Seattle, Washington Self-Indulgent Navel-Gazing College Boy Blather

I put a page up today so people can download the video in different sizes and flavors and from a few different mirror sites that were kind enough to share some of the load. I’ve never done a download page before, so if there are any errors or omissions in the presentation – dead links or whatever – please let me know.

I keep expecting this thing to die down, but it hasn’t yet. So I might as well make it a little easier for people.

Here’s that radio interview I mentioned in my last post. It’s 15 awkward minutes of me falling in and out of consciousness while a couple wacky morning radio DJs try to prove that I’m gay.

There are lots of better things you could do with 15 minutes…but there you go.

A friend of mine has started a blog devoted to his absurdly passionate interest in New York City urban planning and development. If this is a passion you share, you should check it out. If this is a passion you don’t share, but you’re curious how a genuine passion for New York City urban planning and development manifests itself in a human being, you should still check it out.

At the risk of sounding like a Friendster testimonial, this guy, Aaron, is one of my favorite people in the universe. He has a rare curiosity about the world around him that is, I swear to you, completely contagious. Spend ten minutes in his presence and suddenly the mundane becomes fascinating.

I wish more people got obsessed with things like New York City urban planning and development, and fewer people got obsessed with things like Jessica and Ashley Simpson. Unfortunately, I’m not in charge of who gets obsessed with what.

Speaking of strange obsessions, the Parents Television Council is freaking hilarious. Who are these people? After masterminding the whole Janet Jackson Tit-gate thing, they’ve found a way to draw attention to the other, less sensational instances of smut and indecency on television by offering streaming video on their web site of every offensive clip they find.

Thank you, Parents Televsion Council, for keeping me informed on pressing matters. Were it not for you, I would remain ignorant of these flagrant abuses of the public trust; such as an animated Paris Hilton inserting a pineapple into her nether regions.

I inspected this site closely, and I’m pretty sure they’re totally oblivious to the irony of what they’re doing.

I’ve been wrestling with the suggestion a few people have made that I ad a Paypal button to my site. It’s very tempting, but the reasons I’m not going to do it are as follows:

– I don’t feel good about taking money from people. I’m not a charity, and I can’t promise that any money I get would go toward continued travel. It will more than likely go toward groceries.

– Though I am broke, I am fully capable of making my own money. I’ve simply refused thus far to take a job that involves showing up every day, and that’s kind of limited my options.

– It seems kind of sleazy. I’d like people to enjoy the video without being badgered to give me anything.

– And finally, if I’m going to compromise my integrity, I’d like to do it for the right price. There are a number of organizations out there whose money I’d be perfectly happy to take, and who could theoretically get something of equal or greater value from helping me out.

I’ve ranted about this before, but I’m going to do it again. Money is a tricky thing. When you don’t have enough, obviously, it rules your life. But when you have too much, it can be just as controlling. I managed to live for a number of years during my early twenties in a sort of blissful financial equilibrium. I was able to behave as if money didn’t exist, and I was for want of nothing. This was achievable largely because I didn’t really have many material needs. Every month or so I’d find some gadget to buy or some thing I wanted to do, but aside from that, I lived humbly.

I was young enough to avoid the mounting pressure to buy property – or even really begin thinking about it. I’m now at an age where chemicals have begun surging through my body, instructing me to acquire equity, and it terrifies me. I’ve noticed the unsettling tendency of otherwise interesting people who buy property to immediately turn boring. Suddenly covered garages and bathroom tiles are the most absorbing subjects they can possibly consider.

I’ve seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by real estate.

But I’m even more terrified because I’m so far from being able to join in with that whole thing. I made a decision to travel instead of putting down roots, and jumping-Jesus-on-a-pogo-stick that’s not something I regret for an instant, but it’s left me in a strange place where there’s no clear path to follow.

I’ve taken on the view that most people in western societies don’t actually do anything that is remotely useful to anyone. At least half the U.S. population could stop working tomorrow and it would have little impact on essential matters like the production and distribution of food, energy, and so forth. To take it a step further, our nation’s overall wealth would remain pretty much the same. (Apologies to Noam Chomsky, as I’ve butchered his life’s work into a vastly inaccurate oversimplification, but it’s not like I’m the first guy who’s done that.)

It’s a byproduct of a service economy. We have all this money, but it can’t just be handed out to the population for nothing. Jobs must be created to justify the distribution of funds. Many of those jobs are hamster wheels, but people are happy to run in hamster wheels because it’s our nature – we need something to do, and no matter how trivial it is, we’ll convince ourselves that it’s important. We’re complicit in a process that leaves us confined and sapped of all our energy for no good reason.

Example: I believe the internet boom happened largely because we needed an excuse to hand out money to a new generation of upper middle class white people. God forbid we should have to give any of it to the poor.

So I believe all this stuff, but where does it get me? I’m still an upper middle class white person with my palms open and cupped. I still need money. I’m just disinclined to take any of it very seriously.

…this is self-indulgent college-boy blather and it’s not what I want to be talking about. I didn’t even go to college. Why the hell am I going on like this?

Oh yeah. I’m unemployed…

The comments and emails I’ve gotten from people have raised my spirits a lot and inspired me to get back to the travel journal entries I left unfinished. I got stuck on the Kilimanjaro post a few months back when I realized how tremendously unwieldy it would become. In the last few days I’ve made it over the hump I was stuck on and I’ll be posting the entry very soon. This will interest no one, but it’ll be a big personal victory for me to finish writing about it – almost as much as climbing the damn thing.