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Fractals in Nature

Friends,

Some years back while living in Berlin I ate some poisonous mushrooms in Tiergarten and saw, among other things, the kaleidoscopic nature of the universe. It wasn’t my first time seeing the rainbow spectacle of a gyrating, polygonal vortex (nor is this my first time describing it), but I remember laying there and being underwhelmed by the stained-glass majesty of it all. And that’s what it was: stained glass writ large, bearing no biblical scene, but something profoundly religious nonetheless. And still, I was underwhelmedWhy?  Thinking back now I remember waiting for something expectantly, but I do wish I could have a glimpse of it in this moment because I feel that it has been too long since I saw the kaleidoscopic nature of things and I feel like perspective is an easy thing to lose, particularly when beset on all sides by comparatively trivial day-to-day concerns and the frustrations attendant upon living in a small town and trying to make a go of things as a responsible, conscientious citizen. I am dealing with stuff now that I’ve not had to deal with for some time because my existence has been so fluid. Things like getting caught up on taxes, politicking with roommates, fucking snow! Getting bogged down in these things makes it easy to lose perspective and spend too much time in one microcosmic matrix when there are many more to choose from. The kaleidoscope shows us this. In it, we see all possible matrices. It’s like opening the aperture W I D E and letting all the light in. The formerly dark tunnel you were heading down is now illuminated and in the light you see myriad doors and passages branching off and branching back. The reality is that it is only darkness which makes a tunnel so. I need some light.

-Dre

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Practice Makes Perfect

Friends,

Let me tell you a story:

Practice Makes Perfect

Early September 2009, I was a few months back from deploying to Afghanistan and was living in Hamilton. I had dropped out of McMaster University three years prior and in that three-year span I had partied, traveled and done aforementioned deployment. I had been scared to depoly, thinking I was going to die. I hadn’t died though. And now, on this overscast Sepetember morning, I walked back to school and tears came to me. I had made it. I had gone through hell (more emotional than physical) and was now returning to the promised land with the adventures I had sought now under my belt. Those last two years of my undergrad were not golden and idyllic like living in residence first year had been, nor fucking mental like getting a house with the bros in second year had been, but they were still better: I got more involved in the school, applied myself more to the work, met the love of my life (or at least the next fove years), and learned from professors who would make a great impact on my life.

Now, ten years later, I am poised to undertake another academic adventure and I am optimistic; I am capable at this juncture of not only integrating and incorportating everything I learned/did in the second half of my undergrad, but also incorportating/integraring everything I learned since in my years traveling working as an actor, etc.

This school doesn’t know what’s gonna hit it.

I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day: Doing the the same thing over and over until I get it right.

Practicing Without Expectation

It doesn’t always work out well though, and when it doesn’t, it’s my fault:

February/March 2016 was one of the best months of my life. I fell in love with the love of my life (I fall fast and I fall hard), Marijo at Carpe Diem Eco Project (CDEP) in Nicaragua. Those nights on the beach, lying under the stars, making love as the moon rose over the palms, were sublime and left an indelible impression on my psyche. The following year (January 2017), meeting back there, I tried to force things to be how they were the previous year. It was hell. We were on different pages and “the past I was trying to relive” was not the “experience I should have been doing over, but better.”  Let me explain:

It would have been fine for me to approach my time at CDEP in 2017 with a similar openness, enthusiasm and vigor to the previous year -but those qualities were tainted by an expectation of recreating the past perfectly -this kind of expectation had been absent from my 2009 return to school, where I had been truly open-minded.

During my 2017 return to CDEP I assumed I knew better than reality and reality humbled me.

This past year (2019) I returned to CDEP. Marijo wasn’t there, and I was a lot wiser and more open (for the most part). I ended up having an amazing, transformative time by allowing reality to dictate the terms. It wasn’t sublime the way my first time there had been, but that’s not important –sublimity will come when its ready to if I stay open to it and accept the reality as it is. This is the act of faith that all men, religious or not, must make. I never expected to find Marijo, so why should I expect anything else sublime?

I remember sitting on the beach one evening with my peoples this past year and wandering off to listen to mine and Marijo’s song, WIcked Game by Chris Isaak, and laughing at how I’d been pining in futility for a fluke month instead of fully utilizing the opportunities in front of me. Silly silly silly…

Openness to Submission: Do-Overs Done Right

I went back to Berlin this year. I re-experienced some things. Experienced them better this time now that I was there of my own accord and with the freedom of a young-ish bachelor, instead stuck in a relationship where someone else was subtly dictating my terms for existence. I did it better. I was more open.

My 2016/2017 travel documantary through Arizona, Nicaragua and Honduras, #worldwasonfire, was better than the previous year’s pilgrimage through Latin America for ayahuasca, #justmightbeok too; Even though the former was more painful for the reasons mentioned above regarding mine and Marijo’s fallout, I wasn’t married to the idea of filming a documentary in the traditional sense. Instead I used the tools I was more comfortable with the social media platforms I was more inclined toward using (instagram, youtube) and everything just flowed better. It was more fun and more honest.

Subsequent adventures such as #pimpingbutterflies, #livinginmydreams and the short-lived and misbegotten #migrantcrisis were more focused as a result, although it should be said that they had a less grand ambition.

This #prettycorpseblues thing though….it sounded pretentious to me when I first said it. Even now, it sounds weird to me. But it also sounds more right. It speaks to the resignation I feel regarding submission to the universe. I NEED to submit to something and my own longevity (not mortality) seems a good a thing as any. Needless to say, I am not posting as frequently on instagram as I did during the #worldwasonfire days (hitch-hiking and youthful recklessness just make for more things to post about), but this is also a longer-term project (namely, the rest of my life), and will be full of my largest under-takings yet, so there is no rush to punctuate it with small bursts.

Do it. Fail Spectacularly. Do it Better. Fail More Spectacularly. Repeat.

Openness to Submission: One Final, Lifelong Do-Over

There are people in my life who I have strained relationships with. There are people whom I haven’t met yet who are destined to have a great impact on my life. These are repeating constants; universal ones even. To the family and friends whom I have hurt, I will make good on the hurt I caused even if it is the next person and not you who receives the direct benefit of wisdom gleaned from my trespasses against you. Also, for those who have wronged me, I will refuse to hate you; I will take as much responsibility for not being better to you in your time of weakness.
To those I have yet to meet, destined to become friends and girlfriends: I will deal with you squarely and keep the focus on me, never basing my sense of worth and fulfilment on you. I have fucked up before in these regards. I have done okay before in these regards. I have excelled before in these regards. Either way, the future will be the best yet.

I am getting better, and I can prove it.

I love you all. Never be a afraid of a re-do. Never feel like you are stuck at a place you were in the past. “Do-over” is another name for “practice” and that’s how we get good. Sometimes I look at my life and see train-wreck; a culmination of unpulled triggers and impetuous, ill-advised actions. This is a truthful analysis, but there is a level of life mastery I aspire to, a highest ideal, and when I ballpark out how one might reach that ideal, I can’t see a way to it that looks appreciably different from my life thus far.

Looking back on yesterday and correcting for today and tomorrow is not mutually exclusive from being on track. Take it on faith

I have.

Best,
-Dre

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The Diary of Guantanamo the Bard(Lock) – 26 July 2019

Friends,

It started off a day like any other: I woke up outside, stoked the coals to boil water and make coffee, untethered Rocinante, and began stretching. I slept pretty well and my shoulder stiffness is abating. I played a few songs while I enjoyed my coffee and hacked a dart. Packed up camp at a deliberate though purposeful pace. Walking to the road with Rocinante, I noticed a large group of people in the distance on the move so I rode up to them.

There was lots of bawling and self-pity, and while they were utterly wretched and seemed to have come by their disposition honestly, I didn’t feel particularly up to the challenge of engaging them in conversation. Woulda harshed my mel’. Instead I nodded in greeting then rode alongside at a slight distance.

We came to a castle at length and they began trickling in. I was greeted by a paladin whom I later found out was named Emilio. He had two friends, Abel and Lynn, and the three of them seemed the only ones there who didn’t have a dark cloud above their heads, and this particular morning I had already had enough “rain.”

They seemed to be still in the middle of figuring out their next move. I offered my rapier to their cause they seemed nice enough and I suppose did my part in sussing out a plan. I am always a little wary about volunteering ideas to new adventurers whose parties I join because even though the group is often fluid, I am still a new and unproven outsider. Plus, I know how I tend toward thinking my ideas are the best, so I try and be very mindful about not being too obtrusive with suggestions.

We decided on a course of action after they over-estimated what I meant when I said my knowledge of spiders was “slighty above rudimentary.” Truth is, I don’t think I know a lot about spiders -but I hate saying “no” when I can give an “honest yes”, which I then trust people to decipher as “no” without me actually having to say “no”. I need to be a little more judicious about this approach and just say “no” when I don’t know. So many missed opportunities and so many tragic misunderstandings because my younger self tried to be “all things to all people”. Still we mustn’t waste days lamenting over wasted days…..

Long-story short, I ended up getting mandible shitf—ked in the chest by a giant spider. This was actually our second visit to the spiders, and incidentally the only one in which we got attacked. What does it all mean? 🤔

Anyways, I thought I could try and join their spider cult if I acted all spidery so I turned on the charm and started bouldering and balancing on a slack line. Some young shooter didn’t like getting stunted on and so he started to flex, hissing at me and shit. I was like “You don’t even know! I’m about to shit on this bitch!” I presti’d some fuego in both hands and began screaming from my perch on my “web” using my sacred beast speech ability, intimidating af. He got shook real quick. Then I started making eyes at the girl spider just to clown him. I wasn’t really even all that attracted to her, cause she’s like a giant spider, but I want that young one to think that the only reason I didn’t smash is cause I tried to show him mercy. If he knew I thought his girl was ugly it would break his spirit, and he already took an L today.

So making eyes at the spider-queen, I start playing Goldfinger for her on my guitar “…..the man with a Midas touch -A SPI-der’s TOUCH!!….”. I think in retrospect this is where everything went f—kup for me and the crew. The shooter got froggy again and attacked me. Thankfully I was wearing my breastplate, but I was fairly shocked because the queen was looking at me like things were “getting right” for her, all hungry-eyed and such, and nothing is more shocking than having some ruffian remove his glove and slap you with it when you a-courting. 

So there I am, on my slackline playing Goldfinger bleeding out my chest -all in all, not the worst date I’ve been on- and a battle ensues. Everyone seems to be making good account of themselves. I think Lynn might got bit too, but I think she got poisoned. Abel, a druid, summoned more spiders for some f—king reason and half of them were horny young bucks too who started white-knighting for the queen trying to get in her pants.

Thirsty. Bitches.

Then ….what’s his name? Emilio! Emilio is all like, “Guantanamo, you didn’t yell for help like you were supposed to!”

“Are you joking me?” I would have thought that getting bitten in the chest by a giant f—king spider counted as universal sign language for “Help”!

It takes all kinds I guess…

At this point, I (reluctantly) slung my guitar, shot an agonizing blast which knocked a spider from the ceiling and slashf—ked another one.

How did it feel? F—king awesome I guess.

I don’t know.

It’s not like a karma thing where I lament having to kill the spiders, but like, this problem should have never got to this level. I feel like there’s a proper place for spiders where we can coexist with them. It’s at the margins of our homes, or in the case of giant spiders, the margins of society. We shouldn’t be furnishing them with nests; they can’t help who they are, they are going to begin eating us at some point. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.

So whatever, we killed them and started heading to some amber door I think. -I don’t really pay as much attention as I should. One day into the two day journey we encountered some zombies in the woods. I was like, “Hell Yeah.” And tried to charge them, but they were more 

B A S E D than the little male spider and didn’t flinch.

I’ll be honest though, in that charge I experienced a moment of doubt which I think led to the ultimate failure of trying to rout them and scare them. I suppose I am still possessed of a fairly persistent idea which I read long ago in some archaic bestiary: “Zombies are formed from the corpses of men executed for committing the most depraved and DEGENERATIVE crimes against the innocent….”

DEGENERATIVE.

That word: It was seared into my brain.

I knew exactly what they were talking about even though I had no precise definition of the word. I look at them (zombies) as a special case in my sub-conscious quite possibly. It’s not that I have especial hatred for them because they were (probably) child-molestors, as the bestiary rather ham-fistedly implied, I mean, sure -it’s that too, but I am aware of the absolute darkness they saw and felt in life and now endure in undeath, and in that moment,

I. Felt. Doubt.

I doubted my ability to frighten them because they are the true embodiment of darkness; a darkness so deep that it isn’t simply satisfied with extinguishing light, but which seeks to make a mockery of the light’s very existence by snuffing out the fresh sparks which have yet to blossom into luminescence.

For a man to get to that point of darkness… For a creature to be possessed of that point of darkness… What can I possibly do to frighten it? Hence, I believe, my doubt.

Fortunately, my rapier and elven dagger demonstrated much greater self-confidence than their wielder. The battle seems won, but there are still some writhing limbs on the ground and we should clean them up. I mean, kids play here, right?

ONWARD TO THE AMBER DOOR!!

God bless!

-Guantanamo

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Migrant Crisis

Friends,

It’s been a lukewarm minute since I last posted here. Beyond indolence, there was a practical difficulty in that I didn’t have a computer and I absolutely abhor typing with my thumbs.

But no need to labour my absence. Here I am. Back in Canada of all places after 10 months on the road which saw me a tear a righteous strip up and down Arizona with my thumb, have a 4-month, beachfront war of the roses with my ex in Nicaragua, and then spend a similar amount of time in Utila, Honduras getting my divemaster certification (also having my first threesome).

And now I’m back in Canada. Not for long though -in 6 days I’ll be flying to Berlin to move in with my Frau, Anna, whom I met in Honduras. I’m excited to move to Berlin because it will be an opportunity to immerse myself among a critical mass of high-functioning people and see how it affects me.

Also excited to see mein frau -she’s teaching me to speak the German

But how does it feel to be back? Like shit honestly. Everything is falling apart at the seams. I feel unhealthy, depressed, angry, repressed and apprehensive. I don’t wanna be in this fuckin’ country. If I don’t hate it I feel hatred toward it. I didn’t want to come back and it’s only because Canada is kinda on the way to Germany that I decided to stop here.

It hasn’t all been bad of course. For starters I get to see family and friends which is always lovely. Particularly I was fortunate in that my two-week window back here happened to coincide with my cousin Sarah’s wedding


Smaller in stature; Larger in retardation

And of course, I got to see my grandmother, Sheila who has been struggling with cancer for the better part of my absence. After seeing her briefly at the wedding this past Saturday (her first foray out of the hospital since being admitted months ago), I again saw her at the hospital the next day. and we talked and joked in a very familiar way, almost oblivious to the sterile surroundings. As we left, I lingered behind to say what I understood might be my final good-bye to her.
We spoke some more and then I grabbed her hand and smiled -it wasn’t an affected smile trying to fight back tears or hide hurt, but rather a large and genuine smile as one soul may give to another as they part ways after a brief (30 year) and benevolent time together.
She said to me, “I guess this is good-bye for a long time.”
“Yes,” I responded, immediately aware that she was talking about more than just my upcoming departure to Germania.
At that she gave me a kiss and told me to take it with me. After one final squeeze I backed away from her still smiling, feeling more closure and peace than anyone in my position might reasonably expect to feel. She’s right, it is good-bye for a “long time,” but I’l see her again, either in this life or the next.

***********

The upshot of all this is that I’m ready to be on my way. As I mentioned above, I don’t feel healthy here. Three years ago was the last winter I spent in Canada and my health suffered drastically, partly as a result of the lack of light and probably partly as an indirect result of depression induced by coming out of a major break-up. From what I understand, Berlin’s weather is more comparable to southern Ontario’s weather than it is to Latin America’s and so this gives me pause.
As well as my concern for my own health, I know that in winter people tend to clam up, stay indoors and generally not be as open. I tend shine brightest in the sun and from what I can tell I have more power to uplift those around me in said circumstances. Bearing that in mind I will have to make extra efforts to engage and interact, rather than resign myself to wintry isolation.
I’m scared though.

Another thing that troubles me about being in Canada is the politically-correct culture. It has in the last few years had such a deleterious effect on me and my confidence as a man that repeated excursions to the developing world became a must; Say what you will about Central America and it’s problems with violence and machismo, but at least you can call something what it is without people complaining that you’re being offensive.
This PC culture, or perhaps more accurately this Socially-Sanctioned Self-Delusion, has indeed fallen to the periphery of my awareness in my absence from Canada, but it never quite disappeared as I was always plugged into social media. However, coming back here, even for a brief few weeks I’m sickened by the atrophied spirit of people.
Is it the weather getting people down? Perhaps.
Is it my own projections bringing me down? Likely that too.
Still, there is a resignation that people have to their own inability to say the things they’re inclined to say and act the way they’re inclined to act. I say “inclined” instead of “want” because I get the sense that people have convinced themselves they don’t want to speak truth. I recognize this behaviour because I suffer from it too and I’m trying to recover so perhaps I’m more sensitive to it. Yet even catching snippets of SNL and Seth Meyers I am reminded constantly that ostensible taboos are framed as “I can’t say _____” rather than “If I say ____ there will be consequences.” The latter is true but the former becomes a limiting belief and it’s a limiting belief that is pushed forcefully on the masses. This is perhaps what I object to most: the snarky voice of progressive western culture saying “You can’t do/say that!”
Don’t ever believe anyone when they tell you that you can’t do something -they are misguided devils trying to limit the godliness within you insofar as it finds expression through your voice and hands.
Normally it wouldn’t be too much of a problem cause I’m only here for two weeks, but I’m moving to Berlin which from what I understand is a very “progressive” city, and unfortunately the experiences I’ve had show me that progressiveness often goes hand in hand with repression. So in the same way I’ll have to double my efforts to keep my energy up, I’ll have to double my efforts to speak my own truth. My first order of business will be getting a job chopping vegetables -I need a few weeks of some mundane labour to process all the experiences and info I’ve been gathering over the last two years and I think prep work in a kitchen is the route I’ll go.

Winter is coming. My watch has just begun. But if there is any silver lining, it’s that I understand Germany is quite amenable to unskilled fighting-age males with darker complexions.


This is the face I’ll endeavor to face this new challenge and all new challenges with.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

#MigrantCrisis

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