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Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>

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[Links:| My new website (For Greater Consciousness songs, writings...) For Greater Consciousness on Myspace (a few songs, see main site for more) ]

~My last year at CMU and in the Co-op~ [Aug. 27th, 2007|03:39 am]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
My gosh, I think I'm going to be involved in four art projects this semester... The musical that we finished most of last year (sans main character's songs), our first CD, the anti-genocide art collaboration (which you're invited to join!), and (if there's time) Connor's Jon DeVon project, which I figure we could maybe complete in a weekend. Oh, and I'm hopefully on the leadership board of the Co-op, and generally active. And readme. Sustainable Earth. Voices For Animals? The Pulse? (No.) Maybe doing extracurricular anti-genocide and cage-free egg work. I may not have any time to do classes this year, which is funny since I want to make it my most academically successful year yet, or more specifically, the year in which I learn the most.

This shall presumably be my last year at CMU. I'm going to try to make it a good one.
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JAM-O-SAVE against GENOCIDE! benefit (I take all blame for the name) [Aug. 1st, 2007|07:22 am]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
COME ROCKETH!

Benefit concert against genocide and genocidal actions!
August 11th, 7pm (doors at 6pm)
@ Sunnyhill Unitarian Church,
(1240 Washington Rd, Mt Lebanon, Pittsburgh, PA)
$5, donations welcomed!

Ball of Flame Shoot Fire - epic piano pop - http://www.myspace.com/bofsf
Panda and Child - diverse, folky, rocking on tour from Connecticut - http://myspace.com/pandaandchild
Joy Ike - superfab singer-songwriter - http://myspace.com/joyike
For Greater Consciousness - piano/dork rock - http://myspace.com/forgreaterconsciousness
Heavy Flow - ga-runge rock - http://www.myspace.com/heavyflowpa
C-Money and Karl Kash - R&B quirk explosion - http://www.myspace.com/cmoneyandkarlkash

Come learn about the situations in DARFUR, ZIMBABWE, IRAQ, CHINA, and NORTH KOREA! Rock out! And help make a difference!
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The Recycling Music Video is DONE, FGC show at Kiva Han this Friday the 1th [Apr. 11th, 2007|02:54 am]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
1. For Greater Consciousness is playing with Zelico and Dan Koshute this Friday, April 13th, from 7-10pm at Kiva Han! This is the Kiva Han at S. Craig St. and Forbes. Come if you can, it should be fabulous. And then we're playing at Spring Carnival the following week... And we've now got two organs, which is kinda severely awesome. :)


2. The recycling music video which I did with a bunch of people for CMU's Sustainable Earth and Recyclemania 2007 and general greenness is DONE! Recyclemania is a national competition between awesome schools to see who can recycle the most darn stuff / produce the least waste in the first place.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wP-qGQOwcBk

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video! And pass it around to your friends, and above all, RECYCLE! Well, Reduce first, then Reuse, THEN recycle, but you know. Let's do our parts! Don't just throw things away, pay attention to what they're made of and figure out if they can be recycled! For those of you around CMU, let's take Carnegie Mellon U. to first place in Pennsylvania Recyclemania this year! Then it's on to take on the big leagues.

Peace,
- Benjamin

P.S. Today was a generally fantastic day for me (being that it involved Ben N. and other fantastic people), even though I haven't eaten since... hrm... breakfast? I hope you all are well.
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"I knew I wanted to be a sniper my whole life." [Mar. 23rd, 2007|12:27 am]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
This is about a Facebook advertisement, because it is SCARY. It is a video about someone who serves in the U.S. Army. One of his most striking quotes is, "I knew I wanted to be a sniper my whole life."

Let that sink in for a moment. Yes, um, I knew I wanted to shoot targets with pinpoint accuracy with a gun that can shoot like a mile since I was out of diapers.

I mean, maybe the REASON he wanted to be a sniper was to protect the troops, not because the idea fascinated him. But if the idea DID fascinate him... I mean... that sounds like kind of a serious mental condition, doesn't it? The idea of, oh man, I'm going to go somewhere and hide places and shoot people?

If you watched the video, did you notice how he said something about how he shoots at a "target" - not at a human being.

Remember kids, "In the U.S.Army you can do anything"-!


DISCLAIMER: Yes, I have also heard someone's personal story about a disturbed soldier, and read about a disturbed soldier today in Fiction workshop. And whenever I watch Frankie play videogames, it's usually something like Ghost Recon where sniper-ing is a big part of it. But I think the main effect this is having on me now is questioning what this guy's motivation.
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Today [Mar. 22nd, 2007|02:03 am]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
Today was interesting, but then, so is every day.

I found out that FGC is now approved for Spring Carnival, tentatively on Friday. That's April 20th, I think?

Tough day at work, but that's not unusual. My old tutee's (as in, I am their tutor, they are my tutee) younger brother is a lot like her in some ways, both in being awesome and in really really not wanting to get around to doing work. (Funny, that's the same problem I had. Have, rather.) I worked with him today. Also, I'm afraid that my usual tutee might be mad at me for working with him.

Today two people played their songs for the musical for me - Marian and Nathan. Omigosh, I'm so glad I had this idea. I'm excited. I think it's going to turn out very well.

Our underadvertised (thanks to me) show at Skibo went off wonderfully, I thought. Guy Russo was a great opening act - my only regret is that I had to duck in and out so much and eat food and be less of an attentive listener than I would've liked to be. And we had a monitor, upon which we could hear ourselves play, so it was fantastic. And I sang out of tune less than I apparently sometimes sing, because I could hear myself! It was GREAT! Although we DID forget to play the recycling song...

I missed my Long Term meeting (my committee at the Co-op) due to forgetting and forgot the Co-op meeting but did at least come late to that.

Then I had a very interesting conversation, for some parts very entertaining, some parts to the end very sad, with Tomasz and Danielle and Catie and Olof and Deanna and Mike.

I walked outside, feeling a sense of sadness (deep or not). It was almost 2 in the morning, which I didn't know yet but thought it probably was. I walked out from behind the Co-op, towards Neville St.. I was holding an alkaline battery, a box of playing cards, and my library bag with my usual assortment of stuff in it. It could've been the end of a movie.

I wish things could work out for me romantically. I don't necessarily think that's the way my life is supposed to work out, but it seems like that would be very enjoyable and I wish that could be the way my life is supposed to work out. And it seems like Number 3 (that's her number as a major crush of mine) would be a good person for things to work out with.

Actually, what I want right now is more than anything romantic. Probably something spiritual, like "enlightenment". Or to be in tune with everything.

Anyway, bed very very soon indeed. Because that's the first step towards being in tune with everything; in fact, it may even be Nietzche's idea of the ubermensch, for a little bit of it: someone whose will is entirely their own. For me, that means breaking habits, e.g. of reading webcomics. It means doing the work I want to do and the work that I don't even want to do that much and doing well in school, because you know what, I kinda do want to do well. Or to stop caring and then do okay.

Anyway, if you're reading this I love you for being a fabulous person. If you're not reading it, well, I still hypothetically love you. And if you're not a fabulous person, that's okay, I still love you, because you're still a person. And actually, I think my love tends to extend beyond people (and I consider animals people too, soooo...). Yeah. <3s flying everywhere.

I read somewhere or heard someone say something recently, about how, when they didn't think about themselves or how unfortunate this or that was for a long period of time, they were happy. I think I have a similar experience. So long as I'm not getting hung up about not everything being the way I think I want it to be, or obsessing over romantic things, I'm happy and have fantastic times and meet all sorts of interesting people and get to know people better.
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Two more FGC shows [Mar. 20th, 2007|11:51 pm]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
[Tags|, , ]

For Greater Consciousness has two confirmed shows coming up in the near future, both in Oakland.

And the first one is TODAY! (Wednesday the 21st.) BOTH SHOWS ARE FREE!


Wednesday, March 21st, 7-9pm, Skibo Coffeehouse in the Carnegie Mellon University Center, 2nd floor. Go upstairs and then walk back towards Forbes. Oh, and the University Center is at Forbes Ave and Morewood Ave - it's the building to the left of the ridiculous pole-with-people-on-it artwork.
With GUY RUSSO and possibly one ANNIKA!

Friday, April 13th, 7-10pm (I believe), Kiva Han @ Craig St and Forbes Ave.
With ZELICO and DAN KOSHUTE!


You are, of course, invited. <3

Peace,
- Benjamin
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New (and higher quality) live FGC recordings! [Mar. 13th, 2007|10:35 am]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
Hey, the newest and highest-quality-yet For Greater Consciousness recordings are now up on my website.

http://andrew.cmu.edu/user/bsaalbac/

This also features the first performance of a song written by someone else in the band besides me! (This being Will Haines's "for Tim Adams".) Since then we've started playing a couple of songs by Tom Pike as well. I really hope FGC some day is led more by a common ideal than by my guidance specifically.

Also, check out some of my writings, which are also up on my website. I've got everything from readme articles to "Jar Street Blues", one of my favorite of the short stories I've written. (Not that I've written that many even now, but it's one of the most polished and I generally like it.)

Peace,
- Benjamin
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Taken from the Wikipedia article on "Holiness" [Feb. 17th, 2007|05:45 am]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
"Holiness is the state of being holy, that is, set apart for the worship or service of God or gods. It is most usually ascribed to people, but can be and often is ascribed to objects, times, or places. The word holy is related to the word whole.

The origin of the word comes from the 11th Century Old High German hulis and Old English holegn meaning Holly as in Holly Tree, considered a sacred plant to both pre-Christian Celtic and Roman worship. The word hulis originates from an even older proto-Germanic word khuli a shortened derivation of the ancient Gaelic cuilieann both meaning Holly. The distinction of the word holy appeared around the 13th Century with the Old English word hālig derived from hāl meaning health, happiness and wholeness. As “wholeness”, holiness may be taken to indicate a state of religious completeness or perfection.

The concept is found in almost all religions, especially those with a degree of formal organization, so that there is scope for special people, places etc to be devoted to worship.

In non-specialist contexts, the term "holy" is used in a more general way, to refer to someone or something that is associated with a divine power, such as water used for Baptism."


...Yeah. I thought this was cool. Especially that the concept of holiness is related to wholeness. It sounds really positive to me, not at all "rar rar only spiritual things no flesh at all". Just... harmony.
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Ha-ha! the V-Day way [Feb. 14th, 2007|09:43 pm]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
xkcd's take on Valentine's Day.

And I thought that Beaver and Steve's comic today was also very lovely. Lucy, maybe you should go into the V-Day card-making business, eh?

Peace,
- Benjamin
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tangents and happiness [Feb. 14th, 2007|01:20 pm]
Benjamin M S/W a.k.a. <BalsaaTheMagicalGuruGuy>
Happy V-Day (not V-E or V-J Day, mind you, but certainly Victory/Valentine's/Vagina V-Day, which is like Feburary 14th except it's a global day to end violence against woman and girls) and Valentine's Day!


If anyone asks, slide whistle is the folk instrument of my native land.


Our Kiva Han concert went very well. Thank you to all who came!

All the bands there had an excellent turnout, I'd say, and we were all invited back which is excitingness indeed. The room was filled up pretty well! I'm not sure that the other bands really stayed for much of our set, but Christopher thought they were there for at least some of it and one of the bands needed to carry all of their stuff back home. *le shrug* But people were there for the first act! Boy, were they ever.


If I HAD a reciprocating sweetheart for V-day - specifically for the Valentine's part, this is how the magic would start.

From the Wikipedia article on Fred Rogers: "On July 9, 2002, Fred Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to children's education. "Fred Rogers has proven that television can soothe the soul and nurture the spirit and teach the very young," said President George W. Bush at the presentation."
and
On March 4, 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 111 honoring Rogers for "his legendary service to the improvement of the lives of children, his steadfast commitment to demonstrating the power of compassion, and his dedication to spreading kindness through example."


I considered asking someone out in a low-key sort of way. Maybe next year I can get up to writing her an email and then chickening out. :-)D (With no offense meant to chickens, who are sufficiently noble birds in their own way, probably. I mean, I don't really know...)
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