Sunday, June 25, 2017

Steemit Transition

Steemit Transition
My transition to the Steemit social media platform, if indeed "social media" is the proper term, has been relatively slow and unsteady. It has become more solid in just the last month as I resumed writing, recording and exercising. Also feeling a bit more comfortable about putting my "self" and my ideas out there for the possible consumption of humans I do not know.
Interesting enough, it was by putting myself out there in chat rooms, dating sites and blogging communities that I expanded my friends circle, quite literally around the world.
I am literally where I am today because of a friendship that began with an America Online personals ad in 1995. It's a great story I may write about one day.
Needless to say, I'm Old School... (don't worry, I don't hate Millennials). Some of you reading this may not have even been born in 1995.
When you've lived for say, 25 - 30 years, you start to notice patterns in society. Sometimes those patterns are pointed out to us by teachers... or since teachers became part of the "farm," by comedians. The warning that history repeats itself is valid inasmuch as humans are largely creatures of limited intelligence and creativity.
That being said, I can almost predict the future of Steemit. Not so much in a way of success or failure, but the direction it will go and how it will be driven there.
As the popularity of Steemit increases the collective creativity, intellect and congeniality of the community will decline the way it did from chat rooms to face book. It's the nature of popularity. Unless Steemit can manage to manage its brand and keep it from appealing to the most fundamental emotions of humankind, it will go the way of television... that vast intellectual wasteland.
I don't know enough about the inner workings or the long-term plan of Steemit to predict (or define) its level of success, or even its definition. I'm just using it as a place to share and store a small my "creative" content.
More than a few alt-media hosts have directed their content to Steemit as well, which I think is a vote of confidence, if not a way to put more of the dollars they disparage into their coffers.
Just over a month until I mark my first anniversary on Steemit. Most if my posts have not been Steemit exclusives, however I think that a lot now originate at Steemit and are then shared with social media elsewhere, except for videos, of course.
I'm keeping an eye on Steemit. Every so often a trend might emerge or some change that might seem to confirm my dire prediction about the platform's direction. Remember, it's not so much the idea... but how humans will use and eventually alter that idea.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Curious Alt Media: Gloom & Delusion

The Curious Alt Media: Gloom & Delusion

Every morning for years now I've looked forward to listening to Dave's X22 Report on the Financial and Geopolitical condition of the US and the world. Indeed, X22 was my gateway into the virtual world of mostly upper middle class white men who love money, wealth and the freedom to accumulate it and buy stuff. This might seem a cynical perspective on this genre, however, this is what America is about. It's the dream that's been sold that they (pardon my generalization) bought into and now it looks like it's collapsing and they are either scrambling to increase or preserve their personal wealth, ostensibly teach and help others to preserve/increase their own wealth, or profit off of the fear generated by the socio-financial conditions they are predicting.

I'm not saying they're wrong. I'm not even saying I don't believe them. I knew almost nothing beyond basic economics before I started tuning in, I've collected a lot if information about their perspective of the world and how money works, etc. I've also gotten a perspective on how they feel about humans outside of their socio-economic class and how, for the most part, they buy into the stereotypes perpetuated by the propaganda machine they claim to be providing the alternative too.

When I strip away the rhetoric and the "expert" analysis the bottom line is that the majority of the personalities in the alternative media are angling to increase their personal fortunes... and although I'm listening, they're not talking to, or reaching out to people like me, or my friends.

They are building a financial ark for themselves and their kind as they condemn "libtards" and "socialists" to rioting and looting in the inner cities when the government checks stop coming.

"Delusion," is a word tossed around so much by talking heads and disembodied voices as to practically have no significant meaning anymore. In fact, I had to look it up;
"characterized by or holding idiosyncratic beliefs or impressions that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder."

The "mental disorder" caveat allows those who believe themselves to be rational and reality-based to dismiss those with whom they disagree. The largely held beliefs in environmental engineering (chem trails) and MK Ultra mind control vs. the largely held disbelief in same. The 9/11 attacks is another example. For the majority of us the "information" we accept as a "rational argument" to shape our reality is hear-say. Thus, which ever side of the "conspiracy theory" we believe, those who believe the opposite side can argue that we're delusional.

And September 11, is history. "We" can't agree on what happened almost twenty years ago, and the alternative media analysts are trying to predict a financial future?

Back to X22.

I've been listening to Dave's reports since the 700s, (he numbers all of the reports - he's up to about 1,300 now.) He seems to be one of the most neutral, non partial, in terms of the socio-political dichotomy, reporters out there. He bases his reports on economic indicators and data that comes from around the world. I perceive Dave as a kind of info-junkie data analyst who spends most of his time researching and learning, including from the guests he interviews on the X22 Spotlight.

Over the couple of years I've been listening he's remained convinced that the economy is headed for a collapse but his reports are more tempered now, less frantic. However at times he does get excited when his analysis hits and one of his predictions come true, such as the recent bank bail-ins in Spain. 

This both increases his credibility (with me, anyway) and viewership and thus his influence.

Personally I like the way Dave thinks, and analyzes events and trends. I've learned quite a bit about how the global economy works. I've "met," most of the alternative reporters I follow to this day by way of the X22 channels.

It's certainly been both my gateway to the alt-media, my daily doom & gloom report as well as my remote view of the global economic collapse.

I've included one of what I think is one of Dave's best recent Spotlight interviews and maybe even a link to the Steemit page.

Enjoy. Remember, you might be labeled "delusional" if you choose to believe this.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Curious Alternative Media

The Curious Alternative Media

The year 2017 will long be noted, I think, as the year the alternative media, in particular, YouTube took... (perhaps stole) a significant market share and much of the narrative from the "legacy" "corporate" or "main stream" media.

The alt-right, as it's been called has been credited, or blamed for the election of Donald Trump.

I would tend to agree... but only about 50%. The balance of my personal observation is given to the corporate media's complete and obvious disregard for "balanced," "objective" and honest reporting.

My personal history of being disgruntled with the corporate media goes back to the turn of the twenty-first century. Maybe not 9/11 itself, but certainly there after. However, as an information junkie and recovering TV addict, I still watched... even though I knew they were full of shyt.

Over the seventeen years of this century the corporate media has cavalierly lied for and colluded with corporations and government to the point that at least three generations if Americans are not believing their hype. Apparently their ratings and ad revenues are reflecting this.

The other glaring reflection, or maybe reaction to corporate news media's failure is the rise of the "internet media," (to distinguish it from all alternative news sources), primarily by way of YouTube.

I believe that the internet media grew and became powerful by way of an information (I hesitate to call it "truth") vacuum. I'm not going to detail the complete history, because I'm not 100% sure, but it's a pretty good bet to say it dates back to 9/11.

The next big boost was likely the 2008 financial "collapse," and most recently 2016 (Brexit and US election cycle.)

I've been following the expansion of the internet media only since 2013/14, although I've had a channel since near the beginning. My first clip was uploaded in 2006, I believe. But enough personal history.

Between monetizing and the influence of the medium, the internet media is spiraling out of control before my eyes. A lot of shows (I subscribe to) have become, (probably always were, really) vehicles for selling products, (precious metals, books and survival gear) and (financial) services. A lot of them are also peddling a future of hope and/or fear. Essentially many are becoming just like the media they are complaining about.

I can't really blame them. There are no other viable media models to emulate.

Not to indict the entire YouTube'verse, some channels are more disciplined and professional than others. One of the great things about the internet media right now is that it's still (by and large) an open market. Channels and programs succeed and fail based on their value as perceived by their audience. (Recent manipulation not withstanding.) And even with the recent advertiser "boycott" channels that were valued by their viewers were able to make up the loss of income with funding platforms.

Unfortunately, and I've found this to be consistent with several types of "new" products, the most popular programs seem to follow the established media models and are, in my opinion, doomed to the "challenges" of success... that is, once they are successful they have something to lose; something that makes them vulnerable... the "success" itself. Which slowly compromises their integrity... which also threatens their success.

Disclaimer: Certainty there's no way I can adequately cover the entire internet media, however I'm kind of looking at trends and human nature and seeing some early patterns emerging. Just thought I'd toss my two-cents into the fountain and see if it floats.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bizarro Dream #61717

There are three aspects of dreams, the way I see it. There's the dream itself, which often I don't remember completely. Then there's the conscious memory of the dream, which is like putting a puzzle together with missing pieces. I provide the missing pieces when I'm awake. Sometimes the people in the dream represent different people in real life. I don't know exactly why this happens. And then there's my interpretation of the dream. There's probably a fourth element as well, which would be a "proper" dream interpreter's assessment; but I rarely take it to that level.
The first bits I remember about this particular dream is traveling with a group of people. We're not particularly friends in the sense of the way. We're compadres as a matter of circumstance, convenience and happenstance.
We are moving through a wooded area like a city park and there are dead animals, mostly dogs, along the road... mostly along the sides of the path. I recognize a few of them from my awakened times... (real life) as those that I saw and spoke to while walking around Georgetown. Sometimes the driver would roll right over a corpse and I'd hear a disembodied female voice from behind me go, "Ewwww." As we went further I'd hear more and more "Ewwws" in chorus as if my compadres had woken up to the possibility that there was a problem but didn't know what. It was as if their shrieks had been reduced to a reflex.
I stayed silent, even when the dead animals on the side if the road became horses.
Just a note here; ideas, images and possible interpretations come to me as I transcribe my dreams. I believe writing it out helps me understand it.
Finally, we stopped. Whatever vehicle or vehicles in which we were riding were gone (I think that my mind disposes of equipment and items it deems necessary or cannot conjure. Phone numbers are a great example.)
Back to the dream.
I am occupying the body of the recently deceased Adam West, but I am me inside. I'm either some kind of tracker/trapper, maybe a soldier or burnt out vet, (which is the character I play in real life), or some kind of mercenary between gigs. In either case, I have the notion that something isn't right with the situation.
The people I arrived with are all like young, some might say privileged hippie travelers, (like those I've seen during my journey) and they're jumping around being amazed by trees and nature and freedom and stuff, completely oblivious to anything outside of themselves and their own gratification. I however feel a sense of impending danger.
A small group of less than a dozen men enter the clearing unnoticed it seemed, by anyone but me.
I sensed that they were up to no good, so I just got my gear and walked away. The men didn't try to stop me, with words or deeds. I never looked back.
Eventually I came to an area that seemed secure. There was a cave. I entered. This is where I would camp out for a while.
Inside the cave opposite the end of a log on which I was sitting, there was a light. It wasn't fire and it wasn't the sun. It was kind if a halogen light, artificial. I think this was my signal to wake up.
My Interpretation
For some unknown reason... maybe chronic caring, I've been frustrated with my social media "friends" who are still thinking in terms of factions and seem to me to be missing the big picture, which is essentially that the powers that be... aka "The Elites" are screwing us all over and setting us up for some kind of (economic?) disaster in which the followers of faction A will blame the followers of faction B, and both sides will be goaded into some kind of (proxy) "war" that will distract them, and most of humanity, (mainly the western word) away from the primary agenda.
What agenda?
The one I most believe, because it makes the most sense to me, is the dissolution of the United States, centralized control from Europe, in order to access the resources of the land and exploit the country's human resources as well.
In my opinion the majority of my compadres who engage in what I believe are childish insults against those they dislike and misguided allegiances to those with whom they agree and admire, have been easily distracted from the greater danger.
The problem is, I'm not certain of this and without certainty I couldn't manage to rouse the passion and charisma necessary to create a cohesive squad to defend against a particular threat.
That's why, in the dream... and arguably in real life, I simply walked away.
As for the cave? I think my mind is my cave. And the light? That may have to be revealed in a different dream.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Freedom Year: Half Way In

6-16-2017 Penang
I'm at the halfway point with Freedom Year and I'm thinking that I should maybe have something profound to write.
Perhaps it will come. I start most of my writing this way, I just jump in. I'm a big fan of auto-writing and indeed a big fan of auto-living. Although for larger, more complex living decisions I will imagine some sort of "plan" and work with Universe to bring such a plan to life.
Freedom Year, in one way or the other had been in mind for half a decade. It began as simply wanting to escape from Philadelphia. Through a series of events, most of which Universe and I managed to direct in favor of my desired outcome, this adventure was crafted into a global excursion.
The model was loosely based on a project called Remote Year where people continue to work at their jobs as they travel around the world; twelve cities in as many months. There's a group of seventy-five people that you travel with. There's a monthly fee that includes travel, room and board, that will presumably be covered by your salary. I'm not sure about meals and incidentals, probably not.
I thought I'd love to do this, except, I didn't have a job I could do remotely. The most significant part of my gig, at the time, was showing up; tough to pull off when you're on the other side if the world.
So as usual, I crafted my own little plan.
Just a note, this is not a cookie cutter strategy that "anybody can do." I'm not selling you a master plan here. There were opportunities available to me that may not be available to today's average dreamer. Believe me, although I am sitting in a noise polluted restaurant in Penang, Malaysia banging this piece out on my mobile device, I was and remain to be very average; it's just my dreams that are big.
The first opportunity I had to retire was on my double-nickel birthday, but it was nine months short of my twenty-nineth anniversary date, which would have cut some trim off of my post-employment income (pension). So I had to stick it out for most if that year. The difference between compensation for twenty-nine and thirty years was two percent. Since I am a military veteran I had the option to "buy" a year of military service. That means paying the pension board the equivalent of what would be deducted from my pay for a year. It was pretty steep, but worth it.
The Pope came to town that year and because of mandatory overtime I recouped the investment in less than four months. Essentially the Vatican paid for that year.
Thanks, Catholics.
There were a few other factors in play, but my main concerns were covered; income and no job to tie me down.
I left the gig on December 16, 2016... that was the day Freedom Year began. No reason to bore you with the minute details.
It took me nearly a month to actually leave Philly, but that turned out to be a blessing. I got to see people I would have missed had I left earlier.
Skipping ahead; I'm not got to sit hear a tell you anybody can do this. The way we are yoked to our jobs (which basically means income) and compensated for them have changed dramatically in the last half century. But where the old benefits have withered, new bennies, strategies and opportunities have emerged, many of which I have no idea about.
The one strategy I do believe can, will, has, and does work for everyone is imagination. It's stronger than desire. If you want to live a certain kind of lifestyle, you have to, more than want it! You have to imagine, think it, feel it, speak it, and you will eventually live it.
I've witnessed this "phenomenon" too many times to dismiss it as myth or fraud or untrue. Indeed I am living it now, as I know many of my friends are, as I am sure many if you reading this are. And if you're not there yet, you're no doubt on your way.
So, after a shaky start, I think this turned out pretty good. If it lies dormant on the web that's okay. When the right person needs the right inspiration and this piece fills that need, it will be found.
That us all.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fakin It to Become It

Fake it Until You Become It
In what I consider to be a classic Ted Talk, Amy Cuddy took the self-motivational advice, "fake it til you make it," and flipped it. She discovered after a debilitating incident in her life that we not only think ourselves into doing, we can behave ourselves into being, for better or worse.
Since Cuddy's talk "fake it until you become it," has been a part of my mental vocabulary.
Cuddy is not alone nor did she originate this concept. It's likely as old as humanity. It has probably been used to domesticate humans and is no doubt still used to control us. The breakthrough comes with the understanding that if we can indeed be programmed, we can and should be programming ourselves in order to be the selves we want to be.

The "fake it until you become it," credo is also a tenet of neural linguistic programming (NLP) as well as self hypnosis, to which NLP is not only associated with, but derived from.
With that lengthy, yet vague carpet laid out, I can now get to the point... Me.

I think that the time might be arriving for yet another reinvention of Yours Truly. The wondering nomad lifestyle my not be wholly sustainable. I am not searching for myself nor am I running from my self. Actually, I am comfortable alone to the extent that I can spend long periods of time alone and talking to no one aside from my higher, (or lower) self, including the chronicles of my daily do, which is often not very much.

This current journey could possibly, if I allow it to, bring me down to zero, or close to it. Similar to, but not exactly how the military attempts to break a candidate down and rebuild them into a "killing machine." Once whatever clouds have been dispersed and cobwebs cleared I'll be able to decide who I want to be and how I will program that behaviour. Whatever that is, it will have to be authentic otherwise the program won't take.

Some of the choices that come immediately to mind are, Urban Commando, but I don't really know what that is... and it's probably only first because it's the mindset I'd been in for so long. In fact, I really should leave that one alone.

Elite Athlete comes to mind. I really should have put that in quotes, because "elite" suggests the few at the top... the best... and I don't really have that kind of competitive spirit in me. But then again, maybe I do and this exercise is encouraging me to let it out.


So what would it entail being an elite athlete?

First of all, a competitive spirit. Okay. Maybe I can pull that off without hating myself.
Secondly, training and conditioning. For that I will eventually require a coach. But I must take it as far as I can go on my own. That probably requires a more stationary lifestyle and the discipline that comes with it. So that's something to aim for. Until then however, I'll do what I can. I had a pretty good routine going before I left Kamala.

Third... I'll have to test it; against the clock, against weight, against other athletes.

Perhaps it's time to create a vision wall... or better a vision blog. Time to bring back Bajai Bootcamp, which would be ending in 19 days if I'd continued through the year.
Okay. Let me wrap this up. This should be my entry into this new(er) version of me. Perhaps I will transition from world nomad to world traveling athlete.

But, oh yeah... how do I fake it until I become it? How do I program myself to become this?
I guess I can go back to my Urban Commando persona; when people asked why I trained I told them, "to be an old man in a hostile world." It was my strategy to look the part, moreso than be a soldier on the streets. For the most part it worked. Once I took that attitude, adopted the attire, put in the time and effort, my posture and countenance changed - hassles and attacks dropped to zero. Before this I'd been threatened, harassed and even what the police report described as "strong-armed." I won a few battles and I lost a few. I walked away from them all.

Perhaps the same idea applies, however I might have to start doing more athletic stuff than just lifting weights and walking for hours.

This is all stuff for me to think about, plan and work towards. "Planning," being a major part of the strategy.
Okay, time to wrap this up. Let's see where it goes. Let's see if I'm authentic or just pullin' my pud.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Moving Day

Moving Day

I keep going over, in my mind, the way I envision this day going. Check out at noon; maybe go to the mall for a bite, or explore what's around the train station. Grab a Grab (ride) to the station, pick up my ticket - tickets if possible, (wondering if it's possible to make the connection to the Phuket train in Bangkok and get all the passage in one shot), and chill until 1800-ish when the train is scheduled to depart.

If the Chiang Mai to Bangkok train arrives on time, it should be an easy connect to the Phuket train, (which takes us to a bus a few hours ride). As you may have read in a previous entry, I plan; not "for" things to go wrong, but in case they do. Dotting and crossing, laying out the best case scenario, and then backing it up with a couple contingents. I'd submit that traveling in a foreign land where one neither understands the language nor the system, there are a limited number of contingents available.

A good plan/attitude I'm trying to develop, is "let it come." Allow "whatever" to unfold. I've plotted the course, next... follow it.

This practice has worked out thus far during this journey. No reason not to think it won't continue. Let the magic work, but do your (my) part as well.

I believe that "The Magic" and I (anybody, really) work symbiotically. Everyone has the ability. Most of the times when chaos emerges, it's because the person involved didn't do his/her part.

They miss a transport because they over slept, they over slept because they didn't set the alarm, they didn't set the alarm because they stayed out late drinking because they wanted their last night to be epic... and so on. Just as an example.

I keep referring to my military conditioning in these cases, but it serves me well, in these situations.

So I expect the plan of the day to unfold smoothly with few if any glitches, a lot of waiting, but I think I'm prepared. I made this trip in the opposite direction having been in Thailand only a few hours with no idea how to speak the language, completely unprepared, (no food or water with me) believing I'd be on a two hour ride, that was scheduled for twelve and took fourteen.

Hopefully, the return trip, on a Tuesday, and none long holiday weekend, will be on schedule and all connections will be made and I'll get to Kamala in time to watch the sunset.

Cheers. Time to finish packing.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sun Downing

Sun Downing

As the Chiang Mai sun sinks behind the mountain I start pondering humanity. Overtly I'm holding fast to the ideal that the meaning if life is life, however what we call reality keeps presenting me with challenges to this paradigm.

For example, if the sole purpose of life, thus its meaning, was to procreate, we (males) would die, or as in some insect societies, be killed, after we planted our seeds. We'd never see our offspring or even know if we were successful. Females, who science tells us, have only a limited amount of eggs and time in which to have them fertilized, would not live very long after they stopped producing ova.

So while I fundamentally believe that universally "Life," both within and beyond the limits in which humanity understands it, recreates itself ad infinitum, because that is its primary, if not sole purpose, the evidence within the human condition, seems to contradict this belief.

Humans don't do this. I can't really speak for plants; but I don't think that plants stop reproducing after a certain number of seasons. I'm pretty sure mammals don't stop either, unless they are stopped. 

Humans are mammals, and while humans haven't been completely stopped from reproducing, the species has certainly been institutionally encouraged to curtail its breeding.

Who knows, if left to nature, perhaps humans would reproduce in much greater numbers, and maybe die soon after their reproductive years came to an end?

This is where we reach a fork in the road; I could go off into how humanity allegedly had been tampered with and thus when considering the meaning of (human) life we cross the line between nature and manipulation, or I can  - take the blue pill and go back to pondering the greater meaning of life, after life... so to speak.

Life after fulfilling our natural duties of procreation, or life having rejected or otherwise having been excused from what I theorize as being, "natural" to living.

[Note: Not knowing who will read this or if it will be read, I feel the need to add a PC disclaimer for all those who have chosen not to have children, or to whom, for some reason nature has not allowed this to happen, yet. This is not to criticize you for your choices. It's just some thoughts and they come from my limited and admittedly biased perspective.]

Back to the sunset.

I think that traffic makes me think about life. It's rush hour and humans are in various stages of hurry to get some place. I'm not very far removed from this scenario and there are equal pangs of guilt, satisfaction and relief, that I can stroll along the side of the highway, observe the traffic going by, watch the sun set, or not, work out in a park, or not; and then sit in the food court of a mall in a country on the other side of my world, and write about it from the perspective of an outsider... or more accurately, and escapee.

The program; that allows me to do this is not available everywhere or to everyone. For me it was a matter of luck and timing and a few strategic decisions. But that's another story.

As I wander the lanes and alleys of Chiang Mai's inner mote area I take in the wide variety of humans in various roles of life's corporeal drama.

I took a little solo foot tour around the parameters of the city today. The east side seemed very occidental. First worlders, all of them Caucasian gathered in pubs, taverns or diners to socialize as they were served by locals. Elsewhere travelers, tourists, groups, browsed shops and outdoor markets amidst the rush of motorcycles, transport trucks, cars and vendor carts.

It made me wonder what this humanity thing is all about?  If someone were to ask me why I was here, I'd have a hard time giving an honest answer. "On holiday." Or maybe, "On sabbatical." Sounds better.

I am not even five full months into Freedom Year and I'm wondering if this lifestyle is sustainable, both economically and in terms of activity. I'm not used to doing anything I want to. I'm not used to not having a "job," and even making the clips seems to have become unfulfilling; although this might prove to be a temporary situation.

So why are we here? Don't answer. I don't want to burden you with humanity"s reason to exist. Let us simply ponder our own reasons to be; our individual purposes in life.

As many loyal readers and listeners know, I've signed a 200+ year lease for this body. I knew there was a twist to it. Nonetheless I'm in for the full ride. With a long term commitment like that I could take a decade or two to really do some soul searching and learning and come up with or create something meaningful, or even discover what meaning is.

Another question I've asked myself, is what the people I see around me, want out of life? Are their wants really their own wants or what they've been conditioned to want?

A driver was parked in his three-wheeled cab, it has a name, but I forgot it, relaxing in the back seat. On his lap was a mainstream fashion magazine. On the cover was a glamorously airbrushed... I'm sorry, Photoshopped couple. They looked very glossy and happily looked off of the cover and up into the the tired driver's imagination as if to ask, "Don't you want to be like us?" And I wondered what his dreams are? How hard did he hustle to get that driving gig? Does he own the vehicle?

For the travelers and backpackers, I wonder if Chiang Mai is a dream destination, another stop along the way, or a regular pilgrimage.

I never heard of Chiang Mai until I got here, but I dig.

And not to diss the apparent ruling class out of hand, I wonder what brought them here too? Did they have dreams that were easier to realize here? Was it an economic decision? How tricky is it for ex-pats to come to Thailand, own property and businesses? They might have been small business owners in their home countries who had to leave?

My fundamental belief is that we are here to continue life, however, it would seem that "society" it's an abstract - suggests we are here to expend energy, which is then converted into currency - (whatever is "currently" negotiable) and divide amongst our peers, representatives of (another abstract) "government" and our lessers, who are "unable" (sometimes unwilling) to convert their energy into currency.

We call this, economics.

What seems to be happening in our current system, and this is relatively recent, (like industrial revolution recent), is that economics is challenging nature; or perhaps the other way around.

If it is our; (humanity's) nature, as life to continue life, but the population (or certain elements there of) is considered economically burdensome; in other words, if each and every human on this planet is evaluated and assessed as to how much currency/wealth "it" can generate during its lifetime as opposed to how much resources it will consume during that lifetime, and it is determined that the latter is greater (said group consumes mire than it contributes) therein lies the conflict. There is an economic deficit that must be addressed.

The powers that be would like to use the human resource until it can no longer function and then discard it, and charge the family for its disposal. In some places this happens. Even in white collar environments, the human resource is used, stressed, threatened in the name of motivation, damaged and discarded... and compensated in paper and ink, of which a significant percentage is skimmed off to the state.

So again, I ask. Why are we here? If you're not here to continue life and you're not here to generate wealth, why are you here?

Do you know why I write? I write because I think. Writing helps me to link what seems like random thought waves together. When that happens answers come. Sometimes they are not the right answers, but they at least sound feasible.

We're here to make the middle a little more beautiful, a little more bearable. If nature vs. the artificial construct of economics are mountains, our art, our creativity, our laughter, our emotions are the valleys that protect us from much of the fallout.

Those people in their vehicles heading home, or to school or work, hopefully have something of their own as motivation to get them there.

As for me, whatever this ramble did for you, or to you, even if it killed the time it took you to read it - that time you will never get back... that's why I'm here.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Practice

The Practice

It's still a challenge to get out of bed in the morning. Not to make it sound like a symptom of depression, or something like that. For me, I think it's like a plane taxiing along the runway until it's cleared for take off.

And because this is Freedom Year, there is no pressing reason for me to get out of bed at a certain time. My eyes open; the curtains keep the room sufficiently dark, I check the time on a nearby device and decide how much longer I'm going to taxi down the runway before I take off.
It's Sunday, which probably means street fair day at the castle. I may mosey up there, or just stick around on this end... or maybe explore another direction.

The Bod is sore today, reacting to the fitness practice of the last several days. There is no barbell or dumbbell lifting involved. Just body weight, bands and flexibility training. My upper-upper, which I've mentioned before, is tight, not particularly rigid, but lacking in attributes that I believe would provide greater upper body strength and agility. So this is one of the main areas I'm working to improve. What I haven't added is a proper yoga practice. I practice getting into and holding certain poses daily, but there's no routine.

Morning View... Not Much but not bad.
"Elsewise" on my developing canvas of daily practices, the daily musings continue. The breaking of the fast with tea and toast as I bang out a few benign paragraphs that may appear to be brilliant with the passing of time. Sometimes I post them. (In fact, as my mastery of the technology improves, I will probably end up posting most if these essays.)

There are some days that I don't feel like speaking Thai. At least I don't think I do until the first greetings to a from my hosts. I think my initial aversion to it is having to think before I speak. However I soon accept that the more I speak, the less I'll have to think about it.

I don't have anyone to practice with so my trial is by fire, so to speak, in the real world. I would venture that most of the vendors I encounter, especially in the mall, speak better English than I do Thai. Often they are very helpful. I think they get that I am learning.  The guy I bought the kabobs from yesterday seemed very happy I was speaking; or probably just happy I was buying.

(My cynicism still serves me well.)

Decor of the Residence
The other side of speaking is learning and studying. It is, or should be well known by now that we can learn (damn near) anything at YouTube University, including Thai. So every couple of days - it should be every day - I take in a few videos to increase my vocabulary. I even try to figure out what sounds the symbols... letters... make.

Like most languages, native speakers talk fast and, at first sentences sound like one long word. I understand that I'm as a child learning this language so I have to listen and detect key sounds to understand.

I think Thai has a different sentence structure than English, so word for word translation won't work.
I'm probably wrong here, but I think the subject comes first. So I would ask, "the train station, where is?" Or some such. I haven't figured that out yet. There are also noun classifiers that shouldn't be separated. Not clear on that either.

Not that I've made any long-term plans to stay in Thailand, but I might as well do something while I'm here. I think learning the language of your hosts is as wise as it is strategic.

Don't Walk into the Light. The Corridor
Finally, the continuing practice of content generation, of which this blog is a part. (If some day some official, or potential sponsor or employer wants proof of the content I create.) This blog, along with the video clips, is the most original content I generate. The photography is just a copy of what's already out there, (however, I need to be a little more ballsy about what I submit to the photo sharing platform.) So there's yet another practice.
Until I wrote it all down, I didn't realize just how much I had going. It didn't seem like that much. I feel like I spend a lot of time walking around getting lost, but then those adventures turn into discoveries and eventually become content. So there's a good deal of overlap that occurs.

So, with all this down on a digital screen, we arrive at the end of yet another breakfast blog.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Eat Chiang Mai

Eat Chiang Mai (21 April 2017)

The easiest activity to participate in, in Chiang Mai is eating, which is a good thing. In case you haven't been here, there are restaurants, cafes, taverns and bars everywhere. Plus there are food centers, (food courts), carts, stands, sidewalk restaurants and people cooking right out on the street and the food is "affordable*." (Of course I'm writing from the perspective of someone using local cash converted from US currency. I don't know how easy 150 baht, the cost of a decent "American" breakfast, is to come by locally.) That being noted, I have seen edible items available from vendor carts along the mote for as little as 10 baht.

Last night, at the food court, (one of several places to eat) in the mall, I got a beef and rice set, (platter) for 80 baht. If you recall from a previous post, if I indeed got it posted, my standard meal value set was 150 baht. Add 30 more baht for a cup of ice and juice, and we're right on target.
If someone can afford to get here, they will be able to eat here. And although I'm always in danger of being contradicted when I make such statements, I think in most cases this will be true.

Workout Ethic

I've decided that every other day will be a work day. Stay in, or close to the spot, catch up on writing, critically editing my images, catching up on current free-media perspectives, editing video footage and exercise.

Let's look at the exercise element.

If there's one improvement I want to achieve during this year, it's shoulder/scapular flexibility and strength. I have a (self evaluated) pitiful range of motion in my shoulders which is probably keeping me from gaining greater strength in the upper-upper body, so work on this goal is a semi-daily, if not daily routine.

Second priority; the twist, oblique core strength and flexibility and fat reduction. But honestly, if I can get human flagpole type moves, I won't be concerned about a little flab.

My twisting range of motion is also self-characterized as pitifully, along with that of my neck. The side strength is much more of a challenge for me because I am so weak in this area, so this will take a much greater effort. Side planks and various twisting and balancing yoga moves will be the prescription, and now that I've written it down and shared it, I have made myself more accountable.

Number 3. Hip flexibility... again, pitiful. I've learned several hip opening routines and I need to make them a part of my lifestyle, just as I advise others to do with fitness.

Fortunately I can practice all of these beneficial exercises, and eventually routines, in a rather small space, or outside... or practically anywhere, and I can incorporate the so-called "animal" movements along with yoga, calisthenics, balance and "tactical training" that requires no equipment.

The heat wave continues today, the forecast set the hugh temp at 98.6°F, body temperature. It's an out day for me so I'd best pack up and get to the fitness area before it gets too hot.

I woke early today. It was funny. I consulted a device that was still on Singapore time and told me it was an hour later. The result, I'm up before 0700, with no problems. The only reason I don't get up before 0700, is because I don't have to. I need to convince myself that I have to. I'll get more done and I can chill inside while it's baking outside.

And, I think that's it.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Heat Wave

Heat Wave

My mobile device keeps me apprised of the weather conditions in my environment with the concern of a parent. "Stay dry, Noxsoma, rain is forecast for Chiang Mai," that sort of thing. I'm sure you can relate.

For the last few days it's been in the 90s; near 100°F (97°) yesterday with the same high predicted for today. I can feel the heat, and as anyone who's been anywhere knows heat in one environment is different than heat in another. Declaring that 97° in Chiang Mai feels somehow different than in Miami, feels like telling you something you already know.

So let's get to the update.
Tommy & Keanne get a gig.

Good news for Keanne and Tommy; they both got hired to teach English at a school in a place called Lamphun that's forty (or so) minutes west of Chiang Mai by motorcycle. Keanne shared some pictures and the views are breathtaking. I may actually have to rent a bike and ride out there. Hope I don't get carried away. I haven't ridden any type of motorbike in thirty years.

I wonder if it's like riding a bike.

Now they will be able to stay in the area - the country for four years, as planned, (or at least that's what I remember hearing.)

Since it was so hot yesterday Keanne invited to Rendezvous Classic for a dip in the pool. Great relief, but Tommy was told friends weren't allowed in the pool. No biggie though. There are probably other pools around somewhere. I might have a look at that place if I want to move inside the mote... or maybe not, I kind of like it here at TL.

It's out of the way, there's a mall down the street, the "city" is a half hour walk, the airport is close by, and if I decide I want to be more adventurous, I can hop in a red truck, grab a jitnie, a Grab, a cab or, ahem, rent a bike.

An American Meal at "The Riva" just outside the Mote
Besides the weather, what is the revelation of the day; the moment?

I've been thinking about the difference between visiting a place and living in a place. Not living to the extent of putting down roots, making connections, or somehow contributing to the community - but then again, maybe that's what living somewhere is all about. Maybe I am just a visitor; a transient, a vagabond.

Well... my answer came before the question was even fully explored.

So the difference I'm imagining is not that of a visitor vs. a resident, but that of a visitor vs. a tourist.

As a visitor, I don't feel compelled to bounce all over the area taking in the sights and such. I'm not actively or overtly trying to take in the culture, although I am learning a few phrases here and there; I've learned to count to ten (sip) and I can say "good morning" and ask for the toilet, although most places I've been some sort of English is spoken and signs are visible. Because I'm here, the culture is all around me from street food to night markets to left side traffic to the rhythmic way of speaking the language.

This isn't to say that I'm not interested; just not in a rush.

I keep mentioning, as a reminder to myself that time is a luxury I have these days. It's kind of tough to keep this in mind, because it's never been like this since that summer, maybe my fourteenth, when I was too old for summer camp yet too young to work, had no money and spent most of my days on the steps listening to music and drawing. Maybe a movie here and there and a splash in the community pool on hotter days.

Today, after decades of steady work, holding down two or three jobs at a time, activities and responsibilities, the current feeling I'm trying to describe is somewhere between comfortable and uncomfortable. But what does that mean?

Because of the environment and the era I was raised in, along with the values and work ethic that became a part if my psyche, I feel something close to guilt. This type of "freedom" has been a remote fantasy to me for some time and now that it's reality, it's going to take some getting used to. Five months into it and it still doesn't feel right. This doesn't mean that it never will.

TL Residence... The Morning Reporter
And I wonder, with the state of the global economy the way "they" (the economic doom & gloomers) say it is, how sustainable is this lifestyle? At some point I may have to generate some sort income, even if I do maintain a modest standard of living.

These concerns come and go depending on how much time I have to think about them.

For future reference and as a kind of map for people who may wish to follow my advice and adventures, I've been composing a list of seven "laws" (guidelines) really to keep in mind. They've not (yet) been emblazoned into stone, but they seem to have worked for me. Here are the top three. They must be the most important, because they are the easiest to remember. At some point I will expand on what they mean and how to achieve them, but for now;

1. Follow your heart.
2. Stay healthy.
3. Maintain your personal sovereignty.

And on that note, breakfast ends, time for the morning workout and whatever else needs to get done today. 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Nothing to do With Me

Nothing to do With Me

It's been perhaps three years that I've been listening to the daily financial and geopolitical reports from the alt- or "free media" via (exclusively) YouTube. At first I was annoyed by the negativity, but slowly, the more I listened the more fascinated I became with this minority reporting.

This was the "faction" for lack of a better word, that called out Obama's administration for manipulating economic growth numbers, redefining what it means to be employed full time and skewing the employment rate to appear to be better than it was. These are the guys; mostly economists, stock analysts, investors, traders, precious metals bugs and wealth managers, who supported and voted for Donald Trump in hopes that he could, would, (or will) fulfill his campaign rhetoric of "making American great again," and "draining the swamp."

Although I listen to these interviews, lectures and discussions with great interest, I realize that most if these guys aren't talking to me, or people like me. They are talking, as most people do, to people like themselves - or so I believe. They are talking to the "middle class" of America, which can be described in terms of annual income near (or most likely, in) the six figure range. The populations that draw the most disdain are government employees, (they say 10% of the US population are employed directly or indirectly (contracts) by the federal government); "illegals;" people who have immigrated to America unvetted, given working papers, benefits and free stuff; the poor, specifically those who live in the inner cities and will riot and destroy property when their EBT cards run out, and if course, the "elites," - that less than one percent that "owns" 99% of the (wealth of the) planet.

As mentioned, I find this all very fascinating, educational and entertaining. I verify none of it independently, because it's s not that deep to me. I have taken a few small financial precautions I've learned about by listening to these resources, however the more I listened and analyzed, in my own gut, what they were saying, the more I realized two main facts; first, I am not of the economic ilk to be moving my assets into most of these recommended "protect-your-wealth" programs. Nothing is 100% safe. No scheme is a sure bet. Number two; most of these guys have an angle to get into your pocket based on "information" they provide either via monthly reports, brokering stocks, teaching you how to trade on the stock market, selling the books they've written, or fixing your credit.

Not to be too critical of this genre. They're no different than any other element in an economic system; they spend their time and resources researching, analyzing, compiling and reporting and they should be compensated for it. And as mentioned previously, I find it fascinating, but I'm not savvy or compelled enough to try and make a buck off of it.

Most of their offers and reports, or opportunities have nothing to do with me, mainly because I don't have adequate descresionary cash flow to divert into investment, or wealth-protection schemes. And sometimes, I feel like it's me (not personally) they're complaining about.

From what I've gleaned from the three years of listening; and what I believe, is that the western economic system, if not the global economic system, will experience a correction, that some will describe as a collapse. I'm hearing that the US dollar will be devalued and the price of precious metals, silver and gold specifically, will shoot up. Crypto-currencies, Bitcoin (I have a few) in particular will increase against the US dollar as well. (I'm noticing some new ads for Bitcoin based financial services popping up on YouTube, which seems like a good sign for its survival. Traders have their greedy little paws in the pot.)

The big picture of the future has yet to be completed. There are too many variables to be able to accurately predict what will happen. Those who are building bunkers, stock piling food and weapons, might be doing the right thing; they might survive, be wiped out immediately or be trapped in their bunkers and suffocate. The gold and silver stackers could become the next capitalists or the next victims of government confiscation of hard assets. The poorest of the poor might be the best survivors, having never fully depended on the economic system (having been pushed out of it) to begin with.

Our best strategies are our own best strategies, whether we're digging holes in our basements or wandering around the world. What will be, will certainly be. Worrying about preserving material wealth, is a symptom of being dependant on a system in which they (free-media) claim to have no faith.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Morning Ritual

I am doing what I said I wanted to do: What I told everyone I was going to do: What I've been talking about doing, for the past year.

The fifth month of Freedom Year began yesterday and despite, apparently, "living the dream" it still takes a while to crawl out of bed and start the day.

Why is this?

Because I don't have a plan; a goal that needs to be accomplished. I'm not here in Thailand for any particular reason aside from Keanne and Tommy being here, they invited me to visit and I had the resources; time and money, to get here and stay here. Merely being here is "mission accomplished."
Our lovely hosts provide a modest breakfast  us daily from 0630 to 1030. This is the only reason I am out of bed, and the room before noon. My morning tea is and has been my ritual for countless decades, (maybe 3, to be honest. Since the navy.) What I've also been doing on a daily basis, is writing. Usually just recapping the previous day's activities.

I write... I don't know why I right, exactly.
First and foremost, I like it. That's really the only reason I need.

Secondly, it helps, or, it will help me to remember parts of my life... details; in the future in case my memory starts slipping away. I doubt this will happen, but one never knows.

Third; writing helps me flush the emotions out of my psyche. The emotions I don't share with others; (not that there are very many "others" with whom I would even share).

Finally, writing allows and almost forces, or requires me to at least, be honest with myself. My dad always said, "You can't lie to yourself." A wise saying, but I disagree. I think there are many people who regularly lie to themselves. However, back to my Dad's wisdom... I would add, "...without consequences."

Yes, we can and do lie to ourselves, but there's a price to pay for such practices.

Thus, back to number four...(sii, in Thai), my writing promotes honesty. And, I am honesty wondering if there is a greater purpose for me being here than simply, being here.

If I were counseling someone who asked this very question, I would say to them, "Imagine, that the only reason you are here and doing what you're doing, is because it's what you want to do. Would that be okay?"

The answer is, "Absolutely!!"

If nothing else were to come out of this year other than being where I was, and doing what did, for no other reason than because it's what I wanted... it would be okay. It's Freedom Year, besides, these words, these images and many more have already been generated from this journey.


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Temple Touring & Alter Reality

Chiang Mai Sunday and I don't have a clue that it's Easter in the states until my Facebook feed starts waking up. What I know today is that the Songkran water dousing ritual is over and I'm going to walk to the castle without hindrance.

The first thing I noticed were miniature temples, alters, out in front of businesses that had yet to open. Have these always been there? Had I missed them the last two times I'd walked this street? Or are they kept elsewhere when the business is open?

I decided I'd snap those that I encountered along the way.

I imagined that one day I might want to have such a structure with me when and if... (it will be "when") I settle in.

In addition to the "alter tour," I was looking for relatively close and good place for breakfast. Not the tea and butter-on-toast that I get here at TL. Something more paleo, eggs and meat; what's billed as the "American Breakfast."

Most of the cafes I noticed along the route to the city, (I have to remember the proper spelling of the street name) are extensions of guest houses, which makes a lot of sense. During my trek across the United States, I noticed that every hotel has a restaurant within, next to, or very near by. Most times a good hotel, say four stars or better, will offer some kind of breakfast included in the rent.

Anyway, I crossed into a place that looked interesting. I peeked at the menu before entering, found my American Breakfast was within budget and ventured on in.

The place was empty. No customers. One young guy behind the bar. An episode of Charlie's Angels was just ending with a splash; I believe a vehicle was descending in slow motion into a body of water, and Dude, I soon discovered, didn't speak much English.

Not mad at him. I'm in his country.

I've spent a lot of time pointing at menus since I've been in Asia. But as I think about it, I've been pointing at menus in the US as well as ordering by numbers, for a long time.

I don't think the kid's lack of English was his only challenge. It seemed as if he had been left alone anticipating that no one, or at least not many customers, would be in. It was Sunday around noon, Songkran was over, like New Year's Day... the proprietors might have taken a well-deserved respite.

We worked our way through the menu, which he seemed unfamiliar with. He may have even prepared the meal... the meat, across the board, was under-cooked. He didn't seem to know what tea was, or that it came with the set.

We both endured each other respectfully. Working through our respective challenges.

I thought about leaving, but I didn't know whether I'd be doing him a favor, or insulting him, the business, the family and the ancestors. In the end, he cut me a break on the bill. Much appreciated. Not sure I'll return to that spot... I can't recall the name. Only because there are many other place I want to try.

I went out with no plan today, but as it was Keanne's birthday I figured I'd go up near the Rendezvous guest house, just to see if I could find my way there with no trouble.


I didn't get terribly lost. Just lost enough to stumble upon a farmer's market that sells bulk (bagged) nuts and packs of dried fruit; essentially the ingredients for train mix!!

While sitting on the "stoop" of the guest house, which I eventually found, scarfing up the wifi and composing a What's App message, I recognized Keane's voice. She and Tommy were walking by; perfect timing. So we went down to the temple/market place and hung out for a few.

The day was turning out to be dry, but the clouds were coming. It hadn't rained yet, but it was probably coming... eventually.

The streets, whose names I have yet to memorize, were being prepared for the Sunday night market. Vendors are set up two deep in some places and not only on either side of the street, but right down the center as well.

I don't know what the "usual fare" is, but you can probably guess what's available; arts, crafts, clothes, various souvenirs, jewelry (seems like there's lot's of silver for sale) and lots of food.

And speaking of food, on the way home, along that wide street that hosts a lot of activity, restaurants are literally set up on the sidewalks. Folding tables, plastic chairs, umbrellas and the carts... the grills... the stands where the food is cooked, prepared and served, are all set up right on the pavement. Motorists can even drive up and get a meal to "take away" if they want to; almost like a drive through or "eat in" as it were.

By the time I got back and logged on, I realized it was Easter in America. I realized how clueless I was, and happily so, of this Christian holiday. Yet, ironically, I was having a spiritual day simply by photographing spiritual symbols, (the alters), and spending time in the temples, even if I was just buying beads and drinking chien... (iced milk tea).. or is it tien??

Today... it was April 16th, marked the first month'aversary of arriving in Asia and the eve of the fifth month of Freedom Year. I can track my time here by American holidays, by comparison. Next one will be Memorial Day, in about six weeks. I have about twelve days left on my place here. Soon, I will start thinking about the next location.

More than likely I'll be alone there, but you never know. So far choices are, Phuket and Penang.

Note: I think you can click on the images to enlarge them.