I’m in the airport departure lounge in Zurich. I ended up here, not by desire, but by fate, bad luck, or just the pure randomness of the universe. The billboard in front of me asks: what do you want the world to look like? Maybe Fate has led me here to confront this question.

I want the world to be a better place, of course, but beyond that, I’m not really sure. Maybe what i want is what Neo lays down to the Machine world at the end of the Matrix:

“I’m going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I’m going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.”

If i bring it down a level and ask, “what do I want in the little localised world of Clay?” The answer to that is even more elusive. What do I want my world to look like? Books, learning, and being able to go on quests for knowledge (without the interference of “real” life) are all I’d really require beyond the basics.

The beginning, middle, and end of all the questing I do is in aid of THE quest, which is the development and knowledge of one’s true self. Do you really know who you are beyond all the programming and socialisation and mental slavery that has been imposed on you since before you even left your mother’s womb? Some of this imprinting is essential to survival?

Imagine:

…that you are a monkey, and you’re running along a path past a rock and unexpectedly meet face to face another animal. Now before you know whether to attack it, or to flee it, or to ignore it, you must make a series of decisions. Is it monkey or non monkey? If monkey, is it pro-monkey or anti-monkey? If monkey, is it male or female? If female, is it interested? If male, is it adult or juvenile? If adult, is it of my group or some other? You have about one-fifth of a second to make all these decisions or you could be attacked.

You see how deep the programming really goes. And the only way to be free of it is to reprogram your Self free from the influence of the programming already in place. What do you really know beyond what you’ve been told, taught, or read in a book (other people’s thoughts) somewhere? How do you know what you know?

You need to reboot your brain, get a factory fresh install.

The world is about to descend into madness again. Black Friday is just around the corner or so I’ve been told twice today by different sources. There are even hints of a Black Friday before the Back Friday. Watch them descend upon the shops like a pack of rabid dogs. The ultimate display of how we’ve been programmed as citizens of the consumer society.

I love to travel, but it’s also good to be home. I’m a little ragged around the edges from the trip, nothing beer and pizza (it is Friday after all) won’t cure. And the buzzer is just about to go off.

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Why stand on a silent platform? Zach de la Rocha yells out on Township Rebellion.

And I agree. This is the greatest time in history to get your voice heard around the world in whatever medium suits your fancy. Do you want to write? Start a blog. Do you want to make films or have your own TV show? Start a YouTube Channel. Do you like radio? Start a podcast! Do you want to be a photographer, a fitness model, artist, illustrator? Start an Instagram account. Do you Want to be a musician? Start a Soundcloud account. There is no limit on your means of self-expression.

I wrote my first blog post on the 8th of February 2004. There was a real sense of community then, in the blogging world, mainly because it was new and people were still trying to figure out blogging’s potential. It was more personal then too. But once someone figured out they could make money from blogging, the game started to change. And once people got more comfortable with e-commerce (giving they’re credit card detail over the internet) the game changed for good.

Then social media came along and like TV killed the radio, social media killed personal blogging.

Commercial blogging still managed to thrive. The likes of Huffington Post, Tech Crunch, The Dredge Report, Gawker (now defunct) and others like them, kept blogging alive, albeit with a different cultural flavour. The days of the solo blogger (alone in his or her room) bleeding their heart and soul out into the Internet were gone. The CopyBlogger crowd moved in with the promise that if you niched well and nailed your SEO, then you could quit your day job and be a full-time blogger. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

If you wanted to blog for the love of blogging, you took your game over to social media ‘cause that’s where the eyeballs are. And that’s fine too. But why not write from your own blog and syndicate out, which is what the IndieWeb Movement is partially about. There’s also the fight against having your data harvested and sold to any bidder and then fed back to you via algorithms designed to make you buy more goods and services that (in a Fight Club sort of way) you probably don’t need.

If you have a blog that is sat gathering dust because you fell for the rhetoric that blogging is dead or because you thought (in reference to social media) if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em and left for the promise-land of ‘likes’ and ‘hearts’ and ‘rewteets’, then dust it off, and join the IndieWeb Movement. Your blog deserves it!

Side note: Most blogs, these days, look the same -clean, neat, colour coordinated. Remember when they used to look like this?

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Travel reminds me that people are pretty much all the same regardless of where you go or what country you’re in. Everywhere we’re trying to survive and that breaks down to 3 things – feeding, fucking, and fighting. Everything else is just a sideshow or a way to kill time between the 3 F’s.

These are the kinds of thoughts I have at 3:30 in the morning.

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My journey to Madrid was not a direct one. For some reason, nothing was flying out of the UK and going directly to Madrid. My only options were to fly to Frankfurt or fly to Brussels and then onto Madrid. I have a soft spot in my heart for Germans. I lived in the country for 3 years. I grew fond of the people and the place and the culture. Plus I love pretzels like the Germans love pretzels. And since I had an hour layover in Frankfurt I thought I’d seize the opportunity to grab a couple of them:

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So it’s day one of #blogpals19 and because I’m not one for always choosing the easy route, I didn’t hesitate to jump into this challenge knowing that my first 4 days of the challenge were going to be a challenge because I’m away from my home base on a business trip!

But that doesn’t matter. It’s a great opportunity to practice my mobile blogging chops. I’m using my iPhone 8+ to type this out as I taxi down the runway on LH 1112 to Madrid. I love having a small computer in my hand capable of being a one-stop media creation shop. I can write. I can record and edit audio. I can shoot and edit video. I can take pictures and edit them. I can broadcast live video and live radio. In short, I have the means of total media production in the palm of my hand. I know I’m not saying anything you haven’t heard already, but man this stuff excites the hell out of me. I get fired up every time I think about the power we carry around in our pockets!

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We’ve done a pretty good job of domesticating humans. Law and order are prevalent in most of the civilised world. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Frankfurt or Madrid people, on the whole, behave the same – we greet each other, respect each other’s space and property. We stand up and sit down when we’re told. We stand in line. We pay for goods and services. We get up, go to work, watch a little TV, watch the news, complain about politics. We eat. We sleep. And we get up and do it all again the next day, until we eventually die.

We are well trained domesticated primates.

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The only thing that separates us from the beasts is our imagination and wild ass capacity for creativity. So don’t be a robot. Create stuff. Express yourself in you’re own unique way.

The world doesn’t need another automaton.

It needs YOU – in all your beauty and glory.

Go make something!

Here we go, back in the game after a week’s worth of holiday. I need to unpack my time away, but the quick story is, we did a week-long camping tour, changing campsites every few days.

We started off in Skegness, then headed north to the North York Moors for a few days, then headed east from there to the Yorkshire Dales for 3 nights before heading south and home just ahead of the nightmare Bank Holiday traffic.

The highlight for me was the time spent in the Yorkshire Dales. We stumbled upon a great campsite just above Bolton Abbey. We were surrounded by rolling hills and cows.

One of my favourite things about camping is waking up at dawn to watch the sunrise (on the days it wasn’t raining or overcast (and there were a few)). I usually read in the mornings, but on this trip, I mostly just watched the sun come up while slowly sipping my coffee and doing some deep thinking and reflecting.

That tends to happen when I reach another birthday (I turned 51 on this trip). Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions in January, I think it’s more appropriate to make New Year resolutions on your birthdate, it is after all your true “new” year.

I got to thinking about how I want 51 to be different from 50. The truth is I didn’t have huge revelations, just a refining of previous themes like getting obsessive about physical fitness again. While I do workout most days, it’s usually only for about an hour, which is better than nothing, but when you consider the rest of my day is pretty much spent on my ass staring a screen, an hour doesn’t cut it.

I want to adopt some of Mark Sission’s Primal Blueprint ideas which are based on the Palaeolithic rules of living 10,000 years ago which is basically:

1. Eat lots of animals, insects, and plants.

2. Move around a lot at a slow pace.

3. Lift heavy things (hehe my favourite thing to do)

4. Run really fast every once in a while (I’ll struggle with this given that my knee is kaput at the moment)

5. Get lots of sleep (I’ll have to incorporate napping to make this happen considering I only sleep about 5 hours night).

6. Play.

7. Get some sunlight every day (speaking of which, I better hurry up and get out of this Starbucks and catch some rays before I head back to the office).

8. Avoid trauma.

9. Avoid poisonous things.

10. Use your mind.

The basic goal, as Mark sums it up, is to be healthy, energetic, happy, lean, strong, bright, and productive.

Worthy goals for sure.

Time out in nature reminded me of how much I miss being out amongst the mountains and trees. I don’t get out in the wilds anywhere near the amount I used to do. I cite work as the negative influence, but that wouldn’t be a fair assessment. I’m the real culprit for not making the time to take to the hills. So my commitment this birth year is to embrace nature with a stronger faith.

Once upon a time, my outings were focused purely on the physical. How far could I push myself? How fast could I climb? Then for a time, it was spiritual. I’d go to the mountains to disappear into myself and become one with Nature. And now, I’m returning with the intention of exploring natural history and perhaps even a little transcendentalism.

So these are just a few of the things I want to do with year 51.

 

views from my hotel:

I some times I get disoriented from all the traveling up and down the country I do.  Especially when I work with multiple clients on projects that require different skill sets.  Because I submerge myself into my work roles completely, when I have a quiet moment and nobody is around that I can orient myself on, I sometimes have a momentary lapse of reason and forget where I am and what I am doing.  I had one of those moments yesterday on the way to get a coffee, and I had one this morning when my alarm went off at 4a.m. in my hotel room.  Because the room was very dark and my head was clouded with sleep, I couldn’t remember where I was.  I had to work hard to try to remember the day of the week and who I am working for today.  At first I got it wrong.  I imagined it was Thursday and I was somewhere else.  It took a few moments for clarity to return.