Blog from December 2013

There are 4 blog entries from December 2013

Oscar and Vinnie Colaiuta
December 27th, 2013 | View Post
As part of my wonderful experience of getting to see Carly's band (T-Bird and the Breaks) open for Sting at the Moody Theater, we also had the pleasure of meeting Sting's band backstage.

Vinnie Colaiuta is one of those guys that you've probably never heard of - unless you're a drummer. Needless to say, T-Bird's drummer, Oscar, is a huge fan of the guy. I had the pleasure of filming the two of them meeting and thought it would be nice to put a little video together for Oscar.

I released it just the other day and thought it would make some good website content too!

Jonas and "Muck" - You Bastards
December 9th, 2013 | View Post
I've been trying to get my 21-month-old nephew to learn my name for the past several months. Try as I might, he does not seem interested in making this a verbal reality.

My sister sent me an email the other day while I happened to be attending the Baylor/UT (and the last game ever at Floyd-Casey stadium in Waco).

It read: "Jonas learned to say an uncle's name, but which one??" Included was a video attachment. Given the crowd density (and perhaps because TMobile occasionally sucks), it took about 30 minutes to download it.

My sister is cold:

Muck is NOT my name.
State Representative, District 46 Filing
December 4th, 2013 | View Post

Caption Here
I'm running for the Texas House of Representatives in District 46. Here is what I have to say about it.

A Little Background

As most all of my friends know, I have been highly engaged in politics since my early 20s. This escalated around the age of 23 when I began traveling the world more freely and exposed myself to different cultures and ideals. It continued into my later 20s as I became more and more frustrated with our destructive 2-party system and sought after 3rd party candidates and dissidents within the major parties (Nader, Paul, Kucinich, amongst others).

At 33 I published my first political science book, "American Healthcare: A Moderate Approach" (ALMOST a NY Times Best Seller!), and also began a political science podcast with a friend of mine called the JKPodcast. Sadly it's been on hiatus since the summer due to a new baby, but we'll fire it up again soon!

And so it stands to reason that at the ripe young age of 34, I have officially filed for candidacy in the State of Texas. I am running for the Texas House of Representatives, District 46 (where I live).

Qualify what this means

Unless I am able to find momentum in my local community to back my candidacy, I have no intention of attempting to run an actual campaign. This is not because I am uninterested in it, but rather that politics heavily favors the two-party system, heavily favors incumbents, and my opponent is part of both.

I am historically much more of a political activist than a politician. But having said that, and since I am eligible to run for office, it sounds like an amazing opportunity and I will take it very seriously.

State district 46 (essentially east and northeast Austin) has been represented by Dawnna Dukes for as long as I can remember. Personally speaking, she seems like an absolutely lovely woman. I have been in her company in numerous events over the years and been introduced at least twice.

But this coming year I will have my name along side hers on the ballot.

Though I loathe both the Democrats and Republicans (she is a Democrat), her legislative efforts in the House have appeared mostly humanitarian in nature. Granted, this is really more of a surface analysis. If you dig deeper you'll likely uncover that she's not been particularly helpful to the LGBT community of Austin, she supports drug penalties (despite such laws heavily weighing against most of her district), and I even found that she would support a state income tax. There's also an occasional "weird" one that I come across, in Dawnna's case is was the support of corporal punishment in school. I find myself asking: 'what year is this?'

How did this all come about?

Several months back, the Libertarian Party of Texas reached out to political activists and asked if any would consider a run for office. I responded that I would. About two months ago I received a call asking if I was serious about running. I maintained that I was. Finally about four weeks ago I received a call asking if I was REALLY serious about running. I took a small step back.

I explained how I had no proven ability to run a campaign namely as I do not have proper funding for such a thing. I also explained that my personal political interests have tended towards Austin and National politics; I have been interested in making a run for a Congressional seat. Unfortunately the party explained to me that given the number of people seeking a national seat, I should start with the state level and they would be willing to back me. I welcomed the new idea.

What is the goal?

The Libertarian Party is attempting to fill Texas ballots with people who are well-versed in the goals and ideals of libertarianism as a philosophy. For the most part, this appeals to me greatly and I am happy to get involved.

I should note here that I am NOT a Tea Party activist and for the most part, do NOT agree with the policies of the Tea Party. This extends into general women's rights, LGBT rights, abortion positions (I'm very pro-choice - though do understand and respect the views of anti-abortionists), and immigration policies (I inherently support open borders). I am also an agnostic-atheist and this carries with me dearly into my political views (I fully support God - just not with respect to legislation of the masses).

Representative Dukes is a well-regarded state politician and it would be foolish to think I could just strut into the ring and unseat her; she is good at being a politician. That said, if I am able to find supporters in the local area, I will gladly run as best a campaign I possibly can. And should that result in a victory somewhere down the road, I will happily take her seat in the House Chambers. Beyond that, and with all things in my life, I intend to have a great deal of fun with the process. I'm sure I will learn a thing or two about the process of a state campaign from [more of] the inside-out.

In the next few days I will put together a short document that outlines my political views on major issues. If nothing else, I am very consistent in my views and am happy to have them documented publicly (most already are)

Having now gotten all of the reality-check out of the way, vote Ludlow 2014!
The James Turrell Skyspace
December 3rd, 2013 | View Post
Today I had the pleasure of being invited to one of the most amazing visual art installments I have ever seen anywhere in the world. The piece was created by James Turrell and sits atop the Student Activity Center on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

I most certainly cannot do the piece justice in words, but I will try to describe it objectively. Atop the student building is an oval-shaped concrete dome. There is a single entrance on the east side. Inside are polished concrete seats wrapping the edges, save for the entrance. The seats are angled so that the viewer can more comfortably gaze up at the ceiling. All of the walls and ceiling are painted white; the seats are a darker gray. In the middle of the white ceiling is an oval-shaped hole. The viewer sits on the seat and stares into the sky through this hole, of course only able to see a small bit of the sky at any given time.

Less than an hour from sundown (and sunrise), the light show begins. As the lights [very] slowly rotate through a series of vivid colors, the viewer gets entirely lost in the color-shifting effects in the sky. As the surrounding light changes, it contrasts the sky so vividly that the juxtaposed images appear to shift the color of the sky. Of course that is not actually the case at all and instead our eyes simply perceive this to be happening. The color differential also creates an illusion that the opening in the ceiling is a floating egg (or similar physical entity). It's incredibly surreal, peaceful, and amazing.

A view of the dusky sky surrounded by yellow lighting. This was my favorite color sequence. When I would let the scene take over my eyes, I thought the scene looked like a giant sunflower.

Another photo just to show how significant the color difference makes to the sky.

Although I wasn't previously familiar with Turrell by name, I actually had the pleasure of seeing one of his private light installments on a daily basis for over a year. I worked as a contractor for Dimensional Fund Advisors in their Austin office near Bee Caves. If you're not familiar with them, DFA is an incredibly successful mutual fund company that was started by David Booth in Santa Monica, California. They moved their headquarters to Austin about five years ago and built one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen. As it happens, David's wife, Suzanna Booth, is a huge proponent of the arts. The entire building is essentially a private art museum and the Turrell piece is just one of many amazing elements within it.

So although I already really enjoyed the artist, this was the first time I had the pleasure of actually learning about him. I would highly recommend it to anyone, especially those interested in the visual arts.