The drone of a single bee hidden beside the shed. A wood pigeon calls. A rook answers. The sun slowly emerges in a bath of blue sky.
I became aware of the diminishing darkness unlocking the sky’s potential.
A cold listless morning. Timmy is out back throwing a mouse in the air, playing catch by himself near our old green kayak.
A lone car rumbles
down the street
the morning yawns
you pretend to sleep
not ready for the hustle
just one more wink
Blew out my brain like a flat tire this morning. That happens when I get a head full of ideas but can’t them out fast enough. The after math of which is a stress headache or at least I presumed to be a stress headache. At times like these, I’m tempted to reach for the Chivas Regal and make my brain a little peace offering. But I know it will only slow me down. Soldiering on is the only option.
I’ve been reading about Allen Ginsberg’s American Sentences, which is movement he started to Americanise the Haiku. Instead of the 5-7-5 patterned lines, the American Sentence is, well a sentence of exactly 17 syllables. They seem like good practice for heightening one’s awareness of the things around them. Like this morning I wrote:
Smoke drifts in thin line, silence cut by time, the day lurks and night retreats.
It’s an observation of me burning incense and watching the dawn rise through the cracks in my curtains.
Paul Nelson fell in love with the American Sentences and has been documenting the movement ever sense. He has written an American Sentence a day for that last 4 years.
I’ve gotta give my brain a break and not thrash it like this.
Ok, I think I’ll leave you with this:
a personal piece of hell
they would take her
quietly, get straight
to work doing wrong
but you wouldn’t know this
life is knowing
the lay of the land
how it stands
to make anyone
other than me
free from this
Smoke drifts in thin line, silence cut by time, the day lurks and night retreats.
I like the diversity of sights and sounds in a big city. I don’t know how you feel about public transport, but I think taking a bus across the city is a fantastic way to survey the landscape.
I took the #48 bus from Downend to Bristol City Centre, a distance of about 7 and half miles. One of the cool things about this stretch of road is the the lack of big company storefronts. Instead, both sides of the Downend/Fishponds road are lined with mom and pop shots of every variety. I can’t attest to their quality, but they looked interesting.
Once I got into the city centre I decide to stay with the theme of storefronts.
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
I’m dog tired tonight. Weekends make you weak. The only thing keeping me awake right now are three pieces of spearmint gum and the promise of watching Walking Dead later tonight. I have some neat pictures from my Bristol trip over the weekend which I haven’t edited yet. Bristol left me city-sick. I’ve had enough of small town living. I want to be near a hoping metropolis. It’s a shame Birmingham is such a dull city, otherwise I’d hang out there more.
I just have to come up with an argument good enough to get R to move. I’m going back to Bristol in April to house sit for a week. I’ll have a good look around and start scouting out some places.
In the meantime here’s a poem I’m working on, it’s called Something New
she had nothing new
to say again today
we sit down
to have dinner
she sits across
from me texting
i watch the flames
throw empty shadows
across my plate
this is what
passes for romance
between us these days
it wasn’t her i
her lips were just
in the right place
a convenient lie
to hide the truth
i need new eyes
a new mouth
a new mind to possess
If you’re not doing what you want to do in this life, it’s on you. We live in a time where you can just about make a living doing anything you set your mind to provided you have the heart, the stamina, and the patience to succeed. If you’re willing to hustle and by that I mean, you’re willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, then you can make your dreams a reality. This is a pep talk for me as much as it is for you.
Note: the some of links in the following paragraph are NSFW or around small children.
And here’s why I’m saying this. If people like Blue Tiger, Bruce P. Grether, Other Elias, and Vanessa Marin can make a living as masturbation coaches, then anything is possible. I’m not trying to take anything away from these guys, in fact, I applaud them. Imagine telling your friends and family that you’re about to set up a coaching practice centred on masturbation. Enough said.
So no more excuses. Do what you came here to do!
Alright. Let’s get the weekend started. I made this playlist for you. And actually, it’s very apropos to the previous topic. It’s a playlist about dreams – the wild kind, the fun kind, the dark kind, and the aspirational kind. As Tupac would say, you can pop this in your iPod, sit back and smoke a beedi to it (or drink some Gin) and day dream about how you’re going to change the world with your mission.
I’m driving down to Bristol this evening. I have some family stuff on Saturday and then I’m either going to go on a little urban adventure or sneak off to the Brecon Beacons for a little mountain air.
Enjoy your Friday night.
Oh yes and here’s a new poems for you.
It was an evening of websites and Stranger Things. I’m burnt out on websites, both designing ‘em and surfing ‘em. I’m late the game with Stranger Things. A friend recommended I watch it ages ago and I’m just now getting around to doing so.
The series reminds of the old Twilight Zone when I was kid. Although Stranger Things is a continuous narrative, it has that odd worldly feel I felt whenever I watched an episode of The Twilight Zone. Remember the man with the third eye? That episode creeped my out for days. Just as this faceless creature from another dimension in Stranger Things is creeping me out.
The Duffer Brothers have done a superb job putting this series together. It’s a superb blend of sci-fi, investigative drama, and the supernatural. And the whole 80’s vibes is taking me down some nostalgic trips – the bicycle with the chopper handle bars, geeking out playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends, longing for the girl who doesn’t notice you, and the sacred friendship of your best pals.
And I’m happy to see Winona Ryder again. I haven’t lusted after her since Reality Bites. Still neurotic as hell, but looking good. I’d hate to be her character, seeing shit nobody else can see, having people stare at you like you have a couple of extra heads growing out of your neck.
I’m trying to make deadline right now, get this post in before it turns midnight. Oops. Time is not my friend tonight. But before I go…
Have you ever had the desire to sell everything, by a camper van, and hit the open road, well that’s what Ben and Leah did Hasta Alaska 4 year overland adventure in a camper van. And the cool things is, they’re making the trip on less than $10 a day. If yesterday wasn’t enough to get my itchy feet going, this project certainly will.
I hear the open road calling me.
It’s funny how watching a 20 minute short film can totally shift your perspective on life. The Banff Mountain Film Festival was in town last night. So I decided to stopped by. Of course, me being me, I showed up without a ticket, thinking, “this is Leamington Spa, surely there can’t be that many people interested in extreme sports and adventure travel in this town.
I was wrong.
They were sold out. All 188 seats gone. Now what happened next I would normally chalk up to coincidence, but as James Redfield said in the Celestine Prophesy, there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. I’m still unpacking what that reason might be. I’ll get back to you on that.
Just as i’m about to be told, “Sorry pal, you should have booked your ticket weeks ago.” A lady stops next to me and asks out loud if anybody needs to buy a ticket. I signal that I do and then she says:
“I recognise you. We met a few months ago at that thing. Anyway I follow you on Twitter.” Hurray for Twitter.
She sold me the spare ticket.
If you’ve not been to Banff Mountain Film Festival, it tours around the UK and Ireland to different venues. There’s a red programme and a blue programme. So in essence, you could see it twice and have a different experience each time. Last night in Leamington Spa, it was the blue programme, which consisted of seven short films:
Doing It Scared – about a man returning to climb the Totem Pole in Tasmania after a catastrophic accident he had 18 years prior that left him partial paralysed.
DreamRide – takes you on a magical mountain bike adventure across several awesome landscapes.
Give Me Five – a madcap group of French free falling flyers try to perform the aerial stunt of a lifetime in the Chamonix valley.
La Liste – Swiss skier Jérémie Heitz attempts to conquer a list of the gnarliest, steepest skiing descents in the Alps, many of these faces have only been skied once and never tackled again because the slightest mistake would have terrible consequences.
Locked In – Deep in Papua New Guinea’s rainforest, a team of kayakers attempt a committing 13-day first descent in one of the most remote corners of the world. It’s a daunting 40km section of the Beriman River that is lined with sheer limestone walls, so the only way out is to ride it to the ocean.
Mira – Mira Rai, out of money and about to abandon her dream, makes a last-minute decision to enter a local 50km race shows that her tough mountain village upbringing, plus a stint in the Maoist army, prepared her perfectly for the hardy sport of mountain running.
The Super Salmon – This film uses the journey of one particularly determined king salmon, plus the animated and passionate narration of fisherman and activist Mike Wood, to illustrate the importance of Alaska’s Susitna River to the area’s wildlife, tourism, economy and lifestyle. In a stunning setting, the story examines the potential consequences of constructing an enormous and outdated technology to meet Alaska’s need for renewable energy.
La Liste and Locked In tickled my adventure bone and now have me itching to be in some wild place doing some wild thing. But the one that moved me the most psychologically was Doing It Scared. Made me think, I’ve got to do more with the blessings, gifts, and grace I’ve been given.
I feel like getting ‘seize the day’ tattooed across my forehead to remind me to maximise every single day that I draw breath!
It’s been mostly a head day apart from a couple of hours this morning spent working on Devon’s freelance photography website. I’m helping him get ready for life after university. I think these millennials have the world by it’s short hair. If they’re smart and have grit to hustle, they can write their own pay check and now have to become indentured servants to a big corporation.
One another note, I’m pretty sure Chivas Regal isn’t a cure for a head threatening a migraine. But hell, I’ll give it a shot.
So the lesson I learned from Banff last night is this: Do More! Oh and make life about adventure, friends and experiences.
Random cat photo:
I felt like reading some Bukowski over lunch. I landed on the poem Mademoiselle from Armentieres. It’s a contrast between old wars and new wars. All boys like to romanticise war. There’s something in our DNA that makes us want to run around the neighbourhood playing army-man, cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, and I guess these days autobots and decepticons. World War One was the backdrop of Bukowski’s youth.
hell, I remember when I was a kid it
was 10 or 15 years after World War One was over,
we built model planes of Spads and Fokkers,
we bought Flying Aces magazines at the newsstand
we knew about Baron Manfred von Richthofen
and Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker
and we fought in dream trenches with our dream rifles
and had dream
But after Korean and Vietnam, war somehow got dirty and became useless and ordinary “Just a job like sweeping the streets or picking up the garbage.” Gone was the romance of war.
And here’s the bit that really hit me between the eyes. The youth of today face a different kind of war, one that’s perhaps a little more insidious because it isn’t as obvious. Instead of dreaming of war:
they’d rather go watch a Western or hang out at the
mall or go to the zoo or a football game, they’re
already thinking of college and automobiles and wives
and homes and barbecues, they’re already trapped
in another kind of dream, another kind of war,
and I guess it won’t kill them as fast, at least not
Years ago, I read Susan Faludi’s book Stiffed: The Betrayal of Modern Man and she reckoned men no longer know how to be men anymore, that we are going through a male crisis having been stripped of the iron men of World War One and World War Two vintage. Manly men. Men who weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty doing an honest days work. Men who didn’t cry, who drank too much, and stayed miles away from seeing the inside of a baby delivery room.
Faludi makes the point that with the loss of rites of passage like conscription, or being an apprentice to a skilled craftsmen, boys lost they’re way to becoming men.
For women it’s different she says. The coming of girl’s period marks the transition from girl to woman. Mother Nature didn’t bless us with that gift.
Instead, men had to invent rites of passage to signal the shift from boy to man.
What serves as our rites of passage now?
I was fortunate enough to transition from boy to man courtesy of the U.S. Army. “We’re gonna tear you down and build you back up, make you a lean mean fightin’ machine!”
it was wrong but World War One was fun for us
it gave us Jean Harlow and James Cagney
and “Mademoiselle from Armentieres, Parley-Voo?”
it gave us
long afternoons and evenings of play
Welcome to manhood!
Life is staggering when you start playing with the numbers.
“Consider this: You can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not “you.”
The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato. The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photo-receptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it.
Wanda woke me up at 5am. Nothing like a set of claws digging into your chin to get your Monday morning started. I stumble downstairs and get the coffee on. It’s meant to be my reading period, but my computer keeps calling me. This happens whenever I start building a new website. Once I start, I find it hard to stop until I’ve finished. It’s even worse when there is a problem with the site like there is with this one. I was installing plugins last night and got kicked out of the admin page and can’t get back in. I thought letting it sit overnight might solve it. Of course it didn’t, so now I have this unsolved problem gnawing in brain and that’s going to make it hard for me to do anything else today. It’s 06:30 now. I can probably salvage 30 minutes of reading time. I reach for Smile, You’re Traveling. Rollins should snap me out of my nested loop.
Someone asked me in an email If I had an unlimited amount of time and money, what would I do with it?
I would walk the earth like Caine in Kung Fu.
I would simply want to see as much of the world as I physically could. And I would travel very simply carrying everything on my back like I did when I was an infantryman. I would stay in simple places, eat simple food and meet the locals of every place I visited. Live amongst them like Bruce Parry did in Tribes.
This post is coming to you the morning after. I got my priorities all mixed up last night. That is to say, I got caught up in The Walking Dead and The Talking Dead last night. Only 3 episodes left in this current season, so more main character deaths should be on the way. I wonder who.
In the mean-time, our new guest is settling in well.
Sunday evening. That time when you have to start making the mental transition from weekend to work night. I’m sat here listening to Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Catch A Fire album and burning incense. I’m in the mood for some Henry Miller, but I end of reading Smile, You’re Traveling by Henry Rollins. I like his dairy style books, specifically the Black Coffee Blues series of which this is book three in the series. Every time I listen to Henry Rollins being interviewed, I always think, what an intense dude. He was on the Joe Rogan podcast earlier this year. By the time I was done listening, I wanted to drive straight to Heathrow airport and get a flight to anywhere. Just go. And figure out everything else en route. Listening to Henry Rollins is exhausting and motivating.
I drove in to Warwick late this afternoon. My plan was to wander the streets looking for interesting things to photograph. I wasn’t expecting the place to be dead. Warwick, on a late Sunday afternoon is like a ghost town. Most of the shops are independent shops and nearly all of them are closed on Sunday. The only things open besides a few pubs and restaurants were a couple of the big retail shops. I asked the young lady manning the till at WH Smiths if it was always like this on a Sunday. She said yes pretty much all day. I felt a little bad for her standing there in this big empty store. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular. I just like to browse the magazines to see what’s trending in print. Can you believe there is a whole magazine dedicated to board games. I would have thought board games were on their way out, but apparently their popularity is increasing. I guess it’s a nice change to being hunched over a screen playing people you can’t physically see.
I have another website to build, so I should probably get started on that this evening. Plus I have some podcast editing to do, but Bob is making me want to just sit back, put my feet up and sip Captain Morgan’s all evening.
Hey Jack Kerouac was born on this day in 1922. Kerouac is one my favourite writers. On the Road and Dharma Bums being my favourite manuscripts of his. I have a lot of his published work and enjoy dipping into him from time to time.
Anyway, I better make this short and get back to work before the rum kicks in completely.
I like a good road trip, especially when I haven’t been more than 10 miles from my house in too many days.
So when the boy sent me an IM at 9:30 last night asking me to come rescue his tortoise, I eagerly accepted the mission. Ok, the tortoise didn’t really need rescuing. It was more that the boy decided he would sneak a pet tortoise into his pet-free student accommodation. He figured, since he only has another 3 months of uni left, he could get away with hiding his tortoise from his landlord.
Well, the game didn’t quite pan out the way he expected. He got busted because his tortoise busted out of it’s cage and was roaming around the apartment free when the landlord turned up unannounced while the boy wasn’t home. Naughty landlord (he’s suppose to give 48 hours notice before turning up to the flat). Naughty boy (he should have had a more secure cage).
It looks like we are tortoise sitting until June. Anyway, I got to see the boy, so it was a good trip.
I was meant to go see the Led Zeppelin tribute band, Whole Lotta Led tonight, but my buddy bailed on me. Normally I would have carried on and gone anyway, but I made the mistake of stuffing my belly full of chicken fried rice and Kung Po chicken. I’m stuffed and like a lion after eating a gazelle, I just want to lounge in my Lazyboy recliner and do nothing, except of course editing pictures and writing this blog post.
Is this what life has become as an old man? Sitting in on a Saturday night hanging out on my computer? Oh where is my Dylan Thomas poem?
I dusted off my Canon G16 to document my trip down to Cheltenham and to do a little street photography while I was there.
Peace, my friends,
A couple of alcoholic bevvies. Check.
A few of rounds of Call of Duty zombie mode. Check.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Check.
It must be Friday night. I write that as if it Friday still means the same as it did when I worked the corporate salt mines. The truth is when you’re self-employed every day is a workday, but every day is also a fun day, mostly.
I spent a good part of the day holed up in my mobile office sketching out a marketing strategy for my affiliate marketing ambitions.
There are a few ways to go about it. You can be passive (which is what I’ve been doing mostly) mentioning a few books here and there and using my Amazon affiliate link to connect people to books and products I’ve read and used. I also showcase things in the sidebars of my blogs (who looks at sidebars anymore?).
A more active approach is to create niche websites and drive traffic to the site using PPC ads and Facebook ads. This is an automated and active approach. You fork out a lot of money in ad fees, but if you get your targeting right, the money you bring in should cover the expense. With this approach you also don’t have to necessarily be married to the niche topic. But you do have to have an entrepreneurial eye for trends and gaps.
I’ve taken a middle ground approach with my Zombie Zoo shop and blog. It’s a hybrid between drop shipping and affiliate marketing. And since I talk about zombies and the coming zombie apocalypse a lot, I’ve also decided to create an active blog on the site where I can curate the zombie related stuff I find on the web. The idea here is to attract zombie fans to the blog for their zombie fix and while they’re there, buy some zombie gear.
Ok. Enough about work. I’m actually trying to drink beer and watch Buffy. I wasn’t a Buffy fan when it first aired, but since I started reading about pop culture and philosophy, Buffy The Vampire Slayer keeps coming up as one of the greatest television series ever. Like Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, the show can be consumed on two levels. The second level is where the deep stuff happens. So as I’m watching it, I’m paying attention to both stories, plus reading this book and this book.
For example, the understory of the episode Out of Mind, Out of Sight deals with Jung’s concept of the Shadow Self and how the Shadow Self represents everything we refuse to acknowledge about ourselves, the dark stuff we keep hidden (or think we keep hidden) from other people, including ourselves. (As I read that paragraph back, I was thinking, man…can’t I just watch TV like a normal person)
“Looking in the mirror everyday and seeing nothing there is an overrated pleasure.” – Angel
I’m starting to scribble out lines of poetry again. This usually happens when I start paying attention to the quieter voices in my head and feeling the urge to celebrate the mystery of existence in its many masks of meaning.
And coming poetry and comics
Have Your Cake
Whenever human existence feels itself uncertain, it looks again for guidance to that invisible world in which, it seems, we have never ceased to believe.
Is it retro to go back to personal blogging like it was back in the days of LiveJournal where I started with my very first blog, chew the bottom of my shoe Talk about about #ThrowBackThursday, I made my first entry on that blog on Sunday, 10 December 2006 at 0:932 AM.
These were my first blogging friends:
__hibiscus, _yourotherleft, amativus, aoristic, ayden79, bobdylanforprez, burning_candle, curlymac, girlgoddess09, leahbobet, licoricewhipped, mmmgood, peterlake, quitespecial, sweatfunkgroove, thegreatmissjj, writer_space
I’ll have to go see what they’re all up to these days.
Thursday has come too quick. As I get older, I hate how time flies. Reminds of the lyric on the Pink Floyd song, Time:
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over
Thought I’d something more to say
It’s podcasting day, which I love because I get to have coffee in town and wax lyrical about things of the mind, body, and soul with my good friend Sarah Beth Hunt. Today, we were in the funky realm of fantasy and talking about what Jung called the Active Imagination. It’s something that’s a natural inborn process, but we let it lapse once we move into adulthood. I mean play acting and fantasy is for kids right? Well wrong, according to Jung. He used it bring himself back from the brink of a mental breakdown after his split with Freud.
As J.C.F. Schiller said, people are completely human only when they are at play.
And here’s the thing, the great joy of play, fantasy, and imagination is that we can be utterly free and spontaneous. In fact, we’re free to imagine anything. We can think the unthinkable because nothing is unimaginable in this pure state of being.
It’s not like I really needed an excuse to embrace my inner child, but at least now, I can cite science to back up my child-like play. Ruth got these for me:
Oh and I met Charlotte of Leamington Joy Jam today. She stopped by the studio (which is really the first floor of the Havana Cafe) and shared a moment with us. She has an interesting story which I’m hoping too capture next Friday in audio format.
Speaking of audio format, have you had a chance to check out the new Anchor app. Yesterday they released Anchor 2.0. The app has changed so much that it might as well be another app. It’s structured now to be like an audio version of Snapchat. You record audio clips straight to the app along with up loading sound clips and music from Spotify and iTunes. Basically you now have a radio station in your pocket. A lot of people who were diehard users of Anchor 1.0 are having really hard time adjusting to the new version. Change is a big brown bear. Before it was much more like a conversation with people now it’s more of a radio talk show. Anyway, if you find yourself over there, look me up.
Here are a couple of drawings, or fine art funnies, that I drew yesterday. I posted them out on social media, but here they are in case you missed them:
I have more to say, but I need to rock on with a few other tasks before the evening gets away from me, plus I’m already on the Chivas Regal.
I tell you what, if you’ve read this far, and you like it, give me some feedback so I know somebody is listening. That will encourage me to continue.
Ok, chow for now.