Giving, and Music

What if people just gave things to one another because they could. What if one day you were walking down the sidewalk, and a person approached you, just to hand you a flower. How about a person standing on the sidewalk playing a 12 string touch guitar, just giving their music to the world around them, with no expectation of receiving anything in return. It happens, and it’s truly beautiful when it does. These are the events where a real connection happens. Sure it’s nice to meet people working at your favorite music store, or pizza place, but it’s an entirely different interaction.

My experience last year at Burning Man, really made me think even more about this. Money exists for a reason, but in some cases it’s just not necessary. Riding a bike across the playa a man stopped me at the hottest part of the day. I got off of my bike and he handed me a camp made ice cream sandwich, just because he had it to give away. In this particular context it was utterly alarming to receive such a gift. This camp of people had actually brought dry ice and supplies to make ice cream sandwiches, and then just give them all away. As small as a thing as this may have been, I’m still thankful, and there was absolutely nothing expected in return. This experience from the perspective of someone receiving felt much more real than any interaction that I had ever had under the jurisdiction of capitalism.

On the other side of the interaction is the giver. I’ve been the giver myself in various interactions. One example is the beer that Matt and I make. We love to make it, and give it to people. Sure it costs us some money, and a bunch of time, but there’s nothing quite like offering someone a pint of something that you’ve slaved over, and to see them appreciate it. It’s a wonderful feeling. Another real interaction.

Capitalism just seems to set everyone up to take advantage of one another. Real human interaction can take place, but it’s separate from the interaction involving money. It makes some things more possible, and so I’m not bashing on capitalism, I just don’t think it’s a good fit for every human interaction.

This brings me to the point of all of this: music. I feel that selling it can detract from the experience of the listener. Somehow selling it, alters it, it makes it feel slightly disingenuous. I might be getting a little bit preachy here, but I genuinely believe that music is best given as a gift from one person to another. So where do the musicians get the money to buy instruments, go on tour and make lovely recordings? In my perfect world scenario the listeners of the music would understand the magic of giving just as the musicians did. They would give when they had to give back.

I’m in the process of developing a website that will allow musicians to do just that. Part of the problem is eliminating the overhead of manufacturing CDs, and the internet pretty much solves that. There are a few other overhead items, but I believe that a community that appreciates music will actually stand behind the musicians when it counts. Call me naive, but I think it can work. In a place where no purchases are permitted, only donations. Let’s give it a shot.

I think it can work. What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Stopping this Blog

I just thought I should mention it. I'm no longer updating this blog, and have no plans to. If you're trying to find me, try

Mexico City


Getting into Mexico City was no easy task. I managed to pick rush hour. Stupid, Cory. Stupid. Once I hit the outskirts of the city, it probably took me an hour and a half to find the hostel. Mexico City is a maze to those who don't live there, and it's filled with aggressive city drivers. Imagine driving in San Francisco, another place where driving is very social, and you've really got to communicate and respond to the actions of all of the cars around you constantly, but then take it's 3 lane streets, and make them into 8 lane streets, and you've got Mexico City. Exhibit any fear and every driver on the road will do anything they can to make your world a nightmare. You've got to be merciless to drive here. Defend your lane, and growl with your throttle when threatened. In San Francisco I had the upper hand at all times when driving my car. One look at my piece of shit car, and everyone knew that they were the ones with something to lose, and promptly got out of my way. In Mexico City, almost everyone else has that advantage. I was lost for a lot of the approach, but once I got my bearings, and I got into the split, it was on. It didn't matter how wide the road, I felt quite at home. And soon enough, I was at the hostel. (more...)

Puerto Vallarta


The ride out of Mazatlan was mostly peaceful at around 7 AM. Today was my first day taking the Libre roads. It was an excellent choice. The road twisted and turned, and all around delighted more. I once again failed to get many good photos. It was my longest ride in Mexico to date, but it went by relatively painlessly. (more...)



I didn't get out the door at the time I intended. But I did get as much sleep as I could. My dreams echoed some of my waking concerns. But I woke up fairly well rested, all things considered. I checked the vitals on the motorcycle. Everything was good. I got her all loaded, and hit the road. (more...)

“Sometimes it's a little better to travel than to arrive”

-- Robert Pirsig

Bahia to Los Mochis


Today was the first day waking up in another country on this trip. In that way it was significant. I woke up around dawn, peered out of my tent. All I could see was motorcycle and pink sky. It made me pretty happy. I was still tired, but I forced myself up. I immediately broke down camp. Before I was done I met a super cute puppy, and her owner. If I recall correctly their names were Rebel and Wendy, respectively. (more...)

And into Mexico


I woke up on a comfy couch in Tucson. My wonderful hostess, Ashley, had made coffee. It was blue bottle coffee... I guess a friend from San Francisco had sent it to her. It was made in a drip pot, but it was still clearly blue bottle coffee. We went to breakfast at a cute little spot, and then I went back to the house to get some things sorted (Insurance, telephone, etc). (more...)

Sometimes I wish I had a tail, I think I could express myself better.

"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame."

-- Robert Pirsig

Santa Fe Days


After Flagstaff came Santa Fe. I'd been having issues with my heated grips. They seem to keep blowing fuses, no matter the amperage. They had the night before in the last 20 minutes of riding. Anyway, I swapped them out first thing before leaving. The ride itself was pretty uneventful. Just long and cold. When I woke up in Flagstaff the temperature was about 3º F. By the time I left it was in the 20s, which was much more doable, especially with my heated grips working again. (more...)

Day 5: Leaving Orange County


Staying in Dana Point for the holidays was a real treat. I saw lots of old high school friends, and stayed with Linda Balmer. I got a little bit of work done on the motorcycle, and managed to install a USB charger for my phone. (more...)

Day 1 Came and Went


It's too bad I couldn't have planned the weather out better. It was a little bit lousy on the whole. There were a few places heading south, where the storm was to the east, and I got a gap in the clouds that allowed me to be in the sun and look at the ocean. Then every now and again I would get a slight coating and then completely rained on. (more...)

Riding To South America

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 10.44.52 AM

Okay, so the day approaches. I'm about to leave on a motorcycle adventure to South America. I don't quite know how things will pan out after what I have mapped, or how close my route will be to what I have mapped. But here it is. The all of it. I've got my lists of gear, and motorcycle supplies. My route is currently mapped out as far as Guatemala, where Matt will be meeting me for a few weeks.  
View Larger Map

Deep Water Soloing, Poda Island


Looks like I'll be able to cross that one off of my list.

They heard me singing and they told me to stop Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock

-- Arcade Fire

Thailand: Climbophilia


Not much to detail here. Just working and climbing. I mostly wanted to share some close up photos of rock here for my climbing buddies.  And drinking the occasional beer. It's a good life.  

Thailand: Railay


This spot has been incredible. I've already gotten some really fun sport climbing in. Made it into the ocean. Eaten all sorts of delicious things. Seen monkeys. Made friends. Been rained on. Gotten work done. Relaxed. Shaved off a moustache. And blogged about it.

Thailand Arrival


I'm going to keep this pretty brief. I have about a dozen mosquitos buzzing around my feet. Every now and then the fan turns my way and blows them away. They then have about ten seconds to make their move. I hate to say it, but they've been impressively successful. I have to hand it to them, they're good at what they do. (more...)

Emotional ups and downs? Ride it.