The Blog

like a chevy in quicksand

Momma never said, “I’m sorry, I’m the parent, but I’m just being baggage.” But her shame was always heavy, always had her head down. Momma said, “You’re the boy that resembled your features, Bo Bo you need a prayer… Come back home.”

What It’s Like Working With Elephants

Elephant Trainer

Though it’s mostly for show, I technically have an elephant trainer’s/ caretaker’s license from Thailand. One could go so far as to call me a Mahout.

The best I can say is that “training” elephants is a complex subject, but living and working with them is… holy.

There are many methods to training elephants and I chose my mentors based on theirs. Most elephants in Thailand are Continue Reading →

What Makes Someone Sane

Of course I’m sane, when trees start talking to me, I don’t talk back. // Terry Pratchett

People are sane when they’re of sound mind, this’s best defined as having the capacity to think, reason, and understand for oneself. Strong emotions are probably the number one hindrance towards sanity. And contrary to popular belief someone can be both sane and mentally ill, it’s just much harder.

The Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Bottled Water

The difference between cheap and expensive bottled water is taste (and texture).

The reason most people don’t taste a difference between tap, cheap, and expensive bottled water is that people, especially in the West, drink water cold and mainly after eating, both which largely cancel out differences of taste.

If you were to regularly drink water at room temperature, as I do, you’d realize that (except for the sense that it seems to always be more aerated than most bottled waters) tap water isn’t that amazing; it leaves a chemical aftertaste because tap water sources are treated with chloramines, and in part because they contain certain quantities of bacteria, tylenol, fluoride, caffeine, unspecified chemicals, and arsenic.

Cheap brands like Aquafina, which originate from “municipal” or “public water” sources aren’t far off from tap water (they, in fact, are tap water – just Continue Reading →

“The More Corrupt The State, The More Numerous The Laws.” What This Implies And Why It Holds True In This Age

This statement’s playing with three evergreen ideas:

  1. That if a state is made of a majority of moral people then they won’t need precise governing.
  2. That if a state is made of a majority of amoral people then they’ll need ever more precise governing.
  3. And that if a state, as an entity itself, becomes too precise in its governing, it will beget more amoral than moral peoples for it’s covered the entire floor with laws and has thus made it impossible to walk without stepping on one.

The statement’s saying that someone’s actions are a simple means of surmising their underlying morality or lack of it, that an organized community isn’t exempt from judgement because it’s also someone, and that someone that acts with the belief that people are inherently lacking in morality is themselves lacking in morality for holding such a belief.

Imagine yourself as kind parent. Imagine Continue Reading →

The Strangest Foods That I Love

chiang mai insects

I like fried insects, with a carbonated soft drink or beer to wash them down.

Not all fried insects are synonymous in taste though. I can still smell the yellowing fried grasshoppers of my very young summers in Kigali, Rwanda thanks to a neighbour who couldn’t get enough of his own outdoor fried particulars, and though he’d offer me a bite on numerous occasions I’d remind him, once again, I didn’t like the stuff (too much work, not enough crunch). But, if he’d cooked up some Maeng Kee Noon beetles or Jing Leed crickets the Thailand way (fried in a wok briefly, with a light coating of Golden Mountain Sauce, and a bit of White Pepper Powder [Prik Thai]) I wouldn’t have had to come to Chiang Mai to figure out that insects, on top of being a great sustainable source of low-fat protein, aren’t that bad afterall.

Lately I’ve been obsessed with the idea that poutine topped with Jing Leed, Non Pai bamboo worm, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, jalapeño peppers, baby green peas, and a dash of black pepper would be absolutely amazing, if not just original.

Speaking The Truth Is Hard

Speaking the truth with a capital T is difficult. Because The truth is both our magnum opus and an earthquake.

By this I mean that most of us have only one truth to clearly speak of and it will take years of flapping our gums and therapy before we ever stumble upon it correctly, if we ever do at all. When we do, when we’re lucky enough to do, skilled enough to fall gracefully (enough to accept pain as process), and healed enough to pay close attention, we will recognize it both instantly and after the fact because our pupils will dilate so quickly we will feel them and because for some strange reason whenever we speak it, of it, the air shakes, the ground shakes, people cling to themselves, to one another, to something, anything, and then, when we’re done speaking, we are kindly told never to do that again. At least, not without a lot of bells and whistles.

To use New York as (another) metaphor, The truth isn’t the street performer we’re rushing to get a glimpse of, but the sleeping homeless man we all stumble upon right before we pick ourselves up and hurry on as if nothing’s happened.

An Obvious Truth That’s Rarely Acknowledged

We’re all mostly driven by hatred, detachment, and longing; because at one point in time we loved or needed someone so intensely it hurt and they never even noticed.

How To Know Yourself

The only way to know yourself is to sit with yourself; asking yourself questions, revealing everything, baring every feeling, and asking for understanding.

The obvious is that this helps you know yourself because you reveal yourself to yourself. The less obvious is that through this process you lose something very crucial, your need to know things about yourself that you don’t know. To paraphrase Don DeLillo, “What you don’t know about yourself allows you to know yourself.”

In Point Omega, in that specific sentence, Don warns against thorough self-examination because it satisfies curiosity about self. It strips the well. He warns that you will dive into the dark well that is yourself and hit bottom. That you will be pleased, but only for a moment, and then you will be utterly bored. That you will reach a point where you realize that what you have is the presence of what you wish to have. That you will one day look at yourself with great curiosity and find yourself devoid of curiosities. That you will consequently be left with, not curiosity, but a great reach for it.

I am for thorough self-examination for the exact same horrible reason. For in your utter boredom and extraordinary wanting you will Continue Reading →

How To Deal With Shame

To deal with shame is to deal with pride. Shame stems directly from it. This is why when people say, “Have you no shame?” what they really mean is, “Have you no pride?”

To deal with shame you must realize it is the symptom, not the disease, and to then act accordingly. Acting accordingly, the best way to deal with pride is to, quoting Ann Landers, continuously remind yourself that your dog’s admiration isn’t conclusive evidence that you’re wonderful. There are many dogs.

You’ve dealt with it, them, when you can comfortably answer, “No, I have no pride. Thank you for asking.” And, as necessary counterpoint, be aware that though it is better to have too little than too much of, complete lack of either is not necessarily good.