I have a lot of quirks about my personality. One of the strangest quirks is my preference for flying oversized high aspect ratio race kites in overhead surf. It’s clearly ‘the wrong tool for the job’ so why would I risk life, limb and overpriced kites by not flying a nice tiny inflatable kite that turns and maneuvers much faster in the surf?
I slowly approached the door feeling a strange combination of fear, shame and excitement. The house was a small one lost back in a bundle of old growth hemlocks far from the road. It was made from natural edged wood hand planed and lovingly put together. None of the angles were straight and none of the boards were square but it held a strange kind of appeal that most square houses did not. The door started to open and my heart skipped two beats.
Most people spend most of their waking hours working. Why?
The carrot that drives most people to get up and go to work everyday is money. Money is great, you can use it to buy things to eat or use or experiences. What is money really?
Money essentially is a system of agreement for barter. It’s very difficult to function under a system of solely trade as the perceived value of the items you are trading are often wildly different. The value of an item can also change wildly from one person to the next. With money we have a system of agreement and everyone agrees that $1 has more or less the same value from one person to the next.
When I first met Thilde Jensen she encouraged me to try TM to help with my obsession and depressive nature. We have been together for 2 years now and committed to each other last summer. Meditation has become a daily habit for both of us, one that I hope we will carry with us to the end of our days. This is not a sales pitch for TM, honestly I feel like it’s a total scam, I am promoting the medical benefits of any meditation not just a single ‘brand’. Although Thilde and I have settled quite comfortably into doing TM, there are a lot of different styles of meditation each with their benefits and drawbacks. This is a story of my personal path.
The TM style of meditation has been around since 1955 and seems to have changed very little throughout the years. The biggest change to the movement has been the price of the training. It has gone from being free to several thousand dollars for private instruction. So then the question becomes, why should I pay $2,500 for something that I can teach myself for free?
Dez, Matt, Jops. It’s hard for me to even type those names without starting to cry. Three people I has so much love for made the same choice, to end their own lives. This article is not about their choices, but about the rift that it leaves in its wake.
What do I say about those that are gone? Why did you leave? Why didn’t you ask for help? What more could I have done. The questions haunt me year after year. As someone who has struggled with severe depression for most of my life, I know what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and lost in the world. Somehow I never gave up. Somehow I just put my head down and kept pushing on. For those that chose to give up, it is the emptiness in the ones they love behind that is so moving to me.
For the last 20 years I’ve been sober. Strangely enough I look back and I don’t even know how I got here. My teenage years were a blur of drugs, alcohol and almost constant partying. As my friends from high school stayed on track and got accepted to Ivy League schools I went on a downward spiral into a nihilistic existence. And I loved every minute of it.
I loved eating out of dumpsters and living in abandoned buildings. I loved getting chased by cops night after night. I loved being totally lit out of my gourd and doing the stupid possible things night after night. Whether is was doing donuts in the front yard of a fraternity in a Volvo with no doors or dumpster diving an easy chair from the Starvation Army and keeping it in the bed of a pickup and launching it into the air while driving at high speeds over the jump going down Buffalo St hill. I remember spending all my time exploring rooftops and abandoned buildings and doing whatever I liked. We took trips to NYC and got into riots with the cops when our car got stolen. It was pure insanity.
Many of my friends from that era died from overdoses, suicide or literally drinking themselves to death. One of my closest friends, Mike Spike, dropped dead at 25 in the County Jail. When they did the autopsy they said his arteries were 99% blocked. I never saw him eat or drink anything but alcohol.
Riding my bike everyday and not washing my padded biking shorts (think adult male diaper for bikers) was giving me a serious case of baboon butt. Sitting at the computer for hours a day only compounded the problem. One day when I found myself squirming from the pain but still needing to get work done on the computer I threw up my hands and started looking for something to put my monitor on so I could stand. Little did I know that it would completely change my life. For the better.
Thilde and I decided last winter that we wanted to do something about her crappy wood-stove. Due to her chemical sensitivities we basically had to burn wood with the flue open so all the heat went right up the chimney. Because we didn’t have an outside air intake the air that whooshed up the chimney was usually the air right around the wood-stove that had heated up a little bit. The house was always freezing and we burned through a ton of wood.
For the past 3 years I’ve managed to keep my cellphone bill at around $8/mth and I’ve used the cellphone whenever I’ve needed it. My sister called last night lamenting at the fact she was paying $240/mth to Verizon. It’s easy to switch.
Basically what I did was to port my existing phone number to Google voice for a one time $20 fee. This guarantees that you’ll always have control over that number and no cellpone company can hold you hostage. Once your number is ported to google voice you can do whatever you want with it. I forward it to 3 different places, my landline, my pay-per use Page Plus Cellular phone and my google chat account which is linked to my Groove IP account. Google chat/groove IP gives me a wifi phone that works great whenever I’m in wifi range. I can call and receive calls anywhere in the US or Canada for free on my ancient Droid Incredible 2. The Droid I carry with me and use it only for wifi connections as it has no ability to connect to the internet otherwise.
I have a 2nd dumb phone I bought for $50 from Pagepluscellular a Verizon service reseller. Most of their plans are around $.05 a minute and about $.05 a txt msg. This dumb phone is used to receive calls no matter when and where I am. The dumb phone is great because while the incredible needs to be charged every day the dumb flip-phone can live for about a week without charging.
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