Haven’t spent much more than a few hours in London, two instances both occurring in Heathrow Airport.

Until this week.

Arrived in London a little more than a day ago, seeing almost immediately that London, like any other large city, represents the world of humans, some subcultures sticking out more than others.

Sitting in our rental flat this evening, watching a bit of tellie, BBC coverage of the 2016 Olympics, I’ve quickly learned that the level of slick television journalistic professionalism of a small island like Great Britain or Ireland can’t compare to larger countries like the U.S., India or China, simply because of available population to participate in television production.

It’s like watching a state-level show on the tellie back across the Big Pond in the States, slightly rough around the edges but slicker than local community stations.

Beats the old days of the BBC, though, which seemed to show dairy farming films on every channel and those period pieces that all resembled one Jane Austen novel or another that never approached the quality of a Merchant-Ivory production.

With offshoring still a popular choice for employing underused humans, I’d think every electronic broadcast could have the number of bodies necessary to up the level of television production to the high quality.

Apparently not.

Maybe it’s like Uber, creating semiprofessional amateurs replacing a professional class of highly-trained personnel earning a good annual wage with workers who are good enough, earning a little extra spending money whilst trusting Google Maps rather than one’s memory for getting a passenger from Point A to Point B.


Molly M

Alive a live o-oh, alive a live o-oh…cockles and mussels…

That’s the words I hear in me head when I’m standing in a pub, listening to traditional Irish music on a Sunday (soon-day) night with a friend and a room full of friendly strangers.

The moments we can’t capture on fil-um, when a pint of Guinness (or Murphy’s or some hoppy lager) fills your stomach and asks you to stay a bit longer.

Yes, those.

And these — the smiles we share when we’re clapping together in sync with the Celtic tunes almost as old as time, the bits and pieces we pick up from the instruments (accordion, pennywhistle, guitar, fiddle, voice), the singalongs and the drinkalongs, the couples kissing, the couples arguing, the singles dancing and the groups laughing together at an inside joke…

Yes, indeed.

Tonight was just such a night at a popular spot in Killarney, no need for photographs, living as one did in the moment, giving oneself to the performers, listeners and barkeeps (and some combination of them all (none of us giving much thought to quantum mechanics (probably (most likely (maybe)))))…

Wantin’ to relive memories from a decade ago, doing so, getting locked inside a pub with a singer, his daughter, and granddaughter belting out old tunes, acting as door bouncer meself for the tourists who di’n’t know better that a feller from Alabama was lettin’ them in after 11 p.m. at a Killarney pub he’d never set eyes on 15 minutes before.

What was the name of that pub?

Can’t remember, me bein’ alone and all, my previous night’s companion headin’ back to the B&B, full of diet Coke and wantin’ a full night’s sleep afore we take the RoK at 8 in the mornin’.

So there I was, all by meself, watchin’ the honest, heartfelt performance of three generations of pub singers and thinkin’ back earlier on the day when I showed a clerk behind the cash register at Bunratty Castle shopping centre a video of Jenn Nye and Travis Nixon dancing West Coast Swing, explaining to the clerk, who mistook me for Travis that I’d help Jenn teach a class of West Coast Swing and woulda kept doing so until me wife complained I was getting too familiar with Jenn, so, to show the clerk the difference between West Coast Swing and what the Irish call jive (since I’d seen the clerk dancing a bit of solo to a pop song playing over the PA system and her telling me she liked line dancing and then asking me if I was a dance instructor meself), I pulled me wife over and showed the clerk and her friend the difference between West Coast Swing and East Coast Swing (a/k/a Irish jive).

Days such as this I live for, making connections across the globe to complete strangers with whom I make instant friends.

No photos or vids necessary.


Preparation for offworld exploration.

Bit by bit.

What will tomorrow bring?

More of the same, and happily so!

How else are we going to explore Mars without an extemporaneous expository exposition?


A most peculiar case

In the faces one meets on Planet Earth, the humans, whose ability to create many voices speaking the same language of the human body…

Their stories.

A school district where all the children receive free breakfast.

Traveling more than halfway ’round the world in order to find oneself starting a new life in middle age serving warm pretzels in an airport snack shop.

The children of such working as teenagers in the snack shop next-door.

Wheeling physically challenged customers from one airport terminal to another, dropping one off at the loo whilst you check your Internet tablet for your next pickup.

Growing up in the working class neighbourhood of a large, cosmopolitan city, happy to meet new people from all parts of the world as part of your job.

Selling all rugby team shirts but favouring Munster over Leinster, if truth be told.

Leaving the space travel to others more suited to mentally traveling well in a large canister to Mars for many months, perhaps not coming back, ’cause you’d rather stay on this planet, thank you very much.

All of us dependent on those invisible engineers and scientists who improve our working conditions via new technology, including the invention and improvement of language, creating new voices such as the sounds that ditch-digging equipment makes with more efficient gears, or the squeak of high-tech gloves holding a shovel…


Meditative Moment

Delving deep into our species’ undiscovered mysteries of the universe — for some, it is a passion with no end.

For others, living the lives that ancestors had laid out is sufficient.

Neither is worse nor better than the other.

In fact, we may be predisposed to one or the other, or some combination thereof.

Therefore, it behooves us to know ourselves, our desires, our capabilities.

I know I desire to explore the solar system, if not in my body, then in a body that represents me in some way we haven’t figured out yet.

For that reason alone, I wake up and get out of bed.

But I am a social creature and sleep in bed next to another social creature (or two) pretty much every day, thinking about her and my other friends constantly.

So exploring the solar system only makes sense if I am not alone.

And some days, the rational analysis of pure science gets boring which means my friends and I find ways to entertain ourselves.

That is what makes us special, different from the rocks and the trees, from the wind and the dust.

Our humanness, our unique brand of socialising, carries us out of the solar system in a tiny vessel recently sampling galactic winds.

This morning I played with our cat, Papier, who wanted to play and play and play when I wanted to sit and write.

Is one activity more important than another?

Papier does not care about this laptop computer.  She understands it competes with her for my attention.

No one would criticise me for spending the rest of the morning playing with our cat rather than meditating upon the quality of “humanness” by typing here.

The choices we make are ours to make and live with.

When I learned to embrace that last sentence, I gave up worrying about others’ opinions and spent more time loving who I am.

Reminds me of a question a friend asked me in junior high school: “What happens when the people whose opinion you care about don’t care about your opinion?”  It was asked rhetorically and we laughed at the dichotomy of growing up in a subculture that you don’t call your own, thinking, at age 12 or 13, that we would not spend our adult years in the same place we were then.  That friend ended up living all over the world, including Paris, France, and Borneo.  We stay in touch but not very often.  My travels have been limited to Northern Hemisphere destinations — when will I ever travel to the Moon or Mars, and with whom?


Willingness to leave personality traits behind

Never stop learning.

Be willing to leave your comfort zone.

Easier read than done.

And when did we decide that “read” can be pronounced as reed or red?

Anyway, today I dive deep into personality traits in order to move past them and grow into my future self.

Although these topics are covered elsewhere, in popular media for instance, I have rarely written about them here.

I am male by birth, heterosexual by primary gender preference.  Which often means that I find myself desiring a female of my species without realising it.  To the women whom I have ogled absent-mindedly, I give you my apologies — I most often discover myself eyeing a female when there is something going on in my thoughts that scares me, thus driving me to want to procreate in case an imaginary monster is about to kill me.

So what scares me?

Uncontrollable mobs.

Not being liked by at least one person.

Having no wooded land I can walk through alone.

Memories of separation by death.

Being maimed, in agonising pain, and no way to end the pain.

Leaving this world without leaving progeny behind.

On that last fear I stand and meditate for a moment…

I have lived billions of lives, wandered this planet for millions of years, experienced the body of a human and the birth/death of stars.

I want pain, I want discomfort, I want happiness and joy.

I also want a child of my own, a human being who has my genetic material and is influenced by me in one way or another as it grows from infancy to adulthood.

If I do not father a child, I will die with these words as my offspring, pebbles tossed into the pond of life, causing small ripples to spread out and combine with or subtract from other waves.

Not a bad thing.

But I know that I am incomplete.  I am at the age where many of my schoolmates are parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents.

I am an uncle and a great-uncle.  I am a son.  I am a brother.  I am a husband.

I am fatherless.

Therefore, I am missing part of the pain, discomfort, happiness and joy that comes with being a parent.

When my girlfriend, Renée Dobbs, died at age 10 when we were in 5th grade together, I promised my dead 10-year friend I would not forget her, imagining that one day I would have a daughter of my own and could nurture her past the age of 10, healing myself of the stunted emotions I locked away when Renée died.

I don’t even need to have a child.

I just want the hope [that in the future I could possibly have a child] to keep me going.

I can mentally live on ideas for generations.

Sometimes that hope in my thoughts gets mixed with my sexual desires and even I get confused about what it is I want rationally versus what I want in a more primal manner.

I am getting older so I have grown to understand in part that having a child of my own can be substituted with encouraging younger adults as a proxy for being a parent.

If some of these people see me as a father figure, I cannot say, because I have never been a father.  My only interpersonal relationships have been as a son, brother, boyfriend, friend, husband and [great]uncle.

Today I give myself permission to ask who I really am, and who I want to be in the future.

I cannot control what others think of me but I can change the person I project.

I choose to look in the mirror and see the 54-year old man who looks back.

I don’t have to pretend to be sexually attractive to get others to like me.  In fact, such an image may be a turnoff at my age and it’s not what I really want.

What I really want is for our species to live on a planet[oid] other than Earth.

And by species, I mean a self-aware being that recognises itself as progressing out of the lifeforms on Earth, regardless of its set of states of energy, its chemical composition that differs greatly from Homo sapiens.

Amongst many roles we play, we are messengers for our genetic code.

I don’t have to be afraid that I will die fatherless.  I don’t have to maintain the semblance of some sexually attractive aura.

I can be the me I am in my thoughts when no other human is around.

I can live on Mars and wander the woods at the same time, imagining woodland creatures many an ancestor believed lived in the forest in anthropomorphic form and creating adventures for us to enjoy together.

That’s who I’ve always been, interrupted occasionally by the need to communicate with other humans and navigate my way through the eddies and swirls of the river of life with them.

The time arrived last night when I decided to let go of thought patterns that were making me uncomfortable with myself, telling me to sleep on the idea of me as an ugly ogre.

I woke up this morning and felt refreshed but a little tired.

Yes, there is a beast or two in my thoughts — what’s a forest without them? — but they don’t own my thoughts.  They are just a couple of the billions of characters in a mental narrative, the story of my life.

With that said, I move on.


What is life but a narrative lived in realtime?

Today was tomorrow yesterday.

Since the former tomorrow no longer exists, time is now, not tomorrow, to finish what was started yesterday when it was today.

12499 Earth days to go.

On Earth, in this location, it (the sky? the planet?) rains.

A small glass jar labeled YANKEE CANDLE MOUNTAIN LODGE(tm) contains coloured wax slowly melted by a bouncing flame which reflects off three or four burnt jars that once reflected their own wicks on fire.

Smoke rises from the megagrill of our next-door neighbour, the neighbour who once kept two or three food trucks in his yard, scenting the neighbourhood with refried beans and taco meat cooked in preparation for street fairs and lunchtime business customers.

In preparation for today’s event – the release of the second version of our journey to the Moon, Mars and beyond – I reflect on what fuels my fire: the depth and breadth of experience.

= = = = =

Every character has a background story, an origin tale unique yet shared with others.

= = = = =

To show they cared for each other more than they planned, Lee and Guin shared their private lives, exposing themselves to personal ridicule and pain.

Both had experienced a breaking of trust they had placed in another, which made them stronger in some ways and weaker in others.

Both had suffered body damage from motor vehicle smashups.

In older retelling of tales, we might have said Lee and Guin had character flaws but as our society’s enlightenment has grown, we’ve come to realize the word “flaw” implies the opposite, a pure, untouched version of a character with no flaws which does not exist.

Instead, Lee and Guin, like everyone else, had established character traits through living.

We choose to live in the social circles we choose to live in.

We often associate ourselves with subcultures that best reflect back to us ourselves.

When we accept the written and unwritten guidelines of our chosen subculture, we can let go of old thought patterns that might have rejected ourselves.

Lee and Guin were chameleons, contrarians, and people pleasers.

They did not have to have each other as friends but friends they had become.

As chameleons and people pleasers, they tended to blend in.

As contrarians, they tended to stand out.

They loved without question, they lived with conviction and laughed at convention.


And then there was Bai. And Pierre.


A host of friends living a subculture of polyamory in the fluid flow of primary and secondary relationships.

Several of them had experimented with monogamy, finding it satisfactory in many ways but not in others.

Just like life in general.

No lifestyle is perfect.

They wanted what anyone wants – a waking life worth waking up for.

It was not about money.

It was not about denying the existence of others’ subcultures.

It was about what modern culture (modern in the sense that it has existed since the human species has existed in its current form) has always been about – improving the survival of the species.

Authors have presented us with such futures as “Brave New World” and “Logan’s Run” to gently guide the reader toward the idea of polyamory as the best lifestyle for preventing the minisubculture of the nuclear family from leading to toxic relationships between unmatched parents and children (even if such unmatched relationships can lead to new discoveries not found any other way).

Neither Lee nor Guin owned each other or owed each other anything.

They met unaware of their connection to one another.

But after they met, electric energy in the air sparkled like fireworks whenever they were in each other’s presence, Van de Graaff static electricity generators uniting once and for all.

Like spinning black holes locked in binary orbit, they generated gravitational waves that rippled throughout society, the planet and the solar system.

= = = = =

So you see, creating a planet[oid] colonisation chart is not just about a story, it’s about a new culture spreading into the solar system, replacing some modes of species procreation with that more suited for space exploration and settlement where resources are shared for the common survival of Earth-based lifeforms seeking transformation into new lifeforms to thrive in new nonEarthlike ecosystems.

= = = = =

For a brief time in the early years of their relationship, Guin and Lee were separated from each other.

And boy, did they know it! Lee suffered body damage from cardiac arrest and strokelike conditions, leading to permanent hearing loss and migraine headaches he had never felt before, and Guin’s body accelerated cancerous growth which was removed during the first procedure to prepare her body for space travel.

But they accepted these conditions as growth pains like two preteens going through adolescence while corresponding from distant towns.

They were the Martian Pioneers, ready to face incredible struggles to settle Mars after spending time on Earth’s natural satellite, the Moon.  Centuries later, they helped set up camp first on Enceladus, hiding from…

= = = = =

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We should look at their colonisation chart, shouldn’t we, to get an idea of what they planned before Inner Solar System life changed their plans, before the Inner Solar System Alliance grew from a combination of private corporate interests and a subcommittee of the United Nations we haven’t even talked about yet.



Lee and Guin sat down with Shadowgrass and recounted their history.

Lee leaned back and crossed his arms. “By now, the solar system has been completely mapped, explored and colonized by sentient beings that see themselves as Nodes of a Net, not individuals. On Enceladus, Guin and I have decided to come out of hiding, hoping to restore the benefits of individualism without destroying the benefits of the Net. Plus the living quarters on Enceladus are tenuous at best and deteriorating.

“Technical details weigh down the core goals of the mission at this point…

“However, this is the future of our species, no fictional Prime Directive, no Three Laws of Robotics.”

Guin put her hand on Lee’s shoulder. “Living to recreate the individual because the net has made sheep-zombies of us all — following the old ways of politicians with the most money using their mind control known as social media. The masses have been kept silent, uneducated and ignorant… The individual is indeed dead and needs to be reawakened! Viva Le revolution!

“But to infiltrate the net and re-establish mankind’s humanity??? Are we so detached now from it that it’s a distant memory? Maybe we should break free from the net and live beyond?

“Escape to the independent colony of free thinkers on Europa???”

Lee nodded. “They built the Colony for the sole purpose of independence.

How did they avoid groupthink? A question worth investigating through close examination of their new rituals, perhaps?”

Shadowgrass looked up from his position on the floor, having detached his torso from his tripod legs.  “Well, did you?”

Guin smiled. “Hmm… yes, indeed.”

Lee projected an image into all their conjoined thought patterns of the moment when Lee presented Guin the itinerary that changed not only their lives but the course of their species.

The three of them smiled together.