A musing on disquiet and simple acts of psychic upheaval

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It occurs to me — over and over again, because I never learn, and usually at the least opportune moments, but I digress — that the primary reason I procrastinate and stall and make excuses and put off trying or fucking doing anything (besides being rooted, as all things are, in Fear) is that I get caught up in the percieved or apparent enormity/entirety of a thing, I overwhelm myself with obsessive monolithic dissection, I let loose the mental patients in my head, and we fucking bathe in the feces encrusted misery of our own paranoid compulsive immersion. The thing becomes an uncontrollable beast in the china shop of my perception before I even have a chance to move.

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Take the act of meditation, for example. On a logical level, I understand and have even experientially witnessed the spiritually, emotionally, and physically healing properties of meditation. I know that practicing zazen would be the first best thing for me to be doing in this time of psychological disquiet and uncertainty. But, I am automatically consumed by the entire Universal scope of the idea of Enlightenment and peace and unity and understanding and nirvana and sublimely perfect cosmic alignment. And so I can’t see the forest for the trees. I am too caught up in obsessiving anxiously over the details of neurotic insignificance and distractifying minutia, and I am blinded to the simple, obvious beauty and wonderfully flawed delicate perfection of each magical moment.

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So, today, an experiment. An exercise in detached observational experience and willful, conscious presence. I read something that, as with all of the most profound truths, seems so obvious now. Meditation doesn’t have to be the ritualistic, solemn, esoteric act of spiritual perfection that I sometimes picture it to be in my muddled mind. The simple act of observing and experiencing one’s thoughts without reaction to them is an act of meditative contemplation. My intention for today is to attempt to allow my thoughts and emotions to flow freely through me, but rather than react to them and allow them to direct my behavior and feelings, I will practice at simply observing these thoughts and emotions, analyzing and attempting to understand them, and in this way perhaps I can arrive at a deeper understanding of myself and my place in these moments.

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And when I inevitably step off and engage and allow myself to become consumed with some neurotically poisonous snowballing wreckage, I must simply acknowledge, reset, and try again! This all seems so simple on paper…or LCD screen, as the case may be.

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A musing on restlessness and complacency, with Apes of Gloom

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Every time I find myself, I get complacent. And then, of course, parts of me get restless. They wander off again and get lost. This time I want to do a better job of putting me all together and moving forward.

#TimeToChange

“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”

– Siddhārta Gautama Buddha

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How To Probably Not Rage Murder the Record Store Clerk and His Dumb F***ing Face

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We were about to start a war with some hapless record store clerk because he was giving Us fuckin’ attitude. Fortunately, a sweet and soothing voice came forth from the ether like a punch in the dick and growled “LET IT GO.”

I am learning to heed the demands of the version of my Baby, Jenn, that lives inside my head, especially when “she” is reminding me that Our Crazy doesn’t have to be THAT fucking guy’s problem, and his bullshit certainly doesn’t have to be Our problem…despite what the Dark Crow Man may say… 😉

Now, We just have to deal with this teenaged kid outside Whole Foods whining like a little bitch about losing some dumb-ass hipster points game with his yuppie dad and Tasmanian devil little sister.

Headphones plus (the) Melvins x 12 = SERENITY NOW!!!

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Father Tom on Bad Days and “More Than Rain” (video)

This is about all the bad days in the world. I used to have some little bad days, and I kept them in a little box. And one day, I threw them out into the yard. “Oh, it’s just a couple little innocent bad days.” Well, we had a big rain. I don’t know what it was growing in but I think we used to put eggshells out there and coffee grounds, too. Don’t plant your bad days. They grow into weeks. The weeks grow into months. Before you know it you got yourself a bad year. Take it from me. Choke those little bad days. Choke ’em down to nothin’. They’re your days. Choke ’em!

Tom Waits

Father Tom’s Place

Indiscriminate Musings, Callous Language, and Nerd Rage

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Last day in The Meadows. Happy sadness. Miss me Dawgs!

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Partially delusional with sleep deprivation. Unable to type complete sentences. Terrible vibes all around us. Are these my hands?!

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Side Note! The Ryan + Meshuggah x 1200 mg Caffeine ^ Manic Moments = We may have broken something  \m/..\m/

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Conversations Held at Target (The CHAT):

Lady Jenn: “You need to get out more.”
The Ryan: “But I don’t want to get out more.”
Jenn Baby: “Your isolationism has made it so you have no idea how to interact with people.”
The Ryan: “I interact with people fine. You just don’t like the way I interact.”
Jenn: “You are ridiculous. I’m going to look at different stuff.”

Five minutes earlier…

Ry-Guy: “Baby! Check it out, I didn’t know they made Game of Thrones toys! It’s a tiny Tyrion Lannister. Well…tinier.”
Child of Seven: “Look! TRANSFORMERS!”
Seven’s Clan: “Kyle!”
Ry-No: “Mine’s bigger.”
Seven: “….”
Clan: “Kyle…get OVER here.” *uneasy, wary glances*

Aaaaand SCENE! Fuckin’ Kyle, man…Fucking. Kyle. 😀

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Perhaps 1200 mg of caffeine in a 90 minute period is too much. But I can hear colors (purple sounds like jet engines and bonfires) and it feels as though the Universe is coarsing through me in ecstatic trance, which is kind of cool. The downside is that I want to bury my brain in the crust of the Earth and use my spinal cord as a longbow in an epic battle with the piskies that have been invading my ear cavities and burrowing into my soul at night.  I should probably drink less liquid insanity. :/

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In just over an hour of milking the local library’s WiFi for all it’s worth on a manic, frenzied, stream of consciousness surf of the Interwebs of DOOM, I’ve managed to find a good two thousand dollars worth of vinyl and digital downloads that I am now obsessively longing to possess.

And ZERO fucking Dollars of DOOM. Wait a minute, though…do I really need two kidneys? This guy over here looks like he knows a few things about the black market vital organ trade…

Reason Number 5280 why I require “Adult Supervision.”

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SWEET BABY JESUS.

Zappa Plays Zappa at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas, you say?! I am so glad I didn’t sell my spare kidney for vinyl money earlier. Cuz I may need to sell that bad boy for Zappa tickets!

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Or maybe I will just live here on the strip until April, making that good street money whilst perfecting my one-man “Ian Anderson Does Aqualung” solo performance routine, as well as gathering material for my “Post-Post-Apocalyptic Mutant Zombie-Stripper Waster-land Dia de los Muertos New King of Vegas Spiritual Saga Semi-Autobiographical Prophetic Novel”…

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I just found out that the fucking fluoride they put in our tap water is petrifying my pineal gland and driving my subconscious deeper into the abyss! This is some motherfucking CIA mind control Illuminati social conditioning bullshit. I prefer my pineal gland to be nice and pliable and juicy, goddamnit! This is a fucking conspiracy!

VENDETTA!!!

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Monday Morning Musings

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Careful, motherfuckers, The Ryan is on the loose! No adult supervision! This could end badly…

As the “responsible” party in this relationship, Jenn Baby had to return to work today in order to further pervert and reshape the minds of America’s youth. The little bastards! >:]

As such, rather than leave me at home all day to play indoor, multi-story fetch with Sir Oswald and sniff my way through the roommate’s panty drawer, Lady Jenn gave me the keys to her luxurious German sedan (Volks-VAGON! NEIN!!!), and carte blanche to do as I please. “Within reason.” But, what is reasonable? Whatever my mind regards as a logical and conscious act, I suppose? >:D

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Since this is a public site and open to viewing by my Sweetness and anyone else who cares to stop by, I should point out that I am planning to spend the next eight or so hours driving to the Pacific Coast chilling at a nearby park and writing writing writing! If only the weather would cooperate…

Speaking of weather, um…what in the good and righteous fuck is this white shit covering the range surrounding The Meadows?! This is the DESERT, amiright? In goddamn FEBRUARY?!  So, unless one of Colombia’s infamous under-radar drug flights spontaneously combusted high in the sky, showering its contents across the Las Vegas desert valley range — I didn’t sign up for this shit.

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I was in an irritatingly chipper and vibrantly manic mood since waking this morning. My random, compulsive and cheerful yammering nearly got me a punch to the gooch from Madame Jenn on the way to her place of “bidness.”  It lasted all of another five minutes, until I came to stop at a red light on Alexander and Durango.  Suddenly and without warning, I wanted to punch the entirety of existence in its stupid fucking FACE. And for no discernable reason, mind you…but sometimes a belligerent bad Buddhist just needs to be consumed by scorn and loathing, motherfucker. 😉

I use the swear words a lot. I notice that most other bloggers and social media users do not, or do so sparingly. I am going to go ahead and assume this is not because you people find callous, direct, and offensive language to be a tool of the weak-minded and under-literate. I’m thinking I probably just give less fucks about rubbing the other dumb, ugly human meat-wrapped bags of calcium and liquid the “wrong way.”

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Just so you know, I include myself at the top of the list for dumb, ugly human meat-wrapped bags of calcium and liquid. I do stupid shit constantly, I make horribly illogical and functionally poor decisions, I hardly ever truly know what I’m talking about, and — much like the rest of us — I have zero goddamn idea what I am doing in Life or in any given speck of a moment.  We are all simply struggling to find our path through this frightening and chaotic mess of existence and toil!

There was a brilliant and intellectually revitalizing line of thought that began to form in my head during that last paragraph, which I intended to flesh out here. Unfortunately, I get distracted by self-editing as I write, and so I have haphazardly wandered from that vital subjective musing, and now cannot find my way back.

LOST! All is LOST!!!

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WHYYYY Lawd?! It shoulda been ME!!!

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Spring Festival

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Kung Hei Fat Choy! Yesterday, February 19th on the Western Gregorian calendar, marked the official New Year on the Chinese lunisolar calendar.  In Chinese communities worldwide, the next fifteen days will be filled with celebration, ritual, feasts and family, all centered around the concept of rebirth, regeneration, and renewed prosperity.

The ancient beginnings of this observance and celebration are rooted in the Chinese mythologies of the Nian.  A lion-like beast residing under the sea and in the mountains, the Nian would come out of hiding in the early Spring to feast and forage on villagers, livestock, and crops, his tastes usually suited to small children when possible.  The people of the villages began placing food offerings outside their homes at the beginning of their lunar calendar, in hopes their sacrifices would satiate the beast.

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One year, though, a villager was visited by a god, who told him the Nian’s weaknesses were loud sounds and the color red.  Hoping to keep the beast away entirely, villagers began decorating their homes with red lanterns and spring scrolls, as well as setting off firecrackers as an additional deterrent.  This effectively kept the Nian hidden from humanity and assured the village’s safety, and over time the precautions taken by the people grew into tradition.  In more modern times, this mythology and the Nian itself is represented in celebrations by the dancing lion, a recognizable part of Chinese New Year celebrations even to the uninitiated Westerner.

Celebrations and observances for the turn of the lunar year actually begin nearly a month prior to the actual start of the new year.  The Laba holiday, named for a traditional porridge served in conjunction with this observance, is celebrated on the eighth day of the lunar month prior to the new year.  It is intended as remembrance of an ancient winter solstice festival, and is held in honor of the gods.  For those who practice Buddhism, the Laba holiday coincides with Bodhi Day, which is an observance of the Buddha’s act of selfless ascetism and attainment of enlightenment.

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In the days immediately leading up to the New Year, all members of a family contribute to a thorough cleansing of the home, the intent of which is to sweep away the bad fortune of the previous year and make room for an influx of good luck and prosperity.  This cleansing involves the clearing and immolation of altars and tributes from the previous year, as well as a sending of the gods to report on the family to the Jade Emperor through the burning of effigies.

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The most important event leading up to Chinese New Year, and one that is likened to the Western traditions of Thanksgiving or Christmas, is celebrated on New Years Eve of the lunar calendar, and is known as Nian Ye Fan, the Reunion Dinner.  The dinner, which intends to reunite the entire family, consists of several traditional dishes, including a selection of meats, dumplings symbolic of wealth, and a glutinous cake meant to bring prosperity to the entire family.  Traditionally, families attend temples in the hours leading up to midnight to pray, however, in modern times, it is more customary to hold lavish celebrations with dancing and fireworks.

Immediately after midnight, in the very first hours of the New Year, celebrants first ensure that all malicious spirits and beings are scared away before opening the doors of their homes and selves, both literal and symbolic, to welcome the dieties of the heavens and earth.  Many people, especially Buddhists, fast or otherwise abstain from meat products, and refrain from killing any living thing.  It is also considered bad luck to use a broom, cutting utensils, or fire — so, it’s not only fortunate but in fact necessary that prior day’s celebrations involved large-scale cooking and cleaning.

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It is also customary for elder members of the family to present junior members with red envelopes containing cash and/or gifts of prosperity.  Business leaders often use this occasion to deliver workplace bonuses, as well.  This practice has led to adoption of one of several traditional phrases associated with the New Year’s celebrations: Kung Hei Fat Choy.

The rough translation? “Congratulations and be prosperous, now give me a red envelope!”

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Stay tuned in the coming days and weeks for more information on this colorful, historic, and catalytic holiday observance, and for detail on the specific celebrations and their mythological symbolism over the next fifteen days of Chinese New Year!  Have a personal story about or connection with this holiday, or just some related thoughts to share?  Sound off in the comments!

For a completely unrelated but brilliant blog written by an Asian man, please visit Harsh Reality!  (I really only linked to the Opinionated Man for my own selfish and self-serving reasons, but read his blog anyways. It is really fuckin’ good.)

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Terrible Vibes All Around Us – Part VI – Witching Hour Wandering in Photos

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Las Vegas is a peculiar beast at 3 am on a Thursday.  In the off-season.  Man…I have wanted a reason to write that line for a decade.  Now that I have, the accomplishment feels…hollow.

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Fremont Street, most known for the pervasive and vibrant overhead deluge of spectral neon glooming, feels a bit hollow as well, this chilly February early morning, the “Witching Hour.”  My Jenn Baby and I share a pervasive and unpredictable sleeplessness — one of many symmetrical traits between us — as well as a penchant for waking suddenly and completely around three most mornings.  On this particular occurrence, and advantageous of our location this week, we felt the classic Vintage Vegas experience offered by The D, a bit of new packaging around the old heart of this city, calling to us from midway down the Fremont Street Experience.

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Because nothing in the world says “Keep Vegas Weird” quite like a bearded man in a mismatched arthouse t-shirt and nylon-polyester cargo pants, covered by a knit beanie and tailored suit jacket (*cough* Hipster! *cough*) earnestly playing a vintage pin-ball horse racing machine with his gorgeous, classy-casual, sweetly sarcastic Boo and a group of Mexican businessmen sipping chilled Patrón with Heineken and shouting at the mechanical jockeys at three in the morning on a lazy winter weekday.

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A genuine San Franciscan millenial in a t-shirt with art by Winston Smith blew by for a moment to chat Dead Kennedys and the history of the machine to which we were losing our ten spots.  Apparently there are only two others operational in the country, says California, one at the MGM and the other in Reno.  And like that, he is gone, his mission to proliferate random kitsch trivia complete.

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Later, headed back towards Fremont East, the streets are all but barren.  Only those with true grit, or those with no place else to go, remain.  A red-eyed man with a dark, sagging face asks if we have a bus pass we might part with.  Nearer our room, with the sun peaking over our Eastern horizon, a woman shuffles along behind an overflowing shopping cart, careful to clear out of the frame as I attempt a “selfie” with the vintage El Cortez signage.  Vegas is a place that loves to embrace its clichés…

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“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant…”

Hunter S. Thompson

Catch up on the first five chapters of Our travel log!

Part I – http://wp.me/p5maOU-7j

Part II – http://wp.me/p5maOU-7r

Part III – http://wp.me/p5maOU-7u

Part IV – http://wp.me/p5maOU-7y

Part V – http://wp.me/p5maOU-87

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Terrible Vibes All Around Us – Part V – A Walkabout In Photos

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Took a quick leather tramp walkabout around the general vicinity of my “home” for the next few nights.  If you’ve missed the more verbose elements of Our story thus far, use the links below to catch up! Then, sound off in the comments and take a guess as to where We are 😀

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Part I – http://wp.me/p5maOU-7j

Part II – http://wp.me/p5maOU-7r

Part III – http://wp.me/p5maOU-7u

Part IV – http://wp.me/p5maOU-7y

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Terrible Vibes All Around Us – Part IV – Hints

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“…a sunny place for shady people.  I never meant to stay longer than a few years…”

It’s sentiment one hears often when mingling with the locals who call this sun-parched stretch of desert valley home. This is, of course, if one has managed to coax them into dropping their resilient armour of life-hardened, jaded detachment, which is not as simple a task as it sounds.  One must be patient, earn their trust…

Parts III – and III of Our Saga

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Jenn Baby, my more intelligent, attractive, and all-around superior half, and owner of the seductive mouth from whence the utterance quoted above was birthed, has been in this fair city nearly a decade now.  Each year, as the roiling Pacific tides bring warm ocean breezes and summer weather East across the valley of the dead, the wanderlust is awakened in her sweet, tender loins, igniting desire for adventure, uncertainty, and movement.  But, each year, something anchors her here.

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For now, it is the distance between our respective abodes that is our greatest obstacle.  Casually though fondly aquianted throughout most of our developing years in the Land of Enchantment, among the Four Corners, Jenn and I spent our 20s each doing our best to find a place or a path through this sometimes terrible, often strange but always magnificent world.  Through the omnipotent and infinite power of the Internets, we reconnected just over a year ago and flirted our way passionately and inappropriately into an intense and transformative long distance romance.  She is my constant spiritual grounding and my moon and stars, and I am her peculiar and imbalanced artistic hipster fury. 😉

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In the meantime, we do our best to swap trips and maintain regular visits with one another. So, that is, in a nutshell, what brings Us here.  To Now.  But, what Then?!

Perhaps if I take a quick inventory of our stock here in this historical bit of seedy retro hostel kitsch — our “home” away from the distractions of local rooming mates and practical home-town concerns for a few days — I will be better equipped to proceed.  We need the Plan.  But first, We must know what it is we are working with.  Once once We have established context can we turn Our focus towards purpose…

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We had two bags of potato crisps, seventy-five pellets of prescription crazy pills, five sheets of high powered Fruit Roll-Ups, a salt shaker half full of New Mexican soil, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored JuJu Bees, Sour Patch Kids, Butterfinger Cups, Pecan Twirls… and also a quart of Perrier, a quart of Sierra Mist, a case of Smart Water, a pint of raw cough medicine and two dozen ibuprophen.

Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious supply and junk food collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can…

Oh shit. No fucking Mountain Dew???

(With apologies and innumerable thanks to the Good Doctor)

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Artwork by Ralph Steadman

Care to guess the inimitable setting of this curious tale of woe and madness? Hit Us up in the comments!

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.