In the autumn of my life, I reflect upon all I have done and all that I have experienced. I have seen things you wouldn’t believe. 

I’ve seen the rapid evolution of technology and the increasing digitization of our reality, remembering of course, that my years in Silicon Valley aided and abetted that process. As a child, I worshiped at the church of the cathode ray tube at a time when there were only 3 channels and no pause button. Signal transmission stopped at midnight and the viewing screen would go dark until the next morning. Our modern telephone had a rotating wheel for dialing. Decades later, my first mobile phone came with a briefcase attached to it. When I was growing up in Texas, it was not against the law (or even an object of parental concern) to be 10 years old, ride your bike 2 miles, by yourself, to the local fireworks stand just outside the city limit and buy firecrackers that could mangle your hand. Also at that time it was not against the law to drink and drive (literally in your car), as long as you were over 21 and you weren’t “drunk”. I came of age during the peak of American car culture. I had a full drivers license at 15 years old. There was no requirement for an adult to be with me in the car (which meant there was no adult in the car). My first car was an old ’49 Chevy, which I painted fire-engine red with a paint brush. I learned to completely disassemble the engine and transmission and then put them back together in an afternoon. I learned to race hot rods as a teenager… the performance of a ’58 Edsel could surprise you. At that time, cars were heavy and massive, with powerful engines. We burned thru the gasoline, which was no problem when gasoline was 16 cents a gallon. Collecting four soda bottles and turning them in for the deposit at the local grocery store would pay for a gallon of gas. Someday, the automobile will be looked back on as the single thing most responsible for consuming most of the earth’s resources. I once pegged the needle at 120mph in a “borrowed” police car. That event turned into the religious experience where I lost my fear of death. You can achieve incredible power when you have nothing to lose. Growing up in Texas, I learned to ride horses at an early age. One of my fondest memories is grabbing the mane of a bay mare on a warm summer afternoon, slinging myself on and racing at full gallop across a wide, green field… no saddle… no bridle… no shirt… no shoes… the smell of equine in the wind. Living in the country, I learned many skills. I was once forced to survive for a week in the wilderness with nothing but my bare hands and my wits. I have lived off the land for long periods of time. I have made fire by rubbing two sticks together. I got interested in music when Buddy Holly was touring. So bye, bye, Miss American Pie. I once saw BB King playing guitar from the back of a flatbed truck parked in the middle of a farmers field. I have paid $2 to get into a bar where Willie Nelson was playing. I vividly remember roaring down a southern California highway at sunrise in a new 1955 Ford with the gravelly voice of Wolfman Jack blaring over the AM radio. I have seen the Sierra Nevada Mountain range thru the lens of John Muir. I have experienced Los Angeles thru the books of Raymond Chandler and San Francisco thru the newspaper columns of Herb Cane. I have done many things in the wider world. I once went swimming in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Once the water is over your head, it doesn’t matter if the bottom is 2 miles down. I have see the underwater beauty of a coral reef in Okinawa. I have seen the human condition reduced to its most destitute in a narrow, crowded back alley in Hong Kong. I have seen combat in VietNam and I have protested war in the US. I have rendered aid to others having an extreme crisis; physical, psychological, emotional. I have studied the works of Buddah, Bob Dobbs, Gurdjieff and Philip K Dick. Among the books that I have read from cover to cover are: the Bible, the Koran, the Torah & Carlos Castaneda. But I never finished War and Peace. In the realm of religion, I have chosen to worship the Goddess, and on rare occasions, have spoken her secret knowledge to solitary young men around a campfire out on the open playa late at night. At various times in my life, I have been face to face with notable people; Steve Jobs… Alan Ginsburg… Timothy Leary. It was Ginsberg’s “Howl” that affected my life the most: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness…”-opening line from the poem Howl.  Achieving a certain notoriety myself in my later years, I have been Grand Marshall of the annual Nevada Day Parade in Carson City and, there was one time that a picture of my face was looking back at me from every newspaper box in Reno. I helped create the Cacophony Society. I have blindfolded 35 people and convinced them to get inside the back of a rental truck for a ride to an undisclosed location. I have crashed exclusive private parties. I have been inside (infiltrated) many places where I was not supposed to be; underground tunnels below busy city streets, on rooftops of towering high-rises, in and below dark basements, train tunnels, military bunkers, inside the crawl space under an elevated freeway. Under cover of darkness, I have climbed to the top tower of a giant suspension bridge. I have altered billboards alongside busy highways in the middle of the night. I have burned a pile of 75 Christmas trees on a beach in San Francisco. I have many costumes. I have 4 top hats in different colors. I have dressed as, and otherwise impersonated, Santa Claus, a circus clown, a bride, a priest, a military officer, a vegetarian nazi, a homeless person, a doctor, a federal park ranger and a San Francisco police officer. I did this sometimes for fun and sometimes to effect change in the world.
And then there’s BurningMan…

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
-Dylan Thomas