Why Do I Drink

I’m sipping a Long Island Iced tea, at 4:45 am while writing this blog post. A quote from the biker movie, “The Best Bar in America”, comes to mind, “The culture of drink endures because it offers so many rewards: confidence for the shy, clarity for the uncertain, solace to the wounded and lonely, and above all, the elusive promises of friendship and love.”

  • Confidence for the shy – I need all of the confidence I can get because when I grew up everybody grew faster than I did. So, at any given age up until my Junior year in high school, everybody stood taller that I. My inferiority complex gained stature instead.
  • Clarity for the uncertain – The cloud of inebriation makes a sharper world out of the blurry reality of all of life’s situations. Other’s become either friend or foe. Middle ground is abandoned when inebriated.
  • Solace to the wounded – For example, my golf game which is a complete calamity disguised by a rare stroke or two seems more than adequate when under the additional cloud of drink!
  • Elusive promise of friendship and love – I’m the most popular person on earth under the influence because my personality become that of an extrovert wolf who took off his introvert sheep skin.

All this seems to make a case for hopping onto a motorcycle and touring every bar from East to West. The original quote is from the book, “A Drinking Life”, by Pete Hamill. If you are trying to convince your audience that bars are worthy tourist attractions, you would no doubt use that quote.

The quote, however, is taken out of context and the very next sentence in Pete’s book changes the whole thrust of the quote, “From almost the beginning of awareness, drinking was a part of my life; there is no way that I could tell the story of the drinking without telling the story of the life. Much of that story was wonderful. In the snug darkness of saloons, I learned much about being human and about mastering a craft. I had, as they say, a million laughs. But those grand times also caused great moral, physical, or psychological damage to me and others. Some of that harm was probably permanent. There is little to be done now but take responsibility. No man’s past can be changed; it’s a fact, like red hair.”

So, why do I drink? Certainly, it’s not a “family tradition” as described by Hank Williams Junior. It’s just me trying to experience another part of life before I’m gone into the oblivion of what may be a non-existent after life. In fact, I didn’t drink more than an occasional glass of wine until I became 65 years of age and joined a 55 and older community in Florida. I’ve learned fast!

Part of my motivation is that many famous and successful people develop drinking habits. Many don’t survive. But many do. What is the difference? I don’t know, but the drinking may be part of the creative process that helps produce creative successful people. Maybe drinking is more of the process than any of us are willing to admit. So, maybe when I say, “Why do I drink?” I can and should say, “To write more creatively.”

In my experience there is something in the warm comfortable feeling I get drinking that loosens my creativity or the confidence I experience with the perception of creativity. Maybe it’s not even creativity that loosens. Actually, it might be self-honesty. How many of us are prisoners of thinking the way someone in authority told us to think? Churches are good authority sources that tell you how to behave and how to think. I am certain that you must think for yourself or you are lost. There is no compromise here. And if drinking is a catalyst to thinking for yourself, then do it until you no longer need to. 

My drinking while I believe is under control may not be. How would I know? How many alcoholics claim they can quit whenever they want? But they never want to! I’m sure that the wonderful woman I’ve lived with for fifty plus years would weigh in strongly on this one. I can read the concern in her face when she thinks I’ve had too much. But then I always wonder, how much is too much? That in itself may be a bad sign. Or maybe it really isn’t because I do function well from day to day, or at least I think I do!

The drink makes me feel good and helps me write something important for me and maybe you. You be the judge. Have I had too much? Have I had not enough?

These remarks are coming from a 73-year-old man who loves his life and wants to experience everything there is to experience before the end. Another good friend of mine died yesterday of liver cancer. None of us knows how much time we have left. We are all marching to a deadly cliff of no return. Detours should be seriously considered. You don’t take detours if you don’t think for yourself with an opened mind. You just follow the person in front of you until he disappears over the cliff just before you do.

You know, we make our choices and cannot go back, unless you believe in re-incarnation. I’m not sure of the existence of god or an afterlife, but I also think that after 73 years of development it would be such a waste for me to evaporate into nothingness. What a lousy model for life that would be. If reincarnation is real, then I will come back with some wisdom that I learned in a previous life. I know what you are thinking, “He has gained no wisdom in this life time.” But, how can you be the judge. Has some religious figure convinced you that what he believes is what you should believe? All I can say is, “Don’t be fooled and think again.”

Perhaps, the power of drink is in the releasing on one’s verbal filter so that one can say what he really believes without worrying about his or her standing in the popularity ratings of this life. Perhaps that is why I voted for Donald Trump. Heck, his filter does not work when he is sober!

My glass is empty save the ice cubes. If I were a true alcoholic, I would fill the glass again with whisky or vodka. But either I know enough not to or don’t know enough to! It’s time for a nap!

What’s In A Book

I promise that if you read the novel which I’m about to describe, you will not be disappointed. The title is, “The Zarnian Vodka Paradox.” I’m a bit influenced by the fact that I wrote the book. It’s hard, therefore, to take an objective view.

I just plopped it down on the desk in front of me. It landed with a reassuring thud that gravity is still at work in our world. During the story, I describe a gravitational anomaly that threatens to tear a planet apart killing everyone living on it. You’ll have to read it to find out how that ends.

The book is 1” thick, 9” high, and 6” wide. It weighs 1 pound 6.4 ounces. But, the story inside spans eighty plus years and covers distances measured in light years.

The picture on the front shows jet fighters, flying saucers, a see-through vodka martini with olives, yellow sandy mountainous terrain, a man’s profile, a woman’s profile, and a couple of blue night sky colored heads. These cover items all play a part in the story that lives inside. They are like souvenirs of the story.

There are four-hundred and seventeen pages.

It is substantial in heft containing over 87,000 words that I spent a full-time year writing, editing, and publishing. That’s over 400 words per hour.

I did everything. The art work for the cover is mine, the book layout is mine, and of course the content is mine. I’m mostly very proud of the content. If you read the book, you’ll learn a great deal about me. It’s much more a part of me than the forty plus years I spent working in IT for a couple of large businesses. It’s so nice to point to an object and say, “I did that and I’m proud of it.” Individual work tends to lose its identity in a large corporation. I can’t point to anything there and say, “That’s mine!” So, I have my book and the one I did before it to point to and say, “I did that.”

I fan the pages toward my face feeling the cooling of moving air swishing by my cheeks and ears which hear the soft sound of pages colliding on each other. A book has its physical properties which you see and feel first. Then the real good stuff is in the prose that makes it interesting. I make the case that science fiction will become science reality during the adventures of one remarkable man and the friends he makes along the way.

One thing about writing that I discovered is that the story happens to the author while he is writing it.  I really enjoyed that part of the writing. Editing out errors in grammar were not so engaging!

So, now due to the miracle of publishing you can experience the same adventure that I did when I created the book for the very first time. Ultimately, reading is a method of time travel or mind reading using a book as the conduit.  

The Zarnian Vodka Paradox

Look What I Found Inside My Head

Movie Review: The Best Bar in America

This movie opens with the following quote, by Pete Hamill, “The Culture of Drink endures because it offers so many rewards: confidence for the shy, clarity of the uncertain, solace for the wounded and lonely, and above all, the elusive promise of friendship and love”

After watching the movie, I had to find out more about that man who wrote that quote, and as luck would have it, I found him with one google search. Pete, it turns out, is a world-famous journalist and novel writer. Then I purchased one of his books, the one that most likely had that quote in it. Again, I was lucky. The quote at the beginning of the movie is the second sentence in Pete’s book, “A Drinking Life,” which became a national bestseller.

Taken out of context the quote would lead you to believe that drinking large quantities of alcoholic beverages might be a very successful way of life. In context, one might draw an entirely different conclusion. Here it is,

THIS IS A BOOK about my time in the drinking life. It tells the story of the way one human being became aware of alcohol, embraced it, struggled with it, was hurt by it, and finally left it behind. The tale has no hero.

The culture of drink endures because it offers so many rewards: confidence for the shy, clarity for the uncertain, solace to the wounded and lonely, and above all, the elusive promises of friendship and love. From almost the beginning of awareness, drinking was a part of my life; there is no way that I could tell the story of the drinking without telling the story of the life. Much of that story was wonderful. In the snug darkness of saloons, I learned much about being human and about mastering a craft. I had, as they say, a million laughs. But those grand times also caused great moral, physical, or psychological damage to myself and others. Some of that harm was probably permanent. There is little to be done now but take responsibility. No man’s past can be changed; it’s a fact, like red hair.

More than twenty years have gone by since I stopped drinking. My father died at eighty; my mother lives on. I’m happily married to a wonderful woman and work even harder than I did when young. But life doesn’t get easier when you walk away from the culture of drink; you simply live it with greater lucidity.

Hamill, Pete. A Drinking Life. Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

Humility is defined to be freedom from pride or arrogance.

Anyone who doesn’t sense a large amount of humility in that introduction by Pete for his book needs to read the whole book to distance themselves quickly from the effects of drinking!

However, that is not what the movie is about. It’s the opposite. A quick sketch follows,

Writer, Sanders, is working on his book, “Guide book: best bars in the west.” His wife rides in the motorcycle sidecar as they set out to visit western bars. The motorcycle is a 1960 BMW R 60/2 which needs constant repairs.

In the middle of a western desert, during one of those repairs, Sanders wife says she’s had enough and starts walking. Sanders gives her his wedding ring back and leaves her in the desert because she refuses to get back in the sidecar. At the next bar, a truck driver who rescued Sander’s wife tries to beat the motorcycle and alcohol out of him.

He can’t do it because the bartender will not cooperate. There is a little bit of gunplay here, and this is where Sanders meets Northway.

We are told that “it’s the mind that creates the bar. And many factors influence that creation including the bartender.” From what I know, that seems very reasonable.

Sanders sleeps on the ground in the desert and shoots his watch in reaction to his book agent who is looking for the book. So, the laptop disappears, the writing ends, and the drinking begins.

At the next bar, the bartender is a woman who must be ovulating because she convinces Sanders to play a unique game of pool with her on the empty bar pool table.

It’s about now that I recorded another quote, “Catholics go to church. Bikers hit the road.” I’ve had the feeling on long hikes, long bike rides, and other long journeys that spiritual enlightenment is present in a way I never found it in a church.

Then, Sanders finds a bar that includes a church. But they only serve beer and no whiskey. He doesn’t stay long. I’m sympathetic with this.

Then he finds a bar that requires he become a member before he can order a drink there. The membership fee is high, so he passes.

Now, Northway, from the first bar shows up at a gas station driving a Volkswagen Vanagon. I owned a VW Camper Van and a Vanagon. I wish I could purchase another one right now. Some of the favorite parts of my life were spent camping all over the United States in those vehicles with my wife, kids, brothers, and sisters. So, instantly, I liked Northway.

I’m not going to tell the whole story. Hopefully, I’ve said enough to get you to watch the movie, The Best Bar in America,  included in Amazon’s Prime membership.

Many words of wisdom found their way into the dialogue. I’ve mentioned a few above, but probably my favorite is, “He who knows he knows doesn’t know. But he who knows he doesn’t know, knows.” The writers of the film know humility!

The Best Bar In America, A Feature Film by Eric and Damon Ristau took home the Feature Narrative and Best Of Festival awards at the 1st Annual Motorcycle Film Festival.

Break Neck Tech Curve

Don’t Let The Technology Curve Break Your Neck

Three Stoges Silententy

In 1898 the big technology news was the silent movies coming to a local movie theater, and those couldn’t synchronize sound with the movies.

65 years later, my parents gave me a transistor radio in 1963 for my High School graduation. This became the epitome of technology at the time. So, now we could bring music with us as long as the batteries had been sufficiently charged.

Then, 65 years later, a relatively sophisticated technology relative to the technology curve for only $19.99 can help you find your, car keys, phone, or whatever else you connect to one of the colorful tabs.

The phone which you will lose in 2019 contains radio functions like the 1963 portable radio, a computer, your contacts, your phone, .

AOGUERBE Wireless Key Finder Phone Finder Smart Tracker Locator with LED Flashlight Anti Lost [1 Remote Control Transmitter 4 Receivers] Quickly Find Your Lost Items]

CAR KEYS         PHONE

screen shot 2019-01-17 at 4.21.19 am

WALLET             PURSE

The point is that the technology curve is a geometric progression as graphed below. Technology gains happen quicker and quicker each day and the leap in technology is higher and higher.

screen shot 2019-01-17 at 8.49.59 am

1895    1965    2019

Those of you who are old enough to remember the Dick Tracy cartoon series about a police detective can remember his watch the he used to communicate with. That was science fiction in the early 1900s. Now the communicating watch is as reality the has outdone the Dick Tracy Science Fiction device.

So, read everything you can about science fiction today because tomorrow it will be science reality!

My suggestions;

“Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark

“Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Max Tegmark

“The Zarnian Vodka Paradox” by Robert Albert

“The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence” by Ray Kurzweil

“The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology”  by Ray Kurzweil

Music Ableton Live 10 Trial

Usually, I post short stories or poems on this site, but today I have some music that I produced using my trial version of Ableton Live 10.

My motivation is that I quite often publish Youtube videos and get a bit sick and tired of being warned that I using copyrighted material. So, I’ve been trying to make my own music using garage band. Ableton is quite a bit better.

Here are some examples that I’ve been able to build or assemble using Ableton and classical music midi files.

Micro-Processors On Parade

Micro

Microprocessors on parade on beach

Once a year near April the first,
From the depths of engineering,
They emerge one by one,
And march south on sand,
Between ocean and dune,
On a quest as noble as any,
Can possibly be these days.

They are the microprocessors,
That power tomorrow’s robots,
full of artificial intelligence!
Our technological tools,
enabling us to compete,
with all the future countries.
On this planet and others.

Planets discovered with certainty,
when SETI achieves its goals,
Not only will we know them,
But they will know us!
Whether they be allies?
Or whether they be foes?
Technology progresses geometrically!

RAAlbertArts