I’m sitting in a noisy smoky hostel pub in Prague and drinking a pint of Czech’s pride beer, a Pilsner Urquell. I stayed back an extra day to accompany Amanda on the train tomorrow to Berlin. She’s been sick, and I thought she should have a train buddy with her. The rest of the crew are riding for the next 3 days along the Elbe River to Dresden. From there they’ll train the rest of the way to Berlin. We had an interesting BMF here in Prague 2 days ago. The local bicycle advocacy group Auto-Mat were great, amazing hosts. They did their best on short notice to organize a cool BMF in some local spots like the Farmer’s Market, a local park, and a very unique wine bar underneath a “life-size” Trojan Horse by the river Elbe. They have an impressive level of organization and funding, apparently aided by one of the organizers being friends with the Mayor. Prague is a beautiful city, with so many astonishing buildings from ancient times, even middle ages, with streets that recall horse drawn carriages and long forgotten people, styles, and tunes. I feel pulled again to stay where I am and immerse more into the local flavors, customs, and experiences, but I have to get to Berlin to make another BMF a reality.
Fusion Festival was an amazing experience. It’s a huge 60,000 person festival with almost no commercial advertising and almost no security. There’s tons of alcohol and drug use, and yet I saw no trouble of any sort, in terms of friction between people, out of control drunks or violent tendencies. It was the most peaceful festival experience I could imagine, in spite of there being no rules per se. Of course, people just tossed their bottles and trash all over the place, but it was mostly cleaned up early the next day by the many volunteers who trade work shifts for entry. We stayed in the backstage area with many of the crew who work on the many music, theater, and cinema (kino) stages and art projects.
However, I left Fusion yesterday relieved be free from the incessant pounding of 60kW sound systems. I’m finding solace in the meadows, fields, and woods of rural Germany. The German and European rural areas are so much more lush and beautiful than I’d imagined. Apparently this is unique to this area, with its many small lakes (sees) and woods. I am really enjoying the ride along the Berlin – Copenhagen national bike route.
This morning I left Louis and Bobba sleeping at the lake where we swam, chatted around a fire, and slept last night. I’m enjoying the option of riding solo or with a group. The sense of freedom is freeing … 😉
All is bliss…
Dearest Friends and Family,
As you may know, I am about to embark on one of the most exciting and transformational adventures of my life—and I really need your help! I will be biking about 5000 miles through Europe with the Pleasant Revolution, a bicycle music tour that demonstrates how bands can tour independently, without cars, trucks, or vans by carrying our own equipment and putting on amazing musical shows with 100% bicycle-generated electricity. We depart on a ship from New York City on May 21st and will be overseas through October, 2010.
We are united behind the goal of spreading environmental awareness while creating new, diverse, and exciting musical experiences. In collaboration with local bicycle advocates and musicians in each city we visit, we create free Bicycle Music Festivals using a 1200W pedal-powered PA system we carry on our cargo bicycles. We prop up the rear wheels of our bikes, engage generators, and audience members join us on stage pedaling the bicycles to generate all the electricity for the sound system, bringing new meaning to the term “audience participation!”
More than a bike tour or music festival, this is a new movement for an evolving culture of transportation cycling, renewable power, and greener music/community events. We aim to lighten up the view of a sustainable lifestyle—from one of sacrifice and limitation to one of abundant health, happiness, and a deeper sense of connectedness; thus it is the Pleasant Revolution. The technology behind our tour, much of which we ourselves developed, is open source. We share it to spark the advent of more pedal powered community events and to teach individuals how to transform their lives by using a bicycle for power and transportation. In the past year, taking our BMF roadshow to just five towns, we inspired three groups to invest hundreds of volunteer hours and thousands of dollars to build their own bike music infrastructure and spread bike culture (check out Eugene, Oregon, for example). This summer, we’ll put on the show at least ten times with dozens of other organizations and more than a hundred other bands.
Our coalition of 16 musicians, cyclists and wacko thinkers will include the original bicycle touring band, the Ginger Ninjas. After tours of California, Guatemala, B.C., Oregon, Washington, the East Coast, and Mexico, cycling nearly 7000 miles and creating over 150 events, we have decided to expand the vision of a band on bikes playing shows to a group of bands on bikes putting on festivals. Four other acts will join the Ginger Ninjas this summer.
While everyone will be multi-tasking to make our tour work, my primary role is the pedal power system engineer. I design and repair the system that converts our audience’s “burrito power” into electricity to power our sound system’s amplification. I also play guitar and sing backup vocals for the Ginger Ninjas.
Though we have in-kind gear sponsors, have booked many paying shows, and work double time for our own personal funds, the amounts secured don’t yet cover all of our costs. I have been humbled by the scale of the journey ahead, and realize that I need the support of my community. If you are inspired by this project and want to be a part, you can help me grow and us deliver our message by donating to our project. I personally need to raise $4,000 more to cover my base costs for getting a loading hauling bike and all my camping and riding gear; getting across the Atlantic and back; and staying fed and healthy on the road. I’ll be living on less than $30/day.
- $10 will feed me a good meal
- $30 supports me for a day
- $200 supports me for a week
- $1000 supports me for a month
We gratefully accept donations to our individual personal funds or the group’s overall fund. Here are five easy ways.
The Pleasant Revolution is a project of International Bicycle Fund, a 501c3 non-profit, and all donations are tax-deductible (EIN: 91-1286223)
Make a tax-deductible donation online through a secure website using credit card or paypal:
- Donate instantly
- In the space given for “Designation” please enter: Pleasant Revolution for the tour as a whole or Pleasant Revolution/Thomas Spellman if it’s for me specifically
- Follow the prompts for billing information to complete your donation, knowing that The International Bicycle Fund has high standards of privacy and integrity in all their transactions
Mail a tax-deductible donation:
Attn: Pleasant Revolution/Thomas Spellman
INTERNATIONAL BICYCLE FUND
4887 Coulmbia Dr S
Seattle, WA 98108
Not worried about tax deductible? You can send a donation directly to me using personal check or Paypal:
My PayPal account is: -snip-
Keeping in mind that we will be departing for New York on May 11th, you can send a check via UPS on or before the date of 5/5/10:
– snip –
Want to get something for your donation, like a bike, or our music, or a button, or a messenger bag, or a bike light, or something else cool from our sponsors?
…And Keep In Touch!
We will be posting text and video blogs along with pictures and tour updates. To learn more about the project and keep in touch, visit us online:
- Our home website: http://www.pleasantrevolution.net
- Four minute electronic press kit video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZbAIiTZ9bk
- ReverbNation press kit for streaming music and artist bios:http://www.reverbnation.com/pleasantrevolution
- Fan us on Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/The-Pleasant-Revolution-Bicycle-Music-Festival-Tour/10150095448670716?ref=ts
- International Bicycle Fund: http://ibike.org
I cannot thank you enough, but I will try….Thank you, thank you, thank you… not just for your donation, but for being an integral part of such a supportive and inspirational community, and for supporting me in this quest!
I just read on slashdot a discussion about the late, Haut, who left a signed affidavit saying he saw aliens at Roswell when he worked there as an Army Lt. (link)
I don’t know about that stuff, have never had a close encounter, etc. It’s entertainment for my imagination. But I just really think life is so short, as an individual. Even as a society, our circumstances change change radically based on various factors, the environment, food supply, disease, war. There are so any variables at play.
If earthlings are in contact with extra-terrestrial or extra-dimensional beings, I think we should make the most of it. Wow, isn’t that profound? Heh, ya, I suppose I’m so overwhelmed with awe at even the possibility of ET/ED contact, that my ego/self kind of gets dizzy and a bit out of breath, and I don’t have much to say at first bat.
What I think I’m trying to say is that I have doubts that I am, personally, “ready” to meet, engage with, socialize with, people of other planets/dimensions. I mean on some level, the idea is really fantastic, exciting. And yet, on another, it’s that I’d really have to have my act together. What I mean is, the barriers to communication, understanding, and navigating the waters of conflicting and shared intention/purpose, would be higher than even relating to a human from the other side of the planet, which can be hard enough as it is.
Furthermore, I can’t help but look around at our society and think that we, as a whole group, are similarly unprepared to “deal.” I mean, look at US foreign policy. That in itself is proof for any judge of character that we as a nation are not fit to engage with even more foreign beings.
I look around and so many people seem so clueless. They don’t “get it.” And yet, I question my self about this attitude, “pride before the fall” and all … “who am I to judge?” I’m just one bubble on a wave of a rapid in the river of life. Here now for a moment, and then, pop!, gone. Who am I to have this far-reaching, all-encompassing perspective on this world, this dimensionality that I inhabit, this society of which I am a member.
I guess another way of saying this is that we’re so screwed as a society as it is, we’re in no shape to encounter another. Maybe my perspective is skewed because I’m an American and I just watched Sicko, which really drove home just how materialistic and greed- and debt-driven our US society is.
But there apparently are some people who are striving to consciously make the connection:
UFO Disclosure Project with the National Press Corps.
government agents, army people, etc come out with their info, proof, etc.
In a world shrouded by darkness, deep beneath the floor of a sophisticated cocktail bar with live mellow jazz, a faint rumbling rythm can be heard. As one descends stairs into the underworld lair, the faint rumble becomes a heart thumping techno beat, a swarm of male and female humans carouse, imbibing drinks of various colors, and orient concentrically around the source of their audio energy. In the center of the den is an open area bathed in an purplish light causing white to glow brightly on its occupants, and where the droning bass beat is concentrated. To one side is the control area where the evening’s hosts spin their discs of synchronic acoustic ecstatic madness. Their listeners communicate with them via calls of pleasure and crescendos of body and sound intereaction.
This hidden dance floor is the location of a strange and ancient form of human mating dynamic that was thought to be extinct from the modern “civilized” human world.
I entered the dance floor, and joined in the festival of sound and light, enjoying the beat and darkness, the splash of neon green glowing stars cast upon the ceiling, rotating slowly as the Heavens do.
I bumped into an old friend of mine, who also happened to be there for the same reason, and she and I danced across from one another for a short while, enjoying each others smiles and company.
Suddenly a young man of stocky weight-trained build, close shaven head, tight-fitting clothes moved in from my left, inserting himself dramatically between me and my friend. We had been no more than a foot or two apart, but he squeezed in none the less, intent, no doubt, on having the spoils of companionship of my woman friend for himself. I couldn’t help but laugh and think to my self, “Oh my goodness, this guy really wants my friend.” He moved in on her like a starving jackal on a tasty meal. He moved in close to her, consuming her boundary, matching her moves, even steering her to some degree, setting the pace, making her go his way. At some point, perhaps he took too much, pushed too far, wanted too much, as she moved away, didn’t reciprocate, and changed direction. He moved on at some point. I had moved on in my attention, watching the dance floor, the mixing of physical energies.
A little later I saw another young man, a more suave guy, with similarly short hair, but with glasses, a slender build, with a more “intelligent” look. As I observed the dynamics of the dance floor through the evening, I couldn’t help but notice this man’s method of approaching his counterparts in eros, severa times, several women, all with the same method. After some as yet still unkown connection had initiated, he would stop dancing, stand still, cock his head down like a bull fighter facing his prey, with a wry smile, slowly advance towards the young, still dancing, woman, who is meanwhile smiling and seeming a bit unsure of what his intentions are, and yet expecting and looking forward to them.
As he gets close he begins a sultry movement of harmony with her, slowing her down, making each movement deeper, longer. They move together erotically, slowly, grinding on each other. One time, he moved his head in for a kiss, with slow steady pressure, on the neck, to the side, advancing, approaching her lips, intent on success. She was laughing, surprised, resisting, feeling pleasure, consenting, then resisting further progress, laughing again, moving with him, laughing “no,” then relenting, but never kissing, maintaining that limit.
Last, but not least, the most memorable of examples of this ancient mating ritual occured as I was reclining on a seat at the edge of the dance floor, admiring the movement of a young woman who was dancing alone near me. She was of a smaller build, with glasses, having an almost nerdish look, but sexy. She had me even considering plying some of the techniques I’d been watching. Maybe I’d be more moderate, and find the pleasure of the anonymous physical contact without making too much of a scene, a nonverbal compliment to her movement. But I was tired and almost ready to leave, so I was a bit relieved to see another guy approaching her.
This one was the tallest of the men, at least 6’4″, maybe taller, a local redneck type, baseball cap, provincial body language, slow, dominant nature. He moved in on her, she turned away. He pressed up against her, she continued dancing, as others had during similar advances, him rubbing up against herr backside, her continuing her booty bumping. She seems to be working with him, and yet he continues to push on her, a full foot higher than her, with outright physical dominance, further towards the edge of the dancec floor, closer, closer, halfway off the edge of the floor. She seems unsure of what to do, what his intentions are, she turns, moves aside, he moves away.
They part and continue dancing, she turns moves back onto the floor, he advances again, this time she doesn’t turn away, and they move together, grinding as before. This time after a short while of this, the guy moves in right away to kiss her, perhaps assuming such overwhelming dominance is on his side, she’s no match for him, and yet she resists, turns, pushes him away, seems offended. After a short while which seems long, he gets the message and backs off, kind of saunters away. She returns to dancing where she had been before several feet back onto the floor, but still near the edge, and I could swear I saw her wipe a tear from her eye.
But here he comes again … but just grabs her a bit and says something to her. She half nods, not turning to lookat him, as if to say, “ya, whatever, just go away.”
But now I am wondering. Why the tear? Did I really see that? Was it because she had been anticipating the approach of a man, had been wishing for some guy to pay some attention to her, to notice her dancing there by her self, to be drawn in by her passion, her seriousness? Perhaps she had even had her eye on him, the tallest and seemingly most dominant of the men, and yet he let her down, disappointed, was so much less subtle than she had hoped. Her ideal of balance of braun with brains was denied, and she just got overwhelming braun. Or maybe she was hoping someone else would come near. Perhaps even me, as I was sitting near her, watching her. What if she was inviting me to dance with her, and I was the one who disappointed.
I had had a similar thought earlier in the night when a tall skinny black haired, tight black-clothed young woman, with mascara, to make an intriguing, sultry effect, had come near me, as I danced on the edge facing inward, with the bass beat behind me, as if I was the source of the acoustic sustenance that was feeding this tribe. She danced near me, close enough to get my attention, sometimes almost facing me, sometimes away, but never having eye contact, never making what I would consider a “connection.” And yet, she was unmistakably capturing my attention, paradoxically. This is my first time on this floor. Is this a “connection” in this new techno beat language? I don’t know. I don’t act. I don’t move in, not really sure if I want to, or if I am even comfortable enough with the music and beats to bring anything to the table of grinding with her hips, of moving in synch. But, regardless, at some point she seemed to stop, and walk away in a huff, as if she had been denied. Was that because of me? Did I deny her without even knowing it?
Perhaps this mating dynamic is more subtle than I’d thought, at least in terms of the women’s behavior. Perhaps the women only need to give off the most minimal of signals to attract a male, if any, only needing to be in the general vicinity and not currently preoccupied with another onslaught of male dominance. This will require further study, including some of a more first-person, up-close and personal nature.
The thought occurs to me that maybe I said too much, too much talk, not enough walk, talked away from the place I could have been had I been a different man, in a different place and state than I am. Or was it that I talked away from the man who I really am, the one who doesn’t fuck around with what really matters, and who doesn’t give a shit what some one thinks about my idea of what matters? I am who I am, of course. God is within me, I am within God. We are one, and yet He is that He is, and I am who I am. Both male and female come from the Divine, come from the same place, and yet are heading in opposite directions towards each other. What a paradox. It is especially ironic when one or both of them tries to touch the other, and they wind up missing each other more than if they had not tried. Why do we do this, behave in ways that we know will push the other away, or cause them to doubt our sincerity, or lose Faith in us? Is it a reflection of our lack of Faith in our Selves? Are we so afraid of our power to be fully our selves and facing what that really means, and what consequences that will bring to us, that we behave in such a way as to undermine that, or cancel it out, to cause the other to think it was just a show, just a trick, so that we don’t have to accept the responsibility for who we really are?
Maybe I did some of that. This is a common thought. Maybe I let my Self down. Maybe I cut and ran. Maybe I sold my self short, yet again. It’s a common theme. Some call it a fear of success. Is it because with success comes a “lock-in?” With success comes a rigidity that says “this is the right way” and so we become lazy and just do that, lose the spirit of experimentation, of trying new things for their own sake? Questions are fun, aren’t they? Trying something new. Can that be overdone? Can it be done to the point where “Me” no longer means what it used to? That it has become a conglomeration of experiments and exaggerations, purposefully disproportionate emphases of sub-topics and related ideas. Where’s the beef? Where’s the heart of the matter? Speaking from the heart. That’s who I think I am. But what if I don’t show that to someone, and only bust on them and make fun of them? What separates me from the bully who used to pick on me? Yes, I’m acting from a place of love. Yes I only tease people whom I like, but do they know that? How can I speak from the heart and still tease and play? It’s easy, yes I know, but why is it that sometimes the other doesn’t receive it that way? Why is it that my impression of reality is different than theirs so much that I don’t realize that I’m being interpreted badly? Is it insensitivity on my part? Is it that I make a trade-off when I tease that tests the limits, and that what seems to me as more play passes some line in the other..s mind into a territory of a darker nature? How do I know how far I can go without taking the risk of going too far? The answer is, I can’t. Or, in other words: I know because I have, don’t because I haven’t, and will, when I do.
The movie, What Women Want. I watched it a few days ago. It made me think. About higher levels of consciousness. Aside from its average Hollywood dramatic moments and the love story, etc., I really enjoyed the play on the idea of reading minds. It’s something that I want to be able to do. Not necessarily even surreptitiously, but just to be able to communicate like that would be great. To be able to hear someone thinking to their self would be great too, though, don’t get me wrong. I mean, it still wouldn’t necessarily make communications any better. I know I don’t think that much sometimes, or my spoken words don’t necessarily differ from my thoughts, but sometimes I think something like, “woah, you’re cute” to someone and don’t actually say it. Hmmm, maybe I SHOULD say it. I wonder what would happen if I did that more. But then again, I’m not the THINKIEST person around. I don’t often think something in the first place, but if I do form the words it’s usually in the act of saying it.
My pondering on this topic was also fired up by a friend recently telling me about having two way conversations with people completely mentally, and that just totally intrigued me. I WANT TO DO THAT. Any teachers out there? I can read and write and speak, but I have not yet found that I can consciously think two ways with other people. Is it possible?
I would imagine that the ability would put you in a whole nother league of existence. I mean, deaf people are left out of so much, and I would think that telepathy would be similar. WOW. That’s fun to think about.
Look around you, every where you go, especially wandering around in this virtual mind space here in this online land. There are SO MANY PEOPLE. So many attitudes, intentions, desires, loves, hates, egos, wills, sex driven manias. It boggles my mind. I am boggled by the sheer multitude of people. In some ways it is comforting to know at some level that all are more similar in our desire for physical comfort and genetic one-upsmanship, but at the same time, that’s the worst part. I mean, I at my most selfish and optimize-my-genetic-exchange oriented mindset am not as selfish and genetically oriented as some other Joe _____ Blow out there. I know I’m not. I know I’m mellow and not as fucking driven in that regard as other people are. Does that mean I will naturally mate with someone who is similarly not as driven to optimize their procreation opportunities and will give birth to a line of people who don’t try as hard to screw the hottest piece of ass on the block? It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I don’t want to as much as some other hot ass seeking dude (or dudette). I mean, I’m just mellow, you know?
And another thing that boggles my mind is that all those people, so many masses of them, are, for the most part, getting better every day. You know, like the Beatles song, getting better everyday. It is my firm belief, in spite of the propaganda by the religious extremists to the contrary, that most people are in general getting better. True, maybe their educational levels in this country are slipping in relation to other countries, but humantiy as a whole is getting better. I think that is what the moneyed elite are afraid of more than anything, that the people at large are improving every day and so must continually be kept down, so that they, the moneyed elite, can maintain their position at the “top.”
Today I recorded some guitar tracks for my friend Grace on her song, Family. It’s a song about having family all around the world, and that sometimes you have to cut your hair, and cut your losses. I haven’t cut my hair in months, and it’s grown to be a big ass afro. Grace hasn’t cut her hair in a longer time, so, I’m not sure what the meaning of that line is, unless perhaps its symbolic, or metaphorical, which is something fundamentalists don’t get very well. They think Jesus literally walked on water and literally died and then literally, physically, rose again three days later. There’s no symbolic meaning allowed there. Come ON, people, he rose again in SPIRIT, his spirit rose, as in the spirit of the truth, the spirit of the message. His life had meaning even without the way he died. It’s not all about his death. Jesus Christ! Sigh. Grace’s boyfriend, Sy, cuts his hair from time to time though.
I was thinking of getting my hair cut tomorrow, but I’ll probably wait until I get some good video of my self with my shag, for inclusion in a music video I’m working on for my song, Beauty Revealed. The story of the video will unfold in such a way that the cutting of my hair will be symbolic of an internal transformation I undergo as a result of the loss of 3 women, all of whom will be played by really hot up and coming actresses. My interactions with the women will be with the shag, and then after I lose all 3, I’ll go through this self discovery of what really matters, and then I’ll cut my hair, and shave my beard/scruff, and I’ll get up at dawn and meditate as the sun rises over the misty mountains under the oak trees and BE. And then my dream woman will descend from the clouds on a flaming chariot, clothed in gleaming pure white raiment, holding a golden staff with a symbol on it. Ya, that’s right, a SYMBOL. Can you say, SYMBOL? (If you’re a fundamentalist, you might want to avoid this since it will require mental activity)
Well, maybe her raiment will be off-white white, since according to Ken Nordine, even the purest whitest white that one can possibly imagine, is still, slightly, just a bit, off-white white. Individual existence is, after all, intrinsically, relatively limited, and only spans a spread of the spectrum, and only to a limited degree, or amplitude. You only exist to a limited degree. Nothing that you think is absolute is experienced by you to an absolute degree. Yes, you DO experience the absolute, but not as much as it seems to you that you do. Hence, the truth of the off white white. But, really, focusing on the relatively limited nature of existence can kind of take the fun out of living. So, screw it. Even If you think you know the absolute truth, just don’t go expecting me to know it the exact same way you do. I think it’s great that you have that faith, but it loses its meaning when you force it on someone else, because forcing it inherently admits that it is not absolute, because if it was, you wouldn’t have to force it.
I’ve been observing my ego lately. Though I think I’m fairly good at this observing ego thing, as we were talking about in Earthsong, I definitely think I have room for improvement. Well, I believe in potentially unlimited improvement, so that’s a given. But I definitely notice it sometimes. For example,when I hang out with you I get kind of spaced out and kind of swept away into the moment, have trouble concentrating to some degree on anything in particular, etc. If that was me doing the shopping for my stuff, I would have probably forgotten stuff and taken twice as long. And like when my friend D asked me what I was up to, I just said, “just hanging out,” and didn’t think to introduce you until after you turned and walked away, nor did I think to say anything more interesting and descriptive of my present moment, something like, “just workin out a little at the gym with my good friend, N here.” Anything, ANYTHING more interesting than, “just hanging out.” Hesitation is another thing I tend to have issues with. I hesitate, and the moment is gone. What were you thinking that moment in Earthsong when I hesitated and just said, “just hanging out.” Did you think, “ya, that’s your problem, Thomas, you’re always just hanging out. When are you going to NOT just be hanging out?”
I like listening to you. I like listening to you think out what you want to say, choose your words, ponder your intended meaning, picking your path among the choices of ideas, thoughts, and concepts. I’m wishing I had asked you more questions, to hear you more. Maybe next time we hang out I will overcome my tendency to just be, and take my opportunity to ask you lots of questions. Questions. Venture on a quest for your truth. Quest-ions.
I want to do everything. I love life so much. I like being. It’s so cool. It rocks. I love life. Life. Life. Life. To Live. I live. You live. We live. Awesome, huh. Amazing. Life fucking rocks my world.
To live, to really live, to really totally completely live, or to totally all out and absa-fucking-lutely give-it-your-all live? That is the question.