here’s my whack at the 2004 survey being passed around…
i am all men and no man floating through space and time looking to connect with those who want to connect to know another human being in this desolate soul sucking society we call civilization…gone are the shackles but slaves we still are…how clever…do you deny it? i deny it everyday in everyway but the fact remains…i am a slave who wants to be free…free to know you…free to know me…free to be who i want to be not like the man on tv…or like my father or my father’s father…freedom…what do you know about freedom? i once fought for freedom…sacrificed myself so you could be who you want to be…yet you still choose to be a victim…to be a slave to the system…to let the beauty of the day pass by your way without a smile…when did you last see the colors of the rainbow mixed in a bowl…mingled with your soul…the soul of another so fragile and tender longing to be you longing to be me…my destiny…your destiny written in the wind whispered on some half forgotten dawn…i’d like to know you…be you…be me…our souls dancing naked in the wind…naked and free dancing through eternity…
My soul is wrapped in conformity
Trapped between your white sheets
and warm pillows
We talk of time and things dear
Your breast half exposed untouched
but dreadfully near
How many times has the dawn
whispered my name
Taunting, teasing, tempting me away
From the comfort
Of your conformity
I reach; you pull
we bend and twist
Why can’t I grasp the enormity?
Another Christmas has come and gone. I hope all of you out there who read my words have had an outstanding holiday regardless of your faith or beliefs. I hope the festiveness of the season has at least brought some of us closer together even if we don’t know why.
We played host this year with everyone converging on our house to celebrate Christ’s birthday and break bread together. I went to church to pay my respects. It is not often these days that I go to worship. Not because I don’t believe in Christ or God, but because I’ve lost my faith in religion.
As I walk through the ancient wooden doors of St James of Southam, I can sense a mood of happiness and joy. The people have come out to worship together. What I don’t get and what bothers me about the Christian religion is it seems too steeped in tradition…to immersed in the past. I find the true energetic spirit of being in the presence of a Deity missing.
Where is the passion that once stirred men’s heart to pay fealty to Christ? Where are the temple knights who stand bold and fierce yet humble before the Lord?
The Dante’s Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Moderate|
|Level 1 – Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Very Low|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||Extreme|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Low|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Low|
|Level 6 – The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Moderate|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||High|
|Level 9 – Cocytus (Treacherous)||Low|
Take the Dante’s Inferno Hell Test
I may have an opportunity to join a 4-man crew who will attempt to break the world record for fastest rowing time across the Atlantic. This is the kind of adventure/challenge I dream about. And like all adventures, the fears, doubts and obstacles can begin to look insurmountable. Family and close friends don’t help either…they tend to be the ones who point out all the obstacles instead of helping you find a way to make your adventure successful.
On a Pale Horse (notes)
I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the Earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beast of the Earth. – Revelations 6:8
(It used to be that death would come riding in a pale horse, now it’s just as likely that death may come riding on an asteroid, tidal wave, deadly virus or colliding sub atomic particles.)
We are hanging on by a thread here folks. We are hanging on waiting for our miserable little lives to be snuffed out. And it could happen. It could happen at any moment. But then again, what else is new? Every day Mr Death is near. He is lurking around every corner, every bend. To some he is an enemy. To some he is a friend. But he claims all in the end.
Even now he is standing behind you looking over your right shoulder holding his balance scales and rubbing his chin and thinking “is it time yet?”
Death used to be so simple. You died by the sword, plague, or wild beast. And sometimes God would smote a city or two or strike down a non-pious man. But now, now death has become more sophisticated, more technological. Created by our own hands. And I’m not just talking about Mr Oppenhiemer’s deadly toy. That was so last century.
Long Island physicist start skeet shooting subatomic particles and accidently cause a tiny black hole….
We are creating robots that may someday be the death of us all. At least that’s what Ted K. thought. Scientist predict that robots will reach ‘human equivalence’ by ….
And if the big robots don’t get us, then the nanobots will. Scientist are racing to build atomic sized robots. The plan is to inject in the body to help fight deadly diseases. The side effect, however, is these tiny little buggers can spill onto the ground and start replicating every thing in their path eventually turning the earth into one big pile of grey nano goo.
Mother Nature has a few tricks of her own and can pull the plug at any moment.
Natural Disaster World Tour
Carp diem. Live life to the fulliest. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today and the other banal expressions mean more now than ever before.
I don’t think we realise on a day to day basis how close the earth comes to being total destroyed or having our civilization destroyed as we know it. Brian Appleyard revealed 10 of the most likely earth destroying catastrophes. All I can say is make sure you have your wills up to date.
This is why we should live life to its fullest. You just never know when it can all blow up. The bushido warriors had the right concept. They believed that you should do everything as if it were the last time you were going to do it. So when you kiss your wife good bye in the morning, you should kiss her like it was the last time you were never going to see her again.
Don’t ‘just do it,’ as Nike proclaimed. Instead ‘do it with passion.’
The top 7 catastrophes
1. A couple of physicist from Long Island get drunk one night an start blasting sub atomic particles with the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and accidentally create a tiny black hole on Long Island which eventually will slowly suck the Earth’s matter into itself.
2. Linda Hamilton wasn’t crazy after all, the machines do take over the world. Some of our leading technocrats believe that machines will reach “human equivalence” by the year 2030. [get some quotes from Ray Kurzweil’s book, The Age of Spiritual Machines.]
3. If the big machines fail to win the revolution, then the nanobots will. Apparently these microscopic robots the size of an atom may decide to turn the Earth into a filthy grey matter of nanobot goo by transforming everything come into contact with into themselves.
4. It’s not just the high tech stuff standing in the wings to wipe us out. There is the biological weapon wielding terrorist who might decide to unleash microscopic hell on Earth in the form of a deadly virus that we have no immediate cure for.
5. Of course the Earth could decide its had enough of us parasitic humans and unleash some of its own fury. Young Toba Tuff could erupt again. The last time it did, 75, 000 years ago, it released enough ash to cover the entire U.S. and blocked out the sun for years.
6. In then there is the traditional earthquake. All we need is for Kobe to get rocked again with a earthquake measuring 8 or more on the Richter scale to send the world economic markets into freefall. [get some quotes from Bill McGuire’s book, The End of the World: Everything You Never Wanted to Know.]
7. It was a 10km sized asteroid that is said to caused the earth to cleaned of the dinosaurs. All it takes is a an asteroid of 1km or greater to collide with the Earth and cause global destruction. And guess what folks, there are over 1500 1km or more in size asteroids that cross the Earth’s orbit. Asteroid XFll was on target to destroy the Earth in 2020. But scientist have revised their estimates and are saying that the XF11 will miss us by about 1km. What if they are wrong. Remember it was a simple mathematical error that caused the $125 million dollar Mars Climate Orbiter to crash into Martian soil. They were off by 60 miles!
I trace a line in the sand, my footsteps upon time.
My Life – The early years
born Beth Israel Hospital, play time, newark nj, almost lose my eye, eat sand, father away on a ship, man shot in front of me bleeding stripped to his underwear, orgies, broken plates, dead bird caused by my hand, big park, Pablo, monkey man, lemon cream cookie thief, books = friends, army men, gigi, dog down incinerator, fight = survival, grandmother dies of cancer, riots, murder, death, move home, move home,sex, move home, move home, live with grandfather, bats, grandfather hit in the head with a can of beans, eat racoon, southern fried chicken, scared in the dark, Sunday paper, cornflakes, baby sister, moth balls, dad comes, dad goes, dad comes back again.
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don’t search around and look for the “coolest” book you can find. Do what’s actually next to you.
“I have people in Washington who will jerk you up by your pants and shoot you full of angel dust and slam you onto the Bush campaign bus with nails painted pink and your mouth blazing fiery red lipstick and your fly open and the tips sliced off of your thumbs.” Hunter S. Thompson, Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie Trapped Like a Rat in Mr Bill’s Neighborhood
I just happened to be rereading sections of this particular book tonight looking for inspiration to jumpstart my writing juices.
Day 2 of the course. The energy is still flat and now I’m beginning to question if it’s the people or is it me. Ha! I’m reminded of the old poker quote: “If you haven’t spotted the sucker after 10 minutes of playing, the sucker’s probably you.
The subject of the course is NLP. The first time around I did this course, I was over the moon with excitment. This time nothing. Is that because I’ve somehow changed? Hmmm.
I felt a bit odd today like I was here but not here. I did manage to open an online trading account which I’ve been threatening to do for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve also started tracking the FTSE 100 again for future options trading. I spent the day in Milton Keynes training. The group lacked energy. Perhaps it was because of the heavy cloud cover in combination with being a Monday. The morning dragged on but did pick up a little in the afternoon. I’m with the same group for the next 3 days so hopefully things will pick up.
I had a pretty chilled out weekend. I slept off a few beers from my nite out on Friday with the old gang from HSBC. Saturday I spent clearing the massive piles of accumlated junk from my room/office that had significance at the time I collected, but some how has diminished in importance over time.
We watch I, Robot…not one of Will Smith’s best films, but okay…mindless entertainment anyway. After that I watched the classic Joe’s Apartment followed by bits of Urban Legend before finally capping off the night at 2am.
I spent most of today editing my newsletter that’s been long over due. I managed to finish it and post it. And now I’m dipping in the well but seem to be coming up dry…so i’ll call it quits for the night.
My last installment on the Mallorca trip…
There were two hightlights from the trip. One was the absolutely terrific view from the Puig Massenella. The other was meeting Margherita or Marga as her friends and family call her.
Margherita is Antonio’s daughter. He wanted me to meet her and so introduced us after I had returned from my excursion into the hills. She speaks pretty good English and has lived in San Francisco. Plus she has an American Fiancée.
Margherita and I spent hours talking in the evening. She minds the desk at night. We talked about a great many things from capitalism to religion to tennis. I came to Mallorca seeking an answer to the question of purpose. The Universe spoke to me through Margherita. She said we should live to live not live to work. One of the things she found difficult about living in America is that everyone from her experience seemed to live to work and seemed overly concerned about what people did for work or what university they attended. She says she felt like a nobody in the presence of this system. Back in Mallorca she can live to live people don’t general ask or want to know what you do for work or what school you went to. She says it’s of such little concern that she doesn’t even know what some of her best friends do for work. Imagine that!
I set out on day two to explore some of the possible mountain trails we might use for our program. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t really conducive to mountain navigation at least not for exploring new ground. The rain, the low cloud cover and fog would make for some challenging navigation. I don’t particularly mind hiking in rain and low visibility, but on this occasion I decided to forgo the challenge and instead drove around the various narrow mountain roads that wind their way through Mallorca’s northwest corner.
Antonio had suggested I take the mountain pass to Soller and stop a little house at the crest of the hill to buy some special manzanas grow native to the island. He said I would not be disappointed by their taste…and I wasn’t. The succulent juices that flowed from these little apples set my taste buds alight with pure joy. I continued on, as per Antonio’s recommendations, to Puig Major, which is the highest peak on the island but is not assessable to the general public. I couldn’t really appreciate the puig because it was hidden by clouds.
I visited Holy ground at the Monastery in Lluc. I bought a hiker’s map, which I was surprised to find in a monastery, from the gift shop as well as pewter crucifixion. A man can never have to many charms. My next stop was Sa Calobra.
The drive into Sa Calobra was magnificent. If you recall the scene in Jurassic Park where the helicopter is descending into the park carry Laura and crew, that was what it was like descending into Sa Calobra. You feel like you’re driving to the center of the Earth. I didn’t go into the village itself. Instead I stopped at the edge of a cliff and admired the town from above.
When I set out this particular morning I had intended to visit the places that would likely appear on our itinerary and I also wanted to find an answer to a question that had been dogging me since I got on the plane. The personal development gurus like Anthony Robbins and Richard Bandler and Co maintain that we are where we are today based on the choices we made in the past. If that is so, I wanted to know where are the choices I’m making now going to lead me?
It’s hard to tell which of the choices are significant and which are trivial. Or all our choices significant no matter how small or insignificant they may seem. Reflecting back, I can see that many of the choices I made, at the time seemed completely insignificant, and some were monumental, yet all of them had have lead me to point where I am standing right now. Here are some of the choices I faced…
Choice: Enlist or go to West Point
Choice: West Point or the University of Tampa
Choice: History or English
Choice: Get my mail straight after lunch or later (I met a girl who would come to have significant impact on my life as a result of this choice)
Choice: Speak to this girl or don’t
Choice: Pursue her or don’t
Choice: Sleep with her or not
Choice: Park the car before formation or after (had I parked it after I might never have got suspended from West Point for a year and thus not have met the girl I would eventual marry)
Choice: Infantry or Military Intelligence
Choice: Germany or Korea
Choice: Stay with Missy or go back to W.P.
Choice: Call Ruth or don’t
Choice: Ask her to marry me or don’t
Choice: LOM or not
Choice: Go to Bosnia or not
Choice: Stay at Fort Benning or go to Fort Drum
Choice: Stay in the army or get out
Choice: Stay with Merrill Lynch or jump ship to GE
Choice: Stay with GE or jump ship back to Merrill
Choice: Sneak into Deb’s email or not
Choice: Join MLHSBC or stay with Merrill
Choice: Stay with HSBC or take voluntary redundancy
And how many other choices have I made that have led me here to this place, at this time? How do I tell the mundane choice from the significant choice or are there no ordinary choices.
“A butterfly flaps its wings in New York and it rains in San Francisco?”
I parked the car in the first parking space I could find. I think better on foot, plus I didn’t want to end up parked in the back of someone’s trunk. I randomly walked down a side street. There happened to be a hotel on this very block, but to my dismay, it was closed until March 2005. My prospects weren’t looking good. Determined or desperate, depending on your point of view, I continued on probably much like a man stranded in the desert looking for water.
And then finally, like an oasis, I saw a hotel. And the lights were on! I rubbed my eyes a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t a weird reflection of sunlight. No, there were definitely lights on.
There was an older gentleman sitting behind the reception desk. I asked him if he had any rooms available.
And the cost?
The man introduced himself as Antonio. As I later found out, he is one of the proprietors of the hotel.
Antonio was quite please to see from my passport that I was from New Jersey. My being there sparked an old memory of an adventure he had 20 years ago while visiting a friend in New York. The short version of his story is that his rental car broke down in New York, but the service man the company sent to retrieve the car was a man from New Jersey. The guy was only meant to collect the car, leaving Antonio to travel to Manhattan to get another car. Antonio convinced the man to drive him to Manhattan. The man was happy to do so even though it was against company policy and he could get in trouble for doing it.
The oddity for Antonio was that this man, even though he lived so close to Manhattan, had never actually been there. Even stranger than that, the man thought that Mallorca was an island in the Pacific Ocean. The connection…the spark for Antonio was this fellow was black, like me, and about the age I am now…so it was like I had stepped back out of time to say hi to an old friend.
Antonio didn’t ask me to pay upfront or put a down payment or credit card imprint. It turns out later that this is a sign of trust and friendship.
I thanked Antonio and retired to my room.
I came to Mallorca to do research for a new place to run the Ascent Experience. As I was alone on this trip, I would also have time to mull over the question of purpose. Pete had opened the door to this inner journey earlier in the week. And now Mallorca, alone, I would have time to contemplate the reality of my own purpose.
The last time I visited Mallorca, the place was swamped with sun worshippers, mostly from England it seemed. The English are always desperate for some sun as they get little of it on their own island. This time though there were very little tourist. The whole of Mallorca is a virtual a ghost town this time of year as I discovered upon my arrival and subsequent 5 hour drive around the island searching for a place to stay. Nearly every hotel, beach resort, and guest house is closed for the winter. My original intent had been to stay in the northwest of the island in the mountains so I could be close the hiking trails. I drove to Soller first. I ditched the car and struck out on foot to find a suitable place to stay. The only two places accepting guest were the Grand Hotel way to posh for my liking and a small guest house. I asked the land lady, in broken Spanish, how much per night? Her first quote was 120 Euros. She must have seen the distraught look in my eyes and dropped the price to 95 Euros, then to 70 Euros. I was not prepared to spend that kind of money on a research trip that was meant to be a low cost Spartan endeavour. I made my apologies and left.
By this point, I thought I’d try some of the other surrounding mountain villages. 2 hours later I was back in Soller with no place to stay. I remembered from my previous stay on the island that there were a gazillion places to stay near Portous Nouns, Palmanova, Cala Major and that whole strip of beach towns. So back south I drove only to be find all those towns devoid of life and places to stay. The golf resort had its flags flying, but I knew they would no doubt probably be charging twice as much as my lady in the north.
It was late in the afternoon and the sun was beginning to set. By this point, I had resigned myself to sleeping in the car. Finally I thought, head to Palma. Surely there would be a place to stay there. I decided to head back to the airport. There are usually tones of places to stay near airports. On a whim, I took the exit just after the airport into the town of Ca’n Pastilla. It was here I found a sanctuary.