why am I alive?

Does anyone else make up songs about their pets? I have several songs in my repertoire on both Zeus and Thor, and Moe that I sing to them on a daily basis. I literally stand in front of them and perform for them, serenade them if you will. I think they like it. But then again, the three of them like to eat flies so it doesn't take much to please them.

We're experiencing a cricket plague in my house right now. My cat Moe has decided that every night he will go into the backyard and hunt down a cricket, to then bring back inside with him and unleash into the living room. Firstly, just to be clear, Moe is confined to the limits of our backyard, so he's not one of those cats that roams around the neighbourhood. Secondly, I hate crickets. I hate their weird legs and their fat bodies and their ability to jump unexpectedly onto your face at any moment. Crickets fall into the same category as moths for me. They are terrifyingly unpredictable. Thirdly, once Moe brings the cricket back into the house, he basically just lets it roam around while he follows it, and then he gets bored and just LEAVES it. At one point in time, I swear, we had 10 crickets in our living room. TEN. And when you make that late night walk to the kitchen with the lights off, and you know there is a real possibility you're going to feel a cricket under your bare foot... that is a sweat-inducing terror I wish upon no man. "Well why don't you just pick up the crickets and put them back outside?" Get out of here with your logic and sensibility! I've eaten crickets before. Side note. I ate them in Thailand. And they were the biggest crickets I have ever seen. I have a photo of it somewhere. It was like eating very thin, brittle chicken bones with soy sauce. I'm pretty sure bug protein is the way of the future though. They're already making bug protein bars. If bugs tasted good, I would eat them. But reality is, they don't. Straight up. They do not taste delicious at all. They taste like bugs. Which leads me to think that if eventually bugs become the choice of protein because of their sustainability and being the most environmentally friendly farmed protein, scientists are going to start genetically modifying them to make them taste like beef and chicken. Dude, hands down that is going to happen. And they'll probably make them 10 times bigger than normal as well. Just wait. It'll happen.

Here's some advice if you're planning on protesting something anytime soon. If you decide to hold a protest on a freeway/highway/main road or any other area that involves cars moving at extremely high speeds... maybe don't do that. Ever. You are absolutely entitled to protest and have freedom of expression and opinion. I am all for protesting. BUT when your protesting impacts other people to the point that they are physically obstructed because of you, then you're being an asshole. And if you get hit by a car because you're standing in the middle of a highway, you are also an asshole. I would say one of the first things I remember learning as a child is to not ever stand in the middle of a highway. And if you're a fully grown adult standing in the middle of a busy road where people are driving at 100 kilometres an hour, well that's on you friend. If you think your opinion entitles you to stop other people from going about their business, you need to reevaluate your ego. I don't think you deserve to be run over by a car, but if it happens, it's mostly your fault. Protest in the city. Protest in the park. But don't protest on a highway. People are already angry enough as it is when they're driving. I don't understand what the thought process is around holding signs or making a human chain on a freeway. You're making people even angrier. And now they have something to direct their rage at. You and whatever you're protesting about. I am convinced by thoughtful debate, not by some jerk standing in the middle of a road.

Do you ever sit in bed and think, "I could have a brain aneurysm right now and just die." The other night I was in bed watching Netflix, but not really watching Netflix because I was thinking about different ways I could be dying without me knowing. Anyway, I was getting these weird headache pains and then instantly I thought about dying from an aneurysm. Then later on, I thought that I had breast cancer. WHY. Why do I think these things? All I know is that it is a daily battle for me to understand why I am still alive. I don't know if that reads right, but what I mean is that it baffles my mind that I am miraculously in the position that I am in. I probably shouldn't say miraculously because I don't believe in miracles, life is meaningless in the end (in my opinion) but it's strange that I won the lottery in life. If you're reading this blog, so did you most likely. I mean, the fact that you were born in the first place is unbelievable. 400 TRILLION to 1 are the odds of you coming into existence. I can't even really understand that number. The other day I read that they discovered a 1.75m dinosaur footprint that's around 130 million years old. The amount of effort it takes for me to not only imagine a dinosaur that's big enough to have feet like that, but also that it was roaming the earth 130 million years ago AND on top of that, I've consumed water that has also been consumed by dinosaurs... maybe even by that specific dinosaur. I don't know what the odds are of that, but I'm feeling pretty lucky after winning at 400 trillion to 1 odds. Also I just googled the likelihood of dying from old age, and then I started reading all these statistics about people dying and I decided it'd be better not to know. Ignorance is bliss right? [insert nervous laugh].

I've been thinking a lot about consciousness lately. Which ties into my thoughts on death, I guess. When I really delve into consciousness and try to get an idea of my surroundings, I find myself fluctuating between spirituality and existential nihilism. There are parts of me that feel very connected to some sort of consciousness that exists outside of my physical surroundings. When I say connected, I mean I feel drawn towards expanding what I think my consciousness is and how it is perceived by me, and how it is influenced by what I experience. Are all of my experiences real? Even the ones that only occur inside my brain? Just because something doesn't physically happen in front of you, does that mean it isn't real? And if something does happen because of a series of chemical reactions in your body, does that mean those experiences don't have any significance? Happiness is a chemical reaction. My brain created that experience. If my pineal gland releases DMT, is that experience as real as the experience of happiness? And if I close my eyes, is what I see real? Or are my experiences just a series of physical actions and reactions, that have no significance whatsoever? And if they have no significance, why do they feel and appear the way that they do? Or are the chemical reactions that my brain produce merely an evolutionary trait that's developed over hundreds of thousands of years to help keep me alive? I like living where I do because I can see the stars. When I lived in the city I could never see anything. It's oddly soothing watching the night sky. It makes you feel very small and insignificant. Like looking at the ocean or the mountains. The experience I get from looking into space, and realising that somehow I came from stardust, is one that makes me question the existence of reality itself. What is reality? How do you know you're not just living some simulated life? Our world exists because of a series of mathematical laws. The same applies to any simulated game. Rules and algorithms run the simulation. So there is a very likely possibility that we are living in a simulation right now. Or life is just life, and we live and die and that's the end of that. Right now I would not like to die. I know that sounds obvious, but I know plenty of people that are very comfortable with death and would have no problem if they died tomorrow. Not that they are suicidal. They are very happy with their lives, but they are also happy with the reality that death is a part of life and it is inevitable one way or another. I hope that anti-aging technology booms in the next 50 years because that's my realm right there. Even if I have to become part bionic, I'll totally do that shit. I don't want immortality, but I think maybe just an extra 100 years on my life would be nice. It's not so much to evade death, but to see how things pan out.

Wade and I did the Everest base camp trek back in November. It seems so long ago now. It was hard. I actually thought it would be easier, but the altitude sickness part just kicks you in the face the entire way up. I had headaches from day one. And I was stupid and didn't take the altitude sickness tablets because I was worried about the side effects. The trek itself is long and arduous. It's not really fun. It's interesting. The scenery is breathtaking and ever-changing. I didn't expect that. Almost every day the landscape changes from lush, dense forest to mossy, wet landscape, to baron rock-covered terrain, to grey stone scattered scenery that is reminiscent of the moon. As you get closer to Everest, the surroundings become harsher and less forgiving. There's less air pressure, less colour, less life. It's vast and quiet and completely unlike anything I've ever experienced before. Looking back on it now, I have more appreciation for what it was. It's weird, you get this sense of isolation but at the same time, you're passing groups of people every day. It's almost an individual journey, because talking requires breath that you don't really have to spare. So you think a lot. It's sort of meditative, as you get to a point where you're just concentrating on breathing or the steps you're taking and nothing else. It's not physically hard, but it's exhausting because you feel slow. As an example, I'd say once you get above 3,000 metres in altitude, you're basically walking at a lethargic pace. You wouldn't even be walking one step per second. It's slow. Really slow. Frustratingly slow. But you have no other choice. You would never dare run or jump or exert any energy that was unnecessary. You eat the same food every day. A mix of rice, pasta and tuna with some vegetables thrown in. You go to sleep at 7:30pm. You clean yourself with baby wipes. You don't shower for days and days. Your nose constantly runs and your lungs fill up with dust that you cough up every few minutes. By the time you reach 4,500 metres you are out of breath just from rolling over in your sleeping bag. The day before we reached base camp, I basically collapsed at the lodge because the altitude sickness was so debilitating. Wade and I deliberated whether we could finish or not because I was so unwell. Both of us were suffering from the effects of the altitude. There's no rhyme or reason as to why some people react differently, we had several people in our group that felt nothing the entire time. At that point I took the altitude sickness tablets and felt my symptoms subside. Wade didn't feel any change and soldiered on the next day almost stumbling his way to the base of Everest. By that point you're just on auto-pilot mode. Left, right, left, right. Only 40 minutes to go. Only 30 minutes to go. Only 15 minutes to go. I can see the base. We're almost there. It's a continuous countdown, and when you finally reach your destination you're feeling confused, slightly underwhelmed, sick, overcome with satisfaction, relief, exhaustion and an array of conflicting emotions that basically leave you speechless. Base camp itself isn't very interesting. It's completely baron; stark, covered in rocks and surrounded by mountains and glaciers. I know that sounds interesting, but it was hardly the scenic highlight of the trip. You expect it to be big and ostentatious, but it's not. And how can it be? It's at the base of the world's highest mountain, 5,380 metres above sea level. It's cold and uninhabitable. It looks exactly the way it should be. It's not the end of a finish line of a marathon. It's just the finish line you need. A humble one. One that is unassuming and unforgiving. It doesn't feed your ego. It doesn't compliment you on how good you are. The moment itself is fleeting and soon enough you find yourself once again marching your way back to the comforts of the descent. You take one last struggling breath of that fresh mountain air, followed by a series of uncontrollable coughs. You wipe the cold, slow-dripping mucus from your nose with the back of your hand for the thousandth time leaving the skin red and raw. You take one last look at the mountain, the closest you'll ever be, and you leave. Without a trace or a mark. You leave with nothing but a sense of achievement that quickly subsides and appears to be a distant memory soon enough. The simplicity of it all, the deprivation and the struggle, it's curiously addictive. Not for the experience itself, but for the inevitable heightened appreciation for life, that lingers weeks afterwards. A hot shower. Bliss. Real food, or in my case, eating filet mignon after we returned to Kathmandu. Total mouth pleasure. A bed with pillows and blankets, and a room with your own bathroom and amenities. Running water. Internet. Air. Glorious dense air. It's the struggles in life, that make the mundane seem extraordinary. And without struggle, the mundane seems excruciatingly tedious.

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