PATH’s Hiphop Workshop at The Haven Boys Group Home

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

PATH, Sekajipo Rocking Hardtimes at Haven

PATH visited The Haven “Home to Our Boys” in Boca Raton Florida on Monday evening.  PATH is an organization founded by Brimstone127 that teaches about Hiphop culture.  PATH stands for Preserving, Archiving, and Teaching Hiphop.  The Haven is a nationally accredited group home for boys,who have been removed from abusive and neglectful homes and placed in protective care by the state of Florida, ages 9-17,that  is dedicated to providing a safe, loving and stable environment that fosters the development of self-esteem and independence while empowering each young man to reach his full potential.

We arrived at dinner time to watch them feast on a well balanced meal of fried chicken, potatoes, bread, rice and peas, salad and vegetables.  While they were eating a gentleman from The Haven gave out cash bonuses for the youths that achieved improving grade point averages.  Some of the youth had 4.0 averages.  It was amazing to see all the boys clap and support each other’s achievements.

It was so fresh to watch the boys of  The Haven open up to the PATH mentors.  Each PATH mentor taught one of the four elements of Hip hop:  emceeing, deejaying, urban art, and b-boying.

Brimstone taught two mini workshops on deejaying.  It was beautiful to see the youth smile as they got to play with the equipment.  A few of the youth tried to challenge him to see how large his music library was, but he was able to pull up any artist that they threw at him, thus gaining their respect.

Sekajipo taught emceeing.  He got all of the boys to group around him in a cypher (rapper’s circle) and proceeded to get them to try kicking some rhymes.  Again, it was so fresh to see the youth light up by having Sekajipo teach them some of the tricks of writing and kicking rhymes.

Sicks, taught the ways of urban art, got the boys to work on a small piece using their name as the foundation. She told each group “You can do whatever you want!  There are no rules in art!”  I loved that.  There are no rules!  Only getting to expressive yourself through the medium of your choice.

NewCre taught of b-boying (Hiphop dancing).  He got their bodies moving, and even some of The Haven staff joined .

It was a great day to be out with the PATH team.  They got to share their passion for Hiphop with the youth, the future of Hiphop.  To see The Haven boys sitting around and focusing their energies into a positive direction was beautiful.  One of The Haven staff commented that the Boys never stay focused for more than a few minutes, but today PATH had their full attention.

I feel so fortunate to be a part of the PATH team.  At the end of the workshop Brimstone answered questions from the Haven boys and staff.

The PATH workshop concluded with all the youth and staff gathering around Sekajipo as he rocked Hardtimes.  A song the youth could relate too.  In fact I was so moved listening to the song, and the youth chanting the chorus “hard times” that It brought a tear to my eye.

Pure emotion.  Pure love from all the PATH workshop teachers for the boys of The Haven.

Hiphop!  Ya don’t Stop.

For more information about The Haven please visit their website.

To check out more about PATH check

One note about the pictures.  I needed to protect the identities of the youth; therefore, sometimes faces have been blurred and framing done to intentionally keep their identities.  I wish I could have shown their smiling faces!

PATH, Sekajip Teaching Through Mceeing at Haven


PATH, Brimstone Teaching art of Dejaying at Haven


PATH, Teaching art of B-boying at Haven


PATH, Sicks Teaching Urban Arts at Haven


PATH, Sekajip Teaching Emceeing at Haven


PATH, Haven Youth Reciting a Ryhme at Haven

PATH, Haven Youth Mceeing at Haven


PATH with Haven Staff


PATH Team at Haven

The Creator Works in Beautiful Ways Too

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

The Creator's Cinema, Miami

Miami is definitely not a walking city.  In fact walking in this city can be down right hazardous to your health.  Miami is a city that was designed for car use.  Even if that use frustrates most as they get stuck on 1-95 in the most horrendous traffic imaginable.

I still like to take walks.  Even if those walks are just around my neighborhood and all I get to see are house, strip malls and some landscaping.  Its my home.  Miami is where I grew up and all these sights and sounds are beautiful to me.

The skies are unforgettable.  The skies in the late afternoon yesterday were a blessing.  To look up into the limitless skies that adorn my neighborhood just helps to put life into perspective.  I can never truly capture the beauty that the Creator performs for us.  I will try to interpret and give my view on that beauty through my lens, but it will never be able to fully capture the personal experience.

It is the Most High’s cinema!  Observed by this lucid communicator for the first time in the cinematic 16:9 ratio.  Love, beauty and life is all around us.  I want to keep my heart open so I can let it flow through me.


Lucid Communicating with Myself as a Child

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Jacob at 3 Years, Fairchild Gardens, Miami

I have been observing this image on my living room wall for the last few days.  Actually, I clearly remember this image of myself as a 3 year old from my last visit to miami.

I look happy in the image.  Having my picture taken was a complete mission when I was a young.  I absolutely hated it.  I would moan and complain, and run from cameras.  It makes me smile now because I know that I direct others in order to create interesting images.

But this image means a lot to me.  I look at this image and I love the casual pose that I am in.  I am just there relaxed, with a ready for action posture.  The tree and myself are balanced nicely in the image.  The shade of the trees of Fairchild Gardens (now Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden) balance with the hot sunny spots behind.

My mother told me that this image came off the first roll of test film on their new camera.  Which was probably a 35 mm Minolta.  Little did my parents know that photography would become the defining character of my life.

It all stated with a click of a shutter on a new Minolta camera at Fairchild Gardens.  I as a man of 40 years engaging in some lucid communication with myself as a photographic image as a 3 year old.

Flamingos, Sky and Jet Lag

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Flamingos Sky NW Miami

No ifs ands or buts, but jet lag is utterly wack!  There are lots of theories on how to lessen the impact.  Expose yourself to light.  Use melatonin to help adjust, some even say drinking some alcohol.  Some of these work some of the time, but none of them work all of the time.

It never fails.  Sometimes I adjust ultra quickly, and other times I don’t.  Best thing, is to eat right, try to sleep at the appropriate times, and just let it takes its course.

It was in my foggy haze that i spotted these plastic flamingos spinning around in the Miami breeze.  Hanging out on the ledge of a 3rd story, looking out over the Design District in NW Miami.

And, I am out.


Back in the 305, Miami That Is

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Sunset Drive, 10-41 p.m.


I can’t remember the last time that I flew into Miami International Airport during the day.  All of my memories are flying into the city at night.  Coming in over the deep purple blackness of the Everglades and being blinded by the lights.  The lights that run as far north as the eye can see, and way into the south too.  They are only stopped  by the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.

The air was moist but cool as I finally made my way though the terminal with my family.  Such a change in just 24 hours.  Going from double pairs of socks, to wanting to slip of sandals and a t-shirt.

It is good to be home.  To be surrounded by the sights, smells, and of course my family.

As always this is just a blip of an impression there is certainly more to come.



Sayonara Kitty!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Barbershop Soloist, Feline 猫 Cat, Nishifunabashi Chiba, Japan

I met a friend for lunch on Monday in Nishifunabashi in Chiba.  I got there a bit early so I had some time to wander around and just see what was to be seen.

It was a brilliantly clear day with the skies blue and cloudless.  A great day to be out and about even if it was only in Chiba.

This kitty caught my ear first.  He was meowing away.  Saying “look at me!, Look at ME!!”  It took me a few moments before I could find where the meowing was coming from, and here the kitty was up on the second story looking down at me.

I thought to myself as my time in Japan, at least for a few weeks, winds to a close, that this kitty was saying Sayonara to me. I will miss you Japan.  I will miss my own kitties too.

Many Hugs, and I will catch up once I arrive in the 305, Miami, Florida, that is.


Icy, So Icy, Weekend

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Remainder, Melting Day

The weather has really dropped since Friday night.  Each night the lows are in the upper 20s (0 C) or so.  Way to cold for my born and raised in Miami blood.  I know I really shouldn’t complain because of how many people out there in the world are suffering from truly frigid temperatures.  But, then again, for me, its bloody cold out.

The wind howls at night and on Friday night the rain quickly turned to snow. I checked outside my window before I drifted off into dreamland that night and the snow had ceased falling.  I was disappointed.  I was looking forward to getting some pictures in my neighborhood of the freshly fallen snow.  I called it a night, recited the Shema, and went to sleep.

I awoke late in the morning trying to keep warm.  I opened up the curtain to be shocked to see snow atop my neighbors roof.  There wasn’t much left, but enough for me to bundle up and stroll around the neighborhood looking for some patches of snow.

It again was bloody cold out.  Most of the snow that had made it till the morning were those patches that were in the shade. I was on a quest to find crystals, ice crystals that is.

The ice in Tokyo is usually so fleeting.  It is here for a day or two at the most then it melts into our memories.  I do enjoy the snow, even though I do not want to see it that often.  Just enough for the snow to maintain its captivating mysterious nature over me.

Residual Snow with Bamboo Fencing

The Daily Practice of Thankfulness According to Sew On and On

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Thankfulness Installation ~ Week 51


I came across our newest addition to my Lucid Thoughts blog only a few years ago.  Valerie Kamikubo had a beautiful sense of color and playfulness in her work; however, her Flickr name and blog name say it all: Sew On and On.

Valerie’s expression mainly takes the form of textile and fabric arts.  This is what led me to follow and become inspired by her Thankfulness Everyday Project (2011).  The project began on January 1st, 2011 and was completed on December 31, 2011.  I began to eagerly await the images as they were uploaded to the Internet.

I could completely relate to her physical manifestation of thankfulness.  I could bear witness to her thankfulness as it grew longer and longer as the beautiful strips of fabric adorned the back yard wall of her house.

We all should be thankful.  We all should feel blessed for what we have received.  There is a Japanese concept of shugyo (daily practice).  Which is basically some training that an individual completes on a daily basis in order to improve one’s life.  This could be physical, spiritual or both.

In Valerie’s project her physical actions have manifested in such sublime beauty that we all should keep our thankfulness in the forefront of our thoughts on a daily basis.

We all, myself included, need to meditate on giving thanks.  Whatever shape, prayer, habits that it entails, we should make thankfulness part of our process for growth as individuals, and as a greater community.

I knew I wanted to know more about Valerie and her project so I sat down and wrote up some questions for her.

Please take the time to explore her world, thoughts, and images.

Valerie please introduce yourself to the Lucid Communication community.

I am a soon to be 59 year old woman who works primarily as an R. N. case manager for an HIV/AIDS program in Southern California. I have always had an interest in art and started out my college life back in the seventies as an art major where I met my future husband who was also majoring in art at the time. At one point my major switched to nursing, but I’ve always led a creative life and nurtured and fed myself on the arts.

What inspired you to start the Thankfulness Project?

Towards the end of 2010 I knew that I wanted the discipline of working daily on something, and had been thinking about fulfilling that desire by possibly doing something along the lines of a sketch or photo each day. I was also thinking about my general approach to life and realized that there was much in my life that I needed to be thankful for.

I had decided that I would look for at least ten things each day to write down onto my laptop. The “thankfulness” aspect of it started out as a very personal thing. It wasn’t something that I really thought about sharing with others. However, as a seamstress I had a huge collection of colorful fabrics, and so the thought of combining thankfulness with the textiles came to my mind as a way of documenting the things that I was grateful for (ten strips each day).

It was at a time that the thought of sharing the whole aspect of the project seemed the right thing to do. We all have stuff that we can be thankful for, no matter what our circumstances. It really became a way of documenting beauty in my life.

What were your stylistic influences in its construction?

One of the things that I’ve liked about doing this project outside, and about much of installation art in general is the temporal aspect of much of it. I have enjoyed watching the elements have their effect upon the installation. Watching the fabrics fray and fade has brought new beauty to it for me. Seeing how it transitions across the two walls that it’s hung upon, from newer to older as the year has progressed, has been quite satisfying to me. I like this idea of “wabi sabi” in my work.

Where there times that you felt it a struggle to continue?
For the most part, no. Once I committed to it, I was surprised at how easy it was to keep going. This may be in part due to the fact that I was sharing a bit of the experience with others online through my blog, facebook, and flickr, so I had to keep going or recognize that I would fail publically.

But I also found that as I kept at it something within me changed, and I looked forward to the reflective time with God each day when I would look back on my day with thankfulness and gratitude. I found myself excited to start my day anticipating the beauty that I would see, and became more in tune to see it, I think.

Now that the project has finished, has its meanings changed?
I don’t think so, but I think that I’ve discovered some new significance that being thankful plays in my own life after having completed this project. Even though it was over after a year, my plan was to continue with the idea of being thankful in a similar, yet very different way. I was thinking more along the lines of possibly writing out a thankfulness haiku each day, or to sketch daily something that I was thankful for. So far, I haven’t done this and it feels a bit like floundering without the daily devotion of gratitude that I had become accustomed to. I’m thinking quite seriously about the importance of this now.

There is something else that I’d like to mention, and that’s how important a role others like yourself have played in this as I look back on it. When I started this project, as I mentioned earlier, it was really just a personal thing that I was attempting. But I met a lot of new people along the way that have offered a lot of encouragement and affirmation as I have worked on it. I am overwhelmed by the kindness of people from all over, like you Jacob, that I have not met personally, but have come along side me and supported me as I’ve done this project.

Is there anything you’d like to share?
If I were doing this interview audibly, you’d be hearing me chuckle right now, but I still have another wall that I can put some strips on, and if anybody wants to add a personal bit of their own thankfulness, my fabric and Sharpie pen are at the ready. The installation will be up at least through Easter of this year, or maybe longer, I’m not sure. Just email me and I’ll add you to the project.

Where on the web can we see more of your work? (flickr, website, blog)?

Valerie’s entire Thankfulness Set can be viewed on Flickr

and the beginning of the project on her blog.

it all started with this image from January 1st, 20122

Thankfulness Installation


Thankfulness Installation ~ Week 14


Thankfulness Installation ~ Week 50


Thankfulness Installation ~ Week 22


Moon Rising


Thankfulness Installation ~ Week 35


Thankfulness Installation ~ Week 39


Thankfulness Installation ~ Week 52



Valerie’s entire Thankfulness Set can be viewed on Flickr

Return to Asakusa

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Before Edo Sushi Garden, Asakusa

I made my way back to Asakusa to do my omiyage (souvenir) shopping.  Like I have said before I never really liked Asakusa that much, but if I head away from the main street that leads to Sensoji Temple, the shops are pretty cool.

I was really attracted to the fabric goods in one shop.  All made by hand in Japan.  Pure love and quality.

I even got to see some flurries of snow fall in the streets of Asakusa.  It was a good day out with some kibidango I brought home for a healthy desert.

February Stone Wall Blossom

Dragons Don’t Cry on a Cold and Rainy Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Dragons Don't Cry on Rainy Valentine's Day

Dragons don’t cry on a cold and rainy Valentine’s Day in Japan.  There is too much hustle and bustle out in the streets.  The hordes of women in the department stores snatching up box after boxes of chocolate.  In case you don’t already know, Valentine’s Day goes only one way in Japan.  Women give gifts to men.  Not just their lovers, but coworkers, friends, teachers, the list of giri (obligation) chocolate never ends.

Dragons don’t play the Valentine’s game.  They don’t line up around the corner to get that last box of chocolates.  Nope!  They are content to be out in the streets in the rain.  They just are going to be their dragon self.

They have nothing to hide.  They have no one they have to impress.  They will be, and are dragons.


Another Masked Hero has Fallen

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Fallen Masked Hero

It has happened again.  A lone masked fighter for the underdogs has fallen by the wayside.  He once stood for justice, now he only hopes to be found once again.

He championed for those that has no where else to turn.  For the motherless children, for the those that have fallen through the cracks of society, he was there for them.

Who will be there for him now that he has been forgotten?  Who will be there to say his eulogy as he is buried in his grave. 

He was a hero.  He will forever be a hero to me.  Let us not forget the mortality of our heroes.  We shouldn’t forget their humanness. Raise your glasses high and say a toast to the fallen masked hero of Kasai.


Asakusa, Cramped and Refreshing

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Drugstore Beauties, Asakusa

Asakusa is a great part of Tokyo.  It is one of those spots that all foreigners and domestic tourists make their way to when they visit Tokyo.  I never really liked Asakusa that much.  There is the famous Sensoji Temple located there, but it was rebuilt after the war.  There are some touristy shops that line the way to the temple.  The shops that line the main thoroughfare reminds me of the story of Yeshua (Jesus) and driving the sellers from the temple.  Different faith, but got to get your amulets, and kitsch to take back with you.

However, once you get off the main streets of Asakusa, and wander around the backstreets, there are plenty of quality shops, restaurants, and little pockets of the Tokyo of old.  Buildings still stand that have been build of corrugated metal.  Shop signs crack with age.  In Japnese they say aji ga aru (it has character).  I dig those characteristics immensely.

These are the streets that I love to wander around.  I like to wander until I don’t see tourists walking around.  There is where I can loose my self in the moment.  I can just become one with the streets.  I take it all in.  And from time to time I am compelled to photograph a scene.

People always ask me where is your favorite spot to photograph in Tokyo.  I like to reply that I don’t have one.  Wherever I go it is a chance to become one with the surroundings.  To explore neighborhoods for the first or the hundredth time.  That is what it is all about.  But, I am really drawn to the old neighborhoods in Tokyo.  They have so much character, and I feel that they won’t be with us much longer.

Seafood Forrest, Asakusa


Barbershop Garden, Asakusa

Gazing Out Over Tokyo

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Watching Tokyo Skytree Grow, (東京スカイツリー)

Tokyo seems endless to me.  I can hop on the train and ride from one end of town to the other with out every seeing a break in the concrete landscape.  It just never seems to end.  The only time I can every view a break in the constructions is when I come to the river’s edge.

There is finally a break in the land.  A momentary pause before the maddening pace of construction continues on the other side of the river.  There are many rivers in Tokyo.  There are many bridges that traverse these water highways.  They were the lifeline of the city before the modern age.

But I transgress.

As I reached the Sumidagawa River and gave up at the recently complete Tokyo Skytree, I was amazed to be in the city.  The bustle of the nearby Sensoji Temple seemed miles away, as only a few humans made their way down to the riverside.  Up into the tree of iron and steel.  A tower into the sky.  A tower that pops up from just about anywhere you stand in Tokyo.

Standing on the bridge looking out over Tokyo. There was the past that is.  There is the future that is to be, but now, a pause, a moment of quiet to be in Today.

The image with the pigeon is levicated to Catfords32 and JJC, my pigeon photographing family.

The bridge is levicated to my wife, whose earth day was yesterday.

Brdige over Today, Sumidagawa River, Asakusa

The Suburban Mini Garden

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Wild Suburban Aloe, with Bicycle

The garden is alive and well in Japan.  They might not be the perfectly manicured gardens that surround the Emperor’s Palace in the center of Tokyo, but they are no less beautiful.  They also adhere to the principals of wabi-sabi, and the Japanese aesthetic.

This aloe jungle was directly to the right of the guard kitty from yesterday.  This wild bunch of aloe had taken over the side of the house.  Even more unusual was that the aloe plants were in full bloom.  I love the aloe blossoms.  They are unusual and from what I understand they do not bloom very often.

The gardens are often cramped.  Wedge into spaces that would have been abandoned elsewhere.  The Japanese have a knack for using all available space.  There never really seems to be any wasted space.

Keep your eyes open, and you’ll see gardens in the most unusual of places.

Trio pon Shelf Garden

The Kitty and I

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The Kitty and I

The kitty and I.  For real.  I almost missed this one on my pedal and meditative journey on Sunday.  I had taken a picture just to the right of this window that was full of a huge blooming aloe plant.  I had jumped back on my bicycle when I noticed this little one keeping a watchful eye on me.

I got off and moved in to get a closer look.  Kitty let out a huge hiss as i got close, but then relaxed, and just struck a pose.  Sweet, and brought a smile to my face.

A dutiful feline keeping its home safe from the wandering photographers like myself.


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