Seattle, Washington Self-Indulgent Navel-Gazing College Boy Blather

I put a page up today so people can download the video in different sizes and flavors and from a few different mirror sites that were kind enough to share some of the load. I’ve never done a download page before, so if there are any errors or omissions in the presentation – dead links or whatever – please let me know.

I keep expecting this thing to die down, but it hasn’t yet. So I might as well make it a little easier for people.

Here’s that radio interview I mentioned in my last post. It’s 15 awkward minutes of me falling in and out of consciousness while a couple wacky morning radio DJs try to prove that I’m gay.

There are lots of better things you could do with 15 minutes…but there you go.

A friend of mine has started a blog devoted to his absurdly passionate interest in New York City urban planning and development. If this is a passion you share, you should check it out. If this is a passion you don’t share, but you’re curious how a genuine passion for New York City urban planning and development manifests itself in a human being, you should still check it out.

At the risk of sounding like a Friendster testimonial, this guy, Aaron, is one of my favorite people in the universe. He has a rare curiosity about the world around him that is, I swear to you, completely contagious. Spend ten minutes in his presence and suddenly the mundane becomes fascinating.

I wish more people got obsessed with things like New York City urban planning and development, and fewer people got obsessed with things like Jessica and Ashley Simpson. Unfortunately, I’m not in charge of who gets obsessed with what.

Speaking of strange obsessions, the Parents Television Council is freaking hilarious. Who are these people? After masterminding the whole Janet Jackson Tit-gate thing, they’ve found a way to draw attention to the other, less sensational instances of smut and indecency on television by offering streaming video on their web site of every offensive clip they find.

Thank you, Parents Televsion Council, for keeping me informed on pressing matters. Were it not for you, I would remain ignorant of these flagrant abuses of the public trust; such as an animated Paris Hilton inserting a pineapple into her nether regions.

I inspected this site closely, and I’m pretty sure they’re totally oblivious to the irony of what they’re doing.

I’ve been wrestling with the suggestion a few people have made that I ad a Paypal button to my site. It’s very tempting, but the reasons I’m not going to do it are as follows:

– I don’t feel good about taking money from people. I’m not a charity, and I can’t promise that any money I get would go toward continued travel. It will more than likely go toward groceries.

– Though I am broke, I am fully capable of making my own money. I’ve simply refused thus far to take a job that involves showing up every day, and that’s kind of limited my options.

– It seems kind of sleazy. I’d like people to enjoy the video without being badgered to give me anything.

– And finally, if I’m going to compromise my integrity, I’d like to do it for the right price. There are a number of organizations out there whose money I’d be perfectly happy to take, and who could theoretically get something of equal or greater value from helping me out.

I’ve ranted about this before, but I’m going to do it again. Money is a tricky thing. When you don’t have enough, obviously, it rules your life. But when you have too much, it can be just as controlling. I managed to live for a number of years during my early twenties in a sort of blissful financial equilibrium. I was able to behave as if money didn’t exist, and I was for want of nothing. This was achievable largely because I didn’t really have many material needs. Every month or so I’d find some gadget to buy or some thing I wanted to do, but aside from that, I lived humbly.

I was young enough to avoid the mounting pressure to buy property – or even really begin thinking about it. I’m now at an age where chemicals have begun surging through my body, instructing me to acquire equity, and it terrifies me. I’ve noticed the unsettling tendency of otherwise interesting people who buy property to immediately turn boring. Suddenly covered garages and bathroom tiles are the most absorbing subjects they can possibly consider.

I’ve seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by real estate.

But I’m even more terrified because I’m so far from being able to join in with that whole thing. I made a decision to travel instead of putting down roots, and jumping-Jesus-on-a-pogo-stick that’s not something I regret for an instant, but it’s left me in a strange place where there’s no clear path to follow.

I’ve taken on the view that most people in western societies don’t actually do anything that is remotely useful to anyone. At least half the U.S. population could stop working tomorrow and it would have little impact on essential matters like the production and distribution of food, energy, and so forth. To take it a step further, our nation’s overall wealth would remain pretty much the same. (Apologies to Noam Chomsky, as I’ve butchered his life’s work into a vastly inaccurate oversimplification, but it’s not like I’m the first guy who’s done that.)

It’s a byproduct of a service economy. We have all this money, but it can’t just be handed out to the population for nothing. Jobs must be created to justify the distribution of funds. Many of those jobs are hamster wheels, but people are happy to run in hamster wheels because it’s our nature – we need something to do, and no matter how trivial it is, we’ll convince ourselves that it’s important. We’re complicit in a process that leaves us confined and sapped of all our energy for no good reason.

Example: I believe the internet boom happened largely because we needed an excuse to hand out money to a new generation of upper middle class white people. God forbid we should have to give any of it to the poor.

So I believe all this stuff, but where does it get me? I’m still an upper middle class white person with my palms open and cupped. I still need money. I’m just disinclined to take any of it very seriously.

…this is self-indulgent college-boy blather and it’s not what I want to be talking about. I didn’t even go to college. Why the hell am I going on like this?

Oh yeah. I’m unemployed…

The comments and emails I’ve gotten from people have raised my spirits a lot and inspired me to get back to the travel journal entries I left unfinished. I got stuck on the Kilimanjaro post a few months back when I realized how tremendously unwieldy it would become. In the last few days I’ve made it over the hump I was stuck on and I’ll be posting the entry very soon. This will interest no one, but it’ll be a big personal victory for me to finish writing about it – almost as much as climbing the damn thing.

12 Responses to Seattle, Washington Self-Indulgent Navel-Gazing College Boy Blather

  1. Matt Philmon

    Most people that are overly curious about questioning someone’s sexuality is generally still questioning their own. I quit listening about 3 quarters through the interview because those guys really started to irritate me. For what it’s worth, I’m straight, I watched you dance your way across the country, and I thought it was funny as hell. You should have told the DJ that he might want to look elsewhere to hook himself up with a same sex partner.

    This is really a cool thing. I’m a computer programmer and I just hit 32 and am quickly coming to the realization that I’m sick of sitting in front of a computer all day as well. Kudos to you for doing something about it. Good luck.

  2. Greg Wilde

    These radio people are idiots. They were totally unimpressed with your travels and just wanted to toss stupid, unfunny jokes about dancing and being gay. What a waste of your time, not that I blame you for trying to get the exposure. But I would hope someone else would have asked, “Well, where did you get the most interesting reaction?” or “Isn’t it great to get away from a job you hate, exactly what every other sane human being wants to do?” It’s very scary, but appealing to the lowest common denominator is what gets the ratings, I guess.

  3. Sigurd

    Matt,

    First of all, I want to thank you for making an excellent video, and for making it available for the rest of us. Its been a few weeks since the first time I watched it, and Ive lost track of how many times Ive actually seen it.

    Youve hit something that I think a lot of people in their thirties and possibly fourties will feel connected to. Unfortunately, this something is undefinable (at least for me), after watching the video – even after watching it hundreds of times – Im just left with this pleasant, goofy feeling of hope and happiness.

    My situation is different from yours in many ways, while at the same time I feel like we have quite a bit in common (particularly when it comes to dealing with the need to work and dealing with money). I have a family, and I could get a wellpaid job any time I wanted it. Ive been successful at work in the sense that there is a lot of quality in the products Ive contributed to, and they affect the lives of lots and lots of people who never even think about the fact that somebody actually made the product or even that there IS a product somewhere that their lives depend on. Financially Im a disaster, tho. Ill turn a hundred into a dime in no time at all, and I stopped persuing the almighty buck a long time ago. There is always going to be a market guy ready to pick up the proceeds anyway.

    I also think your explanation of the reason for the Internet boom is brilliant. In a sense I was in the middle of it (the boom), being in a position that allowed me to observe who got the money and how that affected them in various ways.

    However, I think youre wrong not to allow people to make a donation. I certainly understand your reasoning for not doing this, but you have to realize that youve made something that is of great value for a lot of people. And your site meter proves it.

    (And, if you had a dime for every time Ive enjoyed this movie, youd have a bunch of dimes)

    Now, about that radio interview What a bunch of losers. I couldnt stand it for more than about five minutes. But they did elicit a response from you that I found interesting even tho they didnt follow up on it you said something like well, I just got one of those around-the-world tickets It never occurred to me that such a thing even exists. Where do you get one, how much does it cost and what do you get for whatever you pay ?

    If you ever travel to Norway, be sure to dance around the western and/or northern parts of the country. Theres some great scenery there. Also, be sure to go during the summer unless you enjoy cold weather.

    I wish you the best of luck in all areas of life.

  4. Julie

    I have been reading for almost 50 years and I have this to say to you:
    Keep writing – you are a good writer.
    Keep reading – you are interesting because you are interested…and a good writer.
    You have a future as a humorist. Write about your life as you live it. Either as an inspiration or a dire warning or as in the case of Hunter S Thompson: both.
    Do not take on too much responsibility too young. Your instincts are correct. I cannot stress this enough.

  5. Reynard Bockart

    Matt you’re freakin cool as hell and i hope to meet you someday just
    found your site through noble realms and we are very alike and your
    site made me laugh my ass off especially the part where you say matt
    is a rediculously common name it made me laugh so hard that i had to
    write also would like to keep in touch as i also am walking the earth
    and people think i’m a crazy hippie cause i let my hair grow long and
    gave up my mortgage business and don’t give a fuck about money anymore
    but just read shit about god and metaphysics and awakening and crop
    circles and i wanted to let you know that your site is the coolest
    idea ive seen in a long time and my name is reynard not that it
    matters cause were all one and there is no duality and infinite love
    is the only truth and everything else is illusion and i guess there
    could be some reason i’m writing like you could help me make sense of
    things because im confused how this walking the earth thing goes
    really and i’m not used to being broke and homeless but am not
    complaining nor would i ever go back to the sleepwalking materialistic
    bullshit i was trapped in and i guess i’ll stop writing now but keep
    in touch and if youre ever bored id love to hear from you and my phone
    number is 810-394-8675 and i’m currently in romeo michigan but
    planning to take of to brazil with these people:
    http://www.heartoftheinitiate.com and then who knows try to get to australia
    maybe cause i’ve never been there or maybe just hang out and find some
    hot brazilian chick or maybe come back to this fucked up country that
    sucks or maybe things will start getting better here too cause people
    are waking up and maybe there really is a god up there and maybe
    everything will be ok so sorry to ramble on just felt compelled to
    write”I’ve seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by real estate.”

    i must have been led to your site by some strange force because i
    really needed it and am being pushed by those around me to get back
    into the mortgage business and i know i can’t because i’d be selling
    my soul and i just want to have my life centered around something real
    but i really have no idea what to do and i’ve been in this dark night
    of the soul for a year and am listening to my teachers like gangaji
    and eckhart tolle and nisargatta that say i don’t exist anyway and
    should just sit back and be totally helpless so that’s what i’m doing
    but i guess i’m bored…. whoa sorry for running my words together…
    I don’t usually write like this. And I don’t usually email people that
    don’t know me on the internet, but your site which i discovered by
    complete accident, i think through http://www.noblerealms.org... what you did
    is exactly what i want to do but don’t know how, just fly to calcutta
    and be led to my guru that’ll answer everything once and for all…
    but supposedly that’s not necessary and what i seek i already am…
    just sucks living in this world knowing that we’re the infinite,
    anyway bro i’m not crazy but just wanted you to know that you are an
    inspiration and i’ll be checking your site for the latest on your
    travels and hope to buy you a beer someday and hear about it firsthand
    – your friend reynard

  6. The English Patient

    I think the previous guy’s “shift” key was obviously broken. (among other things)

  7. Suzanne

    Not a day goes by that I don’t think about quitting my job and traveling…ANYWHERE! Then one day my friend sends me this link to your dancing video, and I think to myself…wow somebody actually did this. For what it’s worth, I think what you have done is completely awesome. Your video is one of the most clever and entertaining things i have seen in a long time. Where did you find those radio DJ’s??? They don’t sound capable of being in a relationship for more than two seconds. I thought that crazy dance you did was adorable. You have a lot of self confidence, and I think that’s how you got where you are today.
    I will travel someday…it’s just too bad I can’t dance!

  8. Goofy Girl from Gabriola!!!

    Matt!!

    You should get yourself a sugar momma, then you dont have to worry about money 😛 J/K

  9. Scott

    Listened to the radio interview.
    Wow.
    Those guys are douches.
    Love the site and the video. You’ve inspired me too.

  10. The Dude

    you need to beg for money and set about the rest of the world. Or get a square job for a couple years and then do it again. Why don’t you become a monk or something. I need some more travel entries, and mostly, pics. Pics, pics.

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