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Road trip, the start

Road trip, the start

"Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." A. Einstein


Probably not my last solitary road trip as it turns out – lots of personal stamina combined with the absence of crying jags or panic attacks makes a redo very possible. Next time I hope to travel with someone else to help share in the shits and giggles.

 Unless I die of course, then this will be the stylized recording of my last road trip event.

(Kudos to me for the lack of prep work – going full bore without thinking too much seems to be the trick.)

I left San Jose at five in the morning and drove straight to Harris ranch, the way I usually do. For breakfast I had pancakes with bacon because I haven’t gotten enough pancakes lately and bacon is bacon. I took a picture of my plate of food– one of four pictures I took on a two-day road trip. I am not a picture guy, I’m a spackler of words onto sheets of wood.

The drive from San Jose to Harris ranch is 4 hours, every time. Like a Texan who measures distance by the number of crushed beer cans on the bed of his truck, I’ve gone from miles to minutes, to just saying how long it’s going to take. I no longer need the mileage triangle in the back of the map, I just know.

Fuck Rand McNally and the big map industry.

My awakened memory for the early drive was the image of Richard Speck and his pendulous prison breasts making social with buddies at the state prison in Joliet -- in one of the earliest non-network TV uses of a video camera that I can remember ever seeing. At the time, it shocked me to my core, having always believed that Death Row would be more somber, reflective, and yes, punishing.

The hanging breasts are what I remember – floppy and askew, with nipples that seemed to point to all the colors of a rainbow as they bounced around the cell block. Richard was very animated for a soon to be dead guy, though are not we all?

(Word on the street is that this video ended in man love, but you didn’t hear that from me. --Google, all real things can be googled). They State never did kill him like they promised – he died of a heart attack a score of years ago or whatever – the point is the titties.

These images came to me on the drive to remind me of a truth— ‘the past is never dead, it’s not even the past.’ This is something I’ve come to believe was the truest line that Faulkner ever wrote.

I have been thinking about the connection of time and memory – and how one might be the way to measure the other. It feels to me that I’ve been leaving memories all over the place, like DNA, it just falls of me willy nilly with any movement at all. As I go back to places that had significance to me, memories attached to that time seem to pop up from some buried cave deep inside of me – or from a communal storage cloud base entity like the Noosphere as envisioned by Teilhard de Chardin.

I’m starting to see that memories are as real as DNA, and that time can be connected to these memories in strangely measurable ways that, in turn, have given structure to my very existence. I have constructed an image of who I am based on the memories of what I’ve done, and to find that the touchstones and structures of what I’ve become in life are based on something more real than the ether of imagination is stunning.

I’ve long believed that I have left pieces of me in all the places I’ve visited, and that I left a list in my head of exactly what I had left in the form of memories. My road trips are to touch, recover and acknowledge those parts of me that were left behind. I’ve always thought this was just a form of mental vaporware, but I’m exploring some other options that feel right.

I believe that we are living in a simulation, and think memories are a good place to start skinning the cat. Life is about communicating information; the meat part is just attractive hormone-based packaging.

I left Harris ranch after breakfast and sped off to the east, past Lemoore NAS and south on Highway 99, then south to Bakersfield, then east again on Highway 58 to Mohave.

There is still an eight mile stretch from Boron to Mohave that’s two-lane – this reinforces my believe that life isn’t done until the federal road system has completed paving at least four lanes everywhere.

This reminds me of one of the best last lines about the end of everything – Arthur C. Clarke’s short story, ‘Nine billion names of God. ‘

“Overhead, without any fuss; the stars were going out”

Part two later

Place cellsWhen an animal is exploring its environment, principal neurons of the hippocampus fire preferentially in particular regions of the environment corresponding to the neurons’ “place fields”; in this way, a set of such neurons can represent the entire environment. The “places” are represented relationally, in terms of the relations among elements in the environment.


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