Passing gas. Kicking ass. Walking the roads less traveled. All for positive change.
Start Of 2012 Update
January 14, 2012Posted by on
Haven’t posted for quite a while but lots of news. If only I could say the same for progress…
Regarding the November assault on the multiday barrier
As I mentioned before the plan for November was to sleep the first 15 days on the floor and the next 15 outside to break the multiday barrier. Sadly the multiday barrier has other plans…
The first 11 nights of November I slept on the floor. Some nights its was very rough others I got a pretty decent rest. The night of the 12th which was supposed to be my 12th night my discipline broke.
Basically the night before that was very rough and quite cold. Very brutal. As a part of the exercise I slept with the windows opened full to better acclimatize myself to the cold and the second half of the month where the real challenge was. Later that day not only was I tired but I was hit by a wave of depression over various perhaps silly things which you’ll probably laugh about as you read.
I had this weird feeling on the bottom of my right quad just like I had on my left when the hemangioma was there(it’s happened before that occasion and since but that day it was strongest of all). It’s hard to even explain if you haven’t experienced such a thing first hand but the feeling is basically one of oh god please not again this can’t be.
Likely it was all in my head. I did get quite messed up by the whole thing. PTSD I suppose. But what if it was real? There was little I could do but suffer until it got as bad as my left leg and got to the point where the benefits of removal outweighed the risk as again hemangiomas are benign tumors. Frankly I knew the odds were very low as again intramuscular hemangimas are quite rare. Generally hemangiomas are on the skin and on the head and go away on their own. What are the odds after all of there being another one at the same exact spot in the other leg… But at the same time if it happened once whose to say it can’t happen again? My grandpa had severe nosebleeds caused not by exactly the same but a similar problem. Also I came here from Belarus when I was five, and lets not forget which nation wound up taking a very good chunk of the radioactive assbeating resulting from the events of Chernobyl. The Belarussian people’s health is still affected by that to this day. So could it be? What if, what if, what if? And in the worst case scenario there was little I could do but wait and suffer for years…
Also due to way too much time spent hunched over books and computers who are the main culprit I noticed that day just how much my vision had got worse and it just depressed me. This was a gradual process of course but that was the day that the sum of the parts really hit me. I want to see the world while I can you know actually see. It just saddened me. It scared me. To be blind or bad of vision is to be vulnerable. Then I went on another worrying frenzy. Will I be able to see just enough to get by let alone thrive? And if yes what’s the point? There’s more to life than getting by. Will I be able to survive? Will I be able to provide myself insurance or since insurance is quite the ripoff be able to get needed surgery and/or glasses by other means. Just like a lot of pessimism for the future. I know it sounds almost laughable but like you go into this cycle of depression and worry that just keeps getting worse and worse. I know its funny the way I say it partly because these things are hard to describe try as I might. But believe me it’s not so funny when you’re experiencing it.
My parents of course weren’t thrilled I was sleeping on the floor the past while and were trying to get me to sleep in bed and give up on everything. Normally I ignored the bullshit but that day they said something about taking a day off and that everyone needs it. It sounded like it was in a somewhat different spirit than before and I thought for once they spoke sense. So that night and the next(I had important things to do early that morning) I slept in bed. Breaking discipline sucked but I knew I probably needed to. A good nights sleep cleared a lot of the useless worry bullshit from my head and I felt just about normal again.
The next three nights on the floor went without incident. On what was supposed to be the last night I failed. I don’t know why. I can’t even pinpoint the reason myself. At the end I was like damn fuck it. No more floor. I’ll take it outside I’ve already been delayed enough…
Also not only were my plans delayed but deferred. The initial plan was Marine Park 5 nights, OWS/Zuccotti Park 5 nights, random location 5 nights. Sadly Bloomberg decides to attack the camp with no justification whatsoever on the 15th. I have more to say on OWS and it ain’t all pretty but that’s for later…
Anyway fast forward to the actual point where I take things outside. I start off by going back to my old favorite camping spot in the center of the track in Marine Park. All in all dressing in layers(yes pants also, awkward as that may be)/warm clothes and a tarp for waterproofing is not half bad combination. Just add in thermal socks and you’re not that badly off.
Like I’m not even sure why I failed or what went wrong but I haven’t been able to so much as last one night outside.
Like maybe the first night I should have worn warm/thermal socks. Learned my lesson there fast. 5 dollars later I was back in business.
One night it was raining. At first it was fine but after a while rain started leaking in. My arm got wet even through my jacket. I must if possible position my tarp to better hold off the water… All in all the same mistake I made in my previous summer attempts before I was brought down by the hemangioma.
I just couldn’t fall asleep. No clue why. I certainly wasn’t cold but neither can I say that I felt warm and protected. There were times I may have come close to falling asleep(and hopefully in such a way that I wake up again rested in a few hours). But sadly it was not to be…
Perhaps it was the cars and the people surrounding the rectangle containing the elliptic track…
Speaking of people there were times those passed through as well. Obviously that’s generally bad in these situations. But then this is NYC hard to find good training spots for camping. Some didn’t notice me or simply let me be if they did. There was a times when there were a bunch of hooligan sounding people. Those shake you up, you’re staying still, you’re hoping not to get noticed. One of the groups noticed the tarp. One of them was like, “what the fuck is that?”. I uncover the tarp off me a bit to see what’s going on and just how screwed I am. They weren’t expecting a reaction and got scared and go away promptly. Later on that same night there were three nuts passing by. Not that I knew it at the time. One of them was like “hey sleeping beauty wake up” and in a weird voice. Not weird so much as it sounded like a cop. Just like I can’t explain it you had to have been there. I thought I was busted right there. Strange as that may sound such a relief it was just mischievous goons…
Fun times in simple words…
Later after Thanksgiving when they started selling Christmas trees and wreaths along Avenue U like they do every year I had to move into the reservation/swamp across the street as the thing seemed to operate 24 hours and would attract the attention of yet more people. Going into the reservation/swamp/marsh at night is scary but I’ve never run into anyone there. I found this secluded spot around a tree surrounded by a bunch of bush and that was my camping spot during my few attempts there. The walk to it was very muddy. All in all it was a lot more peaceful than the track in Marine Park. Not to mention another perk; the walk tu the “bathroom” was also much closer.
The down sides were that there were noises I think possibly from geese and who knows what other local wildlife. Also there was a lot of garbage and crap everywhere. I try to respect the land and leave behind if something then biodegradable things. Others however had no such discretion. That or it may be some indirect effect of the Dead Horse Bay landfill burst back in the 1950’s(very unlikely tough if you look at/know the geography of the land).
Also though you may laugh and though I probably watch way too much crime TV I was afraid that buried under some of the crap there was a murder victim or something and that just creeped me out. I took out my flashlight and looked around more to calm myself down…
In the end though I haven’t been able to last a night or even fall asleep I did do a lot better than in the summer coming home at times past 4am even.
Another factor I don’t really know where best to describe here was my knee. Though at times I could bend it just about completely other times only a little more than 90 degrees. Perhaps it’s post operative swelling coupled with inflammation causing this. Perhaps it’s a hematoma. Always a risk after surgery but given the nature of hemangiomas all the more likely. Did I mention hemangiomas are bastards? It has improved now but I’m not sure if the issue will ever go away.
Eventually my tarp started smelling like swamp. Being 8*10 feet it was large I wasn’t sure how to clean it. I’d hose it down but I live in an apartment building not a house. I’d maybe ask someone if I can hose it down in their yard and leave it to dry but if that works I don’t know how much good it would do. An annoying thing about tarps is the condensation that gathers on them. Not that tents and sleepings bags are immune but…
I’m at a bit of an impasse right now and don’t really know what to do.
A more concrete budget and a new training regimen for the big walk
In light of erm somewhat recent events I’ve decided I need a newer better regimen of training expeditions more realistically related to the problems I may face on the big walk. My current regimen is as follows:
- This expedition involves me walking to Manhattan getting on the ferry taking it to Staten Island walking its perimeter then going back. This is a multiday trip along with all that follow. When circumnavigating Manhattan there isn’t always a nice walkway along the edge(frankly it used to be worse but the shoreline has been restored a good bit in part due to the Shorewalkers’ activism). Sometimes you’re forced onto the streets. Various other obstacles as well. Staten Island’s perimeter is even less friendly towards traversal. All in all this should be an interesting 2 days.
- When the idea to circumnavigate Manhattan came Staten Island naturally followed. When resolving how to get to and from the start point the answer naturally came and thus the Epic Saunter as I’d later call it would be born. As for SI I considered various possibilities. Parents driving me. Hitch-hiking. Taking a ferry(finding out it was free was awesome). The question thus arose can I walk onto Staten Island. This isn’t as easy as it sounds for you can’t walk across the Verrazano Bridge. The only way to get onto Staten Island by foot is to go to New Jersey. Tear ass down the Jersey coast into Bayonne. Then cross the Bayonne Bridge onto SI walk it’s perimeter. This time I will walk in the opposite direction of the one I walked in Staten Island 1. Then I will go back the way I came. Of all these training expeditions this is the one that excites me most. Dunno why but something about the Jersey shore just calls my name. Who knows maybe it’s the crazy awesome views I saw of Jersey in my previous walks.
- I next want to walk to Orient Point(one of the remote tips of Long Island) and back.
- Next up I walk to Shore Road Park. Walk it in its entirety. This ensures that I’ve hit the westernmost point of long Island. Then I walk to Montauk Point, Long Island’s easternmost tip. Nothing like walking Long Island west to east I always say. Then I walk home making sure to hit the west tip again on my way.
- Here I walk to Albany and back.
- Providence is a cool city. I’m sure you can guess my mode of transport both ways. If class is in session than I’ll be able to visit Paul who by the way goes to Brown University. There are also multitudes of interesting people there who I hope to meet if I get the chance.
- Finally this is the big one. The Beast Of The East. If I pull this one off I’ll have achieved a feat as difficult as the coast to coast walk. Possibly even harder. Imagine the dire strait, the worst case scenario short of being killed or kidnapped. Maybe you got robbed. Maybe you just misplaced all your equipment somehow. Maybe you ran out of money. Suddenly you’re alone and have nothing. What do you do? This is where I find out. Granted even now I’m severely underequipped and underfinanced but at least I have something on all the previous expeditions. This one however is different. The goal here is simple. I start out with nothing except the clothes on my back. I have to get to Boston and back. In case things go wrong I take enough money for a train back home. This cannot be used for anything else such as say some sort of crackpot gambling venture to bootstrap myself to more money or any other crackpot thing. For all respects and purposes that money doesn’t exist. This one is designed to test how I handle the worst case scenario. It’s a leap of faith in both myself and the world around me. I have no idea how I will pull this one off. For food I may dumpster dive. There is an amazing amount of decent food thrown away. As far as dumpster diving goes I have a bit of experience. I’m not good at it but may improve. I’ve eaten dumpstered food before and am perfectly alive. Also I’ll try to see what edible plants there are. Obviously this will require very careful research beforehand because poisoning myself is not in the job description. I may also need to ask for help convincingly. Who knows how that will go. This one is so difficult that I may allow for hitch-hiking and other such transport to get to Boston and back. I may have to lower the difficulty. And that’s fine. The main point of this is to show myself that in the worst case scenario I can return to a stable state for some definition of stable.
As can be seen there are a few problems that have been bothering me. Obviously as I mentioned in the above link SI1 and SI2 are dead. The next expedition now involves walking to Staten Island’s southern tip and back using no other mode of transport. Of course this means I’ll need to go into NJ, work my way down the coast, and cross onto SI. All in all the distance is therefore 100 or so miles at least according to Google. The Done And To Do page is out of date.
Anyway that’s among the trivial issues here. A more pressing issue is that worst case scenario test is at the end of the above list. Some of the expeditions in the above list are monsters in their own right and if the worst happens on them I’m still screwed. Getting robbed 2/3 of the way to Montauk Point is no better than say in the middle of Colorado. Thus I need other smaller worst case scenario simulators earlier on in the list so I can handle this possibility early on and not die on a training expedition. Then I work my way up to handling things of 7’s magnitude.
Furthermore there are budgetary concerns. I’m not exactly leaking money and currently am still unemployed. Still need to figure out just how tight of a budget I’m working with. Though I now have an upper bound and an estimate regarding the amount of money I have at my disposal.
I have about 500 in earnings from previous odd jobs. Furthermore I knew I had some money given to me for my birthday and other major holidays though I didn’t really have any access to it previously. I hoped I’d be able to access it as it is supposedly mine. I decided to go for it and count up what was there. I estimated that there was 2000 in there which was kind of ironic. How so? I looked and there was 7540. Much more than expected. Though it is supposedly mine I was told I’d be allowed to take at most 2000. Fate certainly has a sense of humor…
My budget is thus less than or equal to 2500 therefore. Worst case scenario I still have like 500. Karl Bushby started out on that and has risen to become the walker of walkers. Still even if possible to start on that it’s extremely difficult. I don’t need a lot, but I need something.
In my recent interview with Nate Damm he said he estimates the whole thing cost between 4000 and 4500. Of course how much it will cost for me I don’t know. However clearly I don’t want too much money to go into training costs either so I can actually do the big walk.
Thus with that said notice how some of the expeditions in the above list are somewhat similar at least in the route aspect. I’m thinking instead of doing these separately to combine them in a circuit of sorts. For example getting out to Orient Point and Montauk Point separately is a lot of work. Thus I’m thinking to combine them, to walk to Orient take the arc around to Montauk and then head back.
Thus with my previous training regimen and its flaws in mind please feel free to leave a comment telling me what you think of this new training regimen which will soon hopefully go verbatim on the Done And To Do page and be acted upon:
- The goal here is simple, walk to Staten Island’s southern tip and back. To do it is complicated because you can’t walk across the Verrazano to get from Brooklyn to Staten Island. There’s only one way on by foot and that involves walking to New Jersey and going down the coast till you hit the Bayonne Bridge which you then cross into Staten Island. The distance is approximately 100 miles and will take three days therefore.
- On a big expedition what if the worst happened short of being kidnapped or murdered or hopelessly lost(say you’re on vast plains trying to reach civilization wandering in circles till death)? What if you got robbed? Perhaps lost/misplaced all your equipment somehow? What if you ran out of money? Suddenly you find yourself alone and with nothing. What do you do? This is where I find out. Though I’m severely lacking in both finance and equipment on all my previous expeditions up to that point I had something. This time around I start out with absolutely nothing but the clothes on my back. The goal is to at least walk to and possibly summit Bear Mountain. Then walk back. I only take enough money for a ride back home. This money cannot be used for anything else like say bootstrapping myself to more money via some sort of other scheme(perhaps some crackpot gambling venture with chess hustlers over a game, perhaps something I haven’t even thought of). For all respects and purposes that money does not exist. I will also take my cell phone but it will not be used except in the direst of circumstances or possibly once a day confirming to family/friends that I’m still alive. Again essentially the phone doesn’t exist and will be kept off. The point is this is designed to handle the absolute worst case scenario. I don’t know how I will do this. But I must figure out as the road is not forgiving to the unprepared. It’s a huge leap of faith in both myself and the world around me. I have no idea how I will pull this one off. For food I may dumpster dive. There is an amazing amount of decent food thrown away. As far as dumpster diving goes I have been to freegan meets and have a bit of experience. I’m not good at it but may improve. I’ve eaten dumpstered food before and am perfectly alive. Also I’ll try to see what edible plants there are. Obviously this will require very careful research beforehand because poisoning myself is not in the job description. I may also need to ask for help convincingly. Who knows how that will go. But if it wasn’t a challenge would it be worthwhile?
- First I walk to Shore Road Park and walk it completely. This ensures that I have hit the western tip of Long Island. I then walk to Orient Point the easternmost point of the northern fork of Long Island. From there I arc around and walk to Montauk Point the eastern tip of Long Island. Then I walk back home completing a circuit that resulted in me walking Long Island west to east and back.
- Here I again test myself against the worst case scenario. The goal here is to get to Albany and back. This expedition is so difficult that I may allow for hitchhiking and other means of transport to do this. Obviously that lowers the difficulty but that’s absolutely fine. The point here is to show myself that in case of the worst that I can revert back to a stable state for some definition of stable.
- If you look at the Map NYC, Providence, and Boston are almost co-linear meaning I can combine two awesome expeditions into a nice even more awesome one. First I walk to Providence. It’s an interesting city not to mention my friend Paul goes to Brown and it’d be cool to visit him there if classes are in session at the time. Then I walk to Boston. Then I walk back home and close the triangle knowing that I am ready for and can handle anything on the NYC to SF big walk.
As usual leave your thoughts/advice in the comments. It’s been a while since someone commented. Though this is tentative likely this will replace the current official training regimen.
A few thoughts on and involvement with Occupy Wall Street
Not only was it unjustified but Bloomberg’s November 15th attack on the OWS camp in Zuccotti Park did a lot of damage not only to OWS but also to my effort.
At first though I sympathized like many I thought it wasn’t going to be different than typical protests which usually achieve nothing. A few day afterwards as I had and was recovering from my surgery they were still around. I didn’t and still don’t necessarily agree with their tactics or believe them to be the most efficient. Nonetheless I cannot bitch here. Unlike most who quietly suffered the people of OWS got up off their ass and did something to have their say, better their lot in life, and do the same for the next generation. I was really feeling there was an actual chance of making some noise, starting the needed conversations, and changing the world.
For a while all I could do was monitor events from afar though I wanted to help. One of my friends was at the protests when his other duties permitted. I looked at various media sources. As I learned more I felt a strong connection with the cause. Far from all of them were druggies and hoodlums(though sadly there was/is an ample supply of those). For example a lot of them did what they were told by their “wise” elders. They went to college, finished(sometimes with excellent marks), were above their head in debt, and jobless. Some luck out and of those that do many deserve to on the merits of their education(schooled or otherwise) and hard work. But what about the rest with education and who worked hard? Finish school so you can be a good corporate slave if you’re lucky. Sounds good eh?
If I could have been there in the Zuccotti Park era not only could I have helped a cause I believed in but also I could have picked up some valuable camping tips as well. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone.
Now that I bring camping up I’ll take this as an opportunity to address common criticisms of OWS. Some say that they’re bums/spoiled brats who want everything on a platter. Obviously these people never camped out. I couldn’t even last a night outside. Frankly a lot of these haters probably wouldn’t even last as long as I did. Some of the protesters hung in there for nigh on two months. They survived truly rough stuff.
If I could have been there at the time I would have learned a lot. Luck has not been on my side. Of all the times I could have succumbed to the problems caused by the hemangioma that’s been slowly torturing me for years…
As soon as I’m just about well enough to possibly show up Bloomberg attacks the camp with no justification. Did I mention how great my luck was?
In all fairness poor Bloomberg/Wall Street didn’t have a choice. If OWS were an ineffective protest they’d be allowed to exist peacefully. Injecting ex-cons and homeless people to take advantage of free food and shelter didn’t work. Sending in the NYPD to steal OWS’s generators a day or two before the October 29th snowfall didn’t work. Add in what happened to Scott Olsen and watch participation and donations skyrocket. People were starting to send in space blankets so the whole freeze the bastards to death plan simply was at too much risk of failing. There was only one way to end it…
Wall Street took obscene risks knowing that even if they lose the government would milk us dry tax wise to save them if they begged nicely. There is an obvious similarity between Wall Street and OWS that both are asking for tax money to bail them out. That was what Wall Street wanted to bring to the front ahead of all the other facts. Probably what Wall Street the most was the most scared of was that their propaganda trying to reduce OWS to their level wasn’t working. OWS had built a pretty good commune. OWS showed the world how things could be. Again there was only one way to end it…
On December 13th to rehabilitate my leg and start getting back in shape I walked the 8.5 miles to Zuccotti Park area. Looked around learned what’s what. Joined the Tech Ops working group. I’m there in a programmer/sys-admin capacity. Trying to help out there. I’ve done a bit from the sidelines namely in terms of giving a few pointers but wish I could do much more. In all fairness it’s not entirely my fault. It would be nice if they were more organized and I actually had a spec… Either way if you want to check out what they’re up to or contribute check out their code repository at https://github.com/flosolutions
It would have been nice to swing by there when there was action in Zuccotti Park as opposed to a heavy police barricade around it trying to make it look like protesters don’t exist there. Nonetheless enough whining. I asked a few people around for tips regarding camping anyway. The most important tip I got was from Mitch a dude I met there and am friends with. The problem likely was that I didn’t insulate myself from the ground enough. The ground I camped on wasn’t terribly cold but neither did it give back heat like the floor. The tarp wasn’t thick enough probably and I needed to integrate a yoga mat there somewhere. Also when you’re in warm clothing your body starts thinking thats what it’s like outside… This will obviously be taken into account.
Also met a bunch of cool people in the Tech Ops group. Some are doing truly amazing things. However that aside here is the person that takes the cake. One of the guys there a dude named Jason was one of the Occupiers that marched from NYC to DC as part of Occupy The Highway. Like when he mentioned he was part of it I was just amazed. The respect I have for fellow walktivists(I’d brag about inventing the term but upon googling I found that the term had been used exactly once before I came along, so close though grargh) working on that level of epic is just immense. Only a handful of times have I had that feeling. The feeling of meeting a god. Total badass. Also let me take this moment to pay tribute to those walking occupiers once more. Furthermore while most of the marchers returned to NYC I learned from Jason that the 10 strongest are powering their way down to Atlanta. Again my respect for them is beyond words. Check out their progress at http://www.walkupy.org/ which seems to be temporarily down and here http://twitter.com/Walkupy
I can learn a lot from Jason but unfortunately I’ve only talked to him once. I gave him my email and told him to email me. Sadly he hasn’t. Not that I blame him. My enthusiasm/fanaticism about walking and walktivism is very intense. I also think the “ALL HAIL KARL BUSHBY”s that came later on in the conversation got to him as well. He was freaked out. But its my fault because in all fairness I was acting like a preteen girl that just met Justin Beiber. Though I haven’t spoken to him for a while I’ll find a way to get back in contact with him though someone else when I’m more calm and I’m sure we can go from there.
Now while I have talked about the good parts of OWS I also need to talk about the bad parts.
The media makes it seem likes OWS is all druggies, homeless, criminals, or the mentally ill and that clearly isn’t so. However put politely there is no shortage in the supply of idiots either. Granted there is a logical explanation for that. Most people aren’t fond of Wall Street or it’s doings. However they are too entrenched in the system in order to extract themselves. They at least have jobs that while exploitative hold their body together. But there’s more to life than getting by. They’re fed up. They can’t do much to speak out or act however for fear of losing their jobs. They’re insured, many people aren’t, why risk that getting out there into direct action perhaps being spotted by someone’s camera making it on the news, getting fired, …? The best they can do is maybe donate money or equipment to OWS in a quiet way so that there’s no retribution from their boss. The people on the forefront of the protest are those that have nothing to lose. Some are truly unique(our world punishes this a lot) nice educated people who down on their luck as a result of the bullshit world we live in. They conduct themselves honorably and are the main driving force of the positive change caused by OWS(people speak more of inequalities than deficits now). Others however have nothing to lose because they’re well losers simple as that. Knowing the why behind the what does not make dealing with some of these nuts any less annoying. This also can be a turnoff to passerby/locals. However even the idiots have their use. OWS needs more people as power never gives anything without a strong demand from many people creating too much pressure to deny.
Furthermore they do go over the line at times. Consider December 17th when they tried to establish the park at Duarte Square as a new headquarters. Part of it was city owned property and part was owned by the Trinity Episcopal Church. Of the fact that they needed a headquarters there was no doubt. I already discussed why the encampment at Zuccotti Park was important and the main reason it got shut down. The part the Occupiers were trying to get to was an empty lot fenced off by the church. It was unused for the most part. Maybe the occasional art show. A bunch of Occupiers tried everything from pushing down the fence to scaling over it with a ladder. Again they needed a headquarters. Normally I’d have no issue. The one thing is though that the church helped them at times before. However as far as letting OWS use they square the refused to even negotiate. I just don’t know what to think here. Frankly the church is owned by an organization of real estate fatcats called Trinity Wall Street so it may be a case of a corporation posing as a church. I don’t know either way. Like there are landlords who keep houses boarded up in the face of homelessness simply because they can’t turn enough of a profit. If it was property belonging to people like that I’d have no qualms. If they tried to take back Zuccotti Park from which they were unjustly evicted nothing would nibble at me. Hell if they went throwing rocks at the cops outside Zuccotti Park I’d be right there with them. But the church helped them with food, charging appliances, blankets to keep warm. The moment they do one thing OWS doesn’t like OWS disrespects their wishes and this happens. I feel OWS may have gone too far on this one. I’m not fully sure though. People even within the church were divided and some of the clergy also scaled the fence allong with the Occupiers. Just what boggles me here was why take Duarte Square anyway. It’s not far from the financial district but is not terribly close. Frankly even if they did succeed in taking Duarte it’s still capitulation to the whim of a rich man and a bunch of armed thugs telling them where they can and can’t be. Hell even Zuccotti Park was in a way. The goal was to take Wall Street wasn’t it?
A headquarters was needed, but seriously Duarte Square? Come on people. I was there for a bit but then left due to cold and people smoking. And if not smoking then being annoying. Like this wiseass went running around putting burning sage in peoples faces. I think I mentioned that there was no shortage of idiots. Which leads me to my next point that in some cases they don’t know what the hell they want.
Of course when you don’t know what the hell you want you become vulnerable to manipulation. That’s what I fear the most. Anyway getting to my last point there are two kinds of protests/revolutions: the spontaneous and the induced. If it’s the latter one is of course led to ask who is behind the curtain? If it’s the former one must still ask the same thing because in the end it doesn’t matter. If nobody was behind the curtain at first someone sure as hell is now.
Take Libya for example. Inspired by Tunisia and Egypt they stood to fight for their rights. After Gaddafi took over Libya he forced imperialistic countries to renegotiate oil prices so that Libya kept most of the profits. Needless to say the US and NATO saw gold so they went in apparently for humanitarian purposes. Notice that’s not done in say North Korea. After all imagine how brainwashed the population must be to shed genuine tears over Kim Jong-Il’s death. Sure the Gaddafi regime was had mass poverty, brutality, cracked down on freedom of speech, etc. But all these atrocities make Gaddafi look like a saint compared to North Korea for its mostly successful assault on our most important right. Without freedom of thought we are nothing.
While Wall Street needs to go down without a doubt we must still stop and question who is using this for malicious ends. China, Russia, Iran, are for example among many who want to see the United States weakened and will not hesitate to take advantage of us at a moments notice. Wall Street going under certainly weakens America. If they didn’t start OWS they are at least supportive of and even perhaps actively backing it.
Some may go so far as to say I’m brainwashed by Wall Street and/or US government propaganda. Let me be clear that it is not the case. I am no friend of either Wall Street or the US(or any other country, world citizen til the end). However I am also no friend of China, Russia, Iran, and who knows who else may be trying to use OWS to achieve malicious ends. Some revolutions are clean, but in others as soon as the revolutionaries have served their purpose they are brushed aside and enslaved even more brutally by whoever they brought to power. Take the Russian Revolution for example. The point is that of all the negative aspects of OWS that fact that I may be being used for malicious ends is what disturbs me the most.
Am I saying that Occupy Wall Street is bad? No. I am an Occupier and I am proud to be one. What I am saying however is that I’m an Occupier that’s carefully observing what’s going on so as not to replace a bad system by worse inadvertently. The fact is we do not know whether OWS was spontaneous or induced, and if induced for what purposes. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter because if nobody was behind the curtain someone is now. No matter what you do in life someone will invariably try to twist it to bad ends. This isn’t a conspiracy theory it’s a fact. Take going to college for example. In spite of knowing school sucks you go anyway in an attempt to please your parents who only want security and happiness for you. But again never forget that the main fanaticism behind college was induced by a governmental corporate partnership whose main goal was to produce indoctrinated debt shackled slaves. Your parents may care for your security but the system that bombards them with both on TV/news and mouth to mouth propaganda does not. Similarly if you don’t go to college gangs, drug rings, and pimps will ruthlessly exploit vulnerable people who feel they have no other options. Regardless of whether you do +x or -x people will try to twist it to bad ends. So in conclusion all I’m saying is be aware of this. Though this is true all the time it is especially so in revolutions.
In the end all I can do is what I feel is right. If OWS goes in a direction I don’t like we part ways. As I said before I don’t believe their methods are the best for achieving the change they want. I agree with Buckminster Fuller who said that you never change the existing model by fighting it(I’d replace never by most of the time). You change it by creating a new one that makes the old one obsolete. That’s what these walks are about for instance to do amazing things while making a positive difference. That’s also what I’m trying to do with my life in general. If anything is worth doing it’s worth doing right and well. If life is worth living it’s worth living right and well.
OWS while good guys bent on fairness have the issue that half of them just don’t get it. They hope that if they put down enough pressure that certain things will be done. Assume they succeed. A lot of them will return back to the old rat race mentality. Sure more of them will be employed. Sure working people will have higher wages closer to what they deserve. The rich will be taxed more to help those that are down on their luck. This generation of corrupt bankers will die in prison. Hell even colleges will stop raising prices just because they can. But the fundamental mentality a good chunk of them have is the same old rat race mentality. For instance they won’t question college. They won’t question whether it’s the best place to learn. They won’t question the diploma fanaticism that at best is an annoyance and at worst has doomed the lives of many brilliant men. They won’t ask is there a sensible exam system we can build that determines actual merit by solving realm problems. They won’t question the cost. They won’t question the sustainability. They won’t question why both a combination of the government and mafias make independent enterprise and fair competition excruciatingly difficult essentially forcing you to count your bosses money in some office for the rest of your able life.
They all want fundamental change. One half in the sense of making the sick game fairer if possible(which it very well may not because our current structure is simply unsustainable). The other half are the more progressive. They like me are trying to live in a sustainable, healthy, and free way. If enough people start doing this a new large global society will rise up in a tsunami from the grassroots washing away those who use the current system to benefit off our back. Zuccotti Park got shut down because they had established quite the commune and showed the world how things could be.
I don’t know where OWS is heading or whether it will achieve their goals. I do know however that I worked against all the negativity/bullshit before OWS, work against it during OWS, and will continue working against it after OWS regardless of its outcome.
Where do I go from here?
The multiday barrier and the other obstacles in front of me refuse to yield. With what little resources were at my disposal I have done just about all that I can do. Frankly I don’t know if Gaddafi bombed his people with the same aggression as I have attacked the problems at hand. But all my attempts to no avail. Everything and a half seems to want a piece of me. I really don’t know what to do further. I’m at a wall.
I don’t know how I’m going to pass the camp test let alone my training expeditions or the big walk. Hell I even phoned Nate Damm and talked to him asked for advice. But words can only go so far. Action is what is needed. Either you can do it or you can’t. He’s an awesome individual either way and I hope that we will be good friends.
My budget is pretty much nonexistant. Even if I could afford to buy “proper” camping equipment I have no guarantee that it would work as I need it to nor would I actually have money left for expeditioning. Even if I try getting out there the winter will eat me alive. I hate the winter. I’m just up to here with it all.
Camp test wise there is only one last thing I can do. A crazy idea that I’ve had to help me acclimatize to sleeping outside in a slower more gradual fashion is to try the Matt Green Technique locally. Obviously the difference here is that if I am invited into a home I reject. The point is to acclimatize to sleeping outside. Hopefully I will feel safer on the yard knowing that I am sleeping there with permission and that there’s less likelihood of a psycho or a cop attacking me at night. Not to mention this is a good exercise in social skydiving, rejection therapy, and just confidence building in general. Don’t know how that will go but that may be my last chance. If I succeed it may pan out to something.
My last idea is nothing short of ludicrous. Partly it may be that I’m a skip the bullshit step one onto step two kind of guy. I’m also sick and tired of winter and have before me a set of training expeditions that may be too difficult to complete. I’m up to here. I’m in half a mood to just hitchhike down to Jacksonville in Florida, walk for the west coast, and pray for a miracle.
On this there is one more thing that can help me. On my way down there I can stop by Knoxville and grab a friend of mine if she’s willing. Jessica is quite the badass. Like me she is a fellow unschooler. I came across Jessica while recruiting people for a project of mine that’s currently down but not out. The Self Directed Learners Union was designed to help and stand up for the interests of unschoolers in a world that didn’t understand. Anyway Jess is quite the badass. She’s a freegan. Her dumpster diving skills are amazing while mine are almost nil. She can also forage for edible plants in the wild. She goes camping out for days at a time while I can’t last a night. In short she has survival skills which I can hopefully learn from her. With her by my side I actually have a fighting chance. The only possible drawback is that I walk very fast. This is partly due to my height/long legs and partly to my nature given walking prowess/energy. Many people couldn’t keep up with me. Paul could, but even then I had to remind him to keep up the pace. Therefore I will be slowed down. Part of what I enjoy about walking is that unlike running fast there is no want to stop feeling. Instead when you walk fast you feel this power course through you. I can’t even describe it. But it’s an amazing feeling and adds a lot to the physical reasons that I enjoy walking. Without going at my natural fast but comfortable powerwalkish speed that feeling may be gone. On the other hand the walk is about mindfully exploring the continent and thus I’m hardly in a rush. Not to mention Jess is really awesome and having her with me would brighten my day.
Why it has to be this hard I don’t know. I do know that my life depends on me pulling out this walk. Failure is not an option. I have few supporters but that will change. From my reading I saw the recurring pattern that when your expeditions get epic enough people notice, appreciate, and help you with many things ranging from food to money to a place to stay to getting you a decent job where you can replenish your funds to providing good company for a leg of your walk. Recent experience has also confirmed to me these things I heard about the kindness of strangers and how people help those that do amazing things. I just need to bootstrap myself up to the point where my deeds are on peoples radar. My main problem is shortage of money. I don’t need a lot. Nate pulled a coast to coaster for 4000-4500. My budget is 2500 tops. Very likely less than that. That may be all I need to bootstrap myself to a point where I can better help myself and am in other peoples radar as well in case they want to help. I don’t need a lot but I need something to do that. What I have simply may not be enough. It’s frustrating. Dish out more than 100 grand for the college trap which best case scenario wins me rat race slavery for the rest of my able years sure my parents will do. But on a small percentage of that the journey that can let me live my dream, educate me like nothing else can, help me network, secure my future, and make a positive difference becomes possible. On 1/10 of that not only can I walk, I can walk like a king. But do they care, will they help, will they even let me access my own money? Nope. And frankly money isn’t the only or most important thing. There are other things that can be done to help, but no.
Do they understand passion? Apparently not. Apparently all the things I did thus far indicate neither aptitude nor enthusiasm nor drive that should be encouraged to help me reach my full potential. On some level or another a part of me always knew I wanted to do this. The conscious part of me did not until perhaps three years ago. Once you get out of the rat race mentality you begin to open that box deep inside where you locked your dreams for your own sanity. Once it is unlocked you can never put them back. Few things are as painful as a passion which cannot be pursued. Few things are as painful as the dream that you have to give up on. It’s like getting your heart broken by a woman. Only one cant say there’s more fish in that sea because there’s not. At least not fish of a sufficiently similar type. Maybe if you’re lucky you can find something else that speaks to you that way but is easier to pursue. Many of us are not.
Instead of helping me grow and pursue my passion apparently my family enjoys watching me writhe and squirm. They keep me alive. For that I am grateful. I am fed, clothed, and sheltered. I can even see a doctor while I’m covered under their plan. Outwardly it may appear that I have everything. But if you think about it you get all the same things in prison. Maybe not as comfortable but fundamentally the same. I’m sick and tired of this semi-isolated limbo. What sickens me even more is that the only obvious option I’m given is the university then rat race trap. That I will not do. As the time came I knew I had a choice. Would I live the dream or would I live the nightmare? The decision was obvious. It’s junior year now. I will not willingly go with what appears to be the live the hopeless limbo option. I can’t do this ant longer and frankly even if I could one day that will run out and I will be nobody, nothing. All I know is that my only hope is to get out there and do something good for myself and for others. This I must do at any cost.
To be frank I spoke quite harshly. I may even regret writing this in the morning. The rational part of me understands my family acts as they do for some deluded idea of what they think is best for me. Nonetheless this is how I feel right now and I can’t help that. I’m up to here, up to fucking here.
With that said I don’t know what else to say but this:
DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO RESIST THE NDAA, SOPA, AND PIPA. NOW WE ARE FIGHTING THE LAST GREAT BATTLE FOR OUR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS. IF WE LOSE THIS ONE WE MAY NEVER HAVE THE CHANCE TO RISE AGAIN. NO PRESSURE, BUT IT’S ONLY YOUR FUTURE AND THAT OF FUTURE GENERATIONS DEPENDS ON IT.