October 2006

October 31st, 2006

There's nothing special or wondrous about what I do here. Some day what I have to say may touch you, others it may not. Some may visit here and think what I'm doing is entirely amazing while I think it's nothing spectacular or awe inviting. As Deepak Chopra said today while I sat in on a taped interview: "I'm just singing in the bathroom and sometimes people like to listen."

The truth is I love to write and have always wanted to be a writer. Saying something and having it convey the exact message that is in my heart and mind has always been important to me because I want real connections with people--so I have struggled with the English language all my life only to find that no matter how articulate I am you will only be capable of understanding what I have to say through your own experience. No amount of effort, skill, or vocabularistic gymnastics will help me connect with you, to share a story, a lesson, a tear with you that is not somehow your own to share with me. We are mirrors, you and I, and it is truly a matter of intent and clarity of thought, word, and action.

And so I've been sharing a discourse on areas of my life I don't typically share with anyone. I thought at first it would only be a handful of items but as I've gone through the daily wake up, brush teeth, bath, work, eat, work, work out, pick up kid, make dinner, etc., routine that so often defines my day to day life I've discovered little tidbits that I have never shared or have shown to only a select few, sometimes out of trust, at others simply out of random happenstance. I have eight or nine other journal entries I can write, that I jotted notes down regarding, yet I know there are many miles before I sleep.

I don't have time. Pathetic, but true. I must put some of this blame on an old friend who has kidnapped me from the late night revelries of writing, but at the same time the lessons she's taught me have been priceless and worthy of late night conversations and missed journal entries. And so this month's list is incomplete, other items are there for another time, another place, and I've demonstrated again there is no fear in writing, no fear in talking, no fear in sharing. You cannot harm what I am just as I cannot harm what you are--if and when you have truly found the deepest, truest part of yourself and that is no easy task so don't do yourself the disservice of tricking yourself into believing you have. You will know when that happens because you will not need to continually convince yourself of it. You will be able to write, to paint, to photograph, to share, to laugh, to cry, to admit defeat, to apologize for error, to look at yourself critically, accept what others have to say about you, to listen, truly listen, and grow. If you can do that then you might be getting close!

On this All Hollows Eve I have one request of you: do something that scares you, something that will challenge you, something that will make you grow and in the end bring you peace.


October 30th, 2006

This is the first photograph I ever saw on a computer screen. This is also the first photograph I saw on the computer screen of my first computer which I bought with a thousand dollar's I'd saved while working at McDonald's and another thousand I was given for attending my graduation. It was the first photograph I downloaded over the internet and must have taken nearly twenty or thirty minutes over that Tandy 300 baud modem. It was the first photograph I masturbated to on a computer.

You know a phrase I find offensive: Too Much Information (TMI)

Now I didn't share that little fact to offend anyone or irritate someone's sensibilities but this month is about writing about things I normally wouldn't share with anyone and that just happens to be high on my list. And why would I share that with you? I stumble on this picture out of the blue a few weeks back and say to myself, "Oh my God, I saw that picture in 1992! That's that...the...that picture!" and I saved it to my hard drive partly out of disbelief, partly because I was a bit gaga that my brain had somehow decided to keep enough neurons around in the shape and form of this specific image. Of course you could listen without judgement or you could say hey, you're not supposed to do that kind of thing Aslynn, you've got this web site and these beliefs and people with those beliefs don't masturbate, they don't do silly things like make love and eat and drink and urinate and die. You're not a normal human being. You're supposed to sit there in the nether regions of the internet and type and share and put on a good show after all that's what being an American is all about!

So it's either TMI or T&U: Truth and Understanding.

What's your bag, baby?

October 28th, 2006

There are people in the world that believe God came down, impregnated a woman named Mary and that her baby, the "Son" of God, grew up to have supernatural powers, was sacrificed, and later came back from the dead. We understand and we accept that this is a commonly held belief even if on the surface it's truly an extraordinary and flatly irrational claim requiring at the very least a substantial sum of blind faith. Yet claim you're psychic and most will look at you like you've lost your marbles.

Now I don't care who you are but that thar's ironic (I apologies to all the Green Pygmies who came from Down Under, cross my heart, hope to die, Amen).

I hate beating around the bush but I still feel measurably reticent admitting my gifts to anyone, especially those I lovingly refer to as muggles. I didn't grow up in an environment where talking about such things was encouraged--there was always a stigma of occultism or the not-so-subtle implication that said persons were nutters. And then there are all the stereotypes to content with, these black and white ideas based in religious superstition, theatric explorations (aka Hollywood), the media, and those psychics and fakes alike who use their gifts publicly and professionally. The word psychic has become vague and arguably meaningless.

The reality is our gifts are many. I know and have known people, for instance, that can see, hear, and talk with the deceased and with spirit guides. I have met those who can touch an object and discover things about its history, where it's been. And there are those that see the future and so on and so forth; who am I to say where the variety of gifts begins or ends?

If I had a psychic's resume it would include the following: Psychic Empath with thirty three years experience. Some precognitive abilities including precognitive dreams and unrelated ability to interpret dreams (both of the normal and psychic varieties). Ability to see and perform karmic manipulations. Can sense spirits and sometimes infer who they are or what they want. Performs tarot readings for free or alcoholic beverages.

If you wanted to know more I could tell you a few stories.

I could tell you about the time I was fifteen and was being haunted by precognitive dreams about my best friend hitting on my high school sweetheart while I was thousands of miles away on "vacation"--I confronted him as soon as I returned, he lied, my girlfriend told me what had happened. I could tell you about another time I dreamed that an x introduced me to her boyfriend and I knew he would soon hurt her so I got in the car, traveled over a hundred miles, warned her, and watched her jaw drop when I said his name. I could tell you about the times I knew letters were waiting in my mailbox or about the countless times I knew a cop was around the corner checking for speeders (and the few times I ignored my intuition--got tickets every single time too!). I could tell you about the times spirits came to visit, say hello, say goodbye, and sometimes give me some much needed advice (sometimes in the form of a kick in the arse--thanks D…I think…). I could tell you that I knew the how and when my girlfriend three years past would break up with me; I saw the next girlfriend's bull within five minutes of our meeting and received the Dear John letter only two hours later than I'd seen in my mind's eye five or six months prior (reading the letter was a trip having already "read" it). I could tell you about my uncanny ability to know things about people I shouldn't, to be able to know that they're thinking about me when I shouldn't, to know when they've been dishonest in thought, word, or deed though I might have no physical evidence to support it (yet). I can see deep down into anyone, no matter how superficially "ugly" or "vile" or "evil" and I can find the most beautiful spark of their soul and sometimes I just want to stare at it until I go blind. Sometimes I know when something good is about to happen or something bad (and have been known to curl up in bed during the latter). My body flipped out to the Challenger explosion in the 80's, to Princess Diana's death, and to other world events I was emotionally attached to in some way, shape, or form. I don't see time as a straight line, as a past, present, and future, but as something dynamic (as Deepak Chopra is fond of saying there are "infinite possibilities"). I can find karma anywhere in the time line and sometimes, when I'm most centered, I can manipulate it, transform it, or allow it to take its course. And sometimes, when I'm feeling extra cocky, I'll send someone a quick hello and a smile and I wonder if they heard me because when my mind and heart are clear I can hear them.

Another irony is I am the world's most stringent skeptic. I need corroborative evidence, I need repeatability, I need something more substantial that just reading tarot and saying that's somehow supernatural in nature (sometimes it can be but often it's not). I think astrology is a load of horse shit yet haven't enough evidence to believe in reading tea leaves one way or the other. If you say you can talk to spirits I'm not going to believe you simply because I believe in this sort of thing, I want to see your gift in action, and more importantly I want to see something useful come out of it; frankly I don't think that's unfair as I'd have similar expectations of someone who claimed they could change the oil in my car.

For my part I do not want to be challenged, not get into this, "Oh, I can do that too" bullshit I get from Imprinters and impersonators, and not be categorized as some kind of twisted occultist or nutbag. I don't want to be stereotyped, judged, or mocked. I want my friends to see this as just one more aspect of a beautifully vibrant personality, I want my lover to see it as something that makes connecting to my soul incredibly easy. I just want to be accepted for who I am.

Wouldn't you?

October 27th, 2006

Do you listen? Do you understand? Do you lift the covers to see what's underneath? Do you dig and dig and dig and dig under and through the folds of yourself, your understanding, do you ask, do you empathize, do you believe?

Do you say that's sad or stupid or silly or dumb or fill in the _________? Do you understand what that is and what that isn't and what that causes you to do? Do you understand what you don't know?

Are you dying to know? Are you dying to hear? Are you dying to breath, to smell, to see, let the sand move completely around your toes? Are you willing to let go of who you are so you can become who you might be?

Don't you see it's all too short? Don't you see it's this moment and the next and the next and then maybe another and then maybe not? Do you say it's not possible, it's not for me, that's not how "things are"? Don't you see that the door's really there?


Don't you want to know who I am, what makes me breath, what makes me love, what makes me cry, why I thirst and why I hate, why I fight and why I walk away? Don't you want to know who you are, what makes you breath, what makes you love, what makes you cry why you thirst and why you hate, why you fight and why you walk away? Don't you know you have to do the second before you can hope to accomplish the first?

Do you dig, dig, dig, and lift those covers to reveal whatever's there, good or bad, happy or sad, light or shaded, hopeless or hopeful and beyond that always experience, always knowledge, always wisdom?

Do you question the familiarity of yourself then put your face back on, the one you like others to see or the one you believe others see or the one you need to see for yourself, and you go out and you interact with the real world?

Can you keep one foot in each?

October 25th, 2006

I trust far too easily. I've always been that way from the moment I was born and frankly as a young boy I didn't understand why others wouldn't trust one another. I was straight forward and honest so it only seemed that others were likewise forward and honest--perhaps it's an oversimplification but I think when we're young we tend to generalize our own perceptions of the universe onto others. For me that meant I saw other people as trustworthy; the idea that they might not be was anathema.

One of my first awakenings was when my mom took me to visit one of her friends where I met her friend's son who was also in kindergarten. Though we'd later become friends ourselves, our first meeting was like nothing I had experienced before. You see, the moment I walked in his house he verbally (and nearly physically) attacked me. His first act was to scream and run towards me when I made the mistake of touching one of his toys. I was shocked, scared, and simply did not understand why someone would react so violently over an inanimate object.

I was naïve. I didn't know how else to be or why. I didn't know why I shouldn't trust him. I didn't exist in a headspace where friendship was an elaborate game of socially manipulative fantasy worlds. Friendship to me was a bond as real as air or fire or water or earth. But, as per usual, reality was right there, right in front of my face: my "friend" thought very little of me. He didn't invite me over to spend the night like he did the boys with the latest-coolest toys. He didn't ask me to be on the kickball team at recess. And he ignored me whenever his other friends were near.

You might say I was a complete idiot and from a certain perspective that's true. It wasn't like he was telling me, "Hey, I'm glad we're friends, lets hang out!" On the contrary I walked around the playground alone crying wondering why the fuck (and yes, even in first grade I had quite the mouth-thanks dad!) the person I considered my best friend wouldn't let me play kickball on his team.

Time after time after time I've made the same mistake. It's my greatest weakness, one you could take advantage of if you so choose. I trust too easily and I know it. I can look at anyone and spot the good in them, the ugly in them, but when push comes to shove the good is beautiful, the good is what I want to bring out and to cherish. So I've fallen in friendship, I've fallen in love, and my psyche has been scarred deeply too many times for it.

Yet I would not give up who I am. I would not give up on trust.

So I've learned to pay attention. I've learned to trust my intuition. I've learned to give my trust only inasmuch as it has been earned, not to throw it about like petty cash. I've learned to stand up when my trust has been compromised and take it away when it has been violated. And when it's been crushed under someone's heal I go back, back to that quiet place in my soul that is pure, where trust is unmarred and friendship means something.

And I heal myself.

Only two things I haven't figured… When do I come out? After all, what better time is now? And how do I know who to give my trust if it's locked away in a safe deposit box for no one to see?

October 24th, 2006

I am capable of such evil. I can slip my fingertips around the edges of your heart and dig my fingernails in. I can grab onto one end of your soul and pull it out and swing it around in the air until your insides are out. I can look into your eyes, so deep I can find the stars shining there under the water, and I can smash them out with my heal.

I can be vile. I can forget that you're a human too and you deserve love and respect and a second chance. I have in the past allowed words to cross my lips that I have later regretted. I have used the English language as a form of release, a metaphorical and emotional defecation, you might say.

Don't let my calm demeanor fool you. If you lie to me I might just decide to throw it in your face 'cause I think you disgrace and cause difficulty in the lives of everyone who truly values honesty. If you say you're not the kind of person that walks away from challenges, that you're the loyal type, but I see the backside of you getting smaller and smaller I might just put my boot up your ass because I've little tolerance for hypocrites. If you hold me in your arms with calming words then proceed to pluck hairs from my chest I'm going to ask you to stop and if you play stupid I might yank out a nose hair because I think being an asshole is less a sin than conscious ignorance.

But I am fair. And I'm much more forgiving and calm in my thirties than I ever was in my twenties. Pre 2000 I used to explode on people and if you think I've thrown a fit when you've lied or cheated or stolen from me then you don't know what I'm truly capable of when I'm violated, when I feel I have every reason to stand up and protect myself or those I love. I have been a vicious angel bent on warring with a flaming sword in hand; I have sliced through those things I despise--subterfuge, lies, hypocorism, animosity, ignorance, the ungrateful, the naive, the oblivious--because they hurt me or took advantage of me without cause or reason except satisfaction of the ego or id.

These days I breath, I cry, I walk away. Do you understand? I want better in my life. I could lash out, I could tear you to pieces with such anger and fury you have never seen. But to what end? If someone had cared to be straight, to tell me the truth, to walk their walk, to be thoughtful, to fill in the gaps, to say thank you, to educate themselves, and to understand the world a little better, then they would likewise be the kind of person I want in my life. That's what I've never understood before. Social evolution. I used to hold on when I should have simply walked away.

There's a saying, "You always hurt the ones you love." They forgot to say, "The ones that love you will always say they're sorry."

October 23rd, 2006

It must have been late in the morning or early in the afternoon one day in the fall of 1996. I think it was 1996, the first year I attended the University of Oregon, though it could have been 1995. The year, though, is not nearly as relevant as what I was doing.

I walked into one of the computer labs near the bus station just off of 13th street. I sat down at a computer terminal which consisted of a small screen that only displayed green letters on a background and a keyboard. Being a new student at the university I'd never logged in to the school's network before so I pulled out my notebook where the directions were and proceeded to setup my "Duck" account. And what was the first step but choosing a user name, a name I'd be stuck with for the next two or three years?

I didn't want to use my given name. I didn't much care for it and there were too many old memories attached to it. I'd used a number of pseudonyms over the years. Jean-Luc Pascal, for French class in high school. I also used to privately refer to myself as MWGH or the "Man With the Green Hat". When I played online video games I logged onto games as "Cracker", a little reverse racist prod at myself, and years later I'd come to refer to my gaming presence as "Youth In Asia" or "YIA" (you can find those initials throughout the '99 Dynamix game Starsiege). I needed a new start. So I wracked my brain and the first thing that came to my mind was Aslynn.


It was the name I'd given to a character in a short story I'd written. When I wasn't sure what that character's name should be my fiancé had suggested Aslan, from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I'd never read that book nor did I know the story but I liked the uniqueness of the name and, in the fashion that's typical of me, misspelled it-or reinvented it for my character and then later for myself.

I have used the name Aslynn ever since. I was aslynn@uoregon.edu then I became aslynn@teleport.com. E-mail addresses changed but always it was Aslynn @ wherever until one day, a few years back, I got fed up and wanted a home that wasn't going to change when I left one school for another or moved or one ISP was bought out by another. So I fork out a little extra cash each month and I have a home I can rely on to always be there: aslynn@greenpygmies.com.

So why would I ask to be called Aslynn?

The name Aslynn says a great deal about me.

I like the name, both the way it sounds and the way it's spelled. By choosing a name instead of simply accepting a given one I'm consciously acknowledging that I'm less the kind of person that feels I'm stuck with the hand life's given me but am interested in choosing my past, my present, and my future more and more every day. I'm also the kind of guy who's not afraid of his emotional or "feminine" side; yes, I'm heterosexual (I like girls-a lot!), but I feel that a balanced person has equal amounts of "masculine" and "feminine" attributes; on psychological tests of gender I typically score all over the board averaging out somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. The name fits me.

The name Aslynn says a great deal about you.

A few examples… Though my profile's always list me as male I've still had men hit on me-so the name has allowed me to avoid people who don't pay attention, especially and in particular those that don't have manners. Others have responded to the name with sexist or "genderist" comments, attitudes I don't find enlightened or indicative of people I want to welcome into my relatively small circle of trusted friends. There have been more than a few that have outright criticized me and called me egotistical and pompous for using a chosen name, as if there's some law in the Bible or something that says, "Thou shalt not choose they own name for it is God and thy parents that have Christened thee." And last but definitely not least there are those that call me by my given name though I've repeatedly requested to be called Aslynn-and always the name issue was only a warning sign that said persons had difficulties listening and respecting others' requests and personal boundaries.

And then there are those that simply call me Aslynn. They know my given name. Some of them even knew me and called me that name for years before I'd even chosen to use the name Aslynn. And yet they call me Aslynn and I never once had to ask them to. Can you imagine how that makes me feel or how much I respect them for it?

What do you choose to call me?


October 21st, 2006

I am not that important. It took me a long time to realize that and it wasn't easy. Growing up I found myself in the same body day after day, waking up the same person, more or less, every day, with the same family and the same home and the same school and the same friends. Sure, things changed over time but I was still me seeing the universe through the same eyes, the same past behind me and my own ideas of the road ahead. That story seemed incredibly important, special, and unique.

I went through the roller coaster of youth, the roller coaster of my story, of feeling that I was somehow overly important, a pivotal figure in a world that needed people like me to make a difference. Who else had my stories? Who else was putting two and two together, experience after experience, and jumping in where Angels feared to tread? It seemed like the rest of the world was standing still, everyone else was just keeping on keeping on and I was trying to do something special because I was special.

And I was special. I am special. But I'm not that special. The universe has a way about itself, it doesn't leave much to chance and it doesn't put all its eggs in one basket. There's a mix to this recipe, a special formula and because the universe doesn't make it a habit to blend the ingredients to an illusion of human perfection you'll find chunks here and there throughout the dough, chunks of similar size and consistency that give the dough character and pizzazz.

I've seen others that are special too. There were those that grew up in emotionally challenging households and were surrounded by groups that brought them near the brink of extinction. Those that found sympathy a better tool for garnering affection than, say, styling their hair or wearing something revealing. Those that idealized hard work and personal perfection, even while working for a place as seemingly pointless as a convenience store. Those who were unable to say no, those who trusted too easily, those who accepted the career limiting responsibilities, those who wanted to be healthier, and those that screwed up their knees doing it.

I am not alone.

These things that we look for in each other, similarities, starting points, boulders in the tumultuous river of social reality that allow us to find a sense of balance in small groups and large, these are the bull's-eyes we're looking out for because we yearn so much to say, "You're like me, you're like me. And we are both special." Could you imagine the talent, the farsighted ability to look at someone, anyone, and be able to shout, "You're like me, you're like me!"--and sincerely mean it? That would be a world with less conflict, with less war, with less strutting about of bloated and drunken egos, a world where empathy and compassion were common place because that connection wasn't just realized by a select few but a common vision shared by all.

What is it that I'm trying to share with you that I ordinarily wouldn't?

That at times I feel extraordinarily special, that I'm aware that I am unique. I make choices and take on challenges that most people would simply walk (or run) from. I have seen things and have come to understand feelings and concepts that are known by only a select few of gifted--or perhaps cursed--people. I have learned to put myself second for the most important decisions impacting others and how many can you truly say that about? And yet there are others like me, others standing on similar stones in the same river; they, too, have been through some of the more turbulent rapids; they, too, have jumped from the safety of dry ground to save a friend or colleague or even a complete stranger because they were able to say, "You're like me, you're like me" and at that moment all fear was gone.

Where are you in the river of life?

Would you jump in for me?

October 19th, 2006


There is only one ethical, lawful, and integral solution to the problems created by the choice to go into Iraq: We leave 100% of the choice up to the legally and democratically elected Iraqi government.


It's the democratic thing to do:

If we claim to be interested in seeding democracy throughout the world and in particular in Iraq then once a sovereign democratically elected government is in place power should be handed to that government. Presently the democratically elected government of Iraq does not have the ability to choose whether or not U.S. military forces are inside the country hence the state of affairs is not free democratic rule but a military occupation headed by the Commander in Chief of the United States. The legally voted in representatives of the Iraqi people should have the right and ability to ask us to stay or leave; if we are there to spread democracy we can start by respecting the rule of democratically elected goverments, their people, and their wishes.

It's the responsible thing to do:

Long before the war began the sociological and historical evidence suggested that an "insurgency" would result. By being a much hated military precense in the middle of what amounts to a civil war between two muslim factions we're only providing those who wish to fight with more reasons to fight. The evidence as well as the mounting death toll supports this claim. The idea that they simply hate Democracy and freedom is pedantic rationalizing from right wing pontificators who manipulate those who don't understand thousands of years of evidence that flat out predicted this well ahead of time.

Take the American Civil War. The north and south fought. Britain, France, and a few other countries took up sides but mostly stayed out of the way. What happened when they stepped into the middle?

They got their asses kicked!

What happened a hundred years before when a superior British military occupied the thirteen colonies?

They got their asses kicked!

Pretty sad that we won't learn from a war we celebrate winning every year.

We are not legally at war:

Although this administration is fond of preaching about the "War on Terror" we are not, on my last check, in a legal war. According to the U.S. Constitution, which unfortunately most Americans fail to read, War must be declared by Congress; presently we are military occupiers without any declaration of war except that which is spouted in rhetoric (which last I checked is highly illegal--but unfortunately those in power get to decide what's legal and what's not). Unless we want to be remembered by history as conquerors, military dictators, the choice for our presences and/or level of precense should be defined by the Iraqi government.

We are not welcome:

We aren't welcome in Iraq. Study after study, poll after poll, shows that most Iraqi's want us to get the hell out. And why wouldn't they? Only a few hundred thousand innocent civilians have been killed as a result of our "war". We've subjected them to two wars, thousands of bombings, human rights abuses, loss of infrastructure, and on and on and on. How would you feel if the roles were reversed?

We value life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness:

Most American's value life…but apparently we value American, and in particular caucasion, lives more than we do muslim ones. I don't think I'm being racist or jumping to conclusions. It's simple math.

On 9/11…

2,973 people died.

Since the "war" on Iraq…

2782 American troops have died.

At least 44,000 civilians have died as a direct result of "military intervention".

Thousands of civilians have been arrested based on hearsay, not given a lawyer, held without trail, and tortured. We do not have statistics on the number of Iraqis who have been treated in this manner.

The American Bill of Rights will no longer protect every day American citizens from illegal searches and seizures. You can be arrested at any time without evidence, a lawyer, and put away for long as the Bush administration believes you might be a terrorist threat. We have no statistics on the number of Americans who have been treated in this fashion.

The reality is at least 46,782 people have died on the account of 2,973 unfortunate deaths and the numbers are climbing at an alarming rate. If we value human life we need to give the Iraqi government, lawfully elected by their people, the power to decide if we are in the country and how we can facilitate their peaceful coexistence. If we value life, liberty, and all the rest, we wouldn't be using the Bill of Rights to wipe our collected backsides.

It's the karmic thing to do:

If you understand what karma is you'll understand this. If you're one of those people that puts karma in terms of good and bad or a spiritual bank account you probably won't.

Conservative politicians are hypocrites:

I've heard a lot about why we need to fight. I hear the word freedom spouted a lot. But I don't see any walk the walk. Someone once said follow the money and the money says everything about this "war". The conservatives currently in power have demonstrated that we do not truly support democratically elected governments (unless we have them in our back pockets--see the last 40 years of American influence around the globe if you don't believe me). I hear rhetoric about how it's tough but we gotta keep at it. I hear a lot of lies.

I don't know about you, but if a foreign nation bombed my neighborhood and killed my daughter and said, "Oops, well, now you're free!"--you bet your ass I'd quit my job and go medieval on their asses. The reality is violence breeds violence. Conservatively speaking lets say that for every 5 innocents killed in Iraq, a father, a mother, a daughter, a best friend, a husband or wife or their baby, that 1 new "insurgent" is born. That's almost 600 new insurgents that weren't there before the war.

People suffer as part of the human condition and if you give them a good target to aim at, a place to vent their frustrations--and if you give them every reason to believe you're a bunch of greedy, inhuman, life-hating monsters--you're only going to piss them off.

Bush, isn't it time we stopped pissing people off and gave them what you keep claiming to offer the whole world?


October 18th, 2006

So I like got on this MySpace.com thing and you know how like everyone's doing it so I thought it would be really awesome to do it to so I signed up even though I've got this great website already which I like put together all by myself and stuff. Then I like didn't have any friends and I felt all lonely but I found one friend from way back when I'd just moved to Portland, you know, and so I added her and like Kevin Smith, he makes these super awesome movies that are like way over the top and gross and just like hilarious, you know, then I had no more friends except every day these creepy sluts kept harping on me saying do you wanna visit my website, do you wanna join the party, do you wanna spend money on my cam while I like undress and stuff and I get sooooo pissy because they're the only people sending me like any messages so I got all like out there and said you know if I don't who's gonna so I searched around and saw all these people and like their MySpace pages and like all their pictures and empathically was super overwhelmed by everything good and bad and up and down and round and round, like I can't even tell you super intense it was!

I know you're saying like whatever but it was sooo intense!

So I like think if you're gonna pay to watch someone undress you should like use your hand and stuff instead of involving another person and like if your head and heart aren't like in the right place and you then save your money and play with yourself because it's not like cool to like play with other people because it can screw them up, you know, I mean, they'll never be the same after you try them on so why don't you just find something more useful to do with your time like a hobbie or like go out to a movie or if you really, really have to definitely just play with yourself and don't, like, play with other people and stop sending me those slutty invites!


I'm just like sitting here waiting and like, hoping to hear from some awesome people and stuff because I want to like, find someone who wants to help me with my book and have chats and maybe they'll let me practice like photography on them and maybe they'll take some good pictures of me and stuff and like, maybe we'll be friends for life cause I'm a pretty awesome person, you know what I mean, it's like, I know I'm not all that but I know I'm more than you'll ever know unless you write, call, drop by, take a leap, take a chance.

I gotta go and stuff,

October 16th, 2006

I love the internet if not for any other reason than it's saved me hundreds of dollars of late fees at the local library. This was one of my most frequent crimes as a teenager which was even more unforgivably pathetic given I volunteered at the bloody place! With the internet there are no late fees, no need to sneak books in and out for fear I'd end up with late fees (again); instead the internet gives me a warm fuzzy feeling that I can uncover any factoid I want with a little diligence and something faster than dial up. Yet now that I'm spoiled but such a technology I have to remember just what it was like back when I had to walk five miles up hill both ways to school to get that fuzzy warm feeling back.

And such is the way we learn to appreciate things we taken for granted.

Continuing forward on the subject of things I don't normally share and bringing that tightly or loosely together with the subject of the internet…

I want a Japanese girlfriend. Or a Chinese one. Actually, I haven't yet decided which. On the one hand I have heard from people who have traveled the orient that Japanese girls like to be in control and in particular they like to be in control of the checkbook; this tidbit of hearsay has been corroborated by sociological reports I've heard or read that examined how Japanese society is changing; more and more Japanese women are living with their parents because they wanted to live a lifestyle of few responsibilities especially where such responsibilities negatively impact their consumer habits. On the other hand the Chinese want to destroy us and what better way than to send a sexy Chinese spy to live with me and steal our highly sensitive software secrets based on published Microsoft technologies. What terrible choices I have before me!

Truth is, I wouldn't mind finding a girlfriend who has some foreign background simply because my experience with home grown American women isn't entirely positive. Since I don't wish to be sexist I'll generalize these comments to our society in general: we're self-centered, fickle, short sighted, randomly honest, and irrationally picky. I'd like to say no, that's not how Americans are but with very few exceptions my experience and observation, as well as the research, supports the bombastic notion that we're a society of consumers and that as people whose brains are conditioned to consume, consume, consume, we grow into adults that consume each other. The sad thing is most of us don't know any better.

So I'd like a Chinese girlfriend. If their movies are any indication they know suffering and pain and struggle and going through drama for all the right reasons. Or I'd like a Japanese girlfriend because, hey, they're cute. But if I were forced to choose one over the other at this moment I'd have to say I'm going for Chinese and why you ask? Because the Chinese make better dramas and the Japanese language is a real bitch to learn: http://pepper.idge.net/japanese/

If I can't have a Chinese girlfriend at least I'd like to meet some good people that can bring warmth and a sense of safety to my life that I haven't had in awhile. As I recently told someone I've become socially fragile as of late and have little to no extra energy or courage to go putting my foot out the door (both my physical and social knees hurt, man!). After you getting taken advantage of three or four or twenty times you realize just how much it not only impacts you but negatively effects those few you can really count on-so you make the conscious decision to just lay low for awhile, breath, and recuperate, before getting out there again. And I'm not ready to get out there again.

Five years ago I used to get out quite a bit, though. At my old job I was surrounded by artists and musicians and though I can't say I had a particularly close bond with any of them I got out with each from time to time for dinners and concerts, a few parties, and what have you. On some levels I have to admit I wasn't entirely ready to open up to these people as I'd just got over one traumatic life situation and was doing my best to hold my own on my own, yet I was able to be present, to put my foot out the door, to say yes, I'll be there to sing and dance and have a good time (or at least to have a good time-I usually only sing and dance while I'm alone).

I'd like to take a moment to share one of those old friends with you. He's a talented, intelligent, and well rounded guy. I can say he's one of those few people I can call a person of quality. Visit his site, drop by one of his concerts, enjoy: http://www.dylanthomasvance.com/

I digress. Wasn't I talking about girls? I mean, I want a girlfriend, damnit, or at least just someone to cuddle with, except…oh, you've buried all those memories, haven't you? Or put another way is instead of brooding over what you've been through you've put your focus on other things like your family and your job and your book and your motorcycle so when the idea of a girlfriend comes up you're really not thinking about the potential downsides of having one so it's good to be reminded and reminded by someone who's experiences, though seemingly over the top, aren't too far from reality:


So there we are, a little rambling, a little exploration out from The Temple, a little whining, a little peace, a few more pieces of me.

October 15th, 2006

I'll let you in on a little secret, I'm not worried about the end of the world. In fact you might even say I don't care. I don't. The human race could end tomorrow from a plague, a week from now could be the Second Coming written of in Revelations, or we might peter out due to overuse and abuse of the planet's resources. It may seem a bit callous to you but the truth is I really don't care.

That's not to say I've always felt this way. In 1985 I remember listening to the words of Sting's album, Dream of the Blue Turtles. Unlike my classmates who were unaware, I was highly conscious that a full out and out nuclear war was potentially minutes away. I remember one summer spending my nights camping out on the lawn of our 3 acre farm listening to the crickets, watching for shooting stars, and wondering if I'd survive to see 1990. As I lay there in that blue four man tent listening to his lyrics I couldn't help but wonder if we, as a race, had completely lost our fucking minds. I feared for our survival and prayed for us all.

I had a similar fearful experience during my sister's high school graduation. I was sitting there in an uncomfortable folding chair waiting for the ceremony to begin and as was common on such occasions I had reading material to stifle any boredom that might occur during periods of waiting. In this case it was a Discover magazine and the particular article I was reading was about the life cycles of stars. I was fascinated by what I was reading and discovered that one day, millions and millions of years in the future, our sun would most likely become a red giant, the result of which would be the certain annihilation of every planet from Mercury to Mars as the sun exploded in size. I then realized I felt nauseas and deathly afraid. One day, in the distant future, there would be no earth. No more pyramids, no more Great Wall of China, no more Pacific Ocean of Rocky Mountains-nothing to memorialize an entire race of intelligent, passionate beings. I knew it was irrational, I'd be long dead and gone, but the knowledge that the planet, our mother earth, would also face its demise was too much for me.

I've experienced similar feelings in other regards too. I've watched the exponential growth of industrialization around the world and have feared for the world my daughter is growing up in. I have watched the proliferation of "Weapons on Mass Destruction" (often by our own government) and have been overly aware of the death and destruction we as a race are responsible. I have had concerns about our diets, about the cars we drive, about the leaders we elect or don't elect (as the case may be), and I have at times wanted to just scream. How can we be so foolish?

I'm done with that now. You might say I've worried enough, I've prayed enough, and I've cried enough. You might say that I've come to the understanding that there's always something to worry about, there's always someone that's going to say the end is nigh, there's always a cause I can give purpose to and eventually loose myself to. You could say I've discovered there's no use being worried about the shit in the macrocosm while I'm not cleaning up the shit in my microcosm. You could say I psychically had visions of the past, present, and future. You could say all these things and you'd be right. In the end, though, what is fear of the end times but a symptom of an inflated human ego unwilling to allow the universe to do what it does best: Change while remaining the same.

October 14th, 2006

Do you ever feel like you're in a pitch black room? Actually, you're not in a room. Well, you could be in a room but you don't know because it's pitch black. I mean, you could be in a pitch black room or you could be out in the middle of desert and you could just be blindfolded and yes, indeed, it seems you are blindfolded so you take it off and there you are in a pitch black room again.


Your eyes aren't going to do you any good so it's other senses to the rescue. You feel a slight breeze but its short lived. Was it wind, air through a window, a vent? Did you hear footsteps behind you, someone breathing on your neck perhaps? There's a smell in the air. Is it trees, grass, incense? And then a quick sound off to the left and another behind. You're moving forward and you kick something but it's no longer there when you feel for it. You get on your hands and knees and feel along the ground. It's flat sometimes, like tile, so you think eventually you'll come up against a wall and you think to yourself you'll follow it around, find a door, find a light switch and just as this hope leaps to your mind tile turns to concrete and concrete turns to gravel and gravel.

What you would give for a flashlight but you're here for a reason. You're here because you've been there before and the only reason you could get from where you were to where you want to be is by being where you are. You knew that was the agreement, that was the deal, that was the only way, the map said, "You are here," and you saw on the other side a place you really thought it'd be great to be and between the two was a huge nothing and there was no going around it. There is a sense of disquieting loneliness, a yearning to bump up against a wall and feel something with clear definition and form.

What would it feel like to feel the shape of a basketball again, or a pine cone, or another's face? What would it look like to walk on a path of ideas, swim in a sea of ideals, taste the sweetness of young love? The memories are there, somewhere towards the back, yet again you find yourself on the gravel and it's turned to a cool stream and you find yourself digging deeper and deeper asking yourself what it was like, what was that like, and why do you keep moving away or are you moving away or are you finding something deeper, more substantial, more solid and trustworthy to base your next steps upon?

Suddenly you remember what they were doing and it doesn't seem nearly as serious as it did before or when it does it doesn't seem necessarily sane or well thought out. No, there were pages missing and you saw that. Some you knew where to find, others you still didn't have, but you knew the vacancy wasn't something you could stand idly by and live with so you asked around and found the map and it wasn't quite what you were looking for but the others said you had to go through the emptiness on your own; time and time again, as many times as you needed, as many times as you wanted, and on the other side you could touch the sky with one hand and the ground with the other-or perhaps both with outstretched fingertips?

October 12th, 2006

Sometimes my daughter engages in behaviors that I as a parent am not pleased with. This, I believe, is true of all parents who wish the very best for their children and who understand that they have a responsibility to raise the child in a way that not only reflects their own values but hopefully will lead to a mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy adulthood. So I spend a great deal of time not only thinking about my values but asking myself if the way I'm raising my daughter will effectively teach her those values. In particular and most importantly, are those values valid in objective reality or am I simply projecting my hopes and fears onto another generation?

One method I use as a parent and as a non-practicing psychology enthusiast is observational, that is, I watch the behavior of adults and I ask myself several questions. Are these adults engaging in socially healthy behaviors? Is their behavior beneficial, i.e. does it help them achieve their goals? How about their communication? Their interests, diet, job, etc.? Adults, in my opinion, differ only superficially from children. Sure, we may be sexually active but just like children we yearn for affection and what makes us feel good. Sure, we may have a mortgage but just like children we have responsibilities that are (hopefully) congruent with our level of maturity. Sure, we may have more experiences but experience is less a function of age and more a function of attention and dare I say the intelligence to use what information we have to make smart and/or wise decisions.

I see some behaviors adults engage in as dysfunctional. By dysfunctional I mean that though the behaviors might have short term benefits they end up getting in one's way over the long haul. I see many of these same behaviors in my daughter. Some she picks up at school. Some she picks up from adults (myself included-I would not feign innocence!). Others she engages in because (omg) she's a human being. Whatever the case, here are a few behaviors I observe both in adults and her (and possibly myself) that I am doing my very best as a parent to guide her away form in hopes of giving her the mental and emotional tools to live a more conscious and effective life:

The bald faced lie

Yes, I love my daughter but she's sometimes guilty of the bald faced lie. My definition of a "bald faced lie" is when you ask someone a straight forward, often yes or no, question such as, "Did you finish your homework?" and get an answer that does not accurately reflect reality and the person answering the question was completely aware of it. Needless to say I am never pleased with her when she says an out and out lie and she often receives a logical consequence or other type of punishment as a result.

Why is telling the truth important? (beyond the obvious cookie cutter answer, of course)

It's simple, in my view: trust. Trust is very important and if you make a habit of answering straight forward questions with bald faced lies people won't trust you. Who cares? Lets see, if you tell bald faced lies at your job you can loose not only the trust of those you work with, but their respect. People may like you or what have you but they will learn that they need to do the legwork if they want to know something important rather than go right to you and ask. Worse yet, you may get a reputation for being someone that lacks verbal integrity and who wants to be viewed that way?

Negative Manipulation

Whether or not we're conscious of it social creatures are always manipulating each other. Maybe we just got to work and we're looking for a little chat by the water cooler or maybe we need to rant or maybe we want money, whatever the case we're always acting in subtle or not so subtle ways manipulating each other.

This is not an inherently negative thing. Whether or not we want to admit it to ourselves we manipulate ourselves and our thoughts and by extension of that our behavior manipulates other people's thoughts and behavior. There is what I refer to as "positive" and "negative" behavior, though.

Positive manipulation is behavior we engage in with the intention of having a positive outcome for those we're interacting with. For instance, if you saw someone was crying and asked what was wrong and if you could do anything for them, you would be manipulating them in a fashion but only in a manner to present them with options that they might use in a positive fashion. Negative manipulation, however, is anytime we manipulate others for purely selfish purposes, often without regard for the impact on others.

My daughter, for instance, may give me a big hug and tell me she loves me. Seems positive, right? But guess what, the next thing out of her mouth might be, "Can I go to my friends house?" to which I, being a crazy-ass parent who wants to teach her responsibility, asks, "Have you finished your homework and saxophone practice?" to which she gets quiet and finally admits she's not. I tell her to finish her homework first then she can go and in this case no one is hurt-or is someone?

Even the most subtle negative manipulation harms someone. In the before mentioned example my daughter's behavior had two very real results. The first is that she planted a seed in me to expect her to have ulterior motives whenever she's overly affectionate towards me (fortunately she does not engage in these behaviors consistently or often or I would have reason for concern). Second, by trying to get out and have fun before taking care of her responsibilities she's made an agreement with herself that dad's the gatekeeper. Put another way, if I forget to ask about her homework one time out of five she learns she's not necessarily responsible for it and there's a sufficient award for playing dumb, the reward being getting to play without doing homework every now and again.

As adults we see examples of negative manipulation all the time in advertising. Home loan and credit card commercials are some of the worst offenders. Just turn on the tele, you'll see ad after ad manipulating us and telling us half-truths (and often outright lies) to get us to spend our hard earned dollars. How about at your job? Ever had someone try to manipulate you to side against another co-worker? Against a project? Ever had someone who wasn't happy with their lot in life try to get you to do their work? Then there's friendship and relationships. You can't tell me you haven't been on the shitty end of the stick and when you get right down to it, there's no clean end of the negative manipulation stick to be on. Negative manipulation always results in bad karma and the stench of bad karma can stay around for years no matter how much soap we try to clean ourselves with!

Talking out the arse

My daughter just got her progress report back and she got a few C's. Why? She was talking out of her arse.

I love my daughter but like many youth these days she has gotten into the habit of abusing words like "like" as vacuous filler words instead of as part of a simile. Not only that, her comfortable accent is what many of us (myself included) describe as "valley girl" talk, that is, sometimes she talks without completing a sentence, carrying a coherent idea through to a conclusion, and raises her voice as if asking questions after every other run-on-half-sentence.

This behavior, I've noticed, is indicative of people who think talking out their arse is a useful communication style. Why describe the book you just read or a movie you just saw in a descriptive way if you can, like, say it was, like awesome and stuff, you know? I don't think most people realize that there's a very functional reason this style of speaking has become almost ubiquitous: if we like talk like we're always like asking questions we don't like have to take much responsibility for like a goddamn thing we say.

A car salesman, though, is going to know better than talk like a teenager. However, talking out of their arses is one way to loose sales. For instance, one of the most common types of salesman I meet on lots are those who know next to nothing about the vehicles they're trying to sell me. "Does it have fold down seats in back?" I might ask to which they say, "Oh yeah, how could you live without it?" so I get in the back and find out this isn't true, that the convertible has locked in seats to insure the chassis of the car is more stable.

Adults who talk out of their arses loose respect. Salesmen who talk out of their arses loose sales. Coworkers who talk out of their arses loose our interest. Children who talk out of their arses do it for the same reasons adults do, whether they're aware of it or not. They are rewarded for it in the short term, but slammed in the long run.

Oh, but it is so hard to teach my daughter the connection!


Reacting to stimuli is not what I'd call a conscious lifestyle and though we Americans tend to think we know what's going on in the world, we're highly conditioned reactionaries. We've been programmed by television, by advertising, by school, and by our social groups to react to things instead of to live consciously in the moment.

Though we think we are not slaves to this mentality the truth is, every time we react we're not living in a healthy manner. We may feel justified at getting angry when someone illegally cuts us off at an intersection but the fact of the matter is, there's no hard coded rule that says we must get upset. Me? I typically honk at the person as an observable social "vote" that says, "Hey, that was dangerous, I don't approve"-because I have this silly idea and that is if more people did that fewer people would drive in a dangerous manner which would lead to fewer accidents which leads to lower insurance rates which leads to calmer people on the roads and so on and so forth. No, I can't follow that guy or gal and see if my conscious behavior and choice has made a difference but…it's not really about the fact that I can see the difference I'm trying to make, it's that I'm consciously trying to make a difference instead of reacting like Pavlov's dog and getting everyone wet.

Whenever my daughter engages in some of the behaviors I describe on this page my response is to ask her to take responsibility for her behavior and choices. Her response to this is sometimes reactionary and at its worst it leads her to increase the other maladaptive behaviors, thus digging herself a bigger and bigger hole. Unconscious reactions leads to negative results and ineffectual behaviors lead to further reactions and so on and so forth.

Conscious living: It's the bomb, baby.

B*tt f*cking Monkeys

I hate to sound negative but as a race we're not much better than a bunch of b*tt f*cking monkeys. If you don't believe me take some time to read Jane Goodall's research on chimpanzees, which is quite extensive and interesting. You'll find that chimps are intelligent, caring, capable of empathy and understanding, insecure, violent, playful, tool building creatures. They may not be able to build, say, a car but then how many humans can even change the oil on one?

Monkey's mount each other for many reasons. They do it to show dominance. They do it to show off. They do it to feel better about themselves. And then they've got to keep doing it because if they don't someone will mount them and oh, gross!

My daughter's favoured form of social mounting is bossing other kids around. When she was young she grew up in an environment where there was no real boundaries and definitions between her and adults so she got her way most of the time. Her world changed dramatically on meeting me (I'm such a big meanie) and she learned not only to respect authority figures, but that we all have social roles and obligations that are defined by silly little things like age, sex, genders, and so on and so forth. And so being an only child and one who was once spoiled she found herself in a weird world where she was given limitations and expectations and rules and what have you and what was her natural inclination with this as a role model?

We show dominance over her, she observes these behaviors and demonstrates dominance over her friends. I turn around and say, "Hey, do you notice that your friends don't like it when you boss them around?" and she says, "I'm not bossing them…oh, I guess I am," and then I ask, "How do you think it makes them feel towards you?" and the conversation goes on and we realize after talking and life experiencing that living like b*tt f*cking monkeys is not an effective way of having our wants and needs met.

So stop mounting people you stupid monkey. Stop it!

Earwax Surgery

Have you ever danced with someone and had your feet stepped on? Have you ever danced with someone and had your feet stepped on and they didn't notice they were stepping on your feet? Have you ever danced with someone and had your feet stepped on and they didn't notice they were stepping on your feet so you said, "Hey, you're stepping on my feet."? Have you ever danced with someone and had your feet stepped on and they didn't notice they were stepping on your feet so you said, "Hey, you're stepping on my feet," and they say, "Oh, ok, sorry"? Have you ever danced with someone and had your feet stepped on and they didn't notice they were stepping on your feet so you said, "Hey, you're stepping on my feet," and they say, "Oh, ok, sorry," but they keep stepping on your feet? Have you ever danced with someone and had your feet stepped on and they didn't notice they were stepping on your feet so you said, "Hey, you're stepping on my feet," and they say, "Oh, ok, sorry," but they keep stepping on your feet and you say, "If you don't stop stepping on your feet I'm not going to dance with you any more"? Have you ever danced with someone and had your feet stepped on and they didn't notice they were stepping on your feet so you said, "Hey, you're stepping on my feet," and they say, "Oh, ok, sorry," but they keep stepping on your feet and you say, "If you don't stop stepping on your feet I'm not going to dance with you any more" and they say one of the following: "I'm not stepping on your feet" or "If you really cared about me you wouldn't complain" or "Why can't you just accept me for who I am?" or "I said I was sorry" or "Why can't you just deal" or "Fuck you!"

Truth is, I fully expect that a twelve year old isn't going to listen sometimes-but it really rubs me wrong when "adults" do not listen to clear an unambiguous English like, "I don't appreciate it when you lie to me," or, "I'm not comfortable with your constant nagging, if you don't stop I'm going to leave," or, "Hey, when you slander me I'm going to stand up for myself. What? You're not going to stop? Alrighty then!"

Personally, I have very little respect for adults who cannot listen. I admit, it's a huge pet peeve of mine. I mean, we're social beings. We talk. What use is language if we don't listen to one another? We might as well go back to grunting with our mounting. And you know what? From an empathic point of view there's no perceptual difference between two screaming chimps mounting each other and two human beings doing it with colourful adjectives.

Shame on people who do not listen!

Answer the bloody question!

My daughter hates it when I ask her to answer a yes or no question. "Yes or no?" I ask. She fumbles, she tries to get around it, she pushes and pushes, she gives rambling semi-explanation after non-related information and I'm standing there saying, "Yes or no?"

There's an old geek joke: There are 10 types of people in the world, those that understand binary and those that don't. For those that don't understand, 10 is binary for the number 2 and the joke is based on that special knowledge and irony. The joke also relates to what I was saying before. Yes or no represent the two states of binary, the only two things a computer understands: on and off.

There are those people who are capable of answering yes or no questions and those that are not.

Being able to answer yes or no questions clearly and honestly is an important life skill. For instance, if our manager asks us if we can complete a certain project within a certain timeframe and our response is to launch into some personally meandering diatribe-he or she may start to become a little frustrated with us. If our typical reaction to simple straight forward questions is this kind of answer then others will tend to not only become frustrated with us, but avoid asking us questions, simple or otherwise, whenever it's possible for them to do so.

Trust me, being someone who's naturally inclined to share "the rest of the story" when asked a question, I've learned this lesson the hard way!!!

So it's always a good idea to not only listen to the question being asked but answering it clearly and if it's yes or no, just answer honestly, concisely, and without the runaround. People will respect you for it.

I can't believe you wore that!

If it wasn't for a lifetime of observing people judge each other for something as superficial and silly as the clothes they're wearing I wouldn't believe it. Person A and person B don't want to be walking around naked so one wears a suit and the other wears t-shirts and jeans with holes in the knees. Person A thinks person B is a slacker and won't have anything to do with them and person B thinks person A is a conformist and won't have anything to do with them. Rediculous!

Judging people by their clothing, their skin colour, their sex, their gender, their age, their interests, their political association-I understand it's very human to do this but it makes me sick to the stomach. Aren't we more evolved than that? Wouldn't life be much simpler if we'd stop judging each other for silly things that don't have any bearing on objective reality (unless we make it so) and judge each other for what really matters: how we treat each other and the world around us?

I'm actually darn proud of my daughter in this regard. She's a tom-boy without all these twisted notions about "gender correctness". She hangs with boys and with girls and for the most part just lets them be themselves (though she's more than likely going to get bored if asked to play with Barbie). She has friends of practically every colour, friends who are older, friends who are younger, and gets along with adults fairly well. She's gone to Lutheran church many times and also shows interests in other points of view. She questions me for judging Harley riders (what can I say, I judge them based on how many of them *treat* non-Harley riders) and she thinks segregation based on clothing or hairstyle is downright stupid.

Now if only more of us were like that.

The world is a big place

The world is a big place and it frustrates me to no end people who behave as if it's not. Are there such people? Absolutely, and they're in the majority. If someone tells you you're going to hell because you don't believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savoir they're not just expressing their personal belief, they're going out of their way to put you in their little box of belief. If someone tells you that you shouldn't be driving a big gas guzzling SUV they're doing the same. Every time someone opens their bloody mouth saying, "this is how it is," they're trying to limit, to define, and when it comes down to it they're just reinforcing a personal cage for their heart, mind, and soul.

For me writing is no exception to this rule.

The first step for broadening your world view is to accept people for who they are, what they believe. And you know, this is very difficult for me. Unlike most people who have groups they might feel comfortable in, I have never felt comfortable or felt like I truly fit into any group ever. I may have some environmentalist views, but I go nuts around people who are trapped inside those views (a Tori Amos lyric comes to mind, "When it's all said and done, we will lose a piece to a carnivorous vegetarian."). I may have some conservative views, but it drives me nuts hanging around Republicans who really think George W. is making the world a safer place (yesterday it blew me away when he denied the statistics for # of civilians dead in Iraq since the invasion began). I have low tolerance for anyone who's living in a box and wants everyone else to live in it with them.

Again, I'd be a hypocrite if I tried to convince you that I don't have my boxes; I do. When I write, the moment I commit word to paper, I'm agreeing to a box of ideas, of things I want to share or teach or whine about. I'm committing myself to a story, a plot, with exciting characters both fictional and real, and I follow and push them through twists and turns. The trick, though, is always broadening that box, pushing the boundaries out, maybe cleaning the sides so we can see through them a little bit more a day at a time until we get motivated enough to pull out a hand saw and build a window or maybe a door. And then we get out of our boxes and look back in and realize we can go in and out at will.

We can all go in and out at will. The fact that we cannot, that is an illusion.

October 10th, 2006


I said I'd share some things I don't often share so that's one of them. Today, for no specific or justifiable reason, I felt a heavy sense of hopeless that not only wouldn't leave but broadened as the day went forward. Fifteen years ago I would not have been able to cope with the sensations that were overcoming my heart, body, and spirit. At moments I felt an overwhelming desire to cry and though I'm aware I have monthly rhythms it was far beyond the norm (yes, men have monthly emotional rhythms as well and for empaths that live with women it's doubly so!). I had moments where I questioned this whole working for money thing and other moments where I questioned being part of this whole society thing and moments where I questioned this whole breathing thing. Fifteen years ago I would have just called in sick, got in the shower, and cut myself.

Sometimes it sucks that the idea of smoking again holds no interest for me…there's no hope that it will provide a temporary Band-Aid, a few minutes of pleasure…no, I see that cycle as the destructive cycle it is so there's no attraction to it.


I haven't shared that one particular fact (cutting) with too many people over the years and only and always with someone I felt I could trust. With the exception of a small handful, that trust has been betrayed. And so in some ways you could say much of my feelings of hopelessness stems from this. I mean, there's a part of me that really needs friendship and a part of me that really needs love and a part of me that really needs a supportive, loving, and affectionate partner-I thirst so much for soft healing and support and yet the last fifteen times I've put myself out there I was used, lied to, manipulated, slandered, and taken advantage of-I've gone through things I don't even believe, sometimes!

In many ways I've supplanted the search for social warmth for that of setting realistic and attainable goals and year after year I demonstrated to myself that I could accomplish them. I got myself out of debt. I bought a house. I purchased a really nice car and learned how to ride a motorcycle then bought one and went on trip after trip. I stopped smoking. Goal after goal I set, all goals I could achieve on my own (or with moderate help from others), and I've achieved so many.

And today?

Today I sat behind three monitors at my work, interacting with three or four machines at a time, people sometimes lining up at my desk needing help, my knees and left ankle killing me, feeling more and more like I just needed to be held and damnit I wanted to cry and scream, "Is this all there is? Do I go home tonight feeling mentally worn out-no wait, can't go home, my pick up my daughter-and then talk to her about her progress report and dinner and this and that and all the time my knees are killing me and I'm only 32 will I just keep getting worse and worse will I be in a wheelchair a year from now even after a hundred dollars of feet supports and knee braces and ice packs and hundreds more dollars of doctors bills, physical therapy, and going to the gym every other day? Will I just grow older to see my daughter become an independent teenager in a world teaching her it's best to be selfish, hypocritical, and dishonest? Will I go through these struggles feeling more and more challenged and then watch the few support systems I have die or get married and move their own way? Is there a point to self betterment, to honesty, to integrity, to all these things I hold dear?"

I think I've hit the real challenge of this phase of my life. I have learned to do the right thing. I have learned to stay in the fight. I have learned to go where angels fear to tread. I've learned to be honest even when it's not in my best interests. I've learned to set goals and keep them. I've learned not to retaliate against people who some would say fucking well deserve it. I've learned to see other people's points of view when I might feel justified to hate, lash out, or what have you. I've learned to keep my trap shut when it would be easier to take even the smallest digs at someone behind their back (one of my latest and most difficult challenges because it's so easy to slip into doing). I've learned to sit still in silence when I want to turn the radio up and drown out my frustrations.

Now I think I'm learning to keep moving forward, day in and day out, without giving up, without giving in, though there is no immediate or foreseeable reward and it's a bloody drag. And that's how I felt today. That's how I've been feeling a lot lately. I told Vipassana I need a change, I need a surprise. So much of my life is devoted to my responsibilities at work, towards my daughter, towards Vipassana-and yes, I've learned to set aside time for myself on vacations, on weekends, and what have you-but my soul needs something different, something new, something refreshing, and something healing. I need to find the spiritual and emotional gas station and fill up my tank. I need to see people acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them, take responsibility for them, and make tangible amends for them. I need to see those with power use that power with humility and wisdom, something I see less and less in social groups both global and local, macro and micro. I need to hear from someone from my past that's going to do more than just check in on how I'm doing or say something like they want friendship then vanish. I'm so tired of vacuous friendship that makes me feel like I either need to chase after the friendship or wait and wait and wait and I'm done chasing and I'm done waiting, I'm ready for people who see my worth and treat me with the respect, dignity, and love I deserve. You deserve that, why wouldn't I?

Long story short: I'd like a little T.L.C. and I'm not ashamed to say it.

Now one might say that I'm caught in a negative cycle and to some extent I'd agree. Negative thoughts can breed negative thoughts and our outlook is "everything". And truth is years and years and years ago I was someone that would get stuck-literally stuck-in these stories and I wouldn't be able to see the forest for the trees or, in fact, turn around and find a beach to walk upon instead. Now, though, I'm intimately aware that our suffering-my suffering-is caused by our personal illusions; this is a fight against myself. The ironic thing is that I can acknowledge this and at the same time see the very human fight I have regarding my ego's stories and I almost feel ashamed of myself, ashamed that I've found some beneficial and beautiful knowledge about being but sometimes, yes, sometimes, I just feel I need to fucking crash land and either cuddle up and watch some tv or ask the universe for a cute little oriental girl in a cute little convertible who wants more than a joy ride with me.

And so today my soul screams for something!

So I've joined a gym, an exclusive club which I spend seven to ten hours at a week pushing myself and bringing further clarity to my mind, my heart, my body, and my spirit. And yet I feel the yearning to ask for a hand, some T.L.C., some warmth that I haven't had in a long, long, terribly long time, some caring that I haven't truly felt like I've needed in a long, long, omg, such a long-long time.

For now, though, I must revitalize my body and mind and so I'm off to the hot tub where I will soak and read and then it's time for stretches and then for bed.

Take care and goodnight,

October 8th, 2006

Challenges followed by struggles, struggles followed by challenges. That's what life feels like lately. I'm experiencing and learning from challenges when I feel somewhat refreshed, rested, and in a positive mood; I feel everything's a struggle when the same problem I overcame three months or three weeks or three days or three hours ago blows up in my face again.

All sentient beings experience suffering, that's the Buddhist perspective. And you could argue much of the suffering I've experienced as of late has been karmic. However, still being caught up in what's amounted to an emotionally draining and frustrating day I find myself overly upset by my predicament. This year has been so lonely and tough and draining, I'm so completely and utterly tired of finding myself struggling only to remind myself it's all about intent and viewpoint, blah, blah, blah, get up, don't mope about, jot down your game plan, your goals and…

…and maybe you'll end up flat on your face like you feel has so often been the case this past year…

Case in point: my car.

I love my car. Bought it two years ago from an internet sales guy brand new before it even hit the U.S. coastline. Built in Hiroshima it was a reward to myself for getting out of debt and also a little emotional boost after having been taken on Mister Toad's Wild Ride by a girl who promised me everything and left me with a sorely damaged sense of trust. I loved that car but then I got into motorcycles, something I wasn't planning on. No biggie, just sell the car and get something more affordable, right?

Not so easy.

Now I know when you drive a car off the lot its value drops ten to fifteen percent. No biggie. I bought it under MSRP and made a down payment. Every year I've paid several thousand past what my bank requires and over the last year I've been having them automatically deduct more than my minimum payment. And yet when I look at the Kelly Blue Book mark it's been under what I owe so…can't trade it in without having a few thousand on hand just to make it worth it to the car dealerships.

My attitude about this a year and a half ago, when I saw that my model vehicle was depreciating in value at alarming rates (last year it underwent a drop of about three to four thousand dollars in two months!), was that I'd up my payments and pay off larger amounts when I could do so safely. Yet when I checked Kelly Blue Book the retail value of my vehicle kept dropping-and when I say drop I mean drop like a brick thrown in a lake drop. So my frustration is, in a nutshell, that I'd like to get a cheaper, more gas efficient, more roomy, more "earth friendly", vehicle-but I'm completely prevented from it by the ebbs and flows of both the market and consumer perception (which is in large part responsible for the depreciation of the vehicle).

Much of my day was spent at a car dealership learning that even though I'm close to KBB, I'm still not able to trade my vehicle in. I'm stuck and I don't have $3k to blow-and though I recognize I'm responsible for a fair part of my predicament-I just want to be unstuck. I want to be able to walk in and get a used something or other or a Prius or what have you and not be financially screwed like I've been lately and I want to stop knowing more about most of this than 90% of the car salesmen that I've talked with (who need to go talk to their manager who need to talk to their manager who need to talk to their manager, ad nasaum).

So it's a challenge of difficulties and life lessons. I know there are some financial hurdles ahead of me which I will somehow manage to overcome. And I've learned the danger of putting a significant amount of ones resources (money, energy, time, etc.) into something when you don't know what the future holds (especially if there's the possibility of a downturn that one would have an extraordinarily difficult time recovering from). I've found that I shouldn't make decisions that will affect my life for years to come while my heart's in taters. And then when all this becomes too much…

What can I say? Today just sucked. As soon as we get home Vipassana discovered she'd left her purse at the restaurant-30 miles away-yet we're already emotionally worn out from the pointless hours at the car dealership and both, I'm sure, are worn out by my daughter's behavior which would have swings from perfect, patient angel to nagging devil-child. On our way back I grabbed my laptop, which I'm writing on now, and my daughter's finally reading a book which she spent ten to fifteen minutes arguing that she wouldn't read because it was "too boring" and didn't have a plot. At home I will rest, I will do laundry, I will log online and work, I will do more research to understand my present problem from an even bigger standpoint. I will not feel the comfort of warm arms around me, I will not get to look forward to my next motorcycle ride (no, the shop still doesn't know what's wrong with it-but at least after four months of telling them it didn't sound right they realize I'm on the money and are taking a look at it [hopefully not to the detriment of my presently taxed wallet]). I could go to the gym but…

And that's the other thing, I joined a gym recently. Actually, it's a club and it's a rather nice club, a somewhat expensive club, but it has everything I need and I really need to get my body back on track and work on getting my hips stronger and by extension of that improve the knee pain which has only marginally been relieved by months of physical therapy. I know, I know, with money concerns it was just stupid of me to make such a decision but in truth I don't think I could have made a better decision than to join a club where I could feel comfortable and have all the facilities necessary to improve those areas my body which has been challenging me or struggling me, depending on the day. And frankly, I've been so emotionally and physically worn out since January that I need to take whatever steps are necessary to keep me from drowning in some grand, unnecessary, and arguably ridiculous funk.

I gotta say though, the theme of this year, the struggling with the constant return to this "think positive" mindset-is getting old. I want some surprises, some gold at the end of the rainbow, some little bits of wonder and beauty and lottery that I am in much need of and what I'm in need of is reminders that life isn't always about lessons and challenges and struggles. I want something amazing to happen, something out of the ordinary, something to make things lighter. This cycle of transforming struggles into challenges has me worn out.

P.S. That's a picture of my dream car, a red VW Cabriolet with white top (preferably automatic--yeah, I've gone soft in my old age!). Loved them since the 80's and if I were in the position to get one I'd trade my fancy sports car in a heartbeat for the joy of a cute, fashionable, popular classic topless VW!

October 4th, 2006

I was so proud of you the day you missed that deer. I remember sitting there and you were shaking. I wasn't sure if I'd been to harsh when I'd directed you to turn off the road or if I was overwhelmed by your emotions. You could have hit the deer, you could have veered off the road into a tree, you could have slammed on the breaks and caused someone to rear end us, but you did the right thing.

I will always be proud of you for overcoming what seems impossible.

Next time, though, try it on a motorcycle--that'll really get your adrenaline going (not that I'd know! ;-)~

October 3rd, 2006

I share snap shots. No more and no less. You may read these pages and think you see the whole picture but you only see the snap shots. In between are countless breaths. You can put the shots together and speed them up and it may seem like you have a film but in truth it's only a caricature, a somewhat accurate representation based on photos and gaps, snap shots and breaths.

I used to feel a strong need to fill in the gaps. Seven, eight, nine years ago I was the type of bloke that would recount my entire life story over a late evening of coffee and cigarettes. And then it all changed. Though there are some I have shared a fair amount with since '99, for the most part I keep my stories more and more to myself. True, I write, true, I take pictures, true, I explore the world around me, but it has been a long, long time since coffee and cigarettes. A very long time.

It started with a strong sense of disillusionment. I lived a decade with certain ideas. If I worked hard and went to school I could get a job and contribute to society in a meaningful way and support myself. That idea was blown after surviving layoff after layoff only to finally be canned myself. And then there was the idea that I had a soul mate and she loved me and I loved her and we'd have children… Just one more idea that met a difficult and painful death.

And then I was off on my own with no friends and a new job and with this constant sense of fear stemming from the recognition that my job might not be around the next day. Friends I used to have no longer kept in touch regardless of how much I wanted that connection and friends I'd had for a decade or more completely abandoned me. This was a time of challenge where I found myself sticking to my guns, doing what I knew to be right, learning to stay on the path of honesty, honor, integrity, and the like.

I wasn't going to give up, though, even after loosing that job when the dot com bubble burst. No friends, in debt, tired, and scared, I got up every morning and submitted three resumes. Every day: wake up, smoke, get a Super Big Gulp, smoke, submit resumes, look for more job openings. Month after month after month of this. Few friends and those I had I saw from time to time but they were doing their own things in their own worlds and I had my own world trying to heal, trying to find a reason, trying to find a job, never giving up hope--afraid I'd give up hope and give in to old patterns.

But I never did.

And so I explored. I met different people and I opened my life to everyone that knocked on the door. That was the kind of person I was and I started to ask myself if I was completely nuts. Why am I so trusting? Why am I opening my life like this? Why am I such a dumbass? Because you want others to trust you. Because you want others to open their lives to you. Because you're a dumbass.

Then I learned to create boundaries. And I learned that trust should truly be earned regardless of how much a person says they can be trusted. And my heart wept as I tripped and stumbled learning to build up these boundaries, these walls to protect myself from those who didn't have my best interests at heart.

Then I closed up. And I opened up. And I closed down. And I started up again with a roar.

And now it is today. I have learned to stay in the hard conversations. I have learned to communicate my boundaries. I have learned how to fight the good fight, regardless of the cost or reward. I have learned to keep my chin up through disappointments. Yet I am struggling. I am struggling with loneliness. I am struggling with the same old same old. I am struggling with a bad knee and struggling with my stomach and struggling with my weight. I am struggling with work. I am struggling with home. My bike is in the shop and they don't know what is wrong with it; I don't know when I'll get it back.

It's been like that a lot lately and I don't know what's in store for me.

October 1st, 2006

Something I’ve been complimented on over the years is my openness, especially in terms of what I share in a public forum such as The Temple. I’ve always found this comment striking and at times even a little surprising. I often judge myself against myself, that is, I don’t think I’m all that much open and forthcoming as I'm comparing myself to how I think I could be.

There’s a great deal I don’t share with anyone. For instance there are about a dozen things that I’ve gone through or have experienced with others or know about others that I simply won’t share with a broad audience because it would be either unethical or lacking in all honor to do so. Some of those things I’ve shared with a select few over the years (sometimes, unfortunately, to my regret) while others are simply my own. And then there are the things I don’t share because I don’t think to share them (such as what I’m thinking about when I brush my teeth) and other things I don’t share because I haven’t yet found the words. There are things I don’t share because I don’t feel anyone would understand (thus negating any usefulness they might bear for someone) and things I don’t talk about because I don’t quite understand them (yet). And then there are things I don’t talk about because I don’t want to hurt someone or upset someone or be threatened with litigation (by the way, if push came to shove I have no problem standing up in a court of law defending my first amendment rights). There are things I don’t talk about because I don’t have the time, things I don’t talk about because I don’t want to, and the list goes on.

When I look at myself in the mirror I see someone who could always be more open and really, frankly, isn’t any more open than anyone else. You see, how much we share is directly tied to feelings of safety and personal economy (i.e. "What'll it cost me?"). We say what we say because on some level we feel it’s either safe or relatively safe to do so or if not, that the personal cost of sharing something about ourselves is worth it to us.

For instance, I once lost a good friend all because I choose to tell her some rather startling but necessary revelations about her new boyfriend and I did not feel safe in the least but knew I had to tell her. She choose her boyfriend, of course, then many months later my warnings turned into truths and after much destruction in her own life she apologized to me. The situation was terrible and unfortunate but I could not have lived with the cost of not sharing certain information though I felt my safety was totally compromised.

In regards to safety I live a paradox. On the one hand I do not feel threatened by sharing almost anything, but on the other I’ve had so few adult friendships/relationships where I wasn’t, at some point, taken on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride-—and so while I can share quite openly, quite freely, and quite easily, I’ve become someone who’s overly particular about who he directly opens up to. As far as what’s posted at The Temple, though, it’s not hard for me. I share in hopes that you might learn something and not just about me but about yourself. I know I’m no guru or grand teacher, but I’ve been places, seen things, and want to share what I have to share so you might glean something useful from the sharing-—and in that endeavor I usually feel entirely and completely safe.

This month I’d like to write about things I don’t share with you. Whether they be things I don’t think to share, things I forget to share, things I’m afraid to share, or what have you, I hope that this exercise will be enlightening, thought provoking, and OMG, fun!