Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Food For Thought

Here are some videos that have made a big impact on me lately. I must share!

Black Whole
Nassim Haramein

Check out The Resonance Project if you want to learn more about his ongoing work

To understand is to perceive patterns
Jason Silva

Toward Integral Consciousness

Toward Integral Consciousness by ARIFilms

Where Science and Buddhism Meet

Where Science and Buddhism Meet from Gerald Penilla on Vimeo.

Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

New Wall Maze

I'm back in Nelson and so is the snow! I'm pretty happy to be here now. Got a new house with two good buddies and I decided to decorate the living room with this maze.

It hasn't been tested yet so I don't know how difficult it is. If I were to guess I'd say it's a 2 out of 5 if five was the hardest.... I need to develop a ranking system.

I'm also hard at work on another hand-drawn beauty. I hope to have something to share from it before Christmas.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Quis ut Deus?

I woke up starving. I have a craving for pancakes so I find myself back at El Gato Negro eagerly anticipating my chocolate banana pancakes making their way to my corner. The sun is shining and the ocean wind is ripping through the streets and through the blue painted bars on the front of the cafe. As I try to piece together how my day will unfold I remember that last night I had a meeting with a really friendly tattoo artist in town and we got to talking about doing a piece on me. I have been keeping an eye open for a tattoo artist I could relate to and inspire to do a piece on me. I felt good about this guy, who is coincidentally called... Guy.

We brainstormed a bit, and I picked his brain to gauge how he views the art he does. I like his style and I was really impressed with his shading techniques and facial features. He has some cool inspiring views of the art he does and also the art he plans to do. We exchanged ideas about what inspires us each as artist and I told him about a tattoo project I've been interested in for a while. I want an Archangel Michael tattoo and I wanted to see a version he would come up with having complete creative control so I supplied him with a few examples of various artistic depictions of this guardian angel and we talked about what he represents. I hope to see something amazing today when we meet again.
I began to remember what was taught to me by my father about Archangel Michael. Michael actually means "Who is like God" I knew this as my middle name and the name of my father is Michael. For quite some time now I mistakenly depicted that to mean the name Michael meant "someone who is like god" or a "god-like person" but I quickly realised that that translation is completely opposite to the proper. It's funny the different meanings you can derive from simple words. The traditional Hebrew definition poses it as a rhetorical question, "Who is like God?" as if anyone could suggest they are like god. I find this a timely revelation on my part as I just finished reading Ishmael and from what I gather the premise of the teachings of that book are to trust the gods and to realise that man does not have the power to decide who lives and who dies. We are not like gods in that respect we must be humble and accept the fate of all species. Life and death cycles are in the hands of the gods. Man isn't here to conquer the earth we are here to steward over it and maintain its perfect harmony. Our 10,000 year history of civilisation is one long drawn-out failure to recognise that simple fact.

Armed with these contemplations I am eager to see what Guy draws up.

Friday, 31 August 2012

San Juan Del Sur!

After a delayed departure from Costa Rica we are now in a new surf town in Nicaragua called San Juan Del Sur. We got here on Wednesday but access to Internet has been limited. My first impression of Nicaragua: I'm rich!

My modest travel budget has some serious legs in this country. Everything is so inexpensive! We checked into a guest house that offers a private room and private bath for the ridiculous price of seven American bucks a night! Dinner for two at a modest restaurant with accompanying beers doesn't put me past 12 American and I can buy a 26er of the world famous Nicaraguan rum called Flor de CaƱa for 150 cordobas which is equivalent to 6 American and I must say it goes down smooth. It's worldly acclaim is truly deserved.

I've spent the last couple days engulfed in a new book which I managed to plow through in three days! The book is called Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Finishing it totally took over my daily routines for the last couple days. It was an amazing read and I highly recommend it to everyone, in fact I insist that everyone reads it with an open mind. It truly is a catalyst for the honest inquisitor to delve into the mysteries of saving the world from its own prescribed doom.

What resonated in me by reading the book was how it weaved many of my own confusions and pondering about society and the meaning of life into an easily digested world view that in hindsight makes so much sense. The read is fresh in my memory but I feel inspired to view the world with the fresh eyes of a philosopher with an honest desire and duty to alter the suicidal path our society inevitably plummets down. I feel called to apply my human ingenuity and inventiveness towards enlightening people. I don't know how I will do this but I feel for the first time I'm armed with an understanding of our species blunders and a challenge to help change the world.

As I write this I realise that this book only helped me scrape the surface of my intentions and I require a lot more inner contemplation, but I feel grateful I've begun the semi-regular habit of contributing to this blog. Using it helps me focus my scattered mind.

I clocked many Ishmael page turns at a local book store/coffee shop a block away from the guest house called El Gato Negro. What a nice comfortable establishment! We were lucky enough to meet the owner of the joint and she is a lovely American! I spent alot of time perusing her book selection and I purchased two more books to delve into: The Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman and DMT The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman.

I'm still digesting Ishmael but I'm excited to start The Peaceful Warrior. As soon as I finished Ishmael I immediately started TPW but put it down after the first chapter. They are both narratives depicting a student meeting a master and I feel like it wouldn't be right to jump right into the new teacher without properly processing the new teachings of the previous. Therefore I will begin reading the next either tomorrow or the next day. In the mean time I will continue to work on my maze which is progressing slower than expected, which is as per usual.

Also we took a trip to a beautiful out-of-the-way beach yesterday for another attempt at surfing. I had fun attempting to catch whitewater waves but was again humbled by my lack of experience in the Ocean. Tomorrow we plan to move to a beautiful hostel right on that same beach. This new opportunity will offer me plenty of opportunities to practise surfing and also the unlimited inspiration that living on the beach has to offer. I look forward to what new insights I will discover in the near future.

La Isla de Ometepe also beckons me. It is so close to San Juan Del Sur. We caught a beautiful view of the two volcanoes responsible for the island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua on the taxi ride from the border to our current location. I don't know when I will venture there but I anticipate it will happen soon.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Rainy season is officially here!

I fell asleep to rain, woke up to rain, ate breakfast to rain, chased chickens in the front yard in the rain, researched Nicaraguan destinations on the Internet while listening to rain and now I'm about to eat more breakfast to rain. Rainy rain.

Rainy mornings are a good chance to research travel opportunities and that's exactly what I've spent this morning doing. It's also a good reminder that I shouldn't have forgot to bring a rain jacket. But either way I need to focus on Nicaragua desstinations. I've decided to visit la Isla de Ometepe in Nicaragua! It's an island formed by two volcanoes in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, the largest fresh water lake in Central America. I'm particularly interested in a hostel situated on this island called El Zopilote. It's a hostel/farm that promotes Eco-friendly farming and permaculture. It seems like the perfect spot for me to continue my interest in permaculture. I'm really excited to get there.

We planned on leaving Malpais today but we decided to take advantage of the free accommodations for one more day. So as of now the plan is to catch a bus to San Jose tomorrow, acquire some travel amenities and arrange transportation into Nicaragua from there. Hopefully a camera will be one of my acquisitions and I will be able to make this blog a little more visual!

On the maze side of things I am also knee deep in a new drawn maze. It's smaller than what I'm used to and I'm purposely making it simpler to solve. I feel my maze development to date has been leading more and more into the uber complex and vastly time consuming realm. Simple tiko life has inspired me to make simple mazes. Stay tuned for new puzzles in the very near future!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bamboo breakthrough

Vic and I went to visit her friend Margarite at her nice cafe/art studio on the main drag of Malpais yesterday. She is a really amazing artist, from what I saw at the cafe she does a sort of contemporary Costa Rica vibe to her art. Lots of colour in a paint collage style, very nice. The food was good too, nice Breakfast selection. The original plan was to have a nice swim in the ocean before we had to return the quad we rented but we were hijacked by Margarite as she insisted we follow her up to her new house that was just recently finished construction.

We went and got the tour. It's a lovely house, all white concrete, very open-concept style with a quaint salt water pool in the front. We had a dip and talked about the property and her plans for development. It was a nice visit. She suggested we take a road close to her house up to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view so we did just that. It was a nice drive up on the quad via a gravel road until about half way when it turned into a well designed concrete road. This new road winded us through a dense bamboo patch where a rather large piece of leafy bamboo had broken and blocked the road. The natural blockade, probably a product of the evening thunder storms we've been having, prompted us to park the quad and walk the rest of the way up the mountain. Once we passed the bamboo forrest on foot it was a short walk to the top where we were greeted by an amazing view of the ocean and the whitewater waves crashing along the shore.

It was beautiful. I tried tramping through some brush to get a better view but as soon as I stepped into the green canopy I realized that it was full ofa plant I just learned is called Mimosa Pudica. As soon as you touch the leaves of this plant they recoil and curl up very quickly only to reopen minutes later. It was very Avatar. We had some fun playing with the recoiling plant and then set back for the quad. When we got back to the bamboo patch and the quad we took some time to appreciate how awesome bamboo was. I noticed that many shoots had been cultivated already and we discussed what a shame it was that bamboo wasn't more widely used because of its quick growth it is such a eco friendly building material.

This conversation sparked an epiphany in me. I decided to spend my time in Costa Rica learning more about bamboo and its applications. I spent all morning today researching bamboo nursureys, bamboo construction companies, architects that work with bamboo, bamboo training courses in central america and anything really I could find about permaculture and sustainable building practices. I feel alive with inspiration right now!

My morning of research turned out two gems I'm excited about pursuing. One was a 5 day training course in bamboo construction that's offered at the end of October in Mexico, and the other, an environmental learning and sustainable living center, rural sanctuary and lodge located in and on the edge of the last remaining virgin rainforest of Costa Rica’s beautiful Puriscal County called Rancho Mastatal. I've contacted both places and am very interested in hearing back from them. The mexican course may not work for me because I didn't plan on staying till the end of October but you just never know! The Ranch on the other hand offers volunteer and intern placements and I am very interested in visiting and helping and learning there. We will see how that turns out!

I think today will be my last day in Malpais. We are heading to Pavones tomorrow but first we will head to San Jose to try to purchase a camera so I can make this blog look better :)

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A new direction

It's been a while since I've posted on this blog. My original intention was only to have this blog to display my mazes and to allow others to follow my creations. Since beginning it though I've put the mazes down and replaced my time with glass art and snowboarding. After an amazing winter and a fun spring I find myself in Costa Rica with my beautiful girlfriend Victoria and a new interest in delving into the mazes that took over a good two years of my life. To share my new adventures and to satisfy my desire to write more I've decided to expand the scope of the amazing productions blog. As of this post I will be slowly transcribing my journal entries that I hand wrote over the month I worked at the Shambhala Music festival.  I hope you enjoy my scribbles and doodles. My Costa Rican adventures should also turn out more mazes if I can organize my time properly!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

July 28

Another day on the farm. Yesterday was eventful! I got to show the art director my hand-drawn mazes and he loved them. I got excited hearing about all the production ideas he was considering for them. We talked about printing them off on the new industrial printer Shambhala purchased this year. He also considered laser etching a maze on wood which would be sweet. Either way he wants to use them in the new food court building in the middle of town. It would be a good addition to the new coffee/smoothie bar being built there now.

I got my first taste of wet weather yesterday. The afternoon was engulfed in storm. Biggest hail I've seen in years. I can tell you working under a tin roof, hail is deafening!

I clocked another 14 hours yesterday which, in a kitchen, would usually send me batty but this kitchen vibe is much more enjoyable. Art is a fair boss, but I am noticing his temper flaring up. I'm starting to thing cooking as a job has the ability to get to anyone. Sometimes I think that all my kitchen experience has made me handle stress better, but I'm still done with it. I can't enjoy a life funded by kitchen work. I wonder if I would be a twig that would snap at any soft pressure had I not put all those years of kitchen work on my resume. Either way I need a new gig, but this particular one is probably as good as it gets.

I got a little midnight tour of the stages last night. Got to see all the 15 foot video mapping screens in the shape of giant sunflowers the Fractal Forrest is installing, checked out the new stage additions. if you thought the Fractal Forrest had a packed stage last year just wait! It will be covered in celebrators this year. The village is getting a serious overhaul too. As it was midnight the village crew was hard at work when we got there. The stage will be brand new this year, I can't wait to see it finished.

The beach stage is being rebuilt too. It seems like everything is getting bigger and better. The high water this year did a number on the beach so there's a lot of ground that was washed away.

It is foggy today. it was wet last night. My micro tent survived. I am relieved about this, but I still need a tent upgrade should I expect to maintain my sanity.

As I write this it's 7:30, I'm sitting on the beach enjoying the running waters. I just heard Art blow the conch letting everyone know breakfast is served, but I don't work till 9 so I think I'll spend the next 90 minutes hunting down a good rock stack patch and then maybe start the diamond maze on the generator building.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Yesterday was busy! I put in a solid 12 hour shift and now I'm up early to open the kitchen at 5am. Definitely didn't want to do the early shift out here but I don't mind helping out based on the circumstances. Art is interviewing someone today with the hopes that he will start soon and take over the early shift. That will let me go back to evenings and prep work like I was expecting to do from the beginning. The farm is slowly getting busier, our service numbers are slowly growing. We're serving just over 100 a meal now. I'm told it will be closer to 500 just before showtime. This number scares the crap out of me because of the size of this little kitchen. Should be interesting.

I met up with my buddy Dave who was tasked with painting some buildings. he was nice enough to let me design a maze for the front of the generator building. Yesterday he painted a big white diamond on the front of a bright green building. Hopefully my early start today will give me time to start working on that this evening. I'm glad I got a decent paying job out here, but if I do help out at Shambhala again I'd like to do it in some other way as opposed to cooking. The food's pretty good though. And I do have a ferocious appetite.

The ovens are almost hot! Time to heat up some breakkie for the farmily! What will today look like when I fall back asleep in my micro-tent?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

I made it to the Salmo River Ranch! My ride from Nelson was half an hour late and I was almost certain I'd have to make new travel arrangements on the fly to make it to the farm. Luckily two girls who were also waiting for rides showed up and informed me that my ride was indeed coming. She eventually showed up and we hit the road. Made it here at 7:30, just in time for breakfast. The original plan was to start work at 4pm today but I learnt that the sous chef quit unexpectedly yesterday. I was greeted with a promotion! So now I'm the sous chef for the great Shambhala 2012 staff. All this energy put into making an amazing party will be fuelled by my work!
Because of my new job I was required to work as soon as breakfast was served. I immediately regretted not getting a good sleep last night, but I did OK during lunch prep and service. After lunch was done I was relieved for three hours and I took the opportunity to set up camp. Found me a nice spot under some cedar trees with a view of the empty field that will be full of shambhalaers in two weeks. What a change from the last time I saw these grounds. Feels more like a construction zone right now. I may move camp, but as of now, this shady cedar will be my neighbour. Now that I'm set up, it's time to explore!