Shake the Dust


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Trampled By Turtles – Folk Metal (?)

S.C. Barrus, S. Cody Barrus, Away and AwayI met with a good buddy of mine, Chris Slater, the other day.  He just turned 21, so we hopped around town checking out some of the local bars, having an all around good time.  Somewhere in all this, Chris brings up the fact that I’ve posted folk music on my site, that he plays banjo and I play guitar, a new semi talented band perhaps?  Perhaps.

Either way, we both love folk for some of the same reasons.  Modern music can be so produced now a days that it feels put together by a machine, almost in human.  Today’s counter culture has addressed this with the folk genre, a genre fraught with little production values but lots of soul.

Enter Trampled By Turtles, a band my brother Jason showed to me about a month or two ago.  Their style ranges from mandolin led blue grass, to what I like to call folk metal, the opitomy of which is there song “Wait so Long”, the song that got me into them in the first place.

Trampled by Turtles are playing a 21+ show at the Tractor in Seattle on 5/12/11.  I plan on going, and you, whoever you are, should come with me.  If you buy me a ticket in the next week I’ll get you a free copy of my all elusive book (you can’t buy it online).  If you buy me a drink at the show, I’ll give you a free pat on the back.

If you like Trampled by Turtles, be sure to check out these posts: Old Crow Medicine Show, Seasick Steve: Side of the Road Blues, Nicholas Ridout – The Pike Place Busker, and watch the videos of Valerie Lopez and Jason Barrus on my Events Page.

Farewell from S.C.B.

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Best of Ted Talks II

I have spent another week watching Ted speakers, artists and musicians and once again, here I have to present to you the best of the Ted Talks which I have found.  Hope you enjoy.

5. Ahn Trio: A modern take on piano, violin, cello

The three Ahn sisters (cellist Maria, pianist Lucia, violinist Angella) breathe new life into the piano trio with their passionate musicmaking. At TEDWomen, they start with the bright and poppy “Skylife,” by David Balakrishnan, then play a gorgeous, slinky version of “Oblivion,” by Astor Piazzolla.

4. Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

Jason Fried has a radical theory of working: that the office isn’t a good place to do it. At TEDxMidwest, he lays out the main problems (call them the M&Ms) and offers three suggestions to make work work.

3. Renny Gleeson on antisocial phone tricks

In this funny (and actually poignant) 3-minute talk, social strategist Renny Gleeson breaks down our always-on social world — where the experience we’re having right now is less interesting than what we’ll tweet about it later.

2. Jacqueline Novogratz: Inspiring a life of immersion

We each want to live a life of purpose, but where to start? In this luminous, wide-ranging talk, Jacqueline Novogratz introduces us to people she’s met in her work in “patient capital” — people who have immersed themselves in a cause, a community, a passion for justice. These human stories carry powerful moments of inspiration.

1. Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food

Sharing powerful stories from his anti-obesity project in Huntington, W. Va., TED Prize winner Jamie Oliver makes the case for an all-out assault on our ignorance of food.

If you liked this post and want to see others like it, read: The Best of Ted Talks I, and Ted Talks: Musicians

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Upcoming Event – S.C. Barrus Reads “The Hanging Gardens”

S.C. Barrus, S. Cody Barrus, Away and AwayMy short story “The Hanging Gardens” was recently accepted into this years edition of Bricolage, the University of Washington’s literary arts magazine.  They also invited me to read at the magazines release party in May.  If you missed my first book reading, or if you came but couldn’t get enough, be sure to come.  Thing is, I don’t know what day or what time, all I know is that it will be in May, so clear you schedule all May long to make sure you can make it.  I’ll give more info when more is given to me.


“The Hanging Gardens” – S.C. Barrus – May TBA

Farewell from S.C.B.

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I Like Cold Beverages!

S.C. Barrus, S. Cody Barrus, Away and Away It’s true.  I do like cold beverages!  And so, when I caught myself, while driving, thinking about how much I actually enjoy cold beverages, I decided to blog about this love for 500 words or so.  Why, you ask.  Heh, I got nothin’ better to do.  Before we begin, be sure you take your shoes off, go to the fridge, grab your self a cold beverage, and listen to this song carefully, it’s important.


My Top 5 Non-Alcoholic Cold Beverages:

Rules are, there are no rules (except it’s got to be good cold).

5. Honest Tea – Even without the clever name, Honest Tea is the best premade tea drink you can get your hands on.  “Just a tad sweet” is their motto, which is good because I hate too much sugar, or even worse, too much high fructose corn syrup (if it’s made in a lab, don’t put it inside me).  Honest Tea has a ton of choices too, so if you are a fan of tea, you’ll likely find something you like here.

4. Prometheus Springs –  Are you feeling daring?  Try Prometheus Springs, I gave a sip to a girl at work and she shouted saying “It’s too spicy!”  Yeah, you read that right, a spicy cold beverage!  It is chalk full of a chili pepper extract called Capsaicin, which they claim has amazing health benefits.  I don’t know if it does, but damn does it make a unique and tasty beverage, one that’s perfect for these long winter nights.

3.  Dry Soda – Light and refreshing, Dry Soda is some pretty great stuff for those of you who are not fans of sugar, like me.  In fact, Dry Soda only has something like 4 ingredients all together.  My favorite flavor is Lavender (don’t judge me), but my wife likes Vanilla Bean.  With other flavors like Juniper Berry, Cucumber, Lemongrass and more, you are bound to find flavors you never expected to find in a soda here.

2. Reed’s Ginger Brew – That’s right, they don’t call it a soda, they call it a brew, which is perfect for Reed’s.  I love Ginger Beer (Or Ginger Ale, whatever you prefer), and nothing has more ginger in their beer than Reed’s.  Powerful, yet oh so satisfying, get the Extra Ginger if you are suffering from the chills or need some excitement in your life.  When I’m feeling good, I go pick up a four pack (they don’t sell them in six) for me and my favorite coworkers, I cannot recommend Reed’s enough!

1. Kombucha Wonder Drink – Let me prefice this by saying, I don’t make a lot of money, and Kombucha Wonder Drink is roughly $3.50 a bottle, yet I buy this drink over any other I have ever had.  Kombucha Wonder Drink is a tea that has been fermented, for health reasons I guess, but the taste reasons are good enough for me.  I prefer the Ginger Pear over all others.  I’m serious when I say don’t let the smell of viniger push you away from this delicious beverage, Kombuhcha is wholly unique and dreadfully tasty.  A warning though, there are many imitators popping up as of late, but none of them match up to Wonder Drink, not even Honest Tea’s comes anywhere near close.  Do not buy an imitator, go for the real thing.

Where to find these drinks: The best place to go when looking for a good cold beverage is PCC Natural Markets, however QFC is also good.  Whole Foods is probably too, but I don’t go there because they take my whole paycheck.

Dishonorable Mention – SAFEWAY:  You want a good drink selection?  Well then, do not go to Safeway.  Other than Pepsi and Coke products, pickings are slim.

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The Legalization of Marijuana in WA – HB (House Bill) 1550

S.C. Barrus, S. Cody Barrus, Away and AwayThe Seattle Times, on Friday Feb 18th, called for the legalization of marijuana in response to bill 1550 which is currently being considered by the House of Representatives in Olympia.  This law would legalize pot and allow it to be sold in liquor shops for those over the age of 21.  For the whole article, go here.

Why do I agree with them?  There are many, many reasons I believe we should all support this law, from how offenders are stigmatized their entire lives by being labeled as a felon, often getting jail time when at worst they are the victims of addiction and should be treated as such by being sent to 12 step meetings rather than years in jail with violent offenders, to where the money made from illegal marijuana sales goes (cartels) rather than where it should go (the government).

The costs associated with keeping marijuana illegal are astronomical, and we are not exactly rolling in the dough right now.  In fact, revenues collected by the state through taxation and legalization is estimated to be around $300 million dollars every year.  That is $300 million for schools (which are getting larger classes, which are considering cutting senior year, which is increasing tuition by 25% a year), for law enforcement (which may be cut by a third), for fire fighters (which may be cut by a quarter), for rehabilitation (which is severally lacking).

Pot is readily available to all teens right now at school.  Do you know what isn’t?  Alcohol.  Ask any teenager what is harder to come by, pot or beer, and I garuin-darn-tee you the answer is Alcohol.  Pot, as well as other illegal drugs as well, including cocaine, and pills like adderall and oxyconton are very easy to come by for the discerning teen.  “Students from several high schools who talked to The Desert Sun agree that illicit drugs are readily available at school,” said The Desert Sun in a news article.  Now, how many teenage alcohol dealers do you know?  There is a reason for that.

Says Narcotics Detective Russ Jones who I interviewed over at my drug rehabilitation site AllTreatment, “My major concern is that drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, are dangerous. Too dangerous to leave in the hands of the drug cartels. We learned our lessons with alcohol prohibition, when violence, corruption, and use of adulterated booze spiked. Today, drugs are controlled by street gangs who decide what to sell, when to sell, where to sell, and to whom. In any major city today a 12 year old can go down the street and buy an illegal drug. He has a much more difficult time trying to buy alcohol or tobacco.”  You can read the entire interview here.

Sylvia Longmire, an expert on the Mexican drug cartels, a former Air Force officer and Special Agent, a former Senior Border Security Officer and Analyst for the State of California, whom I also inteviewed (here) said, “Right now, Mexican drug trafficking organizations, or DTOs, are the number one source for illegal drugs consumed by Americans. Because illegal drugs command such high prices on the black market, manufacturing and distributing these drugs to American consumers is a highly profitable business.”

Want more reasons?  Ask me, seriously, ask me.  Comment in the comment section on this site, and I will openly and honestly tell you my views on drugs.

But first, ask yourself, what is best for the American People?  Money flowing by the wheelbarrow fulls to cartels or to our own government?  What is better for the American People, years in jail for possession charges and the forever stigma of ‘felon’, or rehab centers to direct the addicted and suffering to?  The fact is, Alcohol prohibition did not work, it simply spread crime.  The fact is, Marijuana prohibition, in fact drug prohibition in general, does not work, it only spreads crime.  The fact is, there are people you talk to every single day who use drugs and go about their lives just fine, and the fact is there are those who need help but fear arrest, stigma, and other repercussions.  When a system is broken, you srive to fix it, to help people who need it and to not punish those whom do not deserve it.

This is why I agree with the Seattle Times, this is why I support the legalization of Marijuana.

Farewell from S.C.B.

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Art by Banksy


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