Monday, November 1, 2010

My Struggle With Inertia

"Inertia is the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest."

My Struggle With Inertia


Throughout my life whatever has been a significant component has shaped the way in which I view the world, for example, when I used to play computer games all the time I would relate real life lessons and scenarios to things that I learnt or occurred in the games themselves. When I regularly listened to hip hop as my only music source I would see my life in the context of the themes that I felt were relevant.
Through spending so much time cycling when in Finland I came to view everything as a struggle to overcome inertia, that the effort required in beginning anything is greater than the energy needed to simply continue. I had begun so many things, and had failed to carry on for one reason or another, and so I was constantly having to start over again, instead of simply continuing.
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I wonder if animals understand glass. I’m pretty certain that houseflies don’t, only managing to escape out the way they flew in by sheer luck and persistence. The fish stare at me like doe-eyed dogs, expecting me to have the solutions to their problems. They like to arrange themselves in patterns, sometimes like living sardines tip to toe, other times in single file, like they’re in obedience school, watching me eat my breakfast on dry land. It’s hard to tell which way is outside looking in. I once remarked to my youngest brother that a piece of smooth glass, tamed by years of waves, was not in fact out of place in amongst the sand, as it was from sand that the glass had originally came. It was a curious little cycle, as if everything eventually makes it back to where it came from, some way or another.
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I feel like my whole sense of reality has been warped by the huge list of films I have seen during my lifetime and particularly of late. But it's not just the movies, it's the music I've listened to, the conversations I've had, the stories I've read or simply overheard, both fiction and non fiction, concepts I've thought up and then mistaken for possible fact, real events that have been stored away in the memory banks as if they were ideas and things I've pondered upon alone.
Everything has run together like an ink blot rainbow, and time has dissolved without a trace. I'm left with unrealistic expectations, as after ninety minutes or so my lifes problems remain unsolved and I am still far from living happily ever after. I'm disappointed with my attempts to act out a montage in real time, and I am no closer to being a champ and saving the day than I was this morning. My role models freely dish out advice, but then fade to black and expect me to just get on with it, like they've done their bit 'you're on your own kid'. I can't help but feel let down and slightly cheated even, when the credits begin to roll on another average day. But of course I'm the biggest, in fact, the only critic of this slowly unwinding tale of mine, so it's natural that I would point out the continuity errors and the absurd unlikeliness of it all.

I feel perhaps that I have no control over anything, that this is just perpetual motion that I'm a part of, put in place some time that cannot be pinpointed. Maybe this is just another perspective on destiny.

Life appears analogous to a feedback loop, both the process and the origin, and as always the question refuses to conform to the primal human desire for finality. What is the prime mover? This same desire for an answer and ultimately completeness, is like energy that cannot be destroyed. If the question is what creates an answer, or rather the search for one, what is it that created the question?

I'm a rolling stone, gathering moss and snow, forgetful of origin and influence.
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I had this thought about how primitive man may have experienced dreams, supposing that they did in a time when a complex language to describe them was nonexistent. I wonder if there maybe wasn't any distinction between waking life and those events in the dream world. I feel that our separation of the two has more to do with our conditioning as a society than any self evidence.
It is impossible for us to perceive the scenario in which we live through a simpler language than our own, where there is no 'sleep', 'dreams', 'reality' and no concept of 'illusion'. But suppose you go to sleep every night and experience a sometimes familiar world in which unfamiliar things occur, and after it all you end up back where you were before. I imagine that you'd grow somewhat accustomed to these events, the same way one can adapt to most experiences, but the important thing is how these happenings are labeled, remembered and experienced in the future. If we were to have no concept or understanding of 'reality' or 'illusion', then how would we find comfort after waking from a nightmare? Is this knowledge innate and without the need for language, or are we only aware because we've always been told that 'it was just a dream'?

I imagine that dreaming might be perceived as time and space travel combined. Maybe cave paintings and such are of dreams and not real life. How much have dreams permeated and marked history in disguise, or misunderstanding? If I detailed my dreams in a diary without referring to them as such, and simply wrote in past or even present tense, how much of it would be feasible or passable as real life?
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The way in which we document our experiences is crucial to how we see the past, and for many of us how we also project into the future.
Every record is an abstraction, every photograph is inaccurate, every story is just one specific and irreplaceable representation of an experience of something we call reality. Reality can be experienced but never copied in its entirety. The same occurs when you try to capture an emotion or feeling through words, art and all the various combinations. Nirvana can be reached, just don't expect your friends to understand when you try to tell them about it.

I believe, or should I say, it is my experience that there are things a person can come to understand but lack the ability to convey to others through words. Music and dance are some of the ways in which indescribable feelings and perhaps knowledge can be expressed without the boundaries of words and their ancient stigma. Language too is an attempt at achieving completeness.

To be able to express ourselves fully we must use all available methods and not be limited by any single outlet. Lately I have found that my life is in need of such variety after being limited by my own self-imposed training regime. I've lacked spontaneity and exploration, at least of the creative kind, and so my physical training has become one-sided and driven only by a desire to improve my body. This is in complete contrast to my previous methods, but is in no way a complete representation of what I believe is ideal for me or anyone else.
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The reasons for my methods are clear to me – I wish to improve my posture and general strength in order to build the best working foundation upon which to build. But I think the problem is that I tell myself I can only go out and explore once the foundation is complete, at the same time feeling that I will never be good enough or strong enough to get on with the important task of having fun playing with all the possibilities. And so I am stuck in a sort of perpetual state of incompleteness, waiting for a time that will never come. Or so it seems. It occurs to me that it may only appear as if I am stationary, when in fact if I were to gain a little insight perhaps by looking back over where I've come from, maybe then I would see that I am and have always been moving in the right direction.
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There have been two major influences in my life lately; fear of inadequacy which drives me to action and leaves me restless, and fear of failure that saps my will to act, and leaves me inactive. Both have taken their toll, although outwardly, the first appears to produce more constructive and possibly beneficial results, neither state has directly served me well in the long run.
In my restless moments I literally couldn't sit still for very long, I felt as if I had to remain constantly on the move in order to be satisfied and to put my mind at ease. I picked a destination on the map and then cycled there, but found that once I arrived I couldn't stay very long before being driven on. This continued throughout the summer, almost as if there was something out there calling me, but I knew not where or what it was. Some days I hovered in purgatory, unable to decide on a destination, thus deciding by default to remain firmly in the same spot. This was frustrating to say the least. In fact, it was a sensation similar to feeling like I had to escape my own skin in order to be free of it.
I experienced hollowness and the thought that I must be somewhere else doing something else, otherwise I am wasting my time, as if time can be wasted or that the life we have now is short of what we need or are searching for.
Fear of failure is ultimately the fear of scarcity. A fear that you won't get other chances, other ideas and inspiration, other opportunities to do what it is you want to, and to express yourself as you wish. A fear that there is not enough to go around, a fear that causes people to regard each other as threats to that which there is a lack of.
When you find yourself in the present moment you are faced with an immense darkness before you. This darkness is the unknown and unknowable, and it is your canvas. But when you are stuck in the past you are essentially trying to paint your future over this old material, and so you fill the void of possibility with cynicism, resignation, pessimism and worry. If you are living in fear of shortage it is because you are building the future from the past, instead of creating one out of the infinitely available possibilities.
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Scientists have theorized that there may be an infinite number of parallel universes, some of which we may not exist in, others in which we still do. I feel like we move between these different worlds with each choice we make, mostly unaware of the changes that take place. Each time we are doing our bit to determine which one of these innumerable worlds we wish to live in. Imagine just a hundred worlds that share the exact same history and path of events as this one up until this point, but from now on they diverge. The possibility for variation is still as great as it was when these hundred worlds were first born. One hundred is a somewhat imaginable number, but it is unimaginably small in relation to infinity. Although the possibility for infinite variation exists, it is also theoretically possible that all of these parallel worlds are exactly the same as this one. I don't know what thought is more disturbing.

Think of someone close to you like your partner if you have one for example, then imagine a time line along which both of your lives are placed side by side, so that every event up until your first encounter is clearly visible in sequence. What it should illustrate is that your meeting relied on so many other conditions in the first place, and that a single decision by either of you could have changed whether or not you met. If you look at this another way decisions which may seem insignificant to you now could be what ultimately shape your future. Is everything just one coincidence after another, or has your life as it stands now been building up as a consequence of all your decisions? Has everything been leading to this moment? It's as if so many pieces must be in place in order for anything to happen, that it all seems as unlikely as the birth of life on this planet in the first place. It seems like we're just another improbable event in a huge chain reaction. Why is it that so many events with extremely low probabilities seem to happen as often as they do?
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I feel like life is not worth living if I have no way of recording and thus remembering it. Being able to look back at any moment to be reminded that I both experienced and did beautiful things, and that I actually have something tangible to show for it. I want photos, words, and moving images, because the experience alone doesn't seem enough. Perhaps it is in part due to the fact that I think I've spent so much time on my own, so I can't turn to someone and say 'remember when...' I also think that recording things gives them some sort of finality and allows you to put certain feelings or ideas to rest through externalizing and solidifying them.
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Shortly after my last post I returned to Finland again and abandoned any plans I might have had at the time. At the time of writing this I am in London once again after enjoying summer in Finland and a short holiday in Greece.
I began learning to play the keyboard in summer as I realised that I may never reach that point in my life where I have enough time or enough space for a piano on which to practice. I think a lot of things get put off for similar reasons, in the hope that the perfect time and circumstances in which we can put our plans into action will someday manifest themselves. All the while sitting on things we may never get a second chance to try.
I’ve wanted to play piano for a long time, and I’ve lost myself for hours practicing basic things like scales, where my mind is calm and my hands just seem to take over. I find that I can play with both hands simultaneously and look off into the distance and think about something completely different, or I can focus on a single finger, aware of the times when it’s in use, and when it is just hovering, waiting to press a key. It’s really apparent that different parts of my brain come into use when I practice, as if I play without looking at my hands, I rely solely on the sounds that I hear and to some extent the keys my fingers feel, and after a while my brain gets confused if I look at my hands to try and work out what they are doing or where they should be going. Many times my fingers seem to lead me as if they are one step ahead of my conscious thoughts. For the sense of peace alone that comes with it, I can see why many people choose to play instruments.
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Summer in Finland was hotter than any other in recent memory, and equally as forgettable, one bike ride melting into the next, swimming in river and in sea, following familiar paths and making new ones too. I swam out to an island where I noticed something watching me from the bushes; a deer as equally surprised to see me as I was it.
In Greece I gave my shoes a rest, and while they stayed home I was out walking in the hot sun over scorched concrete and quite possibly the sharpest rocks in Europe. The sharpest rocks were not to be outdone by the most curious shoals of fish that immediately came to investigate me the moment I entered the water. These inquisitive groups were formed by a medley of different fish, various colours, sizes and shapes, presumably employed by the Greek tourist board, like the old ladies sitting on their porches being stereotypically exotic like we had walked onto the set of a real life Truman Show.
One day I walked barefoot along the roadside, up a steady incline and then down a huge serpent of a path to a longer, but quieter beach. We kept on in the direction of the far end of the shore where the coastline jutted out and held us temporarily captive. Here I swam out to a group of rock formations that allowed me to eventually make it to a small cove outside the reaches of normality and the less adventurous.
The sea was so blue I wanted to become one with it, to transcend the experience of subject and object. The waters surrounded my skin like a beautiful certainty, and I felt at home, like I always do when in the presence of sun and sea.
I climbed out and up onto the rocks to briefly take a look back at the beach from where I had came, before weaving delicately on, with jagged rocks underfoot, higher and further round until I was out of sight. In this secluded spot, both atop the highest rock and deep within my mind somewhere, I gazed out across the ocean admiring everything that lay before me and everything I had accomplished in those few brief minutes. I felt completely alone, but complete and perfect, incapable of doing, saying or thinking anything that had not already been thought, said or done before, unable to add or subtract anything from the beauty that I stumbled upon in those secret moments I shared with the edge of the world.
The waves endlessly lapping at the sand down below, in a lonely part of the coast that longed to be experienced by someone, waiting patiently as if time was no solid object and erosion was of no great consequence.
In all honesty I feel like a bit of a fool for even attempting to capture the essence of my experience that day, but I feel so attached to it that I find it necessary to recall in order to keep the memory alive and from fading. Sometimes it’s harder to let go, than it is to continue holding on.
29
On a different occasion, accompanied by shoes we decided to walk Northerly to another beach in the opposite direction of the previous one we ventured to. Only having a basic map we calculated that the journey should take perhaps an hour to an hour and a half at most, and so with next to nothing we set off on what was to be an unexpectedly epic journey.
Firstly the pavements quickly dried up, leaving us walking in the road head on toward speeding cars that defied the laws of physics and common sense as they shot round corners. Secondly it became apparent that the road we were walking was taking us further inland, and thus immediately lengthening our journey by a magnitude unknown. We had set out in the morning hoping to reach our destination before the temperature reached its peak, but we had long past that point.
The voyage was an entirely uphill one, perhaps as a natural metaphor for something I had not the will to consider at the time. Cutting through mountains, or were they just really tall, rugged and pointy hills? We passed a sufficient number of memorials for those unlucky enough, or perhaps those just destined to die on the sun-baked road. Briefly through a small pocket of civilisation we drifted before the road opened up again, and so we pressed on almost nonstop in a hazy silence, save for a rehydration break and some insignificant words to maybe lighten the mood.
Signposts to the beach momentarily lit our faces as we were given the only indication that we were in fact on the right path and not slowly losing what little grip we seemed to have on our expedition. After trekking along for around 3 hours we came to a road that pointed us back towards the direction of the sea, and just as we had begun a car pulled up and offered us a lift. A French couple had seen us walking earlier and I imagine took pity on us as they were heading to the beach also. Being so hot and tired I didn’t hesitate to accept. They must have thought we were crazy, not least because we had no idea what we would find when we arrived, but regardless, we were lucky to now be riding in air conditioned comfort as the route would have taken us an additional hour on sore feet.
We said goodbye to our chauffeurs and walked the last few meters across the finish line to a small secluded beach with a restaurant atop a cliff overlooking the cove. Another two restaurants and a bar, and that was it. No cash machine, no banana boat rides, no sweaty crowds of various origin. It was a truly mixed blessing to have finally arrived. After assessing the situation a while it became clear we’d spent more time walking than we would remain here without money or food.
I cleansed myself of our arduous task in some welcoming waves and went off to explore more rocks. It was difficult to tell how deep the water was, and whether or not I would die a horrible death impaled upon a submerged fragment of prehistoric sea rock should I choose to jump in. I sat at the edge for an eternity, trying to think rationally about the situation and weighing up the pros of success against the cons of agonising death and terrible, terrible pain. After a time I decided that I had in all dishonesty, lead a full and enjoyable life up to this point, so I made my peace with Jah and jumped right in. I remained underwater for longer than expected, but surfaced with a nose full of salt water, satisfied that I had confronted my nagging fear and quenched my pesky desire to jump into the sea like a second hand bond villain on his private island. We stocked up on water for the journey home and set off, following the path we were told would lead us back, this time closer to the coastline in a more direct fashion. The route guided us along rocky, overgrown paths through hillsides strewn with olive trees and not much else, except for the odd bush harbouring imaginary rattlesnakes and highway bandits ready to relieve us of our gold bullion.
The journey back was as unpopulated as before, only this time I was accompanied by severe hunger and the doubt that we’d ever make it back alive. I could see the headlines: ‘Tourist Couple Die On Stupidity Hike’, or the Greek equivalent that succinctly summed up our tragic, but unnecessary fate. Surprisingly we managed not to die or to take a single wrong turn on the way home, and if it wasn’t for the light-headedness, heavy limbs, hunger pangs and general discomfort experienced, it was a really nice scenic ramble through foreign territory, and I’m sure to remember it with a great biased fondness.28
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This summer I went a month without eating sugar, and to be honest I didn’t find it noticeably difficult, nor did I notice any immediate benefits from doing so, but one month isn’t exactly a long term commitment or long enough to see much change.
I took this challenge simply to see what it would be like, whether it would be difficult to find substitutes for my sugary delights or whether I would crave sweet things at all, and I found that it’s really easy to not eat something if only you don’t buy it in the first place! It sounds like common sense, but the biggest part of the struggle is to just avoid temptation when you go shopping, and to plan your meals better if you intend to go out.
I think I used to eat sweet things so often because they provide a quick snack that requires no preparation and are generally easy to eat. If I’m drawing, or spending hours reading or writing as I am now, it’s very easy to lose track of time, to sit in an uncomfortable position, to be cold and go hungry without really noticing because I’m so engrossed in the activity. When I’m in a creative mood and in the zone so to speak, I’m reluctant to do anything else because I know how fleeting the moments can be, and how long it can take for me to complete even the smallest of projects. Sometimes regular meals just aren’t possible, but as with everything, planning, routine, and discipline make things run smoother.
Immediately after my sugar free month I went back to eating everything and anything again, only this time I decided to try to eat more than usual in an attempt to gain weight, and to see how easy or difficult the task was in comparison to just eating when I felt like it. Admittedly I have watched TV programmes where people attempt to lose weight within a given time period, and thought to myself ‘I’d like to try that’, but perhaps that would be just an excuse for me to train harder and more often than I already do. I’m aware that I probably have a fast metabolism, but also that I could have paid more attention to my diet in recent years when I have been training regularly and consistently, and for someone with an already a low bodyfat percentage it doesn’t makes sense for me to try and lose weight. I have been my own human guinea pig for training methods in the past, only now I’m going to be a well-fed guinea pig.
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We all live our lives in a bubble, a very specific existence exclusive to the individual. In one way or another we choose what passes through the filter to become part of our experience, and in turn our experience feeds back into our model of perception. It’s easy to fool ourselves into believing that the world is a small place, based on our preferences and where they lead us. It’s a well-worn path that greets us with familiarity at every turn, and it’s only through happenstance or deliberate effort that we are able to break away into new territory.
A simple search on Google or YouTube in any language other than your native tongue will yield a whole other world of results, and another side to the coin. There are people out there that live in a fashion almost completely alien to me, yet I am largely unaware of the details unless for some reason I know and spend a significant amount of time with those people. It’s hard to imagine that there are millions of people out there who truly like, and even love pop music. That is a foreign world to me.
I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in a religious community, where religion is the filter through which life is viewed or skewed, I don’t have a stereotypically Asian view of life where I work hard to make my parents proud and not to bring dishonor to my family’s name, I don’t respect my elders, just because they’re older than me, or because I was simply brought up to, I don’t dress up as an anthropomorphic cat in the privacy of my own home, or go fox hunting at the weekend and eat sturgeon caviar, I don’t have an ever-growing collection of porcelain dolls or a gimp in the spare bedroom, I don’t drink coffee and I’m not in Starbucks typing this on my laptop, I didn’t fight in any wars and I don’t drink lager down at the Conservative club, I don’t go to BNP meetings, nor do I chain myself to trees in hopes of preventing urban sprawl, I don’t venture down the drinks or the frozen aisle in Sainsbury’s, I’ve never even seen an Asda, chopsticks are a novelty to me, I’ve never worn a bowtie, I don’t drive a motorized vehicle or hate traffic wardens, I live without TV, radio and newsprint, I don’t believe in the recession, I’m not confined to a wheelchair and unable to use steps, I’ve been to 12 different counties and walked barefoot in at least 4, I’ve helped hand-rear baby pigeons, albino rabbits, guinea pigs, stick insects and Russian hamsters, I was never an only child, I’ve never been a football fan, or of any sport, my Sunday best is the same as my Friday worst, I don’t know what fish, chicken or pork taste like, I’ve never woken with a hangover or in a stranger’s bed, I’ve never hitchhiked anywhere or gotten so lost I had to ask for help, I’ve never been business minded or extroverted, I prefer cats to dogs and I’m wary of cold condiments, but however trivial these things may seem they all contribute to my perception of life. There’s no end to the variety of groups or circles within which you can find yourself.
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Why I Believe Life Is Difficult

I feel that the whole structure of modern society is founded on thoughts, actions, beliefs and habits that actually contradict what could be considered our true nature. It has become normal to go against the grain in this manner, therefore anything which is not in keeping with this tradition is itself said to be in opposition of the grain. This is the fundamental misconception and ultimate lie under which I attempt to live my life and struggle for understanding. When the foundation is a lie, nothing substantial can ever be built upon it.
My dilemma is how to live in a world surrounded by people and circumstances that only emphasize the alienation I feel, while maintaining the vision and belief that we are all the same and ultimately staying true to myself. I don’t lie to say it, but sometimes I feel that the odds are stacked against me, sometimes literally as physical manifestations: huge buildings, groups and organizations. This perhaps has often been reflected in my dreams; recurring episodes in which I am on the run from either the police, an unknown group of people or some kind of authority figure – teachers from school for example. In these dreams I always manage to escape by virtue of my physical ability and agility. I feel like an ember in amongst a pile of wet, dead leaves.
I recall questioning whether I was crazy or not, but fitting in is never something you have any control over.

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I want everything to be perfect, I want the writing to fit an exact number of pages, preferably an even number, I want to eat my dinner on the hour or at least half past, I want to start things on the first day of the month, but only if it’s a Monday, because the beginning of the week has precedence. I ‘save’ my clothes by not wearing them, in the belief that I need to reserve them for the right time, I like to go to bed at an exact time and wake at one too, I like things to take a precise amount of time and to remain in sequence. I like symmetry, order and pattern. I think this is the reason I have become so random, because deep down I feel like I have no control, and any attempts to gain it only reinforce that idea.
I’ve wondered for a long time, whether or not I’m meant to do the things I want, when it appears that ‘naturally’ I am unable, and as a result I invent a new style almost as compensation for not getting what I really want. It feels like all of the oddities or eccentricities of my personality only exist as a byproduct of my desires to fit in with various preexisting themes and models, and over time I have come to accept these things as ‘who I am’. This self image has become the scapegoat for my inability to achieve that which I wanted in the first place, my ‘personality’ has become one of positive reinforcement and self sabotage. This piece of writing from the beginning of the year demonstrates some of those ideas:

“I have always been drawn to physical activities and attempted to imitate what I saw, wanting to be like other people. Time has consistently proved to me though, that I am incapable of molding myself to the form of my expectations, and ultimately being like those that inspire me. Consequently I often find myself frustrated at my inability to be the same. In my quest for normality and similarity I have invented, discovered, or just uncovered stranger, fresher, and perhaps more beautiful things than I ever would have by simply reflecting direct copies of everything that comes into my experience.
We are blessed with the mistakes of others, as we recycle what is rejected, and with new intention we repeat those mistakes with great love.
To do anything but follow my own path, and put my faith, passion and effort into these unusual creations would be to go against the essence that is ‘me’.”

Although I somewhat agree with what I have written above, insomuch as I have been lead along a different route and experienced unexpected things as a result, this was never my initial intention, so that desire seems to remain unsatisfied. Is it more important to be unique, or to be the same, and be happy in doing so because it is what you really want?
I think individualism is overrated, and a manufactured concept created in order to sustain the ego’s illusion of separateness. As children, we learn things through imitation, but as adults we are protective of our ideas because we have this concept of ownership and possession. Commerce helps fuel this situation and the competition and separation between people, as sharing or allowing others to use our creations equates to losing in some form or another, as well as the erosion of our notion of individuality. Similarly, if I strive to be contrary and focus upon the differences between myself and everyone else, I’m simply protecting the ego, but losing out in the long run.
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Dream Diary

15.08.10

I was on a beach and then crabs started to come out of the sand like it was never sand in the first place. I felt like I was witnessing this beautiful, natural occurrence. Out of the sand came some fortune cookies and one had already broken open so I picked up the message that was inside. I am not able to recall what the message said, nor was I ever aware of knowing the actual words, but I understood completely, nevertheless. All I remember is that upon reading this message I began to cry as it was a note written by my past self that predicted the current situation. I was so overwhelmed because it was like experiencing beauty, complexity and a deep understanding of life all at once. My tears bled into the real world and I woke up crying.
I’ve had other dreams and waking life experiences similar to this, whereby I am witness to, or maybe just a temporary vessel for knowledge that is as all encompassing, powerful and enlightening as it is fleeting and indescribable. This might be compared to what is known as a Beatific Vision.

09.09.10

I’m out somewhere that seems like a variation of Crystal Palace or somewhere familiar. A man turns up to take me away to a psychiatric hospital. I don’t remember if there is anyone helping him, but there are other people there, possibly my friends, and I try not to be too upset or to make a fuss as they strap me to a chair and take me away. I wake up in a standing position, still unable to move, and part of the device I am in fits into my mouth like a mould for the teeth and it is really uncomfortable. After getting my bearings I manage to remove my mouth from the device. It appears that I am on the ward somewhere, as there are other patients who move freely around me and a nurse at a desk. After the nurse sees I am awake I think I am fitted with some sort of gum shield. A girl I know works at reception and I ask her to get the message out that I am here.
I have very little memory of what happened during my time inside, but I was supposed to be there for a minimum of three months. When I am out, someone tells me that I was only in there for two weeks, but I don’t know why. Later, I manage to catch a glimpse of the date somewhere, but it shows that only two days have passed.
People have sent me messages saying that they love me and they miss me.
There is a girl who I think I only met recently, perhaps at the hospital, but she reminds me that in fact I’ve known her for years because she worked at the G.P’s office or something and I hadn’t recognized her. I didn’t know who to tell that I was out, because I didn’t know who knew I had been put there in the first place, and it all seemed strange now, because I had only been away for two days and not three months.
It was disturbing that I couldn’t remember my time inside when I had initially thought I had been gone so long. My sense of time was truly distorted.

12.09.10

Although not really a dream, this was a particularly strange and noteworthy experience.
I’m listening to music, lying in the sun by the pool. I may be falling asleep, and something strange is happening. The elements of the music are becoming something else. They immediately take on other forms in my mind. Different sounds create a new inner monologue that is out of my control and separate from my own. A beat is not a beat, it is a voice talking about DNA, and I find it hard to follow. Another element of the track is talking about computers, and how they can be utilized to easily replicate large amounts of information. The voices are difficult to hear and focus on, much like trying to see or remember detail in a dream. This is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

27.10.10

I’ve started to become more suspicious of my dreams, and conscious of the inconsistencies between the two worlds, so as a consequence I am having more and more lucid dreams. I question my actions, and the events that have supposedly occurred to see if they make logical sense. I look for clues such as uncharacteristic behavior, and the sense that something is not quite right. If I have any doubt as to whether what is happening is real or not, in the end it’s guaranteed that I’m dreaming. The more confident in my gut feeling I come to be, and the more I take the initial risk of testing the dream hypothesis, the easier it becomes to repeat in future situations, and the more I remember.
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Pivotal Moments

At around age ten I believe I fell in love for the first time. The girl in question shared the same birthday as me and was to my delight a bit of a tomboy. She also had a Super Nintendo, which was just more fuel to the fire of my juvenile desire. But besides all those superficial things she was also really pretty, with long blonde hair and cute freckles about the nose. I recall that at the time I looked forward to going to school just to see her and to be in the same room as her.
At some point during our school days I had gotten left behind and was no longer the same height as my best friend or the rest of my peers, in fact I was so short that even my would-be girlfriend seemed to tower over me in comparison. Those early days were probably the height of my shy phase (no pun intended), of which I am still yet to finally reach the end of, but that is a different story entirely.
So here I am, a delicate excuse for a ten year old with an equally fragile crush on a girl capable of swatting my dream clean out of the air, like King Kong would an irritating airplane. What I lack in confidence I make up for in the inability to express my feelings, and so I eventually enlist the help of my oh-so opposite best friend, who at this point is already quite the lady’s man in the making. I think initially he declined the task and just told me to do it myself, but common sense alludes to the idea that there was no way in hell I would do any such thing.
All I remember of that fateful day is standing in the playground and being told by the unrequited love of my life that she didn’t like short boys. Needless to say I was most thoroughly and completely devastated to have lost out because of such a minor and genetically determined factor. However, I didn’t from that moment onward decide that I would commit future efforts to growing in stature or bagging small chicks, but rather that it was perhaps easier and less painful to keep such things to myself, and that I wasn’t good enough or attractive enough.
No matter how vertically challenged I may have been at the time, it didn’t prevent me from being observant or seeing past the facade of words. I recognized that although I had been labelled ‘too short’ it was really a front for another reason; I was too Chinese. My skin was tanned and my hair was jet black, and I didn’t feel white enough to fit in. Not only had I acted recklessly in sharing my innermost feelings, but I had also made the mistake of thinking that anyone would ever be attracted to me. But the situation had set me straight, and would provide the blueprint for the next ten years of my life at least. Nobody would ever see me as anything beyond the ‘cute’ label that stuck in my teenage years, let alone fall in love with me.
I took it upon myself to do my best, not to fit in, but not to stick out as much as my appearance made me feel I did. I think that this is where in part my urge to be ‘normal’ comes from, yet I am always deeply aware of this difference which is compounded by the other facets of my life that expose my abnormality. Trying to dress up the ugliness I feel inside.
I’ve been given a secondary role in what is essentially my own production, taking a backseat to others who I myself deem to be more worthy or capable. I think what I learned through that initial episode was that if people wouldn’t like me for how I looked or appeared to them, then they would be attracted to me for every other aspect of my personality that I could possibly alter and take control of.
It’s difficult, if not impossible to say to what extent these ideas have shaped my subconscious choices and the course of my life up until this point, if at all. But one thing is for sure, I haven’t really grown up much since then.

Going further back in time, to the late 80’s perhaps the early 90’s now, and I’m on a school trip to London zoo, excited to be out of the confines of routine as much as I am about seeing all kinds of exotic, albeit caged animals.
Off to the bathroom I go, then washing my hands like a good little obsessive compulsive, but at the sink where I stand someone has squirted the soap from the dispenser into a silky puddle upon the porcelain surface. At this point the caretaker, I expect usually a passive aggressive type, pushed over the edge by one too many lolly wrappers left by humans more deserving of cages enters the scene, and homes in on the mess which is literally at arm’s length from me. He shouts a mouthful of obscenities in my direction, blaming me for his failed marriage, the breakdown of peace talks in Northern Ireland, the quality of Saturday morning television, the mess in the sink, and a whole host of other things, forgetting for a moment that I’ve barely escaped the womb long enough to dry off, let alone stand a verbal onslaught of this magnitude from an adult male homosapien. This species can often be found in their working environments jumping to conclusions and making school children cry.
Stripped of the opportunity and devine right to defend these accusations against myself, I kept the incident a secret, and decided that in future it probably wasn’t worth telling the truth because I’d be blamed anyhow. It also made me realise that if adults got so mad over such little things that weren’t my fault, then anything that was my doing was probably worth concealing, lest I be sent to the gallows for my crimes. I made it through a childhood of being shouted at by adults, some that I knew, others who were complete strangers, but bellowed loudly nevertheless. In hindsight I should have pooed in the urinal.

Fast forward to around age 13, a new school, a whole year group almost as big as the entire school I was previously at, the only minor difference being that there are no girls anywhere to be seen, except for in the science textbooks perhaps. Our school was the last chance saloon for delinquents that for some strange reason wouldn’t be accepted into any other self respecting educational establishment, as well as all the other kids who didn’t really give two shits either way which school they went to. I was one of the latter.
Originally we are all placed into sets based on intelligence it would seem, so all the smart kids would be in the same class for every subject, and all the opposite of smart kids would remain together whether they did P.E or Maths. Sometime later this system was dismantled somewhat for reasons that were never clear to me, and so now, lessons like music and design were mixed classes, a hotchpotch of riffraff and nerds.
Being one of the kids from the upper echelon of booksmarts and hardworkingness, it was natural for me to think that lessons were for learning and keyboards were more than merely elaborate ornamental objects that collected dust in one of the music rooms. I was so naive back then, little did I know that the music room was simply for sitting in, as my classmates took it in turns to tell each other to shut up while the teacher attempted to regain control of the siutation using similar means.
The frequency with which I got into trouble at school seemed to grow the longer I stayed there, eventually wearing detentions like badges of honour for all the hard work I was putting in. The process of becoming someone who thought school was a load of bollocks was a long, slow and seemless transition. I decided that it wasn’t worth putting the effort in if everything turned to crap regardless of how well behaved I was; it was a classic case of ’if you can’t beat em, join em’.
I had long been exercising my artistic skills in school, and regardless of the lesson I would always find time to draw something either on a worksheet, the front of a book or a scrap piece of paper. I once drew a flickbook of an entire fight between two people, complete with fatality, only to have it confiscated and misplaced by my ironically titled ’music teacher’.
I discovered that I had the worst luck when it came to misbehaving, and after having someone pull me from my chair while the teacher was briefly out, I proceeded to throw the chair across the room at the offender in question, just as our teacher proceeded to walk through the door. It was as if there was some kind of cruel inside joke between the teachers that meant only I would ever be punished for retaliating, meanwhile the original perpetrators would fail to be brought to justice.
My real lessons were the times I spent playing patball with the kids 3 or 4 years older than me, and all those hours I passed drawing for the hell of it.
As it was back then almost 15 years ago, and probably still is in some parts of the world that employ archaic and useless systems, we once got to take a test that would identify and determine our careers, and therefore the rest of our lives. I don’t recall seeing an actual careers advisor, but I do remember the most significant of the questions on our test. There was a prominent blank space on the page, onto which we were to write, and thus solidify our dream jobs. I don’t suppose many people know what it is they want to do, at any stage in their lives, but back then I was one hundred percent certain that I wanted to be a stuntman, and so that’s what I put.
It had never occurred to me that my dream was in any way unreasonable, unrealistic or just plain silly, until my teacher saw my answer and told me to replace it with something proper instead. In that moment I realised that my hopes and dreams were merely trivial, and were no match for the agonising and stark truth that the world had to offer. Once again I had been put in my place and shown that conformity was the religion of choice, and should I wish to worship at any other church I would be excommunicated post haste.
No tuck and roll for me, no handbrake turns, no somersaults over burning fuselage. Nope, not even a trip down a three set of stairs onto crashmats. I was to be sensible, and to abandon any thoughts of doing something I was interested in, and thus prepare myself for a life that was boxed, labelled and ready to go. The job roles that were chosen for me were so insignificant that they never made it past the memory filter, suffice to say that whatever they were, they sucked balls.

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It’s been a long time coming to say the least, but at last here is a compilation video of compilation videos of my training from December 2008 to around October 2009. I had considered putting up all the original videos themselves, but there are so many of them I even had to speed up clips that were already sped up at least twice in order to fit them into this 10 minute clip. It’s nice watching the seasons change in the context of training.

video

While I’m emptying out the video vault I may as well put this here too. Back in March 2009 I trained a few basic movements as a bit of a break from working on strength, mainly focusing on developing power within a confined space like getting my feet to the top of a wall in one step and pull motion. Just a bit of fun trying to make use of some local and not-so-local spots, or should I call them specks?

video

What next? We’ll just have to wait and see.

A Shot At Redemption

“Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life, rather by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed.”
-
Booker T. Washington

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