Smooth Living

5 easy steps to feeling good

How do you feel? Are you mentally exhausted? Physically beat up? Emotionally traumatized? Try following these five easy steps to feeling better. They work. As the alcoholics like to say about their program, it works if you work it. But this program isn’t nearly as difficult as their twelve steps.
1) Take a break. Right now. If you are reading this, you have the ability to take a break. Get up and go someplace where no one will bother you. Go in the bathroom, lock yourself in your room, hide under the house, go to the mall, or go someplace where there are loads of people that don’t know you. Get yourself something to drink (like water or coffee) and just sit for 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes. Don’t do anything else. No crosswords, shut off your phone, don’t read the paper. Just sit and enjoy your beverage. Watch the people, watch the ants, look around, look at the sky, don’t talk, don’t work, don’t do anything. Take a break. Five minutes is enough and 10 hours is not too much.
2) Do something nice for someone you don’t know. Anything. Buy some flowers and give them to an old lady you see on the street. Give some change to a musician on the street. Help someone that you come across that could use a hand. Don’t ask for anything, don’t expect anything, and when you are done, get out of there.
3) Stretch. No excuses. Just do it. Bend down, touch your toes. Reach your hands up over your head. Do any stretches you know. You don’t have to break a sweat. Just stretch.
4) Throw out some old piece of clothing. Find something you don’t like and throw it away. Just one thing. Maybe it’s too small, maybe it’s too big. Maybe your ex gave it to you. Maybe your mom gave it to you. Just find some piece of clothing you don’t like and throw it out. Trash it. Not the good will, not a thrift shop. The garbage. Get rid of it. You can throw out more if you want to or take the rest to the mission, but this one goes straight into the garbage.
5) Skip a meal. Just one. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Just don’t eat anything for one period and pay attention to how it feels. Then when the next mealtime comes, eat something you really like. Make it a small portion of something delicious and special that you eat very slowly. Savor each bite. Make it special.
These are just a couple of very easy things you can do to feel good. They don’t take any special effort. All there is to it, is to do it.
If you would like to know more like this, why not pick up a copy of my book:
Feeding the Spirit


Obama Photos…amazing!

First of all, a photo of Obama’s sister and family. I know Maya and Konrad Ng from the University of Hawaii. They are nice people. Conrad is an incredible lecturer and knows more about film than just about anyone I’ve ever met. Maya I’ve only talked with a few times, but she seems like a real peach.

And then there is this picture of the President taking a break from having Bud Light in the White House to save some ducklings.

Way to go Obamas!

Books and Writers

Buy these books, improve your life!

If you are serious about changing your life , maybe it’s time to take some steps towards it. One possible road is to take a look at these books that I’ve written over the past few years. While none of them are perfected works, and certainly I am not perfect, they do offer some ideas, examples, and hopefully positive messages about ways that you can improve your life in a material, mental, physical, or spiritual way.
I didn’t write these books to get rich. I’ve given away thousands of copies and sold thousands more. The sad truth is that the people who have bought the books, have usually placed more value on what they learned from them. I’ve received letters, reviews, interviews, and praise from five continents. And I’m quite certain that my work has been read in both Australia and Antarctica as well, just not as widely.
Have a look and consider why I recommend that you take the first step towards improving your lives today. Buy these books!

Feeding the Spirit: 30 Days of Spiritual Practice for People of All Faiths During Ramadan 2009

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Feeding the Spirit: 30 Days of Spiritual Practice for People of All Faiths During Ramadan 2009

Feeding the Spirit is my latest attempt to synthesize everything I’ve learned in 37 years of constant searching about how to build a life in this dimension that has meaning and substance. I’ve taken the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan and used it as a template to build a connection with the spirit. Ramadan begins in a few weeks. I will be following the 30 days of Spiritual practice, buy a copy if you want to join me and we can discuss each days findings in the Existensis forums.

Rough Living

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How to survive well on next to nothing. The classic.

Rough Living was the first book I had published and the only one that I used a traditional publisher for. After the terms of my contract were up, I reclaimed the rights and self published it so that it would be cheaper and more easily distributed. In these financial nightmare days, the lessons I learned while trying to live in America with no money, no home, and no job are more important than ever. Buy this book, break out of what isn’t working and get into something good.


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What would you do if you had to rebuild civilization? What do you think others would do? How do you think things might conflict? Science Fiction as social commentary and one hell of a story of civilization gone wrong.

Existensis: The SOB is my first science fiction novel. It is a result of a lifetime love of sci-fi as social commentary, a literary love of apocalyptic novels, and my education in cultural anthropology. This book takes my love of pseudo science, religion, politics, and adventure stories and fuses them into one hell of a story complete with murder, sex, slavery, violence, and mysterious aliens. Not to mention a main character that just about anyone can see is based on my personal hero, Ben Franklin.

20 weeks a bum

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True life adventures of being a homeless vagobond in the Pacific Northwest, Laos, China, Thailand, and Indonesia.

These are my journals from twenty weeks of being homeless in the Pacific Northwest during the coldest part of the year, my exodus from computer corporate culture, and some of my adventures in China and Southeast Asia in 2001. My father disowned me for these stories! They’ve been described as Henry Miller meets Hunter S.Thompson meets Jack Kerouac.

Slackville Road

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Hot chicks, big guns,and existential neurosis run rampant.Is this the future? It just might be reality.See why money won’t fill the empty spot in your soul and how everything you think is true might be just the opposite.

Slackville Road is my first novel. It’s the story of two guys that love burritos, women, and beer but don’t particularly like working. So they rob an armored car. More than that, it is the story of one man’s journey to understand why the things he thinks he needs don’t fulfill him as he learns about what really matters and how life usually gives you exactly what you need, even if it’s the last thing you want.


Buy this book on Lulu.

An anthropological look at Television’s Lost and the fans who love the show.

This was my undergraduate thesis. It’s a look at how electornic friendships spill over into the realm of real life, how the creators of Lost cobbled together a show made up of the most successful ‘cult’ elements of the past 400 years, and possibly gives some insight into why the show has such a huge appeal.

Machinations of Power

Israel denies Holocaust too

Israel and Iran seem to have more in common than many of us thought….

Israel’s education ministry has ordered the removal of the word nakba – Arabic for the “catastrophe” of the 1948 war – from a school textbook for young Arab children, it has been announced.
The decision – which will alter books aimed at eight- and nine-year-old Arab pupils – will be seen as a blunt assertion by Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led government of Israel’s historical narrative over the Palestinian one.
The term nakba has a similar resonance for Palestinians as the Hebrew word shoah – normally used to describe the Nazi Holocaust – does for Israelis and Jews. Its inclusion in a book for the children of Arabs, who make up about a fifth of the Israeli population, drives at the heart of a polarised debate over what Israelis call their “war of independence”: the 1948 conflict which secured the Jewish state after the British left Palestine, and led to the flight of 700,000 Palestinians, most of whom became refugees.
Netanyahu spoke for many Jewish Israelis two years ago when he argued that using the word nakba in Arab schools was tantamount to spreading propaganda against Israel.
Palestinians have always maintained that the 1948 refugees were the victims of Israeli “ethnic cleansing”. But in recent years a new generation of revisionist Israeli historians has rejected the old official narrative that the Palestinians, supported by the neighbouring Arab states, were responsible for their own misfortune.

Books and Writers

Give Books to Pakistan instead of Guns

I’m doing a short roundup of articles I’m reading this morning, first of all, a fantastic Op-Ed piece from the New York Times Nicholas Kristof

Terror Creeps Into the Heartland
KARACHI, Pakistan
July 23, 2009
It was the home of a Muslim religious teacher, but he was stockpiling more than copies of the Koran. His house blew up this month in a thunderous explosion that levelled much of his village and could be heard six miles away. Police reported that he was storing explosives, rockets, grenades and suicide vests.
But perhaps what was most dispiriting was that this arsenal, apparently intended for terror attacks, was not in the tribal areas in the northwest of Pakistan where the Taliban and Al Qaeda have long conducted operations. Rather this was in the southern part of Punjab, the Pakistani heartland.


A Sign from Above?



How Cooking Makes You a Man

Fun article on the anthropology of cooking from

Animals of the genus Homo are defined by their little mouths, large guts, big brains — and appetite for bratwurst. This, at least, is the provocative theory of evolution put forth by Dr. Richard Wrangham in his fascinating new book, “Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human.”
Wrangham, the Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, began his career studying chimpanzees alongside Jane Goodall, and rose to academic acclaim as a primatologist specializing in the roots of male aggression. Naturally, he tends to think of most scientific questions in relation to chimps. And so it was that a few years ago, while sitting in front of his fireplace preparing a lecture on human evolution, he wondered, “What would it take to turn a chimpanzee-like animal into a human?” The answer, he decided, was in front of him: fire to cook food.
For years, accepted wisdom has held that it was a transition to meat eating that prompted human evolution — which makes Wrangham’s hypothesis a radical departure. Yet, the more he tested his theory, the more he found the science to back it up: Cooked food is universally easier to process and more nutritionally dense than raw food, which means adopting a cooked diet would have given man a biological advantage. The energy he once spent consuming and digesting raw food could be diverted to other physiological functions, leading to the development of bigger bodies and brains. And Wrangham’s “cooking hypothesis” not only explains the physical changes that humans underwent but also the social ones: Cooking created a sexual division of labor that informs our ideas of gender, love, family and marriage even to this day. “Humans are adapted to eating cooked food in the same essential way as cows adapted to eating grass, or fleas to sucking blood,” Wrangham concludes. “And the results pervade our lives, from our bodies to our minds. We humans are the cooking apes, the creatures of the flame.”

Full interview at

we know nothing

Ancient Egyptian Civilization found in Grand Canyon?

Thanks to Lynn for sending these links about ancient Asian civilizations in the Grand Canyon. This truly would change the way we view the world…
The thing with a story like this is that even though we like to think that we really know what is going on, sometimes the improbable proves to be real. We truly never can know anything at all. We don’t even know where in the universe we are as our giant spaceship earth hurtles through space at unthinkable speeds. We’re in the milky way? Where is that? In the Universe? Where is that? Truly, we don’t and can’t know a thing and that is the first step towards spiritual insight.

The latest news of the progress of the explorations or what is now regarded by scientists as not only the oldest archaeological discovery in the United States, but one of the most valuable in the world, which was mentioned some time ago in the Gazette (see photo at left), was brought to the city yesterday by G.E. Kincaid, the explorer who found the great underground citadel of the Grand Canyon during a trip from Green River, Wyoming, down the Colorado, in a wooden boat, to Yuma, several months ago.
According to the story related to the Gazette by Mr. Kincaid, the archaeologists of the Smithsonian Institute, which is financing the expeditions, have made discoveries which almost conclusively prove that the race which inhabited this mysterious cavern, hewn in solid rock by human hands, was of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt, tracing back to Ramses. If their theories are borne out by the translation of the tablets engraved with hieroglyphics, the mystery of the prehistoric peoples of North America, their ancient arts, who they were and whence they came will be solved.
Egypt and the Nile, and Arizona and the Colorado will be linked by a historical chain running back to ages, which staggers the wildest fancy of the fictionist. Under the direction of Professor S.A. Jordan, the Smithsonian Institute is now prosecuting the most thorough explorations, which will be continued until the last link in the chain is forged.
Nearly a mile underground, about 1480 feet below the surface, the long main passage has been delved into, to find another mammoth chamber from which radiates scores of passageways, like the spokes of a wheel. Several hundred rooms have been discovered, reached by passageways running from the main passage, one of them having been explored are 854 feet and another 634 feet. The recent finds include articles, which have never been known as native to this country and doubtless they had their origin in the orient.
War weapons, copper instruments, sharp – edged and hard as steel, indicate the high state of civilization reached by these strange people. So interested have the scientists become that preparations are being made to equip the camp for extensive studies, and the force will be increased to thirty or forty persons.
“Before going further into the cavern, better facilities for lighting will have to be installed, for the darkness is dense and quite impenetrable for the average flashlight. In order to avoid being lost, wires are being strung from the entrance to all passageways leading directly to large chambers. How far this cavern extends no one can guess, but it is now the belief of many that what has already been explored is merely the “barracks”, to use an American term, for the soldiers, and that far into the underworld will be found the main communal dwellings of the families. The perfect ventilation of the cavern, the steady draught that blows through, indicates that it has another outlet to the surface.”
Mr. Kincaid was the first white child born in Idaho and has been an explorer and hunter all his life, thirty years having been in the service of the Smithsonian Institute. Even briefly recounted, his history sounds fabulous, almost grotesque:
“First, I would impress that the cavern is nearly inaccessible. The entrance is 1,486 feet down the sheer canyon wall. It is located on government land and no visitor will be allowed there under penalty of trespass.”
The scientist’s wish to work unmolested, without fear of the archaeological discoveries being disturbed by curio or relic hunters. A trip there would be fruitless, and the visitor would be sent on his way.
“The story of how I found the cavern has been related, but in a paragraph: I was journeying down the Colorado River in a boat, alone, looking for minerals. Some forty two miles up the river from the El Tovar Crystal canyon, I saw on the east wall, stains in the sedimentary formation about 2,000 feet above the river bed. There was no trail to this point, but I finally reached it with great difficulty. Above a shelf, which hid it from view from the river, was the mouth of the cave.”
“There are steps leading from this entrance some thirty yards to what was, at the time the cavern was inhabited, the level of the river. When I saw the chisel marks on the wall inside the entrance, I became interested, securing my gun and went in.”
“During that trip, I went back several hundred feet along the main passage till I came to the crypt in which I discovered the mummies. One of these I stood up and photographed by flashlight. I gathered a number of relics, which I carried down the Colorado to Yuma, from whence I shipped them to Washington with details of the discovery. Following this, the explorations were undertaken.”
“The main passageway is about 12 feet wide, narrowing to nine feet toward the farther end. About 57 feet from the entrance, the first side-passages branch off to the right and left, along which, on both sides, are a number of rooms about the size of ordinary living rooms of today, though some are 30 by 40 feet square. These are entered by oval-shaped doors and are ventilated by round air spaces through the walls into the passages. The walls are about three feet six inches in thickness. The passages are chiseled or hewn as straight as could be laid out by an engineer. The ceilings of many of the rooms converge to a center.”
“The side-passages near the entrance run at a sharp angle from the main hall, but toward the rear, they gradually reach a right angle in direction.”

trip reports

Guest Blog: Huntington Beach Fun

My friend James Zosobo is the guest blogger this week as he takes us to Huntington Beach and tells us how to have a great beach day. If you would like to share a guest blog about life, travel, or fulfillment, drop me an email at

When it gets hot the beach is the place to go. During the summer every body goes to the beach on Saturday. Don’t be like the rest and get stuck in traffic only to find the beach parking lot is full and all the fire pits have been taken.
Huntington Beach is a great place to have fun in the sun. They have close parking, a large beach and great fire pits. If you want to be one of the lucky ones to have a nice fire at sun down than you have to plan ahead. Get all your supplies ready the night before. Have your car loaded with all non food items that have to be kept cold. If you have a mini van or suv load that baby up with all the comforts of home. Don’t be caught at the beach without all the goods.

Once you have it all together be prepared to wake up early. Someone will have to be at the beach at 6 am to secure the firepit. The rest of the crew should get there no later than 10 am. After that time the lots fill up fast and the traffic gets thick. Like I said be prepared and don’t plan on having to leave until the party is over.
If you have all the right stuff than staying from early am until the beach closes will be no problem. A typical day would include getting every thing set up. Having a canopy for shade and a BBQ are a must. If you have the means bring bikes for cruising along the board walk. You will enjoy to the cool waves of the ocean.

Then it’s time for lunch. Sandwiches or even a double round of BBQ. One BBQ for lunch and one for dinner. Then its back to ocean play or cruising the area. Still plenty of time to hang out with all the family and friends you invited. All can sit around under the canopy or on the big blankets you brought.
As six o’clock approaches time for another BBQ and some good eats. When the sun is low in the sky start putting stuff back in the car that you don’t need and get ready for the grand finally. As the sun sets it’s time to light the fire pit and get a big fire roaring with the ample wood you brought. You will be nice and cozy with all the chairs and dry warm clothing you remembered to bring.

Once the sun has set it time for smores and other treats people love to cook over a blazing fire. As 10 pm nears you throw all the rest of the wood in the pit and create lots of light to pack up the rest of your stuff. If you leave just a touch before 10 pm then you will beat the traffic out of the parking lot.


Entering the houses of others.

One of the things I like about the Quran is that it is a philosophy of respect. I enter a lot of different people’s homes and I find that this is just good solid advice. Imagine if everyone who came to your house first asked your permission to enter and then wished you a peaceful existence when they did come in. Just that consciousness of audibly wishing your host peace would make disturbing that peace unlikely. With actions such as this, bearers of bad tidings would have to use the phone.

?? ?????????? ???????? ?????? ??????????? ?????? ?????????????? ????????????? ????? ?????????
{O you who believe! Enter not houses other than your own, until you have asked permission and greeted those in them.}[An-Nur 24:27]
And in the other ayah:
??????? ?????????? ???????? ??????????? ????? ??????????? ????????? ???? ?????? ?????
{But when you enter the houses, greet one another with a greeting from Allâh (i.e. say: ?????? ?????) As-Salâmu ‘Alaikum – peace be on you)}
[An-Nur 24:61]