Monday, December 29, 2014

Paradise

Doing my usual nightly routine, reading a little bit, and watching a movie. I usually always have a pile of DVDs checked out from the library. I go all the time, because I live near one, and pass by it nearly everyday. Even if I've got nothing to return, or don't need any books, I usually stop in to take a look at the DVDs, only takes a minute, new stuff is shelved daily.

I found this intriguing documentary called The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, a true life story about a group of people that attempted to drop out from civilization back in the 1930s and settled on a remote island in the Galapagos, but things take a sinister turn.

I haven't watched it yet, well, I started to, and realized it was the wrong night for it, needed something lighter, but it does look very interesting, will return to it some time this week and write a proper review. Anyway, I watched a little bit of it and this quote struck me, first by Nietzsche, and another immediately following it by the narrator of the film:

"To live is to suffer. To survive is to find some meaning in the suffering." - Friedrich Nietzsche.

"We cannot expect to find a paradise anywhere, unless we are willing to create it." - The Galapagos Affair

Yeah. Still looking for paradise. I do not think it is in Arizona. But you know what, it could be, in the sense that there is no such thing as an objective, universal paradise for all, at least not in the human earthly mundane realm of existence, but a paradise could be anywhere in the universe, yes universe, not just world.

It's about finding harmony between mind, body, and spirit. Find harmony between your thoughts and the environment, between yourself and the world. You've got to be on the same wavelength, a complementary state of mind, in a way, sympathetic magic, and such. Whether or not a place complements you, depends on whether or not you complement the place. It's a give and take.

Sometimes it's as arbitrary as liking the color blue, whereas someone else may prefer the color yellow. Neither is objectively better, or any truer than the other, but still that doesn't change the fact that some people feel better around the color blue, and others the color yellow. Same thing with paradise. Same thing with any place in the world. I can see that it's not just a matter of finding the perfect place, as if you don't have any involvement in the process, as a place is effected by all of its inhabitants, is shaped and influenced by the thoughts and deeds of its people. In a way, landscape and people are inseparably one.

Don't like where you're living, but stay anyway, you sending out a vibe of hate, discontent, anger, frustration, you're just making the place even worse than it was before. Even if you don't say anything, keep the whining to yourself locked up in your own head, it shows in your bearing, in your face, in your eyes, and in your voice. Because whether a place is a paradise or a hell, is a creation of the thoughts and deeds of the people living there. And that is all I have to say about that.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Split Second Changes

Got woken up by the police early this morning, banging on my door. They were large men, very tall, huge chests, white. Looked like storm troopers. Very intimidating. I felt like a tiny toothpick. Like a flimsy twig that could easily break. Thought they were going to break the door down. Neither I nor the people I live with have committed any crime, so the first thought that came to mind is that maybe one of us was a victim of a crime;  like maybe hacking, or identity theft or something.

It turns out they were here to give a notification of a death in my family. I can't say who, but it was a relative in the UK. Good thing I've got a lawyer in the family, who travels extensively around the world, and will be handling everything. Sort out whether the inheritance goes to charity, or if maybe some of us will see a piece of the pie. It's a huge job. A lot of property. A huge amount of personal effects. At this point don't know much of anything, not even the cause of death, whether it was natural or not. And with the holidays, it may be awhile before we know much more.

Still in a state of shock. Thought this person would live to be 100. It just goes to show you just how rapidly things can change in a split second. Just when you're feeling comfortable, at peace, like all is well, on top of the world, you are plunged in a state of chaos, like bombs dropping out of thin air. 

I'll be alright, not really grieving about it, but I am effected. It's a shock, but more so it makes me think of my own mortality. The fact that, because of my loner tendencies, if I live into my 80s and beyond, I very well may find myself all alone, no children, no spouse, no family, maybe even no friends; which isn't a problem, until you have a problem, and you get really sick, or you die. I value my solitude, but there is still the question of who deals with my stuff when there is no next-of-kin. Of course, I will achieve immortality, so it won't be an issue, but if by chance I don't, it's something to think about. 

Nature Meditation

Sitting outside on the patio before I go to bed has been a frequent ritual of mine over the years, but lately, as in what I've been doing for several months now, is that instead of just sitting out there meditating, I've been reading, and not really paying much attention to my surroundings. And there is much more to your surroundings than what you can see. It's about being present, paying attention, not just looking, but listening, feeling, sensing, and of course thinking, but more so being, in harmony with your surroundings.

Of course, this post is based on an actual experience, as opposed to a theoretical possibility, something I experienced tonight, when at the last moment, after not going out on the patio for a couple of days now because it's been colder than I like, I decided it was a good night to do so. The moment I had this realization, I had only had one beer. So I decided to have my second beer outside, but instead of reading, I would simply sit in silence, watching and listening. It seems easier for me to do when under the influence of a small amount of alcohol, because when completely sober, I get bored easily, would rather be reading. In this sense, I have found that for myself, small amounts of alcohol, when used with a mindset focused on meditation, is somewhat psychoactive. It stills my mind, in a way that let's me experience things in slow motion. I wasn't drunk. Like I said, I only had one beer, and when this experiment was over I had two. Not the ingredients for being falling down drunk, but just comfortably in the zone.

What I learned from this is that I need to do this more often. Just sitting, watching, listening, and not judging. Staring at a leaf, staring at the sky, listening to the wind, listening to a bird, just totally immersed into that nonverbal experience. That has been a huge thing (a major deficit) missing from my life, the ability to relax, to ground myself in the physical reality of the moment, feeling totally alive and at peace. Yes, I've been there before, but lately, not so much. Apparently small amounts of alcohol aid me in that process. I wish I could do that without it, and sometimes I can, but it's not the same. Most importantly for this to work, you must have the proper mindset beforehand. Otherwise, without it, the alcohol on its own has the opposite effect, a dumbing down, closing your psychic channels, effect. But with the proper mindset,  alcohol, and in my case beer, can help.

In small amounts, used in moderation, it's an aid to a certain type of free form nature meditation. The ability to intuitively focus on the mundane things of nature, without being in a hurry, or being bored, or stressing out about it, Listening with all of your heart in the open minded spirit of curiosity and reverence; what you would call prayer without words.

My major problem is that I'm filled with a huge amount of judgmental hatred, which makes me sick, heart sick. But when I slow down and experience nature, I don't feel that. And so it's good for me. Mellows me out.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rio

Ah, yeah, not that it's necessary but, I wanted to alert YOU, the readers of this blog, that I probably won't be updating until the new year. Though it could change, but if it does it wouldn't be until next week at the earliest. Either way, in a sense, you could call this my 2014 farewell post.

Now for an obligatory status report:

I'm doing a lot of reading. I've got a huge amount of books to read, interlibrary loan, which take priority over everything else, because they cannot be renewed, but also a few other great finds I stumbled upon that will be read as soon as I can. I'm just kind of bogged down in reading material right now, spending less time on the computer, more time unplugged and in front of a book, but I've settled into a good rhythm, reading steadily without feeling pressured, so that I don't lose the joy. It's all about the joy of learning, the knowledge, what is gained, inspiration and information. Not looking for trivialities, but mind expanding stuff, and usually it's not labeled as such.

Still exercising. Intending to get serious about it, in the sense of elevating myself to the standards of the triathlete. Just for the record, I'm nowhere near there. Slim, I would say somewhat athletic looking, but as far as really being there, got a way to go, and I'm thinking I need to go there. That really is a primary center of my attention, reading and exercising, not a whole lot much else though. It's like those things need to fall into place in preparation for what follows.

Anyway, on a lighter note, been rekindling my love for 80's music, listening to some old stuff I haven't listened to in like over a decade, thinking I'll put together a "My favorite Songs of the 80's Mix Tape". Yeah, it's fluff, not the best music in the world, but I've been there, and I enjoy the memory. I hadn't really thought of it in awhile, but I was a huge fan of Duran Duran back then, I was just a kid but for a brief period of time they were one of my favorites. And so as I reminisce, putting together my 80's mix tape, I wanted to share one of my favorite 80's songs, definitely up there in the top five, and also probably my most favorite Duran Duran song. Yeah it's fluff, but I like it, I like the melody, and the scenery, there's something I find romantic about sailboats and Rio. Never been there, but in my fantasy world of my ideal self, I am an aspiring sailor, sailing around the world, touring Rio, looking for the New World.

Here it is. I hope you can see it. It's a classic. I'll be back in a week or so. Bon Voyage.



Update: Just found out that this video wasn't actually filmed in Rio, but on the island of Antigua. That's in the Caribbean. Notable residents include: Oprah Winfrey, Eric Clapton, and Timothy Dalton.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Exterminator!

Just finished another William S. Burroughs book, Exterminator! a collection of short stories overlapping science fiction and memoir, which has so far been the worst book of his I've read yet.

I oscillated between giving it two stars or one, two stars out of respect, and the fact that there were a few lines here and there that were pretty good, but finally settled on one, only because it was just too much incoherent rambling, most of it unreadable, and boring, like a series of drunken blog posts written in the middle of the night, that should be deleted the next day once you've come to your senses, certainly not something you'd publish in a book.

That being said, the entire book is not very long, only about 160 some pages, containing thirty stories, mostly between one and five pages each, and couple ten to fifteen page ones.

Some stories were more readable than others.

By the title I assumed that all the stories would somehow be related to, or based upon Burroughs's own experiences working as a bug exterminator, with certain science fiction elements added in, but in fact, most stories have absolutely nothing to do with that. Only the first story, Exterminator!, which evidently is the source for the title of the book, is directly connected to that. That one is actually very readable, and probably the most linearly straight forward story in the entire book, but unfortunately it's not very interesting.

Other than that, I would say that the best stories in the book, are:

Astronaut's Return

Talks about the white race being a mutation originating from a nuclear explosion 30,000 years ago in what is now the Gobi Desert.

My Face

About body possession, switching bodies, transplanting consciousness into another body; see the movies Being John Malkovich and The Skeleton Key.

"Johnny 23"

Excerpt:

"he was a man who did not like to be disturbed...he decided to end the whole distasteful thing once and for all by turning everyone into himself...this he proposed to do by a virus an image concentrate of himself that would spread waves of tranquility in all directions until the world was a fit place for him to live...he called it the "beautiful disease"...he had convinced himself that "johnny 23" would simply remove from the planet hostile alien forces manifesting themselves through other people that would come about through peaceful penetration in the course of which no lives would be lost..."

The Discipline of DE

That's Do Easy, the way of wu wei, viewed from a Scientology angle.

The Coming of the Purple Better One

A Political protest rally in 1968, Grant Park, Chicago. Reads like a travel memoir, slash political commentary, mixed in with drugged out stream of consciousness ramblings.

I found these stories to be the most readable and the most interesting ones in the entire book, the rest is mostly gobbledygook. But still, even this, is nothing special, if anything they are good starting notes, intriguing ideas to build off of, and maybe he did. On there own, it seems incomplete, like fragments, too short even for the short story format.

I'm not a fan of the cut-up method at all, which apparently some of this book utilized, although I am still planning on reading his Naked Lunch, and maybe Nova Express, but it will probably be a major challenge.

The Red Pill

My face is a screen.

I look at my computer, and my cat walks in front of the screen, blocking my view of it, for he wishes my attention directed toward him, rather than it, rather than this. I divert his attention away, moving to the side, using my hands to guide him, like the shepherd to the sheep.

He looks at me, as I look at this, I'm his version of a laptop, a television, a blog, seeking my attention, looking, as I look, seeking a connection, perception, attention, and mutual affection, or so we hope. One on one. Face to face. One screen to another.

In many ways our eyes are like screens. Each eye like a computer monitor.

There is some deeper truth to that that I am unable to articulate at this moment. I think of such books as The Holographic Universe or David Icke. I've read it, both of them, but would have to read again to give a book report, such is the extent of my unconsciousness.

I reminds me of The Matrix the movie. You know it? Sure you do. If you look at that film as being more than science fiction fantasy, but of revealing deeper philosophical truths applicable to the real world we live in, I would suggest you look at the mass media as being a matrix of sorts, that, coupled with that whole apparatus of government, military, the rule of law, the notion of separate nation states, as being a sort of matrix, manipulating consciousness in a way that is not reflective of reality.

If you want to recognize the real life matrix in our lives, the lies before our eyes, you need to concentrate your attention toward advertising, public relations, and all aspects of mass media, particularly that which is officially sanctioned. That's where it's at. That's where all the bread crumbs lead. That area of research is the real life equivalent of taking the red pill as seen in the movie the Matrix.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Magical Nature of Birdsong

Cool title, eh? Yeah, I just thought of it, which is about as spontaneous of an insight as they come. Well, actually, it embodies a feeling, a feeling that arises not so much from thought, but experience, actual, real, physical experience, the realm of feeling grounded in fact; whatever the hell that is. I say that because you could get that feeling in a dream, too, which isn't reality, but is experienced in a way that seems more real than an abstract thought, realized while wide-awake but disconnected from experience.

Anyway, the magical nature of birdsong is something I experienced today, really experienced, as in I was there, being in the full space of time materialized before my eyes and ears and all of my senses. You can't get that from a book, or a movie, or an audio recording. Being in the space of actuality, the space of being present, up close, for real, there is no virtual reality substitute; anything else is a diluted, abstract presentation, a pointing at the moon, not the moon itself.

Birdsong. Awesome. I love birds. Real birds. Not machines. Not recordings. But the real deal.

I was riding my bike, sorry no pictures, did some errands, grocery run to Trader Joe's, took the long way home through ranch country, passed by a pecan farm, and there were hundreds of glorious birds, making the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life. I had to stop. Soak it in for a moment. It was truly magical. I want to revisit that place. That moment. That feeling. But, you know, you can't force it. You go back, and they are not there. It's not the same. The same music does not play whenever you want it to.

The sacred birdsong is not motivated by fear or money or the ambitious strivings for success. They are neither slaves or employees. They sing when they wish. No guarantees. Though there may be some predictability to their schedule, feeding time at the zoo, etc., to tap into the right frequency, the right vibe, of harmonic resonance, of sacred space, that is something that is more of a spontaneous blessing, a rare gift that can neither be purchased or planned. And I got that gift today, and I'm still feeling it. Thanks a lot. I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bike Ride - Scenic 4 Mile Loop

I made some adjustments on my bicycle last night, and needed to take it for a test ride, so I went for a short 4 mile ride today to see how it handled. The problem I had was with my seat post slipping down pretty much every time I road it, no matter how much I tightened it. So last night I removed it, wiped it clean, and applied new grease to the seat post, seat rails, and attachment screws, and it appears to have done the job, because I purposely road along some very hilly and bumpy roads, and it held firmly.

I've walked this loop dozens of times, but this was the first time I did it on my bike. It was fun. Went amazingly fast, compared to walking. I'll have to do it again, soon. Maybe later this week I'll head on down to the old citrus trees growing down by where I used to live, and maybe if the conditions are right, if the fruit is ripe and nobody chases me away, I'll come back with my bicycle rack trunk full of freshly picked lemons and oranges. And if it's a success, you can count on pictures.

Here are a few pictures from today doing the scenic 4 mile loop:





Thursday, November 27, 2014

Reading Bukowski

I've just finished reading my third Charles Bukowski novel, which are all semi-autobiographical. The first, and so far the best, Ham On Rye, I read last year, and the last two, Post Office, and Factotum, I read this week. I was originally also planning on reading Women, his sequel to those books, and started to, but gave up, having concluded that reading Bukowski is a waste of my time.

Why? Because it's all pretty much the same. If you've read one, you've read them all. Bukowski is an alcoholic. All he cares about is getting drunk and getting laid. Sure, he writes about different job experiences, from working over a decade for the U.S. Postal Service, to working dozens of temporary menial labor jobs across the country, but it all centers around his obsession with getting drunk and getting laid. That's pretty much it, the end all be all of his existence. And it gets a bit tiresome after awhile.

Perhaps his essays are better, I may give them a try, but his novels are shit. I really don't get their popularity. Maybe it's because he uses the word "fuck" a lot, and gives graphic descriptions of his sexual experiences, at a time when perhaps few did, which maybe gave him a sort of countercultural appeal, I don't know. He does on the other hand have a very easy to read style, but ultimately its very shallow, that when its over you feel like you've gained nothing.

The only thing I really liked about it were some of his insights concerning the absurdity of certain types of jobs, and the humorous ways people adapt themselves to it.

Here's a good quote, probably the best quote out of the entire book, from Factotum:

--- "How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?"

"I had elaborated on my work experience in a creative way. Pros do that: you leave out the previous low-grade jobs and describe the better ones fully, also leaving out any mention of those blank stretches when you were alcoholic for six months and shacked up with some woman just released from a madhouse or a bad marriage. Of course, since all my previous jobs were low-grade I left out the lower low-grade." ---

I've been there, unfortunately, if you are a hardcore alcoholic who follows this line of thinking to its logical conclusion, you'll likely end up an unemployed wino sleeping outside on park benches or living under a bridge begging for spare change and eating out of dumpsters. Or if, like Bukowski, you happen to win the lottery and manage to make millions of dollars off of mediocre writing, you can drink yourself into an early grave without ever having to work another day of your life and without ever becoming homeless. But you'll still be just as pathetic, except you'll be too drunk to care.

That's Bukowski, everybody: alcoholic, sexaholic, bum; with an occasionally good insight, but mostly not worth reading. That's my assessment. It's something that would only appeal to alcoholics, sexaholics, slackers/bums, or people under 25.

Well, it's not like I didn't already know that going in, but was hoping that maybe there was something more to it that I might have missed had I not read it. Guess not. Most people read this shit when their sixteen, I waited until I was in my thirties. Better late then never, and good riddance. Burroughs is a dirty old bastard too, but definitely more interesting. I'll be reading him next.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

15 Books To Read

So I've been on a reading roll, really enjoying the fact that I can read any book I wish. No longer am I limited by financial constraints, or faced with countless disappointment after another when the local library doesn't have yet another book I wish to read. The interlibrary loan has made this possible.

I've been reading Burroughs and Bukowski, as originally planned, but am already making plans for what's next. Mostly I'm looking at quick reads, mostly fiction, stuff I can finish in a couple of days, keeping up with my maximum six book interlibrary loan checkout with no renewals. It will be awhile before I slow down to read something huge like War and Peace.

Was up last night perusing book lists on GoodReads and Amazon, putting together a list of books to read, and I came up with fifteen. By no means is the list exhaustive, it's just a starting point; something to have on hand, when I have nothing else.

I may skip around a bit, and read other books not on this list, but at some point these will be read, and I wanted to make a note of it. A few of them are available now at my local public library, but most will have to be requested via interlibrary loan, something I'm making a regular habit of.

If any title interests you, just click on the links to learn about the book. Each book has been carefully selected, and is considered to be the highest quality, though I haven't read them yet, so no guarantees.

15 Books To Read

1. The Book of Occult by Simon W. Clark.

2. The Ninth Orphan by James Morcan.

3. A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick.

4. Geek Love: A Novel by Katherine Dunn.

5. DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman.

6. White Noise by Don DeLillo.

7. Exterminator! by William S. Burroughs.

8. Ask the Dust by John Fante.

9. The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges.

10. Methuselah's Children by Robert A. Heinlein.

11. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski.

12. Haunted: A Novel by Chuck Palahniak.

13. The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade.

14. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.

15. The White Rose by B. Traven.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Yage Letters

Just finished reading The Yage Letters, it's the fourth book I've read so far by William S. Burroughs, and it was a major disappointment. Not good at all. It sounded intriguing, the search for a drug that is said to stimulate sensitivity to telepathic communication; that's something that is totally up my alley. In fact, if you know of any books that deal with that subject matter, please do send them my way, via email or the comments, I'll look into it immediately.

Anyway, Burroughs lived many years south of the border in Mexico, mostly to escape prison time in the U.S. for long-time opiate addiction and dealing, and during his time there traveled extensively through Central and South America. This book, presented as a series of letters to friend Allen Ginsberg, chronicles his search for the hallucinogenic vine Yage, also known as Ayahuasca.

His experience with it was nothing special, and mostly negative. Though I have to say his documentation of the experience, not only of using, but the whole process of finding it, and the cultural folklore, encounters with shamans and such, acquired along the way was very brief and incomplete. Read more like informal letters to a friend, rather than an anthropological survey, which of course is I guess all that it was intended to be. But based on his other writings and ideas, which I believe are best captured in his interviews, where his extensive knowledge and intellect really shines, he could have done a lot better than this.

It's just that there wasn't really enough there in my opinion to even publish it as a book. The whole thing was less than eighty pages, and most of it, despite the title and description, centered not around the search for Yage, but the search for casual sex with young men, who in some cases were still what you would call boys, teenagers, barely legal. Okay, I don't care about Burroughs' homosexuality, doesn't bother me, but men who are over forty-years-old cruising for one night stands with 15 year old boys is in my opinion disgusting.

Its value is primarily autobiographical, but as far as providing information about Ayahuasca, and being a travelogue of 1950s Latin America, its value is minimal.

I don't know why, but I always seem to gravitate to reading dirty old men, people who, like Burroughs, Bukowski, Miller, in real life I would find so repulsive and degenerate that I'd have nothing to do with. I guess it's my shadow, such interests, that manifest purely in literary form, a fascination with inferior men with brilliant minds, tarnished by perverse, decadent habits and thoughts.

I'm not done with Burroughs just yet, but this one has turned out to be the least interesting and most disappointing book of his so far. Though I have to say, his books Junky, Queer, and The Yage Letters should all be read together, they were all written, though not published, around the same time, and deal with the same subject matter, that of addiction, gay cruising (despite the fact that he was married to a woman) and travels, and read like they could have been combined in one big autobiographical novel; with The Yage Letters being better as an appendix, rather than a stand-alone work; though I can understand why they did it that way. Junky was, after all, his first novel, and almost wasn't published. Its autobiographical value wouldn't be realized until many decades later.

I'm looking forward to reading more of his interviews, his novel Naked Lunch, and then moving on to other things for awhile. But I will be back.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Everybody is Watching

Watched a movie last night, its name is unimportant, but what caught my eye was that several people in the movie were using smartphones, taking pictures and video clips of strangers on a plane and uploading it to social media; which would later be miscontrued as proof for a crime, used against them, making them look bad, but who would later be found innocent.

It could admittedly go either way, ametuer video footage has both helped and harmed, but the fact of the matter is that it's everywhere; there's no escape.

Everywhere you look people are doing that, or have the capability of doing that, of being amateur journalists and spies; filming people without their knowledge or consent, and sharing it online. This, coupled with the fact that reality TV is becoming the most popular type of television content, is normalizing this intrusion of privacy, making people more comfortable with the idea that it is okay to be watched, to always be watched, and to have our private lives a matter of public record.

I had this insight that the prophecy of the Orwellian Police State, where everybody is under constant surveillance, is not necessarily something that must be imposed by governments or corporations, but is more likely realized by the hands of ordinary people equipped with smartphones and blogs, doing the dirty work for "them".

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Timelessness

What is timelessness?

It comes down to perception. How fast or how slow time appears to move, or not move, depends entirely upon your perception of it. Awareness shapes reality. But what shapes awareness? Like dreams, it may seem like a few hours have passed, but in actuality, or rather on the objective level of ordinary reality, perhaps only a few seconds have passed.

It is possible for a few seconds to feel like a few years, and for a few years to feel like a few seconds. An entire lifetime looked back in retrospect from the perspective of old age, viewed as a memory, may feel like seconds, like many years compressed into a few seconds, highly dense, concentrated, instant knowing, super fast data compression, that is memory, and without memory there would be no awareness of time.

Timelessness is the perception of stopping time, or of time moving very slowly, or perhaps so fast, that it appears to stand still.

What remains is the now, containing future and past, overlapping the present, not as separations in time, but one vast experience of potential energy, of what happened, what could happen and changes along the way, modifications of actuality, modifications of memory, modifications of perspective.

What has happened has happened. Can't undo anything, ever, just as the blowing of the wind, or lightning striking, cannot be undone, but you can change the way you see it, the way you remember it, what you look at, what aspects you focus on, what you consider important or unimportant; that is entirely changeable, alterable, maleable.

The experience of timelessness removes the boundaries separating the importance between yesterday and tomorrow. They are like wind currents and waves in the sea, changes of direction and velocity, like boundaries on the map; countries and capitals; points of reference useful for navigating the world in abstraction.

Memories are a lot like dreams; phantoms, yes it really happened but, after the fact, looking back, it's like a shadow. The reality of it has evaporated, has become as seemingly intangible as the wind.

We have time to measure our lives, to give us a sense of order and coherence, and a feeling of permanence and control, but ultimately the actual essential experience exists in a state of timelessness, real life lived in the now, what we experience in any given moment without regard to past or future.

You read this now. Ten minutes later. Tomorrow. Next year. Whenever. It doesn't matter. If you are here, whenever you are here, reading this, you have just transcended the barriers of time. Congratulations: you are a time traveller! Different times, different positions in space, and yet we are both perceiving it as happening now.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Reading Burroughs

So, as mentioned two earlier posts down, I've been taking advantage of the public library's interlibrary loan service, and am presently devoted to reading William S. Burroughs.

I've only read one book of his, that would be Queer, which was okay, but certainly not great. That was not through interlibrary loan, but something I picked up locally. Believe it or not I have not yet read Naked Lunch, which is probably his most famous work, but I do have some familiarity with it, after having seen the movie by David Cronenberg. Not bad. Been awhile since I've seen it though. Not since the late 90s, actually.

Anyway, I'm currently reading The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs, via interlibrary loan. It's not a great book, but it's definitely worth reading if you're interested in learning more about Burroughs.

My feelings about the man are mixed. I'm undecided. Not sure if he is a genius or a raving lunatic. Seriously. There are clearly some things I disagree with, some things that bother me about him. My main problem and primary area of disagreement, is with his apparent dislike, disregard, and blatant misogyny concerning not just the female sex, but with the feminine principle in general. As a female, I feel that basically anyone who states a belief that females are a curse, that the world would be better off without them, is going to get a huge red flag of skepticism and doubt hovering over all that they say, no matter how good and enlightened the rest of it is.

I almost think that I could have been born a man, but instead chose at the last minute to be a woman in order to prove firsthand through experience exactly why advocating the supremacy of the male principle is false. Only a man could believe that woman is a curse. Basically it suggests some major mommy issues, like ah, not getting enough attention or something, or else getting rejected by some other woman that he loved, but didn't return the love, and blaming every other woman that comes along for their lack of love and attention, lack of a strong mother/son bond.

Anyway, there's that, and there's also his rejection of the positive value of the family unit, that I would disagree with completely.

Other than that I would say he's brilliant, especially concerning his understanding of the mechanisms of control, the way governments function, the role of nations, police states and thought control, it's all very interesting. Don't agree with it completely, but it's definitely worth reading. Too bad there are so many brilliant men, that have little regard for women, beyond perhaps their sexual or procreative role, as mothers and lovers, and little else. Too bad. If they were females with the same mind, it would be totally different. It's the same mentality of the white racist. If they were born black, with the same mind, they would cease to be racist, in the sense that they would cease to view a person as inferior solely based on their physical appearance alone.

Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty to love. And I'm planning on reading everything he ever wrote. Pretty much everything except his opinion of females and the family unit is exceptionally interesting.

Friday, November 7, 2014

November Fitness Report

I'm getting into better shape. Riding my bike at least twice a week, putting in ten to thirty miles, which if you are a pro, is certainly a beginner's mileage, but for me it's a good start. I enjoy sculpting the perfect cycling legs. My legs were skinny minny, but little by little I'm getting more muscle definition where I once lacked it.

Also getting back into doing pushups, still far away from my original goal set for myself like five year's ago to do 50 pushups, now I'd be happy to do 20. I'm getting there. It takes time and persistence. Just do it. Whatever you can do. One. Two. Three. Five. Whatever. Just do it, and keep doing it, after awhile, you get stronger, and can do more. I think I'm actually in better shape now, then I was five year's ago. My upper body strength was stronger, but now I've got better all around fitness, so when I do improve my upper body strength to what it was before, I'll be even stronger than I was, because it's more balanced.

I haven't done it yet with any regularity, but one of my goals planned for myself in the near future is to regularly either ride my bike, run or walk to this park that's a few miles away, and use there outdoor body weight gym equipment. There's a whole circuit to use, but I especially want to get back into doing chin-ups and pullups again, because I notice that when I used to do that (remember the tree branch chin-ups, any old school reader's left?) my strength improved very fast.

I still walk everyday, but I'm finding that I enjoy riding my bike more. I'm really tired of the scenery around here where I live, the novelty of hiking all over the place within a five mile radius has worn off, I prefer the bike, because I love bicycles more than pretty much any other vehicle, but also because I can travel further away to more interesting scenery, while still being outside and feeling a part of the scenery, and not have to spend all day getting there. I also enjoy the challenge of building up my strength and endurance riding a bike; trying to bring my average speed up to 18 mph, and having a bicycle computer it's a fun goal to keep track of. Also getting much more used to riding with traffic, although I am painfully aware that even if I do everything right everyday I ride could be my last.

I'll be 38 in two weeks. Still get carded. Still look like I'm in my twenties. Still feeling like it too. Don't think I'm geared to be a middle aged person. I don't think I'll ever be old. Despite whatever my chronological age is, or even whatever I look like, inside I think I'll probably always be about 25.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Inter-library Loan

I'm a reader. I like books. Reading is important to me. But for awhile, I had fallen into a slump, where I couldn't really find anything good to read. I read, but I wasn't really enjoying most of what I was reading.

I tried dozens of books I had randomly checked out from the library, but for the most part I couldn't really get into any of them. Even looking over the list of every book I read over the past five years, most of them were nothing special. I've read very few great books, and many mediocre ones.

I realized the problem is that many of the books I am most interested in reading are not available at any of the public libraries in this city, so I've been settling for second best. I don't buy books, everything I read I get from the library, so I'm limited to what I can get there.

Well, I've been spending time perusing goodreads.com and amazon.com, researching different books, compiling an ideal reading list for myself, and like I said, most of the books that I'm interested in reading are not available at my library.

So I finally wised up, and realized, hey wait a second, I can read every single one of these books, all I have to do is utilize the public libraries inter-library loan service, which will retrieve a copy of the books I request from another city. The only limitation is that you only get the book for three weeks, can't renew it, and cannot request the same title twice in the same year. So, if you can't finish the book in three weeks, you're out of luck, better luck next year.

I've only utilized the service twice in my life, once in Wisconsin in my late teens, and once shortly after I moved to Arizona. I remember the books clearly as if it were yesterday. The first was Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel. The second was The Biggest Secret by David Icke.


I've decided I'd like to read everything by William S. Burroughs and Charles Bukowski. There are others as well, but that's what I'm focusing on first. Just requested two books last week: The Job: Interviews with William S. Burroughs. And You Can't Win by Jack Black, which I read somewhere as being William S. Burroughs' favorite book. I got a notification yesterday that You Can't Win is ready for pick-up. Never thought it would arrive that fast. I'm still in the middle of reading Pimp: The Story of My Life by Iceberg Slim, which I cannot renew, but I've picked up my reading pace, and should have it finished by tomorrow, and then I can start the other book.

Now there are no limitations. I can read anything my heart desires. The focus from this point forward will be on quality over quantity.

Am I Up To IT?

Moments ago I stubbed my toe. It happenned because my cat was laying in my way, and I attempted not to step on him, so I stubbed my toe really bad once again. A good round up for an odd day.

I'm broke. Okay, without getting into explicit details, times have been hard, but I found a windfall, a gift card out of the blue, arrived in my mail box, and I hadn't a clue.

Long story short, I road my bike to TJ's, and encountered two negative events.

Firstly, just starting out, I witnessed some kind of a tanker truck pass by me, with a long hose, probably twenty feet long, dangling loosely on the road behind; an accident waiting to happen. Shortly after I noticed it, it, meaning the truck and a couple of men dressed in bright yellow safety vests, pulled over and addressed the situation.

Moving on. The traffic was really bad, but everything for the most part went smoothly. The more I ride, the stronger, and braver I become.

Secondly, I do my shopping. Everything is good there. No problems whatsoever. But on the way home, within a few blocks of the final stretch, I'm cruising at a fast speed of 18 miles per hour through a busy intersection, and a bee get's caught in my bicycle helmet vents. I can hear it buzzing, trapped in my helmet, hoping it doesn't sting me, I rush to the side of the road, and struggle to get the helmet off as fast as I can, and the bee escapes, leaving me entirely unscaved. That is a first. That has never happenned to me before. So that's number two potentially bad situation.

Number three, rounding out the night, is a terribly painful stubbed toe.

And by the way the title of this post was randomly selected in reference to the question I posed to myself, about whether or not I am up to posting this post. Apparantly I am. There you go. Another obligatory status report sent out into the ethers, like a message in a bottle castaway at sea, toward the virtual sea of anonymity.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Interconnectedness

"No one is ever really alone. You are part of everything alive."

Got that from a William S. Burroughs book, Queer, that I recently read.

That's pretty much the point I was making in my post about the difference between solitude and loneliness. A person who interprets solitude as a positive thing, doesn't feel alone when alone, in the sense that they have established a positive relationship to the larger world beyond people.

However, an important point to add in response to this quote, is that no matter how interconnected we all are, if we don't see it, if we don't feel it, it will seem as if we are seperate, as if we are alone, no matter what the larger reality actually is; we create the illusion of seperation.

Two people alone, seperated by the distance of thousands of miles, one person feels lonely, the other person doesn't feel alone and is enjoying their solitude. The difference is determined entirely by each person's interpretation of events. We are all part of everything else, but if you don't feel like it, than that is how it will be, even if that feeling is an illusion. This is an example of how a person creates their own reality. Reality is what it is, but we only see what we are willing to see.

It takes more than the absence of people to feel lonely. A lonely person is not only someone who is unable to make a meaningful connection with others, either due to their actual physical absence, or due to the more subjective absence of being unable to connect mentally and emotionally with them; it is a feeling of seperation, both real and imaginary, a seperation that breeds feelings of alienation and despair, a seperation not just from other people, but from the rest of the world. In this way loneliness is closely related to depression and mental illness.

On the other hand, people who feel part of everything alive, who feel a sense of belonging and kinship with the greater world beyond themselves, including the trees and the clouds and the sun and the moon and the stars, with mother earth and father sky, with nature and the cosmos, will never feel alone, with or without people, so long as they not lose that connection, that state of mind and feeling of reverence and interconnectedness with all that is.

But it's not enough to talk about it, to write about it, or even to think about it, you have to actually feel this connection in your heart. Anything less, will be hollow and illusory.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shpongle

How is it that I grew up listening to techno and world music, and never heard of Shpongle until today?

It's mind boggling, actually. Well, I've been revisiting William S. Burroughs, which lead me to this book about psychedelics, which referenced the band, and that's how I made the discovery.

The ripple effects of random internet searches leading to new books, to new music, to new blog posts, and to life changing experiences.

I've been off music for awhile, probably because of an overexposure to bad music, can't stand about 90 percent of it, in all honesty mostly enjoy the sounds of nature, not pre-recorded but live, but I've always prefered instrumental music, and think this may be one of my new favorites. Love the cover art, too. The Ineffable Mysteries was done by Storm Thorgerson, who also did most of Pink Floyd's album covers, among many others, and I pretty much love everything he ever designed.

Here's a small sample of the music, with cover art and links:

Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland

Wikipedia | YouTube | Amazon.com



Tales of the Inexpressible

Wikipedia | YouTube | Amazon



Now for a throwback to 1995 raver culture.

Before there was Shpongle, there was Hallucinogen.

This is probably one of the best techno albums ever released. Seriously. You could do some serious cardio to this. Or just relax and dream. It works both ways.



Buy Hallucinogen - Twisted on Amazon or read about it on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More

Hopefully, you are nothing like me, and you live a full life, and don't spend the last couple hours of each night watching television.

TV sucks, and yet, I keep coming back. Is it just me, or do people seem to becoming sillier and sillier. Like, most people have either a computer, a tablet, a television, or a smart phone, and many have all of those things, and yet, they don't seem any wiser because of it. If anything people, to me, seem to becoming less aware.

They have more information at their disposal, and their technological vocabulary has been expanding, but for the average person, it's more so a matter of repeating without really understanding, without really knowing. Yeah, their fast, their manic, their hyperactive, but very similar to parrots hopped up on amphetamin, repeating a script, addicted to speed, to screens, to constant stimulation, to always being on, but not really thinking, other than thinking about how they can make more money, and buy more stuff, and always being online, or looking at screens, playing games, chatting, typing, always on, but never really here. Entrapped by the script of other people's expectations.

I guess that's a symptom of our industrialized world. Where material progress is valued higher than spiritual enlightenment. Where it's all about the bottom line. Making money, spending money, acquiring more and more material goods. Yes, work, the production and consumption of material goods, is a fact of life, a necessary reality, as unavoidable as our need for oxygen, our lives depend on it, BUT it is not everything. There is more. More than earning money and establishing a successful career. More than finding a partner and having children. There is more to life beyond material success. It's mental. It's spiritual. And it's personal. It's about self-awareness. Self-realization. Waking up. Thinking. Knowing what really matters. Understanding the bigger picture beyond survival. Beyond society. Beyond politics. Beyond technogical progress. There is more.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Everything Worked Out

Okay, really shitty day today. I usually go to Trader Joe's on Sundays, because the traffic is lighter. And so, even though I'm pretty much broke, expecting a check next week, but in the interim, I just had a few dollars, and wanted some beer, so I decided to ride my bike to TJ's, which is pretty much a ten mile round trip. Yeah, that's right, even though I live within walking distance to a big box grocery store, I opted to ride my bike ten miles for a six pack of beer, simply because I like it, good taste, good price, and it can't be found anywhere else.

Problem number one. Had a helluva time inflating my presta valve tires today. Don't know why but I just couldn't get the pump connected right. And yes, I have done this before. I finally got it, but it took me forever, presta can be funny like that sometimes. For your information, the best way to prevent a flat tire, is to maintain recommended tire pressure at all times, which means you must have a tire pressure guage, and alway test before every ride. Your bike will lose tire pressure just sitting there after a couple of days. This is normal. It doesn't mean you have a slow leak. So yes, I inflate my tires often. Haven't had a flat tire in years. True story.

Problem number two. About one minute after leaving on my bike, it starts to rain. Then it stops, but coming back, I got caught in a torential down pour, a thunderstorm, with hail, and a stiff headwind, which had me going from 15 miles per hour down to 8. On the way back I took shelter at a park under a ramada, but then I look up, and I notice a sign, which says, not suitable shelter during a thunderstorm, seek shelter elsewhere, so I get the hell out of there, figured, what the hell, I've got to get home as soon as I can. Though I did have a rain coat, I generally felt completely like shit. I'm not used to riding in the rain.

Problem number three. Let's rewind a bit. When I get to the store. I park, lock up, get my stuff, wait in line, which was a very slow line, as the store was quite busy. I was only buying beer, so it was a quick in and out, should have taken less than five minutes. Well, I'm checking out, they scan my items, I'm prepared to pay, but then the person asks for my id, which I apparantly completely forgot to bring. Shit. Hey, I've been over 21 for over 15 years, I shop here every week, I rode my bike here, it's a ten mile commute, there's a thunderstorm coming, please. I had to step aside, talk to the manager. They weren't going to do it. They required by law to card me. They cannot sell me beer without any id, even though I am clearly over 21. Well, after what felt like a long ordeal, whatever I did worked, they sold me the beer without ID, even though I embarrassed myself completely. How could I be so stupid?

Coming back the weather deteriorated. I'm thinking I could get struck my lightning, or hit by a car, get knocked unconscious, and I would have no identification on me, nothing at all, to verify who I am or where I live. Nothing. Not a library card. Not an address book. Not a journal with my name in it. Not a phone, or even a camera.

I made it home alive, but I felt really shitty, and I still do.

So, that was today's ordeal. Will never make that mistake again. That's for sure.

Do you know how annoying that would to ride ten miles for beer, during a thunderstorm, to forget your ID, and be told you cannot buy it, even though you're well above 30? Well, yes, it's extremely annoying. The pitfalls of looking young, and being a habitual beer drinker.

A smart person would have just waited for a more fortuitous time. Not worth killing yourself over a six pack of beer, especially since I'm going back there on the bike in a few days for normal groceries.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The 13 Virtues of Benjamin Franklin

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a great book, and is one of my all time favorite autobiographies. The main reason why I enjoy it so much is precisely because I admire his dedication to personal development which I believe is best exemplified by these 13 virtues.

If you haven't read the book, add it to your 'to read' list. And whether or not you've read it, study these virtues, make them a habit, take it as a simple prescription for better living that doesn't cost you a dime, but just a little bit of patience, self-discipline, and time.

An Outsider Looking In

I don't read celebrity gossip magazines, romance novels, pornography, or the National Enquirer but my one guilty pleasure, in regards to literary material, are books about the 'hood life' in the ghetto, predominantly the black ghetto culture, involving pimps, prostitutes, gangsters, drug dealers, drug addicts, and all manner of criminality and vice, that are largely fueled by a multi-generational culture of poverty and hardship.

I haven't read a lot of this subject matter, but the few that I have, have been very entertaining to me.

Although, I primarily prefer the stories where the protagonist rises above it all, gets an education and becomes an all around better person. But I also enjoy the stories with an unhappy ending too, so long as it's realistic, a story that is true, or based on real experiences, that show the authentic reality of life in the ghetto.

My favorites so far, are: Mama Black Widow by Iceberg Slim, and Black Boy by Richard Wright, and the Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley.

I just finished reading Black Gangster by Donald Goines. This was the first book I read of Donald Goines, having just recently discovered him. While it was a quick and easy read, overall I thought it was nothing special. However, I am looking forward to reading his book Dopefiend, which is a story centered around a heroin addict, and the ghetto culture of 1970s Detroit. It is said to be autobiographical. As Donald Goines was a junky, a criminal, a pimp, and convicted felon, who started writing in prison, and wrote over a dozen novels to ultimately support his addiction. He was murdered in 1974, along with his girlfriend, at the age of 37.

That's the same age as me. But our worlds couldn't be further apart.

I'm not a drug addict or a criminal. I've never been to jail. I've never used heroin. I've never been part of the criminal ghetto underworld. I just like reading about it.

Although, I did grow up in a city, which despite having a population of under 100,000 people, had a fairly large, primarily black, inner city ghetto. I lived on the other side of town, but passed through it on the bus, and knew a few people who lived on the fringe of it, and so I had some exposure, but mostly from a distance. A lot of crazy crackheads and outward hostility toward white people. That's what I remember. This was back in the 80s and 90s mostly. Yeah, I had some experience with the ghetto up close, mostly when I was a teenager and started smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, which gave me a feeling of invincibility to go to places and associate with people I wouldn't ordinarily, but for the most part, I was an outsider looking in. Typical clean, sheltered white person, isolated from the reality of the ghetto, looking at it from the point of view of a tourist, reading about it from the safety of home.

Yeah, the next ghetto book I plan to read is Dopefiend, and than after that I'll read Pimp the autobiography of Iceberg Slim.

And also plan to revisit the beats, read some of William S. Borroughs and Charles Bukowski. Yeah, I like reading tales of alcoholics and drug addicts and moral degenerates and freaks, but I wouldn't ever want to know them. That's pretty much where I stand. Kind of like you and this blog. Welcome to another voyeur's peep show, dishing it up effortlessly one post at a time, and deleting them just as fast and effortlessly and without regrets.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The China Study

I just finished reading The China Study by T. Colin Wilson. Though I have to say I sort of skimmed the last few chapters, because it was getting kind of tedious, and I'm actually happy to have finally finished it. Not that it was bad, but just that I didn't need that much convincing.

Basically what this book is all about is that it provides epidemiological data supporting  a whole foods, plant based diet, showing a link between the consumption of animal protein and the development of heart disease and cancer; and even shows a link between the development of various autoimmune disorders, like Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and the consumption of cow's milk in particular.

In the author's opinion, nutrition is the single most important factor in determining whether or not we are sick or healthy. More important than genetics, and even more important than exposure to environmental toxins, because if you have a healthy diet, you will have a stronger immune system that will ordinarily fight off the development of most diseases; and for everything else, there is medication, there's vaccinations, but let good nutrition do all the rest.

I've never been a heavy meat eater. I've been vegetarian on and off for much of my life, but yet I've never given up dairy products or eggs, so to do so would be an entirely new experience, and an experience I'm not sure I'm prepared for, but according to the author, they're just as bad as meat, and cow's milk is by far the worst. Well, I never really much cared for cow's milk either, never drink it, and the only time I've had it is with cereal, if there's no soy milk, which I actually prefer the taste of, but uh, I don't know.

I'm all for consuming more fruits and vegetables and whole grains, a whole foods, plant based diet, but I still am not completely sold on the idea that animal protein is all bad, despite the evidence in support of that. I mean, I certainly agree that it is best to consume it in moderation, if at all, and that plants should make up the bulk of your diet, but not sure that consuming 100 percent plants, and zero animal protein is absolutely ideal, maybe for spiritual development or ethical reasons, yes, but not necessarily for reasons of optimum health and longevity.

I only say that because I happen to know people in my family, who lived a long time, well into their upper eighties and nineties, completely free from disease, no cancer, no heart disease, and yet they eat meat, and in the case of my two grandmothers, weren't even particularly that physically active; had a sweet tooth, were/are a bit on the pudgy side; so I think that, not disputing the importance of nutrition, there are certainly other factors involved. Genetics, state of mind, quality of life, is huge.

That's all I have to say for now. But trust me, I'll have more to say later.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Some Thoughts On Insanity

You know how you hear stories from time to time about some crazy person who totally flips out and hurts someone, and afterwards they say they did it because they heard voices in their head that told them to do it?

I was thinking about this because I saw part of a news segment this evening where this type of thing happened, about some dude who tried to kill his dad, didn't succeed, but ended up taking his own life; apparently its because the voices told him to do it.

Well, what I've always wondered about is why these people who hear these voices feel that they must obey them.

I mean, okay, their crazy, right, crazy people do crazy things, they act in an irrational manner, their cognitive wires are all out of whack, there is no sense to their senselessness, but being so blindly obedient, so easily enslaved by a voice, that's not just crazy, it's plain dumb. I mean would they jump off of a bridge if a real person told them to do it? Strange how they feel compelled to follow the orders of some invisible voice, but not those of real people they can actually see and have a real conversation with.

No, there's something else going on, if in fact the story is true, that is, if from their point of view they really do experience voices in their head telling them to hurt people, it would have to be more than just a voice, and more so a type of powerful hypnosis, where their will is totally subjugated, and they are acting completely unconsciously, like a robot programmed to execute a command, a robot who is unable to think for themselves or to question the authority of the command.

So it's like, it's not that they are simply being told to do these things, they are being emotionally compelled to do them by hypnotic suggestion.

But then the question to ask would be: who the hell is hypnotizing them then?

Another person? A demon/ghost/alien or other occult entity? Themselves? (This one is the most likely of the three; being a form of self-hypnosis originating in their unconscious).

In the pre-scientific era it would be said that this person is under the possession of an evil spirit, and would need to be exorcised by either a priest or a witch doctor. Now it would be said that this person is severely mentally ill, the voices are the result of severe and possibly irreparable brain damage, for which medication may be prescribed to calm them down, to reduce the severity of their hallucinations, and to make their life a little more bearable, but overall there is no cure.

It is probably possible to live with hallucinations. Hearing voices could probably be compared to always hearing a television or radio playing in the background. It's annoying, but not a reason to kill yourself or other people over it. But there is a significant difference between hearing voices, and feeling compelled to do whatever the voices tell you to do, especially if the voices are telling you to do bad things. Such people who have no control over themselves should probably be locked up for life. It's just safer that way, as they are just too much of a danger to themselves and to society to be allowed to be running around free.

But because we don't live in a perfect world some of these people will inevitably fall through the cracks, and from time to time they will do something crazy, something brutally tragic, and we wonder how it happened, why we couldn't have stopped it, why they didn't get the help they needed? But it's the same reason why there are murderers and rapists, some people are just damaged goods, there is no hope for them, their entire life is like a pathology, their like a tornado, everything they do points in the direction of destruction, and eventually someones going to get hurt.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Some Thoughts on Boredom

I recently watched a documentary about boredom. It was okay, though ironically parts of it were boring, probably because a lot of it was pointing out the obvious, but there were a few glimmers of insight that helped me gain a better understanding of what boredom is, what causes it, and how widespread it is.

Boredom is a state of stress and agitation, caused by a lack of interest in where you are, who you are with, or what you are doing. Although it's a matter of perception, some types of things are inherently more prone to causing boredom than others. Boredom is primarily associated with a lack of stimulation, of not liking what you see, and not seeing any alternatives.

We all crave stimulation, to experience ever new, exciting, and wonderful things.

What do we want most? To feel more alive. To be happy.

Boredom is the opposite of that.

Boredom is the kissing cousin to misery and apathy.

It's like being in a cage, without windows, without a view, and all you want to do is run away, but you're immobilized, you're shackled to the floor, there's no escape.

It's mental, it's physical, it's everything, all encompassing. If you feel bored, you feel trapped, you feel stuck, inertia has set in. Get me the hell out of this place. Anywhere but here. Some people have even been known to kill themselves over it.

In fact, it's a state that feels closer to death than life, and we spend all of our lives trying to break free from this cage, to feel more alive, to experience more stimulation, ever new, exciting, and beautiful things.

Most of what we do is done for this purpose. The search for pleasure and adventure, the search for meaning and purpose, to make the world a better place, to find love and wisdom and fulfillment, is also, at the heart of it, a search for the alleviation of boredom.

Most addictions are caused by boredom. People seek pleasure from harmful or dangerous activities, because they alter their experience in new and exciting ways.

A lot of people have addictions, and most of them don't use drugs or alcohol.

Apparently the biggest addiction of the modern age, isn't prescription medication or caffeinated beverages, it's looking at screens.

We look at screens not just because we have to, or because they make our lives better, but we actually are becoming addicted to them, that we look at them just to look at them even if we don't need to look at them, that if we suddenly find ourselves unable to look at a screen, we become agitated, we find ourselves alone, face to face with our own boredom. But boredom doesn't have a face, boredom is the absence of another face, it is more of a mirror, when we are bored we are left alone with nothing but ourselves, and for many that is terrifying.

That's right. Looking at screens is the number one addiction of the modern age. It's not just that we look at them, we can't stop looking at them.

Televisions. Smartphones. Computers. Movie theaters. Electronic billboards. ATM machines. Credit card readers. Surveillance cameras. E-readers. Video games. Blogs.

Yes, if you are reading this blog, you too are probably an addict.

And I'm your drug. But I'm also getting high off my own stash. Providing you with another hit of Cym's creative ramblings, another dose of I hope to find novelty and excitement this time, something to make your day a little less boring. I hope I succeeded. After all, that's all we are here, voyeurs and exhibitionists seeking something better.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Healthy Food for Less

I'm sick of hearing that healthy food is too expensive, that it's cheaper to eat junk food, that low income people cannot afford to eat healthy, that a meal at McDonalds costs less than a self-prepared meal, and other such nonsense.

The only circumstance where that might be true, is if you don't have refrigeration or a stove. In other words, if you don't have a way to cook your own meals and to store your perishables, then junk food and fast food might prove to be the cheaper option.

Otherwise, if you do have a stove and refrigerator, and you are armed with the right information, you should be able to buy healthy foods without spending a lot of money.

It's a fact. I know it. I live it.

Healthy food isn't just about the calories.

If we're just talking straight up calories, well then, maybe junk food carries more bang for the buck, high calorie and low nutrition is mostly what you'll find in the junk food aisle, but eating healthy is not just about calories, it's about nutrition, and more calories does not always equal better nutrition, very often the opposite is true.

It is possible to get good nutrition and an adequate amount of calories without spending a lot of money.

Here is a list of inexpensive healthy foods, which I am convinced would feed and keep at least one person healthy for less than $30 dollars a week:

Oatmeal. Not instant, but the kind you cook on the stove. If you look for sales, buy in bulk, or generic store brands, can usually be found for a dollar a pound.

Eggs. At about 20 cents an egg, it's a bargain.

Beans.

Rice.

Frozen vegetables, especially broccoli and spinach.

Multi-grain bread. I get the store brand, without preservatives or high fructose corn syrup, at $1.99 a loaf.

Canned tuna. Only in moderation, because of the mercury contamination, but otherwise is a really good source of protein and omega fatty acids.

Cottage cheese. I hear good things about cottage cheese, just might add it to my diet, and see how I like it.

Peanut butter. I get mine from Trader Joe's, the old fashioned kind you stir, at $2.49 a jar. Not all peanut butter is equal. Beware of hydrogenated vegetable oil. The only thing you should see on the ingredients list should be peanuts, and maybe salt. Thank goodness for Trader Joe's, otherwise the natural peanut butter at Safeway costs twice as much.

Fresh carrots, onions, celery (mostly for adding to bean dishes and soups), garlic, peppers.

Sweet potatoes.

Sunflower seeds and raisins.

Pasta sauce, for not only pasta, but for making bean dishes and soups.

Fresh apples, oranges, and bananas. This is the only fruit I buy regularly, as in every single week. Anything else varies according to price and season. I might buy blueberries and pineapples, but not every week. A banana costs only about twenty cents, and it's probably the healthiest thing you can buy for the money.

While this isn't everything I buy, things not mentioned would be luxuries like beer and chocolate and tea and dairy and soy, but I would say this list constitutes the staple of my diet, and is extremely affordable and healthy. I could live off of this if I had to. There is so much you can do with beans and vegetables. And personally I love oatmeal, especially with fresh apple, no sugar needed. It never gets old.

The reason why we overspend, is because of our craving for luxuries, rich high calorie foods, expensive meats, desserts, alcohol, and processed snacks. If we were able to keep our diets simple, low calorie, high nutrition, one doesn't have to spend a lot of money to eat a healthy diet.

This diet, healthy food for less, is intended for slim people. If you want to be big, are the size of a refrigerator, and don't want to lose any weight, it won't work.

But I personally subscribe to the school of thought that sees a correlation between consuming fewer calories, but calories with a high nutrient value, and living a longer and healthier life. The more you spend on food, the more calories you eat, and the bigger you are, the shorter your life, and the less healthy you will be.

Just look at the lifespan of dogs. The smaller dogs live the longest. I think the same thing is true of humans and I will prove it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Price is Not Right

There's probably no point in trying to convince people to stop eating junk food, to stop drinking soda, and to stop eating fast food burgers from places like McDonalds.

Their not worth helping, their not worth enlightening. Nine times out of ten they don't care what you think, because a) they like doing it, b) they don't think there is anything wrong with doing it, and c) they are going to keep on doing it no matter what you have to say about it.

You could have all the evidence before you that what they are eating is made from Soylent Green, or radioactive waste, or ground up pieces of plastic, or really anything else proven to be unfit for human consumption, and there are plenty of morons who would continue eating it so long as they like the way it tastes and the price is right.

It's like trying to convince a smoker to stop smoking on the grounds that smoking causes lung cancer. What smoker doesn't know that smoking is bad for their health? No, they just don't care to think about it, they do it because they like it, and they don't care about the long term consequences. They are lost causes. Most people are lost causes.

Why should I care if my neighbor is eating all the wrong foods? It's not like I like them. It's not like I have a vested interest in them living to be a hundred. So, I don't really care any more, about all the pieces of shit people making bad choices, shortening their lives. Maybe the world will be better off without them. Survival of the fittest. Let the pieces of shit weed themselves out with all the junk food and cigarettes they can squeeze into their pitiful little lives.

That's the elitist point of view.

It's harsh. To some degree the coldness of it is unenlightened. But the truth is I generally don't like people. Not all, but most feel like an uncomfortable burden. I know. Everyday I live a lie. It's not like I go up to strangers and tell them I don't like them, I just don't talk to them, unless they talk to me, in which case I try to be as polite and respectful as possible, but what I'm really thinking is I can't wait to get away from this person.

For clarification:

I'm not advocating the promotion of ignorance, or the use of deception. I don't think it's all right to promote unhealthy habits, or to deceive people into using harmful products just to turn a quick buck. I'm not for that. Despite my dislike of people, I am not an unethical person.

I'm not saying people shouldn't be educated, that information concerning the safety of any product or service shouldn't be publicly available to anybody who wants it. It should. I think it should.

I'm just saying that some people just aren't worth the time and effort to change, because they are completely closed off to it. They are going to keep doing what they are doing even if it kills them. You can't save everyone, but you can save yourself, and that is your number one priority.

The point of this post is that you can't force anyone to live as you live, to think as you think, or to eat as you eat. It is a waste of time trying to change people who don't want to change. It is better to focus your energy on people who are actually receptive to your message. To provide the information, making it freely available to all, but without forcing it on anyone. It's here for the taking, but I'm not going to shove it down your throat.