After Buckethead, Baskethead (Vogli Bonze) is perhaps the worlds most unique guitarist ! I filmed him in his element busking at the corner of Bourke and Swanton Streets in Melbourne in February this year. Vogli’s music includes punk Mongolian polyphony throat singing, with Buddhist lyrics and catchy guitar riffs !
He has some decidedly weird but infectious and catchy grooves !
More here :
Brexit was a significant challenge for the UK and I think despite many of the valid concerns that Brits had with the European Union (mostly due to immigration, trade and population pressures), it was a major step backwards. At some point Europe needs to overcome it’s differences while maintaining individual sovereignty and autonomy of it’s nation states. There are no easy answers but this is something that will continue to cause problems for Europe. A lack of unification lends itself to war and too much control over autonomy also lends itself to war. If we humans wish to become truly space faring, we must embrace our difference and find common ground. Otherwise the likes of an Earth as portrayed in Star Trek and Starr Trek’s Federation will remain nothing more than a flight of fancy of the imagination !
Read these posts by Patrick Stewart on Brexit and watch the great skit in the final link :
- https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/culture/video/2016/apr/25/patrick-stewart-sketch-what-has-the-echr-ever-done-for-us-video .
And here’s some of Jeaan-Luc Picard’s most inspirational speeches.
Diversity is a wonderful thing but global immigration due to uncontrolled population growth, war, natural disasters and competition for natural resources, is causing all manner of problems everywhere. I have mixed feelings about this issue. I like all people and dislike ignorance any where. I see people in every country crying out to preserve their own culture and I understand that. I also understand how difficult it is for people to cope with the stresses of warfare, natural disasters and intolerance. I disagree with the chap in the following video about Islam. I think Islam is a beautiful religion, however I loath any extremes of any religion – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc. So I agree with him about the brutal aspects of Islam. Just as I dislike the brutal aspects of Aboriginal culture, the class system of Hindu society and so on.
We need more interfaith dialogue that looks honestly at the extremes of interpretation and we need to reduce the human population. The issues that are becoming a hot bed of controversy now are identical to the issues that led up to World War 2. But of course while we have groups that are creating balkanization and orchestrating geopolitical events to suit their own agendas, nothing will change.
In every country on Earth (except maybe Bhutan due to their stringent visitor policy) immigration and diversity is creating many problems. And why is that ? I think fundamentally it’s because we are so intolerant of each other and because extreme ideologies of ignorance create insurmountable obstacles.
God knows if we can’t sort our shit out down here, we sure as hell won’t be able to sort it out in space ! And if we can’t tolerate differences among our own species, there’s little chance that we’ll be able to tolerate differences between ourselves and extraterrestrials. This is one reason why it will be millennia until we are allowed to become space faring.
Here’s a couple of nice interviews with Christopher Wylie – a former employee of Cambridge Analytica, talking about how his company influenced the 2016 US election. This group and their parent group Strategic Communication Laboratories, is just one creator of political warfare. Next time there is an election in your part of the world, see who’s saying what on social media and take note of the adds that your being shown on your feeds. Chances are there’s a big data propaganda group trying to influence you !
The power of influence and the invasion of privacy as described in these interviews, is just another reason to kill your Facebook account and to get off all social media, period.
More reading here :
Update – Here are a few more relevant videos.
I remember sitting with my sister in her backyard one morning in August 2016 and we were talking about her brain tumours and how she was feeling. “I’m terrified of dying and being stuck in a box”, she said. A few months later she took her husband to visit one of her former advertising clients – the local funeral home and she purchased her coffin. That’s how Susy was. She was practical and tried to face her fears, even up to the end.
Susy did very poorly in science and maths at school and struggled to get into university, where she went on to study primary teaching. Even though she loved children, she never ended up becoming a primary teacher. Instead she worked her way from administration in hotels, to car sales to advertising to administration assistant in a hospital consulting room in a private hospital, 70 m from where she eventually died. Susy’s first husband was addicted to KFC and suffered from some kind of eating disorder but I liked him. Her second husband and the man who was to father her two children is a working man with a big heart. I sometimes think of him and dream about him, stuck in that big house looking after two kids who miss their mum. My father hates him, as he hated her first husband. No one was ever good enough for his little girl. But Susy’s husbands did more for her in life, than our father ever did. And my father’s lack of action and genuine care was a source of suffering for Susy, throughout the last decade of her life.
On the outside Susy had everything. A big house, a big car, a husband with a well paid job and 2 beautiful children. But inside I think Susy struggled to fill her life with meaning. When her dog Jessie dissapeared a year before she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, Susy’s world fell apart. A few days after I spoke to her about the dog’s dissaperance I went looking for Jessie remotely and found her dead in bushland a few kilometers away. She’d been hit by a car and stumbled off in the bush where she later died. I never had the heart to tell Susy what I had discovered. And for 6 months she went looking for her, scanning the missing dogs lists near and far and driving up to an hour away scanning the suburbs. I don’t know what it was about Jessie that meant so much to her. She was there before the children were born and I guess Susy figured she’d be there as they grew up. I knew at the time that Jessie was the last straw in what must have felt for Susy like an endless string of losses, which began when our mother walked out on us when she was 9. The losses continued when we were stuck in boarding school a year later, when her car was stolen when she was 19, with the loss of her potential future as a primary teacher, with the betrayal of her love when her first husband had 2 affairs and then walked out on her, with the loss of our fathers attention, with the loss of her uterus and gall bladder, with the loss of her dog Jessie and finally with the loss of security when she was diagnosed with advanced Glioblastoma. Although I felt my own losses were far more significant in number and intensity than Susy’s ever were, I knew that every person’s misery is relative. I can take a lot more than most people. I’ve always been resilient in way that many people are not. And even though Susy was also resilient, there was something inside of her that was crying out desperately for the losses to stop ! When I asked her that morning in August if she was happy with her life, she sat her self up straight and promptly replied, “Yes I’m very happy with my life !”. But somehow that didn’t feel true. She was my sister and I’d grown accustomed to her light speed masks. Instead I sensed that deep down inside, there was a growing hole of emptiness, yearning to be filled. I could tell that Susy needed to be noticed. To be seen by her hyperactive children and respected, to have her needs acknowledged by her workaholic husband, to be cared for and loved by our workaholic father, to be cared for and loved by our needy and overly dependent mother, to be valued by her work colleagues, to be acknowledged and loved unconditionally by our self righteous paternal grand mother, to be noticed by the world at large for who she is.
All her life Susy was thin, just like I am. And all though her life people made harsh comments about her body size. The same thing has happened to me but these days I tell people to “fuck off” and I give the same in return. I remember talking to Susy about one episode over the phone, just before Jessie dissapeared. She was in a clothing boutique and a plump middle aged woman made a comment in front of some other women to the effect that “Do you have some kind of problem eating ? You need to eat up dear, you look like a rake !”. Susy was livid ! She threw the clothes she had been trying on down on the floor, told the woman to go fuck her self and stormed out ! It was probably the 500th time someone had commented on her weight. She walked to her car and broke down in a sea of tears ! And then it bothered her for months afterwards. I suspect she even had nightmares about the event. It may have seemed trivial but it was the last straw ! Words cut to the heart ! The children’s rhyme is wrong. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me !”. What utter crap ! We humans can handle broken bones but names destroy us ! Susy had a thick skin but I think she grew tired of wearing armour ! For once she just wanted people to see past her exterior and see what was inside !
All her life Susy’s spirit screamed to be noticed ! She wanted nothing more than to be acknowledge for who she is ! And in doing so, the world would give her an opportunity to blossom and to thrive ! But Susy was never truly acknowledged by any of the people that mattered. And even though I’m sure she would say I’m being too harsh, there were many people who were bastards towards her ! Encounter after encounter ! The worst of whom were family !
Towards the end of her life Susy was no longer the Susy we knew. I had a terrible argument with her the last night I was with her during my stay in August 2016 and I put that down to her tumours affecting her ability to self regulate her anger and my own tumours doing the same thing. Her poor kids were stuck in the middle of it as we argued in the car, over my choice to boycott going to a dinner being prepared by our bigoted grand mother. The next morning was the last I would see anything of the sister I once knew. In the months that followed, she slowly deteriorated. One day her husband came home and found her slumped on the floor in the shower with no memory of how she got there. Later she would begin reminisce about things that were completely out of context. She would have accidents where she would overfill her tea cup and not know when to stop. She would urinate on her self during dinner and be unaware until someone noticed the smell. She would forget how to do the most ordinary things. Eventually she got to the point where it was impossible to leave her alone without 24 hour supervision. And even though Susy’s awareness had changed, that must have been hard for her. She had been the kind of person who had been fiercely independent all her life !
I had come back from my trip in August, a little angry with my sister. Angry about what I’m still not sure. But I think I was angry about how she had been, angry at losing her, angry at my father and my grand mother for ignoring her needs, angry with her kids and her husband for not doing more to care. I was angry about something. And then towards the end of the year I was very busy with my own life and I didn’t speak with her for 2 months. But my business was an excuse. I don’t know if it was because I feared how she would be or because I was avoiding something. When I did finally speak with her in January 2017, I was shocked to learn that her tumours had doubled in size and that things were heading in the direction I’d been shown 3 times in my life by my ET friends. I never wanted any of that to come to fruition ! When I spoke to Susy, she was child like and her anger was gone. She was full of simple curiosity and marvel at the things that she could remember. I made a conscious effort to bring up memories from our shared past that I knew would make her feel good. And even though they did, I was struggling to find enough memories to connect us. It was almost impossible to talk with her about the present. All we had was the past. And in a way I found that heart breaking ! My sister who had always been a fountain of trivial details about what was happening in her own life and the lives of the people she loved, was bereft of almost anything that was part of her usual life. It was perfectly clear, that part of her had already died.
After I heard from Susy’s husband that Susy had been moved into palliative care, I asked Dude again if he would connect with her before she died and then after she died. He said that he would and I left it at that. I returned to visit Susy one last time in February 2017, during the period that I have come to think of as the darkest period of my life. There were other dark events happening that to this day I still don’t fully understand. Some have to do with Conjoined Space, others have to do with intervention by external agencies and others are a little more enigmatic. I did the best that I could to be there for Susy, even though this other set of events plagued me night and day. I am usually someone who can be fully present to the moment. But for 4 days as I sat by Susy’s side and spent time with her family, other things were tearing away at my heart and my mind. I felt terrible then and afterwards, that I was so unable to give myself entirely to Susy.
While I sat with Susy, I thought of her comments about being stuck in a box and I thought she would be OK, given that she had since decided to be cremated and her time in a box would be brief. For four days I watched her awareness deteriorate. I saw moments when I knew that she was aware of us and moments when it was like she had already gone Home. I looked at her body and thought how strange it was that my beloved sister who had always been thin was going to die a good weight, thanks to the anti tumour drugs she had been taking for the last year. He hair had changed from blonde to brunette and she looked very much like a younger version of our mother. Unfortunately I was not able to stay with Susy until the end. I had to return home because I’d been told I would start my own treatment in a few days and because these other events were getting the better of me. On the last night I ever spent with Susy, there was a huge tropical storm. At one point when Susy was sleeping I went outside for 30 minutes. I sat watching the storm near front of the hospital, letting the rain lash my body, enjoying the energy of the wind, the rain and the lightning. I thought about all the tropical storms we had witnessed together as children living in Hong Kong with our father. I thought about things we had said to one another. I thought about her beautiful children and how these were the last days that they would have with their mother. I thought about all the other people who were dying in the palliative care unit and those who were dying tonight. I thought about the wild old lady who was walking up and down the corridors waiting for someone to take her home. And I thought about what Susy might be experiencing now.
As we sat in the backyard that morning in August the year before, I asked Susy what she believed and it was clear that she didn’t really know. She didn’t know if she believed in God and she was angry with it as hell if it did exist ! She was angry that she was probably going to die ! She didn’t know if she believed if there was a life after death ! She believed in love but she didn’t know who would care if she died. And so for the 3rd time since it had happened, I told her about my experience of being taken by the Sar’Won’Dee and the Teal’hia to merge with The Light. and I reminded her (as I had my friend Tom who had died a few years earlier), that everything will be OK. We all go HOME. And that death will not hurt. There will be people there who love her and care about her. And then she will know that she is loved. Loved by them, loved by others, loved by God. She liked hearing that. But she was still angry with this whole God thing. Which I suspect was a byproduct of our hypocritical Catholic upbringing ! She was stuck like many people, on the great mystery of suffering. Having already worked my way through that beast of confusion, I did my best to help her to see the good in what was happening and to be optimistic about her future. Even though secretly, I knew what was to come.
The day after Susy died, I asked Dude if he had had the opportunity to connect with her and he told me that he had. One morning at about 3 am, he took her away from her body into a space that he had created for her. He explained to her what was happening and who he was and that he was my friend. According to Dude, that made her very happy and it brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. Just knowing that he was there for her. Dude spent quite a while with Susy. He told her that she was dying and what would soon happen. He told her about all the people who had come to say farewell and that her big brother had been there for her but had had to go away early. And later, after she died, he visited her on several occasions. Several times when I asked him how she was going, he gave me an update and it pleased me to know that she was OK. It took me a long time to consciously connect with her. I don’t really know why I didn’t do it sooner. I guess I felt Susy was OK without my help. In a few days I plan on talking to her again. Perhaps now it is time to begin talking to her every few weeks, as we did when she was alive. With the Internal Worlds approach we can meet just like old times and I can see and know for myself what life is like for her now.
I have an internal world for meeting people who have died. But I need to make a special place in it for Susy. One that will make her feel right at home. A place that is covered in flowers and butterflies and small birds, where small dogs are also welcome and somewhere in the background The Eagles are playing Hotel California. Susy and I have been connected across many life times. I don’t know whether this marks the end or the continuation of our connection to one another. The only thing that is certain, is that Susy has gone ahead before me. And perhaps now, my little sister will be the one who teaches me about what is to come !
Today I’ve been going through some old files and found some old stories I wrote back in late 1994 and early 1995, when I was trying to learn how to write short stories. I don’t think I ever published them anywhere. But I can’t rule out that I didn’t post them on some obscure website back then. They’re all very rough and I’m kind of a little embarrassed to share them. I have many more like them but they probably won’t see the light of day. Maybe one day I’ll rework some of them. I still like all of them but I can see how badly they were written and how little I knew about the art of the short story ! I have several books of short stories I’d like to write but unfortunately my fiction has largely been in stasis the last few years, with the other projects I’m working on. I still have 7 unpublished books to type up and proof read and the thought of doing that is daunting ! Anyway here are 4 short stories I’ve converted to PDF. They may or may not be worth reading ! Enjoy ! 😉
A big thanks to Julia for her recent donation. Thanks Jules, it means a lot coming from you ! Julia is one of those unique people, who despite her own burdens has always reached out to ease the suffering of others. She personifies kindness ! And she’s been supporting my work, I think since 2009, which in Internet time is a bloody long time ! Thanks for your loyalty Julia ! I’ll happily send you a copy of The Book of Dude part 1 when it’s done, along with all the other goodies when they’re complete ! This years fundraiser is on the way ! If you’d like to support my work and you think ET and I has something of value to contribute to humanity, consider donating via the tab at the top right hand side of this page. You can read more about the 2018 fundraiser here : https://etandi.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/the-2018-et-and-i-fundraiser/
Hey folks, just a reminder that I recently added the Google Translate button to this blog under the Top Posts and Pages tab. Just pick your language and wollah ! Instant ET and I ! I can’t speak for how accurate the translations are. But it does look pretty cool seeing what I’ve written in another language I can’t understand ! I may have to start a little back engineering project and try to write the blog in Hindi or Latin ! Seriously though, it would be good if this helps make the blog more accessible !