October 27, 2008


There's something good about being the secret hero of the story, an unknown agent for your own cause in the world.

Like almost everyone I live in anonymity, one of the supposedly dull masses that everyone - the masses - scorns to a certain degree. And that's cool, it's like how most things seem plain until you look at them with your perception cleansed. Certain people are dull not only because they and we lack imagination, but also because few people see what's actually there.

Guardian sex survey

Details here.

Joe Rogan on Hugh Hefner

October 26, 2008

The Book of Disquiet, text 151

We are all accustomed to think of ourselves as essentially mental realities and of others as merely physical realities; because of the way others respond to us, we do vaguely think of ourselves as physical beings; we vaguely think of other people as mental beings, but only when we find ourselves in love or conflict with another do we really take in the fact that others have a soul just as we do.
More from Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet.
"You're strange. I've seen a lot of types - hundreds, maybe - but none like you. Do you know what I think?"

"You think I'm insane," Jason said.

"Yes." Kathy nodded. "Clinically, legally, whatever. You're psychotic; you have a split personality. Mr No One and Mr Everyone. How have you survived up until now?"

He said nothing. It could not be explained.
Philip K. Dick, Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said, part one

October 25, 2008

The rules of the game

david bowie mugshot
Within the known rules of the game the individual is free to pursue his personal ends and desires, certain that the powers of government will not be used deliberately to frustrate his efforts.
F.A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, Chapter Six
I was looking for free language mp3s and ended up at audiouniv where there was nothing that really got my eye except The Four-Hour Week, which I remember hearing about when it came out, and then again at Casey Serin's page, and so I thought why not? Stick it on the mp3 player and ride the bicycle around town, expose myself to the self-help / get rich madness.

So I started listening to the book. The guy starts out with the mission statement that you don't have to be rich to live like the rich - you too can have time to pursue your bliss. But then how? Simple...you become rich. At that point the essential sleaziness begins to flow.

There are far more failed than successful entrepreneurs and artists, which is all cool if you're in it for the passion, but it kind of sucks to fail and fail again, even to fail better, if the process itself is no fun, just fixated on the goal of $ rather than the task in hand. It's now when we have to live, not in the past or future. The means become the end.

So I'm a lazy man, I want to relax without a large income, without the necessity of worldly success. A flexible schedule at a job you enjoy, with low / no stress. Spend less than you earn, exercise, eat right, have fun, pay less attention to what others do.

No matter how rich are and how much property you own, you end up with a private quarters where you get things done. Essentially an office with a bathroom, perhaps a kitchen, living room, library and so on either attached or part of the whole. You can live in a mansion or own a skyscraper, but in the end you'll essentially build a small apartment and do everything in that.

And never forget that Elvis had it all - looks, talent, fame, acclaim and wealth - and he died busted on a toilet just after 40.
"All the people that created traditions, that created countries, and created rules.All them fuckers are dead. Why don't you create your own world while you got the chance?"
Bill Hicks says this dressed as Elvis, here.

Iggy Pop, Manchester [U.K], October 1977, Bowie on keyboards and backing vocals

Related posts:
Deception, trickery, vanity, falsehood
The myth of 1,000 true fans

Bill Hicks on his worst gig ever [LSD, guns, knives]

October 23, 2008

A quiet night

rem: nightswimming, from later with jools holland

In the process of releasing myself from any schedule imposed from outside, so trying to tighten up my own discipline. Finding I already have lots of free time, albeit each day capped with classes, and am due 25 hrs more at the end of the year. It's an odd feeling, and trying to work out how I'll fill them in productive / non-destructive ways, when all I'm really good at is riding my bicycle, napping and cooking.

Which is cool, except I really ought to improve my Chinese and start learning Japanese so I can talk more with my wife, although it's surprising how much can be done with so little.

October 19, 2008

Crash / burn / repeat

Casey Serin, foreground, with Christ Hippie, his volunteer assistant

Casey Serin's back. He's the 20-something guy who bought a bunch of houses with no $ down and had it all collapse last year, with the fun part being that he blogged about it and remained dementedly optimistic and faithful to his gurus and dreams of massive and almost immediate success.

One total collapse, divorce and disappearance later and he's back. He's living in a hotel, with two more weeks' money, and a 'business plan' that's focused on selling 19 pages a notes for an e-book about his experiences for $50 a copy. He's started doing a call-in show that becomes a podcast on completion, with the call-in parts better than the preamble [and show 2 better than show 1, the only two up so far]. The new site and MP3s are likely to disappear fairly soon, but for the while they offer some grim entertainment of why it pays to face reality.


October 18, 2008

Shulgins / Horizons

A Boston-area housewife considers a Buddha statue in 1963 after taking LSD. NY Times

Another good talk from Ann and Sasha Shulgin, this time at the recent [Sept. 2008] Horizons Perspectives on Psychedelics set of talks. Subjects covered include: Bohemian Grove [Sasha's been a member for 50 yrs], the rapid spread of new substances, a definition of true hallucinations and how to stay healthy in such a life, but as ever with the Shulgins the take away is what a good relationship they have with each other, their selves, and the wider community.

Related sites: Horizons and all the talks from the event, and The Psychedelic Salon has a large and growing archive [158 shows to date] of MP3 discussions and talks with all the usual suspects.

Doing what is loathsome

The conclusion I can draw from all these reflections is that I have never been truly suited for civil society where everything is annoyance, obligation, and duty and that my independent natural temperament always made me incapable of the subjection necessary to anyone who wants to live among men. As long as I act freely, I am good and do only good. But as soon as I feel the yoke either of necessity or of men, I become rebellious, or rather, recalcitrant; then I am ineffectual. When it is necessary to what is opposite to my will, I do not do it at all, no matter what; I do not even do what accords with my will, because I am weak. I abstain from acting, for all of my weakness is with regard to action, all of my strength is negative, and all of my sins are of omission, rarely of commission. I have never believed that man's freedom consisted in doing what he wants, but rather in never doing what he does not want to do; and that is the freedom I have always laid claim to, often preserved, and most often scandalized my contemporaries about. Because, as for them - busy, restless, ambitious, detesting freedom in others and not wanting any for themselves, provided that they sometimes do what accords with their will, or rather, that they dominate the will of others - they torment themselves their whole life long by doing what is loathsome to them; they omit nothing servile in order to command.
From the Sixth Walk in Rousseau's The Reveries of a Solitary Walker, p83
Handed in my notice today, although will work up until December 19th, when I leave for my UK vacation. After that, no bosses for as long as possible.

Related posts marked Wilhelm Reich

October 17, 2008

The Book of Disquiet, text 155

I have no faith in anything, no hope in anything, no charity for anything. I feel nothing but aversion and disgust fro the sincere adherents of every kind of sincerity and for the mystics of every kind of mysticism or rather for the sincerities of all sincere people and for the mysticism of all mystics. I feel an almost physical nausea when those mysticisms turn evangelical, when they try to convince another intelligence or another will to find the truth or change the world.
More from Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet

October 16, 2008

Roads to freedom

When I was a kid I was never around books, but when I was about 16 I met a girl who taught me how to read and rewarded me with sex, and in her circle I played the role of uncultured guy who had culture, the monkey in a man suit.

What I learned then was that the right words and ideas could get you laid a lot. Soon afterward I learned the wrong words and ideas could have exactly the opposite effect, although I stayed faithful to the words and ideas rather than sex, and that was maybe a mistake.

My point is that when I first got into books and was devouring three or four a week [no TV, little homework] a big impression was made by Sartre. Roads to Freedom was intoxicating, reading it starved and dreaming of being a cafe haunting waster / boho / sophisticate, machine-gunning Nazis from the roof a church. Cool stuff, and still some things to aspire to, but the dominant subtext was always the face of the author:

un visage seulement qu'une mère pourrait aimer

At 16 it staggered me that he'd managed to think himself into a supposedly higher state of being, despite looking like that.

There are basically two ways to be free: to be rich or frugal. I lacked the ambition, drive and talent to ever go for the first, but I got the latter down pat as soon as I got my first paycheck. I've always lived within my means, and so that whole field of worry has never given me a moment's concern.

I'm going to hand in my notice tomorrow and stop working on December 20th. The last few months have been proof of concept of having no schedule and just working from home or elsewhere, finally getting the hang of self-discipline a third of a lifetime too late.

The idea is to live off proofreading, with maybe a few entertaining classes picked up to get me out of the house, ideally privates with people who are preparing for tests and focused on that. But am wary of seeking new chains, happy to play the cafe haunting waster / boho for a while.

Related post: The secret of happiness is this...

October 11, 2008

People are a part of nature

Kurosawa's Dreams - Village of the Water Mills, Part 1

Drunk early in a BBQ restaurant, and the old realization that even if anything isn't possible, at least any feeling and thought is, which is good enough. Plus, the key to drinking early - and at any time - is to know when to stop, and for me that's always when I start to think that maybe it might be a good idea, perhaps, to put my hand up the skirt or down the top of a stranger. Once that thought is entertained, I always move on to water.

Part 2

October 10, 2008

The Book of Disquiet, text 172

Living mentally on what is not and cannot be, we are, in the end, unable even to ponder what might really be.
More from Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet.

The Book of Disquiet, text 170

I found myself in the world one day, I don't know when, and until then, from birth I presume, I had lived without feeling. If I asked where I was, everyone deceived me, everyone contradicted everyone else. If I asked them to tell me what to do, everyone lied and told me something different. If I became lost and stopped along the road, everyone was shocked that I didn't just continue on to wherever the road led (though no one knew where that was), or simply did not retrace my steps - I, who did not even know whence I came, having only woken up at the crossroads. I realized that I was on a stage and did not know the words that everyone else picked up instantly even though they did not know them either. I saw that though I was dressed as a page they had given me no queen to wait on and blamed me for that. I saw that I had in my hands a message to deliver and when I told them my paper was blank, they laughed at me. I still don't know if they laughed because all such pieces of paper are blank or because all messages are only hypothetical.
More from Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet.

October 09, 2008

Health and frugality

The simpler I can make things the better, and I think when I get truly old and my brain starts to melt it'll be a long time before anyone notices.

I was wondering if I should be worried at all about economic collapse, but can't seem to work up any concern. All I do is try and stay healthy [exercise / diet / rest / no stress] and live within my means. That's all I can do, and the rest is up to chance, the collapse of one critical state into another.

Tom the Dancing Bug [click pic for full story]

October 07, 2008

A continuous network of critical states

In a self-organized critical state, the fall of a single grain of sand on to the network may trigger a large-scale rearrangement of the [pile of] sand; but after this rearrangement has occurred there will still be a complex network of critical states, it will just be arranged in a different pattern.
John Gribbin, Deep Simplicity, p163
I think I'll quit my job in December and go full-time freelance and see if I can't ride without a boss until the end of my days [currently aiming for 90+, without a Singularity] .

My only problem with relying on proofreading is the same as its basic appeal - that I can set my own hours. At the moment I keep evening classes as training wheels to ensure that I a) get dressed, leave the house and talk to people I'm not married to / buying things from at least once a day, and b) don't start drinking before 10pm. I took the wheels off in 1997 for one year in China and the results were fun, but somewhat alarming.

Still, I was someone else then.

October 04, 2008

The part of your brain that makes you funny

Is there enough comedy in porn?

Seth Rogen: You know, I like it when porn stays as far away from comedy as humanly possible. I went to the AVN Awards maybe five years ago, and one thing I learned is that porn stars are not funny. They're good at a lot of stuff that I'm not good at, but telling jokes isn't one of them. The part of your brain that makes you funny dies the second you bang nine women a day for 10 years straight.

October 02, 2008

In the native quarter

As a child I wanted to be a writer because writers were rich and famous, they lounged around Singapore and Rangoon smoking opium in a yellow pongee silk suit. They sniffed cocaine in Mayfair and they penetrated forbidden swamps with a faithful native boy and lived in the native quarter of Tangier smoking hashish and languidly caressing a pet gazelle.
William S Burroughs
I know three people who've tried to kill themselves, none of them where successful. Only one of them tried when I was in the same house [alcohol and pills], although another was my roommate at the time, and she called me after swallowing her pills [with alcohol]. Two of those people were /are professional writers, in that they made (and continue to make) 100% of their income from what they do at the keyboard. I know a fourth person who's thinking about killing himself, and he's also a professional writer.