Brass-Knuckle Love Butter

Brass-Knuckle Love Butter

Monday, October 27, 2014

Food, Music, Home and Acceptance

I have an obsession with two things - food and music. When I’m dead and gone my life’s work will have been dedicated to the incredibly visceral combination of the two. This is the kind of thing where level of intelligence is absolutely moot. It’s about that deep inward feeling that consumes us when we’re experiencing it. They are truly original forms of therapy. The heart is made up of four chambers and I’m apt to say that music and food are two of them.

Every Sunday, a tiny “Rustic American Eatery & Bakery” known as Salt of the Earth hosts incredibly talented guests for their music series. This restaurant is located in Fennville, MI which has an approximate population of only 1,400 people. You could miss driving through it if you sneezed and you certainly would regret it. This tiny town is the buckle to West Michigan’s agricultural belt. To quote their website, “Salt of the Earth celebrates the bounty of the Michigan farm, beverage, and roots music community.”. They actually partner with farmers, growers, brewers and distillers within a fifty-mile radius to provide a long forgotten quality of freshness in today’s food and it’s perfect partner-in-crime... music.

Last night we experienced, local to West Michigan indie-folk sensation, The Crane Wives for an unexpected feeling of euphoria (at seemingly the world’s best venue). They usually play to much larger crowds, but Salt of the Earth is a very special place. Their genre is outside of my go-to-music, however their enthusiastic passion still invoked something in me. They introduced The Diving Bell as their only “happy” song and then laughed because it starts off by referencing drowning. Their metaphors were raw and perfect as if they were lovingly ripened and picked from the garden of life.

I don’t mean to misquote one of their singers, but she said something to which I directly related. I wish I had it recorded, but I believe it was along these lines, “These songs are from our own personal experiences and anxieties. We interpret our emotions through our music. And that’s hard to do when you’re happy because when you’re’re distracted.”. I’m telling you a huge gong crashed in my brain after she said that and life made just a little bit more sense right then.

Here we were in this perfect sized room with probably less than seventy-five people. On the table sat a bottle of Bordeaux, handmade aged cheddar pierogies with buttered red cabbage, a sweet-smoky wood-fired pizza and the best damn s’more on the planet. The timelessly enchanting melodies of The Crane Wives brought the whole experience full circle, making our toes tingle. Our server said they were “just the cutest band in the whole world”. She may have been right, but they reminded me more of a wolf-pack howling at the moon in perfect three-part harmony. Maybe a cute wolf-pack, though.

The Crane Wives @ Salt of the Earth - 10/26/14 - (photo credit: ShantsBySchantz)
The truth is our food came from the surrounding fields and our music came from our neighbors. This was more than the essence of Americana. This was more than a campaign known as Pure Michigan. This was more than West Michigan, even. This was the pioneering spirit of our home and all of us there accepted that we were a part of it together. Which reminds me, those other two chambers of our heart are exactly that - home and acceptance. Damn, that was delicious.

Scotty J ~ "If we can focus on living and loving locally, we can lead by example globally."

Check ‘em out here on the web...
...and find your way to ‘em in person!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mutual Weirdness

For those of you that don't know me personally, I'm madly in love with a woman named Jessica. Aside from how much we laughed, her hazel-green eyes hypnotized me the first time we met. They seemed to sparkle and change shades every time she smiled, it made my heart race. I'm not exactly sure if she caught me staring at her that night, but I tried like hell to keep it chill around her, uninterested even. I didn't want to be overcome by the nearly uncontrollable notions I was feeling for her. It wasn't infatuation. It wasn't love-at-first-sight. I knew it was much much bigger.

That night, I had a forty-five minute drive home and spent it chatting on the phone with a different girl I had gone on a few dates with at the time. She drunkenly talked about herself and eventually stopped making sense altogether. It didn't matter anyway, I wasn't paying attention. I still couldn't get over the feeling from meeting this beautiful green-eyed woman from earlier in the night. A feeling that's only grown since then too.

Jessica and I started seeing each other just a couple of weeks later and I'm not even sure how. My beard was the bushiest it had ever been, absorbing everything it had come close to like a sea sponge - it literally reeked of buffalo chicken dip and campfire. However I wasn't embarrassed by that and she certainly wasn't deterred. It wasn't long after that we realized our favorite view is the one we share together. Since then it hasn't mattered where our adventure has taken us, as long as we experience life together.

For the record, my beard actually did smell like that and I know that sounds weird, but I've learned that true love exposes every part of who we are. It conquers fears, energizes the spirit and feels like flying. Simply put, there is just no hiding from it. True love occurs when two people take off their "cool" with a willing vulnerability and let their naked hearts beat in unison. They never hide from themselves nor each other. I really believe Dr. Seuss said it best...

I knew nothing about love before meeting Jessica. I had only experienced lust, loneliness and lies. All of my prior relationships were just novelties lining my shelves like trophies for confusion and heartbreak. I'm not even mad about it though. All of those mistakes of the past were really quite the contrary (and Jessica's too.). They were exactly what lead us to one another and I wouldn't dare change that for the universe.

She fits perfectly into my big bear-hugging arms, as if we were a two-piece puzzle made to only fit with each other. In fact, she even calls me Bear. Every time we touch, it feels like we melt into one another. Honestly, it's the most selfless and giving feeling in the world. Like me, she loves children's books and the other little things life has to offer - like basking in the sunshine, the waves on Lake Michigan, aromatic candles and fresh cut flowers. From a friendly tennis match to a long walk through a vineyard with a kiss under a shade tree to a night of making dinner with old and new friends - every single day is an adventure worth every moment of our time.

We even share a journal to write each other uplifting notes and reminisce about our inside jokes from each little moment we've had together. I gave it to her for coming to spend my birthday with me, eating pizza and drinking wine on a sunset boat cruise. In my first entry I confessed my heart and told her I loved her. I knew it was fast, but at thirty-one years old I knew even better that life was too damn short. In one of my favorite entries from her she copied a poem by R.M. Drake that read...

We are magic.
We are moments.
We are dreams and we are memories.
We are everything.
And in the depths we swim deeper
to discover that we are not born whole
so we cannot be broken.
We are born in twos, and
we are searching, searching for
the other piece,
that other person to guide us home.
A year ago at this time I had nearly severed ties from everything I knew and took off for an unknown destination. I had thought that maybe true love wasn't for me this lifetime, but I never stopped believing in it. I don't know why, I just couldn't. What I didn't understand then became perfectly transparent the day I read that poem. See, she too had gone through some heavy-hearted changes at the same time. It really felt like braving the darkest storm on this sea of life. Apparently though it was just the wind catching our sails, steadily pushing us "home".

They say... home is where the heart is. Well I don't know who "they" are, but they couldn't have been more right. Though the future is unknown and life is full of surprises, being with her is the happiest I've ever been. Something tells me if you asked her, she'd tell you the exact same thing. True love isn't something we bellow from a mountain top, it's the strength and motivation behind our climb up the mountain. Love defines us, never stop believing in it.

Scotty J ~ "No matter how inexperienced nor how broken, the heart knows best."

I love you Jes!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Gales of November Came Early

Last month I traveled with my girlfriend to Chicago. While she worked at her office in Ravenswood I took the liberty of meandering my way downtown and checking into our hotel. I was tired and needed a nap, but the Windy City was stirring and I just had to immerse myself in it. After a lengthy walk and a salty snack, I needed a toke and casually strolled back toward the hotel.
During my pursuit for a discrete location to "partake" I came across this perfectly nestled courtyard. It was a beautiful hardscape with a massive trellis built out of timbers. The stone planters had hard angles and a checkerboard symmetry to their placement. Their flamboyant green and pink foliage had a majestic vibe among all of the concrete in the city. The shadows from the trellis seemed to be perfectly painted on the solid ground. I looked around and counted..1..2..3..4..5 bums sleeping in the late summer sun.
Not really sure of what my immediate future plans were, I opted to join these bottom-feeders. With my bag as my pillow, I slept for a bit and dreamed of nothing. When I awoke, I looked around and realized that my new acquaintances had not dreamed in years. They stalk the night diving in dumpsters and living off of the scraps of others. It's a lifestyle so grueling they shamelessly sleep it off surrounded by the loudness of traffic, construction and sirens.
Who were these guys? Had their whole lives been on the streets? I thought maybe one of them was a washed-up stock broker who (at one point) had everything he could have imagined. Then after some sort of tragedy he realized all of the things he had were truly nothing. That's when self-actualization set in and he slipped through the cracks. Regardless, all of these guys were fast asleep and I certainly wasn't going to interrupt their much needed rest before another night of urban foraging just to get their story. I slipped my arms through the straps on my backpack and carried on with my adventure.

I don't know why, but as I reflect on this today it came to me that these guys made a gallant abomination of the status-quo. Who am I to refer to these guys as "bottom-feeders"?? At that very moment in their lives that was their destiny. Just as mine was to lay among them then, realize that today and write about it now. Perhaps one of those guys in the courtyard had achieved an incredible level of enlightenment that I may never reach in a thousand lifetimes. They had not given up, these men weren't dead. They were genuine survivors and now I find myself admiring them.
The day we're born we start to die and that's the truth. We live in this society that is obsessed with prolonging our mortality (if we can afford it) and then wonder why we can't find happiness. Abraham Lincoln said, "In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.". There is no fucking point in living longer just to be miserable longer. We actually have the audacity to find a way to be offended by anything and people band together in this sad prideful hatred of the human essence.

It's amazing what you can find under the tracks. - Lincoln Square - Chicago, IL
I love street art because it defies the bullshit to which we're regularly subjected. We are all too shamefully influenced by the diabolical "mad men" of the world with their toxic slogans and fictitious imagery. Everywhere we look there's a creative reference to someone being more productive than ourselves. We try to ignore it all (or at least pretend), but to our avail it catches up with us from time to time. Hence me writing all of this.
Brass-Knuckle Love Butter. RAWdio Podcast. Producers United. Interestingly Human. These are the four projects to which I creatively contribute and channel my soul. In fact, Producers United is the only website that's really all put together with regularly updated content. It also happens to be the only project for which I am NOT the administrator. I know that intention is meaningless without action. I'm not doubting my ability to achieve my heart's desires, I'm just calling myself out right now. Holding back is starting to make me feel sickly and gross. It's like the world's cruelest form of suicide and I think most of us are suffering from it in one form or another.
Thanks to my friends in the courtyard, I realized we all have an unfathomable durability as humans. Though death is always out there lurking in so many forms, we can still live through so many unimaginable circumstances. We are all destined for something and it doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks of it. Maybe mine is leading a renaissance of new age creators with old souls. Better yet, maybe it's helping people listen to their hearts. Who knows?? It could be creating a jankie knock-off version of Mr. Potato Head called Dr. Pineapple Face or perhaps it will just be impoverished squalor. Hell it could be all of the above, but that's neither here nor there.
Luck, circumstance and timing come and go like the wind. Sometimes it's at our backs helping push us along; other times it's right in our face pushing against us; and occasionally it's just stagnant, nowhere to be found. We have to remind ourselves to put into life what makes us feel alive. See, each day we are living our destiny. It transcends through our experiences, our actions and even our intentions. Destiny isn't something we choose, chase or avoid. It's constantly molding throughout our lifetime. It's a part of us...always.

Scotty J ~


Monday, July 28, 2014

Days To Come

I have been noticing a lot of divorces and break-ups lately. These tend to be rough moments in our lives when we do silly things like make cryptic Facebook posts, have pity parties for ourselves and talk out of our asses way more than normal. Love is a tricky emotion because when it fails, it's counterpart is hate. It's hard to let go of something that had us emotionally invested, we carry-on with the hate when the love is gone. In most cases we feel like we lived for this person and without them, we are nobody. Our lack of identity leaves us feeling empty, hollow and lost. I know...I know... break-ups fucking suck, so here's a little unsolicited advice from a fellow survivor...

Don't hate them for this.

Live through it, to the best of your abilities. Be wounded and vulnerable. Try your very best to not project these emotions, but rather experience them. Learn and let your soul grow. It's not about recovering the person you once were, but living as the person you are today. I assure you it's not selfish to focus on yourself, especially at a time when you need it most. Explore the darkness.
Leave your pride in the burning wreckage of your relationship and be humbled. The world will always be yours even when you're not sharing it with someone else. Admire the little things, always. A perfect cup of coffee, a flourishing herb garden, the sound of rain on a tin roof, the aroma of fresh-baked banana bread, puppies, hugs, sunsets, good music and holding the door open for a stranger are among the countless "little things" that truly deserve your attention.
You must embrace your lows as much as you celebrate your highs. These positive and negative experiences are the foundation to how you relate to other human beings. Minimize your social life during the low moments because the energy you transfer to friends and loved ones will eventually become toxic. Forgive yourself for detaching and know that it's for the sake of preservation. Genuine friends will understand this much better (rather than dumb drunken tirades about your ex-lover...), trust me.
In fact, getting drunk while emotionally bottomed-out is extremely counterproductive. There is no sense in feeling depressed and attempting to drown it with a depressant. This can easily push good people out of your life, but for some reason the booze won't let you see that. You actually have the drunken nerve to resent them for keeping their distance. Find a way to appreciate the space they've given you to explore yourself. Remember, nobody else can make you feel better more than yourself!!
If you focus only on the fact that your pride is broken, your heart will never heal. Don't worry about what you did or didn't deserve in your last relationship, it's over. One of the greatest feelings in the world is falling in love. You haven't realized it yet, but you get this fucking amazing opportunity to feel those highs again. Maybe with someone who feels them the same way you do (even if they aren't the person you're going to grow with for the rest of your life.). Let the love you share teach you about yourself, fulfill your life and shine the light on your destiny.

Love unfiltered.

One thing is for certain, the love we share is the best part of who we all are.

Scotty J ~ Spread the Love Butter!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Saving Scotty Jacobs - Magically Delicious

It has been quite a while since writing one of these posts. Hot sunny days and a beautiful woman have been getting my full attention... and I'm not even close to sorry about it!! My goal for the immediate future is finding balance among the things that truly make me happy. Recently, I came across a book I used to keep on my nightstand in high school. I smiled when I held it in my hands and fanned through the pages. I stopped on this chapter here and thought I should share it with everyone:

I have no magic power; I make Personality my Magic Power.

The Samurai is acutely conscious of human dynamics. He knows that events turn on the personalities of those involved in any situation - and that each personality brings new chemistry to the mix.
All of us come to the table with individual agendas. It can take a long time of sifting through the social masks that people present to get a true picture of their intentions. We are all masters of hiding who we are in order to leverage a position in life. We are all actors, behaving as we imagine others expect to secure our place in the order of things. Personality as we know of it is a grab bag of facial expressions, stitched up with predictable words we think everyone wants to hear. Most of us are trained to build a personality that will somehow get us what we want, however great or humble our desires.
Part of this "training" is the honing of a personality that we present to the world, so that others might see us as unique or , at the very least, un-threatening. Relationships are often built upon the illusion of personalities that are mere shadows of who we really are. People rarely know one another at a level deeper than their shadow selves. This is why so many relationships dissolve over sudden, insignificant events. There can be no substance of truth between masks or shadows.
So what is this "magnetic power" of Personality? And how does the Samurai employ it to achieve his aim? Is it the same old game, played the way we are taught to play?
It is simple: The Samurai does not script his actions according to his own, or others', conventional expectations. He releases his natural eloquence in the plainest of terms. His eyes speak for his mouth, his mouth speaks for his heart. His mind is present, attentive, in tune with his ethical integrity. He does not manipulate with words. Whatever he needs to say flows from unaffected sincerity and simple self-knowledge. This is genuine Personality, unblemished by greed, fear, or opportunism.
A Samurai's Magic Power is the unforced charisma of a person without guile. This kind of person honors daily life by serving as an integral part of it. His presence alone exposes fakery and posturing, which are more likely sorcery than magic. He knows that magic flows naturally through anyone who does not build their own impediments to the truth.

(*This is an excerpt from One Flash of Lightning, A Samurai Path for Living in the Moment by Stephanie JT Russell.)

Personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual's distinctive character. Some of our traits we inherit, others we develop from our life's experiences. Personality is the dish we bring to the potluck of life - some people will get down on it, while others may choose to pass on it altogether. We are all an acquired taste and our deliciousness is as unique as our individuality.
The most important statement from the above excerpt is the last sentence - "He knows that magic flows naturally through anyone who does not build their own impediments to the truth.". Saving Scotty Jacobs posts started over six months ago and they are my testimony to a happier healthier existence. I asked all of you to hold me accountable to help keep me honest with myself. Needless to say, it has been an incredible journey thus far.
Matt Powell's Hardstyle Kettlbell training over the winter awakened my potential. Aside from physically getting stronger, I found true inner-strength using his simple yet sinister techniques. His philosophies - "no wasted repetition" and "try anything once" - empowered my confidence. I have never felt more alive and been more in love with this adventure called - life. Lately my physical training has taken a backseat, but the physical demands of farming still have me growing stronger. The same fundamentals Powell taught me with the kettlebell apply perfectly to working the fields.

I measure success with a happy heart and I have to say... life is pretty fucking awesome. I've learned that I only seem to find boundaries when I'm suffering from a lack of passion. In the past I've spent too much time doing what I thought was right, instead of listening to my heart. When I finally ran out of excuses, I looked around and the only thing I had left was my personality. Well, guess what?? That's when the magic revealed itself and I finally set myself free from the rest of the world's expectations.

My sense of humor, sense of adventure and sense of self have become my foundation for a rewarding life. In fact, maybe they always were anyway and it took me a long while to finally realize it. Regardless, writing about my journey has brought a lot of incredible people into my life. I have friends around the world checking in and showing their support. Others have confessed they want to make a change for themselves and embrace the depths of their own capabilities. Occasionally there's even a naysayer or two projecting negativity, unaware of their own incredible potential. Nonetheless, they're all a part of my inspiration and that's a huge part of the magic in my personality. I always appreciate the energy it takes to truly share a part of yourself.

Honestly I'm no Samurai. I'm just a goofy lovable guy raised by amazingly patient parents, both with a "magic" of their own. Take all of those things that come with being their son, all of my experiences that I've learned from along the way and here I am. Most of my days are spent coaxing a smile from friends and strangers alike because I love to laugh with people. Living perfectly, to me, is knowing what you're living for... and for me it's love and the great adventure. Thank you everyone for the love, support, encouragement and general badass-ness you've shared with me since starting all of this. This goes without saying, but you're all a huge part of what defines me today.

If life were actually a potluck and we were all just food on the table, I wonder what we would all be? I think I could be a corned beef or maybe a platter of sliders. Ohhh I know... I could be Honey-Nut Cheerios and milk, so you'd get to eat me up and drink me down!! You know you love the Honey-Nut!! Really though, I'm probably the hot artichoke dip you shouldn't eat too much of, but you put on everything anyway. Mmmm. From canned tuna to caramel cashew ice-cream, it really doesn't matter, we're all magically delicious... we just have to show up to the party!!!

Scotty J ~ A special thanks to my friend Adam Marks for always posting inspirational memes to keep the world inspired. You've got the magic, my friend. ABRA-CADABRA!!!


Monday, June 16, 2014

Life on the Farm - Enchanted Summer Celebration

A long hard day of farming is perfectly accompanied with a vivid imagination. All of those hours scooting along on my butt, pulling weeds and harvesting crops surely wouldn't be as much fun without it!! Actually having an imagination is always encouraged at the farm and I'm sure that's only part of why. The opening statement on the Fat Blossom website defines the farm's wondrous character perfectly, "Welcome to another year of growth, creativity, building, inspiration and reverence for the beauty of nature with Fat Blossom Farm!".

Over the next two weekends everyone will have the opportunity to come embrace the Fat Blossom spirit at the SUMMER ENCHANTED CELEBRATION. We will be celebrating the summer solstice by letting Mother Nature spark our vivid imaginations. Come walk the trails at the farm to discover gnome homes, hobbit habitats and fairy houses all along the way!! Everyone will have the opportunity to build their own "fairy house" with materials all foraged from the farm itself. We also have a children's garden, activity area and all sorts of fun places for a picnic; so pack a lunch and bring everyone out to Fat Blossom Farm this weekend!!

I love these guys.

When I first started at the farm, I kept saying I didn't know very much about hobbits, gnomes and fairies in regards to our "Enchanted" farm foraged fairy house/hobbit habitat kits. This was because I didn't grow up with those types of stories as a child, but I realized I wasn't digging deep enough. We were definitely a house that watched The Smurfs and I always think about them whenever I see a patch of mushrooms out in the yard. BAM! Then it hit me, I was enchanted.

What will your imagination build???

This festival is a great way to bring people out into nature and open their minds to all of the fun things that nature has to offer. Make it a family day, an adventurous date with someone special or just come by yourself for a little solitude and inspiration. Everyone is encouraged to take their time and truly enjoy an imaginative day on the farm. Attend the celebration the weekends of June 21st and June 28th, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

Even hobbits enjoy scenic overlooks!!

We are also graciously accepting any willing volunteers to help us with directing cars, admissions and keeping our visitors on the right paths as they tour the farm on foot. The Quincy's and those of us working at the farm would love to have you join us in the fun. All of the festival information is posted in the links below and I hope to see some familiar faces. Please feel free to contact the farm directly through their website, facebook page or me for any additional information. Let's get magical!!

Scotty J ~ "La La La La La La sing a happy song!!"

-Fat Blossom Farm-
-Summer Enchanted Celebration-

Friday, June 13, 2014

Take It All Off

After a long hard day of farming, I came home covered in dirt and sweat. I did a few things around the yard and eventually made my way inside for a necessary shower. Fresh and relaxed, I threw on some comfy clothes to enjoy the rest of my evening. As I sat here creating a playlist of music, I kept catching a musty waft from somewhere. It only took me a few minutes, but I realized it was my sweatshirt that stank.

Nobody loves it when they take a refreshing shower only to follow it up by drying off with a musty towel. That's exactly what this sweatshirt reminded me of, too. It was so terrible I took it off in a panic. It's musty essence had permeated my nostrils and just hung out in my nose, seemingly forever. For some reason this prompted me to take off everything else I was wearing too. I'm guessing I was afraid the mustiness would latch onto my other clothes.
Well so, that brings us to right now. Here I'm sitting, listening to music, typing on my computer, with a beautiful view of the lake and I'm stark fucking naked. That's right, I'm not wearing one single article of clothing. The sun is still shining, neighbors are floating by on their boats, stray dogs are chasing frogs along the shoreline and I'm just observing it all... casually nude. In all honesty, it feels glorious.

When did we get so offended by nudity? We actually put people in jail and label them as "sex offenders", due to a complete lack of clothing. Doesn't that just seem ridiculous?? Everything we experience in life happens from inside of our bodies. It is the vessel that literally contains LIFE, come on people!! What the hell are we doing?!?
Alright, so we can't be a nude human in front of other humans. That causes all sorts of anxiety and unnecessary feelings of inappropriateness, in itself. This leaves us with having to cover our bodies on a regular basis. Thus creating the same stupid emotions on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. In addition to those feelings, we now spend the bulk of our lives hiding from our own bodies under clothes that we feel insecure about. We forget what makes us beautifully human and this greatly limits our chances of being comfortable in our own skin.

Instead of slipping into something more comfortable, when you get home, take off everything. Then go ahead and slip into a glass of wine, a good book or your favorite show. Take back the confidence you were born with and embrace the outfit you've always been destined to wear. Just be careful of cooking bacon, grilling out, fishing, building a fire, drinking hot coffee and sharting. There are definitely some severe consequences to doing any of those things in the nude. Regardless, just rock what you've got... and rock the fuck out of it... you deserve it!!

Scotty J. ~ I'm definitely not wearing any pants.