Partner

Long distance feelings felt out
Flesh crawls with searing self-doubt
Dust pillows where shadows sat
Does she, can she smell a rat?
And what would it smell like anyway?
Not like the dirty smelly tearaway
From the bottom of our dead end cul de sac?
Perhaps defense is better than art attack?
Dying here all alone
Throw me a bone
Tell me that it was all worth something
Take this golden life ring
Place it on that finger
Be the solid standing pillar
I needed you to be
While it’s certain I wanna be free
Only with you by my side
Can I face this dirty lonely ride
From warm and womb-like security
Gradually losing my purity
As I grow older and older
My sins growing ever bolder
Be the one who saves me from myself
Be the one who maintains my soulful health
Until the day I die
And say that final bye bye

A Pain in the Neck

Today, I woke up with a pain in my neck and upper back which rapidly became a headache to boot. I wish there were chiropractors in the Czech Republic but there are not so I make do with a heat patch and two headache tablets. I know that the heat patch will probably do the trick and that the headache pills will not. It’s bizarre really but I had this problem for about 15-years now and it must be related to the way I have slept. My chiropractor in The Woodlands could fix it with a quick twist of the neck! He always told me I had knocked a vertebrae out of alignment high up in my neck most likely by hanging my head off of the back of the pillow. I think he was right as last night I awoke semi-paralyzed with my head hanging off the back of the pillow and it took a while to move it.

Actually, the whole incident reminded me that just recently, I have been having some strange dream-like experiences again. Not where I cannot move my head but where I simply cannot move at all and always coming out of a nightmare where something unseen is throwing me around and that unseen something follows me out of the dream. I think this has a name – sleep paralysis or better still The Old Hag. In fact, I have suffered from this phenomenon on and off since childhood when it used to terrify me. Now, I actually find myself panicking a bit and then even in that state realizing what it is and waiting patiently for it to end. While there are medical and psychological explanations for this I also think that it has something to do with leaving the body also and waking up before all the bits have synched back again (Astral and physical or whatever terminology you prefer to use).

I have commented about the dream before on the blog. It is usually a normal dream. I am walking around a house or castle or somewhere and gradually become aware of a terrifying presence. The presence then is able to throw me around unseen. I sometimes will at that point be dug in the ribs and woken up as I often scream or shout out and wake everyone in the house up but, if there is no one to wake me, I end up in the Old Hag situation.

Interestingly enough, a week or so ago, I was in Amsterdam on business and staying at a hotel there. I experienced both nights a variation of this whole experience that still has me puzzled partly because I cannot recall all of the details despite telling myself in the dream that I should do so. i.e. I remember me telling me remember this but don’t remember what it was I was supposed to recall…. wonderful. However, I seemed to be hovering just above my bed thinking I was asleep yet marveling at how light it was and that it would soon be time to get up. I kept blacking out or falling back asleep but then experiencing this same condition which seemed also timeless. The whole effect was to believe that the night – both of them, were pretty endless. It was quite bizarre and all I can think of is that I was out of body but didn’t know it? Perhaps I did and that is what I wanted to recall – who knows? The strange thing is that I was also aware of the presence in this situation similar to the Old Hag.

It’s situations like these that make me believe that not everything is as we think it is. There are plainly mental states and/or planes of being achievable in meditation, trance and sleep that extend the known universe some distance. I just wish I had the ability to fully and properly explore them. But, based on this illustration, it’s quite easy to see how I get a pain in the neck!

hag

Rock Hound

Back when I was a kid, I became fascinated by geology. In part, my father was responsible for he was also fascinated and together, we would walk up and down beaches at every opportunity, hands clasped at our backs, eyes peeled and a slightly bent back, searching for the one stone or rock that might be special. Many a time, people would watch us puzzled and ask, what it was we were looking for. Pretty stones really was the answer.

My dad polished, ground and sliced stones in the garage, made them into jewelry and sold them on the side back in the 70’s you see. Stones that we found were the special ones amongst the tigers eye, rose quartz, agate, amethyst and other purchased semi-precious stones.

I was lucky enough to go to a school that actually had a geology teacher too. Mr. Hilary Douglas was his name and he doubled as the environmental studies teacher and school bus driver. He liked his beer and his cigarettes did Mr. Douglas. So I was able to do an O level in geology at school. Being the bus driver, we also went on quite a few trips too and living in Yorkshire, you didn’t have to go far to see some superb geology. O level turned to A level and even a special paper. Mr. Douglas had never has a student do a special paper before and he was quite fussed about it. Needless to say, I got an A with distinction in the subject I loved. Shame I didn’t enjoy Maths as much really….

From there I went to the University of Aston in Birmingham to study Geological Sciences. There was a moment at the end of the first year when I almost opted to switch to Metals and Materials Science which I also enjoyed but in the end, I stuck to my one true love back then – Geology. The six weeks that I spent on the Island of Eigg doing my field mapping project counts amongst the best of my life. I graduated with a first class honours degree and won the department prize for the best field mapping project.

While almost tempted to the gold mines of Africa, in the end, I opted for the Ph.D.. I first went to Leeds and spent a year with the British Geological Survey before finishing with another 2-years at Strathclyde University. I also managed to get three – yes three! – transatlantic 6 to 8 week trips funded as well. Two by the BGS and UK Dept. of Education and 1 by the University College of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia. I had published 10 or so papers before I submitted my thesis and as such, the Ph. D. was more or less guaranteed.  For those interested, here is the last paper I wrote a couple of years after gaining the Ph.D. This one is one of my first published works while so far as I know, this one is the very first published article I ever wrote.

I was lucky enough to be accepted into BP as a geologist in Aberdeen where I did my stint as a rig geologist for a couple of years. I learned two things – I hated helicopters and working as a geologist was no fun at all – it was all paper and no rocks! I was promoted into a specialist role at the Sunbury research centre for BP doing plate tectonics research and for a while, I was having fun again. I knew though that eventually I would be going back to working with paper as an Exploration Geologist and to me that was a fate as bad as death. I was fortunate enough to develop an interest in IT and data modeling at Sunbury and managed a move into the BP IS department. A couple of years later, I was a consultant at Price Waterhouse and my career in the love of my life – Geology was over.

It is funny how things change. For many years, not a thought about Geology entered my head. I think I have forgotten more Geology than you could possibly imagine. It seems like another world to me now. But today, I once again packed my hammer in the field and beat the crap out of a few rocks as I introduced my daughter to Geology. To the art and science of understanding Mother Earth; her processes and the miracles she makes almost every day. It felt good. I will shortly do it again and I am sure, so will my daughter.

Here is a photo of her today beating rocks…. as I post this I realize that I do not have a single photo of me in action. They all got left in Houston a long time ago….

denirocks

If Only…..

These days I find myself reminiscing a lot. Usually its music that takes me back.

A song on the radio, one played while I work or perhaps that tune that suddenly haunts my mind and will not go away. The problem is I have caught myself questioning a lot of things like I would never have imagined myself doing in the past. I have even caught myself thinking it might be nice just to be dead. I wonder, is this what all mid-50’s people think? You get up and you feel the aches and pains and then you look in the mirror and this wrinkled, rumpled, worn out and overweight looking creature stares back and you think – Who the fuck is that? Of course, you know it’s you……. and that it is only going to get worse.

I tend to think about how simple life used to be. No mobile phones, no internet, no need for passwords and vigilance about security. Travel was fun because you really had time to get somewhere and back again. Now its all just a blur of another flight and airport and everyone of them feels and looks the same. I also think about the opportunities I have had, the people I knew and encountered and wonder why I didn’t find the time to keep up with them all. I think about the women I met and the potential for love that I turned down due to some weird misconceptions about sex, love and everything. I wonder why I didn’t take the opportunities that passed me by because I was too afraid to fail, look silly or because I was simply too lazy. I also think about how time used to seem plentiful and abundant whereas now it feels limited and gone in an instant.

I look at the kids as well and I think youth is wasted on them. I know it sounds weird but if I could be their age knowing what I know now….. good God I would take such advantage of all the opportunities they don’t even see. And people everywhere are wrapped up in nonsense thinking it is important when it is not….

It’s not that I wish myself dead or anything. I fully expect to live and live hard a while yet. It’s just this feeling that somehow, somewhere my life slipped like sand grains between my fingers.

I have changed inside as well as outside and here is the problem. My center of being has shifted and the rules I lived by no longer apply. I look back on myself and wonder what would it have been like if I could have known this then?

Recently, I heard myself say to my partner that I am successful at anything I turn my mind to. I expect to be successful and I know I will succeed. I had to catch myself at that moment and contrast it with the 18-year old me that had so little confidence that he wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

For some reason though, rather than spending all my time looking forward to something like I did back then, I now sit on the fulcrum of my life and seem to spend time looking out in both directions wishing I had the power equally to change the past as I know I can change the future. The funny thing is, many of the things I thought mattered do not matter at all and many of the things I took for granted now seem critical. I wonder how I will feel in 30-years time?

Did I have any impact?

Did I make a difference?

Did I work a little inner gold?

Who knows.

age

A Growing Collection

I have written ‘poetry’ since I was an angst ridden teen. Much of what was reasonable out of all of that material was published back in 2006 as Weird Tales. I recall reading sheet after sheet of yellowed foolscap paper with my scrawl and doodles all over them. Occasionally, I had typed out the poem using a typewriter I had been bought for a birthday or Xmas (anyone remember typewriters?). Many of the poems were well embarrassingly bad but they did bring memories flooding back of 1972 – 1981.

Having published that collection it seemed reasonable that I would keep publishing new poetry. Four more poetry books have followed (Poems for the Little Room, Astral Messages, Moon Whispers and Best Laid Plans) and I do think my poetry has gotten better as the years have gone by. Certainly, the subject matter has changed from teen impressions of a different world in the 70’s to much deeper and brooding material about reality, life and everything. I also tried different formats to make it all the more interesting. In Poems for the Little Room, I interspersed poetry with photographs taken by my better half and in Astral Messages I paired poems with blog articles from Asteroth’s Domain. For the last two, I stuck to verse.

Bookslow

I still feel the need to write poetry – to play with words and use sounds to create effects that resonate with whatever is going on in my heart, mind and soul at the time. It does me good to throw it up and out onto the page. It is almost as if I am exteriorizing issues and flaws within me. Whether that makes for readable content is for you to be the judge but its ceratinly a tonic for me.

Give one of the books a try – they are all available on Kindle as well as in paperback form from Amazon or me….

They are -

Weird Tales – Otherworld Poetry – 2006
Poems for the Little Room – republished 2013
Astral Messages – 2013
Moon whispers – 2014
Best Laid Plans – 2014

Rip Off

Its quite incredible to me how people are quite comfortable ripping other people off. Last night, I accidentally stumbled upon a report on offer on several websites for the amazing sum of $3500. The report was about the CTRM software market (everyone scratches heads and says – The what market?). This is actually the software category that I cover as an analyst and so I was interested in this report that must originate with a competitor – naturally, I wanted to know who that competitor might be. Well, firstly, the report appears to be for sale across a number of websites that offer reports, it’s authors well hidden behind a mass of different company names. The language used to describe it told me three things almost immediately;

1. The authors do not understand the subject (gleaned from a look at the illogical Table of Contents)

2. The authors have trouble with English (gleaned from the description that misses whole joining works like ‘and’ for example)

3. The authors had copied or plagiarized our CTRM market Sizing report – easy to do as our report is a FREE download.

So I am forced to conclude that something we provide for free has been copied, edited and altered a bit and now stands for sale at $3500 by whoever ripped us off.

Apparently, this is a business model followed by a number of people. A colleague of mine told me how a group of hackers took free applications for the iPhone and other smart phones, hacked them, re-packaged them and sold what was free apps for a large fee. They do well apparently these rip off people…..

A few days ago, I was googling myself. Now I know that sounds egotistical but…. I am marketing my books and I was simply looking to see how many links and articles etc. where readily findable pointing to my books. Inevitably, I came across a couple of file share websites that offer electronic copies of two or more of my books as a free download. To my utter amazement, I actually found a discussion site in which a person is asking where they can get a copy of my first poetry book – Weird Tales – as a free download. The answerer pointed them to a file share site where, sure enough, it could be downloaded. All this to avoid paying 99 cents? Yes, 99 cents from Amazon in electronic format. So there is another way I am being ripped off. On the other hand, if someone wants my book that badly, they should ask me and I will be happy to send them a copy so long as they post a review. It was just that people want to avoid paying 99 cents for my intellectual property that I find quite ridiculous.

Of course, the whole world seems to be engaged in ripping other people off but when people like Vladimir Putin set such a great example of ripping their own people off for billions and billions of dollars, I guess everyone else wants in too?

I know of factories here where workers are paid minimum wage and then cash in hand to make it up. It is a win-win isn’t it? The workers get 100% of the money they earned above the minimum, stay enrolled in social security and healthcare so they win. The owner pays less payroll taxes and therefore makes more profit and pockets that so they win too. Then there is the woman who takes child allowance as a single mother while living with her child’s father who pretends to be living elsewhere so they can cheat on benefits. They both win too. He makes a wage, she gets great benefits.

But the problem is that in fact we are all losing. Every cheat and rip off merchant who thinks they are winning needs to step back and see that actually, we all lose. In the examples above, the loser is the state. It receives less revenues and pays out more. So it has to figure out a way to get more revenues which inevitably means more taxes on things like beer, gas, cigarettes and of yes – CO2. This gets passed on throughout the economy so food goes up, goods go up, energy is more expensive and … well, we all understand how it works I guess.

But then, Life is a rip off isn’t it?