Monthly Archives: June 2004

Sandbanks ’04

Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 LeSabre Custom
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 Chill
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 Kate
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 Strawberries

Went to Sandbanks on the weekend. The weather was good, but danced from one extreme to the other along the course of the day. It was Trolley, Tomacini, Kate, Adam, and Eric on one site, Aaron, Karen, Nick, Alison, and me on another about 20 paces away. It was quite a different crew from the one I’m used to, but definitely the one I was most comfortable around. These are the people who never ask for money, who talk to you like you’re family, whom you can depend on to find some orange juice if you’re having a bad trip. We only got in trouble one night, but we were admittedly loud. Our attempts to thwart such problems by introducing ourselves to neighbouring campsites proved fruitless, as we were informed that the noise we were producing was being heard in a larger radius than expected. I took up position as the token Asian guy (keepin it cool) and Adam resumed his usual role as the token homosexual (keepin it fresh). The weekend went by quickly.

Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 Campfire 1
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 Campfire 2

Aside from steak, the best part of camping is the campfire. When the deciduous trees flicker orange and the stars normally hidden by the city light show themselves against the navy blue sky. There’s something about the heat and the atmosphere that puts the mind at ease. Nobody cares if one speaks too much or too little, puts on some headphones and listens to music, intoxicates, or pulls out a book and reads. It’s where everyone can do their own thing, together.

Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 beach 1
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 beach 2
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 beach 3
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 beach 4

Sandbanks has an amazing beach with large sand dunes, which makes it one of the most popular campgrounds, as well as one of the hardest to reserve a site on (Trolley and I had this weekend booked since January). The sand is extremely soft and smooth, and the beach ended up being the only refuge for a loud group, especially at night. It’s also where Adam was paid to market Gatorade to the homosexual population (and the funny thing is, Adam did his absolute best not to look gay in the photograph, but succeeds only in the doing the exact opposite.) The caption for the magazines would be, “ALL I DID WAS DRINK THIS GATORADE AND HOT GUYS STARTED LICKING STUFF OFF MY LEGS!”.

Aaron made his contribution to the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 plant saga 1
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 plant saga 2
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 plant saga 3
Thumbnail: Sandbanks '04 plant saga 4

At one point, Aaron and I had to steal some firewood from the other site. We decide to give them some flowers in return as a joke. Aaron just happened to pass by a bunch of daisies, and plucked them from the stem as we were leaving our area. Unfortunately, the entire plant became unrooted with almost no effort, from the flowers to the roots. After a quick twig-splint used to fix a mangled stem, we planted the daisies in the middle of the other campsite. They stood out considerably, since they were over four feet in height, with nothing else around but gravel and dirt. In return, Adam planted a little vodka garden outside our tents.

Doesn't This Always Happen?

Here I am, thinking that I have at least a single month to get into a regular writing schedule, and suddenly tons of things pile up, leaving me with no time to write. I suppose that being too busy is better than not being busy enough, especially with my history of idleness.

The Last Of Guilt-Free Spending

I managed to spend more than a weeks salary over the weekend, on five dress shirts, a pair of shorts, Birkenstocks, a beanie, two ties, a tie bar, a tie rack, a vest, Four Swords Adventures, and beer. It wasn’t very difficult; I’m meeting with a financial planner today, so I saw at my purchases as the last of my guilt-free spending before I look into investment options and budget considerations. Unfortunately, he’ll be giving me advice based on how I risky I want to be, the age I want to stop working, and the lifestyle I’d like to have at retirement. The problem is that I haven’t decided yet. I never really considered the fact that I might live past 30. On top of that, I never planned to retire. I don’t think I’d mind working past 60, although the requirement for this to happen is that I enjoy my job then as much as I enjoy my job now.

Most people start to invest when they start a family, and need to consider the cost of raising kids, including tuition fees, an extra mouths to feed, etc. I don’t plan on having a family, so I figure I should just start now. Of course, as Pat says, ones life can change in a single day, even with the best laid plans, and I really couldn’t agree more. I simply see investments as a sort of financial safety net.

The Zarathustra Sessions, Part 2: Progression

I have learned to walk: since then I have run. I have learned to fly, since then I do not have to be pushed in order to move.

Now I am nimble, now I fly, now I see myself under myself, now a god dances within me.

—Of Reading And Writing, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

A long time ago, maybe almost ten years ago, I met a guy who was the same age as me named Alvin. We got along extremely well, which was a rarity for me at the time. He was a complete enigma. There was always an air about him, something in his stable demeanor, that told me he had everything figured out. I asked him once, “Do you feel any pain?”. “Only when I want to”, was his response. I couldn’t possibly understand.

How can I describe this feeling? How can I explain? I’ve been looking for the right words for so long, but nothing comes through. Only images and ideas. Thoughts without expression.

All I know is that it feels like I’ve arrived at something, like I’ve finally come to a point where I’m comfortable with myself. Where I can hurt without being sad. Where I can love without pain.

The key is understanding how dissatisfaction breeds improvement, how pain breeds happiness, how there must be a balance of good and bad, and living by these beliefs with committed industry and absolute humility. It’s what Taoists express as Yin and Yang, what Nietzsche was saying through Zarathustra. And when one’s life goal is self-improvement, everything falls into place.

Now there is no going back. Now I truly feel like I’m alive.

Now a god dances within me.