Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No sleeping, no dreaming

The weirdest dreams ever.
And very scaring also.

They occur when taking the nap after the lunch.
Outside of course, in the shadow of the Fuso Szulc.



Three of those dreams this week.
And they are all about death.





This is weird.
Why would the mind or the subconscious need to busy itself with death?
Health and age are on the best side of life.
There is no reason to believe it is time to say farewell.



Nevertheless, two dreams showed a film of the dreamer in the process of dying.
It was as if the spirit already had left the body.
And was watching the event take place.
From above.

It was all very realistic.
As if the dying was really taking place.
In one of the two dreams it could be seen how slowly the eyes were loosing the light.
In the other dream it was felt how the breathing was going to stop soon.



The next part of the dream was about a certain urgency.
Almost a panic.
The realization was very strongly that the dreamer was dying.
And this realization was responsible for a strong urge to avoid that to happen.
"No, no", the dreamer thought with desperation, "I don't want to die".

And somehow it was known how to avoid to die.
By forcing to wake up from the dream.
With all might and will power available a tremendous effort was made to get out of the mortal dream.
To wake up in a state of shock.
Feeling to have escaped from dying.

The third dream was about a word.
Strongly a word was present in the dream.
Very dominant.
The word was: "EPITAPH".
In the dream the meaning of this word was not known.
In fact, the dream was about wondering what that word meant.
On and on.
When sleeping ended, the word "EPITAPH" was still prominently in the mind.
And awake, the meaning of this word was not known also.
Quickly it was looked up in a dictionary.
An epitaph is the text that is put on a grave.

What is the meaning of these dreams?

Peter the Great, the Tsar from Russia, suffered of fits.


He would lose control of his body and have convulsions.
The only way to deal with these attacks was his companion Catarina.


When Peter the Great had a new attack, Catarina was called who would come rushing over.
She would take his head in her lap and caress him.
This would calm him down and in half an hour he would be revived and strong and normal as ever.

Not long ago there were those recurrent and disturbing dreams about houses.
Until the "Queen of Dreams" offered an explanation that was so to the point, that this new understanding stopped those dreams.

Now there are those realistic and scaring dreams about dying and death.
Time to consult the "Queen of Dreams".
To lay the head in her lap.
But she is ill.
And when the "Queen of Dreams" is ill, it is the flue, she switches off her mobile phone and computer.
She is incommunicado.

Maybe better to skip today's nap then?




.



Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Be nobody for yourself and everything for others.

Primary school was run by religious men.
Roman Catholic friars who lived in celibacy in a monastery nearby the school.
They were dressed in cassocks and had Latin names.
Head of school was Brother Fabianus.
Teacher of the 5th year was Brother Mansuetus.



Besides the regular teaching at this Primary school, there was also religion.
It consisted of the pupils having to learn the catechism.
A small book with questions and answers.



First question in the Roman Catholic catechism was:
For what reason are we on this planet?

The answer:
We are living on this planet to serve God.
And because of that to become happy here and in the afterlife.

Now that is very different from what we discovered yesterday the Danish philosopher Kierkegaard was saying.


Kierkegaard maintained that the individual has the sole responsibilities of giving one's own life meaning and living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation and boredom.

If you want it easy in life, better be a Roman Catholic compared to an Existentialist.
A Roman Catholic is not wondering too much why to live.
And how to live.
Simply serve God and not only makes that happy in life, but it also guarantees a happy afterlife.
The religion offers the answers to existential questions.
Sit back, enjoy life and relax!

What Kierkegaard has to offer is the naked fact that you will be on your own in life.
No one to help you to be happy, like a Roman Catholic God or anybody.
You must try yourself to give meaning to your life and Kierkegaard not only has no guarantees for happiness to offer, but afterlife is not included either.
That means many questions to answer in life, hard work and tough experiences.

One of the other philosophers of existentialism was the German Friedrich Nietsche (1844-1900).


In his classic work "Also sprach Zarathustra" he wrote:
"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

This opinion comes close to what Bhudists think.
There is no God.
Except for the godliness inside yourself that needs to be celebrated, developed and practiced.



People like Nietsche and Kierkegaard have created a terrible mess in the Western world.
They took God away from many people.
And made many people believe that they could play God themselves.
To achieve meaning and happiness in life by only serving the ego as a god.

The fundamental principle that is lacking in existentialism is that true meaning of life and real happiness is never possible on your own.
The meaning of life and happiness can only be achieved through interaction with fellow human beings.
A Godless person bombarding himself into a God, as Nietsche advised, and pursuing the meaning of life and happiness only by himself, heads for misery.
Wealth and richness may result that may give comfort to the Nietschian but no fulfillment of the meaning of life nor happiness.
Besides of not being of much use for the community.

Kierkegaard and his followers have planted the seeds for a society in the West that consists now of a majority of extreme egoists.
Men and women believing they are God and wallowing in hedonism.
While they are greedy, close their eyes for the well being of others and have no limit to their materialism.

Hence, how to become godly?
Get rid of the ego first.
Be nobody for yourself and everything for others.



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Monday, September 28, 2009

Existentialism on the beach

Along the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, France, we find the "Tour Saint-Jacques".


An elegant tower full of fascinating details.
It was built in the 16th century while King Louis XII was reigning.

Originally the tower was part of a church but that was demolished later.
Until in 1856 the city administration decided to create a park around the "Tour Saint-Jacques".



This is why nowadays we can rest from the busy Paris life sitting on a bench and admire the "Tour St. Jacques".

One of the reflections the mind offers when seeing this marvelous tower is that in fact the tower is a demonstration of will power.
Some day in the past one person had the idea to build a tower.
Somehow that person managed to get other people enthusiastic.
And they managed to motivate enough others to get enough money together.
To get the permits, the designers and the builders.

The "Tour Saint-Jacques" therefore is a monument of determination.
Through this tower the people that were involved erecting it still say today: "We successfully believed in something".



Besides that, the "Tour Saint-Jacques" makes not much sense.
It cannot even be climbed to enjoy a view of Paris as is possible with the Eiffel Tower.




Or used to cross the Seine river like the famous bridge called "Pont Neuf".


Its sole purpose is to shine as a symbol of persistence of some people in the past.

Around the world there are many "Tour Saint-Jacques".
People who got together, focused and centered their determinations, and left us useless buildings that are impressive monuments though.
The pyramids in Egypt are a good example.



Hence we learn that it is extremely important for many people to have a purpose in life.
Besides possibly making offspring.
There must be reasons to wake up in the morning and leave the house.
There must be reasons why to feel satisfied in the evening coming home.

This is called existentialism.
Something around for as long as there are human beings but made clear for the first time by European philosophers in the nineteenth and twentieth century.
The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) is considered the father of existentialism.


He maintained that the individual has the sole responsibilities of giving one's own life meaning and living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, alienation and boredom.

El Triple constantly reminds of the "Tour Saint-Jacques".
Because living here for longer periods of time, the space and time is empty.
The days and the place always remain the same.
El Triple is a constant confrontation with Kierkegaard's opinions.
That a human being has the sole responsibility to give one's life meaning.

When living in a city surrounded by many people, it is more easy to give meaning to life.
One can become a doctor or a lawyer and people will come and ask for help.
There is a constant knocking on the door by others and helping them gives meaning to life.
As long as that emotionally and existentially works.

An artist is not a person that is able to learn a profession that serves the community in order to find meaning in life.
An artist is a creator.
To create out of nothing something that is everything.
This is the challenge of El Triple.
Every day is the confrontation with its total emptiness that needs to be filled in with something that is everything.
To achieve meaning in life.

Today is another of such a day.
El Triple is there as it always has been.




There are no appointments, meetings, responsibilities or special things to do.


What to do that makes sense and gives meaning to life?






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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Oysters from the ocean

It is the season of oysters now.
Men come with old 4x4 pick-up trucks to the beach.
Equipped with inflated inner tubes and diving masks.

In the morning they swim beyond the surf and dive down to knock oysters from the rocks.

They stay in the water diving oysters for about 3 to 4 hours.
Going down to a depth of about 4 meters (13 feet).

When the daily ocean wind starts blowing, they swim back to the beach.
Pulling with them the heavy bags full of oysters.

A morning of diving oysters brings in 500 to 700 Mexican Pesos. ( 25€ -35€ / $37-$51).
Which is good money in a part of Mexico where work is hard to find these days.






















Saturday, September 26, 2009

Even a mouse can be a friend

There are animals that easily have our sympathy.
Like a panda bear.

Or a baby seal.

And what about ducks and poodles?



But there are other animals that are not so fortunate.
Like mice and rats.
And what about cockroaches and snakes?

Animals that are high on the level of our sympathy scale are lucky.
A panda bear, not able to survive in nature by itself anymore, is pampered in zoos worldwide and put on postcards.
Animals that are classified by humans as disgusting creatures, have a less comfortable time than a poodle.
They are poisoned, chased, trapped and pest controlled.

In paradise, according to the Holy Scriptures, it has been quite a different situation.
Adam and Eve lived in harmony with the animals.
They were not afraid of each other.
Even a lion was harmless.
There was no sympathy for particular animals nor antipathy.

How long the way is where we came from.
Since we were chased out of Paradise, it is de facto war between humans and animals.
Men massacres and extinct anything moving or crawling around him.
And animals, mostly bacteria and viruses, plot and try hard to terminate the presence of humans on this planet.

That is a nice mess we got ourselves in.
And it doesn't seem there is a way back to Paradise.

Is that true?
Can we not in our private and personal situation at least make an effort to make peace with the animal kingdom?
At least partially?

One may wonder how to achieve this ambitious goal.
There are some things we can do that are simple, effective and beautiful.
To the benefit of our animal companions on the planet.
Like what?
By not buying fur coats anymore.
To stop eating meat.
By not killing the insect that happened to have ventured into the living room but by opening a window and guiding it gently outside.

Easy things to do that makes the person feel better and the fox, the pig and the wasp as well.

But now we come back to our instincts of having easily sympathy for animal A and antipathy for animal B.
If we decide to give up the war with the animals and become friendly with them, what are we going to do when a mouse shows up in our house?

This terrible dilemma presented itself yesterday in the Fuso Szulc expedition vehicle currently at El Triple, Baja California, Mexico.
Life is lived here with peaceful intentions vis a vis les animaux.
The animals, that is.
Each morning, gently the insects are guided out of the Fuso Szulc who had been coming inside the night before attracted by the light.
Instead of smashing them to eternity and wipe them clean with a bleach free, lemon scented, antibacterial formula, disinfecting "Redi Wipes".
Snakes showing up near the Fuso Szulc are directed into another direction instead of having their head smashed in with a rock.
The fish in the ocean are left alone to live their wet life as they prefer because the human nearby choses to eat the soya beans product tofu.
Refrains to fish them out of the water and into the frying pan.

But then a mouse showed up in this semi paradise.
An animal that somehow is in category B.
Low on sympathy, high on antipathy.

Mice have been experienced before at El Triple.
And they can be a pest.
Plus very damaging.

Somehow they prefer not to live in their little hole in the ground but prefer a recreational vehicle.
In the past mice have moved into campers that were used at El Triple.
Where they make a nest.
Taking off the isolation from the inside of the hood.
And making a comfortable place on top of the air filter.
Meanwhile chewing on the electricity cables and cutting them.
Smelling food they make holes in wood with their sharp teeth to get access.
To walk on the kitchen counter when it is quiet in the late evening.
Possibly spreading diseases through the bacteria they carry.

Hence, there are many reasons to say to the mice:
"No, we are deeply sorry but you are not welcome.
Go back to your hole in the ground!"

Somehow, mice are not receptive for this advice.
They keep on coming.
Hence, something must be done.

Because of the past experiences, the Fuso Szulc has mouse traps on board.
Just in case.
And one was put in place last night.
With a piece of Gouda cheese.
Thinking this must be an exquisite delicatesse for a Mexican mouse.

Indeed, this morning, a mouse had killed itself by eating the cheese and retreating its head not fast enough.
Its own fault therefore.


But then the mind of the human being started to analyze the event.
The discussion is not about the impossibility of mice and men being in the same place.
It is clear that this is not a good idea.
Hence, when mice come and look for food, the human being should leave.
In the end, the mouse was there first.

Somehow this concept doesn't work well in the mind.
If the Fuso Szulc was to return to La Paz and friends were told it was because there were mice at El Triple who were there first, the local psychiatric hospital would get a new client.

Then another idea was born.
Using mouse traps or poison terminates the lives of the innocent mice.
It is a drastic measure.
Like this mouse that killed itself in the mouse trap last night.
It might be a female.
Who has young ones in the hole in the ground around the corner.
Babies who are now wondering where is Mummy.
And they are getting hungry.
Feeling miserable and left alone.
A tragedy in their lives that soon will end as well because nobody, nobody will take care of them.

Now, one may say: but they are just mice.
Why so sentimental?
That is not fair.
If you as a human being are left alone to die and you feel miserable, will it help you to realize that you are just one out of 7 billion people so what is your problem?
No, you will consider your life most important in spite of us being with over 7 billion.
Hence, why is the life of a mouse then less important?

All these reflections resulted in a decision.
Not to kill mice anymore.
To look for a mouse trap that catches them alive.
Like a sort of cage with a trap door.


When a mouse is inside, the cage can be brought to an area at a distance too far away for a mouse to walk back.
And there the rodent is released.

It is not the perfect solution, but at least the animal is not killed.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To get a mouse trap without killing them, click on:


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000DINGG?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwgregladenc-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B0000DINGG






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Friday, September 25, 2009

It was Hughesnet.

There is a website called www.datastormusers.com.
Where people go to who have a Datastorm Satellite System.

And quite some people do actually.
Because this Datastorm Satellite System is very erratic.
All users run eventually into serious problems.
And have to learn tons of knowledge about how the system works to fix it and have it work again.
The Motosat Datastorm Satellite System is so full of flaws and problems that users write things like:

"I look forward to the day when something else more reliable comes available.
Then I will gladly back-up the motorhome to a dumpster and slide the Motosat into it."


Now that the Fuso Szulc Datastorm Satellite System is working again after a breakdown of 4 days, the website www.datastormusers.com was visited.
Where it was learned that the recent problems were not caused by lightning corrupting software in the modem.
But that Hughesnet, the company that runs the SatMex5 satellite, was fooling with it, resulting in thousands of people unable to access internet.
They all pay Hughesnet about $ 75 a month for the possibility to access internet but Hughesnet doesn't mind to disconnect part of their clientele for days at a time.
Probably in the small letters of the agreement Hughesnet is freed of any claims.

Logically, when a Datastorm Satellite System refuses to work, the user
first suspects something is wrong with the own hardware and software.
Because most know it is such an unreliable system.
Trying to solve the problem they become rather desperate when this has no results.
Probably from a nearby Internet-café they send messages to the www.datastormusers.com website.

Like Jim :

I had to stow the dish last night due to 60mph wind gusts.
Upon redeploying this a.m., it won't connect again.
I had written down azimuth, elevation and skew when it was connected and set the dish manually after over 45 minutes of searching.
I have tv back again, but still no internet.
I have disconnected and reconnected all interior and exterior connections.
Am I correct in assuming that it is not the D3 since it found the other 2 sats?
I'm really at a loss so figured I would ask the forum for help before I call Datastorm Support.

Thanks,

Jim

And Pat:

Had same problem as Jim & Linda noted today with 117W satellite. Tried all of the things that they did and found two satellites (103W & 101W), but kept getting message "transmitter unavailable due to receive signal problems and Receiver not locked to a signal. Receive cable fault suspected". Now, after shutting everything off and unplugging and plugging in, I am getting message that the system does not find the LNB. HELP! Can anyone help me? I am in an area where I am not finding any dealers. Thanking you in advance.

Pat


And Ted:

I raised my jacks yesterday about 4:30PM EST to adjust my level on the coach. I was connected fine at the time. During the stow and re-level I lost signal. I have not been able to get my D2 to lock on a satellite since then. Is my failure to lock on a sat the same problem with SAT MEX5 117 you speak of here? I am parked the same place I have been for a month. Thanks,

Ted

And Avantol:

I am seeing a similar problem, I think. (on 117W/1230, have F1/D2)
I stowed after months of normal operation, now I don't get an SQ higher than 29, and never lock on. It continues to try and peak the signal.
(That 29 number sounds familiar... wasn't that a sign of a bad connector?)
The unit is 6 months since total replacement at MotoSAT.
Is this part of a general problem with 117W?

Suggestions appreciated... thanks.

Then expert Bill Adams writes:

SatMex 5 at 117W is totally screwed!
How this Hughes mess is going to work out over the next few weeks is unknown but my personal recommendation for those who do not need to be on 117W for Mexico should consider moving to a different satellite.

There are two options:

1/
Just live with the many problems this Motosat Datastorm Satellite System is frequently having.
To fight one's way through them each time.
And to wait until a new and better system comes on the market.

2/
To give up the Motosat Datastorm Satellite System and the desire to want to be on line anytime anywhere.
To simply live in the RV without internet.
And go to internet-café's when in town.

The best for life, health and peace of mind is option 2.
But business, quality of social life and security forces to go for option 1.





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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Who knows?

Last saturday night a tremendous thunderstorm tortured El Triple, Baja California, Mexico, where the Fuso Szulc is located.
The dark and threatening clouds had been seen approaching.
So, in time the Datastorm Satellite Disk had been brought down and put in the stow position flat against the roof of the expedition vehicle.

The rain the thunderstorm brought was incredible.
It was like a lake was emptied above the land.
And the lightning and thunder suggested a serious war.
Constantly all around the Fuso Szulc flashes, explosions and vertical light rays.

But inside the Fuso Szulc it was safe.
Like a protecting cocoon and haven.
No leaking this time.
And not noticeably hit by a lightning.

Fortunately, the thunderstorm, after more than an hour, subsided and it all cleared up.
Just before it was time to sleep.
A peaceful night nature allowed.

The next morning, last sunday, the Datastorm Satellite Disk system was activated and instructed to lock again to its assigned satellite: the SatMex 5.

It was unable to do so.
The Datastorm Satellite Disk would search the sky, find certain satellites, but not the SatMex 5.

This problem was experienced for 3 ½ days until a solution was found.

A Datastorm Satellite Disk system consists of three components.
The disk on the roof, the D3 controller of the disk and the HN 7000S modem that controls the internet communication.
Inside the digital memory of the D3 is a table of satellites ID's.
When the disk finds a signal of a satellite, it optimizes the connection and then checks with its table which satellite it is.
If it is not the one assigned to, it uses the found one as a reference point to find the correct one.
That is the idea.

Unable to find the SatMex 5, obviously something was wrong with the table of satellite ID's.
The theory came alive that this is because of the lightning.
Although the Datastorm Satellite Disk system was switched off, maybe somehow electrostatic forces disrupted the memory of the D3?

Before the conclusion could be made that the satellite table of the D3 was corrupted, many tests had to be made.
The whole Datastorm Satellite Disk system operates based on settings and there are many.
Hence, many combination of settings have to be tried to proceed in the process of determining what is exactly the problem.
This is a lengthy and time consuming process.
Because the Datastorm Satellite Disk would go up after the search button was hit, would start looking for satellites, would find the Anik F2 at 111.1 W, go to the SatMex 6 at 113.0 W and then to Galaxy 119.1 W to abort the searching process due to a motor stall error.
To return to the stow position.
A procedure taking over 15 minutes.

When all possible settings had been tried, the conclusion had to be made that somehow the location of the needed SatMex 5 117 W had disappeared from the satellite ID table.
That was after two days...

The next step was to use a setting that switches off the satellite ID table.
And the user can fill in the data belonging to the desired satellite.
The procedure becomes that the Datastorm Satellite Disk system searches the sky and each satellite that is found is matched with the information put into the setting.
If it is not the right one, it continues the search.
This seems simple and should work no problem.
However, the information about the SatMex 5 can be found in the settings of the modem and the D3 controller.
Except the Sat ID Viterbi: the error correction rate.
There are 5 options and not knowing which one is correct, again it is a matter of logically trying all possible combinations.
Putting in a certain setting, making the Datastorm Satellite Disk system search, disk going up, searching the sky, finding satellites until a motor stall made the disk return to the stow position.
Another half an hour of trying...
All options were tried and never the SatMex 5 was found.

Meanwhile a psychological and emotional process was in synchronicity with the efforts to get on line.
The first day of the trouble with the Datastorm Satellite Disk system, there was strong anger and frustration.
Violent opposition what the technique forced about the good willing user.
Aggression even and the foul words screamed at El Triple cannot be repeated here.
But soon it was realized that this attitude had to change.
It brings one nowhere.
Also, over the years so often problems with this Datastorm Satellite Disk system have been experienced that it is more easy to not get too excited about it.
Hence, it was seen as a job.
The job to try to find a solution by patiently trying all the options possible.
This had a calming effect.
And after three days of doing this, a certain peace and tranquility had been achieved.

It also had been accepted to live without being in touch with the rest of the world.
Even for some more time as supplies in the Fuso Szulc allow a continuation of the stay at El Triple for another two weeks.
For the first time in two years it would mean not to publish daily a posting on the blog.
Not to be able to be involved in the production of the new photobook "Sequences: the ultimate selection".
To have painful silence with the "Queen of Dreams".
And with all the other people frequently meeting in cyberspace.

That idea was accepted.
Instead of breaking up camp and going to La Paz to find help to fix the problem.
The decision was made to stay without being connected to the internet.
Two more weeks of life as it used to be at El Triple before the era of satellites.

On Wednesday it became clear that the Datastorm Satellite Disk system could not be fixed.
Everything possible was tried and to no avail.
The effort to get connected even by switching off the satellite table ID was not working.
While that was the gate to the solution.
Once connected to the SatMex 5, the new firmware and satellite ID table for the D3 controller could be downloaded and installed ending all problems.
But it was not to be.
The idea that it was impossible and that efforts had to be stopped to not become repetitive in actions was growing so big it had to be accepted as a fact.

And then a last idea popped up.
It had been noticed that when the Datastorm Satellite Disk system was searching the sky, it would recognize a satellite and quickly continue the search.
But sometimes it would find a satellite that was obviously not in the list of the satellite ID table.
There it would stay for minutes before to give up and move on.
The experiment was made to have the Datastorm Satellite Disk system lock to a satellite it obviously was not able to recognize and then to switch off the D3 controller.
Then to switch off the whole system and to power it up again.
Knowing the Datastorm Satellite Disk was locked to an unknown satellite, maybe it could be the SatMex 5?
Trying this method a few times resulted eventually in a big bingo.
After 4 days and many, many hours of trying, this method turned out to be successful.
The lights on the modem started flickering and soon the first of the many e-mails started raining in.

Of course new firmware including a new and fresh satellite ID table was downloaded.
And is waiting to be installed.
A very complicated procedure with an Apple computer.
For the moment no effort is made to install the firmware.
The Datastorm Satellite Disk system is locked to the SatMex 5 and works.
As long as only the power is switched on and off, access to the internet is possible.
Later, when traveling again, the firmware will have to be installed to make the system work properly again on a new location.
If it will.
Who knows?




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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thunderstorm stopping Datastorm

When the thunderstorm came, just before the Datastorm satellite disk was put down and the system switched off.
The next morning, Sunday, the system was activated again but was unable to find the right satellite.
It didn't recognize the assigned satellite SatMex5 anymore.
For 4 days, during many hours, efforts have been made to make the system run again.
Just now, Wednesday at noon, by a trick, the SatMex 5 was locked and internet access possible again.
Now the firmware of the modem and the Satellite ID table need to be re-installed.
With a Mac, a hell of a job.

This was the posting scheduled to be published Sunday morning:





At the end of the day it could be seen coming.
A thunderstorm.
And in this part of the world that can be a deluge.

It comes with very strong winds and flashes so frequent it's better than Independence Day's fireworks.
And rain like a lake is falling down.

Best place to survive is in the expedition vehicle.
It is on rubber wheels and therefore not making connection with earth.
In theory lighting will not strike a vehicle on wheels.
And inside, the explorer remains dry.

Nevertheless, sitting inside where it was supposed to be safe and dry, one could not avoid to feel fear.
It was pitch black outside little of the time as lightning was flashing all around almost every five seconds.
Fortunately, the Motosat Datastorm satellite disk had been brought down just in time.
Folded in stow position on the roof.
And all windows had been quickly closed when the violent wind attacked and the lightning was all around.
The Fuso Szulc was shaking left and right in spite of the levelers underneath.
And lightning could be seen coming down and hitting the ground what looked very nearby.

Fear was fed from two recurring thoughts.
Was the Fuso Szulc going to be hit by lightning in spite of being on tires?
Were there going to be leaks like last time in La Paz when the hurricane hit?

If lightning would hit, the effect was imagined to become like bread in a toaster.
Burned to a state of crunchiness more beautiful than a crematorium can achieve.
And now that life is going so well with the new book "Sequences: the ultimate selection" being published, many wonderful things scheduled and the dance in progress with the "Queen of Dreams", it is not the appropriate moment to depart for the happy hunting-grounds.

In La Paz recently, during the hurricane, rainwater had entered the Fuso Szulc.
There was a leak coming from the radio antenna and from the bathroom dome.
The water of the leak in the bathroom fell right into the shower and was no problem.
But the radio antenna leak disabled the Sony XR-CA640X radio because water entered it.
Fortunately, by taking the Sony radio out of its console and placing it in front of a ventilator, once dry magically it worked perfectly again.
When there was an opportunity more silicone kit was plastered around the base of the radio antenna on the roof.
And last night, while water came down in buckets, it was learned what a perfect job had been done.

Fortunately the tremendous thunderstorm was over before it was time to sleep.
The windows of the Fuso Szulc could be opened again and fresh air could enter.
Coming with a very strong smell of earth.
Of wet sand.
Nature allowed a peaceful night of sleep.

This morning the bucket outside was filled with ± 5 centimeters (2 inches) of water.
And nature looked happy with a cloudless sky and a bright sun.
Thanks to the thunderstorm, everything growing on the land will flourish some weeks more now.
To inspire and rejoice.
From fear to bliss.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Two more died

There is a daily program at El Triple, Baja California, Mexico that is closely followed.
Because years ago it was found out that regularity helps to be healthy, happy and in balance.
Hence, every day at the same time is rising, breakfast, working session, swimming in the ocean, lunch, siesta, walk, reading, yoga, running, bathing, dinner and sleeping.
It gives a structure to the situation of complete freedom.
It is true that when in absolute freedom, with no obligations, appointments and commitments, one could sleep and eat and work and do activities as one pleases.
Just like animals do: 100 % living by impulse.
But we are not schnauzers nor poodles.
Regularity suits most of us best.

This is why the walk after the siesta was made yesterday at the usual hour.
Now that tropical storm Marti has passed by, the weather has calmed down.
It is also new moon so the ocean retreats far back leaving nice hard sand to make a comfy walk along the water.
Hardly wind, a temperature of 29 º C (84º F) and a very good mood.
Because with the Queen of Dreams beautiful energy is created.

Then, vultures were seen grouping around an object washed ashore.
Closer by, it turned out to be a giant sea turtle.
Dead.



Peculiarly enough, one mile north, another giant sea turtle.
Dead as well.

Both washed ashore.
Large animals.
Of a considerable age.

Was this sad?
Shocking?
Two more endangered species lost?
Reasons to feel hopeless?

The question was asked how these two animals had found dead.
Obviously it had been a couple.
Of one, the vultures already had managed to get turtle eggs out of the body.
And the other giant sea turtle was slightly larger.
So, conclusion was it had been Mr and Mrs Giant Sea Turtle we presume.
Somehow they died together.
This fact excluded that they died of old age.
Also, the female still producing eggs made understand, although huge animals, they were not that old.

Hence, something caused their death.
A specific reason.

Sometimes the fishermen operating from a fishing camp south from El Triple fish with long and large nets.
An illegal method of fishing but this is a boondock area.
On the fish market of La Paz it will not be explained how the catch was made.
Fishing with large and long nets is illegal because it catches anything that comes into it.
That includes dolphins, seals, whales and turtles.
Who die by drowning.
Caught in the net they can't get to the surface to breath.
Later, the fishermen find the animals, take them out of the nets and leave them in the ocean.
Because they have no commercial value.
If they would offer a sea turtle on the fish market, they would get arrested.

Over the last week the tropical storm Marti has been passing by.
Stopping the local fishermen of putting their boats into the ocean and fish.
They are therefore probably not responsible for the killing of the two giant sea turtles.

A lead might be that over the last two days, because of the tropical storm Marti, the wind has been from the south.
Making all kinds of objects float to and land on the El Triple beach.
Far out on the Pacific Ocean, impossible to see from the El Triple coast, more fishing is going on.
By large fishing boats from countries like South Korea and Russia.
They fish as they like.
No regulations.
Most likely they are responsible for the death of the two giant sea turtles.

It is making sad to see beautiful and innocent animals like giant sea turtles dead on the beach.
Not only because they died.
On top of that they are catalysts.
They make any sane and reasonable person wonder what the hell we human beings are doing to the animals of our planet.
Just spoiling and destroying them as if tomorrow we can buy new ones in God's supermarket.
While we are sophisticated in many ways.
But unable to chose to develop a method to fish without killing giant sea turtles.



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Friday, September 18, 2009

The hand that survived

The moment had come to intervene medically.
To change from being an artist-photographer into a surgeon.
Well, temporarily that is.

The large office table in the Fuso Szulc expedition vehicle was transformed into the operation table.
All the equipment, like the Swiss army knife and a pair of scissors, were put to be easily available during the precarious medical intervention.
Medical cotton too was there as well as liquids to disinfect.

The procedure to perform was to take out the stitches from the terrible wound suffered from a fatal fall in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico two weeks ago.









There is this tendency to often dramatize a situation.
This comes from an imagination permanently out of control.
Although friends had informed that taking out stitches was easy and simple, the imagination had turned it beforehand into an episode of *MASH*.
Helicopters moving above the hospital tent, explosions of mortars nearby and amputations imminent.
Reality proved to be opposite from the fantasy arisen beforehand.
There were no helicopters like in a Francis Ford Coppola film.
No explosions of mortar bombs like now in Afghanistan.
And taking out the stitches was piece of cake.
With the sharp scissors of the Swiss army knife the plastic wires were cut and with a pair of teeny tweezers the stitch could be pulled out like it was coming out of "I can't believe it is not butter".
And guess what, most importantly, it was absolutely painless.

Once this professional job well done by this amateur surgeon finished, the fantasy and imagination took over once more.
Saying, if this went so well, maybe now that you are at it, any other surgical intervention to perform?
The Swiss army knife sterilized and the operating theatre prepared, how about some liposuction?
Or facelifting?
Or African style buttock enlargement?
Even maybe some brain surgery to limit future fantasies and imaginations?

But better not be a fool in these delicate matters.
Anyway, there is on this body no fat to liposuck, it is too young for facelifting and how to get to the brains with a Swiss army knife decently?

Don't think this is all silly chit-chat.
Once, several weeks were spent documenting the life at a small clinic of a religious settlement out in the boondocks of Zimbabwe, Africa.
A Mission of the Catholic Church called "Regina Caeli" in Katerere District near the border with Mozambique.
The clinic was run by a doctor from the Netherlands and the church of the Mission by nuns from the UK and Italy.
One night there was a serious brawl in a nearby bar.
A bus driver was attacked who had an accident some weeks before.
Several children were killed in that tragedy.
The father of one of the kids saw the bus driver in the bar and couldn't control his anger.
Influenced by too much beer he attacked the bus driver with a broken bottle.
Who tried to protect himself by shielding with his hands.
Beaten up he was brought to the clinic of "Regina Caeli".
One hand was a big open wound from receiving the broken beer bottle.
The poor man couldn't move his fingers anymore as all tendons were cut.
The Dutch doctor decided to operate him and tie the tendons back together.
The bus driver got anesthesia used usually to operate on horses and was put on an improvised operating table.
Assisted by one African nurse, in the presence of the photographer, the doctor cut open the hand to reach all the tendons.
To discover that inside a hand, it is a pretty complicated situation.
He had no clue where he had arrived.
So, he asked the African nurse to run to his house to get a book with illustrations of the hand.
Anatomic illustrations of the complex web of tendons and muscles to move five fingers.
Once back, the African nurse had to hold up the book next to the butchered hand and checking the illustrations the doctor tried to find how to connect everything correctly.
The problem was not the tendons going to the fingers.
When pulled, the finger would move.
But the tendons coming out of the wrist were the problem.
You can't just connect as you think is convenient.
A has to go to A, B to B, etc
Eventually, the sweating and hard working doctor had to give up.
He simply closed the hand and the bus driver was sent to a real hospital in a city.
By ambulance.

This anecdote to explain how proud the pioneering photographer felt after his successful surgical intervention.
On his own hand!!!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Turning dreams around

It is four years now that life is on the road.
That the beautiful house in Cadaques, Spain, was left behind and status became as that of a nomad.
Living often in the Fuso Szulc expedition vehicle but also with family, friends and in hotels.
Home became where the campfire is burning.
And that can be anywhere which is perfect.

This life-style is deeply enjoyed.
Very interesting, fascinating, eventful and instructive.
There is no urge whatsoever to change the current way of living.

But there is one thing though.
For two years there are those dreams.
Disturbing dreams.
Always about houses.
How a house is visited to see if it suits to live in.
How a house is looked for and cannot be found.
Dreams about living in a house and not finding certain rooms.

Always about houses in combination of a feeling of frustration.
Of uneasiness.
Of being disturbed.
Of feeling desperate, hopeless and lost.

These dreams got very annoying.
They would make the day start with a bad mood.
They would unbalance the happy life of the constantly traveling person.
But most of all, the dreams could not be placed.
Why were they manifesting themselves?
What was the meaning of these dreams?
What was the message the subconsciousness was trying to communicate?

For some time it was believed that the dreams were saying that consciously it was all very well to live without a home and permanently on the road, but that deep down inside there was a fundamental desire to have a fixed place somewhere nevertheless.
The believe in this explanation became so strong that even a real estate agent in La Paz, Baja California, Mexico was requested to look for a house to buy.
Believing that if a house was owned the dreams would stop.
Because that deep down desire would have been satisfied.

The idea was that to own a house would be enough.
That there would not be the necessity to actually live in it.
That simply having a house would stop the very disturbing dreams.
And life on the road could more happily continue.

And then a miracle happened.
This new person that recently landed in the pioneering photographer's life knows a lot about dreams.
She studied this subject.
When she heard about these recurring disturbing dreams about houses,
after some reflection, she gave this explanation:

the subject in a dream is always the dreamer himself/herself.
So, do not think it is about a house.
It is about yourself.
For example, when you dream you visit a house and go from room to room, it is a way of a dream to tell how you check out your own personality.

There was much more she explained about certain dreams about houses described to her.
Fascinating stuff and each time the message and conclusion was:
it is not about a building, it is about yourself.

It was a drastic new way to see those dreams about houses.
The spotlight on the dreams changed completely.
The perspective turned around from narrow to wide.

And guess what, after this new way of understanding of these dreams they vanished totally.
They have vaporized.
Run away for the wisdom of the interpreter of dreams.

What a relief!
What a joy!
And what a progress in the process of spiritual and personal growing.

Therefore, on your knees, you infidel, and say at least thank you a thousand times to this helpful and healing new friend.
And cancel the real estate agent.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No man is an island

The weather is beautiful now at El Triple, Baja California, Mexico.
The heat of the summer is over.
Instead of the tough 34º C (93º F) of the last weeks, now it is a pleasant 28º C. (82º F)
With only a light wind.

These meteorological conditions make life very comfortable at El Triple.
It gives a feeling of total relaxation.
Of a deep enjoying of existence.

One of the highlights of the day is the long walk along the ocean after the siesta.
With not much wind and an ideal temperature, it is like being in a Bacardi commercial.

It was deeply realized what a privilege it is to just be at El Triple and to be able to make such a wonderful and beautiful walk.

But almost back to the Fuso Szulc, out of the blue, by surprise, a certain picture suddenly filled the mind's eye.
Resulting in being totally overwhelmed by deep sadness making tears roll down the cheeks.
It was this picture:



In the center we see Kim Phuc Phan Thi, 9 years old, running down a road near Trang Bang in Vietnam after her village was bombed with napalm.
This picture was taken by the Associated Press photographer Nick Ut on June 8, 1972.

It is a picture most people in the USA, Japan, Europe and many more countries have seen.
And we can assume that every person that saw this picture was horrified, disturbed and full of emotions.

This can be the power of photography.
To show how barbarous politicians and the army can be.
Mobilizing the public opinion to press the responsible people to stop their condemnable activities.

Meanwhile, the politicians and the army have come to realize that photography can jeopardize their evil and barbarous methods of trying to win a war.
This explains why we don't see similar pictures like Nick Ut made in Vietnam from the current war in Afghanistan.
Journalists and photographers are "embedded".
They can go to the battlefield but under the supervision and control of the army.

We know that in Afghanistan many innocent civilians are being killed by missiles fired by US drones and bombs dropped by Coalition Forces.
Over 2,000 men, women and children in 2008.
Indiscriminately, against all international laws and often by mistake.
But we never see images of the devastation and the tragedy the civilians suffer.
Hence, the politicians and the army have their hands free to kill and butcher as they like.
And meanwhile the population of the countries responsible for the military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan worry about the economic crises.

It is peculiar that being in a paradisiacal environment like El Triple nevertheless the mind remembers the My Lai massacre.
That it makes the picture of the running naked girl come back in the memory still so powerful that it makes a grown man cry.

We are no islands.




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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Desire as a circus act

Cathy said: "I am so terribly disappointed in you".
While Pete had no idea what his girlfriend was talking about.

It is not easy to have a decent and constructive conversation clearing skies between partners in life when one of the two is occupied with feelings of strong disappointment in the other.
Hence, Cathy and Pete crashed into a bad relationship brawl.

What was the matter then between Cathy and Peter?
They were together for four years.
And Cathy had expected that Pete would invite her on the evening of the day of celebration to a nice restaurant and she expected him to ask her to marry him.

For Pete it was different.
He didn't even remember the exact day when he started dating Cathy.
And thoughts to marry her were less on his mind than the hard time he was having in keeping his job.

In general, each person has certain desires.
Possibly expressed in expectations.

Cathy was desiring to have a romantic dinner with a marriage proposal coming out of the vortex.
That desire she transformed into an expectation projected on Pete.

Of course Pete is a man that is not fully into his relationship with Cathy.
If it is serious, a man should remember certain vital dates related to the partner and the relationship.
Invite the lady for romantic dinners and bring her flowers once in a while.
To make work not more important if it is the woman of the dreams.

But Cathy too has some work to do.
A desire is a personal thing and it is very inappropriate and destructive to transform desires into expectations to be fulfilled by others.
That is asking for trouble.
Dumping tons of disappointment into the own heart.

A desire can be seen as something that comes up in the heart.
It can grow to large proportions but the trick is to remain the observer.
Not to have the desire encapsulate life and become the commander.
Once the desire is in control, bridges are made with other people who are expected to satisfy the desire.
In most cases that doesn't work resulting in deep disappointment and often a ruined relationship.
But the Cathy's among us who can observe neutrally a desire develop by circling around the phenomenon free as a bird, do not need to get others involved.
The desire grows and grows and the most fantastic thing is that by remaining an observer and avoiding being overwhelmed and taken over by the desire, it eventually starts to lose momentum.
Like threatening clouds building up in the sky, inspiring to quickly find an umbrella, the wind blows the clouds away to see a blue sky again.
Remaining the observer is like the own desire performing on a stage in a theater.
The show starts, it is performed and it ends.
Or see it as a balloon.
It swells and gets a round proportion until the air comes out again and the balloon shrivels to nothingness.

Cathy would have made her life much more easy if she had been able to be aware of her desire as an observer.
And her relationship with Pete would not have been damaged needing serious repair after the projection of her expectations on him.
If they are to marry, no desires are needed.
It will happen one day when time has come.

Some weeks ago, because of a new contact, suddenly tremendous desire arose at El Triple.
Fortunately, at this location, life is very meditative.
Relaxed, calm and peaceful.
A perfect situation to avoid to become driven by sudden strong emotions.
To loose one's head and start projecting expectations.
Trying to force the other person to satisfy the desire.

The desire did not manage to come inside and take over but is observed hovering like a hurricane above the Pacific Ocean.
Losing power, influence and impact.

The contact with the person in question continues though.
Without disappointment.



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Monday, September 14, 2009

Circumcise, but men only.

There is something that can be done to a man but is appalling and criminal when done to a woman.
Circumcision.
In northern and eastern Africa and certain Arab countries the tradition exists of circumcising women.
Girls at a young age are by force treated without anesthesia to have their clitoris and part of their labia cut off with a knife.


This has a lifelong implication for the poor victim.
Any pleasure from having sex is for always denied and that is exactly the purpose.
Besides, many women victim of female circumcision suffer of infections and urinal irregularities.

In Europe they have made female circumcision punishable by law.
Because there are people from countries like Somalia and Morocco who have come to live in the Netherlands and next mutilate and traumatize their daughters.
The daughters are carefully watched in the schools they attend and when it is discovered she has become a victim of circumcision the responsible persons, in most cases men, go to prison.
But the girls living in countries like Egypt and Uganda where traditionalists keep up the custom, still fall victim.



It is an act of the most horrendous dimensions.
The men thinking this is right are very sick.

Circumcising a man is a tradition as well.
Among Jewish people, Muslims and others.
It is a simple procedure.
The forehead of the penis is taken between the thumb and forefinger and pulled out.
Stretched as far as possible.
And then with a sharp knife, the skin is cut and voila.

It has been witnessed in the Jewish settlement Ofra on the Israelian occupied Westbank of Palestine.
A freshly born infant was taken to the synagogue where a Rabbi with a lot of celebration, tradition and festivity circumcised the boy.
The baby, until then feeling comfy and cuddled, started crying like his day had come.
But nobody got upset as it was any baby boy's response to the intervention.
Not too long after he was quiet again and his penis bandaged.

To circumcise a man is actually a very good idea.
It is underneath the skin wrapped around the head of the penis a paradise for bacteria.
That are ready to infect anything coming close to it.
Like a vagina.

Research has revealed that a man who is circumcised has a 60 % lower chance to get and spread diseases like HIV.
This is why massive public campaigns are currently held in countries like Zambia suggesting strongly all men to be circumcised.


Circumcised man

Not circumcised man

There is one negative though for men who are circumcised.
When the head of the penis loses its foreskin, unprotected, the head becomes less sensitive.
Giving the man less sensations when making love.
But nothing serious compared to a woman circumcised.

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To learn more about female circumcision, click on:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_cutting

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/




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