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Archive for November, 2009

All Glory Is Fleeting: An Exclusive Interview with 48 Laws of Power and The 50th Law Author, Robert Greene, Part I.

November 29, 2009 2 comments

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As a young boy growing up in Memphis,Tennessee in the 1920s, my Grandfather loved to tell us stories of how he would pick up dinner table chairs by one of the legs and march around the house shouting “POWER”. Perhaps its by no coincidence at all that in 2001 when I finally saw a book entitled “The 48 Laws of Power(click here for a quick review) sitting on the top shelf of a Barnes and Noble, that I thought back to my Grandfather’s story. Read more…

Man Law #65 – Stay Focused, Maintain “Grim Determination!”

November 27, 2009 4 comments

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Every plan fails once you engage the enemy.” – Sun Tzu

Or as Mike Tyson put it:

Everyone has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouf” – Mike Tyson

Athletes tend to be the ones that visibly display this focus, however, all individuals that have succeeded in the upper realms of their field no what it is to have this supreme confidence in the outcome.

You see the look on the faces of the greatest athletes of all time, the best businessmen and women, and people at the top of their field – a hyperawareness and focus, a look not of anger but one of supreme command over one’s self. A Mental Toughness.  The look of “grim determination.”

The ability to see task through is one that will allow you to master any and everything. Whether you are mastering an instrument, horseback riding, or just trying to make the fanciest drink at the bar, you have to enter a state that blast through any resistance in your way and quiets your subconscious mind of defeat and self-doubt.

Chances are, you have entered this state of mind. Whether you were studying for the SATs, GREs, a final exam that you had to pass or about to go out for an audition, submit a book proposal, or release a new song, you already know what it means to have this grim determination. It’s the underlying belief that “If I don’t get this done, nobody is going to do it for me.” It’s a sense that you need to control your emotions from becoming overly happy or overly sad. That you will survive whatever obstacles come in your way.

I keep the following speech given by Al Pachino in A Whole Nine Yards. It might be the greatest inspirational speech ever given to those who need to stay focused. I have it bookmarked on my computer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WO4tIrjBDkk


Despite the fact that this is a movie about football, the speech can be applied to anything you hope to accomplish whether its lifting a weight, sticking with a diet, getting into grad school, or simply resisting the need to go out when you know you have to get something done.

Rickson Gracie, arguably the BEST practitioner of Brazilian JiuJitsu has the look of "grim determination." Even after winning the fight, he remains calm in seeing the outcome through to the end.

I like to think of myself as an “Optimistic Realist”. I hope for the best but prepare for the worst. It’s this type of mental toughness that will pull you through tough times.

How far are you willing to fight and die for that inch?

Man Theory – The Dating Paradigm Shift, Taking The Red Pill

November 23, 2009 1 comment

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Not the process of “dating” or going out on a “date“,  I’m referring to the word date” and having to label things in order for them to exist for some people.

Han Solo never dated Leia; Indiana Jones never dated Dr. Elsa Schneider; Neo never dated Trinity; and James Bond definitely did not date Pussy Galore. How did all of these men manage to attract these beautiful women while simultaneously saving the world? Most of these women mentioned were not stereotypical damsels in distress by any means. They were political leaders, doctors, accomplished hackers, and…well…we don’t really know what profession “Pussy” was supposed to be in the movie but for the most part these women could take care of themselves!

The word “dating” causes a lot of interpretation problems.  If you see someone more than twice and it is not clear whether you have a romantic interest in them, are the two of you “dating”? At a close second come other words such as seduction, courtship, and pursuit.  None of them accurately describe what is happening. These words build up perceptions in our own minds and the minds of others.  When it comes to the English language, we are seriously lacking words in the whole relationship department.

Hearing James Bond say "Sorry honey, I just don't do this on a first date." just doesn't sound right...

It turns out to be a necessary evil and one that I have not been able to solve throughout the course of writing this blog. What name can you give a pseudo-opportunity for a relationship that you hope to become sexual? To say that your pursuit of another is entirely altruistic is naive at best. You are not hoping to add another friend to your list. You are seducing, courting, and finally pursuing a woman that you find appealing.  For most men, the goal of dating is to fulfill a “physical” need.  Along with that physical requirement for many men is an emotional connection with the woman which typically comes far,far behind and might not even be a factor with some.

To get away from the black and white, formal approach to a date, take it one step further.  Think of yourself as somewhat of an action hero who has been sent to save thy woman from a harsh environment.  WWJBD – What Would James Bond Do?  After all, he was arguably the biggest ladies man in the theaters for almost half a century and how many dates did you see 007 going on? Answer: Not Many. (Editorial Note: For those of you who may have forgotten, a rather nice English gentleman went through the effort of compiling a list of Bond Women. You can view this formidable list here: http://www.jamesbondmm.co.uk/bond-girls). James Bond didn’t have time to date in the traditional sense and neither does the modern man. He would make the most of the situation he had while he knew he had it.  If James Bond had 15 minutes to live and he was “trapped” with a woman who just happened to be there, you can best be sure he was running some sick game on her.

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Take the Red Pill. Create your own reality.

It’s my belief that part of the allure that James Bond and Indiana Jones had on these women in the movies was that in every case they met through fate of circumstance. There was a “reason” why they were forced into “compromising” situations. Neither of these men approached the woman in the traditional sense. For one reason or another, they needed each other for survival.  These women were thrown into the mix with the hero and during that time they realized they were furiously attracted to the man that in most instances they viewed with hostility at first.

Forget the typical constraints of what society says you should do to “court” a woman with flowers, a nice dinner, and a movie.  These might have worked on our parents at a point where what was socially acceptable for women to engage in with a man she was not married to was much more conservative but for the most part, they are a remnant of the past.

To Date or Not To Date. That is the question.

And one in which I’d love to hear what everyone thinks on the subject.  For the busy man or woman working 40+ hours a week or involved with a packed full-time schedule in college, how do you “date” in the 21st century? Post your thoughts below.

Man Law #64 – Master the Zen Approach, Be Like Water.

November 18, 2009 3 comments

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Free your mind from distraction. Go in there and Do it. Join a Yoga class and thank me later.

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid,outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.” – Bruce Lee, 1975 (Tao of Jeet Kune Do)

Contrary to popular belief, Bruce Lee wrote the first guide to picking up women. The original “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” contained a brilliant collection of his own personal “pick up artist” (more than just a coincidence) guidelines and life lessons. Instead of martial arts drawings, the guide had explicit self-drawn illustrations of maximum impact positions found in the Kama Sutra.  His infamous one-inch punch was actually a complete hip movement lacking any hand involvement that he discovered during coitus. When publisher after publisher turned this guide down for its graphic depictions, Good Ole Bruce, changed the content to fit his “day job” profession as a martial artist. He kept many of the quotes the same because they applied to many situations whether they were involved with a woman or a desperate fight for your life. It is not by coincidence that the two are so closely related.

You want a positive mind state when approaching and a "lifting" quality - Pick UP the person.

For lack of a better term, when you approach women, you should not think of it as an “approach”.  Your mind needs to be open, free. Forget pick up lines. Pay attention to what’s around you in the moment. Hearing the word “approach” fires cylinders in your brain that tense your muscles and causes unnecessary tension.  Your goal at this point is to jump right in the situation before your brain has a chance to talk yourself out of it.  Jump In – Think Later.  There are many times in your life that jumping in without thinking something through is not a good idea.  This is not one of them.

The more you delay and “justify” the decision, the less likely you will decide on anything. My father used to call this “Getting Ready to ‘Get Ready’”. You can make sure you have the right shoes,  right shorts, right t-shirt, right socks, right deodorant, but if you don’t get your ass out of the door, you’ll never make it to the gym before it closes.

When meeting people, your ultimate goal is to not consciously have a pre-determined destination in mind.  The conversation should really “flow like water” and whatever subject matter strikes the interest of the two of you, go with it. You might subconsciously want to go home with her, but if she gets those vibes that you are going to hump her leg like the pug at her Aunt Peggy’s house, she’ll be gone faster than a Friday paycheck.

Man Law #63 – Be “Of The World”

November 17, 2009 5 comments

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The world is a book, those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

As far back as I can remember, the simple act of travel has proven to be irresistible to women. Your ultimate goal is to be a Renaissance man. A guy who can not be pigeon holed into a particular category and one who defies all sense of normalcy. You want to be seen as genuine.  One way of doing this is by increasing your worldy knowledge (i.e. turning on the BBC instead of CNN). Simply knowing what goes on outside of your backyard increases your “attractive points” exponentially and if you can say that you’ve visited the birthplace of Beethoven or the museums of St. Petersburg, you will instantly be seen as a “worldly” man.

With women like this running around the streets of Russia, who needs more of an incentive? It's also generally understood that what happens in another country, stays in another country!

Why is this important?

It will transform you from “Joe the Plumber” from around the block to “Joe the World-Traveling Philanthropist”.  Despite Joe’s financial status in this world, the fact that he has visited other countries is very attractive to many women. Think the two are the same? Think again. One will be struggling to go home with a phone number, while the other will struggle to fit all of the dates in his calendar in one week. How many bums have walked the Paris streets of the Champs-Élysées.

Of course, traveling cost money, so be sure to check places like Hotwire and Expedia for awesome deals. And if that doesn’t work out – learning a language is the next best thing.  Expand your worldliness by listening to music of other cultures.  Some of those German Rappers may have grew up listening to Tupac and Biggie!  While this should be common sense, make sure you don’t just visit the bars and clubs in Greece and Italy when you visit.  Take your camera and snap a picture by the leaning tower of Pisa. Upload these types of pictures to Facebook, not the ones of you doing keg stands after you won the kickball tournament!

Enter Thy Sleepthief: An Exclusive Interview with Justin Elswick

November 15, 2009 3 comments

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The first time I heard Sleepthief, I had been inside a Barnes and Nobles for the past three hours studying for an Economics exam.  With the bad A.D.D. that I had it was normal for me to start looking around at unrelated books and the birds outside the window, however, this particular time, I found myself completely enraptured in the music being played on the loudspeaker. Song after song, I listened. I did my best to ignore it, but it was increasingly difficult. Finally, I ceased to resist, got up; ran downstairs to the CD section, asked the associate what was playing, and picked up the last display copy of Dawnseeker.

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Justin Elswick, aka Sleepthief, the creative genius behind "The Dawnseeker" and "Labyrinthine Heart"

That album would remain in my car stereo for the next two years.

Almost anyone that I played the album for instantly loved the songs.  They couldn’t quite describe the type of music since it was different than anything being played on the radio or anything you would hear at clubs.

Shortly afterwords, I added Sleepthief on the most popular social networking site at the time, MySpace.  I commented on his wall just how great his album was and how everyone that I played it for was instantly “seduced” by the sounds. What happened next was beyond belief.

He commented back.

Keep in mind that MySpace was fairly new at the time and you tend to think of anyone with CD’s and Books that you could pick up at a local book store to be right up there with Pavarotti and Madonna.  This only added to my promotional advertising for the Dawnseeker and won me a few hot dates as well…

Enter the present day, communications have still remained active, the Dawnseeker is still in my car and remains one of the best albums I have ever purchased and Sleepthief has released his most recent album –Labyrinthine Heart.  A few weeks ago I e-mailed him with the idea of doing an interview and signed copies of his latest CD. He agreed.

What you see below are his responses to several questions I thought would interest our readers.  I sincerely hope you enjoy the interview and be sure to comment below for a chance to win an autographed copy of his latest CD.

Enjoy.

Ethan Bishop: One of the things that I learned about you when I first discovered your music was that you were actually practicing law! How did you decide to go “full-steam” on your music and go from a few keyboard compositions to releasing your album to music stores around the world? What was the deciding factor where you thought to yourself – “It’s now or never”?

Sleepthief: My decision to really consider recording and releasing a “professional” album was made in college, before I even went to law school. It was at that point that I bought my first keyboard and started layering different sounds. It was nice, because at that point, I could record and store compositions and go back and keep working on them. I knew that it might take a few years for the material to reach level where it was polished and I felt comfortable approaching singers with it. At the time, I just felt excited that I had an outlet to begin composing.  Law school was very busy and it really took nearly all of the free time out of my schedule. As it turned out, finishing law school and working as an attorney actually helped me to pay for the recording–so I suppose it was just matter of synchronicity in having all the stars “align.”

Ethan Bishop: Although, I know how your name came about, for those who may not have heard of you yet, how did you come up with your name?

Sleepthief: When I was about a year away from finishing my first album, THE DAWNSEEKER, I was up quite late recording a song. I had been trying to come up with a moniker for almost 2 years, but everytime I decided on a name I ended up not liking it after a few days. As I was sitting at the keyboard and wondering why I was still awake recording, I realized that I had been staying up quite late on the weekends and losing a lot of sleep because of the music. I thought “wow, this music is such a sleep thief.” As soon as the thought came into my mind, I knew that the name “Sleepthief” was what I would go with. It was a mysterious name and memorable and appropriate. Needless to say, I was just relieved I found something to name my project.

(Editorial Note: Hear Sleepthief’s Euridice, the song that started the entrancement )

Ethan Bishop: How would you describe your music as far as genre? I understand that it is considered electronica, however, your music is much different than thumping club music. What were some of your influences?

Sleepthief: Yes–I think generally, my music is classified as “electronica” because alot of the sound are generated by a keyboard. However, compositionally, I think the music draws from classical, pop, folk and celtic/world music elements. Technology has gotten quite good at replicating (sampling) actual instruments, and so you can now layer percussion, strings, piano and most other sampled sounds to create a really full piece of music. I really love live/organic instruments, though, so I do try to incorporate guitar and some strings over the sampled sounds. My ultimate goal would be to have a symphony to record with!  That would be great.

Alot of people consider “electronica” music to be trance/dance/house music. I think that is because those genres of music are most closely associated with “electronic” sounds. However, from the 70s forward, many acts were synth-based. So, acts like Blondie, or Depeche Mode or even Duran Duran were “electro” bands. Many “new age” artists like Enya or Vangelis principally use keyboards and synths in their compositions.

For me, I love the endless variety of crazy sounds you can create with samples. There are endless permutations and moods that you can create. I love finding and layering sounds that work well together with a good melody and voice.

As for influences, I have so many–to name a few: FOLK/ACOUSTIC (Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, The Birds, Cowboy Junkies, Azure Ray, Kings of Convenience), 80S (Animotion, A-ha, Alphaville, Yaz, Trans -X-, Duran Duran, Dead or Alive, Book of Love, Spacemonkey, Blondie), FREESTYLE (Shannon, C-Bank, Expose, TKA, George LaMond, Tapps, Bardeux), ROCK (Scorpions, Def Leppard, Tesla, Boston, Honeymoon Suite, Garbage), SINGER/SONGWRITER (Sarah McLachlan, Vanessa Daou, Sia, Eskobar, October Project, Casey Stratton, Mae Moore, Emm Gryner, Neverending White Lights, Marissa Nadler, Carla Werner, Miranda Lee Richards), ELECTRONICA/TRIP HOP (Goldfrapp, Royksopp, Olive, Portishead, Massive Attack), WORLD/CELTIC (Enya, Clannad, Lisa Gerrard, Ofra Haza, Stellamara, Vas, Aine Minogue, Eimear Quinn, Loreena McKennitt, Adiemus), CLASSICAL (Schubert, Berlioz, Handel, Rachmaninov, Bach).

Ethan Bishop: Say you have Kristy Thirsk in mind for an upcoming song. How do you go from contacting the musician, to composing the song? Who writes the lyrics or decides the tone that it takes? Do the singers like to drive the accompaniments or the other way around?

Sleepthief: Typically, when I write a song, I have a very strong impression or story in mind. So, the melody that comes out is definitely related to certain feelings and images. When I approach the singer with the music, I always have a lengthy discussion about what the song’s music is meant to convey. In most cases, I don’t write the lyrical content (except with the first album, where I wrote lyrics for TENUOUS and JUST SAY IT and some of the lyrics on the song LABYRINTHINE HEaRT). I find it is much easier to allow the singers to take part in the process by listening to the music and coming up with something that suits the music and mood. I think that the singers just feel more comfortable in performing something they actually take part in. All of the artists I have worked with have been very sensitive to the message I am trying to convey, and have done a great job writing words that enhance the music and stay true to my feelings.

As for melody, most of the singers will record a rough and get my feedback. 99% of the time, I have been blown away by what is presented. If there are a few tweaks, I suggest them. When we get in the studio, we just lay down the vocals and then work on various harmony parts.

Ethan Bishop: If you had to pick a time, place, and one (or two people) to listen to your album with you, describe the scene. A sunset beach? A night drive through a snowy mountain?

Sleepthief: It would have to be in a deeply forested, high mountain place, with streams flowing from several directions into a silver lake. I love being outside, and beautiful, epic scenery inspires me to no end.

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Ethan Bishop: Your music tends to have incredible female vocals in them! What do you think it is about the female voice that brings alive this type of music?

Sleepthief: I have always felt that a female voice embodies something more spiritual but simultaneously “grounded” than a typical male voice. There is a mystery and sensuality that a female voice can convey in a song far beyond what any male vocalist could convey. Because I want my listeners to feel transported when they hear my music, I tend to want to work with female singers. Also, I think most of us as children hear our mother’s voice more often (whether speaking or singing). I think that makes most humans more responsive to the female voice than the male voice.

However, I am not totally biased! There are some great male vocalists out there that I would love to work with. And Coury Palermo (who recorded 3 songs with me) is incredible.

Ethan Bishop: You recently released an album Labyrinthe Heart in September. What was it like working on this album versus your first album “The Dawnseeker”. Did you strive to shatter new grounds in your development or did you want to stick with a certain “formula”?

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Enter Thy Sleepthief

Sleepthief: I defintely do not have a formula–haha. Seriously, for me, it is just about sitting down and writing something on the piano that moves me. That is how each song begins. I don’t pre-figure whether a song will end up more upbeat or more pop sounding or more classical or more ethereal. All of that happens as I start layering sound and percussion. There are times when a song (like TENUOUS) starts out more upbeat, but then I reverse directions because it doesn’t feel right. I honestly just think about the message of each song, search for the instruments that fit the mood and things develop from there.

While composing THE DAWNSEEKER, I did feel like I was striving to create a certain sound. In a way, it was more restrictive of my creativity. When I realized people enjoyed the music, it was liberating and I went in to writing LABYRINTHINE HEART with a bit more confidence to explore some other  sounds and styles. It wasn’t so much intentional, but I let the music dictate where I need to go.

I would never be happy with a “formula.” Honestly, if I never sold another record, I would still write music and compose. While I love sharing my music with others and feel deeply flattered that it has inspired other people, it would be disingenuous of me to try and fabricate something that wasn’t directly from the heart. I suppose I could write a top 40 pop song–but I am just not interested. If it doesn’t come from the soul, then it’s not worth doing.

Ethan Bishop: What projects do you have going on in the horizon? Anything in particular that you are excited about?

Sleepthief: Very much so. I am trying to finish another exclusive Christmas song. Last year, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Coury Palermo, Zoe Johnston and I recorded O COME O COME EMMANUEL, and I allowed everyone to download it for free as a gift. I am working on an original Christmas song with a local opera singer (Janna Thompson). It is very much styled after traditional hymns. Epic and sweeping.  Also, I will be finishing up the side project SPYTHRILLER with Caroline Lavelle and Israel Curtis. We should have that done by Spring next year. Very excited about it as the music is a bit more wild and fun. Also, I am working on ROBERTA CARTER HARRISON’s new solo album. Finally, I have decided that may do a separate side project that is more inspired by folk/Americana music. A bit of a rustic fairy-tale vibe with piano and accordion, banjo, fiddle and harmonica…

For more news and info about Sleepthief, check out his website Sleepthief Music (http://www.sleepthiefmusic.com) and follow him on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/sleepthiefmusic And that concludes the interview.  Comment below to win a copy of his latest CD, Labyrinthine Heart. The Latest Album from Sleepthief "Labyrinthine Heart"

Man Law #63 – быть “Мир”

November 15, 2009 3 comments

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С женщинами, как это бегать по улицам в России, то она действительно не должно занять слишком много убедительных ...

Сколько я себя помню, женщины не могут устоять перед простым актом путешествия. Твоя цель – стать мужчиной Ренессанса. Мужчиной, которого нельзя включить ни в одну категорию и который разрушает все нормы. Ты должен быть натурален. Интересуйся событиями в мире (к примеру, переключись с Си-ен-ен на Би-би-си). Женщинам будет невозможно перед тобой устоять, если ты знаешь что происходит за пределами твоего двора. И если ты можешь сказать что посетил родину Бетховена или музей в Санкт-Петербурге ты сразу приобретешь статус эрудированного мужчины который повидал мир.

Почему ето так важно?

Ты привратишься из простого Ивана в экзотического Жана. Невзирая на твоё финансовое положение, факт что ты поездил по миру будет очень привлекателен для многих женщин. Ты думаешь Иван тот же Жан? Подумай получше. Иван приложит все усилия что бы получить хотя бы один номер телефона, а Жан будет прикладывать усилия что бы вместить все свидания в свой календарь на следующую неделю. Много ли разгильдяев погуляло по парижским улицам или Елисейским Полям?

Конечно же путешествия не бесплатны, обязательно ищи всевозможные акции на таких сайтах как Expedia или Hotwire. Если это не поможет – выучи язык. Расширь свои познания о мире через музыку из других стран. Посмотри на немецких рэпперов, многие из них росли слушая музыку Tupac и Biggie! Хотя это и здравый смысл, но не сиди только в барах и клубах пока ты в Греции и Италии. Возьми фотоаппарат и сделай снимок Пизанской башни. Поставь именно такие фотографии на Facebook, а не те, где ты пьёшь пиво вверх ногами после победы в очередной игре.

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