The first time I quantum leapt was on accident.
I was in Europe.
I was 33, and had been sent there by the NSA to interview and vet an upstart hacking group who called themselves ßtwiddlers pronounced like shetwiddlers.
I’d had a long history in avoiding drugs prior to this point….Which is what made me the #1 selection for this particular trip. They knew I’d have the willpower to resist the temptation while I was there.
My history with drugs was limited – When I was 14 I tried marijuana, and while I was never into sports I found enjoyment with lifting and by the time I was 16 I’d shaved my head and got into the health kick – eliminating weed – and the friends it brought with it – from my diet altogether.
From there. I’d go to parties where my friends would disappear into the back room.
I knew they were doing lines back there.
But I’d have nothing to do with it.
I abhorred the stuff.
Things that messed with my mind.
Just didn’t enjoy it. With one exception: alcohol.
Now if you’ve never been to Amsterdam, even if you don’t do drugs it’s an absolute treat from the moment you arrive.
Amsterdam has a system of canals built throughout the city that provide an alternative transportation to driving and the rail system.
Yes, it really is that gorgeous there.
Despite all the transportation options, a great deal of citizens choose to ride bikes to get around. You could say the canals present a navigational challenge during rush hours to get around in the city, providing another reason for the popularity in bikes.
Here’s a picture of a ‘bike rack’ at a major rail station.
Yes there really are that many bikes there!
Now in any case. I’d been put up at a nice hotels while I was there, so when the meeting was arranged for me and the hackers at “The Flying Pig” hostel, a place infamous for it’s condoning of drugs on premises, I knew my patience was going to be tested.
But I had a job to do.
Being sincere. The pair – a male and female hacking team in their mid 30s – were unremarkable. They’d been caught hacking into a secure US Army honeypot server based out of Fort Benning, Georgia.
The US had put pressure on them through the UN, as they quickly agreed to discuss how they breached the server in exchange for the US not prosecuting them.
So when I met this rather unkempt pair – Josette and Tom Von Stiphout – I knew their relationsbip was on the fritz right away as she lit up a marijuana cigarette and Tom switched seats to the other side of me as we sat at their computer they’d dragged in.
Now the two were very intelligent, I will give them that – but there was something – odd about what they’d done.
You see – they’d geographically traced the computer they’d hacked to Fort Huachuca Arizona, a well known US military outpost which was infamous for military intelligence gathering through eavesdropping.
Josette showed me sketchy evidence she’d found on a hacking forum which suggested that the US military was actively listening in on NATO allies, which she thought (wrongly, I might add) would have been a clear breach of the Geneva Convention. So while she pursued this evidence with her government, with nothing but rhetoric as support – she felt compelled to leverage her soon to be estranged husband’s skills with her own meager skills to go to the source and find the evidence herself.
Now what’s lesser known in the hacking community is IPs – internet addresses – were initially handed out geographically. This made it easier for the ‘policing agencies’ to trace down hackers, and also made it easier for everyone involved in the maintenance and support – whether it was billing, customer support, or problem resolution.
And Tom was familiar with something called ARPANET, the precursor to the modern day internet, which the military workforces had transitioned over from – and as they did so – the US Military obtained regionally based IPs. From this, he narrowed down his search to Arizona which left a handful of targets to which he then found his target.
He thought it was a sure thing when he found a server that claimed to be Fort Huachuca when it was actually something the NSA had assembled on behalf of the US Military to ‘catch’ hackers and placed at Fort Benning, Georgia, where most of the US Military cyber security operations occur to this day.
Now I didn’t inform him of his mistake. So as he outlined how he found the server, that much was obvious.
But what struck me next blew my mind.
He’d found a parallel server – something that was leveraging the same address – based out of China.
I later learned the tip off about these two’s hacking originated from him, and his concerns over cyber-warfare in an east meets west showdown were well founded by this find.
I’ll be the first to admit a chill ran up my spine that night as I walked back to my hostel.
And between that, and the second hand marijuana smoke, my head was reeling. This wasn’t something I could discuss over international communication channels, and I had 3 more days remaining in Europe, one day in Amsterdam then a flight back to Munich – before I could return to discuss my findings.
To say I was concerned would be an understatement.
So that evening. I went to the hostel across the street where the beer was cheap.
I wanted to get laid.
And thought I will get drunk – then head over to the red light district and have some fun.
But as I sat there watching Westworld on the television.
The implications of warfare happening with China clouded my mind.
My heart was palpitating. Yul Brynner’s face melted on the screen as I imagined the climate intensifying quickly when the United States had discovered it’s international communications had all been compromised.
“Made In China” on every router.
On every phone.
And here China is.
Setting up servers to mirror the United States’ s military operations.
So if you were serving abroad. What was China doing with the communications?
I couldn’t breathe and ran outside. The visions of nuclear warfare became eerily real.
I was hyperventilating – and as I ran outside – I felt calmer – until I saw the asphalt on the street, which looked like an ocean wave was passing over it.
I’d questioned if someone had put something into my drink as my world unwound around me.
I’d never known fear quite like that.
And the hopeless helplessness that it meant.
A car drove by. The asphalt behind it being pulled up like the wake of a boat.
I looked up. The buildings all looked like they were bending in towards me.
Even light bent in an unnatural way.
About then. The door opened behind me.
Something said to me “Calm down. Things are going to be ok,” as a lightness of being washed over me.
Marco said “Dude, you ok, I’m worried about you.”
Marco? Who the fuck is he?
New memories washed over me. I was now here on vacation. That old me who’d traveled to Europe for the NSA was now here on vacation. That old me who hated drugs was now here experimenting with them.
And that old me would be forgotten until I told this story and reminded myself of how it was then that reality split.
Marco, on this timeline, was a friend I’d met on the train from Munich, Germany to Prague, Czech Republic as I first started this Europe trip.
And this was the first time I leapt across dimensions.
You see the nuclear war had already started in my mind. And the world unraveling around me was nothing more than a story that needed something else to explain what happens when you begin to peer across dimensions.
Something temporary, mind you, called a hallucination, until I could understand it was a manifestation of my desire to explore when it would start becoming permanent.
Josette and Tom, in this reality, owned Mach 2 Systems, a company I worked for in 1993.
Both are from the Netherlands.
Thank you, Tom and Josette, for being you.
Working for the US Intelligence services is a thankless job.
Not only is your life on the line for pretty much the entirety of your service, but should you exit, you will not qualify for any of the benefits most other US government agencies in support of the Department of Defense receive through the Veteran’s administration.
Should you die in the line of service.
You’re honored through a cryptic star on a wall should you work for the CIA.
Or should you die while working for the NSA, your name will be used but no one will ever be able to trace that name back to you because the dates are all backdated.
One name, of many that I knew.
A great friend. A former manager.
Words can’t express how much I miss this guy.
I grew up in a household full of secrets.
Between my grandfather, my father, and me, there’s three generations of spies.
Now growing up – none of this was obvious or blatant to me at the time. Truth be told, I didn’t even begin to find out about any of my family’s history until I was about 28, when my grandfather confided to me about his history with the US Navy’s Intelligence.
How’d he come to confide?
Chance and circumstance I suppose you could say.
My father was terrified of two things: Spiders and Heights.
So in 1997, mere days after obtaining my pilot’s license, I invited my family to go for a flight in a Cessna 172 with me.
My father – who I was hoping would overcome his fear and join me – refused.
He’d have nothing to do with it.
However, my grandfather – on hearing this – was elated.
I knew he’d spent time flying in the tail gunner section of a cleared out bomber in World War 2.
But doing what, I sincerely had no clue.
He came out from Redondo Beach, California – to visit me in Arizona where he became my first passenger flying out of Chandler, Arizona in a high wing propeller based plane I was commanding – a Cessna 172 out of Venture Aviation.
I’d actually taken up the hobby of flying to overcome my fear of flying, and in the process found something I loved.
Minutes after taking off, I looked at my grandfather who had a tear in his eye.
I’d never – not once – seen the man emotional in my life.
And from there – he opened up.
My grandfather who was never really much of a talker – when he told me about World War 2 and how he was stationed in the Caribbean working for US Naval Intelligence.
Something he had hoped his son, my father, would follow in his footsteps doing.
He’d always been disappointed my father hadn’t done the same.
That much was palpable in their relationship over the years.
And as my grandfather explained – he was recon – and working as a part of a team for US Naval Intelligence exploring and mapping the Bermuda Triangle which WAS a mystery – as he put it – and was responsible for causing disappearances of many vessels traversing the skies and waters within it.
I’d later learned through quantum physics that it was a hole in the fabric of space and time.
And vessels were literally ‘falling’ into alternate realities through this hole.
He didn’t embellish much, my grandfather, but just enough to get me thinking about my own father….
A couple of years later, I succumbed to pressure from the NSA and took a job as a private contractor with them.
The tactics used to transition into their fold were typical of what you might expect- I received training with the US Military (US Army), and was coached on how to obtain a full honorable discharge prior to the end of service.
In order to sign up for the US Military – I had to absolve myself of my constitutional rights and sign myself up ‘as property’ of the US Government and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). And when I was to be done with the six to 8 years of service I signed up for, I would take an oath signing me back up to the US Constitution.
But the CIA and NSA both exploit a loophole in this arrangement.
When you receive an ‘early termination’ – there’s a handful of reasons that will get you out of the military fast – the procedures established neglect the requirement to be responsible for abiding by the US Constitution.
The license to kill is real. And this is how it’s obtained.
Now as I transitioned from the US Army to the NSA, this got me thinking about my father.
Buying presents for my father was like trying to pry a tooth from a wild lion with a plastic spoon. Asking him what he wanted would result in ‘Oh I dont know’. No matter what I got him – he was always nonplussed about it.
Did my father only tell his family he’d gotten out of the military like I was being instructed to do?
Like I spent the next 8 years of my life doing?
My father – he was so damn good at keeping secrets. So difficult to read. And he had been pivotal in me obtaining work and a secret clearance at Orbital, where he worked on things with both secret and top secret clearance.
Was there more to this man than I was being made to be aware of?
Dad. If you’re reading this.
I don’t EVER want you to answer these questions.
I know now that secrets exist in society largely not to dismantle or destabilize a society.
But quite the opposite.
They exist to promote the healthy sustainable development of a population.
And (especially important) – that society’s imagination.
Sometimes, sure, those secrets can become so toxic. So volatile. So harmful.
That the society itself becomes threatened.
Why do I keep secrets?
To protect my family and friends.
But even then. That’s not enough.
My secret got my friend, Larry Duke, killed. And for that, I’ve had a difficult time admitting it out loud let alone talking about it publicly for the first time like I am.
There’s things I have done that I’m not proud of and I prefer people not knowing.
And this has been one of them.
My mom asked me the other day “When you left our house, did you leave because you wanted to?”
I was honest with her. “No mom. I was being a burden on you and dad – especially financially, and preferred to live on the street.”
It was a half truth. Mom, I know you don’t read these.
But when the secret service dropped by their house while I was staying there.
I know my government service work wasn’t done just because I had left service.
I suppose this is why I walked away from everything and everyone I knew and chose to be homeless.
There’s things I know that you simply do not need to know. Things you don’t understand about this world that I do. Things that can harm you knowing what I know.
I’ve seen it before.
I’ve lost friends and loved ones.
Sometimes. The secrets you keep.
Need to be there. Need to be preserved.
For you. For me. For us.
And just because you might be able to understand the language I use which might contain the secrets I hold.
Doesn’t mean you’ll understand them without deeming them – or me – crazy.
Here’s an example.
I lied to my second wife about my affairs. And for years, as long as I could mentally and physically take it, I hid those infidelities. Doing so preserved the relationship. Telling her ‘the truth’ destroyed our relationship and marriage.
And as I’ve learned.
Sometimes you just accept the mistakes you’ve made and do everything you can to move forward.
That’s the beauty about what my grandfather discussed with his work in the Navy.
They’d known then that the world was malleable. That holes existed on our own planet so big you could drive a ship through. At the same time, a world away, Einstein was discussing relativity, which created the field of Quantum Physics and expanded theoretical physics exponentially.
I lied to my friends and family about who I was working for from 2003 until 2011.
Doing so preserved this – my nation.
In a literal sense.
And made it possible for me to one day resolve my own missteps and regrets by traveling back in time.
And a hundred other names – some on that list – and some not – that deserve better than what’s come to them.
And I’m the Doctor Who will provide the cure.
Time is my play thing.
Yesterday, I had a discussion with Adam.
Adam’s creating a documentary on Fukushima and the state of nuclear energy, radiation and related security.
He and I talk some. But in truth, we have some huge philosophical differences on our concepts of reality and fact versus fiction where the only thing we can really consistently agree on is beauty and women.
Last night was a great for instance of the chasm that exists between people like me and him.
I downloaded Neil Diamond and was listening to “Turn on your Heart Light”
Now when the song first came out, the song came out at the same time as the movie blockbuster “ET”.
Like him, I too thought the song was about ET, as the lyrics aligned with memorable parts of the movie well.
Until I’d heard an interview with Neil Diamond, who’d said the song was originally about Robots.
For years, I’d written off the interview. Thinking he was joking despite his straight face.
And then years later, the movie Bicentennial Man came out with Robin Williams in it, where the robots in that movie had been programmed with a glowing heart to indicate love.
I instantly knew – when I saw this movie – this was what Neil Diamond was singing about.
But it still didn’t make any sense. The lyrics seemed compelling, but there’s parts of the lyrics which imply the fully about ET such as “But now that he had to go away, I still feel the words that he might say”
Put specifically, who the hell is “he”?
And why would the lyrics switch midstream from first person to third person if it was about ET?
Still. I wrote off the interview. And the movie. Because, quite frankly, it wasn’t making a lick of sense.
And then. I got into Nostradamus’s work. Da Vinci’s work. And from there, with how much technology was being invented as a result of Star Trek, I began considering that maybe these songs, movies and art and people behind them aren’t just people writing stories…
But these artists – these screenwriters – are actually shaping and molding this thing called reality through their stories like a sculptor would working with clay or a painter would working on a canvas.
But this was all too touchy-feely fuzzy for a guy like me who’d been working with 1’s and 0’s, and if/then/else statements his entire life.
I had an epiphany. A personal revelation.
The hints had always been there. Columbus credited with having discovered the new world despite coming nearly 500 years after Leif Erickson. The war in Israel between Muslims and Jews about who was there first.
I could go on.
But there was this realization that cause can and often does come after effect, and the argument over who’s more accurate has been responsible for wars throughout history.
And a simple debate between two guys in a Starbuck’s concerning the origin of a simple song by Neil Diamond.
So as I looked Adam in the eye.
And said “You’re right, for you”
When he said Neil Diamond wrote the song about ET.
A place I’d been on the same page as him years ago.
“But I’m right for me,” as I asserted otherwise, not explaining the nonlinear references about how I feel more strongly that Neil Diamond’s song and the timing of ET was coincidental, and I feel there’s more possibility that Neil Diamond wrote it because he’d either seen robots like they’d been depicted in Bicentennial man, or he was trying to create robots with a heart as I remember having been depicted in that movie.
He protested “IF we can’t agree on something as simple as the origin of this song, then there’s nothing we can agree on”
Is this what happens between Israelis and Muslims?
“Will you ever admit to being wrong about anything?,” he said.
“Not with this,” I said.
You see, the robot in Bicentennial man got a heart the lit up at the end of the movie.
One of the most memorable parts of the otherwise dull movie to me.
“We can agree on gravity,” I said, as I bounced me hand off the back of the chair.
I suppose, in the end, for me I regard this much like I do a woman passing through Starbuck’s.
We can agree on her beauty.
And the song by Neil Diamond.
We can agree on it being unique.
But the story of origin.
Isn’t just about the origin of this song.
It’s about the origin of all songs.
Now I know what I’ve experienced in my life and how I create what I do through the manual, mental, and physical labor I put into things.
But after rendering my first observation of the origin of Neil Diamond’s song – and that since having been revised….
I have since learned that my experiences and interpretation of reality is rarely the same as others because of this often amorphic and interpreted nature of this thing called reality.
And that’s ok.
Something I think annoys people who prefer the bucketed Darwinist view of reality.
In part because it’s difficult to put into words what I know to be right.
And because it’s about origin.
It is a religious conversation.
Whether both parties see eye to eye and agree with that statement or not.
Even if we look and sound similar.
This does not mean we followed the same path to get here.
And Adam, I’ve seen the aftermath of a nuclear war with my own eyes, have seen the rings of Saturn from the ground, and have seen Yosemite when the giant redwoods were mere bushes.
Becoming a god like being by my own definition known as Q isn’t a joke. In part it’s a primal acceptance and knowing there are infinite realities and infinite potential versions of Earth and learning I have the right to choose any one.
With that said, you’re right. For you. Neil Diamond wrote the song about ET.
In the world I’m a part of and actively forming.
He wrote it about robots with a heart.
I have been to a lot of countries in my life.
Counting the United States, 38.
To be precise, they are (in alphabetical order) Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, El Salvador, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico., Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UAE, United States, Vatican City
Here’s my top 10 off the beaten track tips I would suggest to anyone while traveling abroad:
- Try your favorite non-native ethnic food.
Eating Thai food in Thailand is boring. In fact, I find America’s version of Thai food so much more satisfying than anything I ever had in Thailand.
However, Thai food in Paris was among the best thai food I’ve ever had and easily the most stunningly original sauces I’d ever had.
And while Mexican food in Hong Kong wasn’t the best I ever had. Watching and listening to Chinese mariachis was one of the most entertaining experiences I have ever had.
Cultures foreign to a country are often interpreted, and sometimes the results can be delightful.
- Ask the locals for recommendations
This one should be obvious, but if you are looking for a place to eat or something to do – don’t ask the concierge, ask the managers and staff – or pop over to the pub across the street and ask the locals.
Concierges, while valuable, often get kickbacks from the places they recommend. So while you may tip them for the help, clever marketers often work for businesses who have a tendency to under-deliver and over-promise pretty much around the world, and nowhere are these relationships more obvious between the marketers of these generally dissatisfying businesses than with the concierge.
Case in point: While vacationing in Cancun, Mexico, the concierge recommended to me an overpriced waterpark called Xcaret. It was easily one of the most expensive day trip things I’d ever done, which wound up being a miserable experience for too many reasons to list, where I met a few other ‘suckers’ who’d been victimized by their hotel concierge and we learned how much these people received from the kickbacks.
Conversely, I had more than one person recommend the Museum of London, which I had never even heard about. Easily one of the most amazing museums I have ever been to, and while the Louvre in Paris is an amazing feat of architecture with some decent art, the museum of London stands second only to the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
My point is this: Locals will recommend different things than the marketing influenced concierges will, and not only that they won’t hold back in telling you a place is shit. These recommendations, both pro and con, are invaluable for discovering parts of cities your time may be limited in.
- Get out and DRIVE!
Yup. You heard me right. Don’t be afraid to DRIVE when you go to a foreign country!
From personal experience – I didn’t know there was speed limits on my trip from Dublin to Letterkenny in North Ireland, I had my Mini MG going nearly 200 km per hour for nearly the entire trip. That’s about 125 miles per hour – all while driving on the left hand side of the road in a car that I pushed a button to start.
In Nicaragua, I drove from Granada to Nicaragua, and accidentally drove around a military checkpoint. They chased me down pretty quickly, and here I am – ignorant American who barely speaks the language – so finally they just let me go…
So here’s the thing about driving in a foreign country: You’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to do things that are perfectly legal (or not in my case) – and guaranteed you will see and experience things you NEVER see or experience back at home, or from the safety of a bus (or limo) ride where someone else is driving. You don’t have to be the daredevil I am, but this little exercise lets you see and experience parts of a country – and amazing scenery – that you never would have seen before.
For instance – ON that trip Ireland, I had lunch at a pub/restaurant in the middle of nowhere that was so amazingly picturesque and quaint, it seemed like it was straight out of a movie. Here’s a few photos of that part of the trip:
And should you get tickets along the way, what are they going to do – fine you from abroad?
No, you do NOT have to have an international driver’s license to drive in a foreign country. That, like the TOEFL are among the biggest international scams that exist.
All you need is a driver’s license from your own country.
Have some confidence in your skills, and respect the local laws, but it’s ok to be ignorant. Tourism is HUGE business for all countries, these countries you visit know this, so be nice but be ok with not being dully aware of the local laws before you engage in this global activity.
- If you’re single – DATE!
Nothing can change your life quicker than a holiday abroad, with one glaring exception – dating abroad.
I know the resistance – it’s not fair to date someone without a predictable future.
Think about it this way: Traveling abroad is in large part a lesson in understanding yourself. When you’re dating someone in a culture and country you don’t know and where you can’t predict a future – not only does this take you wildly out of your comfort zone, but you might discover a different you in the process.
I dated a woman in Romania named Ioana Dobra while visiting a small city in the heart of Transylvania named Cluj-Napoca. She asked me out, first, which is not uncommon outside the United States for the woman to initiate things. I fell for the woman. Head over heels. And while ultimately things didn’t work out, she is one of the first women I had ever dated who helped me realize – it is the journey of our experiences together that I will forever hold to be priceless, something I’d never have gotten from dating in the United States alone.
Something I’ve carried forward to every relationship – and friendship I have had since then.
- Create a list of places you want to see BUT discard the city wide maps and shelve that GPS!
When you’re forcing yourself to interact with the locals by not carrying maps while having a list of locations you want to visit, whether you speak the local language or not, you fundamentally alter the experience. Your comfort levels soar. Your confidence receives a boost. And you get to see and experience things most don’t.
And this confidence carries with you right back home and permeates every fiber of your being afterwards.
Did you know that the Singapore Land Authority has actually made it illegal for local businesses to leverage anything but their maps of the local area on the internet? I learned this lesson while working in Singapore and was handling a legal warning for Prudential’s (Pricoa’s) local web site in the area containing Google map directions to their facility. In my opinion, Singapore’s being absolutely reasonable for reasons I won’t get into.
But with that said. A map you buy in your local bookstore is NOT going to be the same as one you buy on the streets in the country you’re visiting in oftentimes mind boggling ways.
But here’s how I learned to travel (mostly) without maps: Find out where I wanted to go – day of. Jump on Google and write down directions to where I wanted to go – and when I got lost, ask for directions.
Being sincere. I’ve gotten absolutely lost to find an out of the way place that I had the world’s best strouganoff (in Budapest, Hungary) and the world’s best soup (in Munich, Germany), and best Gyros in the world (in Portland, Oregon of all places) – all in random places I could never find again if I tried.
Sure. I’d love to make recommendations on how to get there. But if I’d have had a map for any of these locations, I’d never have had these truly amazing culinary experiences that I couldn’t repeat if I tried.
I’ve had similar experiences with finding random museums, monuments, and scenery – that had I had a map and/or was 100% accurate with arriving to my destination, I’d have missed out on these wonderful memories.
- Make friends. Even with the people you do business with.
Whether you’re married or single, if you’re traveling and treating every relationship you engage in as a business relationship, this taints the experiences and diminishes the memories of your experiences you’re going to have.
Not only that, but wherever country you’re coming from – you are effectively an emissary of your country.
So think about it this way. Do you want people coming to America and be only all about business? I know I don’t. When I travel, heck, when I’m kicking back in my own backyard – I like to make it a fact to befriend those I make contact with – EVEN if I’m doing business with them and/or they’re providing services to me.
While I worked in Singapore, I was invited to an F1 race by Calvin – a coworker at Pricoa and his family who are Ferrari fanatics. Here’s Calvin and his wife, Judith (both lower right) at the table we had at the F1 races:L
Here’s a girl I was absolutely in love with – Adriana (in the middle) but didn’t get anywhere with, with Nicole (left) and antoher girl I don’t remember her name – as we were all out drinking the rest of the coworkers in the Lan Kwai Fong district of Hong Kong, China.
And finally, here’s Ioana – who I went to go visit in 2008 while she was working in Milan, Italy.
I consider this a good practice to have in life in general. While you can’t be friends with everyone, it’s into a bad habit to get into to at least treat everyone respectably enough like you would a friend.
I tend to take this to the extreme. Something I learned the importance of when paying for sex in Thailand. Even THAT type of business relationship doesn’t have to be treated strictly like one.
- Pet the Dogs.
It’s silly, right?
I’m a dog lover. And outside the United States animals tend to be abused a lot. And despite how much bad press America gets, the fact of the matter is – people will admire you because of where you come from.
Moreso than any other country.
This isn’t narcissism. It’s simple fact. The more you travel, the more you’ll see what I am talking about.
So while you ‘do the right thing in treating people well, you can see remarkable changes in the way animals are treated by taking the time to treat these pets – which people seem to own around the world – well.
Now here’s the thing. Dogs are typically used for protection or security outside the United States. But if you know the owner, they can be docile too. So my advice is – PLAY with them. Pet them. Call them ‘good buy’, do all the goofy things you’d do with your or your friend’s animals.
While I alone cannot provoke cultural change around the world in the inclusion of domesticated animals within our society, I at the very least can advocate it.
Did you know that China actually stopped regarding dog as food because of America’s influence? While you will find just about everything else, you will NOT see dog on any menus in China.
As a homeless guy, I miss having a home not just for me, but for the dogs I get.
All I’m saying with this one is – leverage your power to influence change around the world through simple humane actions like being friendly with the animals – especially the dogs!
- Use a site like tripadvisor for uncovering hidden gems
I promise I’m not a paid representative for this web site. But when you’re left scratching your head for what to do on a longer holiday or trip abroad, or where to eat when you’re havering a hankering for something unusual
For instance while working in London, I was having a hankering for hamburgers like when Tripadvisor led me to – hands down – the best organic burger – and one of the best burger places I’ve ever been to in the world.
Similarly, when I was vacationing in Bali, Indonesia, I learned about the temples, which I then discussed with the manager of the hotel I was staying at who set me up on a day trip which had me touring all of them.
Easily one of my most memorable tours ever.
So while I personally leverage tripadvisor because it has ratings and rankings by location, and allows me to sort restaurants by type of ethnic food and price – it’s a site I trust and has proven invaluable for exploring as much as I have tried helping others out as I have spent a great deal of time putting my own recommendations on it.
Find a site you enjoy. Whether that’s Yelp. Tripadvisor. Or whatever. And stick with it. Add in ratings yourself – and while I’d suggest giving places a second chance if something doesn’t work out the first time, I’d also suggest being honest when things are great – or they absolutely blow.
Give businesses a chance like you would a real person. These entitles, in my opinion, have feelings and emotions too, as they are run by real people like you and me, so just be fair and nice. But if they screw up. And be real about this. Let them know.
HOW they handle negative ratings can be extremely telling of the nature of the business.
One for instance: I’d rated a hostel stay for a hostel I stayed at in Suceava, Romania negatively. Cute girl who lured me there, but the experience – and town – was all an overhyped shithole. SURE, I didn’t go see the painted monasteries in the region, but the heartless feel and misrepresentation by the owner of the hostel was unusual. Who – to preserve her 4.5 star rating, had my rating removed. On really reading the reviews afterwards, I’d come to see they’d all felt like the same tone, as if she or someone she knew had been writing them.
Find a site you’re comfortable with and trust. And then be spontaneous!
- Allow yourself to BE SPONTANEOUS!
Nowhere do you have the opportunity to be someone else than when you travel. People aren’t going to remember who you are and hold it against you like they would back at home.
This gives you the opportunity to try karaoke in places like China, where karaoke is still all the rage and there’s even clubs called ‘KTV’ clubs where you can be a superstar.
This gives you the opportunity to try things that ARE socially acceptable which may not be at home. Whether that’s sex in Thailand or Amsterdam, or weed in Amsterdam or California.
While I was in Budapest, I met two separate sets of travelers from Romania which inspired me to visit it, where I spent a solid month there afterwards. Had I never met them or considered my plans pliable, I’d never have the fulfillment of that visit there.
Here’s all I am saying: Having a plan is great and all, and works for short time periods, but there’s something to be said about having a little inbuilt flexibility with those plans. And especially as the time grows, when something may introduce itself to you you’d never expected. Allowing for some of this to ‘seep in’ makes life far more entertaining and …. engaging!
- HAVE FUN!
I cannot stress this enough.
Whether you’re traveling internationally for business or pleasure, I consider attitude the most important factor in the difference between a good experience and a bad one.
My first trip to Mexico was absolutely horrible. And if I had never gone out of the country again, I’d have missed out on some of the most important experiences in my life.
But since then. I’ve found Mexico one of my favorite countries to visit, repeatedly for a variety 0f reasons, not the least of which it’s easy to relax there once I got used to it.
Traveling abroad is much like a dipping your toes into water you’re unsure of the temperature about. While you may hear about other’s experiences abroad, rarely do you have the same experience.
Take France. I’d heard so many bad things about it but when I went, I loved it.
Costa Rica, while I met some really good people, the overall experience with it was one of distrust. I consider Mexico MUCH more trustworthy and friendly than I would Costa Rica.
You gotta find out for yourself. But a part of that is being ok with the experience, not focusing on business gains, and instead just going for the fun of going.
A few years ago, GW Bush famously said “I hear there’s rumors on the internets”…
And I thought to myself…
What a marvelous idea!
I have my own version.
You have your own version.
We all have our own version of the internet.
Oh I know, I know, you’re going to say ‘what about the costs’…
Reality as I know it is created by my mind. Yours as you know it is created by yours.
As we collaborate together, collectively we create ‘our reality’.
And while this may work a decent amount of the time, sometimes – like right now for me – it just doesn’t work.
So when GW Bush said what he did about the internets.
At first, my knee jerk reaction was ‘what a moron’.
But then. When I really started to think about it.
This version of GW Bush could be from an alternate reality or timeline where the internets actually do exist for him.
And for me.
If I simply accept that my version of the internet is mine and mine alone, that represents a freedom I have to communicate and express myself like I never have before.
Accordingly. I can talk about my lovelife. Document it thoroughly.
And when a woman I knew – Jocelyn Hilliard acts hostile towards me – despite she herself showing me pornography she’d made with a friend of hers and gotten paid for….
I know these internet versions of the people are not one and the same as the people I knew in the real world.
AS I send messages explaining my position and distaste for it, and desire for change.
I know, that despite the lack of support I get verbally, that because this is interacting with my mind, it’s influencing the world and reality around me and I’ll see and gain support in other ways.
And the one thing I look forward to.
Beyond anything I can explain.
Is seeing, firsthand, World War 3 breakout on the internet and in all the news sources.
And looking at the world around me as absolutely nothing is going on.
The internet, you see, is becoming my repository and system I work with for ideation and entertainment, and maybe for creating entertainment of my own.
For fiction, if you will.
If I want fact.
I’ll pick up the phone. I’ll pick up a newspaper. Or – I’ll simply observe the world around me.
GW Bush, you are a freaking genius and I love you, man!
The holographic universe is real. And I access it with my com-pu-ter.
Psychologists have long had labels for things they refer to as a disorder – schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder.
A disorder means in a literal sense “to disrupt the systematic functioning or neat arrangement of.”
Last night, I sent a message to Harvard Law’s newspaper “The Record”, in the hopes to appeal to their sense of social responsibility to the community they serve by opening up discussions with a highly motivated homeless man who is interested in obtaining a law degree from a highly reputable university.
I received a response from Nic Mayne. And after a couple emails back and forth, I was candid with him when he made the comment “I’m not understanding why you would be deserving of a free ride when past students in the same situation”
Precedence is to law what church is to God, right?
So I responded accordingly.
“I’m God. And I’m quite frankly tired of being told to work my ass off more for this world I created.”
His response was in line with his gospel.
“You’re definitely not God, as He doesn’t need a Harvard Law “
Being sincere, I think he’s mistaking me for Bill Gates.
But I responded with this:
“As a prospective lawyer, I have to ask this question:
When something or someone presents themselves in a light that you don’t understand or agree with, do you consider yourself a class act to insult first and block further lines of inquiry?
Harvard deserves better.”
Now Nic can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to entertain Mr Mayne and discuss what God can and cannot, should or should not do, because apparently he knows best.
Hopefully Harvward Law sees fit to kick his ass out of law school, he’s a pisspoor representative of the institution.
Now what’s all this have to do with the labels of disorder?
In programming, there’s a concept known as a thread.
Microsoft Word, for instance, might – as you’re typing – save the document you’re working on in one of these threads, which allows you to continue working and Microsoft Word to continue responding to key presses and the word you type in your document while at the same time a ‘separate thread’ will save the document.
Your web browser leverages these threads as well. While you’re reading an article on the internet, there’s separate threads which are downloading images while you’re working.
WITHOUT threads, an application is said to BLOCK. Put specifically, it prevents entry, the typing of key strokes, and the screen might refuse to repaint until it’s done processing the input.
This kind of reminds me of Nic, as he is much like a poorly coded application leveraging threads that’s blocking.
Modern applications leverage threads extensively, but to say they leverage them well would be a fallacy. The result is pretty obvious – applications which spike the CPU, applications which freeze the computer display, and so on.
Now the human mind does the same thing.
‘Threads’ constantly test possibilities. Whether that’s telling you you’re hungry as you pass by a Kentucky Fried Chicken or Buffalo Wild Wings (which DAMN does that sound good), or it’s a thread which tells you you gotta use the toilet. This is something the human mind does to limit the demand on the primary ‘consciousness’ thread.
Think about it.If every time you went by a restaurant you had to actively ask yourself if you’re hungry, would you ever get anything done? Similarly, if every time you saw a restroom, and you had to actively ask yourself if you gotta relieve yourself, where’s this leave your mind?
On occasion, these ‘threads’ can lose control or exhibit new behavior.
This is what’s known as a disorder. When the mind exhibits unpredictable behavior.
God knows how much doctors, psychologists, and lawyers LOVE predictable behavior.
I know, talking about myself in the third person can be unhealthy. Nic, do I have your approval for that?
The interesting thing about these ‘threads’ is this: The ONLY limitations to what these threads can do is artificial – and largely self imposed. They can simulate fantastic possibilities across space and time. You might refer to this as imagination. They can alter the vision and hearing to see and hear things that others cannot. This is often referred to as hallucination and delusion.
About four years ago, I started to question my sanity when I saw what society labeled as hallucinations that were so vivid, so real, so utterly mind blowing to the predictable world I’d thought I’d known, that I began to question concepts of fact and fiction and instead choosing my own facts and my own fictions.
Did you know the invention of the Microwave was by accident? True story. A scientist had been carrying a candy bar in his pocket next to a device which wound up melting in his pocket.
So sure, I’d instigated the hallucinations through lack of sleep and cocaine.
The same drug that Obama took, I might add.
And if I’d had been Nic, I would have dismissed the experience by labeling it as fiction.
But I couldn’t.
The hallucinations were a lead – a tell if you play poker – of the possibilities the mind holds and the power it holds over this thing I referred to as reality.
Put specifically, reality is a projection of my own mind.
If I weren’t here, logically there’s no evidence to suggest it would be either.
And while there may be historical records suggesting otherwise, with a multi-threaded mind which has all of space and time at it’s disposal which constantly works to ‘fill in the gaps’, and with the evidence I’d found that under the right conditions I could see and interact with completely different worlds – at first through video games and then through hallucinations – it became hard for me not to conclude I’m the center of my own universe.
I’m 46 in mortal years and made this discovery about myself and my existence only 4 years ago.
You quickly insulted my religious beliefs without knowing me.
But you’re young. So I forgive you.
Now here’s what you don’t understand about the internet.
It’s a product of energy. With the influence of nearly 250 countries and billions of minds influencing it.
So as you look around your classroom. What do you see? What’s the age range, the socio-economic background, the range in thinking, the gender and ethnicity range, and in general – the distribution of demographics within your class.
What you don’t understand about the internet is this: the evidence you’re going to use to refute and deny me is manufactured by your own mind. You’ll find credible evidence to believe anything is possible on the internet if you search for it and truly believe it exists.
I implore you – think like a lawyer, and ask yourself “WHAT makes it evidence credible”
If you’re going to answer ‘because they say it’s fact’, I’m gonna bitch slap you. I can slap together a web site or hack any web site to provide you credible evidence quickly. Do you accept CNN’s news as credible?
So why do I deserve support?
You’re an asshole. And I don’t want assholes leading my country or creating the laws and rules within my country.
However. IF I saw support and diversity in an educational facility for someone such as myself who doesn’t fit the typical mold of lawyers. That is – the guy from a middle class background without the perfect LSAT score.
I’d be ok with assholes such as yourself being in the same class.
Go offline. Do the research for law school graduates leveraging these things called books. And my bet is you won’t find any evidence that Harvard Law’s ever done anything for the lower and middle class population other than insult them and treat them with an expectation of subservience.
So what is a disorder?
To me, being schizophrenic and having multiple personalities is a superpower. I consult with my voices, and have had lovers when I was utterly alone not knowing my mind had manifested them.
I don’t need you to observe what I’m observing to validate my experiences.
Disorder, to me, is not thinking in a linearly predictable fashion. This makes it tougher, societally speaking, for closed minded leaders to uniformly control the population they lead in a predictable manner.
Now I’m a hard worker by anyone’s definition. Two degrees. A pilot’s license. Three marriages.And 30 years in IT.
And while I may not think in a predictable and controlled way.
I like the way I think now.
The law degree is a means to modify that in ways I predict will further that.
And shape me into becoming a lawyer to support people like me.
The misfits and non conformists who feel entitled.
It is my belief that anyone and anything can become a God like being of their own design, and I’ve merely stepped up to the plate and am not taking no for an answer.
With or without Nic’s help.
On a final note:
Why do I want a law education from an institution like Harvard?
I think in a fragmented and sometimes dis-coherent way right now as I am coming to terms with this… reality.
A law degree – an education in rules and why they exists and are necessary – I see as a beneficial way to shape my mind and thoughts and developing a stronger sense of order and mental rules accordingly.
TESTS to prepare for it only serve to prepare the institution for me.
I’m not interested in that any longer, since I have already taken the LSAT twice.
I’m interested in understanding this reality and Harvard serves as an ideal in this world.
And developing a stronger sense of order and control I have over my own mind.