I am Canadian but grew up in New York City. Eh? In addition, I used to live in the proverbial foreclosure capital of Southwest Florida for several years. Don’t ask.

Economic and intellectual devastation incarnate is an accurate description. However, much to my chagrin, this diverse and often contrasting cultural & social dynamic, enabled me to obtain a “self” educational appreciation that counter balanced my former regimented, mass produced spoon fed curriculum that passes for higher education. Regardless, being Canadian is as alien to me as honesty and integrity in American bipartisan politics.

Perhaps, flags, songs and national colors aside, such symbols will always suffice for being artificially inducted or indoctrinated towards some fleeting man made perception. Shattering this illusion is easily accomplished with an appeal to the primitivism inherent in us all. Albert Camus was correct when he said, “Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.

Cannibal Soup

I remember attending PS 15 and living on East 6th Street. Dodging bricks cast from adjacent rooftops was a pastime after-school activity, which was common and quite popular. Regardless, my curiosity ran unfettered, cutting through the empty remnants of abandoned buildings, watching 12 year old girls practicing the art of fellatio in broken hallways….I was a precolonial explorer. It was like living in a post apocalyptic John Carpenter movie set. Snake Plissken I was not. My time as a public school student abruptly ended. I wonder Why?

Possibly the rage in heroin use and the subsequent youth gang recruitment. Only my parents would know such answers. Needless to say I survived, moved on and got my street smarts undergraduate degree. Perhaps this relocation was due to a more grave and sinister reason.

Would you be inclined to move if you found out three blocks away, a woman had been killed, the body dismembered and boiled into soup. The soup was fed to unsuspecting homeless people in Tompkins Square Park

If anyone has a “Jeff Boyardee” original T-shirt please donate! It has always been a regretful decision that I did not purchase this morbid curiosity when I first saw it for sale on 8th street.

An Expat in the City

Living off Union Square was great. The village and the iconic 8th street subculture was a glorious exploration in hedonistic decadence. A stupendous playground for a young aspiring hard rock and classical musician. In no time I was in a band, eventually studying music theory in college, playing in a Jazz ensemble and studying classical guitar privately. Seemingly lost between contrasting worlds, I was truly a rebel without a cause complete with a customary staple ensemble comprised of the socially acceptable all black man-attire.

Indeed, there was hell to pay for all those mandatory First Friday masses as a fledgling dissident trainee. Immaculate Conception, my Catholic prep school on 14th street and 1st avenue had done enough subconscious in-doctrinal damage in a consistent manner. At least, the school did not adhere to the barbaric practice of gender separation and isolation.
As time progressed and the budding atheist in me resurfaced. I eventually played a gig at the world infamous CBGBs in the Bowery. It was a pièce de résistance moment even if it was surrounded by life’s uneventful circumstances, common amongst those who pursue artistic endeavors.

If reality is a bitch, for a musician she is a cunt. In retrospect, my entire existence revolved around the lower east side, the guitar and my selfish journey of intimate musical discovery. When it was over, my tutelage included lessons with a Berklee graduate, who was an avid performer around the Village. Mannes College of Music, the Julliard for classical guitarists at that time was also a fleeting reality, albeit a brief one, urged in part by my classical mentor. He was a Jewish virtuoso, originally from Boston who rented a studio from a Puerto Rican landlord on 8th street. I was a Canadian half breed expat relocating to Spanish Harlem, who studied a traditional southern style of Kung Fu in Chinatown. It was commonplace for me to go from hearing Cantonese, Spanish and English in the span of a few hours. Talk about politically correct diversity.

My relocation adventures continued as I eventually ended up in Spanish Harlem. I felt like Steve Stevens of Billy Idol fame. Contrasting cultural environments can have both negative and positive results depending on perception. I still remember the Puerto Rican social club pumping extended instrumental jams past 4am and the conga players outdoor improv sessions on many midsummer nights. Too damn hot to sleep, dirty noise mixed with violent tendencies, passive aggressive love and tempers flaring. This was life across the projects on 104th and 1st avenue. As compensation, my high school was still in the Village.

A Random Still Life

You Killed My Brother

My home away from mi barrio was Chinatown. I studied traditional Chinese martial arts. My sifu at one particular kwoon spoke little english and I was taught in the traditional Asian manner, as opposed to the mass marketed McDojo westernized experience. We celebrated like family on Chinese New Year with traditional lion dances on Canal street and a Master’s appreciation day filled with delicious almond cookies from The Nice One Bakery on Bayard street.

When it was necessary, students painted the school for relocation and repairs and full contact sparring was always a part of the curriculum. No insurance forms required or parental hold my hand “poofter” consent. It was old school methodology transplanted from one generation to the next.

Incidentally, I also studied at a more regimented martial arts school which commanded the same respect for tradition but equally combined the business model to achieve an efficient balance. Incidentally, traditional martial arts schools tended to attract those keen on the spiritual and esoteric spectrum of interest. Martial prowess was somewhat of an after-thought considering the physical and mental discipline.

Indoctrination….I THINK therefore I am NOT

After High School, I attended NYU in the GSP program. It was a drastic contrast (GIRLS!) to my previous four years attending La Salle Academy, an all boys catholic mental institution of religious indoctrination. However, like everything thus far, it was a merely another extension of my overall experience growing up in a culturally rich mecca of Gotham city.

Still there were setbacks, as I originally wanted to attend Tisch Scool of arts. Prior to my internment at La Salle Academy, I remember being accepted to the High School of Art and Design while in grammar school. Unfortunately, fate and a misinformed mother led me instead to a private Catholic high school. Perhaps the notion of being one of those “art types” was cause for parental over concern. You know,… jobless with a BFA or worse, MFA destroyed any notion of that alternate creative reality.

Computer technology impacted personal socialization and created massive changes in the global workforce. My life was indefinitely altered by this new and emerging technology. I openly embraced this newfound dysfunction. Burning the midnight oil dabbling in AOL’s atrocious interface, dial up connections and hacking the AOL user profile, the progenitor of social networks today. I quickly learned to code html, flub my way around javascript and flash animation, eventually moving towards the hardware end of the spectrum. This was of course after dropping out of NYU and enrolling in several other local colleges while simultaneously changing degrees and playing clubs in original metal bands. It was a life of mosh pits, geocities and webrings, warez sites and Mary Jane.

In the end, I self studied and obtained several pieces of flair, er, I mean certifications in the Information Technology field. In some respects, almost everyone jumped on the proverbial tech bandwagon. Currently I am a “paper tiger” holding an A+, Network+, I-Net+, MCSE, MCNE (Master CNE/Novell), CCA (Citrix) and CCNA. In addition, I also managed to obtain an AA degree in Humanities and my BA in Biological Anthropology.

Perhaps if on this tedious academic journey there was some hedonistic reward, some carrot to entice and make sense of these former career trials and tribulations. Maybe this stunning blond lass as a consolation prize? Nada. No wine, women or songs of victory for social science dorks or computer geeks. Bombastic parades are best reserved for burned out rock stars and celebrity coke whores. Son, you should have simply played the guitar. Still, I would settle for the Russkie tech with the pink top, strategically placed tattoo working on that patch panel.

Was my secular education seemingly over?

Perhaps after having attended 6 different colleges, changing majors and degrees on numerous occasions, rote memorization and pedagogy was over.

Not so fast! In retrospect, I was even a a Golden Key Honor Society member. Could it be possible that these former experiences served as a resolute indicator for future educational endeavors?

In essence, like so many displaced graduates living in the midst of a global economic meltdown, graduate study seemed like a very plausible alternative. I applied and was accepted. Notably Utrecht University in the Netherlands became extremely logical for me considering the emphasis on andragogical instruction.

Having already developed and cultivated the nasty habit of self perpetuating a voracious reading habit, learning to think critically and questioning all forms of authoritative and status quo social constructs, especially American Pedagogical education, this on the surface would seem like the logical choice.

Hence, in the July 2013 I moved to the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

In a highly conformist country like the USA, being non-collectivist and nurturing nonconformist tendencies can be a slight problem for astute and creative free thinkers. As a result when I was accepted in the Master’s program (LLM) at Utrecht University, I was determined to potentially obtain my graduate degree in History of Politics and Society. It seemed like the logical choice considering my past experiences thus far in life.

Utrecht, The Netherlands August 2013

What? Me argumentative?

My blond Aussie friend may be on to something. My contentious nature on the surface stems from my need to question and challenge diverse subjects in order to gain a more personal and deeper understanding of the topic at hand.

I always found a stronger bond when knowledge develops out of this passionate response to learning. Passivity has no place in the halls of academia. Besides, Mandy said the dutch girls would love me!

Andragogy kicked Pedagogy’s Ass

“Gxxxxxx, your passion and interest in the subject is evident throughout our work in this course. You are far more advanced in your studies than most (being generous) of the students in this course. Your intensity is inspiring and can stimulate students to further study. Please remember that this is an introductory course and the first course of this subject for most of the class. I just want to make sure that your colleagues are not overwhelmed by your extensive analysis!”

This was the actual email I received from an American Ph.d professor, at a certain South Florida college concerning my online bulletin board response, to a student moderated political subject in discussion. Read my blog which details this incident and the state of the American education system here.

Befuddling my dumb cracker mind!!

I lived in southwest Florida for a few years. Home of the far from eloquent American cracker, Ford F150 and a growing population of the less then debonair, morbidly obese. A veritable mini-me Bible belt with an overabundance of southern redneck culture and colloquialisms thrown in for good measure.

The contrast from life in NYC is as striking and blunt, as those grammar school bricks being launched upon any unsuspecting passerby below. However, my journey to the safe confines of home does not provide the same sense of secluded refuge. Life here is definitely not all fun in the sun.

If you ever wish to see how undignified American’s are today based on demographics or geographic cultural stereotypes, simply visit the Ft Myers / SW Florida during the snow-bird season. This is the time of year when Northerner’s (Yankees) who own a second homes migrate to SWFL for the winter months. So much for southern comfort and hospitality.

I AM the LAW…and 13% unemployment

I was briefly a cadet at SWFPSA but withdrew shortly after orientation. I passed the CJBAT scoring in the top 5% and aced the physical tests without any issue. However, with open enrollment at the academy and the lack of opportunity in such an economically devastated environment, timely introspection and a quick reversal of plans saved much of my potential fiscal woes.

Instead, I attended a community college, forensics this time…but found the same lack of local opportunities upon completion of two summer semesters, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

I eventually examined the world of online virtual degrees and enrolled in the Intelligence & Counterintelligence graduate program at AMU. Maybe a federal agency or the “I Spy” fantasy was more suited to my disposition and motivational leanings as opposed to busting up domestic disturbances between Bubba and his ol’ lady, Judy Rose. To be quite honest, I just did not give a shit about protecting and serving these scumbags

and I have many miles to go before I sleep….

I was indeed a very restless soul. In every instance, I felt the displacement of living among zombified, mass media controlled society whose thoughts and actions were codified by the social/political and religious dogma they currently subscribed. It was the soup dujour tribalism of the day. Maybe it was this southern exposure.

Where was the individual? The real sovereign individual whose thoughts, experiences and beliefs were shaped from individual experience as opposed to group dynamics and social conditioning. What made people subscribe to the group herd mentality so easily? Sports, politics, religion, race, ethnicity, flags, clothing…the symbolism was only a reinforcement for the mental conditioning.

I read non fiction voraciously, anything regarding current events, politics, economics, history, ancient philosophy, religious issues, college debates, philosophical and ethical concerns. Anything obscure, demonized or banned from public consumption, I was there. Chomsky, Hitchens, Chalmers Johnson, Malcolm Gladwell, Caroll Quigley, Reinhold Niebuhr, Sowell, Alinsky, Machiavelli, Gorham and the Valorian Society and numerous others to find answer to many questions.

Eventually I amassed a tremendous and respected collection of subversive intellectual documentaries that spanned an eclectic diversity of topics from underground academic research, revisionist politics & history, political and religious debates, environmental issues, military and medical historical records. Anything and everything that was purposely avoided by the corporate owned MSM (Main Stream media) and my previous secular academics.

As I researched and read further, I discovered an underlying truth not expressed in main stream media. It was never a course offering in the average Liberal Arts curriculum or avenue for discussion among casual friends or strangers.

It seemed the indoctrination machine had been alive and well, fashioning our likes, dislikes, conscious and subconscious thoughts, actions and reactions to the world around us. In reality, creating an artificial socialization that enabled us to live in a perpetual state of reactionary mode.

Where did it come from?

In Propaganda (1928), Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democratic society. Flash forward 80 years and we can begin to see the effects of such a policy. People identify with groups, outsiders are ostracized and isolated socially. Dissent is discouraged in all forms and questioning authority and the status quo becomes severely traitorous. Conformity can be akin to cowardice.

I prefer to live as a cultured expat, nomadic, multi-skilled and lingual in the near and proactive future. In these dire economic and political times, being a sovereign individual who is not an indoctrinated automaton, mindlessly acquiescing to authority or a failing status quo is paramount to sustaining one’s mental, emotional and even spiritual longevity.

Perhaps these rants shall serve as my testament to an obsolete life and the observations that come with existing in a world of manufactured consent.

In 2014, I decided to pursue additional academics. I enrolled and took additional undergraduate courses at various universities in Sweden. yes, the country that heavily subsidized and perpetautes radical feminism, cosmopolitanism, anti-capitalist rhetoric and humanism. I discovered this was entirely true as a sterotype after attending various courses at Lund University, Dalarna University and doing graduate work at Malmö University.

One year later, in 2015 I was accepted and enrolled in a masters program (or programme, in EU academic-speak) at Malmö University in Sweden. Ironically, this program was also experimental in terms of a students ability to complete the required coursework entirely distance based. Talk about being an self-educated and transient expat. Could I complete 2 graduate degrees online, while traveling?

Only time will tell.

Hence this blog is my testimony, my small voice of discourse in a sea of human conformity and apathy. It is my acknowledgement and a virtual nod towards living a non-compliant life while avoiding the Jones in all forms and social manifestations. Go along to get along? Fugetabout it!