30 Day Contemplation Challenge

OK, so like me, you’ve probably have your eye on Christmas, if not for the actual celebration of the birth of Christ, then for the time off from work and an opportunity to catch up with friends and family and course to get some cool gifts.

One of my end of year rituals is to start wrapping up the year come mid-November. What that entails is reflecting back over the year to see what I actually got up to as oppose to what I had planned to do.  And then come December, I start to look forward, past Christmas, and think about what I want to do for the new year.  I like to have all my intentions and resolutions decided before Christmas and already in motion.  I then take a few days off from thinking over the holiday period.  My intent is to already have momentum on my new goals as I roll into January.

Alright, that’s the long way round to telling you about the 30 Day Contemplation Challenge we’re running in conjunction with our Havana Cafe Sessions Podcast.  Here’s the lead in:

Aristotle said contemplation is the highest form of happiness.
And yet…we are often too busy being busy to take time out for serious contemplation.

Over the 30 days, we will help you carve out a few moments of your day with either a new question to contemplate or thought experiment to try out.  By the end of the 30 days, you will emerge with a greater sense of self and a new perspective on what’s important in your life.

Anyway, I think it’s a great challenge and would love for you to join us.  Sign up now and then a few days before the challenge begins, we’ll send you an email to remind you to get ready.

SIGN UP

And just in case you missed it, here’s the latest episode of the HAVANA CAFE SESSIONS podcast:

MJ004 The Musical Journey Show – The Mad Ones

Monday’s Musical Journey Show in case you missed it.

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…”

– Jack Kerouac

Factory Reset on the Supplements

I’m going all natural baby!

So i’m going into pushing heavy weights phase and this time I want to do it without supplements, you know like back in the days when I didn’t have the money to buy supplements so just ate loads of peanut butter and jam sandwiches.  I thought I’d catch up with my boy Phil ( Mr PT) and see what he had to say about supplements.

Have a listen:

Links: 

Phil Sims – www.philsimspt.co.uk

2

You are what you listen to

Spotify.me can show you who you are through your music. Interesting. For instance, 75% of my music is energetic and is 68% of that is Rock music.

And this is the playlist it suggested for me based of my musical listening habits:

Movement

I came into this year with an intention to move more. Not to move house or anything, but to simply move my body more.  I spent a lot of time on my ass in 2016 and was determined not to repeat the same thing in 2017.  I did a little better this year, but no where near my glory days of movement when movement was my life.

Anyway, we did a podcast on movement this week and here it is:

Oh and don’t forget, sharing is caring.

via GIPHY

Same old, same old

Early Sunday morning stroll to stretch the limbs and clear the cobwebs out of my head. What do we mean when we say, same old, same old?

who else can i be

Ok listen. I’m going to play for a while so if things get a bit weird on here, don’t panic. It’s just a phase.  Pardon me while I burst into flames, a line I borrowed from Incubus, perfectly describes my state of mind.  But as the Smashing Pumpkins sang;

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage

So much for that.  Anyway, i took a roadtrip down to Cheltenham to watch the boy graduate.  How many years has it been since i walked across the stage to receive my university diploma? 25 years! Egats man. Time is a beast.

 

This rat never saw it coming. i bought into the idealism of youth, those lofty dreams of changing the world, despite the fact that the world didn’t and doesn’t need changing. It is what it is.  Always has been, and will be long after I’m gone. Somebody pour me a drink. Get the whiskey flowing.  I can’t write another dry word.

This isn’t about me. It’s about you and me and us and them and they and aliens with space probes probing the dark galaxies that God abandoned when he saw creation had gone Pete Tong in him. I’m just God’s comic stuck here to suffer in this planet. I feel like I’m responsible but I can’t do it by myself. Once there was a girl. I lost her a long time ago in the garden. On days when the wind blows just right i can smell her presence.

I am

Who else can
I be
But myself
Even when
I am
Pretending
To be
Someone else
I am
Still and only
Myself

Did I kill something in me when I let you go? When I stopped reading and following the knowledge trail until it ended in big gains, big game. I don’t remember all the names of the writer’s I read in those days. It was a time of fantasy and other worlds within worlds. I held the order in my mind. Then chaos seeped in. And I embraced her. She was bitter and sweet. Her breath smelled of ancient cigarettes and her small breasts were lost inside her cashmere sweater.

Who are you? Who do you fear you are? Who do you pretend to be to hide the Hyde within you?

Is there something wrong with me? Did I not turn out how you imagined me to be? One day there will be no more me or I and the dream will be permanent.

I would hate to get to the end of time and think, what a waste

of time.

Feeling good is good enough and I’m feeling good as good gets right now.

Soundtrack


Chow!

going all in

My friend Sarah and I met for a coffee. We were both trying to figure out where the heck to go to next with the podcast we’ve been working on for nearly 2 years. It’s a habit now, one that we want to grow. I can think of worse habits than a philosophically oriented podcast. One that helps us kind of figure out what the hell we’re doing here. And sometimes, maybe, if we’re lucky, it helps us figure out why we’re here.

My overarching conclusion was it’s time for an all out assault! Time to go all in to infinity and beyond and whatever other trite saying that means it’s time to commit in the way the pig is committed.

It was blues night on my radio show last night. If you like the blues – listen. If you don’t like the blues – listen. In conclusion, just listen. It’s a good show. If you want to listen on the move, download the Mixcloud app and follow me there. Otherwise you can listen right here:

Oh yeah and here are the visuals for the show on my Pinterest board:

 

Alright. It’s time for me to face the day. Let’s see what this bitch named Tuesday has in store for me.

See you on the socials,
Clay

The Musical Journey Show reboot – 1982

After about an 18 month hiatus, The Musical Journey Show is back. I’ll be kicking off the reboot with a trip back to 1982 when all us MTV babies were discovering bands like Dexys Midnight Runners, Culture Club, Men at Work, Soft Cell, Duran Duran and others. Yet still rocking the radio with the likes of The Steve Miller Band, America, Toto, A Flock of Seagulls, Fleetwood Mac among others.

Join me Monday nights at 8:00PM on Radio Warwickshire ( www.radiowarwickshire.com ).

For the best experience listen from our main site. I’ll be in the Musical Journey Show Chat Room to expand on the tunes. You can also listen using the TuneIn app.

Check out this neat Pinterest board featuring visuals from 1982:

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: