what the [bleep] do we know?

What the #$*! Do We Know?! (2004)

If the goal of the movie was to spark conversation, it worked. The first time I tried to watch it (with my behavioral psychologist friend) we watched the first half and turned it off for an argument. Last night she, her philosophy major boyfriend and I made it through the movie with moderate heckling and a nice long discussion afterwards.

in the end, it reminded me of a conversation i had with aviva. she was telling me that scarcity was simply a matter of opinion, taking a point of view, like being optomistic or pessamistic. she chose to believe that the world was an abundant place, full of everything. the idea is that if you choose to view the world through that paradygm then it becomes that way.

If the movie has a message it’s that you shape your own reality and that while reality seems to be fixed one way, it may just seem that way because of your conditioning. I think that my reaction to the movie says far more about me than it does about the movie itself. Viewed one way What the [bleep] do we know was like a video you’d show junior high schoolers explaining that this idea. It was filled with academic (and some nonacademic) talking heads describing new age phenomena that didn’t seem to be in their field. What was most interesting about it was that it almost seemed like a propaganda movie advocating nonreligous spirituality.

For every emotion you have there’s a peptide chain and when you see or think of things that you associate with that emotion your body pumps out the peptides for an emotional reaction. Your cells react accordingly and you can become addicted to peptides you experience too often. The movie urges people to break their addictions to peptide chains (emotions) that they crave to the point of destruction. Craving these emotions has a physical effect of denying your cells the proper protiens, waste management resources, and water that it needs to last a long time. All your cells’ space is taken up with more and more receptors for the peptide chains that you’re addicted to.

The movie also urges people to stop living in the past, allowing your brain to form closer ties with old neural nets, and instead “create your day”, creating a new neural net that you like more (or at least you chose).

I liked the movie but I still don’t know what to do with my life 🙂

tickets, please…?

In the last couple days I’ve done a massive amount of research on
getting to South America. Why is it that I’m always travelling to into
the winter? I just can’t get enough of it. South Africa to Seattle to
South America. I just can’t seem to hit summer! At least it beats the
Sacramento summer. It’ll be 93 degrees tomorrow and it’s not even
June. And I’ll have plenty of time to suck up some sun before my
estimated departure date of June 21.

i think i’ve found the ticket i want:

$547 to Santiago, Chile
$411 to Lima, Peru

I’m thinking I should just get a one way ticket. There is an onward
ticket requirement in both these countries. Apparantly customs cares
much less than the international airlines who won’t let you board the
plane without an onward ticket. Perhaps this is why customs can be so

My plan is to buy a fully refundable ticket from American Airlines for
an outrageous amount and then… cancel and get a full refund. It
sounds obvious but too good to be true… It feels weird to buy a
$1,300 item solely to return it. I almost expect it not to work out
just so someone could say: “Hey, I told you so. You were just trying to
cheat the system.” I hope I stop feeling weird about stuff like this
cause it’s not helpful. I need to buy my ticket to Chile or Peru by May
28, before the offer expires.

I’ve worked out that if I spend $15 a day I can travel for a year.
That’s not bad, plenty of stuff I could do on $15 a day. My guess is
that places to stay are about $5 a night. Then food is about another $5
a day. Then that leaves $5 funmoney every day. That’s an outrageous
amount. I don’t think I’ll travel for a year but I do think that I’ll
be travelling as cheaply as possible.

Everyone keeps telling me to buy the darn ticket, that way I know I’m
going. I can see why. It’s scary to buy it but when I do I know
there’ll be an incredible weight lifted off my shoulders.

Last night I fixed up my $20 guitar with steel strings and a new bridge
saddle. The action is still really high and it still sounds… well…
like a $20 guitar but I can’t wait to play it on the road. I’m gonna go
now and learn how to play sad breakup songs. Tonight’s special: One
by Johnny Cash.

Well its too late
To drag the past out
Into the light
We’re one but we’re not the same
We get to carry each other
Carry each other


The American investment banker was at the pier of a small
coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one
fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several
large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican
on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “Only a little while”.

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer
and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to
support his family’s immediate needs. The American then
asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little,
play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria,
stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and
play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and
could help you. You should spend more time fishing
and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the
proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several
boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats.
Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would
sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your
own cannery. You would control the product, processing
and distribution.

You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village
and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually
New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.
” The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.
When the time is right you would announce an IPO and
sell your company stock to the public and become very rich,
you would make millions.”

“Millions.. Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small
coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little,
play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village
in the evenings where you could sip wine
and play your guitar with your amigos.”

(from andy’s hobotraveler site

The last day or so I’ve been immersing myself completely in this hobotraveler website/blog. It’s amazing. As the trip progresses and the years pass on, the trajectory of the author changes. He doesn’t talk about it but you can almost sense the searching and the loneliness of permanent impermenance.

I ask myself. What is my trip all about? What am I searching for? When will I have found it? That’s probably not the best way to approach all this. It’s almost like I’m really hungry, craving food, and asking “What am I really looking for in a meal?” I guess I’m looking for travel to fill me up. The website suggests:

Pick a route of what you like…. i.e. party, archeology, nature,
trekking, poverty, ecology, and make a route to these
types of travel locations. Your trip will be better.
I like to see people, and culture, so I stop at lots of small towns.
Do not take someone else’s trip, Find out what you like to do?

Here I have been given a gift. I have been given the time and the means to travel. I can choose any trip I want. I’m excited. and intoxicated.

I’m writing this from Joe’s house. He’s scooting around me, packing for his trip to Spain. He’ll be there over the summer. I tell him that if he comes back with a Cathtilian accent then I’ll make fun of it even more than I do of his French. He promised he’d try to lose it as soon as he could, possibly by visiting another country.

I’m debating on the computer issue: should it stay or should it go… If it stays I won’t have trouble. But if it goes it could be double…

Joe: take the computer!

Common Traveler Types

Checking out travelblogs I ran into travelblog.org which sums up different traveler types. They talk about the gap year traveller, the pre-kids travellers, and then they talk about me:

Mid-Twenties Crisis
Vast numbers of people mid-way through the start of promising careers realize that this is not what they wanted to do their whole lives! This often coincides with finally paying off the debts from university educations, or the saving of enough money to put a deposit on a house, and then realizing that there is more to life than careers, office politics and material things, like increasing the size of the DVD collection. One massive positive out of all these negatives is that confused, possibly disillusioned career people can embark on one the most worthwhile experiences of their lives, which might well be life changing.

Typical characteristics : often the lone traveller, usually from a ‘good job’, discovering more about themselves than they had ever imagined. They are often found in very adventurous situations!

yep. i guess i can admit it. i’m in my quarter life crisis…

top secret mission

I’m sitting at the Fuel coffeeshop. Victrola, my usual coffeeshop has banned laptops on the weekends. They want to encourage conversations and save tablespace. It was getting to the point that you’d have the whole coffeeshop full of people staring at screens. I’m typing onto this little Dell laptop I bought because I was so freaked out that I didn’t know what else to do but buy a laptop and I kept it because I was too lazy to return it within the deadline. It’s plasticy and heavier than I would like but it gets the job done and the wireless is pretty on top of it. It came installed with Encarta Encyclopedia and a lot of other useless software which I immediately uninstalled. They’re almost dinosaurs compared to the speed and reliablity of Wikipedia and other opensource solutions that come with a broadband connection to the internet.

I’m in a coffeeshop right now because my ex girlfriend is at my apartment rooting through my old stuff and deciding what to take for her new place. It’s strange. I want her to have the stuff but contact with her, even distantly, still rubs at the old wounds. Happily Dan took care of organizing everything.

Protecting yourself becomes a top secret mission.

Dan calls me: “we’ll be gone in five minutes.”

Then I can return. It’s like I have a disease. I can’t be exposed or I will relapse into indecision and low self-esteem. It’s weird admitting your own limitations, your own failures. We wish we were stronger and we value our weaknesses but admitting the problem is the first step to recovery.

But now it’s time to go back and take a nap, pack some stuff up, and relax before watching motorcycle diaries with a beautiful girl later tonight. Life is easier when you’re about to move away.