May 29, 2006

Nightfall Overture

Just another midnight hour
Enjoying the cold of a dark winter night
I see the darkness devour
Everything that once was light
And the stars in the sky
Are so lifeless and so grey

Walking in the light of the moon
When the night repairs the day
From the trees come a mournful tune
I am not alone I can hear them say
The moon is your guide
There is no place you can hide

Oh, when the night comes down
And all the colours turn black and white
Oh, when the night comes down
And the dark is conducting the nightfall overture

Who am I in the eyes of the world
What have I done that will remain
Who am I? Will I ever know?
But right now I am the king of this winterlane

Is there anybody out there?
In the middle of the mist in the field
The air doesn't relieve me anymore
Something is here that I have never felt before
...And it's closing in on me...

I am lost in the maze of the night
Surrounded by lights so dark
I am losing all track of time
I'm trying to come out of this endless park

And the air is so dry
I can hear the daylight cry

...Is there anybody out there?...

I see the day is coming
The night is led astray
The dawn of new desires
The end of yesterday
I walk the road to nowhere
Ah, that's what I call home
If I only knew what I was heading for,
But I don't have a place to roam

And then I heard the voices calling
Across the sky in flames
I could hear them clearer now
Once again I could hear them say:

Dream, dream!
I hear the shadows say
Go to sleep my friend!
But I'll remain awake
Dream, dream!
I hear the shadows say
Go to sleep my friend!
Dream, dream!
I hear the shadows say
Go to sleep my friend!
Could be my last mistake
Dream, dream!
I hear the shadows say
Go to sleep my friend!

From a place of shelter
Where I could get some rest
I was so cold but I couldn't care
And soon the sun caressed

Dream, dream!
I hear the shadows say
Go to sleep my friend!
But I'll remain awake
Dream, dream!
I can hear them say
Close your eyes my friend!
Dream, dream!
I hear the voices say
Go to sleep my friend!
I'll make no more mistake
Dream, dream!
I could hear them say
Go to sleep my friend!

My frozen eyes refuse to see
Something tells me it's too dangerous to sleep
It's like I've been through this before
Here I am! Frozen to the core
...Frozen to the core...

I know I must be dreaming
Or am I still awake
Hallucinations rule me
But right now, what difference does it make?
...I am falling again...

Dream, dream!
I hear the shadows say
Go to sleep my friend!
But I remain awake
Dream, dream!
I hear the shadows say
Go to sleep my friend!
Dream, dream!
I hear the darkness breathe
Go to sleep my friend!
And I fade away
Dream, dream!
I heard the voices say
Close your eyes my friend!
And now I fade away
Dream, dream!
And now I fade away...

May 22, 2006

From beautiful to obscene to a squirrel who found his nuts

We all went to Makalawena Beach yesterday- another one of Hawaii's relatively secret coastal treasures. The sun never came out, but I am certainly capable of enjoying a beach at least as much without direct sunlight. Dark grey clouds were rolling off the mountain all day and it rained on the way to the beach, but it only slightly drizzled once or twice there. The access road down was in every bit as bad a shape as I remember it, but it's still fun to drive, even after giving the bottom of the chassis a nice scraping against a steep rocky platform. Bishop Estate owns the road and the land surrounding it, meaning that there is a strict limit on how much you are legally allowed to enjoy yourself, but it also means that it's protected from the threat of over-development. Win some, lose some. Nobody bothered us as we dug holes and constructed sand fortresses, enjoying ourselves in the simplest fashion for free. Like young children. In fact, we were the only ones left on the entire beach. I was tired by late afternoon since I had gotten up at 2 in the morning for work and did seven hours of it, but I also got the chance to meditate in a beautiful atmosphere and be amongst splendid company.


We also watched Over the Hedge later that evening, which was more good, light-hearted entertainment. I would have to say my favourite portion of the film is when the already perpetually invigorated Hammy goes on his energy drink kick. Weird, wild stuff happens, but you'll have to see it to found out!

I can't exactly recall the reason why, but sometime before pizza and the movie, we wandered into Big K-Mart. That equated to my bizarre experience for the day. I really don't know the reason, but just being in there was starting to depress the hell out of me. Certain atmospheres, especially those directly related to my physical senses, have the ability to significantly affect my mood, and I found it difficult to imagine a worse atmosphere than the one that store had.

I suppose I could begin with the lighting. It was so bright in there I was nearly blinded after just stepping in, and each subsequent moment I was in there, to tell the truth. It was just row after row of mercilessly brilliant white flourescent strip lighting, stretching almost as far as the eye could see. It was so cold, uniform, and terribly uninviting. I felt like I was about to go under the knife. I felt faint. It was even worse than Wal-Mart's lighting.

The odours could have been worse. About all I could smell was the overwhelming fragrance of cheap, mediocre merchandise machine-crafted to fulfill someone's desire for over-consumption, and misery. Though the misery could have been my own. The mere thought of having to work in such a place only boosted it. Within a week of working there, I would be reduced to a zombie. A thoughtless, unemotional zombie who would be a constant insomniac, for the lights would still be blinding me even after settling into bed and closing my eyes. I definitely took into account Costco's much more inviting atmosphere when deciding to start working there.

Stuck in a small American town where nothing of interest happens and there is barely anywhere to escape to even if you had the means, where K-Mart is the exciting place to go on a Sunday night to pick up some supplies for the big first day at boarding school bright and early tomorrow morning. They just have to look cool enough so the other kids don't tease you. They will anyway, though, because you're new and not quite perfectly human.

Don't mind me; I'm quite gifted at imagining worst possible situations for myself, and certain things inspire me to do that.

Everything was so organized, so systematic, so orderly and predictable. Restrictive, uncompromising, overpowering. It felt like a stunning representation of reality at its worst. And to imagine, so many K-Marts look almost exactly the same all across the continent. It reminded me how ugly, revolting, and compliant with the uniform standards of bleakness and dreadful mediocrity so much of the U.S.A. has become in just about everything but its lesser commercialized natural attractions.

Apr 13, 2006

The long road to Honopue

About 10 miles from home, at the very end of highway 19, there is a forest preserve which begins at Pololu Valley and extends to the last major valley along the coastline, Waipio. It encompasses five other valleys besides Pololu; Honokane Nui, Honokane Iki, Honokea, Honopue, and Waimanu. Though the preserve is not humongous in terms of square mileage, it protects the oldest and most rugged and beautiful rainforest and temperate forest on the island. It is also incredibly easy to get lost in. Even the forested floor of Pololu Valley alone would take more than a couple days to explore.

The coastline is comprised of dramatically tall, verdant cliffs, and cut into them are hundreds of small gulches and drainages. When it rains hard enough, this can mean hundreds of waterfalls plummeting over the cliff faces and into the sea. Inland is a realm of remarkably deep, narrow gorges with constant waterfalls. There are valleys with steep, foreboding walls, that twist and wind up into the mountains seemingly endlessly, the rivers on the shady floors bending back and forth through damp forests that see sunlight maybe three hours of the day. Such places are almost constantly in a mist, either due to nearby cascades or an almost constant drizzle from clouds that hug the tops of the valley walls.

Fortunately, the preserve is accessible. Well, many areas within it aren't. There are some places no human has likely ever set foot in. But there are some superbly designed hiking trails, built decades ago for the purpose of maintaining an irrigation ditch project, which provide access to some truly marvelous places. Without trails, the rugged terrain would be nearly impossible to travel through. Even though they are there, most of them are hardly ever used by the public. Guidebooks only guide visitors a fraction of the distance they could go, and that's barely enough to really get lost in it. Civilisation can be left behind entirely. After traversing two or three valleys and progressing farther and farther into the heart of the wilderness, I begin to feel as if I have placed a very secure barrier between myself and society.

The only way I could discover what was along these trails was to follow them myself to see where they went, with the aid of a topographic map. Much of the time, they're fairly well-maintained and easy to follow, since they're often carved into the side of a cliff by necessity and follow contours, but not always. Wild pigs, which own the woods in many places, make their own trails and slop up the real one, making it much harder to follow the genuine article. In certain places, it can be downright frustrating. But the captivating scenery, and the feeling of having escaped into another world, makes it all worthwhile.

One evening last week, I was sifting through an old box of my junk. In it, I found a photocopied map of the forest preseve, with the vast network of trails highlighted in orange. As I studied it, my eye caught a massive feature; a valley whose walls exceeded 1,500 feet high on either side. A trail led deep into the valley and up along the opposite wall before continuing on even farther. I remembered having been there years ago, as a child. I had not been back since. I could vividly remember two distinct features: a narrow footbridge crossing a deep gorge, and a well-kept cabin. Oddly, these two images had served as the settings for so many dreams I have had. To revisit this majestic, otherworldly place known as Honopue Valley, would almost be like taking a step into my own sub-conscious.

I decided to take the trek the very next day.

So ambitious was I that I was on the trail well before sunrise. Though, I might have taken more of a risk than I should have in my decision to circumvent having to climb up and over the ridge to the second valley. I figured it would be much easier to walk around the base of the cliff along the shore to get to the next valley, but the surf turned out to be a bit more powerful than I thought it would be. In a few spots, there were no dry boulders upon which to walk, for the waves surged with intensity right up to the base of the cliff. I got my feet wet very early on, but I was lucky that I managed to time things just right so that I didn't get pounded against the cliff face. The first quarter mile was the worst, but after overcoming that, I was able to walk on a much wider and safer boulder beach and take the time to enjoy the sunrise.

From then on, I made good time walking up into the second valley, relocating the trail, and hiking up and down the narrow ridge into the next valley over. From the top of that ridge, I admired the view of the segment of my journey I had just conquered. I also felt content to spend a bit of time by the gorgeous Honokane Iki stream. The valley is tiny, but is also exceptionally beautiful, complete with a cabin and surrounding garden. Of all the times I have been there, I have never seen another occupant.

It soon became time to enter the long haul. The trail out of the valley weaved back and forth up a tall, steep wall before leading higher and higher up into the mountains. At one of the highest switchbacks, I was granted another exceptional view. After another hour of pressing forward, I came upon a painted white gate that bore the name "AWINI," and I knew I was close to my first destination, the Awini cabin. I had been to the cabin a few times before, and for good reason. Though it is reachable only by foot or horseback, it has always been so well-maintained, and even has fully functional plumbing. The surrounding atmosphere is also to die for. Located high up the slopes, it is always pleasantly cool, and mostly cloudy most of the time. And it is peaceful. Incredibly peaceful. The birds living in the trees provide any and all background noise. It has a nice, big, spacious backyard, and of course, no neighbours to see you running around naked and free.

I stopped there for lunch and took advantage of the full functional plumbing, then proceeded up the trail. Last time I had come this way, I took the trail that led into the depths of the spectacular Honokane Nui valley, but getting to Honopue necessitated taking the other fork. And the Awini trail was a pleasure to follow, for it so expertly and efficiently leads a traveler in, out, and over a series of deep gulches of impossibly dense vegetation. Not to mention, it was muddy, but very well-maintained.

I eventually reached Honokea Valley, a very scenic place in its own right. The weather was also unusually clear this particular day, which worked well for me. Much more could be seen when the heavy clouds weren't rolling into the valleys, and the sunlight brought out a striking verdancy in the surroundings.

The closer I grew to Honopue Valley, the more antsy I became. I was eager to see this place again, finally. A place of my dreams. The trail seemed to meander about excessively, in and out the back of one little gulch after another, before finally leading me to what I ultimately desired to see: Honopue Valley.

It appeared so suddenly as I just came over a steep hill, that it stole my breath away. I could see straight across the valley and instantly recognised and noticed the cabin on the other side, seemingly so close, yet so far away. A towering waterfall began just below the trail on the opposite wall and plummeted into the valley, farther than my eye could follow. Vertigo.

My ultimate goal was to reach that cabin, but I also had to see the bridge again. I peeled myself away from the riveting sight and continued down the trail, which was so impressively carved into the wall. It led all the way into the back, where the valley became incredibly narrow but no less deep. When I laid eyes on the bridge that connected the two steep walls and confirmed it was still there, I became enthralled. Alas, the bridge was unsafe. In truth, it is shaky and flimsy-looking enough to strike fear in the hearts of those who aren't even afraid of heights, especially if they look down. Oh, the thrills and chills were just so fulfilling.

It really was quite intimidating, however, especially since in my dreams, I had fallen from that particular bridge head first on a number of occasions. It always toppled over, and I could never hang on. It always resulted in terror. Now, I was standing on it reality, and nearly became terrified when I felt an invisible force push me up against the steel cables. For a split second, I expected them to break as I bore my weight against them, but they held fast. I regained my composure and ran off that bridge to the other side as fast as I could. I concluded that this was a place full of spirits not to be messed with, and I hoped that by offering my respect, I might not be haunted by them in the conscious or sub-conscious world.


As soon as I made it a fair distance along the eastern wall, I already felt the general mood of the area becoming lighter, and more normal. Even the sky seemed to brighten up signficantly. Something was truly beginning to weigh on my heart and soul back at the bridge, and I had only spent a few minutes there. I couldn't help but wonder how I would have begun to feel had I stayed longer. The trail led right past the the top of the waterfall I had witnessed earlier, and became nice and grassy. Oh, the temptation to go barefoot... I already began to feel as if I was in heaven on Earth. The atmosphere up here was decidedly much more welcoming. At this stream, there was an Eden-like pool which looked quite deep and inviting- no doubt the place to bath for any cabin dwellers. I wish I had stopped for a dip.

It wasn't long before I arrived at another gate and had another chance to peer into the valley. And then, and then... after half a day's work, I reached the cabin. There was clearly no one inhabiting it, but the backyard seemed very well-maintained. When the edge of your backyard overlooks a majestic valley, it might certainly be worth maintaining. The cabin's front door was unlocked, and I found it to be fully stocked with food, kitchenware, books, furniture, bedding, and all sorts of clothes. It appeared as if someone had just been living there yesterday. I even spotted a jar of money atop the bedroom dresser, but I of course didn't steal a cent. Everything was so nicely kept, tidy, and organised, it was almost unreal.

Whoever owned the place might have been into furry art, at any rate. On the kitchen wall was a framed print of an anthro boar warrior, and on the adjacent wall, another boar was taking advantage of a nude woman. It is such a pleasure to find anthropomorphics in the most unlikely of places...

I can hardly find the words to describe what a beautiful place it was. It seemed so full of positive spiritual energy, I was amazed a place of so much negative energy was so nearby. I could have spent another hour on the lawn resting up for the trip back, but instead, I decided to be stupid. I followed the trail past the cabin and farther into the woods, farther and farther and farther, hoping I might reach the end. I never did. After a certain point, I gave up and turned around, for not only was the trail getting so badly overgrown, I knew I didn't have all the daylight in the world.

Only when you backtrack over the terrain that you already covered do you realise how far you actually went to get to where you were. I had simply gone too far, and my body was paying the price very early on. Even though I consider myself a conditioned athlete, there is a limit even to what my body can handle before things get outrageously comfortable.

It was a rather hurried trip back to the first cabin, since I wanted to make the most of the afternoon daylight. I crossed that dreaded bridge without even thinking about it, and just pressed on. My body was already feeling the stress. By the time I reached the first cabin, the light had grown dim, and was I ever sore. Distances seem so much longer when you just wish you were already home.

I don't know how else to describe the rest of the trip back, other than "nightmareish." I was tired, see, and getting dehydrated. I could never have brought enough water for such a long, humid trek. My feet were in agony, and after awhile, I could feel several large blisters swelling. Pain coursed through my right leg whenever I took a step. My body was simply telling me that I overdid it this time. Way too much.

It was a test of my resolve... I had been through so many similar situations involving pain and discomfort, and I knew that getting through it all without cracking was a matter of putting my mind in the right place. I forced my mind into the right place and continued to make one painful step after another. I still had three valleys to traverse. At certain points, I felt as if there was a good possibility I would simply pass out. I was out hiking after dark, meaning I had been rambling around continuously for more than 13 straight hours. Crazy, crazy wolf.

I sang a few songs so that I did not have to focus on the pain, or the fear of what could happen to me. My biggest mistake would have been stopping, laying down, and succumbing to it. My entire body was searing with agony, but somehow... I clunked along, wincing, moaning, whimpering. I walked along the beach of Pololu Valley, and it seemed to be at least twice the length it usually was. In fact, it never seemed to end. When I got to the last uphill portion up to the lookout, I was almost crawling, but somehow, I made it all the way to the parking lot.

It may sound like I exaggerated this some, but that's not the case.

When I got home, it was a challenge walking into the house and standing up long enough to take a shower. I drank liquids feverishly, and I began to feel feverish as well, shivering incessantly. After tending to my poor torn-up feet, I felt as if I had just hiked thirty miles. Realistically, I might have.

The next time a nagging feeling tells me it would probably be better to play it safe and not push it too much, I won't ignore it. Next time, I'll go no farther than the cabin, which is a great distance anyway, or just stay overnight.

At least I was reminded that even my energy has limits.

Apr 12, 2006

The brief idiot's guide to Costco

∙ If it's there, and you want it, grab it. Chances are it'll be gone tomorrow. Forever. And you'll kick yourself so hard.

∙ Do your own research instead of coming in expecting a sales assistant to explain to you the concept of a "computer."

∙ Never enter the building through the exit door. Whether you are a clueless child or the warehouse manager, YOU WILL BE SLAPPED ON THE WRIST BY THE RECEIPT CHECKER.

∙ Don't look at any of digital cameras on display too hard, or you'll make the alarm go off.

∙ Say hi to the birds nesting up in the light fixtures. They provide the store music.

∙ Kirkland Signature is brand name quality at generic label cost. I mean, I use Kirkland men's body spray all the time. Trust me, it smells just like TAG or AXE, and whenever I have it on, all the hot chicks with celebrity bodies just can't keep themselves away from me, let me tell you. Sure, you can get lucky if you chew the right brand of gum, but nothing gets you laid like putting on Kirkland Signature Body Spray, you can count on my word.

∙ Don't come in asking where the mp3s are. We don't carry them, as they constantly get stolen or lost. They're invisible, you see.

∙ Almost everything small and inexpensive is sold in bulk. Don't come in expecting to purchase a rose, a pencil, or a Koosh ball. Unless you want three Koosh balls. Three jumbo Koosh balls that come in a container the size of a suitcase which is mostly just plastic trim.

∙ If you want headphones, you'll have to buy the iPod they're attached to.

∙ Always bring a cart in with you. Most products are bulky, heavy, and awkward, like your average McDonald's patron.

∙ Make sure you have decent collision insurance before entering the produce section. The cart traffic in that section is congested enough, but imagine members being in even more of a hurry to get out of the refrigerated area as quickly as possible.

∙ All children must be leashed and fitted with a muzzle before entering the store. We shall have no unruly, uncivilised beings climbing up the steels.

Mar 28, 2006

Mud, mud, mud.

Well, yesterday was quite fantastic. Any day involving getting wet and playing in the mud usually is.

In the morning, I was woken up by a rainstorm that hit with squall-like intensity. It wasn't the noise that shook me from the embrace of sleep, but rather, the fact that I was getting wet. The wind was carrying the rain right in through the windows, dampening whatever happened to be sitting beneath them, and even reaching my bed. I shut them quickly and wandered off to a different part of the house to watch the action. Let's just say quite a few things got knocked over by the wind gusts, and the driving rain flooded the deck.

This storm simply set the stage for my late afternoon experience. The weather was just beginning to clear about an hour before sunset, and, feeling antsy, I decided to venture off for a bike ride. I ended up jumping in my car and coasting down to a local haunt, Upolu Point, a mere 7-10 minutes away from home.

On the surface, there isn't too much to the place. A paved one-lane road leads almost straight toward the sea, through sweeping grassy plains and past a newly installed wind farm, before ending at a private commuter terminal and airstrip running parallel to the shore. Publically accessible dirt roads branch off in either direction along the outer fence surrounding the airstrip. It's possible to drive around the entire perimeter. There are a handful of houses visible farther up the hill, but absolutely no one lives in the immediate area. Its barrenness and isolation is part of the reason I find the region so attractive. It is a relatively dry corner of the peninsula (though not quite as dry as the leeward side) with wide open fields of windswept grass and trees in which one can romp and roam without a care in the world. One can walk along the sea cliffs for a great distance before running into any kind of civilised structure. There's something about the locale I find very spiritually invigorating.

Besides grass, there is also a lot of dirt down there. During normal weather, it usually stays fairly dry, but when storms hit, as happened yesterday, things get interesting. It got muddy. Very muddy.

Upolu mud is no ordinary mud. It is slightly reddish in hue and is very soft, thick and sticky. When saturated enough, as it was yesterday, it is also remarkably slippery. Consequently, the mud can play hell with cars and bikes. Even with the increased traction four-wheel drive provides, it's nearly impossible to drive on it without slip-sliding back and forth or fishtailing. Of course, that's what makes it entertaining. There are a few wide, grassy areas where doing donuts simply comes naturally. Yesterday, I slipped and slid into one of these clearings with my SUV, cranked the wheels all the way to the right, hit the accelerator, and slid around in circles as if I was on a merry go-round, kicking up mud everywhere. It was fun, and I realised that's it really just another form of marking my territory. For that matter, some could even consider it art.

Even more enjoyable was taking out my mountain bike and off-road riding along the sea cliffs. There is a certain place not far beyond the fence that seems like a naturally formed riding course. Even when the dirt is dry, the various mounds, steep slopes, dips, and ramps make it a fun place to ride. But when it all becomes mud... the enjoyment factor multiplies several times. I rode around like this until so much mud clogged my brakes that my bike became nearly inoperable. When this happened, I took a break to watch a rather impressive sunset from a grassy knoll. The view of Maui across the channel was even more impressive than usual. Only embellishing the majesty of the view were whales in several different pods shooting out of the water and making large splashes surprisingly close to shore... it just reminded that we actually are still in the heart of whale season.

I also glanced up toward the mountains, which now included windmills as part of the view, much to the dismay of many local residents. I personally viewed the conspicuous towers as not a "blight upon the landscape," but a sign of hope, promise, and necessary progress. If anything, I'm proud to have a wind farm in my backyard (not that we can see the wind mills from the backyard we own), for renewable energy is the future, and if there is one place that could use change, it's here.

As the sky grew dark, I decided to do something I hadn't done in a long, long time. After scooping a sufficient amount of squishy mud out of my bike's brake mechanisms, I rode back to the airstrip, hoisted my bike over the dark green chest-high chain link fence, and started to ride along the freshly resurfaced runway. Yes, it was quite a contrast from mud and rock, but I found the whining and growling of my tires against the asphalt to be almost soothing as I gradually picked up speed. It was actually a magnificent experience, careening toward the deep orange hues of the twilit sky to the west, surrounded by flocks of birds, with the wind mussing my hair. I actually closed my eyes for a few moments as I rode, allowing my aural and olfactory senses to experience it all. I reached the opposite end of the airstrip all too soon, but to my delight, found a couple large puddles several inches deep on the pavement. I sped through them several times over, washing several ounces of mud off my bike and getting myself rather wet in the process.

What an extremely fulfilling and satisfying day. I had to wash all the mud off my bike as soon as I got home, for if it allowed to dry, it becomes a nightmare to remove. But I must declare, 15 minutes of clean-up is worth several hours of getting messy. 15 minutes of getting messy is worth several hours of clean-up, for that matter.

Mar 24, 2006

Bring out your dead.

I was woken up early Friday morning, around 5 or so, by a very deep, heavy rumble. No, it wasn't my tummy this time, but rather, the sky. For the first time this year, I heard thunder! When I first stepped outside and trotted up to the end of the driveway, the storm seemed quite a ways southwest, over the hills. The occasional lightning flashes seemed a considerable distance away. But when a sudden brilliant flash lit up the entire night surrounding me and nearly blinded my vision, I couldn't help but gasp with awe. The next time it happened, two or three minutes later, I watched huge bolts of electricity sear across the sky. Oh, what a sight... and the accompanying thunder was getting louder and deeper, as well, as a little rain began to fall. The sudden brilliant flashes happened again and again, and I cheered each time. I honestly couldn't decide, at the time, whether I was more fond of the lightning visuals or the rumbling of the thunder so deep it nearly made the house vibrate. Altogether, it was one awesome spectacle. After awhile, the rain began to fall harder and harder, and the thunder and lightning seemed to vanish. Not long after I slipped back into bed, I was jolted into complete consciousness by what sounded like an explosion right outside my window. Now that's thunder.

Strangely, I happened to drive into Kona later in the morning just in time to catch a fierce hail storm rolling over the sea toward the mountain. The hail only lasted about five minutes or so before becoming the hardest falling rain imaginable. Weird, wild stuff... but I love it.

Mar 10, 2006


I got into very close contact with my were side this past evening.

Shift happens, especially around this time of the month, but it has begun a bit prematurely in regard to the usual pattern. Not to mention, the experience was more intense than it has been in months. I wouldn't label it a *positive* transformation, but it was indubitably a necessary one.

It occured beneath a heavily overcast sky, the surroundings still considerably illuminated by a persistent moon. I escaped into the rolling pasturelands well up in the hills from here, riding Seymour (my bike) for a ways up the steep, desolate residential roads until I was well past all the houses. I was conscious of an impending internal transformation, and my mind was set entirely on getting as far away from civilisation as I could. My legs pumped like pistons as I pedaled furiously up the winding hills. Searing pain coursed through my body as it begged for a break, and my legs felt as if they were engulfed in flames, but I did not stop even to catch my breath. By the time I reached the gate, I threw my bike over, feeling like I might suddenly keel over and die, and yet overcome with adrenaline... and testosterone. I felt physically powerful and strong, like I could move a mountain out of my way, and I felt like something was beginning to come over me.

It didn't matter to me that I was roving about on private property, but in retrospect, any poor soul who might have been out there for any reason to get in my way would have been sorry they had. I dumped my shirt, sandals, and Seymour all in one spot, for they were all unnecessary accessories. Getting in touch with the terrain to my primal satisfaction involves the loss of shoes and other superfluous clothing that restricts ease of movement. I trekked along the edge of someone's several dozen-acre large backyard. It borders a horse ranch which I once worked on for a couple months following graduation from high school. Several equinefolk nearest the fence quickly fled in the opposite direction, their hooves pounding the earth. I gritted my teeth as my nostrils caught the scent of their terror.

In the matter of a few moments, I slipped into a deep rage, bitterly rebuking the ways of humanity, ferociously cursing my imprisonment in a human skin. I became walking, stalking hatred, and in those minutes, I believe I could have exterminated anything that crossed my path without a second thought, like a vicious predator devoid of morals and human reason. I stumbled along slowly in the grassy field, clawing at my own body, drawing blood as I tried to peel away the hideous disguise bit by bit. Unfortunately, I caused some self-injury, but I am not sure whether I should regard it as involuntary or not. I was foaming at the mouth as I growled the words, "fuck humanity" at least a hundred times.

And then it must have really happened, for I can't hardly recall what happened within the next hour or two. I was amongst a grove of trees, as a scratched-up, grass-stained, muddy mess. I just laid there for fifteen minutes, trying to remember what had happened and how I got there. I managed to connect the dots and recall where I had dumped my bike.

I wish I could just make up little stories like these, and that they didn't really happen, but unfortunately, every detail is true.

First of all, I know I'm a were. I've known it for years. As early as my mid-teens I began recognising the moon's effect on me, and the possibility of a savage beast lurking within, but hardly mentioned it to anyone. Since then, I haven't been so hesitant to write about my shifting experiences online. I figure potential readers would find it fascinating, even if most would not be quick to believe it. Truthfully, I don't care what others believe. They usually believe whatever makes them feel comfortable. That their God is going to come down and indemnify their pure souls from suffering. That their deceased grandfather's spirit is watching down on them from above. That what they do in life really matters. When I was in the initial transition period of my transformation tonight, I dismissed it all as absolute bullshit. I pretty much feel that way no matter what state I'm in, anyway.

Yes, the world does piss me off. It pisses me off something awful. I won't deny that or pretend otherwise. I am positively sickened by what humanity is coming to, and to have to identify as human compels me to damage or destroy myself, in hopes that I can somehow release myself from it all. In a normal state, I simply deal with it. Though, my quiet distaste for human ways is everpresent, and I can always feel the longing to be of the wild deep down inside. In a shift, I experience unspeakably intense loathing of what I am shifting from, and generally speaking, it's a good time for me to be away from people. I simply lose control of myself, of my otherwise apparently mild, laid-back behaviour, and usually end up hurting myself, the resultant injuries being worse in some transformations than others. Fortunately, I had trimmed my fingernails just a couple days ago.

I should probably take some better precautions to take care of myself over the next few days... a good start would be not turning on the TV. I'm sick of being a witness to the pathetic phoniness of people and all their stupid bullshit. They call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it. Life for so many people in this culture is all about the acquisition of more stuff. More stuff that makes it easier to be lazier than ever before and eliminates as much hard work and effort on their part as possible. That's the selling point of so many products these days. People want to be lazy fucks in an automated world run by machines. I guess going out to the video rental place has simply become too inconvenient for some people, so now they've become dependent on having movies delivered to their door. It's all about convenience and ease, because everyone's time these days is so precious, and why work hard if spending money you don't have on miracle products you don't need can help you avoid it? Why waste time planting a flower garden the old fashioned way when you can let Roll-a-bed do it all for you, so you can run back inside and use your time for more meaningful projects that truly benefit mankind, like Crying While Eating.

I just need to do whatever I can to keep from getting sucked too far into this depressing world of human bullshit. It's beneficial that I live where I do, and not typical suburban America, though Wal-Mart culture is just as prevalent here. Stand-up comedian George Carlin did a very nice rant on this subject. America was beautiful before it became little more than a coast-to-coast chain of shopping centres, mini-malls, golf courses, fast food joints, and surburbs. America was beautiful before it was "discovered" and stolen from the natives, who actually lived respectable and respectful lifestyles. Now this nation just stands as the finest testament to just how despicable humanity has gotten. It's only going to get worse and worse. So much worse. Do I really have to be a part of this?

Maybe I don't. I've determined the main reason I'm not always feeling this enraged and cynical is because I spend so much time in my little bubble, lost in the magical voyages of my imagination in worlds that I actually care to identify with. But sometimes, it all gets the best of me, and there is little I can do to stop it.

I'm going to sit outside for a bit and listen to the wind through the trees... hopefully it will calm me down enough to get me in the mood for sleep.

Feb 27, 2006

Weighing and waiting

Sometimes I feel as if there are far too many decisions to make ... and that's when possessing a higher conscious truly feels like a curse. Life for an intelligent being is mostly about weighing and waiting. Mentally weighing the benefits or sacrifices involved with one possibility versus those of one or more alternatives. Constantly. And waiting, how much of our lives do we spend waiting for something? Waiting for work to end, waiting in line to buy something, waiting for a call or a calling, waiting for a reward of some kind, waiting to eat or drink or sleep or get up and stretch or have sex. Waiting to experience the outcomes of our decisions, all results of weighing.

I enjoy sleep because it takes me away from the pressures and pain associated with weighing and waiting. And I cherish mental shifts, for that is when things become basic enough to make sense. My urges are primal and my objectives are simple and clearly defined, just as my human side wishes they could always be. In a shift, an altered state of being, everything that matters and should matter is in perfect focus, and that which deserves only to be ignored and avoided is so out of focus I feel no urge to attempt to comprehend any of it. The phrases "in the wild" versus "in civilisation" lose all meaning, because I become the wild no matter where I am. I become everything surrounding me; everything that isn't superficial, yet still remain myself. Everything is so gorgeously basic and interconnected. Humans are overly complex, but the world isn't. When one is freed from the captivity of the human mind in such a fashion and spends time in a feral condition, he or she may finally realise this. The world makes perfect sense, all objectives are clear, and all the useless luggage is discarded long before the adventure begins. No more weighing, no more waiting. Just acting on instinct and living for the moment.

One of my goals for personal advancement? Shift into wolven form more often. Maybe I should put that down on my resume, since I can't really think of much else.

Feb 17, 2006

Oh my god...

...I love Tariq.

I swear Tariq isn't me. My long lost twin brother, perhaps, but no, I didn't write that. Wow, this makes me so happy and that much less alone in the world.

A castle in the sky.

There is something exceptionally magical about Kohala Mountain, especially by moonlight.

It has its special features that distinguish it from the other four volcanoes on the island, such as very pronounced windward and leeward sections. When studied on a map, it appears to be almost symmetrically divided between "wet" side and "dry" side. A series of deep, lush amphitheater valleys are carved into the soggy, rainforested windward side, while the leeward side is home to keawe trees and shrubby grasses (which very frequently and effectively fuel brush fires), and plenty of dust and bare, crumbly rock. It's like two separate worlds.

The mountain road, a truly magnificent drive, leads through the green pasturelands near the zone of transition from wet to dry. I travel this route quite often, and happened to be doing so early Thursday morning, no earlier than 1:00 in the morning. At this time of day, the road was desolate. I encountered not a single car. The sky overhead was mostly clear, so the pale, naked moon above was gloriously exposed. I was on my way home, but felt that home could wait awhile, especially since I was feeling restless. My body was yearning to be exercised and treated to fresh air, and my spirit longed to be sprung free from the track.

My penchant for night wandering is still as strong as ever. That's why I found myself trudging up a path leading up steep grass and cacti-laden slopes. I'm not sure why, but I just felt like climbing higher and higher into the rolling hills that seemed to hold so much delightful mystery and intrigue in the moonlight. As I gained elevation, I noticed the thick layer of mist that obscured the distant slopes above me. And when I turned around to gaze back downslope, I could see the lights of several towns and resorts a great many miles away, as well as three other mountains taller than the one I stood upon. The view was marvelous enough to take anyone's breath away, and the higher I climbed, the more spectacular it became.

The air was cool, but not uncomfortably chilly, and a brisk wind rolling down the mountain was strong enough to turn my hair in to a mess and make climbing uphill even more difficult. Looking up into the band of clouds looming above the rolling verdant slopes, my imagination decided to start having a ball. After all, reality would be quite bland and tasteless were it not for the spice of imagination.

I envisioned a castle. A large, majestic structure of stone standing tall somewhere up in these hills, cloaked in heavy mist at least half the time. I could not help but gaze upon the landscape and imagine where I would build it. What an extraordinary place to live it would be, for the farther I ascended, the more it began to feel like another world. Some medieval fantasy world of dark mist and fog and rolling green hills. Depending on the weather, I would either have a stunning view of much of the island from my castle, or be comfortably and cozily wrapped up in heavy fog, an insulator from the rest of the planet. And even when the sun was shining, the air would always be pleasantly cool, the wind keeping all winged pests at bay. It would be a silent retreat, but of course, being so far away from anyone, I could play music within my castle as loud as I want.

After ascending a certain distance, I arrived at a point where I could look up and see the patches of white mist soaring speedily by just above my head and simply vanishing into the zone of warmer air not far away. It was quite a remarkable thing to behold. Even more incredible was almost immediately being completely immersed in fog, brightly lit by the moon somewhere above, the view I had previously had down the mountain disappearing instantly. I could see no more than 10 metres ahead of me in every direction. At this point, I truly felt as if I had teleported to some floating island, and the fog was simply obscuring the edges, which I might plummet over if I was not careful. This was such a breathtaking sensation I actually found myself murring in delight. As I walked a bit farther, a lone tree suddenly materialised, its limbs twisted and gnarled, and my ears picked up the cries of nightingales nearby. I felt like I was involved in some phantasmal lucid dream. This, I determined, would be the ideal place to build my castle. I could just feel the magic in the air, and sensed the enchantment surrounding me. I was on the edge of the world, and it made me shiver.

I kept climbing slowly, noticing more and more trees appearing as the road skirted along a deep gorge. Eventually, it simply ended at the edge of a rainforest, what all of the terrain I just wandered over had been before it was converted to pastureland. If nothing else, my muddy bare feet attested to how much wetter it was at this elevation. A wooden stepladder crossed the cattle fence that separated the forest from the pastureland, but I felt a little too weary to lose myself in the woods that morning. I simply savoured the ghastly nocturnal atmosphere at 5,000 feet for awhile before finally heading back down ... just so I could be home before the rudely revealing sun caught up to me.

Feb 16, 2006


Recently, someone inquired as to why I keep "so many journals" online. While it's true I have gone through quite a few journaling services (**suddenly recalls Diary-X**) the reality is that I use only two with any dependable regularity. I still use a third to keep in touch with a particular friend from time to time, but rarely post entries there anymore. It is mostly for commenting.

Online, I keep a blog and a journal. The most significant difference between the two is that the former is used for public-oriented entries of greater substance, and the latter I use for more personal entries I don't care to leave viewable for every stalker or lurker who watches and gathers information but never comments or makes any attempt to communicate with me (and I know you're out there). I once had a third journal, Reflections of Resplendency, which was a blog solely for posting random photography of mine. I deleted it a few months ago, since I was never motivated enough to keep it updated and it seemed excessive ever since I invested in a Smugmug account.

I feel it is a very good thing that I have been maintaining journals since 2001 or 2002. Reading many of my entries from that time period provides me some incredible insight as to how greatly I have changed over four or five years. Admittedly, though, such entries are often extremely difficult to read. It's hard not to harbour a fair amount of contempt for the way I used to act, and some of the things I have done. I often feel like traveling back in time and visiting my past self to beat some sense into him.

A review of entries several years old provides me a fine glimpse of how hopelessly naive and ignorant I was about such things as relationships and college-related matters in contrast to the present. There is evidence of my having gone through a "rebellious punk" phase, where I purchased a few t-shirts with punk-related messages on them (anarchy, anyone? protolol) and a spiked collar, and started acting like a total misanthrope online. I really have no clue what that was all about, but I'm certainly glad it didn't last. Of course, it came and went while I was in Phoenix, so I can always blame that horrible place for having such a bad influence on me.

It apparently made me fairly depressed, as well. That's about all I see in most of my old entries: depression, estrangement, loneliness, hopelessness, anger, even suicidal tendencies. I won't lie, though; there were some very difficult times I endured from 2001-2003. When I look back on the overall tone and persona I was conveying in my entries then as opposed to now, though, I am simply astonished. I feel like I have matured one-hundredfold, and now seem almost perfectly content and at peace relative to how I used to be. The extreme turbulence of the past seems to have evolved into mostly smooth sailing. Even in a few years I have apparently gained much more wisdom through experience, education, and training of the mind.

The thrust of all this musing and reflection is that I truly feel as if all the pieces are coming together. At this point in time, I feel like I have a very firm grasp on life, and am in complete control. Things simply make sense; as much sense as they can make for me in this bewildering realm of innumerable sensory distractions. I have discovered a very comfortable niche for myself, a lifestyle and state of mind, body, and spirit in which I feel I truly belong. I have discovered and recognised what I now know myself to be, and I love and cherish who and what I am. Anyone who knows me probably knows what I am referring to. I once felt many times like I was losing myself, or already had, but I no longer feel that way.

And of course, things are going to change again, for better or worse, but at the moment, I feel quite optimistic. I am two days away from starting my full-time job, I have nearly successfully completed university, and as usual, I seem to be in excellent physical and mental health. My sense of beauty has not faded in the slightest. Several years from now, it should be interesting to re-read this entry, wherever I am, whoever I am with, and however successful I may be.

Feb 13, 2006

Mall dreams

I experienced another "mall dream" last night ... and it seemed to endure for hours.

Strangely, I have had numerous dreams within the past month that have taken place in enclosed shopping malls. Everything is mall-like about the atmosphere in said dreams. What is always present are a variety of outlet stores (both real stores and store names my mind conjured up), busy shoppers, bad mall music and many of the sounds one simply associates with a mall, the unmistakable smells of commerce one is bombarded with, the confusing maze-like layout designed to make it more difficult to find the exit so you are likely to pass by more shopping opportunities that are difficult to resist.

Come to think of it, in mall dreams, I'm always searching for the exit, but something or someone is always distracting me from my goal. I feel much like a rat in a maze who will surely perish if he does not soon reach the exit, but is tempted with food offers left and right. I never reach anything resembling an exit before I awaken.

I am also usually aware that I possess very little in the way of money, which reflects my current financial status in reality quite accurately. Yet another reason to search for the exit in a shopping mall, no? Of course, being that it's a dream where anything can happen, it is often the case that I reach into my wallet and pull out a $50 bill I didn't know I had or discover that someone had accidentally dropped a wad of $20's in Spencer's. If only reality could be like that.

The prices in these malls are usually either outrageously high or unrealistically low; there isn't much room for moderation. In last night's dream I passed by a small store that sells nothing but exotic towels from Greece, piled from the floor to the ceiling. The cheapest towel costed $613, the most expensive $600,000. Even in my dream I had the cognizance to inquire, "what kind of crazy shit would buy such things?"

Products that capture my interest in dreams are usually products I have been meaning to attain or desiring to possess in reality. If I need a new digital camera, it's highly likely I will have a mall dream and glaze over quite a few digital cameras. I'm not quite sure what I wanted this time, though I was distracted by a Valentine's Day store, full of hearts, chocolates and other sweet things. A simple hug on V-Day would leave me satisfied, thank you.

There is quite a feeling of alienation, though, when I find myself in the lingerie department, or a steakhouse. I avoid such places in reality, but tend to show up in them in my dreams. What is so interesting is that people are almost always passive. I am aware of their presence, but pay hardly any attention to them in contrast to the objects I am examining. Yet another accurate reflection of real life. I may not have been spoken to once in this latest dream; or perhaps the overwhelming amount of other stimuli was simply capturing all my attention.

My dreams are highly geographical as it is. I am very spatially as opposed to socially minded. I spend my time examining the boundaries and orientation of physical landscapes rather than most of the occupants inhabiting it. My mall dreams do not pivot around social interactions, but rather, my personal interaction with the mall space. Generally, malls in my dreams become more and more queer in structure and design as the dream proceeds, until it barely makes sense and is hardly recogniseable as a mall- my mind simply has me convinced that I am still in a mall.

In last night's dream I felt I was in my local mall, and as I strolled along the tiles nothing seemed different about it. Awhile later, though, I noticed a large open dining area with huge, ornate glass windows assembled on the far wall. The ceiling seemed to rise up into the sky at a 45 degree angle, resting on giant pillars. The atmosphere was incredibly exotic and airy ... enlightening, even. There were a few other souls there dining and loitering. I would have loved to take a nice lunch and a good book there and sit down at one of the tables, nourished by the natural light that filtered in through the glass windows. If only malls could realistically evoke such sensations from me.

Then it got weird. I continued strolling into an open courtyard surrounded by the entrances of more outlet stores, but before I could reach any of them, the tide came in and I found myself standing in waist-deep water. I lifted my two bags of soaked merchandise up above the surface and looked around in confusion, noticing that everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves, as if they expected it. This was cool, foamy, ripply water, as if it had just rolled in from the sea. I paced about, somewhat irate, until I found an elevated concrete path I could stand upon the left me standing in only a foot or so of water. I pushed my shopping cart (yes, I magically ended up with a shopping cart- isn't that the way dreams work?) back into the actual mall, which was still dry as a bone. No one paid much mind to my wet clothes, because I wasn't any. Dun dun DUN! Return of the naked dream!

One other thing I should note is that food always plays a major role in mall dreams. Hey, food is one of the main reasons I venture off to malls in the first place. If I don't indulge in the good eats, at the very least I can treat my muzzle to the wonderful smells. In dreams I usually end up in some sort of restaurant, ice cream parlor, or snack joint, pouring over the menus on the wall and trying to decide what I want. I rarely ever decide, despite the pressure I feel to make up my mind on the double. I usually become quite frustrated, in fact. I'm not certain, but I do think this is symbolic of my indecision in my conscious life, and the inconfidence and discomfort I can experience as a result of such indecision. That it relates to such a basic need in my dream demonstrates how seriously I take such an issue, or how seriously it should be taken. Then, I wake up hungry and desiring whatever food item I had been trying so hard to obtain in my dream.

So what could explain my dreaming of malls so frequently? A sub-conscious infatuation with materialism? Maybe I have been watching too many movies like The Terminal or Mallrats. Perhaps malls simply fascinate and attract me more than I realise.

That, and my mind really does an excellent job at toying with me.

Something I have been considering: how frightening would it be if a device was invented that allowed others to 'see' the subconscious images in your brain as they occur? No longer would you have to struggle to recall and describe your dreams... the observer could simply show you his notes. Personally, I would not appreciate such a compromise of privacy. *shudder*

Feb 8, 2006

I stumbled into a profoundly introspective state of mind this evening. This is worth noting because I haven't felt quite so deeply reflective in several weeks. The routine of everyday living, to phrase it so dreadfully, has been full of distractions and obligations that have demanded my attention to thrash about upon the surface. The hullabaloo of job hunting and adjusting to a changing lifestyle has left relatively few opportunities for me to dive below the superficial layers into more extraordinary depths of self-discovery and spiritual awareness. A mentally productive stroll beneath the moon tonight, though, roused the deeply contemplative side of me from its slumber.

I remember when the occasion wasn't so rare that I would write multi-page journal entries recalling an outdoor adventure of mine or personal discovery in exquisite detail, or ranting passionately about one subject or another. I poured my heart and soul into composing such entries.

Nowadays, my journal contributions generally seem so much more "matter-of-fact" and less... speculative and questioning. I am not certain what to attribute this to. Perhaps I sub-consciously write much more for an audience than for myself, as I used to. I know plain facts interest most readers, but maybe not so much extended ramblings about what my deepest ponderings. I perceive such entries as radiating heavy conceit, as in, "this wingnut just can't stop going on and on about himself and what he thinks, can he?" After all, what does it matter what I think? The issue of self-worth may be coming into play here.

I really feel as if I have something interesting and substantial to say to the world, but I am often unsure as to whether I should go out on a limb and say it. Much less effort is required in simply keeping it to myself, but many things I simply yearn to share, be it a beautiful photograph or a deeply personal story. Maybe I'm just not sure how far I should go in expressing myself. How much is the reader willing and able to understand?

I simply feel as if I don't put enough of my heart into my entries, these days. Then again, I could say the same for most other people whose journals I keep up with, and I have realised I -am- influenced by them to some significant degree. I suppose for most an online journal is just a place to inform their friends, acquaintances, and family about recent events in their lives and keep them updated, but I have always viewed my writing space as something more than that.

A great irony is this: I am usually so quiet, yet am always so full of words begging to be spoken or written down in speech or poetry or prose. My mind is usually pulling in several different directions at once, and my train of thought has no caboose and is like a speeding bullet. Considering how I seem to think and feel on such an incredibly deep level, it's a wonder I handle the world and all its bewildering stimuli as well as I do... I will admit that it drags me out to the realm of emotional breakdowns at times, but that's nothing unique. They have to happen. They are all part of the balance.

It's so easy to make convictive statements that turn out to be entirely untrue. The mind is never made up for long when it comes to most things. The light of contentedness is nearly impossible to be seen in a period of deep depression, yet it may be witnessed again in a matter of hours. We are trained to view things through continuity, when time is nothing but another human contrivance. Perceptions of the dazzling stimuli presented by the world are viewed through so many cognitive filters, and mental and emotional states that are constantly fluctuating, that The Truth is undoubtedly much too simple for any of us to comprehend. I can hardly see past my own mind, but then, that's where the entire world I perceive exists. Row, row, row your boat, life is but a dream.

Words are so easily minced, interpreted, and turned against the speaker for one purpose or another. The best drug for you is the drug you don't consume. That could be applied metaphorically to an illimitable amount of situations. In a way, my quietness is my defense. After all, what do I know? Absolutely nothing. Yet, finding a way to shape these complicated reflections into words is one of the greatest forms of release. There's no doubt in my mind all of existence is built on a paradox. **Shakes his head and whimpers** "To know, is to know that you know nothing." How am I expected to keep my brain from fizzling out over a statement like that? That's why I didn't want to major in philosophy. I would have pulled all my fur out in anguish by the time I had earned my degree.

Sorry, I just had to let all that out. So, how about them fax machine anthems?

Jan 30, 2006
An interesting site about "free running": essentially moving through town and country with fluidity and creativity while embracing autonomy and art. The site describes it much better than I can.

Though it closely resembles a running shoe commercial, I still find this kind of thing quite fascinating, mainly because I have been practicing "free running" for years on my very own terms and using my own techniques. I have always been intrigued by the creativity and art of movement- not so much in terms of dance but in travel. It is quite nifty to see it put into words as a type of philosophy. I would have to agree that for me, it is indeed a philosophy.

I have actually been practicing my own form of "free running" for years. For example, while traveling from point A to point B in town, it is highly unlikely that I will follow sidewalks and designated walkways all the way to my destination, or even choose the shortest route. I take shortcuts that get me there quicker (if I am in a hurry) or diversions that interest me all the time. I enjoy cutting across cemeteries, dashing through wooded tracts, climbing in and out of canals and waterways, jumping fences, and navigating through storm drains (something I did in Phoenix but have yet to do in Hilo, since all the rain makes it hazardous). There is something very spontaneous and animal-like about it that appeals to my nature. I am not simply following the grid and moving in rectangles and squares as if on some kind of track... I'm moving like an animal.

Unfortunately, there are legal issues involving private property, restricting the spontaneity of my movement. I can't simply cut across yards or jump over houses too often. Quick and nimble as I am, I would probably get busted sooner or later. My favourite times for free running in town are either when it's dark or when it's raining, due to the substantially fewer people out. People don't tend to bother me that much, especially when I am not focused on them.

It would be the way I move that would freak people out. Doing handstands on grave stones, dropping off of bridges into dry water canals from fairly high distances, climbing tall fences to run through the arboretum like I'm some kind of fleeing prisoner, crawling out of a drain... yeah, a wolf can really scare people when you see a big furry arm emerging from a gutter. Better tell the kids to get inside!

It's just all about creativity and free-spiritedness. I don't even really think about or plan such maneuvers; they simply occur. I feel more comfortable and natural moving in such a way than following the prescribed routes and using all the crosswalk signals like another button-mashing droid walking in between all the lines. It's more likely to get me in trouble or cause me injury, but it's also infinitely more interesting and well worth the risk. It's truly a way of keeping in touch with my animal side, even amongst civilisation. And it keeps me in shape and very light on my feet.

I move in similar ways out in the country, and feel much better about doing it shoeless out there. The chances of running across broken glass or other such hazards are substantially less. Going barefoot is all part of the philosophy, again. The furry philosophy. Any fursona I use, including my main one, are always barefoot. The reasons for barefootedness:

1. Shoes are too restrictive and weighty, and leave an unnatural, geometric imprint on the earth. The impact on foliage is also much greater. I would prefer to not leave a trace of my having been there.
2. Manueverability and balance are much easier without shoes on most types of terrain. Also, it allows me to get in much better touch with the terrain; more intimate with the earth and my surroundings, if you will. It is simply more natural and again, animal-like. The sensation of cool mud or cold mountain water against the bottom of my feet is worth not wearing shoes alone. And it makes me feel all the more primal and at home in my surroundings.

Of course, shoeless travel is not practical in some areas. I would be reluctant to traverse rough, crumbly a'a lava rock, for example, without shoes, though may attempt it someday when my feet are calloused enough. And I never thought to slip-slide around on the ice on Mauna Kea barefeet, though it may be something I'd like to try someday. It's about experimentation and new experiences... innovation and daring. I may take my licks from it periodically and risk serious injury, but the gratification I obtain from it all is well worth it. I do exercise a significant amount of good judgment and caution, however, which is probably why I am still alive to this day.

One thing I would never do to my poor feet is subject them to the ground beneath a thicket of Keawe trees, where their thorns up to an inch long rise up from the ground on fallen twigs. *grimace* I'm not that "XhardcoreX", really... not to the point where pulling bloody thorns out of my feet sounds like a good time.

I can easily make my way down the trail into Pololu Valley without shoes, but last time I did it, I received some odd and strangely amused looks from tourists on the trail. I had to pat the top of my head to make sure tentacles hadn't sprouted from my scalp. A couple separate tourists asked me where my shoes were, to which I politely responded by saying, "must have left them on Neptune." I guess in the world whence they come, going shoeless is simply unheard of.

Probably one of the best places in the world for barefoot free-running though, is Waipio Valley. The terrain consists mostly of soft sand, mud and soil, forest floors layered with fallen leaves, and streams. The trail to Hi'ilawe Falls is simply perfect for practicing my technique. The trail is but a rough vestige crossing the stream numerous times, allowing me the opportunity to employ some tricky maneuvers to get across large boulders or up to high ledges. It's an excellent test of my endurance, agility, and judgment... I need to keep my cat-like reflexes, balance, and graceful motion sharp, after all!

Dashing through darkness... that's another strange little thing I like to challenge myself with. I like to challenge my wolf vision and see how far I can get using no artificial light. I vividly recall having to feel my way out of a pitch black forest in Arizona because both my flash lights had burnt out. It's a nice little special skill to have... I could imagine cheapie flashlights burning out while I'm deep in some lava tube, where light is 100% non-existent. Now, getting out of that situation would require either screaming for help at the top of my lungs or feeling my way out by touch. I would actually prefer to do the latter. If such a thing were to happen to me, I probably would not panic, as I have been exposed to so many similar scary situations by now.

Many people must find this sort of thing utterly absurd, and I can understand why, but that doesn't bother me. I believe in self-expression and the fact that art can take any form. This is a way of experiencing freedom of mind, soul, and body altogether, and spiritual liberation. I can't stay in one place for very long without becoming fidgety and wanting to go climb a cliff or jump around some rocks. Anything that allows me to exercise my agility and creativity of movement and release energy. After all, I'm about as hyperactive as a hummingbird and have the metabolism of a little dog who runs hundreds of laps around the yard everyday. Free running suits me, I suppose.

There's a reason I often shuffle around like I'm grooving to a techno beat. Music is playing in my head on an almost constant basis, and I usually move accordingly with its tempo.

I may wait for a dry spell to hit this town before exploring the storm drain system. I'm sure it's absolutely prohibited by law, but that only makes it so much more exciting. The idea of getting all the way to the mall from the park near my apartment is a nice incentive. I could become the official storm drain exploration expert of Hilo! Of course, I would have to bring heavy duty flashlights and a few clothespins for my nose in case I end up getting stuck in a sewer. And the last thing I would want to do is open up a manhole cover from below in the middle of a busy street.

Totally unrelated, but rumour has it that Legolas is now working at the Hilo BK. I refused to believe it at first, but upon entering the restaurant today for a drink, Legolas was indeed operating the register. Long blonde hair, ponytail and all. Until Legolas opened his mouth I thought he was a girl, just like in the movies!

Jan 29, 2006

strange neglect

A child's abandoned toy. An old decaying shack on the coast, seemingly untouched for years. A room full of lonely toys with pleading eyes. A rotting bed and a plastic angel figurine, her wings supporting abundant life, impaled on the rusty mattress springs. A pervasive odour of unpleasant tidings. Two creatures, original tags of sale still attached, lie upon the blanket of dead leaves, meant for an adorer they could never quite reach.

Jan 22, 2006

He has a ________ plan for you!

Are you tired of prayers that just never get answered? Have you actually lost some of your faith in God because you didn't become the CEO of your favorite video game company while sleeping last night? Stop fussing with defective prayers that never work. We can help God give you what you always wanted!

Yeah... Yeah... I had the religious channel on for no particular reason other than amusement, and happened to notice a pastor talking about a "Formula for an Answered Prayer." Now, you can order the Formula for an Answered Prayer, which now comes in the form of a 5-pack of audio CDs for the low, low price of $24.99 (I'm not kidding about that).

Even praying properly costs money now, what?

Everything must be a formula nowadays, then. Everything is a system. Leave nothing to spontaneity or personal judgment. Praying must be like building an engine; surely there is a complex mathematical and logical procedure for praying that you must follow in order to enjoy proper results, just like so many other things that aren't divine. That's why we have pastors telling us that praying is like baking a delicious chocolate cake. You have to have all the ingredients ready, all carefully measured and proportioned.

How arrogant, greedy, and downright superficial can people be? Jesus. Of course there is little fault to be found with religion itself, but there is in the way it is exploited by dimwits who will sell their soul to make a buck and used to justify terrible decisionmaking, imprisonment (of endless forms) and war. And some people may wonder how I can be so content to spend consecutive days out in the woods all by myself. I don't call it leaving reality... I consider it getting in touch with reality.

Oh, and according to the same guy, God also has a financial plan. You can find out God's financial plan by paying $10.95 for a book called "Higher Finance"!

What a bunch of BULLSHIT.

Jan 19, 2006

Jan 10, 2006

Calling off the rain.

I was watching the National Geographic channel a few days ago and became fascinated by a program talking about scientists researching the possibility of being able to control the paths of hurricanes. They showed a computer image of Hurricane Iniki striking Kauai in 1992, then provided an alternate model showing the hurricane passing far to the west of the island after the storm had been deliberately thrown off course by a sophisticated system of satellites. Scientists believe that technology can be developed that will actually knock a hurricane off its projected path toward certain devastation, saving certain land masses from a direct hit.

Many people might laud this idea initially, especially on the heels of the last hurricane season. The ability to control these phenomenal low-pressure storms could potentially save thousands of lives and prevent billions of dollars worth of damage.

I say, humans already fool with mother nature too much, and have been paying for it for as long as I have been alive. Humans already control enough on this planet; must they attempt to control the weather too? I find the thought very depressing. The beauty in meteorological processes is that they are so unpredictable and cannot be directly controlled. Humans have indeed manipulated weather patterns over the centuries through such processes as urbanisation and desertification, but such changes occur relatively slowly, and none of it was done with a modicum of intent.

Giving a species with far too much intelligence for its own good the ability to directly control hurricanes, and more generally, the weather, is absolutely frightening. One thing always leads to another; something that no one could have predicted, things that have led to the collapse of entire societies throughout history. Such collapses usually occurred as a result of humans trying to exert too much control over existing ecosystems and natural processes.

Hurricane control is certain to lead to other things, such as control over general weather patterns. How saddening that would be... imagine, the weather outside today being entirely dependent on whatever mood the person in charge of the weather is! If he's sunny and cheery, we might just suffer a drought... and if he's emo, we'll be having problems with floods every other day.

All right, that's exaggerating things quite a bit. Though, it isn't difficult for me to imagine, in the future, a group of officials at the nearest weather control centre zapping out the moisture in the atmosphere for the purpose of providing fair, mild weather for a major urban event, such as a parade. "It will never rain on our parade, no sir!"

It isn't hard to predict what will result if people gain the ability to control the weather for malicious purposes. Meteoroterrorism. The term even has a nice ring to it!

Many may find it difficult to believe something like this is possible, but most ground-breaking new ideas do seem far-fetched at first. 50 years ago, who could have predicted we would be walking around with computers in our pockets that play music, receive phone calls, pinpoint our exact coordinates, and organise our lives?

Humanity may be the parasitic scum of the earth, but I can only hope it is never able to manipulate atmospheric processes as dramatically as it alters the planet's surface. Either way, nature will always have the upper hand, something all of us would do best to remember.

Jan 9, 2006

Maybe life is up and down but my life's been (what?)
'til now I crawled up your butt somehow and that's
when things got turned around, I used to be alive

But sometimes, some things turn into dumb things
and that's when you put your foot down!

God, Limp Bizkit's deeply poetic and soul-moving lyrics never fail to inspire me.

Jan 8, 2006

I'm Gumbi, damn it!

While thinking earlier about why most of my closest friends happen to be in their teens, it suddenly dawned on me that I have always been five or six years behind in life. I cannot deny that I am a "late bloomer" in so many things, and my official recorded age really does seem to be quite a few years ahead of... myself, or at least the pace I have inherently preferred to take my entire life. I certainly don't feel 23; I feel five years younger, and am usually inclined to behave that way. I wish I could call myself a "teenager" again. I realise now that for most of my teenage years, I felt like a small, sheepish child, and as I (all too rapidly) approach my mid-20's, feel more and more like a teenager, or at least how I imagine someone in their teens should feel. Is this peculiar or what?

I didn't get my first real job or have my first real "date" until I was 18. More amazingly, I didn't make a real human friend until I was in my late teens. 12, 13, 14, 15... those were all rather strange, awkward years I have a strong inclination to go back and "redo." I will not say they were wasted years, since each constitute a large building block in the construction of everything I have become today, but they were not pleasant, and simply not... memorable. I sincerely cannot remember any defining moments of my life from 12, 13, or 15. 14 was the undisputed champion year of uncontrollable suicidal angst, so at least I was playing my part as a teen in some fashion. Still, for as much as I remember, I may as well have just skipped from being 11 years old to being 16 years old. Maybe that is what happened to me!

I would love to turn a dial back five years and become 18 again, somehow managing to simultaneously. retain all the life experiences and lessons I have learned since I actually was 18. The reasoning for this is simple. Higher expectations are placed on those who are in their 20's. I am expected to have "grown up" by now. **Spins finger** There is nothing like reading all these success stories about 20-something year olds who become successful multi-millionaires. I apologise, but I do not ever see myself bothering to get savvy enough with cleverly manipulating real world opportunities to achieve such a status. I just want to get a job or career that effectively utilises a few of my talents and better qualities and supports a comfortable lifestyle and keeps me reasonably happy. I think I simply want to revert to an age where much less expectation is placed upon me. Life moves too fast for comfort. If you're still in your teens, realise the magic of it while it's there. Enjoy it, enjoy the hell out of it while you still can.

In contrast to many difficult, convoluted things I often ponder, I very easily came to the conclusion of why so many of my friends are a few years younger than I am. I am still a teenager at heart, and tend to identify with people that age much more easily. So many people out there are just... too serious, too rigid, too focused on serving society and making themselves work, work, work without taking time out for fun. I reserve plenty of time for fun and enjoyment, and I could not imagine living any other way. Especially in paradise, where the weather is warm year round and the outdoors is always beautiful and inviting.

There is one implication, however, I have not been able to drive out of my mind since conjuring up all this logic. How playful will my spirit be five years down the road? Will I still be a teenager at heart or much more closely resemble a 23 year-old career-oriented college graduate who is more inclined to work his ass off for the benefit of mankind than have any fun? With life, one can never tell.

And it's whenever I begin to feel useless or guilty of so often being counted as part of the human population that I simply go out and pick up a few bags worth of litter. It's the least I can do for Mother Nature, she who has nurtured me and my spirit so selflessly all of my life. With every disgusting empty beer can I pick up in the woods and carry out with me, I am converting another's act of apathy into my own concern for the benefit of the environment, and this is deeply gratifying. In spite of what those who have witnessed the brunt of my cynical side may think, I do search for every excuse to have faith in humanity. Such excuses are just very hard to find sometimes. When I do, however, it's a blast of fresh air... a burst of inspiration and encouragement to continue doing what I do and being who I am.

It does involve disappointments. Only a couple days ago, I was wandering along the scenic road out of Onomea and noticed a Bud Lite can laying on the ground next to a stream. Along the way to transporting it back to my car, I encountered a few empty glass bottles lying on the ground, so I attempted to carry as many of those as I could in one trip as well. Just before I returned to the road side, my eyes noticed an entire... miniature dump of empty beer cans half buried amongst a ledge. It was then that a very bitter feeling of disappointment washed over me and my initial impulse was to simply drop my armful of revolting trash out of utter hopelessness. I didn't, though. That would have made me feel even guiltier. I spent the next half hour cleaning up as many cans and other little pieces of trash from below the road until it became too dark to see. By the time I was done, I smelt strongly of damp earth and old, spoiled beer. I didn't really care, though.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I can speak for myself. I inherently mean to do good. I want to help improve the world for all species in whichever ways I possibly can. This involves cleaning up the environment, inventing new solutions, and helping people through their problems. It can be very discouraging, though, to observe daily the apathy and insensitivity of others towards everything and everyone which does not directly affect their well-being. When I think of a hero, I don't think of "America's troops." I think of that old man I always see riding his bicycle along the highway rain or shine, picking up large trash bags of litter entirely on his own volition. It's too bad most of this country's priorities and values differ so vastly from most of my own. Even that isn't going to stop me, though. I bought a button recently that said, "I'm Moving to Canada." I plan to hold on to that button.

Only now, in my early 20's, have I become close friends with people who share my benevolent qualities to a very close degree, and I practically rely on the inspiration they provide as well as their similar acts of goodwill. Oh, the things that can be accomplished through collaborative efforts...

Jan 6, 2006

Nblarbdønodhirþfink \m/

I've been obsessed with a band called Nblarbdønodhirþfink lately. Really hardcore doom/thrash/ice/sheet/precious metal group from Antarctica. The really funny thing about them is that they always tour yet never play at home. Anyway, they're just so... well, what's a term elegant and poetic enough to do their raw musical talent justice... awesome. Sometimes they even take a break from growling and sing normally, but the growling is so brutal and amazing anyway, trust me. I mean their growling often gets so intense you can barely hear the guitars over them, how awesome is that? Pretty awesome, let me tell you. FlirbÞlinƒyas Smith beats those drums like a woman, freaking unbelievable drumwork. The lyrics have to be awesome too but the band is so obscure I can't find any of their lyrics online anywhere. Just goes to show you they're too good to be on those crummy lyrics sites. If you start telling others about this band that is an awesome band just give ME credit for being hardcore enough to initially discover them. First of all definitely check out the songs "Above the Eternal Wingspans of Beasts and Demons," "Black Funeral Death Pissing Orgy," "My Heart Will Go On In An Organ Grinder," and "Down."

They're awesome.

Jan 4, 2006

See the light, don't roll back.

Want to... businesses in your local community? a better person? money?

Don't shop at Wal-Mart.

Whenever I stroll into Wal-Mart looking for one particular item, I never leave with just one item. If I venture into the store seeking a fuse for my car, I'll leave with a fuse, three candy bars, a DVD, a novelty keychain lighter, a new bathmat, and a decorative cover for my saucepan lid. I could have spent $1.99, and that is all I should have spent. I could have paid for it in cash. Instead I ended up whipping out my credit card to cover a $30 charge at the register. No wonder Wal-Mart is so successful. Their store is, and this should go without saying, a world of impulse buys. Its LOW, LOW prices entice consumers into buying WAY, WAY more than they should.

Realising this, then, are many consumers really saving any money at all by shopping at Wal-Mart rather than "more expensive" alternative retailers, be it for groceries, household items, or garden? Most may be convinced they are, but my hunch is great that many are not. They're taking more crap home for less than they could take the same amount of crap home from other separate retailers who charge more for the same items. Is this necessarily a good thing? No. If I had gone to Checker Auto Parts just across the street, I would have paid $3.25 for the same set of fuses, perhaps, but would not have been able to purchase three candy bars, a DVD, a novelty keychain lighter, a new bathmat, or even a decorative cover for my saucepan lid. All items I can live without, all items I would probably be better off without. And good golly, I saved myself over $25 by shopping at a store that smelled more like motor oil than fast food grease and didn't try to tempt my every sense with mountains of junk.

Wal-Mart does have its sneaky little tactics, too. Putting a $29.99 toaster in its own special display out in the middle of the aisle will have many consumers thinking its a spectacular deal. It probably is. You could get the same item at Macy's for $49.99. Yet, it is likely the customer will bypass this product, which appears to be the toaster oven of cheapest quality, and wander down the nearest adjacent aisle featuring a series of different toaster ovens which most likely all come with higher price tags. It's all about comparison, after all. There will always be the "highest end" model, that which sports the biggest price tag but also appears to be the best of the best. And whether the shopper recognises it or not, herein lies the trap.

Some shoppers, especially those on a budget, will choose to purchase that clumsy hunk of junk parked in the middle of the main aisle. It will probably break down after three months, necessitating another trip to Wal-Mart to buy another crappy toaster. Others, perhaps even an equal or greater percentage, will look at the higher end models and think, "well, that appears to be of much better quality than the $29.99 unit, and it's only $20 more!" One of these, however probably isn't such a "steal." It might even cost more there than it does at certain other stores in the same town. But Wal-Mart wouldn't have you believe that. After all, they sell toaster ovens for $29.99.

Though, it sure knows how to give lazy Americans convenience in a one-stop shopping experience. Heck, you don't even have to drive to a separate McDonald's since there is already one built in to the store! But it all comes around to basic shopper tendencies. One-stop shopping isn't necessarily a good thing for those who are easily grabbed by the merciless hand of impulse buying, also known as those who return home with more junk they never planned to purchase before heading out than "necessities." That store symbolises America oh so well. Efficiency, excess, uniformity, convenience, unculture. When I gaze upon so much of the obese scum that waddles down the aisles of Wal-Mart, I see the entirety of America within four brightly lit walls. I get terribly disgusted. Stepping into Wal-Mart from a Hawaiian parking lot is like being ejected into another universe, a hellish realm portraying the threatening familiarity of sinister American values and heavily watered-down, mechanised mediocrity. It makes me queasy.

I don't wish to be so tempted to buy so much useless junk. I already have enough as it is. If anything, I should be getting rid of stuff, but as an American, that's what life is all about for me. Stuff. But seriously, that's one of the reasons I enjoy camping so immensely: getting away from stuff. If I had no stuff, I would be just as happy living in a tent rent-free. Recollections of my brother insisting we take the portable colour TV when my father took us camping as kids makes me shake my head and sigh. The signals I want to catch while basking in the great outdoors can only be received by my internal spiritual antenna.

Kudos to those Wal-Mart shoppers who can walk in the store, get exactly what they need and nothing else, and run back out before being tempted to impulse purchase. I'm not claiming they don't exist. Unfortunately, they still shop at Wal-Mart, and support child labour in sweatshops in China. I honestly feel like a better person going down to the farmer's market to purchase produce and local crafts straight from the farmers/craftspeople, as opposed to going to Wal-Mart and buying a few health-devastating bags of candy and mass manufactured wooden boxes made in Taiwan.

Thus, I am challenging myself to not be seduced by Wal-Mart's unfathomable allure. They are open until midnight, and I can wait until 11:30 to do my shopping. So what? I can do the same at KTA superstores. Wal-Mart's food prices are cheaper. So what? Food prices at KTA can be competitive when on sale, and KTA sells much higher quality foodstuff in much greater varieties. Where else am I to buy miscellaneous products like curtain rods, though? I'm sure there's a place. Once upon a time, as in just a few years ago, all of Hawaii's residents had to subsist without Wal-Mart, K-Mart, or even Costco. Sadly, I am willing to bet few could stand that, now. Amazing how one corporation can make such a tremendous impact in everyone's lives. Stop Kilroying, Mr. Gates, before I have to smack your nose with my awesome new electronic flyswatter. Trust me, it's made in America, and won't even require the use of a muscle to operate.