Now That’s Ninjarific #3 – The Do Epic Shit Edition

One of the best things about the interwebs is that it’s filled with lots of groovy stuff. I mean, sure, it’s also filled with lots of crap and bunches of snooze. But some stuff is so ninjarific that it just begs to be shared.

Thus the advent of the Now That’s Ninjarific series.

Now I have a place to share the awesomesauce stuff I bump into with some of my favorite people ever.

Woot! Yay! And woohoo!

Some of the aforementioned grooviness is sound stuff. Some of it’s not. All of it’s totally ninjarific. It sort of has to be to qualify for an installment of Now That’s Ninjarific, right?

Has it seriously been six weeks since the last installment of ninjarificness?


It’s clearly been way too long. Because I have an overflowing pile of awesome and a ton of stuff to share.

First I have to give a shout out to my pal Charlie Gilkey. He’s the inspiration behind the Do Epic Shit bit.

Not just because he wrote a post about it, but because he’s constantly cooking up epic shit of his own.

Here’s one of my favorite Charlie quotes:

“Rather than do something small and work like hell to build a story around it, do epic shit and let it speak for itself.”

So check Charlie out. He’s out there changing the frakking world. For you Twitter taters, he’s @CharlieGilkey.

Cue the oh-so-clever segue…

Today’s plate of piping hot gorgeousness is piled high with stuff from folks who are doing epic shit.

And changing the world.

And just generally making this world way more rad.

An Eff The Odds hero

You already know I’m a big fan of saying eff the odds.

Apparently so is William Kamkwamba. Which makes him a rockstar.

William is from Malawi. And in 2002, Malawi had a horrific drought that killed thousands of people. His own family struggled not to starve to death.

And despite the fact that William was forced to quit school because his family couldn’t afford the $80 it cost to attend – yeah, $80 – he kept feeding his brain. And he came up with a genius idea.

He decided to build a windmill. For his village.

So that they’d have water. And electricity. And be able to eat.

Basic stuff that most of us reading this probably take for granted.

William said:

“I was very interested when I saw the windmill could make electricity and pump water. I thought: ‘That could be a defense against hunger. Maybe I should build one for myself’.”

And that’s exactly what he did.

He didn’t wait for someone else to do it. Or to say it was ok. He had a vision. And he rocked it.

Right on!

Thanks to @leahcreates for tweeting the link to this amazing dude.

David Byrne is kooky (in the best possible way)

David Byrne isn’t building windmills, but he is turning buildings into musical instruments. And that might not be saving villages, but it’s still epic shit in my book.

And he’s done it more than once.
Because, well, he’s David Byrne.

Mr. Byrne dropped this recent awesome bomb on a 160 year old building in the UK called the Roundhouse.

Which he turned into an instrument. That people could play. Using an old organ-ey looking thing.

The video speaks for itself.

But one of my favorite bits is what he says here:

“The big part of the experience is that no one is better at playing it than anyone else. It kind of democratizes playing an instrument because it’s not an instrument that anyone can be a virtuoso on. So no matter how many piano lessons you’ve had you’re not going to be much better at playing this than anyone else.”

I love stuff that levels that playing field for folks who dig sound-ey stuff.

Stuff that tosses out the sucktastic angst-ey crap around performing or making it sound good and opens us up to just playing around.

Are you listening?

Evelyn Glennie knows more about sound than most people ever will.

She’s a Scottish percussionist that can blow up a drum kit and work some outrageous magic on the marimba.

And she also happens to be deaf.

Thanks to the always awesome Gina (who’s @gloreebe88 on the twitters) I found this all-kinds-of-cool TED talk that Evelyn gave on how to listen. How to really listen.

That’s pretty much what Evelyn is all about – getting people hip to what it means to really listen.

“My job is all about listening. And my aim, really, is to teach the world to listen. That’s my only real aim in life. And it sounds quite simple, but actually it’s quite a big job.”

The video is long. But totally worth watching.

Because it’s not just about sound stuff. It’s about life stuff.

And Gina also turned me on to a documentary about Evelyn called Touch The Sound. And I know documentary usually means snooze fest, but not this time.

This rocked my world. And not just because I’m a great big sound nerd.

It’s all about the rhythm

Mickey Hart is pretty much a drum god.

He’s the drummer for the Grateful Dead. He’s recorded a bunch of awesome CDs. And written some gorgeous books.

His work has turned a ton of people on to the power of sound, music and rhythm.

The fine folks at RockOm had a chat with Mickey. And he said one ninjarific thing after another.

“I realized that rhythm has to do with life and the giving of life and the taking of life. When the rhythm stops, you’re dead. When the rhythm is good, you live a good life.”


I totally agree with him.

Check out the rest of the interview. And follow the cool cats from @RockOm for all kinds of musical-ey goodness.

Being ok in your own skin

Life can be hard. And not feeling ok with who you are is one of the most craptastic things ever. Which, of course, makes life like a thousand times harder.

Kyeli wrote an epic post about body stuff, and life stuff, and being-ok-with-who-you-are stuff.

It’s not the usual shiny-happy-annoying rap that’s all over the place. It’s raw. And real. And stuff that so needs to be said.

“I’ve spent my life wishing I could be thin. And I’ve spent a damn lot of time and energy trying to be thin.

But you know what? It’s true. It is okay – in fact, it’s wonderful and great and glorious – to be what I am, whatever I am.”

I’m a big guy.

Like big round. Not big tall.

So I get so much of what she’s saying here.

But even if the weight thing isn’t your thing, if you have any I-don’t-dig-myself-because… thing you should totally read this post.

And then read part two.

If you want to hang out with Kyeli on Twitter – which you will, because she’s fabulous – she’s @kyeli.

And if you want more epic shit, check out what happens when fabulous Kyeli and her equally fabulous wife Pace combine their superpowers. Behold the Freak Revolution Manifesto!

You can also catch Pace on the twitters. She’s @PaceSmith.

Now that you’ve had five times your recommended daily allowance of awesome, I’d love to hear about any epic shit you’ve found during your travels around the interwebs.

Or your thoughts on the aforementioned people-of-much-fabulosity.

Or links to any ninjarificness in general. Because you can never have too much ninjarificness.

Dig this?

Sign up + don’t miss a drop. Email or RSS. Take your pick, tater.

9 Responses to Now That’s Ninjarific #3 – The Do Epic Shit Edition
  1. Pace Smith
    November 13, 2009 | 6:07 pm

    Thanks, Fabeku! This is a truly ninjarific post. (:
    .-= Pace Smith´s last blog ..What Kind of Revolutionary Are You? =-.

  2. Charlie
    November 13, 2009 | 6:30 pm

    This post is some serious awesomesauce, my friend. Thanks for the links and vibes, and I’m glad to see you Doing Epic Shit.
    .-= Charlie´s last blog ..The Blog Gets A Tune-Up! =-.

  3. Mark Silver
    November 13, 2009 | 7:06 pm

    Ninjarific. What else can I say- totally love that you’re doing this and pointing out such great stuff. I particularly love that you keep bringing up musicians I love but haven’t listened to in sometimes a loooong while, like the Mr. David Byrne fellow.

    You know? Sometimes things are better after a whole lotta time.
    .-= Mark Silver´s last blog ..When People Love You But Aren’t Buying =-.

  4. Wulfie
    November 13, 2009 | 8:49 pm

    I especially enjoyed Evelyn’s video and learned a lot about myself while ‘listening’ to her explain how sound is experienced through the body, etc. It helped me understand and appreciate my body’s sensitivity rather than seeing, in my un-ninjatastic way as a kind of disability. Whoot!

    Good post!

  5. Gina
    November 13, 2009 | 10:47 pm

    Yay! And Yay again! I’m SO glad you liked the video, and I’ve been meaning to ask you about what you thought. I’m glad to have been able to share my kooky love for her, because most people around here are kinda tired of hearing about it. 🙂

    And then you mention Mickey Hart… another musician I love and respect AND who shares my birthday, by the way (9/11)… did you know he made a piece called “Music to be Born By”, using the heartbeat of his son, Taro, in utero, recorded against the backdrop of gentle, rhythmic percussion, and played during his wife’s labor? (I played it during my first son’s birth too.) Very cool.

    I know, I talk too much. You just remind me of all these great things that turn me on, and I think would turn you on too..

    Thanks, Fabeku!
    .-= Gina´s last blog ..D.I.Y. =-.

  6. Kyeli
    November 14, 2009 | 2:07 pm

    I don’t think I’ve said this recently enough: I like you a lot. (:

    *big hugs* I admire you for talking about your own body stuff – it’s not easy for any of us, and guys are often overlooked in this area – and I think you’re utterly adorable, just as you are. *more hugs*

  7. Hayden Tompkins
    November 14, 2009 | 4:26 pm

    I saw William Kamkwamba’s interview on The Daily Show and instantly fell in love. He really is incredible.

    Also incredible?

    Evelyn Glennie, OH MY GOD SHE’S AMAZING. Thank you for sharing this TED talk!!!
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..Rock the Universe! =-.

  8. Hayden Tompkins
    November 14, 2009 | 4:31 pm

    P.S. Did you happen to see Glee’s take on “Defying Gravity”??
    .-= Hayden Tompkins´s last blog ..Rock the Universe! =-.

  9. Fabeku
    November 20, 2009 | 10:50 am

    @Pace – Thanks. Totally glad you dug it.

    @Charlie – Always glad to point people in your direction. You rock. Plain and simple. So it’s kind of a no-brainer for me.

    @Mark – Thanks. I really appreciate that a lot. And right on for reconnecting with the inimitable Mr. Byrne. It’s so cool to plug back into this stuff after awhile away, isn’t it?

    @Wulfie – Isn’t Evelyn incredible? You may also be interested in the work of Alfred Tomatis. He did some extraordinary research into how we hear sound through our body. There’s a book called Listening For Wellness by Pierre Sollier that’s all about the stuff that Dr. Tomatis did. It’s pretty amazing, and it totally changed my understanding of how we interact with sound.

    @Gina – Yep. I loved the video. I’m so stoked that you mentioned it. I’d heard with Ms. Glennie’s music, but somehow this documentary never made it on my radar until you mentioned it. So yay! And thanks! And yeah, Mickey Hart is pretty incredible. His Music to be Born By is pure gorgeousness. (p.s. You so don’t talk too much.)

    @Kyeli – Aw, thanks. I like you a lot too. And thanks for your hugs and support. And thanks for your courageous post.

    @Hayden – I didn’t know William Kamkwamba was on the Daily Show. I’ll have to see if I can find the interview. I’d love to see it. And I’m totally glad you dug the Evelyn Glennie video. She rocks my world. I didn’t catch the Glee bit, but I’ll be hunting on YouTube for that too. Thanks for two fabulous recommendations. You continue to rock the awesome.

    Thank you all for hanging out and saying hey. I appreciate it tons.

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