playing a great set featuring some of your favorite My Rap Name is Alex tunes.
http://www.myspace.com/lizzardball

Sunday, April 29th will be Urban Epiphany, the bestest poetry event in Western New York. I will be doing some performance poetry between the hours of 4 and 5pm.
http://urbanepiphany.com

Friday May 11th the wise and wonderful Anna Walsh and I will be hosting our monthly poetry and prose reading and discussion series.
http://ilovemycoop.com/calendar.cgi

I might be performing at the BEATFest preparty later that night.

Saturday May 19th I will be performing for the one year anniversary celebration of the Buffalo Wellness Cooperative.
http://ilovemycoop.com/calendar.cgi

and Saturday, June 2nd I will be out in the fresh air of the country to perform at Beatfest.
http://beatfest.com/

Also look for a series of monthly Bloodthirsty Vegans performances at the UU church of Buffalo. More details to come as they become available.

Peace & Love,
-Alex

New Song
this journal entry posted on April.12.2007

Been a while since I've written a song. And an even longer while since I posted one in my journal. I really don't know how I feel about this one. A long while ago I wrote a song called Commit which was intended to challenge myself. It was very well received. And I wanted to write another one to challenge myself some more. I started writing this song before Opus in Ioawa a couple years ago. I've written it about 12 times and never been satisfied with it. But I think this pretty close now. Maybe. I dunno. Bah. Whatever. It is what it is I guess.

All Winners
by My Rap Name is Alex
(Aug.2005 - Apr.2007)

we're all winners here
fighting to be free from fear
I say... we're all winners here
to me that's just crystal clear

Who told you people with pimples ain't appealin'
Or skinny blond girls don't have feelins
Who told you you were too big to be sexy
Or that the quiet voice is not worth respecting
Who told you a magazine cover's what you're supposed to be
As you are you look beautiful to me
You ain't too short, too black, too fat, too tall
I see nothing wrong with you at all
Soon as we get your wings unfurled
Your gifts are going to change the world
and...

we're all winners here
fighting to be free from fear
I say... we're all winners here
to me that's just crystal clear

  homegirl you're so hot
  what you got hits my spot
  I love you a whole lot
  you're awesome so why not

  and... and you must be doing something right (right)
  cause even when we just talk all night (right)
  spendin time with you is what I like (and)
  if lovin you was wrong I wouldn't wanna be right (aight)

  I was lost and alone wandering through the dark
  you took a hold of my hand.. a hold of my heart
  lit the flame to my chalice, fed my starving art
  so now we're always together, n'matter how far apart

  I'm sayin 4+ years dear and zero regrets
  and your love lets my love love whoever love lets
  So, now I know, that in many respects
  you're not just a good person, you're as good as it gets
  and...

we're all winners here
fighting to be free from fear
I say...hey, we're all winners here
to me that's just crystal clear

Who told you there was something wrong with hugging trees
Or it was wrong to just dangle in the breeze
Who told you a woman that likes it is a slut
Tell them they can lick your you know what
Who said a man is not a man if he's not strong
And who says there's such a thing as "do not belong"?
You're not too frail, too stale, too male, too pale
Time to believe we just can't fail
Soon as we get your wings unfurled
Your gifts are going to change the world
and...

we're all winners here
fighting to be free from fear
I say... we're all winners here
to me that's just crystal clear

  So, What if we, turned off the tv,
  And I touched you, then you touched me
  And then what if we giggled for fun, run out into the sun
  Where we all just fall into one
  And then start talking to strangers, flirting with danger
  communicate & relate without anger
  Next we could play a game where everyone could win it
  Then we could eat a meal with no animals in it
  And then go OUT get our groove on an', Dance until the dawn an'
  Remember it ALL in the mornin

And we're all winners here
fighting to be free from fear
I say... we're all winners here
to me that's just crystal clear

Who told me my lips were too big to make me handsome
And I was too tubby and chubby and that and some
And who's the ones that told me that I can't sing
Man, I got to sing, there's a joy I'm tryin'a bring
So now when people tell me right now I'm cool
I still know that I was picked last for dodge ball too
But, Soon as we get my wings unfurled
Our gifts are going to change the world
and...

we're all winners here
fighting to be free from fear
I say... I say... we're all winners here
to me that's just crystal clear


New LOVE!
this journal entry posted on April.10.2007

A couple Thursdays ago I went in to work to do any follow up training that might have been necessary for the evening shifts. There are a bunch of warehouse guys that are very curious about Roz and one of the guys that seems to be rooting for her asked me how she was working out with the tire throwing. I informed him that she had just thrown 18,000 pounds in a few hours and she was doing great. So his reply to me was "Wow. Marry that woman!"

Now apart from that being really strange criteria upon which to base a marriage, there's the fact that I feel like I mostly know Roz from when she was 6 and 7 years old and I feel more big brotherly toward her than anything (she is really cool, attractive and awesome though, don't get it twisted). But, considering that I'm out about my life and this seemed like a teachable moment, I figured I'd dig out the ultimate truth and go with that. I told him "I have two girlfriends already, and I don't see where I would ever find the time for a third."

Yeah. Um. Less than 24 hours later, I had a 3rd girlfriend.

But not just another girlfriend. NO NO NO.

Okay, it's like this. Imagine you're in love with the absolute perfect person for you. And then one day you get to be in love with the other absolute perfect person for you too. It's like that.

Okay, let me organize my thoughts for a second. Okay, now, in point of fact, yes I had two girlfriends at the time. And there have been times in the past few months where it's taken every moment I can find just to be a good partner in those relationships. But at that particular time, I had one girlfriend that had had a very traumatic personal tragedy and told me not to contact her until she contacted me, and another girlfriend that's gone out of state for six weeks. So, technically I did have SOME time. But I was very content; I was spending my mental energy on improving the relationships I had; I was just living the good life and then... BLAMO!

My fondness for my friend Christina is no secret really. I've blogged about her and posted Photojournals of us loving life, and shared a radio broadcast with her, and wrote about her in my autobiography, and told my two girlfriends that if she ever expressed the slightest interest in me all bets were off and that I probably wouldn't be able to wait to discuss it with them and that I would just have to tumble headlong into a movie-esque embrace and kiss her like there was no tomorrow.

And so over the last three years or so I've checked in with her every 6 months or so, reminding her that I thought she should let me be a boyfriend of hers. And she's mostly seemed pretty uninterested in that plan. But a couple friday nights ago... it just seemed like it was time to kiss her. And we kissed. And the universe shifted (again). And I just really really love her like crazy.

And she and Heather are great friends. And I feel all inspired and energized and I have a sense of anxious anticipation for the future from the moment I wake up. I feel like I live in some kind of unreal wish fulfillment universe. If you'd have told me 10 years ago that this was the way my life was going to go I'd have had a laughing fit. I have no idea how I accomplished all these cool books and websites and get to play with the Bloodthirsty Vegans, and have the awesomest girlfriends. To be perfectly honest, it doesn't even seem like it makes sense sometimes.

I have patterned my life around this idea that if I live my life to the best of my ability and really try to do right by others and do unto them as I'd have them do unto me... then my rewards will be automatic. But it was supposed to be theoretical. I don't think I even had a plan for what to do if it ever started REALLY working.

Love like your life depends on it. Because it does.

-be Love,
-Alex


New Hobby
this journal entry posted on April.10.2007

Last year I started doing research for a book I will write some day called Alexandria. It's actually two books. It's historical fiction about Northern Africa in the 1300s.

One of the absolute best places I found to conduct said research was Wikipedia. There is SO MUCH information to be had there and more every day. I read about the 1200s and the 1300s until my eyes were about to bleed.

Then I got a bit sidetracked. I began to look up everything I was curious about. And then I discovered that if you saw a spelling or gramatical error anywhere on wikipedia you could just fix it right then and there. And then I figured out that if information was missing you could add it. And then I found out you could spend the rest of your life on Wikipedia because stuff gets added even faster than you'd be able to read it all. It's kinda mind boggling.

So, after a while I extricated my brain from the Wikipedia and got back to doing research and every once in a while I'd write an article. It's kind of fun. And kinda nerdy. And pretty interesting. And ultimately useful I think.

I have a few long term goals on the Wikipedia:
* I'd like to get some of the mainstream cultural bias out of the articles about adoption and put some reality in.
* I'd like to make the articles on polyamory a bit more interesting.
* I'd like to create more pages for progressive artists and activists that deserve entries but don't have them.

And my ultimate long term goal is to do something big enough that an article that can be written about me that won't get deleted.

Anyway, this journal entry is starting to feel more like a confession of a guilty pleasure so I think I'll just end it here and post it before I end up deleting it.

be Peace,
-user: Alex




New Employee
this journal entry posted on April.08.2007

A little more than a year ago I went on my friend Theresa's radio show, speakEasy, to promote my newly published book, Relations: McEmpire.

It was my fourth or fifth appearance on her show. Her show was fun to go on because we were pretty good friends and I could talk about whatever I had come on to promote, but she would also just start asking about my life and opinions on various things. The conversation could range all over.

During the course of that radio show she started asking me about my job throwing tires. And then a bit later one of the follow up questions she asked me was "Do they have any women throwing tires there where you work?"

And there weren't. And for some reason that question just always stuck with me. I thought about it a lot. Of course, they hadn't made me a boss there yet, so I couldn't do much more than think about it. But, half a year later they made me the boss, and I started to think about it more seriously.

Mostly I would think things like "What woman would WANT to throw tires?" "What woman has the right mix of physical and mental characteristics to do a good job?" and that kind of thing.

One day, sometime around November 2006, I was minding my own business and logging onto my mySpace and there were a bunch of friend requests that seemed to be a bunch of spammers right in a row. Nevertheless, I clicked over to each one to make sure they weren't someone I actually did know before deleting their requests. And low and behold, one of them was an actual person. And that person was Roz (pictured above).

My mother used to get great joy from networking with other mothers and doing a lot of neighborhood coparenting. And my mom would teach me how to do it also. Together my mom and I were mothers' assistants to lots of neighborhood moms and we co-mothered lots of kids. Roz was one such kid. She lived three doors down from us and she came to be very much like a little sister to me.

So I was very eager to catch up on her life and see how she had been and where her life had taken her (as it was now 20 years later). And her blog was full of smart sarcastic commentary, and her picture gallery was full of athletic related pictures (basketball and weightlifting and all that).

Okay, so, putting two and two together, this would be the perfect person to invite to come throw tires. And as luck would have it we were in a period where we needed as many employees as we could locate. So I invited her. And... she was busy at the time.

But a couple months later she was less busy. And so I hired her. And... And, I dunno. I'm not sure if it's right to enjoy it so much that I'm introducing such chaos into the unigendered world that the guys in the warehouse had created for themselves. It's all I can do to keep from laughing at some of the reactions sometimes. It seems like a lot of males in the warehouse have a vested interest in her not being able to do the job. Like they take it personally somehow.

And I like breaking up their unigendered language.
"Hey Alex, how many guys you got coming in tonight?"
"I have three guys and one woman."
or
"When is 33 door going to be finished?"
"She only had two pallets left to go when I was over there."
"????? You have a GIRL throwing tires?"
"She's female. Yes."

She pays attention to detail. Follows instructions. Asks questions when she's uncertain. Works safely. Honors her word. She's just a much better loader than half the guys who've been working there much longer.

So, whoever said "You can't find good help these days," was wrong. They just didn't know where to look.

:)

be Peace,
-Alex


New Band & New Website...
this journal entry posted on April.05.2007

So, the band isn't totally new. I blogged about them before. But, what's new is that the Bloodthirsty Vegans and I (MyRapNameIsAlex) performed out. We performed at the UU church of Buffalo and we totally rocked the house.

click here to listen (click on the yellow links when you get there)

Pictured to the right are the following bloodthirsty vegans (left to right): Mike, Kilissa, Duh, Paul and Greg. Not pictured are Roland and Kush. Click link #1 on that page to hear Kush beatbox with the band.

And, speaking of that page, the website's not exactly new either, but I've recently put a lot more content on it, so if you haven't already, have a look around:

MyRapNameIsAlex.com

be Peace,
-Alex



Seasonal Depression...
this journal entry posted on April.03.2007

I don't suffer from season depression. Or any kind of depression. I don't even really get sad very often. A lot of my friends do though. Gratitude for Springtime I guess. I'm not a big fan of having my friends all sad. Especially when they're all threatening to move away.

Okay, so this is a journal entry that I've been sitting on for more than a month I guess. It was about a month ago and a high percentage of the people close to me were all talking about heading out of state, for long periods of time if not forever. One of my girlfriends seemed like she was quite possibly breaking up with me. To top it all off I got called into work for about 12 hours without pay on my day off to fix a screw up from one of our employees who could avoid screwing up if he would just pay attention sometimes or care a little bit about his job. And on that day, as I was sorting through tires one by one in the dark it occured to me that if I did feel like being depressed maybe that wouldn't be so unreasonable. But I was still relatively chipper. So I began composing this blog entry as I worked. Only I never got an opportunity to type it out when I got home. So, here it is a month later.

This entry is about my best guesses as to what it is that keeps me afloat. Why all kinds of awful can darken my doorstep and I'm only mildly disheartened by it. Here's the enumerated list.

1. Relationships - The biggest factor is having the human relationships that I need in my life to stay okay. No matter whatever else is going on in life I feel like Heather will always love me, and that's like a huge boulder of stability in the ol' foundation. And I feel like I have more friends than I could even spend time with, and community stuff to do all the time and people who have attention for me and whant to know what I'm up to and who have interesting stories to tell and that's the stuff that makes life worth living.

2. Upbringing - My mother did a really good job of raising me such that I don't spend too much time focussed on things beyond my control. Seems like really catastrophic things don't bother me if I know I can't do anything about them at present. I just put my time in on things that I can affect and keep my eye on all the rest in case I can affect it later.

3. Purpose - I feel like I know what I'm supposed to be doing in life with writing books and all. I feel like I have books to write that no one else can write and that actually need to be written and that somehow makes it easy to get up in the morning.

4. Clensed - I have big gratitude that I have a job that allows me to sweat even in the dead of winter. I think that renewal of water and the ability to release body fluids --sweat in particular-- is key to keeping healthy and energized. I feel like my circulatory system, immune system, metabolism and all that are on overdrive. And I like it.

5. Light - I get outsight and absorb what light there is even when there isn't much. Even on the shortest days of the year, being out on my bike and having some direct sunlight on my face helps. I'm pretty sure of that.

With hope that any of that is of any use to anyone.

-Alex




STOP: BlogTime!
this journal entry posted on April.02.2007

Blogging. For me it comes and it goes I guess. I spend a few months where I make the time to write about my life every week or two in the hopes that my friends can keep up on my life to the extent that they're interested. Then I spend a couple months where every moment of life is absorbed by the living of it. Such has been the case in the last couple months. And then I get to the point where I feel like I just have to explode and tell whoever is out there listening all about whatever is the latest glorious adventure. And that time... is now. (Almost now).

Stay tuned to this space for the next couple weeks, I have a lot of entries saved up and a lot of news to report: New Band, New Website, New Employee, New Hobby, NEW LOVE, New lease on life, and that's just the new stuff.



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