Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Month of Slumber

The day of slumber has become a month of slumber.

Where have I been? Been preoccupied. Occupied with finding a way to make money online, currently succeeding somewhat, though presently at a below minimum wage. I'm utilizing at least a dozen different channels, and learning as I go along. It's an adventure. Been wanting to do this for years, the next step is to turn it into a full-time income, because as it is now, it's just supplemental, won't pay the rent, but am happy with the progress I have made in so little time.

Anyway, besides that, I've also been preoccupied with my new smartphone. It's the first one I've ever had; am kind of late to the game. Discovered that you don't even have to have a phone plan to benefit from it, because it's basically a pocket PC, connected through WiFi and GPS.

At first, I was kind of turned off, I played games, and they were a major waste of time. I searched the web, and though it's okay for shallow searches, not really great for conducting major research, involving extensive reading and typing on your smartphone. Now I understand why those Google search suggestions come in handy, as well as the voice activated searches, it makes so much more sense for smartphones and tablets.

What I'm currently involved in and really having a lot of fun with, are the fitness apps. You know, running, walking, cycling, measuring your distance, speed, calories burned, even measuring push ups, sit ups, and squats. Had no idea that you can map your runs, being fully integrated with google maps through GPS, without access to a data plan or even WiFi. That's pretty cool. Yeah, the downside is that I'm being tracked, by who knows who for what purposes, because it's impossible to be fully off the grid and invisible if you have a GPS enabled smartphone that doesn't have a removable battery.

Anyway, it's been fun, and I've been fully involved in it. It reminds me of when I bought my first computer, my first laptop, and got my first internet connection. It's totally like that. A first for me, but probably a few years after other peoples first.

I'm doing the fitness apps, the brain training games to make you smarter, hopefully, and pretty much exploring which apps are worth downloading and which are worth keeping. Will probably make a list eventually, but for now, that's what I've been up to: making money online and playing with my new smartphone. Yeah, and also exercising and reading, but mostly the other stuff; it's my month of slumber.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Day of Slumber

So, I decided to join the 21st century and bought myself a smartphone. Just a cheap one, a pay as you go, but I would say probably one of the better budget phones out there, a Moto E 4g, but without a phone plan just yet.

I'm just trying it out, and pretty much I spent about four hours on it doing absolutely nothing of importance. I guess just getting familiar with it. But really, I would call it a major time waster, an unnecessary distraction. Though on the positive side makes a nice little portable media player, for YouTube, and listening to music, and also navigating Google maps, but since I hardly ever make phone calls, the $30 dollar a month basic phone plan through Verizon seems a bit steep for my needs. May have to go with an even more basic, non-smartphone, where I can get a plan for about $10 a month, only used for emergencies. But on the plus side I figured this phone will pay for itself within a month with the mobile only surveys I can do on it, either way I paid for it with Amazon credit I earned online in my spare time, so it was basically a freebie.

***

Anyway, I mentioned earlier that I adopted another cat. Things are working out, but it's been a long and slow process of adaptation. It's difficult introducing a second cat, often times it doesn't work out, they fight, they try to kill each other, and it just can't happen, as much as you'd like to. Well, my cat, the first cat, is a male, an older cat, pushing 15 year's old. The new cat, is a female, much younger. So far, the key to our success has been a very gradual introduction, keeping them separated, she sleeps with me, he sleeps in the living room, with limited supervised visits. It's like an arranged marriage I'm overseeing. All visits must be chaperoned. As time goes by they spend more and more time together, becoming less hostile and more comfortable in each other's presence.

I would call this a success. We're having a kitty cat slumber party. Unfortunately, the big guy, the big black ball of fur sitting in the cuddler, not showing his face, wouldn't turn to face camera, but you get the idea.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Dream of Spitting Up Bones

Had an unusual dream last night. My memory is short, just a snippet, but it had a powerful effect on me, simply because it was so odd and mysterious.

In the dream I coughed up some bones, about three of them, a little larger than teeth, but definitely not teeth. I spit them into my hand.

I was trying to find out what it meant in the dream, and think I had access to a computer. I looked it up, and the result was that spitting up bones was an indication that you are nearing the end of your life. That certain parts have worn out, and are literally breaking apart, hence the broken bones coming out of my mouth.

It's totally crazy, I know, but that's what happened in the dream. I'm sure there is some kind of symbolic meaning for it, perhaps a shamanic interpretation that could be attached to it, but I honestly haven't any idea what it means.

It reminds me of two other dreams I had a few years ago when I was still living at the house. One, was a dream of being eaten alive by a giant bird in a tree, either a hawk or an owl. The other was a dream where I was lying in bed, looking up at the ceiling, and seeing a skeleton looking back at me.

That's three dreams involving death and my own impending mortality.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Everything Has Its Price

Been doing a lot of extra mileage on my bicycle lately, getting more and more used to riding in heavy traffic, taking the lane, making left turns at six lane intersections, etc.

I was doing my regular run, and encountered an obstacle, the ATM machine I usually use was out of order, so had to figure out where the next closest ATM was that didn't have any fees associated with it. I vaguely knew where it was, the two crossroads, but wasn't exactly sure where it was. Couldn't find it, so being that rare breed of person who is under 40 but still doesn't have a smartphone, let alone a cellphone of any kind, was completely at the mercy of figuring it out myself, or relying on the kindness of strangers to help me out.

Why don't I have a cellphone? Well, I just don't like phones, and since I have access to a landline, don't really need a phone too much. Never talk on the phone, unless I absolutely have to, but I sense the times are changing, and may have to get one. Anyway, if I had a smartphone, I could have figured out where I needed to go, but instead, I pulled into a shopping center I'd never been to before, and took a chance, figuring I'd ask directions.

It was a Radio Shack. I thought they went out of business. Apparently not. They've been closing locations left and right, but apparently they can still afford six idle employees standing around doing nothing in an empty store with not a customer in sight. I asked directions, and got it. I felt weird, because usually you go into a store to buy something, or you at least are a regular there, have bought something before, and so you're not just someone expecting something for nothing.

Well, I got my something, but not sure it was for nothing, I expended quite a bit of calories, and experienced a huge amount of stress, not elaborated on in this post. Which brings me to my final point. The moral of this story is that there is no such thing as something for nothing. Everything has its price, even if it's not always measured in dollars and cents. Even when you think you're getting something for free, you're not. There's always an exchange of energy, a give and take.

Even if you're dirt poor, waiting in line at a soup kitchen for a free meal, you suffer the humiliation of being in such a situation, dependent on people who are not your friends, not your family, and who in reality may not even like you, and on top of that maybe you're waiting around for food that doesn't even taste good, that isn't your first choice, that you don't even like. Where basically you're in a situation where you are at the mercy of others, and you're not getting exactly what you want.

But as they say, beggars can't be choosers. If you beg, you take whatever you are given, and sometimes the free lunch is a rotten lunch. That's just the way it is. It's the law of give and take, you get what you give, and very often you get what you don't expect. Expect nothing, you never know what you may get. It could be good, it could be bad, but without expectations, not being overly excited or upset over any particular outcome, you roll with it, and for the most part everything will be alright.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Dharma Initiative

If you haven't yet seen the television series Lost, which is in my opinion the best, most thought provoking, philosophical television series of all time, you absolutely must go out and watch it now. If you're broke, check it out from the library, or rent it, but if you can afford it, I'd recommend going out and buying the collector quality DVD box set Lost: The Complete Collection.

Anyway, probably my favorite aspect of the show was The Dharma Initiative, the organization conducting research on the "lost" island that the survivors of oceanic flight 815 crash land on, and is the primary setting for all six seasons. The Dharma Initiative orientation videos are shown on the series as they are found, giving insight into the nature of the island and the structures and facilities they discover over time.

When I saw these video clips for the first time while watching the show, I thought they were great. Well just found out they're on YouTube, and thought I'd post a sample:



For more info, visit:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_(TV_series)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharma_Initiative

Friday, November 20, 2015

Black Holes, Time Travel, and Parallel Universes

This isn't a new story, but I just happened to stumble upon it today, and find it extremely fascinating, the idea that black holes contain universes, sort of like a portal linking the macro and the micro, that within each black hole there is an entirely different universe, and I suppose an entirely different dimension of reality, perhaps resonating at higher and lower octaves, that of heaven and hell, and all that.

It's pretty extreme, to me, more in the realm of religion than science, because probably the more you learn about it, the more you realize just how infinitely mysterious it all is and will always be. I believe there is so much more going on in the background of the universe, the hows and the whys, the underlying meaning and order of it all, that is just way beyond the threshold of human understanding.

Here's the link:

Are We Living in a Black Hole?
Our universe may reside within a vast, black hole.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140218-black-hole-blast-explains-big-bang/



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Quest to Make a Living Online

I'm pretty much in a situation, work wise, where I really really want to earn a livelihood independently working online, being an independent contractor.

Problem is that my education is severely inadequate, I don't have a college education, and really have no plans of ever getting a college degree. My skills are somewhat limited too, but I'm smart, and I'm really trying to find a way to make this happen. I don't need much money. Really, I could get by on 12 dollars an hour. I don't have expensive tastes, but I tell you one thing, I hate being a wage slave, doing work I hate in environments I hate, and really at this point, all I'm qualified for is retail, entry level office work, and call centers, and I hate talking on the phone, so that's way out of the question.

I'm a freedom loving person, and the way I see it, if I'm going to be making low wages, I'd rather do it online, in my own time. You know, it is so much more satisfying to me, being completely independent, but the key is finding a reliable source of freelance income that will consistently pay the bills.

Anyway, I'm on a quest to make a living online, and realize after ten years of blogging, that I'm really not in the business of making a living off of blogging either. I like the freedom of this being a personal diary shared with the world, blogging only when I feel like it, and not feeling pressured to craft each post into a money maker. I don't want that. I actually enjoy the rather small audience, and the low expectations, that this doesn't really matter, and so I can do whatever I want, and it's okay.

Okay, as you can see the banner ads have been long gone. But still, I figure, a few unobtrusive links to products I actually use and believe in is not a bad idea, that if you click on them, sign up for the service (if applicable), or buy a product, it will grant me a small affiliate commission, I might as well do it. I see no harm done. Like I said these are products I actually really believe in, use and love, and have my full endorsement.

So just to warn you, no this is not going to become a how to make money online blog, whose sole purpose is to get you to click a link to make me money. No, this blog will remain as it is, being a record of my life and a collection of my philosophical insights, but I'm planning on putting up a few posts over the next few days reviewing products that I believe in, which will be linked to in the sidebar. There's a couple there right now, but those are just direct links to their Amazon product listing page. There will be some actual reviews coming soon, and will also list some of the ways I've successfully made money online over the last two months.

This is an entirely new experience for me, well the first time since I won money playing poker online nearly ten years ago, that I've finally found a way to consistently make money online. I'm very excited about it, and no it's not enough to pay the rent, not yet, but it's enough to buy the groceries, and a few luxuries too, so that's always a plus. You've got to start somewhere, and I'm learning from trial and error what works and what doesn't.

I've got a small taste for it, I just have to figure out how to expand it into a full-time income, because really I realize this is where I need to be to be my ultimate best, freelance, independent, work from home, a cyber nomad, where all I need is a laptop and an internet connection, and I can earn a living anywhere in the world, that's what I want.

So stay tuned for that. I'll be posting more soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Bang, Bang

Still living in an apartment as an undeclared guest, it's very far from ideal, but it is what it is. I'm not complaining. I might bitch about it here from time to time, but really I take full responsibility for the life situation I'm presently in.

Once in awhile I blog about my neighbors, the people living around me that usually I know absolutely nothing about, not even there first name, other than what I see from afar, much like a spectator in a zoo. It's a bit weird to refer to people as neighbors, when really there strangers, they come and go, and are about as familiar as the people you see passing by you in a public parking lot.

Anyway, just had another incident here, happy Veterans Day. A new lady, an airman, moved in upstairs in the building next to me couple of months ago, hardly ever see her. Well today, well actually tonight about an hour ago, I hear some noise outside, and I peek out the blinds to see the boyfriend throwing stones up at her window, trying to get her attention. It's all dark up there, no lights on, I'm assuming she's gone to sleep. He keeps doing it, throwing the stones rougher and rougher. Finally, he starts shouting, calling her name, but no response.

He leaves, comes back, does it again, throwing the stones, shouting. Now he decides to climb up to her balcony. He does it in 30 seconds or less, so much for better security upstairs. He's banging on the window. Banging, banging, banging, louder and louder, shouting. Five minutes passes, I hear more shouting, next thing is bang, and the sound of broken glass. There's a glass sliding patio door up there, and he's busted through it and is now inside the apartment. I hear shouts, I hear a woman's voice clearly stating that the police have been called. A minute later the guy runs downstairs, disappears for another minute, doing something by her vehicle, and runs back upstairs. About a minute later I hear a helicopter. Yes, it is coming here, spot light shining on the building, and on my face looking out the window, and I see several police cars pulling up, my first instinct is that it's the swat team, and it's a hostage situation going on up there.

But fortunately it didn't end badly. The guy surrendered. The woman left. And there is now an armed guard outside. Welcome to Tucson everybody.

Okay, my little drama queen session is over. But I just want to add that this a first. A first time life experience. Not the first time the police have come to the building next door, but the first time that it involved an actual helicopter looking for an occupant of the building next door. They're both Airmen too by the way, the woman and the boyfriend, and it happened on Veterans day. Just had to make a note of it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Reflections

So, this blog has not been very active lately, not sure what the future has in store here, how much longer I'll be posting here, but I'm not giving up just yet.

I've been very busy lately, too busy to blog, too busy to read even, but as I transition into my new schedule, hopefully I'll come to some resolution as to whether or not to keep this blog running, and if is so, to post more regularly, and hopefully more interesting and thoughtful than I have been lately.

What I'm thinking is that for the rest of this year, I'll keep things light. Yeah, they're already pretty light, I know, believe me I know, haven't put much effort into it, but for the rest of the year, I think I'll concentrate on very short posts of music and pictures, with maybe, as the mood strikes me, a couple longer posts thrown in, but mostly they'll be short, very short.

For those few die hard fans who have stuck with me for years, I do thank you for your loyalty, for your committed readership, without you there would be no point. So thanks again, and happy November.

Here's a song featured in the Original Rocky film that I always liked, it plays in the background, very subtle, it's pretty awesome, for those attuned to that sort of 1970's electro multicultural rhythm.

Here it is:



Saturday, October 31, 2015

Welsh Dragon

Supposedly I have some Welsh blood in me, my Grandmother was born there, though I hear she was also English, so it's a bit of a mix, plus I'm other things as well, namely German which is what I most closely identify with. One of these days I'll take a DNA test to find out for sure. That will be interesting.

But anyway, it's interesting that I'm the only one in my family who has a Welsh first name. By the way, my blogger name is my real name, though a shortened version of it which I will never use here, but it's what I go by.

I don't know much about Wales, but it's interesting that I have a Welsh name, and also the fact that my Chinese zodiac sign is dragon, I was born in the year of the dragon, and if you didn't know, the Welsh flag features a red dragon, so that's kind of cool.

Here's a picture I found taken from Google, no idea who the photographer was to give credit to, but here it is:


There's more to this story, but my energy is limited, and I cannot blog about my personal life right now. So that is all for now, but I'll be back soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Featured Song: Microlife (Darshan Ambient)

Discovered this song today, and I really like it, so I'm sharing it here. Pretty much reflects my current state of mind, and where I'm presently at in my life, on the intuitive level of things. By the way, you don't watch it, you listen to it. In my opinion, the YouTube video format is a bit of a distraction.



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fake News, Real Commercials

This is a spontaneous insight.

A thought occurred to me today, a question, a speculation, just a thought, that sometimes what we watch on the news is put there not because it is newsworthy, but because someone paid money for a particular story to be aired, because they had a vested financial interest in one particular point of view being promoted.

Of course, right, but did it occur to you that maybe there's an underground market going on with the mainstream national news, where news is bought and sold like commercials, much of it totally scripted to fit an agenda. Not always political, but purely commercial. Meaning, that maybe people are meeting behind the scenes, to discuss the buying of national news slots, meaning we'll cover this story if you have enough money to pay for it.

Example #1

The Martian movie is released, coincidentally there is a big story on the national news about finding new evidence of life on Mars, namely a source of water, which would make colonizing Mars a real possibility.

Speculatively, you could call it a covert infomercial, where the producers of The Martian movie made a deal with the network to air a news story, backed up by science, which would surely generate interest in and boost sales of their product.


Example #2

Online fantasy sports betting is the latest rage. Stories of people winning millions, some making six figure incomes. I'm thinking wow, I don't really watch sports, but maybe should get into this. I used to play poker, but the site I used to play at got shut down by the Department of Justice. While there is still some legal online poker, it sucks compared to what it used to be, the earnings potential are just not worth it in my case, is heavily taxed, fewer players, etc.

But now we've got fantasy sports betting. Not necessarily new, but lately it's been getting a lot of media coverage. Just today I saw a segment on the news about a guy, with an economics degree, probably in his twenties, claiming to make a six figure income from it, and just this morning made $12,000.

I'm thinking wow, I've got to get into this. I've got a knack for this sort of thing, recognizing patterns, strong intuition, looking for profitable loopholes in the system. But then a spontaneous insight occurred to me about this particular news segment about the guy claiming to make six figures from this, that that kind of endorsement must surely be good for business, beneficial to the fantasy sports betting industry. Do you know how many sales that must have generated? Probably a lot.

Point is, maybe that story was planted. A person paid big money to show on national news a business from which they would personally profit from in a favorable light. It's like a sort of insider trading. How much does this happen? Probably all the time.

School shootings, overexposure of gun violence, bought and paid for by the anti gun lobby. There's all kinds of factors, but I'm beginning to think that the majority of news is bought, nothing more than a paid infomercial pretending to be news.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Beautiful Cat


I'm in the process of adopting another cat, this lovely lady pictured above. Hoping it works out, as I have another cat, a larger cat, about twice as big as this one, and they haven't met yet, but we're hoping it works out.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

One, Two, Three...

It's that one, two, three, getting to know you phase:

Yes, I do have a new girlfriend. She's a cat, and I love her. Though I think my other cat, is a bit jealous.

One:

Two:


Three:


More to follow...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Supermoon 2015

Well, a little late coming, but I managed to go for a short walk last night and took a picture of the super moon lunar eclipse rising over the Rincon Mountains. My camera is not very good at taking pictures of the moon, am really long overdue for a new one, so it's not that great, but this is the best picture I was able to get, and considering the fact that this will not occur again for like decades, I thought the moment deserved recording.


This picture was taken around between 6:30 and 7:00 PM Pacific Time, on 9/27/2015. At this point the full moon is almost half eclipsed.

It was a nice night for a walk, a few people were gathered outside my apartment complex, but I took my walk alone. Kind of reminded me of the vibe, on a somewhat smaller scale, when I remember viewing Halley's comet back in I think it was '86. There was some end of the world hysteria associated with that too, just as there was to some degree with this one. But guess what, the world will end some day, whether that means planetary extinction, or destruction of the planet due to whatever reason, it's also called death, something we will all experience eventually, personally, privately, alone, even if the rest of the planet carries on alive and well without us.

Fears of the end of the world, end times hysteria, Armageddon, are largely fears of death itself, something that will definitely happen, but sometimes people feel more at ease taking comfort that they are not dying alone, but that the whole world is dying too.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Autumn Shift

I feel a change in the air, do you? And I'm not just talking about the fact that today, or rather yesterday, was the first day of Autumn.

I'm feeling a shift in the world we live in. It's subjective. It's intuitive. It's completely unverifiable, but I feel it, and I guess you'll just have to trust me on that. I'm talking about Mayan Prophecies, and the procession of the equinoxes, that type of change.

Okay, we're in 2015, soon to be 2016, and all that Mayan prophecy stuff centered on 2012, but here we are three to four years later. I'm thinking the change is subtle. I'm thinking if in fact such a cosmic shift were possible, actually happened, and is happening as I speak, as I write, I'm thinking most people would probably be totally unaware of it happening.

I'm telling you, because most people are distracted by making money and other shallow pursuits, they are totally spiritually unaware of subtle changes cosmically affecting this planet. It's like intuition is a scarce resource these days. And I'm happy to say, that is one thing I'm rich in. But, the longer I live in this world, the more corrupt I become, my spirit is infected with the vice of coveting material wealth. It's sick. I got a taste of it, on a much smaller scale, what it's like when all you think about is making money, 24-7. And I'm not just talking survival mode, but continually thinking about making a profit. I can tell you from first hand experience, that when a person is always thinking about money, there is little room for anything else, and they are as far away as possible from spirituality, as far away as possible from the truth of the heart, reality, clarity, compassion, and enlightenment, those things which money cannot buy.

Anyway, I sense this change, and I also sense that most people are living their lives as robots, even though they have friends and raise families, people for the most part are completely living in ignorance. Anyone that sees it, or wishes to find a way to prosper in such an environment faces many hardships, but that's all part of waking up. Waking up is like being born again. It really is. It's difficult, a life or death situation, you may not make it, any baby being born faces the obstacle of not making it, of dying prematurely.

Most people are asleep, programmed to act without thinking, running on automatic insanity. Money, get rich by accumulating piles of money, it's a numbers game, stock market casino slots, Wolf of Wall Street, cheat the suckers for a quick easy buck, nothing else matters but money and the instant gratification of getting fucked up, buying the most expensive things, and yet ironically enough dying with nothing, as a hollow shell, a lifeless trophy on the wall, that's all you get when all your thoughts are obsessed with money, and the status that you feel that money will gain; it's a losers game.

Materially rich and materially poor alike, are both easy victims. One wears a suit and tie, the other rags, yet both covet wealth, more than they need. Yes, it's true, just because you're poor, doesn't make you noble. Doesn't make you innocent. Doesn't make you just. Some people who are poor, if they had the chance, if they had the money, they would become just as psychopathic as the most greedy, wealthiest, fat cat in the world. Trump that. Greed is a disease, that is just as likely to infect the poor, as it is to infect the wealthy. No one is immune.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Family Feud

So while we're on the subject of death, which seems to be the theme this month, which ironically is itself on the cusp of death, being the last day of the month, that transition point between Virgo and Libra, and our saying our final farewells to all residual traces of Leo.

I guess death has been on my mind for a variety of reasons, but really what stands out most is the situation with the inheritance. I wrote earlier this year that my family member who died in the UK last December, and who I thought might have been a millionaire, but ended up being totally broke, well apparently that's not the case at all. Wasn't a millionaire, but not totally broke either, there's land and a house worth a few hundred thousand.

Okay, not bad for one person, but there's more than one person involved. And unfortunately it is turning into a family feud, a probate war. That's when all the family members to the immediate next-of-kin come out of the woodwork to demand what they feel is there's, and there's also the issue of possible misconduct by the family lawyer, and going against the wishes of certain parties that are closest to myself. Okay, it may be slightly exaggerated way of presenting it, but that's what's going on behind the scenes, and it is upsetting me very much.

Yeah, this is a perfect example of the ways in which money divides people. Causes people to go completely insane, going to war over something that is so ephemeral and trivial and stupid. I'm sick of it. I should have probably followed my original instinct, which is to completely sever all ties with all of my family members once and for all.

Though even so, I feel that I should probably stand by my mother and my father, even though I haven't spoken to my father in 15 years, I still feel some personal allegiance to them, but the rest of them, maybe I'd be better off without them.

Just some thoughts.

Nature's Way of Rebalancing

So, I have a few potted citrus trees on my patio belonging to one of the people I live with, and these citrus trees tend to attract butterflies and caterpillars. In case you didn't know, the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, and the butterfly lays eggs that become caterpillars. It's like the case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Which came first the caterpillar or the butterfly?

Anyway, these caterpillars are attracted to the citrus plants because they eat their leaves. So, in a sense you could call them pests, that some people perhaps would like to destroy with insecticides. I am not one of those people. As far as I'm concerned the tree will recover. These aren't fruit bearing trees, just purely ornamental. But uh, strangest thing happened last night, I witnessed something that I had never ever before seen. A caterpillar which had been seen crawling across the screened door of the patio, was moved by one of my housemates and placed back unto a branch of citrus earlier that day. Later that day a chrysalis was seen, newly formed in that spot. That's where the caterpillar starts to change into a shape that resembles in a way a seashell, a womb-like habitat suitable for transforming from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Well, anyway, later that night, when I was out on the patio alone having a beer, I noticed that particular chrysalis, which is attached to the tree by what looks like a couple of threads of silk, is squirming back and forth, meaning that it hadn't fully solidified into the chrysalis shell, but was in that intermediary stage of transformation, and was covered with tiny flies of some kind, which appeared to be feeding off of it. And it was completely helpless, trapped, all tied up so to speak, and being eaten alive.

I did remove some of the flies, but the next morning the chrysalis had fallen into the potted plant, and the caterpillar was dead. I noticed that another had also befallen that fate. And I thought, what a gruesome way to die. It reminded  me of like being caught in a spider web and eaten alive. But I never saw this happen to a caterpillar before after it had actually started to change form, getting ready to form into a butterfly. It was like a stillbirth, abortion, or whatever. Just not meant to be, I guess. It was weird.

Well, just had to make a note of it, being a first. I felt a bit sorry for the caterpillar, but I guess the flies have to eat too. After all, we have had an excess of butterflies and caterpillars this season. I guess it's nature's way of re-balancing the population.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Trump Card

So, I've hit a bit of a snag, but all is well.

I would not call myself a materialist, all this craving for stuff, new shoes, new laptop, new cycling jersey, new bicycle lock, new this and that, I realize that it is all of minor importance. It's just another distraction.

Food, water, shelter. Bare minimum, you got that, things are not bad.

Ideally, the food should be healthy, good quality, nutritious, the water should be clean and pure, and the shelter should be free of noise and pollution, offering protection from sun and wind and rain and cold and insects and other wild infestations that eat away at our quality of life.

Peace of mind is of prime importance, without that, it doesn't really matter what you have, or have not, your state of mind has the final say, without peace of mind, you might as well be starving to death.

Starving to death, for lack of peace of mind, effects those with not enough, who are lacking the basic necessities of life, as well as those with too much, who are never satisfied with what they have, they always want more.

I'm not really what you would call a political person. But I've been following Trump, because frankly he's the most entertaining of all the candidates on all sides. But, he's a joke. I know it, you know it, we all know it. It's the merging of reality TV and politics, a circus freak show for responsible tax paying citizens. He's the trump card laughing at your expense. Of course he'll never be president, the president is a well polished, well groomed, machine slave. Trump is also a slave, but has different masters, and most certainly believes erroneously that he is free. His primary vice is GREED and VANITY. Probably a psychopath, probably a pedophile, probably has a dungeon somewhere in his basement, one of those euro hostel horror movie scenarios.

My best advice to Trump is to give away all of his money to charity (ideally giving a substantial sum to research and development, advancing technological innovations for improving the physical quality of life on earth, furthering our scientific understanding of the universe without regard to making a financial profit), and becoming a wandering penniless monk.

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven."

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Double Edged Sword of Being Honest

True story:

I found a lady's purse last week in a very busy parking lot. I opened it up to see the ID, and it was filled with credit cards and cash. I didn't count the cash, I didn't even thoroughly open up and inspect the purse, my immediate reaction was to turn the purse in, and I did.

Even though I dream about finding a suitcase full of money, it never occurred to me what I would do if I found money with identification cards connecting it to a real person. I always dreamed that I would find money anonymously, all cash, no ID, okay, but in this case, I found a purse with identification, and my first thought was to turn it in, with no thought for reward, it just felt like the right thing to do. After all it wasn't my money, and if I were in that situation I would hope that someone would turn in my wallet too.

So I turn it in, and later I thought, hmm, maybe I'll get a reward. At the time that I turned it in, I wasn't thinking about that. It was truly a random act of kindness, genuine charity given without any expectation of receiving anything in return. But after the fact, I thought about reward, but there turned out to be no reward, and I felt a bit bad about it, because I'm really broke, and hurting for money. I began having doubts. Maybe I should have kept the money. I never counted how much there was, but I'm pretty much borderline destitute, whatever it was would have helped, we're talking grocery money here, I could have used it.

So, I'm once again in a process of transition. Am unemployed, can't even cat-sit anymore, or run errands for my neighbor, that stream of easy money has ended. I've been seriously investigating online sources of income, making money at home, doing surveys, data entry, transcription, whatever. And as a result of my research I find a legit work at home opportunity, and I'm excited about it, signed up, and eager to work, but guess what, for tax purposes they can't confirm my identity, for whatever reason. Meanwhile, the fake profile I created for surveys, has been a good money maker, 100 dollars in two weeks, with less than a full days work, but the catch is, the payment is only in gift cards. How is it that I make money fast committing survey fraud, but when I give all my information, am totally honest, giving my full name, SSN, address, totally upfront and legit, I'm rejected?

Yep, it's the sort of thing that causes a person to turn to committing a crime, or committing suicide.

Trust me, I'll do neither, just saying, I can understand why our world is fucked up, why poor people become criminals because they are fucked over one too many times, and there is no support. Believe me, you find yourself all alone without family or friends, or people that know you. And you need money, you need food, you need a job, but guess what you've got no identification, and nobody will help you. It's all bureaucratic red tape, welcome to the machine. Ironically, despite being a loner, who doesn't really much like people, I think I hate machines even more. Imagine a world where you're shopping at a store, and there's no human cashiers, it's all automated. Guess what happens when there's a problem. Like let's say you go to pay, and even though you know you've got plenty of money in your account, the machine says you don't. Guess what, you're out of luck. Access denied. Access denied. Here's my information. Here's my proof of who I am, guess what, here's that ID you're looking for, oh the computer says I don't have an id, it's not in the system, guess what, you're out of luck.

FUCK YOU.

You could say that forever, and it will make no difference, because guess what, in a machine world programmed for stupidity, there's no way to win, there's no way to reason, there's no way to live.

I'm just really pissed off. Thought I found a loophole, and I did for getting free stuff on amazon, and that won't last long, but in terms of real hard cash, being honest has gotten me nowhere. Ironically, I also realize that being dishonest get's you nowhere as well. Sure, there's the immediate gratification of instant success, but whatever success is gained is very short lived. It's got no longevity. Short term gain, long term failure.

Better to sever all ties to attachment, sever all ties to material gain.

That is the Taoist sage in me speaking. That's a topic for another post.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

First Kiss of Death

We're having a thunderstorm tonight, which is a great thing, being that we haven't had a good rain in weeks. Well, don't know why, but it triggered a memory of my first kiss. Or rather, the first time I was kissed by a boy my own age, who wasn't a family member. It wasn't mutual, just a peck on the cheek, but I would say it qualifies as a first.

I was in kindergarten, attending this school (here's a picture):

Yeah, that's where I went to kindergarten, but we moved, so I didn't continue on there for first grade, was transferred to a different school. Kind of an interesting looking building though, historic, probably from the late 1800s.

Anyway, as to the first kiss. I lived a few blocks away from school, and usually my mom picked me up, but a few times I walked home alone myself. One time, walking home, a fat boy in my class, not actually in my class, but around my age attending the same school, came up to me, and said he had a secret to tell me. So I come over to him, and lean in close, and he starts to whisper something in my ear, but doesn't say anything, only pretends to, and the next thing I know, he's kissing me on the cheek.

Apparently that was the secret. But here's the kicker, the next thing he does is punch me in the stomach. And then walks away. And it hurt, and I cried, and I couldn't understand why he did it. I had never seen this person before, certainly didn't do anything to justify it, it was just totally out of the blue and unexpected.

I go from being confused, to flattered, to being a victim of bullying, all within a matter of seconds, and all at the innocent age of five or six. Perhaps you could call it an early traumatic experience for an extremely sensitive child, born into the wrong world, amongst a plethora of ignorant fools, fat asses with way too much clout, bully's with way too much wealth and privilege. Yeah, I'm extremely annoyed with fat asses. And there's nothing worse than an arrogant fat ass, a fat ass without humility or respect. Nothing worse.

I watched the Republican debate yesterday, only because I was in a Jerry Springer Show watching type of mode, in the mood to be entertained by a freak show, with Trump taking the center stage. Yeah, I watched it only to see him, even though I would never vote for him, he was the most entertaining. The only thing missing from that circus freak show act was Caitlin Jenner HIMSELF (a self-avowed Republican, by the way).

What a pack of losers. I won't be voting for president this coming election. I want out. For the time being, I've decided to drop out, and perhaps go live on a mountain top somewhere far away from people. That is my secret wish. Though surely, a sweet kiss, followed by a sucker punch to the stomach.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Better Late Than Never

Do I still think of myself as being a scholar warrior?

Well, I guess that depends on how you define scholar and warrior.

I'm a scholar in the sense that I'm a lifelong learner who loves learning, and a warrior, in that I consider myself to be a very tough person, dedicated to health and fitness and spiritual growth, and am always attempting to improve myself in some way, to be strong and graceful and athletic and also with a good character, but not a soldier in the military fighting sense. But if I had to, to preserve my survival, I'd give it my all.

Realistically though, I neither have a college degree, nor am I presently attending college, so can I rightfully call myself a scholar? Probably not. But I like the term, and there is some truth to it, in that I am a very inquisitive person, who also reads a lot, and is by nature very philosophical, and I suppose within the spectrum of multiple intelligence theory, I've got what you call strong intrapersonal intelligence, having a strong knowledge and curiosity of self, being rather introspective and as I said philosophical.

I write this post, because I've started a new project, and I like to report on all projects related to personal development, in that I've resumed my math refresher course. I've been talking about refreshing my math skills for years, but, not wanting to take any formal classes, have had trouble finding good books to work with, surprisingly there are not too many at the library, and the few titles they have are of limited quantities, with often long waiting lists. Also the problem with studying mathematics from a book, is that there is not much help, as far helping you understand something that you are having trouble with, without a teacher, while still possible to learn completely from books, it's a lot slower.

Well, I've had great success now working with the free online math classes on Khan Academy, and I'm not too terribly embarrassed to admit it, that even though I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent person, with an above average IQ, that unfortunately my mathematics skills are very poor. Somewhere along the line, despite being a high school graduate, who passed all the required mathematics courses, I lost interest in it, reached a brick wall, had a problem understanding some element of it, and just sort of gave up, as something I had no interest in learning, other than doing the bare minimum to graduate.

Okay, according to the Khan Academy, I'm presently in the 5th grade. How the hell did that happen? I guess a lot of it has been forgotten, but some of it I didn't learn. I had reached that brick wall, and chose to stop, rather than climb over it. But now I'm climbing over it, a little at a time.

You see I got this idea to do this from this self-help book I recently skimmed through at the library, about how to be a more effective thinker, written by two mathematics professors, who mentioned in that book that the number one reason why college students have problems with higher mathematics, is because they failed to master the lower mathematics. Basically, you can't master level 2, until you've mastered level 1. You might pass level one, but without actual mastery, each successive level will become much more challenging and confusing, and more likely to have problems with it.

So, I go on the Khan Academy, and just for the sake of curiosity, say I'll start at the beginning, right back at Kindergarten. I get a little sample of 1st grade and 2nd grade, and so on, and it's not until about the 5th grade, that the problems started getting harder, and I actually got a wrong answer. That's in the areas of fractions and decimals. So anyway, I'm making progress. And because I had already had exposure to this in school, I think I'll probably learn it really fast, because it's just basically reviewing what I should already know. And we'll see how far I go. Maybe all the way to the top. Either way, if you need some brushing up with your maths skill, I totally recommend Khan Academy. It's actually pretty fun, like a game. So much more effective than learning on your own from a book.

That's what I'm working on now, and maybe in a few months, I'll not only be back in high school, in terms of my level of mathematics,  because really I'm in my 30s and I'm way too old for high school so hopefully I won't be there too long, but also maybe I'll be back into my running routine and making some progress there, getting closer to running that first 5k. The only reason I stopped is because its been so goddamn hot, I'm telling you this is no place to live, except for winter, half the year you feel like you're melting and can't breath. Is it true that there's a hole in the ozone layer directly above Arizona? I heard that somewhere, but never checked the facts. That's something to look into, because I'm noticing that each year its becoming more uncomfortable to be outside here during the summer.

Anyway, that's all for now. Another, quite possibly overdue, mind/body fitness report.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Spontaneous Poetry, July 2015

My thoughts
are so expansive
like the sky,
blue and deep
and penetrating,
a celestial fire
burns deep
within my heart,
like the sun
illuminating wisdom,
heavenly words that speak
in the telepathic language
of silence. . .

Sitting Somewhere Outside

Sitting somewhere outside away from all signs of civilization, in a park, or even if it is just a backyard in the city, if it is quiet and private with a lot of vegetation blocking the view of the street or other buildings and other obstacles to spiritual growth and contemplation, such a place, in nature, away from noise, it is for me the best place to meditate.

I seek it, and I find it, and if I don't, I suffer.

I listen to the sounds, watching the real world unfolding around me, clouds passing in the sky, a stream of water moving in the wind, forming little ripples of water traveling how it knows best, swimming fish riding the currents like natural born surfers, dragonflies darting through the sky, flying through the air effortlessly like surfers of the sky, landing on blades of grass to repose and meditate, palm fronds shaking like maracas in the wind, a birdsong peacefully soothing me, and all else, it's all very conducive to a meditative state of mind, not thinking about anything, emptying my mind, experiencing directly, understanding without the need for words, it opens up my mind to new creative insights. I have to do this, otherwise I become closed off from wisdom, closed off, dead, like a slave at the mercy of mediocre minds, lost and desperate and going down hill fast.

You've got to get out to the wild quiet places. To listen, to feel the sounds in the deepest pours of your being, not just to the physical sounds, but to your minds own response to being alone in the real world not yet destroyed by ignorant minds who fuck it all up. That is the source of wisdom. If you believe in God, you could say that nature is a manifestation of divinity operating at a physical level. Don't worship nature, but do see it as a portal to inspiration.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Descending Lemmon

I mentioned a couple posts down that before I move out of this city I'd like to ride my bike up Mount Lemmon. Well, nowhere near ready to do that. If anything, I'll just go up a few miles, and turn around. Need a lot more training, more mileage, getting used to riding at higher speeds and descending hills.

It is after all one of the most challenging rides in the entire country, with speeds potentially exceeding 40 mph, people have died coming down, losing control of their bikes and crashing into the cliff wall. Which means, definitely not a matter to be taken lightly, to be conducted in haste, without careful planning and preparation.

Anyway, to give you an idea of what the ride is like, here's an awesome video I found of a rider descending Mount Lemmon:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Movies Watched in June and July

Got drunk last night on hobo swill, was feeling sick for most of the day, but am now regaining my strength. Got to remember not to drink and blog, so if you've noticed some posts disappearing, now you know why.

Thought I'd post something light, about some of the newest movies I recently watched.

I get pretty much all my DVDs from the library, which means I don't spend a dime on any of it, (I'm the frugal living expert extraordinaire, good at saving money, just not so great at making it) so there's usually a fairly long waiting list on new releases, where it can sometimes take a couple of months to finally get a title, it's that delayed gratification at work, it's good for you, and that was the case with these.

The Theory of Everything

My rating: 2.5 stars

I wasn't that impressed with this movie, the acting was top notch, I'll give it that, but strangely Stephen Hawking's life story didn't much interest me. I think I'll stick with his books, where it's all about the ideas, without the personality, which I didn't much care for.

Inherent Vice

My rating: 2 stars

Another major disappointment. I found this movie extremely boring, way too long, and hard to follow. I also felt extremely annoyed with the actors, like they were all wrong for the part, and absolutely hated Joaquin Phoenix in this. I still don't quite understand what this movie was about, and really don't think it's worth the effort.

Wild

My rating: 2 stars

A female drug addict on the road to recovery, leaving behind a bad relationship, after the death of her mother, with absolutely no backpacking experience decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone, a trail that extends over 2600 miles from Southern California to British Columbia, Canada. Thought this would be good, but it was just okay. Don't really see it as having replay value, and as backpacking movies go, I enjoyed The Way, staring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez much more.

Whiplash

My rating: 2.5 stars

This is the story of an ambitious jazz drummer in an elite music school's relationship with his abusive teacher. Not really too big on music centered movies, but this went pretty fast, kept me watching from beginning to end, but probably wouldn't need to see it again.

Nightcrawler

My rating: 3 stars

This movie was pretty good the first viewing, but lost some of the rush the second time around. Definitely worth seeing at least once though. Overall it was very fast paced and entertaining from beginning to end, about the sleazy underworld of freelance accident scene filming, where if it bleeds it leads, and the bloodier and more gruesome the footage the more money it pays. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, too, and if you know his work, he's never done a bad movie, usually top notch all the way.

Birdman

My rating: 2 stars

Didn't like it at all, but if you're a theater person, which I'm not, who is either into acting, or going to live plays, you'd probably like it.

Lucy

My rating: 3 stars

Very fast, fast paced from beginning to end, and probably a tad bit too short, I enjoyed this movie. Reminded me of the movie Limitless. A drug that makes you super smart, superhuman, and eventually expanding beyond the human form, beyond flesh, merging with divinity. Repeat value? Probably. Could have been a little bit more, but for what it is, it wasn't bad.

Interstellar

My rating: 4 stars

By far the best movie of the group. It's slow paced, it's long, but it's worth it. A dying earth, the human race is facing extinction. The solution is sought in outer space. Quantum physics, time travel, worm holes, interstellar space travel, the 5th dimension, or was it the 4th dimension? I don't know, I need to see it again, but it'll be a long wait. Was the only movie of the group that I kept checked out for the maximum time. This one will go down in history as being a classic. So much more deserving of an Academy Award than Birdman.

Well, there you have it, these are not the only movies I watched in June and July, but they are the newest ones.

Still got a couple more movies I'm waiting for, most notably John Wick, and have seen a few other older movies that turned out to be surprisingly good, but I'll save that for another time. Just remember if you haven't seen Interstellar yet, do give it a go, it's a great movie, I totally recommend it. Is one of the better movies I've seen in a long time.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

My Favorite Oasis

It's been awhile since I've posted here, I've tried unsuccessfully a couple times to post something, but it just didn't come out right, couldn't get my thoughts together, so it was a no go.

I've been majorly depressed lately, and opted not to explore that area here on this blog, because who knows whose reading, I could have locals spying on me for all I know, and so I've got to be careful. Try to keep things here more on the upbeat side, or at least grounded in the truth of a well reasoned argument. Got to remember not to say anything here that I couldn't live with being mentioned on the nightly news, which is strangely very easy to forget.

Anyway, I felt a bit better today, and had the energy to ride my bike out to my favorite oasis in the desert.

It was about a twelve mile ride round trip. The distance varies depending on the route I take, whether or not I choose to meander down extra side roads, but today I took the fast route, six miles there and six miles back. Was a good ride. Am getting noticeably stronger, and more fit. Probably the one thing to do before I die, before I leave this godforsaken city, will be to ride up to Mount Lemmon. I'm a bit scared of it though, not going up, but coming down, the fast speeds, the fear of brake failure, etc. But yeah, one day, I'll try, and keep trying until I succeed. And if I still have a blog, you'll get to hear about it, and see pictures, if you're still listening.

Anyway, getting back to today's ride, here are a few pictures from the park.

On the way there I spotted two dead round-tail ground squirrels on the side of the road, road kill. I saw two hawks, and one vulture circling overhead. And two road runners running across the street. One on the way there, and one on the way back. The second one had something in its mouth, possibly a baby round-tail ground squirrel. It was noteworthy because it's been a long time since I've seen a road runner, and here I saw two today, but I didn't have the camera ready, so unfortunately no pictures of that.

As for the park itself, wasn't too much wildlife there today, at least not visible, just saw some ducks, some fish, some turtles, and lot's of dragon flies and beetles. I photographed a few ducks, but today's pictures focused more on the vegetation, some signs, a couple selfies, and a little bit of the pond.

Where are the other people?

Ha ha ha. Well, I generally don't photograph people, other than myself, but honestly, other than the groundskeepers, I think I was the only one there. It was nice. Nice and quiet.








Monday, June 15, 2015

Listening

Interesting day. Because I'm strapped for cash, I, and one of the people I live with, have been taking online survey's, and very often the payment is in the form of a gift card. Also, some of these companies have sweepstakes, and I was lucky enough to win a gift card for Kmart. I don't shop at Kmart. Okay, maybe like 20 years ago I bought something there.

Anyway, so I had this purpose today to go off the beaten path, to roads never traveled before, a bicycle ride to the one and only Kmart store left in town. Apparently they're in trouble, economically, and I can see for myself, from first hand experience, as an eyewitness, that they're going under, it's only a matter of time. The prices aren't as cheap as I remember them to be, and the service is mediocre, would never shop there again, unless I happen to get another gift card.

I got up early, left at around 10 o'clock this morning, but it was already hot. I never road my bike this route before, so it was an adventure, actually pretty fun. I've learned a few tricks along the way, like avoid busy intersections at all costs, look for side roads, and today I found some, riding the back alley ways, it's so much better. I am so happy that I have a good bike that is dependable and fast. So far, after about 800 miles, I haven't had a flat tire yet. Am also grateful that at the time I purchased it, I had the foresight to pick up a rear rack and a rack trunk, that has saved the day, has made shopping on my bike a lot easier.

Anyway, it's going to be really hot this coming week. Like the forecast projects 108 and 109 tomorrow and the next day, so my running goal is off. I can't run in this heat.

I know, I was making so much progress. Funny thing is, most of my progress was made when we had cooler than average weather, when it was in the upper seventies, at a time that we usually have nineties. Well, now the hundreds are here. Even if you get up early, run at the crack of dawn, there will be days that it'll never get out of the nineties. Seriously. It'll be a high of 110, and at midnight, it's still 98. It's so oppressive, like totally unnatural, not the kind place suitable for humans to live in.

Will still be riding the bike though, and will be picking up the running again as soon as I feel less encumbered by the heat.

Thanks again for listening.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Peace of Mind

"Humanity should stand united against the abusers of the world. However, we can no more eradicate the darkest impulses of human nature than we can stop the earthquakes that bury villages or the hurricanes that level seaside towns. All are manifestations of nature, and though we may battle against them, on some level we must also learn how to live with them in our midst."

--Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Computer: Mindfulness and the Machine


My commentary:

Clearly this is not a perfect world, a world where all are beautiful, enlightened manifestations of a perfect order.

No, ours is a world where idiocy and injustice reign supreme.

Wherever there are people, wherever there are different ideas and personalities coming together, conflict is inevitable.

But not all conflict is bad. Conflict, being a stimulus to change, is actually necessary for growth, for the birth of new ideas to occur.

That's why both good and evil exist, because they feed off of each other, neither would exist without the other. There would be no good in this world, without the reference point of evil illuminating the way. The conflict and tension and physical opposition forces one to act, to pick a side, to fight or to surrender, to change or to adapt.

The world is a circle, as the seasons change, so also do the cycles of war and peace, good and evil, prosperity and hardship, ignorance and enlightenment, rising and falling like waves in the sea.

Better to step aside, to find the quiet center within, outside the turbulence of the storm, as the interplay of good and evil goes on forever. Just like tornadoes and hurricanes and deadly viruses, both ignorance and injustice appear to be endemic to the natural order of this world.

So what should you do?

Transform your anger into a catalyst for change, don't let things upset you that are outside your power to control.

Learning to have a calm and detached state of mind, in all situations, both good and bad, is the key to finding peace of mind.

That's easier said than done. Biggest challenge of my life. I seem to be naturally argumentative. Pissed off. Don't like stupid people. And yet, my anger changes nothing. It's counterproductive. As much as it bothers me, there will always be people that bother me, and the older I get the more so. Nothing I can do about it, no amount of education or enlightenment is going to enlighten unenlightened minds. Okay, let's assume that I'm right, that there will always be some jerk who will always be a jerk, no matter what you say to them, no matter what information you give them. So, in that case, being angry about it is a waste of time and energy.

Okay, I know this. I also know that writing this, however true it may be, isn't going to stop me from feeling angry about things I have absolutely no power to change, but in writing this I wanted to acknowledge it, equanimity, as a virtue, as a path to peace of mind, as being a worthy aspiration. That is all.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Proud to be a Tree Hugger

Just wanted to record this moment. Was sort of bad day today, Saturday June 6th, tragic you could say, because six months later, the beautiful tree next to my patio, which was damaged by a freakish new year's day winter storm, was chopped down today.

It had showed signs of recovery, new shoots, was full of birds, possible nests, and seemed fairly balanced, branching off with two sturdy limbs on both sides. Though there was a split in the middle of the trunk, where the other half of the tree came down in the storm. I'm not an arborist, so don't know for sure whether taking the tree down was the best course of action, but in my non-professional opinion I think it would have been okay, deserved more of a chance, because if it was such a safety issue, why the hell did it take six months to come down, and not right away? Though believe me, for reasons I would rather not say, talking to the management was not an option, but that doesn't change the fact that I am extremely pissed. Pissed at the widespread incompetency and ignorance all around me. All I see is stupid people. Everywhere. Okay, like 90 percent. Maybe their kind, maybe their nice, some of them, but their fucking idiots. Everywhere. And I don't even think I'm particularly that intelligent, I mean, I know what I don't know, don't mean to inflate my level of knowledge, but I at least have the sense to recognize the widespread senselessness around me.

Okay, aside from the aesthetic aspects, such as the lovely bird songs and the beauty of the tree itself, there are some very practical reasons why losing this tree is a measurably negative loss for everyone who lived near it. Namely, it provided shade, and protection from the wind. Which means that with the tree gone, it'll be hotter in the summer, and cooler in the winter. Which also translates into increased energy costs. Isn't that the opposite that we should be striving for?

Well, just reminds me of how much I hate it here. Apartment complexes, the majority of which are nothing more than disposable mass assembly line housing for disposable people. It's a fucking McDonald's made of people, it's like Soylent green, for real, where ignorance is bliss. Pass the weed killer, please, the apartment complex dwellers condiment of choice. Accompanied by the soothing serenade of two leaf blowers blowing simultaneously side by side, by two illiterate glue sniffing doofuses, playing the game of let's make the biggest Valley Fever inducing dust clouds, because what the hell, it's fun, and all that matters is that THEY hear the leaf blowers, because that means we're working, even though we're not accomplishing jack shit, I mean really, all that matters is the time clock and getting paid; as to the quality of the work, who the hell cares, it's not like the management does, and the people living there are zombies anyway.

There's a lot more rant left in me, yeah you know it, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow. Because I'm tired, and would like to make a more reasoned argument against it, which I need a good nights sleep and some daylight to do. So, stay tuned for that, maybe.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Reasons to Run

The previous post, inspirations for running, was a bit too long winded and rambling. So, thought I'd make a short list, that gets right to the point.

Basically there are four primary reasons that I have for running. 

1. Health/fitness.

Running exercises your legs, your heart and your lungs. It burns fat, and as a result helps to keep your whole body fit and trim. The ability to run is a good gauge of your general fitness level. If you can't run a mile without stopping, you're not in very good shape. So, regularly doing a bit of light running is good for your health. Meaning that you don't have to necessarily be a super fast and competitive marathon runner to reap the benefits, but just a few miles a week will have a good impact on your health.

2. Self-defense/survival.

Being able to run non-stop for more than a mile could someday save your life. You may need to run away from an attacker, who is trying to hurt you, or rob you, or get something from you that you don't want them to have; or you may need to run to help someone else in trouble, and running may be the fastest way to get there. The ability to run is a great skill to have, it has the potential to save lives, and the better you are at it, the more it will help you in an emergency situation.

3. Mood enhancement/therapy.

Running makes you feel better. Well, it makes me feel better. Yeah, there's pain, you feel exhausted, maybe you're a bit sore, but your mind is refreshed, and you feel energized and uplifted. It's a good way to manage anxiety and depression, and a good remedy against insomnia, if you make it a regular habit.  Running is much better than popping a pill, getting drunk, or getting high. That's what I've found anyway. Yeah, I still like to have a couple beers, but when I've turned running into a regular habit, I'm less inclined to drink too much. It has a way of balancing me out, as does all exercise, particularly lifting weights. But running regularly, in conjunction with other forms of exercise, is a great method for improving your mental health.

If you have any problem with anxiety or depression or insomnia, rather than taking prescription medication for it, if you aren't doing so already, I would recommend starting up a regular exercise program, doing a combination of running and weight lifting, and you can do other things too, but the running and weight lifting I think is the best place to start. If you can't run, walk, run, intermittently, until you can run. But make it a priority to run. Walking is great, too, but if your goal is to improve your mood, you get more of the mood enhancing benefits from running, than you do from walking.

4. Transportation.

And last but not least, running is a natural form of transportation. If you find yourself without a car, without a bicycle, and without a ride, and you want to get somewhere faster than walking, running is your ticket. Walking is slow, running is faster. The stronger you are as a runner, makes running a more efficient and enjoyable mode of travel.

So there you have it. The four main reasons to run.

Health/fitness, self-defense/survival, mood enhancement/therapy, and transportation/travel.

Most are related to health, but still different enough to merit an explanation. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Inspirations for Running

So, I ran another mile, brought my time down a bit, to 8 minutes and 54 seconds. It's really hard though, I've got to tell you, because it's getting progressively hotter.

It would probably be a lot easier if I did my run in the morning, and soon I will HAVE to, or it won't happen, but honestly I've never been big on doing any heavy duty exercising in the morning, other than walking, or yoga, my drive to exercise doesn't usually kick in until the afternoon or evening. That's just how I've always been, though doesn't mean that's how I always must be, but just saying, I generally exercise later in the day.

Anyway, we had our first 100 degree day today. Sunday and Monday is expected to be even hotter, and hopefully, if the forecast is right, after that it'll be cooling down again into the nineties, which strangely enough, will feel cooler. My goal for running is three miles, with no plans of running further. Why? Well, I suppose it goes back to my childhood, where one of my greatest role models was Bruce Lee, and in his book Basic Training, he mentioned that he regularly ran three miles. So, it stuck in my mind as a good distance to run. Plus, I have no desire to participate in any races, and running for the health benefits, inasmuch as toning my muscles and improving my cardiovascular health, is actually only a small part of it.

Mostly there's two major reasons motivating me to run. One, for survival; for self-preservation. I may one day be attacked, or need to evade attack, and being able to run away, to run consistently for 30 minutes or longer, may save my life. Two, I'm kind of a high strung person, hyperactive "high energy" person, with an inclination to anxiety and depression and of drinking alcohol to alleviate those tendencies, and I have found exercise, such as running, to be a healthy alternative, tiring me out and triggering those "happy, feel good" endorphins, as a way of balancing myself out naturally.

So, we've got running as a tool to enhance one's ability to survive and thrive. But I will also add that I'm someone who is committed to living car-free. Which by the way, don't feel bad if you drive, I don't have a problem with you or anyone else driving, although I do in fact hate cars, but I do recognize their value, it's just not a value that I myself wish to personally partake in. This could change, but as it is now, unless I have to travel extremely long distances, I'm good getting around as much as possible through the power of my own locomotion: Riding my bike, walking, or running. So, being able to run, and developing my skills as a runner, can only help to serve and enhance my car free existence.

It's good for me to have some tangible goal. I would say I'm definitely a goal oriented person. It's what keeps me at my best. Keeps me sharp. Gives me a reason for living. Without goals, I sort of wither away, the quality of my life takes a nose dive.

So besides the running, need to work on those pushups too. Got to fit at least two dedicated days a week to making some significant gains in my strength, and pushups are probably the most tangible measure of progress in that area. Got the goal of the three mile run, and will have to stick to that 20 pushups goal, and that's good quality pushups, with good form, and my chin touching the floor.

That's all for now. Another fitness update, much sooner than you probably expected. Not what you were expecting, or hoping, am I not keeping you entertained? Well I'm sorry, it's all part of the personal growth, self-transformation memoir in progress, eventually leading to some great philosophical ideas and insights, I'm sure of it. You'll just have to stay tuned, and if you get bored you can always turn the channel, and I will fade away into oblivion, as will you, and that's fine, it's just words on a screen anyway, anything more is just an illusion, as is perhaps, all else. Such is life, but that doesn't make it any less beautiful or worth living.

Friday, May 29, 2015

14 Mile Bike Ride

Well, let's see, I'm feeling pretty drained. The day after the last post, where I mentioned I did a mile run in nine minutes, I ran a mile and a half in 15 minutes, a slower pace. Wasn't the time I was expecting, but it was hotter, and plus the ground I'm running on isn't level, there's a slight incline.

Anyway, despite my time being slightly slower than I was hoping for, I felt majorly stoked about the simple fact that I actually ran a mile and half, the first in many years, anything more than this I will be breaking new ground.

I thought my biggest challenge would be my lung capacity, but the day after my one and a half miler, my legs were sore, and I wasn't counting on that. So I took a day off, but yesterday, I went on a bike ride, was only planning on doing an easy three or four miler, but ended up riding 14 miles, stopping at my favorite desert oasis. Only took 30 minutes to get there, which is totally awesome. I'm thinking I need to go more often, because the hot weather is coming back, though we've had cooler weather than usual, but the hundreds are on the horizon, as in any day now, and sitting by the water at this park is the most comforting thing in the world.

Here's some pictures from Wednesday's ride:





It was 95 degrees that day, and I only brought one water bottle. Nevertheless, it was a good day, not too many people there, and felt ten to fifteen degrees cooler by the water. I'm thinking that no matter what, I'm going to ride out there regularly, only need about two hours to make it happen, though one of these days I'll go in the morning and make it a whole day. Yep. anyway, I'm thinking, now that I'm in training mode, I either ride my bike, or run, with one complete rest day a week. We'll see what happens.

That's all for now.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May Fitness Update

I reached a major milestone today, I ran my first timed nonstop mile run in over twenty years, clocking in at 9 minutes on the dot.

I hadn't even been training for it, haven't been doing a regular running routine, just running a quarter mile or so to the store here and there, but without any regularity - so you could say my nine minute mile is my pre-training time, which, although it's no Olympian accomplishment, isn't bad for someone in their late thirties whose hardly run at all.

The difference is though that usually when I jog the short distance to the store, sort of a spur of the moment impulse, I'm carrying a backpack and at least a quart of water, whereas on today's timed run, I traveled light, carrying nothing at all. Actually it's the first time I've run without my backpack in years, and it certainly made it a lot easier.

I think I can easily bring this time down to an eight minute mile, and if I keep it up, by the end of the summer, and maybe even sooner, I should be reaching my 3 mile goal, and doing it in 25 minutes or less. Yeah, I see it as extremely doable.

I'm very proud of myself, because I've been procrastinating about doing this for years, where there's always been some obstacle in my way, from sinus problems, the weather being too hot, drinking too much beer, to just not feeling strong enough, but am now FINALLY making some progress.

Although I have been walking at least a mile everyday for years, even doing a few 15 milers, and consider myself to be a relatively fit person, am slim, somewhat muscular, never been overweight, but just wasn't a runner, I attribute my recent success to my regular cycling routine, where I've been doing ten to fifteen mile bike rides two to three days a week for a few months now. It's the first time I've attempted a timed run since I started up the regular cycling, and am definitely seeing a connection, that it's helped improve my fitness in a big way. So, hurray for that.

I'll keep you posted. The next fitness update, next month or so, will post (hopefully) improved run times, an increase in distance, my first 1.5, 2 miler, 3 miler, we'll see; as well as whatever thoughts I have on the matter, such as how doing this has influenced other aspects of my life, the quality of my life, my state of mind, and plans for the future.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Spontaneous Insights

Spontaneous insights, I used to have them all the time, but lately it almost seemed like they had stopped completely, until a few nights ago, when I was having one, it occurred to me that the insights haven't stopped at all, all that's changed is that I haven't been writing them down. And just like dreams, if you don't write them down right away, they are easily forgotten.

This blog has given me a reason to write. Okay, I was writing before the blog, but having a blog gives you that extra motivation to keep the writing coming. You tend to pay attention to things that you see as potential blog post topics, that you wouldn't otherwise give a second thought to.

Okay, so it occurred to me that I have spontaneous insights that come to me all the time, but it is only through writing that they ever see the light of day, as I'm not ordinarily inclined to talk about them as a subject of conversation. You could say that my creative dry spell of seeming not to have as many spontaneous insights or original ideas, coincides with my diminishing interest in writing and of having a blog.

I'm facing this obstacle of not being able to see any good reason for doing this, there's certainly no external reward for doing this, I get virtually no feedback, no financial payback, and it so often feels as though nobody else is reading. So if there's any reward it's something that I've got to create myself, a reason for doing this that fulfills myself, such as seeing this as good writing practice, and the opportunity to develop and explore ideas that perhaps wouldn't be realized anywhere else. And as such, seeing it in this way, it turns this into a valuable tool for self-transformation and intellectual growth, which, if you can maintain that perspective, is a good reason after all.

So the insight I have is that my creative self depends on writing. It is only through writing that these spontaneous insights are given a life. It is only through writing that I can explore ideas of a philosophical, introspective, imaginative nature. If I stop writing, I stop thinking. Sure, I think first, but I need to write these thoughts down for these thoughts to evolve.

What I mean by spontaneous insights are simply those thoughts that suddenly, mysteriously pop into your mind like a flash of lightning, that involve seeing or understanding something in a new way, seeing something from a different point-of-view, and grasping the meaning of something that never occurred to you before. It may not necessarily be anything extraordinary, or world changing, or even all that important, and it may not even be entirely original or innovative, in that other people may have had the insight too, but on a personal level it is new to you and that is what makes it special.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Moonbow

You know, back in the early to mid nineties, I think maybe it was either '93 or '94, I remember having a dream of being down by the beach at night and seeing a rainbow over the lake, which to me looked like Lake Michigan, because that's where I lived. I never saw anything like that before. Not in a dream, nor in wakefulness. I have no conscious memory of seeing such a thing in a movie, or reading about it in a book, but I saw it in my dream.

Well, just found out today that it actually does happen. It's not a figment of imagination, not some sort otherworldly surreal only happens in dreams phenomenon. They're called moonbows, or lunar rainbows, requiring the elements of a full, or nearly full moon, and water. The thing is though that people don't, ordinarily, maybe not even ever, see the rainbow as a full spectrum rainbow with their naked eye, instead it appears like a white light, but only in photographs is the actual rainbow revealed.

But in my dream, I could "see" it as a vividly colorful rainbow, but again, what I'm seeing isn't seen with my actual physical eyes, but something else, my mind's eye. 

Here's a picture of a moonbow, via wikipedia, though in my dream the sky was much darker, more visibly nighttime, rather than dusk or dawn, as this picture suggests:


See, it's pretty fascinating, that because I'm not very educated in scientific matters, there's a lot of stuff in my dreams that I'm seeing that I don't understand, that seem totally out of this world, that perhaps I hadn't any prior explore to, but would be understood by scientists.

How is it that I saw something in a dream that I never saw before and had no prior knowledge of?

Well, of course, it could be argued that maybe I had seen it somewhere, in a movie or something, but just had no memory of it. Maybe, but what if I really hadn't seen it before, and the dream really was the first?

The same is true for other areas of knowledge, not just scientific, but mythological, historical references, that go completely over my head, that I'm unaware of their significance.

I think it's like a form of prophecy, or foresight, illumination, inspiration. But if you don't understand what you see, the significance of what you are seeing, you may dismiss it as unimportant, and possibly forget all about it. That's why you've got to write it down. I'm sorry to say that memory is failing me. So it is absolutely imperative that I write this stuff down, or I'm going to lose it forever.

Won't forget my moonbows, though. I've only had a handle of dreams that I still remember twenty years later, and seeing a rainbow at night is one of them. And because I saw it mentioned on some news program today, I think it was PBS, I had to share it. Well, that is all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Follow-Up

Do you have a blog? Have you been blogging for years?

Well, let me tell you, if you suddenly stop, without warning, without giving any farewell message, a reason for the absence, an explanation, and you just simply stop updating, and the weeks become months, and the months become years, and if you wait long enough, eventually the page will completely disappear, either because the blogspot (or whatever may be the case, wordpress, typepad, tumblr, whatever) goes out of business, or changes ownership, and the rules and regulations change, believe me, whether it happens right away or later down the road, if you have any kind of dedicated readership, you disappoint a lot of people. It's like, okay, guess you didn't really care about me, didn't care about us, didn't care about your readers. It's really fucking annoying. Yeah, eventually, as time goes by, you forget about them, as they apparently forgot about you in like a split second. For you, maybe it took a bit longer, a few years maybe, but eventually, the piece of shit that could have been a diamond, no longer exists.

Yeah, I've been reading blogs for a few years now (okay it's been over a decade), and it really annoys me when blogs I like just suddenly stop, without warning. No update. Nothing. They just stop posting. Okay, unless you fucking died, that is not right. Yeah, it annoys me also when they actually do give a warning too, because if you like their writing, and they're still writing elsewhere, but they don't tell you where, you feel a bit cheated when you aren't included in their latest endeavors. Whatever. The point is, I don't want to be one of those people that does that. Although, arguably it is quite possible that there are few people left reading this who actually care (and no this is not a desperate cry for attention, actually I'd prefer it if you don't comment on this) but uh, it just occurred to me that when I go, I don't just want to leave you hanging, I would like to give some kind of farewell message, or ideally some sort of followup, a link to something better, like a book I wrote or something. That's what I'd like to do. Thanks for your time.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Scary Spider

Been awhile since I posted a picture of a spider, the last time was a tarantula sighting (I'll have to add the link later). Well, last night around elevenish, I go to take the garbage out. I live in an apartment complex, so that involves walking around the corner to a dumpster. My neighbor just moved out, so I was kind of lingering near their apartment, seeing if they left anything, if they are completely out, or what. They had a weight bench that I had my fingers crossed that they were going to leave behind, but of course it never happened. Oh well, would have really been too good to be true.

As I'm going back, headed to my door, I see something moving, something almost shiny looking, metalicy, glistening in the covered parking light. It caught my eye. Although I didn't have my flashlight on, I could see something moving in front of me, something fast, and as soon as I turned my headlamp on, yes I wear a headlamp on my ordinarily 30 second trip to the dumpster, at first I thought it was a tarantula. It was certainly almost as large as one, but without the thick hair, the legs were skinnier, but the circumference was just as large. My second thought was that it was a tropical spider from either Florida or Brazil, stowed away on some grocery store cargo of bananas, or something like that, at which point my arachnophobia was kicked into full gear. And that is what I thought it was until tonight, when I think I identified it as a wolf spider. It has a poisonous, extremely painful bite, but is not deadly, at least not ordinarily. If you happen to get bit on the face or neck, it is advised to seek medical treatment, otherwise, wash the area, apply ice, and stay calm, and you should be alright.

Anyway, last night, it was like right on top of my door, this huge spider. My cat is on the other side of the door, and I'm afraid that if I open the door, the spider is either going to run into my apartment and attack my cat, or it's going to run up my leg and attack me. I've already had a next door neighbor have a complete psychotic breakdown outside my door a few weeks ago, with about a dozen cops, firemen, and paramedics, showing up at the scene, I don't think my screams about this spider after eleven o'clock at night would have made a very good impression with the rest of the neighbors. So I decided to retreat to the patio, climbing over the wall and everything. And that was my night. Very scary. It was a first. The second largest spider I've ever seen in my life. Just had to make a record of it.

Here's a picture of it:



The picture is a little bit misleading, it looked a lot larger in person, seriously. If you were to encircle it with a compass, it would easily be the size of an apple, or fit in the palm of a hand. Like I said, it was like a tarantula with skinny shaved legs. And it looked like it was really fast, and ready to pounce. The good thing is is that it alerted me, reminded me to not become too complacent sitting out on the patio at night, to be on the lookout for this thing, as it may live in the area and come back again.

So, thanks for the warning.