On the fate of gods and men

Is it true
all men must
die?

How many
faces will you
meet before you
meet your maker
or your fate?

Faces of me
Faces of you
Faces of each
other as one

because

we are all together
and i am not the walrus
but i like to see them
run for

comfort
buses and trains,
run to get laid and
laid to rest

like the antelope
that couldn’t
outrun the fastest lion,
the CEO’s and COO’s
feast on their bones

Sleep now
you’ve earned it
like my father and
your father and their
father’s father

Dead of the fight
seeking solace in
the paradox of
nihilism when the

night is clear, they look
for a direct line to God
only to find he’s not there

God’s Comic has stepped
in to bartend until the
stars disappear and
through blurry eyes
and dried voices they

whisper together
Valar Morghulis
and sometimes gods too

i’m not struggling; i’m juggling (or multitasking like a mofo)

The Pixies asked the question ‘Where is my mind?’ and I’d answer all over the place, not in a scatter brain kind of way but more in the lots of things are demanding my attention all at once. I’m juggling a number of projects – consulting for WH, the podcast, injecting new life into radio warwickshire, getting the new book ready for publication, trying to build momentum in the world of self-promotion (can’t rely on other people alone to do it – Walt Whitman was a tireless self-promoter and look where I got him in relation to his contemporaries) oh and I’ve gone and started a companion site to this blog on Facebook I can’t fight Zuck and win, like morpheus, I gotta get inside The Matrix and do damage from within – so yeah that is where my mind is. I’m going to have to go back to time blocking so my mind can take solid shape on one thing at a time.

For some reason I just had a flash back to the game A Barrel of Monkeys – remember that one?

In fact as I’m watching the scene unfolds in my mind, I’m back at my grandmother’s house on the floor in her room play this barrel of Monkeys game by myself. The adults have gone in another room and closed the door. I can hear them arguing, but I’m not sure about what. I think has something to about something my cousin did. And that’s it. The scene ends there.

I finished reading the Matthew Zapruder book, Why Poetry. I like that he is trying to win back poetry for the common people and encouraging folks to let go of how they may have been taught poetry in school. In a nutshell, he argues that a poem should be read in and of itself versus how many folks were taught in school that poetry is coded language for something other than what’s on the page and that you have knowledge of obscure references in order to get the “true” meaning of the poem. He wants us to forgo thinking of a poem as a puzzle to be solved and instead to experience a poem as a gateway drug to the associative power of our imagination. In other words, the poem will reveal you to yourself through the connections it fires off in you’re own consciousness. It’s a good book and worth a read if you’re into such things.

I also finished the selected poems of Charles Olson.

I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I might. I couldn’t connect with Olson’s choice of subjects which are grounded in New England. Plus his poems drip with intellectualism, which isn’t a bad thing, just doesn’t stir my insides.

Something I didn’t know, Olson coined the term postmodern.

And so I found myself at the Cats Protection re-homing event today.  We cat fosterers.  This event is held every couple of weeks and from time to time I go to help with the social media coverage:

Oh yeah, and here are some shots from my street photography outing last Saturday in Oxford:

You can find the rest on my Flickr account.

Alright, my eyeballs hurt, time for me to get off of this thing!

Soundtrack:

On Damaged

Isolated
by my own strangeness
I try to bridge the
unbridgeable
gap between

us

You with your
good looks and
blonde hair, ice-blue
eyes that

beguile
bewitch
behead

those with courage
to look longer than
a stare

I think of something
Prince would say:

“Now move your big
ass ‘round this way
so i can work on that zipper, baby”

I wouldn’t dare,
of course, I need
someone more
damaged than me

to un-play a game
I play with myself

A Kiss Is

I’m sure if we closed
the distance between
us we’d kiss. And that
kiss would be the beginning.
And that kiss would be the end.
A kiss is never just a kiss.

1

A visit to the Mountain Spirit

And here we go.  The mountain bug has bitten me (why it waits until it’s nearly winter to bite, I’m not sure).  Friday, on a whim, I decided I needed some mountain air.  It’s October and I’ve barely been out in the mountains at all this year.  I can throw out the usual excuse of not of time, but I hate that as an excuse.  Not to sound like a self-help guru or anything, but everybody has the same amount of time.  We all have time.  The only question is how you spend your time not whether you have time or not.  Don’t fight me on this because it’s true.  You have 24hrs. I have 24hrs. We all have 24hrs.  I haven’t been to the mountains because I didn’t have time, but because I didn’t want to spend minimum 6 hours driving to and from the closet decent mountains near me.  If I could scramble my atoms like they do in Star Trek, I would be in the mountains every single weekend.  But 6 hours in a car is another story.  I have a fix for that though which I’ll come on to later.

First watch this video I made of the journey to Cadair Idris:

I grabbed a few shots before the weather turned:

The wind was fierce at the top:

So the stuff that didn’t make it onto the tape was my inner journey stuff.  The summation of which is this: more poetry, more adventure – the adventure poet!  I often go to the mountains to seek spiritual guidance from the Mountain Spirit.  And as always the Mountain Spirit never disappoints.  My conclusions from this walk – the clarity I was seeking – was reconnecting with adventure (and making the travelling to and fro a part of the journey and adventure, which is to say have the adventure mindset from the time I leave the house until I return.  Doubling down on the poetry the reading and writing of.  And blogging and seeing where I can creatively take the platform despite blogging being dead if you are of a certain age (actually my research says that all ages have pretty much abandoned blogging in favour social networks, newsletters, and RSS feeds. I should add it’s not that people don’t read blogs, it’s that they don’t go to the blog/blogpost, they demand it come to them, either through their newsfeed from friends and social media influencers,  or curated apps  like Flippoard or Feedly.

So the gig is to combine all three passions into some sort of mashup accentuates them all.

Soundtrack:

I managed to get back in the pocket

Wednesday, 4 Oct

I’m going to start writing this post tonight, but I may not finish it. You see, right now, I have a belly full of hate and an unreal heart. The two together make me want to break something. What’s eating me up is the amount of injustice in the world that’s being perpetuated by those who can by virtue of their position or monetary status. It makes justice look like a sham, like just another one of these “moral” concepts used to keep us in bondage. Machiavelli was on to something when he wrote ”Might makes right.”


Thursday, 5 Oct

OK, I had to sleep that one off.  Yesterday, James Altucher laid out an interesting:

EXERCISE: list the things you loved from ages 6-14. Figure out what you can do around those interests right now.

Basically it’s an exercise designed to help you tap back into the things you were passionate about before you got caught up with working for The Man.  The sentiment creeping around the Internet theses days is that anyone can start a business around their obsession.  All the tools to build the structure exist as either free tools or inexpensive tools that let you set up shop in whatever way that looks for you.  And then, using the Internet as the conduit, connect up with an army of people who want to buy yourself.  I’m simplifying, I know.  But the theory is to start a business around the thing you are passionate about. Regardless of  how ridiculous it sounds, there will be population of people out their who will gravitate to you, or so story goes.

Anyway, I thought about what I was passionate about between 6-14.  I can’t recollect what I was a passionate about at 6 apart from my Star Trek action figures.  I had them all. Plus a cut-out replica of the Starship Enterprise.  Gary Vee would tell you to start a blog about Star Trek action figures, go to conventions and meet and connect with all the Trekkies out there and then get them to visit your site and from that you can build a community and once you have the community, you can monetise the community.

From about 10 – 12 I was obsessed with science, microbiology in particular.  And then at 13 I discovered Dungeons and Dragons and became obsessed with heroic fantasy books, especially Savage Sword of Conan (I still have my entire SSOC collection).  Pumping iron was my other obsession.  Pretty much between the ages of 13 – 17 you could find me in the bookstore or the gym.

Hmm..

I stumbled upon this clip from the HBO series The Newsroom, which I have never seen, but after watching this scene, I want to rent it from Amazon and see what it’s like.

Recorded the next episode of the podcast.  On discussion today was the topic of certainty.

“It is not the search for certainty. To err is human. All human knowledge is fallible and therefore uncertain. It follows that we must distinguish sharply between truth and certainty. That to err is human means not only that we must constantly struggle against error, but also that, even when we have taken the greatest care, we cannot be completely certain that we have not made a mistake… To combat the mistake, the error, means therefore to search for objective truth and to do everything possible to discover and eliminate falsehoods. This is the task of scientific activity. Hence we can say: our aim as scientists is objective truth; more truth, more interesting truth, more intelligible truth. We cannot reasonably aim at certainty.”
“Since we can never know anything for sure, it is simply not worth searching for certainty; but it is well worth searching for truth; and we do this chiefly by searching for mistakes, so that we can correct them.”
I’ve long since given up on certainty.  I’m also on the fence about Truth.  Does truth exist? I’m not so convince it does.
Soundtrack:

2

It’s with light heart I go

I woke up to the news that Tom Petty had died.  Sad days indeed.  I immediately played on of my favourite Tom Petty track:

I remember when this video first came out I was ecstatic.  It was during those days that I played a lot of role-playing games one of which was Gamma World, a science fantasy role-playing game set in a 24th century post-apocalyptic earth. This video was like Gamma World brought to life and set to music.  I raced to the television every time this video came on MTV.

Another one of my all time favourite Tom Petty tracks is You Don’t Know How It Feels off of his 1994 album, Wildflowers.

I could go on and on…

A vision came to me this morning of two paths.  One path was labelled ‘existential angst’ the other, ‘the devil may care.’  I could see myself standing at this divergence.  I’ve been down both paths at one time or another in my life, so the choice didn’t disturb me.  Quite frankly, I’ve been on the chilled path for too long, grown too comfortable, so this choice comes at just the right time.

Rainer Rilke said the “Only journey is the one within.”  That may be so, but I’m tired of that journey.  I’ve been inside and there’s nothing there but a big dark void.  One I’ve tried to fill with many things, but each time the object of my desire was devoured by the void.

So it’s with light heart that I begin to tread down the ‘devil may care’ road.  I’m not sure what that will entail, but I look forward to finding out.

I wanted to say something about this whole inner journey thing.  In Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, Once the hero has completed the quest and the elixir, he or she has to face one more trial – The Return.  The road back is often dangerous and many heroes don’t make it back. Not always because they meet some demise, but because they have fallen in love with the enchanted world and refuse to return back to the Ordinary World where the hero belongs.  By choosing to stay, the hero abandons the Ordinary world and doesn’t bring back the elixir that will help humanity.

I think that happens with a lot of seekers.  They embark on the inner journey.  They learn to meditate. They adopt some form of spiritual practice that unburdens their soul. They find peace. The bliss is intoxicating. They get trapped in non-ordinary reality, seduced by the bliss. They fail to heed the Zen Master’s warning:

“Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

I think I’ll hang out here for a while:

On that note, as you can see, my glass is empty.  Gotta top up.

This is what I’m drinking tonight:

Soundtrack:

Double duties

It was a whirlwind of day down in Bedfordshire. I was at Jordan’s Mill, the home of Jordan’s Cereal. Unfortunately I didn’t see much of the mill. Instead I was in a room filled with 30 or so people from the UK and as far afield as African. I was there on official business operating in the capacity of social tech and digital marketing dude. I was also the group’s part-time picture taker and the resident podcaster.

Overall grand day.  Met a few new contacts.

Soundtrack:

Horizon chasers

I finished reading the Michael Robbins book, The Second Sex, which was his second poetry collection following his Alien vs Predator debut collection back in 2012.  I was slightly disappointed with this volume.  I felt it lack the cohesion of Alien vs Predator.  If I happened upon this book without any indication as to which was published first, I would have said The Second Sex.  The poems felt all over the place kind of like being in the back of a Landrover Defended going cross-country over rough terrain.

Unless, of course, he intended for the ride to be rocky.

I also spent time with the Richard Halliburton book, The Royal Road to Romance.  No I haven’t gone soft on you and reading romance novels, this is a pure adventure travel classic.

A quiet, normal life was never in the cards for Richard Halliburton. While the rest of Princeton’s Class of 1921 was busy matriculating into more “respectable” lives, Halliburton stuffed his diploma into a backpack and set off on what he hoped would be the adventure of a lifetime. As it turns out, his hopes were wildly understated.

His story doesn’t end. At the age of 39, he dies in the middle of an expedition to sail a Chinese junk from Hong Kong to San Francisco, but that’s another story.  Halliburton is making me nostalgic for a simpler time in my life, one filled with youthful exuberance, recklessness and a constant eye on the horizon.  Once when asked what his profession was, Halliburton answered: ‘I’m a professional horizon chaser.”

And of course, you know that fired me right up!  I want to be a professional horizon chaser too.  I think I’ve spent the past few years looking for that edge Hunter S. Thompson talked about:

“The Edge…There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others-the living-are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later. But the edge is still Out there.”

It’s a dark road that leads to the edge.  And as David Lee Roth calls out in ‘Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love’:

“i’ve been to the edge/and there I stood and looked down/You know I lost a lot of friends there, baby/I got no time to mess around.”

I want to come back into the light and chase horizons.

On another note…

I’m not much into cars, vintage or otherwise.  My main requirement for a motor is that it gets me from point A to point B and back.  It was always this way.  As a teenager and into my early twenties I was into American Muscle cars – the Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and my all time favourite, the Chevy Camaro.  My first car was a Camaro Z-28.  Loved it.

My little town of Southam held it’s annual Retro Revival today.  It’s look back to the 1950’s.  On hand were a variety of vehicles from cars to howitzers to tractors and mint vintage condition.  They had the hula hoops out and 50’s music blasting from the centre stage.  The cars carried the event, but there were people who really got into and got all guy and dolled up in their 50’s threads.  I didn’t see any Fonzys though.

The Retro Revival Festival 2017

Soundtrack:

I might be a cybernetic organism

Friday snuck up on me. My head is pounding. This is the second day in a row I’ve developed a headache in the late afternoon. Trying to think if I’ve changed anything that may be the cause. It’s not a migraine, just a normal headache. Today I’m half tempted to snort a couple of shots of whisky. It is Friday after all.

I had an interesting conversation this week with Sarah on the podcast. We explored the idea of super artificial intelligence and the idea of robots becoming self-aware and what the consequences of that might mean for us human beings. Of course that lead us down all sorts of rabbit holes like should a self-aware robot have rights? There are those who believe we should teach robots how to feel so they can be empathetic to humans. Which leads to the argument that if they can feel, they can suffer and if they can suffer then they should have rights.

One of my favourite sci-fi books is Philip K. Dick’s Do Android’s Dream of Electric Sheep? It’s the book that Blade Runner is based off of. It’s also the first book that made me stop and reflect on what our relationship should be to artificially intelligent robots/Android’s. Should we be obligated to treat it like a human if we make it look, act, sound, think, and feel like a human being? Technically it’s a machine – a machine that can be shut down, turned off or decommissioned. Why should I treat it any different than I treat my toaster or my smartphone?

Other rabbit holes we ended up down: is it intelligence that gives us our humanity or is it something else? People like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawkins say we should be very concerned about creating artificially intelligent beings or machines. Once a machine becomes super intelligent enough to think independently of it’s creators, then we lose control of it and we end up in a Skynet situation.

So now I guess I need to prepare for the zombie apocalypse and the machine apocalypse. Personally I’d rather face zombies than self-aware machines.

Soundtrack:

1

Stroke My Terror

You don’t want to go where this leads
I dropped my airpod on your breasts
You never give me your honey but
the coffee you serve is the best

I stroke my terror to find joy
Oh I’m going to burn in Hell alright
I promise I’ll burn well though ‘cause
mother said if you’re going to do it do it light

myself on fire, drop dead on the spot
i’m happy to be hurt by your mysterious
ways, the abyss is underneath the table
if you’re able to second guess my (intention)

I’ll play the role of darkness and you can
be the light that lights my perversity.

Soundtrack:

2

Why so glum chum?

And maybe it’s language itself that has disconnected us from our feelings. We are corralled into this constant striving to be happy as if happy is the only emotion worth feeling

Why so glum chum?

When we meet a glum chum we make it our mission to cheer them up, to get them back into a happy place. Why not let them stew in the glum? Perhaps they might learn something essential to their being if only we’d let them spend a good length of time swimming in the glumness until they understand what they’re feeling and know it’s nature.

Turn on your TV, radio or flip through a magazine (hehe how old school of me) and 99% of the adverts try to convince you that the good life will be found through the use of their product or service

Buy this shit if you ultimately want to be happy is the underlying message.

And it doesn’t stop with consumer goods… politicians seeking your vote…vote for me and your life will be better… you can lead a happier life if you vote for me…vote for the other guy and you’ll be miserable, life will truly suck.

Cathy shared a link with me that says we have 27 emotions.

Admiration
Adoration
Aesthetic Appreciation
Amusement
Anxiety
Awe
Awkwardness
Boredom
Calmness
Confusion
Craving
Disgust
Empathetic pain
Entrancement
Envy
Excitement
Fear
Horror
Interest
Joy
Nostalgia
Romance
Sadness
Satisfaction
Sexual desire
Sympathy
Triumph

How many of those do you go through in a day? Better yet, how many of those do you spend time with getting to know it intimately? Maybe that’s job of the poet, to do a deep dive into the emotion to understand the nature of the feeling – the rest of us have work to do, bills to pay etc so these emotions for us are fleeting at best.

I have one of these facial recognition apps (it’s still in beta) that scans your face and detects how a person is feeling in any given moment. It’s interesting to watch the face flick through emotions in seconds.

We can use language to avoid feeling. Through our self-talk we can side-step any emotion even convince a situation right out of existence.

George Orwell wrote in his Politics and the English Language essay that language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.”

The misuse of words can lead to all sorts of abuse and self-abuse and desensitisation.

Such is reflected in a speech Pope Francis gave back 2013 to a crowd on the small island of Lampedusa:

“Today no one in our world feels responsible; we have lost a sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters.  We see our brother half dead on the side of the road, and perhaps we say to ourselves: “poor soul…” and then we go on our way.  It’s not our responsibility, and with that we feel reassured, assuaged. The culture of comfort, which makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people, makes us live in soap bubbles which, however lovely, are insubstantial; they offer a fleeting and empty illusion which results in indifference to others.”

So this is as much a language problem as it is a spiritual problem.

To avoid desensitisation, self-delusion and even monstrosity, we have to think about what we are saying and avoid euphemisms and cliches.  Only then can we establish a deep connections with our feelings.  Strangest thing, as I wrote that sentence I had a momentary sense of fear.  A fear of actually connecting with emotions. Will it make me soppy? Will it make me vulnerable? If I open the emotional flood gates, can I shut them again.

That reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld when Jerry’s girlfriend complained that she had never really seen him mad. Jerry tries to prove to her that he can be angry.  The more he tried, the more she just laughed in his face until finally he makes a breakthrough and manages to actually get angry.  But once he opened the gate to one emotion, the rest came flooding through.  He can’t stop crying.

I think I’ll tackle that list of 27.  Ooh that sounds like an interesting poetry project – to write a poem that expresses each of those emotions.

Speaking of poems, here’s one I posted on Tumblr yesterday:

Good Faith

good faith is hidden
in the fear of a country
girl in a short black dress

she sips cherry coke, bats
her erotic eyes and smiles

people fear me she says
but I am just living life
the way I think I should live

drop out and snuggle with me
and we can be human building
blocks and lie on the rocks

until dawn.

Soundtrack:

2

I want to feel more

It was a day of being everybody’s Yoda.  A role of which I am ok with, but by the end of it, I’m mentally drained.  Normally I’d pop on some tunes and veg out, but I have lots to do in a short period of time.

How do you know how you feel?

e.e. cummings wrote that “a poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words.”  The trouble is this isn’t as easy as it sounds.  I mean I am human right? Feeling is just something that happens automatically. But is it really? As e.e. cummings goes on to say:

“A lot of people think or believe or know they feel – but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught how to feel.  Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.”

I often question whether or not I feel.  I have a lot of empathy towards others, so I’m not a Mister Spock or anything, but sometimes deep feelings escape me or I’ve forgotten how to feel.  This isn’t coming out on paper like it sounds in my head. Sometimes I look inside to see how I feel and see nothing but the void.

Maybe that’s my problem right there – I “look” to “see” my feelings instead of feeling my feelings.  So back to my original question, how do you know how to feel? Can trust that what you feel is really what you feel?  Or just a response to how you have been conditioned to feel.

e.e. cummings again:

“To be nobody but yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

What feelings do I feel the most?

Supposedly the typical male only has three emotions on his dial – mad, glad, bad.  Everything else is a variation in degree for each of these.  Most of the time I’m just happy.  I do have periods of extreme melancholy.  And on very rare occasions, I get mad.  And some times, I have this crazy feeling of love for everybody and everything – I know that sounds very hippie, but its true, in those times, I feel immense love for everybody.

I’m able to suppress my emotions completely, which I guess must mean I have some Vulcan blood in me.

That said, I want to feel more. It’s on my list of things to do to make me a better human being.

Soundtrack:

And that’s the trouble with poetry

I awoke this morning to the hammering sound of rain. Just what you want out of your Monday morning – dark, wet, gloom. I made a batch of strong, dark coffee to match the mood. I turned to my one true source of motivation – books.

I cracked open Matthew Zapruder’s new book, Why Poetry. He’s on a mission to bring poetry back to the people. He argues that the way poetry is being taught in schools puts most people off of it for life.

“So many of us have been taught to read poetry as if words mean something other than what they actually say.  In this version of poetry, poems are designed to communicate a message, albeit in a confusing way. Everything that is in the poem – metaphors, similes, imagery, sounds, line breaks, and so on – is decorative, that is, place on top of the message or meaning of the poem.  The student’s job is to discover that meaning, and to repeat the central (often banal) message or theme back to the teacher, or in the exam.”

Liz Lochhead, former makar (poet laureate) of Glasgow, had this to say:

“The way poetry is taught at the moment is absolutely appalling…they teach poetry as a problem, rather than a joy, and that’s disgraceful…It’s clear that even teachers think poetry is code. I have been asked by a boy, who emailed me once: ‘when you wrote that poem about a bull, what did you really want to say?’ His education had allowed him to get the misapprehension that a poem is a code trying to get a message across.”

And that’s the trouble with poetry, it gets a bad wrap in school and few people, except sad sacks like me, ever recover.  It’s funny for as much as I read poetry is dead and that I should be a writer of a different sort, I can’t shake the poetry bug.  I love it and it’e my favourite form of self-expression with words. I love the wild ride poetry allows you take with language.

My favourite poems are those that are self-contained, that is, you can use your literal imagination to enjoy the poem as it is on the page without having to have an extensive knowledge of obscure literature or need a guidebook to help your navigate the many allusions and references (which is ironic, seeing how the poet that got me fired up about poetry when I was 16 was T.S. Eliot, but to be fair, I didn’t understand what the heck he was on about in the Waste Land, I just loved the pure language. And Prufrock and Hollow Men easily stand alone).

Zapruder nailed it for me though when he said, “poetry can only fully be pursued when the writer is not ultimately preoccupied with any other task, like storytelling or explaining or convincing or describing or anything else.” The poet must “be ready to reject all other purposes, in favour of the possibilities of language freed from utility, is when the writer becomes a poet.”

I hastily packed a small rucksack, grabbed some trail mix, and hit the road

I finished the The Lost Writings of Jim Morrison. It was an interesting journey. Morrison didn’t date his notebook/journal entries so the editors had to work extra hard at determine which writings belong to which time period. Morrison wrote his poems in layered drafts and often wrote and rewrote them iteratively and across multiple notebooks. So making sure they had the latest version of poem was a herculean task for the editors. I liked the book for the most part, some of Morrison’s poetry is quite trippy, which I like. Others were quite childish (which I didn’t like). My favourite poem was the last poem entitled As I Look Back. And this one:

Those who race toward death
Those who wait
Those who worry

I paused to consider where I might fit on that spectrum. Am I racing toward death, waiting for it, or worrying about it? I think there’s also a fourth category, those who ignore death all together. Ah yes and there is a 5th category, the Bushido warrior option which is to accept that you are already dead.

I probably flitter between racing toward death and accepting that I am already dead. And sometimes I think, it’s going to happen anyway so let’s get this shit over with, why delay the inevitable, why do we fight so hard to stay alive? I guess that’s Nature for you. Her prime directive is make more life and to do that you have to be alive. Feeding, fucking, and fighting – that’s the baseline, everything else is just window dressing.

These are some whacked out thoughts for a Sunday morning. Reminds me something Hunter Thompson used to say, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn Pro.”

But enough about death.

I stepped out into the garden.  It was surprisingly warm considering earlier in the week we had a taste of winter.  The sky was clear and blue and sunny.  Just what you want on an autumn day.  I decided to take advantage of the break in weather and go for hike.  The Cotswolds are nearby, just right for a quick getaway and a Sunday stroll.

I hastily packed a small rucksack, grabbed some trail mix, and hit the road.

I usual lust after mountains, but today I didn’t need the drive. Plus there are some lovely walks in the Cotswolds.  I have this AA pack of 30 walks in the Cotswolds.  I thought I’d make it goal to do all 30 walks.  I choose Edge Hill, one I like battlefields, and two it’s only 25 minutes from my house.  I picked up the trail near Radway and headed toward the Radway Tower.  When I got to the tower, I was suppose to go straight, but the trail to the right looked more interesting so I deviated from my planned route and headed southwest along the Macmillan/Centenary Way.

Considering I spent my morning thinking about death, it was apropos that I strolled through two graveyards along my route.

All in all it was a grand day.  I did about 7 miles all in.  Met a few people along the trail., and ate some fresh blackberries straight off of the tree.

Soundtrack:

Saturday night in the swamp

It’s been a relatively quiet day.  You need days like these from time to time.  My buddy Z stopped by for a couple of Coronas in the garden.  We are of similar age.  Consequently we’ve bee having similar thoughts about life, the universe, and everything. I think we’ve both concluded that tapping back into the simple pleasures of life and the things that made us happy back in the day when life was long and there was time to kill.  What that looks like for me:

adventure,
books,
poetry,
music.

For a couple of years now,  I’ve been trying to find my photographic style. I’m must drawn to documentary photos and the snapshot.  I also like doing digital manipulation and making surrealistic abstract photos.  The quest continues:

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Christmas in September and Chasing Deer

Friday night.  Pizza consumed. Beer consumed.

No client facing work today.

Instead I met Cherry, my new co-author, in town for coffee and cake and to go over the first draft of our chapbook.  I’m supplying the words and she is primarily supplying the imagery.  Cherry and I are both high yellow energy so it’s no surprise that by the end of meeting we have now committed to this full blow multi-media extravaganza.

Our humble little chapbook is now also going to be a gallery piece, a series of Youtube videos, and lord knows what else.  Fun times.

I did some busking today.  I was rushing from one meeting to the next.  And as I passed this band in front of Marks and Spencer, someone called out my name.  It was  Adam, the drummer from Chasing Deer. I stopped to listen and say hello. Before I knew it, Adam had thrusted a tambourine in my hand and put me to work busking. I made the band three quid during my stint.

It was a night to remember

Ok, you’ll never guess where I am right now as I type. Well maybe you will if you follow me on Twitter. I’m at a Christmas party!! Yeah, crazy I know. The Holiday Inn in Coventry needed some guinea pigs so they invited a load of local small business owners to try out a Christmas party event they’ll be offering this year called Feastival. It’s a nice concept if you’re a small operation and want to have a huge Christmas party experience like the extravagant Christmas affairs Merrill Lynch used to put on back in my stockbroker days.

The food was good, and he atmosphere was decent. They had different food rooms – Chinese, Indian, American, and that old British classic fish and chips stand. Oh yes and a sweets room. There were various themed activity room.  We played air-hockey and foosball in the rec room.  And then black jack and roulette in the casino.

So yeah, I had my company Christmas party in September, for free (being a lab rat and all).  The packaged deals for normal customers looks reasonable as well (and no, I’m not being paid to add that link, nor will I get any kickback). Just thought it was the least I could do seeing how I just had my Christmas party for free.

Soundtrack:

Drink nectar with the gods

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. – Revelations 3:16

I’m tired. So if I nod off please forgive me. It was one of those drive 2 hours, deliver a 2 hour workshop, and drive 2 hours back home kind of days. A strong black coffee is in order before I really get going on today’s post.

It was sunny when I left this morning, but I was in a dark mood. I’d been reading Richard Halliburton‘s The Royal Road to Romance. It’s a classic traveler’s tale, Halliburton’s first adventure travel book, published in 1925. I read the first couple of chapters and was both excited and pissed off at how much time I’ve let slip by since last I’ve been out on a proper mountain adventure or any adventure for that matter.

Halliburton reminded me of my lost uninhibited lust for life that I have kind of put on hold to pursue other things. But now the out-of-doors sirens are urging me to breakout of the prison of necessity and return to the open road.

To view the world through adventurer’s eyes is my true disposition. I’ve been so linearly fixated that I haven’t allowed myself much time to meander, to deviate from the path with no real aim other than to see where the path goes.

I recall a mandala I did once. I’ll have to try and dig it up. I remember it showing a tangle of red lines that deviated off of a main line. I remember thinking at the time that the steady line was ultimately my destiny and the red lines represented all the times I’ve deviated from the path. I remember being more excited about the red lines than solid straight line.

Time to storm Mount Olympus and drink nectar with the gods there.

Soundtrack:

1

Staring into the void and getting nothing back

This is what we’re up against fellow blogging revolutionaries:

This has to stop! We have to resort to guerrilla tactics and use the big boy’s strength against them! Bloggers unite.

What if you looked inside and found nothing there? What then?

That’s what I feel sometimes when I’m staring into the void and find there’s nothing there. I scream into the void and hear only my voice echoed back.  There’s no-one there.  No-one to answer these questions that I have.  I don’t know whether I should look down, up, or in.

I’ve tried all three at one time or another.

Of late, I’ve been hanging out at the primal level little more than a beast.  Maybe that’s a bit harsh.  By default, I’ve been more embodying the image of man as painted by Hemingway that is “to do what men do – fish, hunt, fuck, fight, howl and die.” This makes life simple and easy to understand.

I’ve looked up. It was peaceful and very Zen.  Being one with yourself is nice, but it’s also very boring.  I feel much more alive when my hair is on fire (and yes, for those of you who know me, I don’t have any hair, well that’s because I burnt it all off!)

I’ve looked in.  The trouble there is you get lost inside yourself if you stay too long. Sometimes you can’t find your way back.  I’ve lost several friends this way.

As I write this post, I’m thinking maybe there’s something about a balance – that we need all three to balance.  I’ve been stuck in Hemingway mode for some time now having turned my back on any spiritual pursuit and run away from self-development. I’m out of balance.

There is a tide in a man
moves him to his moon
and though it drops him back
he works through ebb to mount
the run again and swell
to be tumescent I.

– Charles Olson

I feel drawn to my moon, but wary of the other paths. Either all good could come from them or none.  To sum this up, I think, if there is life after death, then pursuit of enlightenment makes sense. However, if there is nothing after they turn the light off, then it’s gotta be the way of the hedonist.

Until then, I think i’ll keep trying to push through the void…see if someone or something answers me back.

I think I’ve found the theme for this blog. It’s part journal, part diary, part love letter to you my friend.

I think I’m going to get back into doing challenges that are physically and mentally challenging.  I was inspired by the link my friend Cathy sent me.  It’s  something from the makers of the Art of Manliness called The Strenuous Life.  I don’t think I’ll join the program – ’cause that’s not how I roll – but the idea of doing stuff that taxes my ingenuity, physicality, mentality and practicality is intriguing.  And I have the perfect opportunity to kick it off.  One of army buddies is in-country in a couple of weeks and he wants to do some sort of challenge.  Open for ideas from you if you have any. My buddy will be in-country for 4 days, so the challenge has to fit in that time frame.

Ok, that’s it for today.  Until next time,

happy

trails

to

you

my

friend.

clay

Soundtrack:

I’m trying to be all Zen, but it’s not working

“If you’re not talking large numbers, what’s the point.” – paraphrasing Jay-z

I think I may have made the damn near perfect cup of coffee this morning.

Morning thoughts | #coffeetime #bw #photo

A post shared by Clay Lowe (@soulcruzer) on

I love Hunter S. Thompson’s flow. I don’t want to ape his style, but would like to adopt his flow.  His wordplay is tight, verb-centric and concise. His use of language is untamed and mad (at least in his earlier work like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Generation of Swine).  If I could learn to tell stories like him, I’d be happy.  It’s funny though, when you listen to him on tape (I have the CD boxset (remember those) of his recordings) he sounds like a babbling buffoon.  Maybe that’s why he was a writer and not an orator.

I spent the a day in a suit working with suits of the lawyer variety.

For lunch, I usually walk over to Costa Coffee.  I like the small setting tuck away at the top of Next.  I’ve come here so often that all the staff know my order and in what order I take things.  I start off with a ham and cheese panini, lightly salted potato chips, and a juicy water drink.  The staff know that I don’t like hot drinks with my meal.  They know to hook me up with a large black coffee after I’ve finished the sandwich.  As much as I moan about routine, there are some benefits.

Oh and while I was in Costa I composed this draft poem:

I’m dying for life.
I’m dying for a life
sitting here in this cafe
on an autumn afternoon.

Juice water
Raspberries and apples

“All you have to do is walk
out the door into life,” a friend said.

But I’m frightened.
I’m frightened of what I’ve become.
I’m frightened of what I can become.

I’m a bit miffed right now.  I can’t find my Apple Airpods. I’ve checked the pockets of the trousers I wore yesterday and today and nothing.  I’m trying to be all Zen about you know the old ‘if you break your favourite tea cup, you can be sad about or you can forget about and move on, either way the tea cup is still gone.’ As true as that is, it’s not helping me much at the moment.

The Airpods are a cool piece of tech.  They are lightweight, sound good, and you can tell your phone to do things for you.  I think Airpods bring me another step closer to the sci fi world of my youth.  Of course, the sinister part of this is we’re probably not too far off of becoming part person, part machine.

As we join the machine world, the machine world joins us.  You’re probably starting to see a lot of these floating bout the Internet:

Snapchat released the 3D Bitmoji. Btw if you like playing on Snapchat, I’m there too.  Hit me up.

Oh and I’ve just noticed iOS 11 is available.  I saw a demo of it a couple of months back and it looks like it will take the iPad closer to being a laptop replacement for me.

I have a bucket load of stuff to do and I’m running out night time. So I’ll call it quits here.

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