bearhunter01

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

Category: Personal

In Search of Elves

This has been a big day for me in a lot of ways.  First, it’s the 30th Anniversary of the disappearance of a good friend of mine from my childhood.  He was a big influence in my life and I’ve been mourning his disappearance all morning.  The anniversary is a big reminder to me that life is too short – for us mortal humans at least – and I have to make the most of mine.

Another big piece of news came to me a couple of hours ago.  My good friend Paradox has been secretly prepping to shoot a feature length documentary.  He has his bags packed and he leaves for his first destination later this week.  He’s been keeping up with my current life journey and he thought now would be the perfect time for me to spread my wings and fly.  He has asked me to join him on his quest to unlock the secret lives of the Elves.  

He has asked me to keep the specifics of our journey under wraps.  He believes that if we say too much it might tip off the wrong people.  I am lucky he has permitted me to say as much as I have.

Because of confidentiality I won’t be able to give you a play by play account of what we are doing, for that I apologize.  I can say that we are bound for destinations around the world.  We will be gone for at least four months and probably longer.  I’m going to be very busy in that time but maybe I’ll be able to toss in the occasional post as an update as to how I’m doing?  I’m not sure yet.

For all of you who have followed my blog I’d like to thank you.  I also want you to know that I will be back and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to report.  Wish us good luck.

– Bear Hunter

708270b40ca509f54164f7ff48fbd9db

A Lost Friend

Tomorrow will mark the 30th Anniversary of the disappearance of a close childhood friend of mine.  He vanished one night never to be seen again.  I knew him since the age of five, he was my best friend.  When I felt all alone he was there to comfort me.  When I felt like there was no one who would listen he was there to lend an ear.

I remember the last time I saw him.  He was afraid and I didn’t know why.  I have thought about him from time to time over the years, he was never far from my heart.  I’ve seen him in my dreams alive and smiling.

My life is changing drastically and his memory has a lot to do with that.  He vanished out into the unknown and I shall follow.  The mystery behind his disappearance isn’t the only mystery that haunts me.  I need answers.

To my long lost friend, I hope to see you once more.  I believe that you are still out there.  Till next we meet.

– Bear Hunter

Short Circuit

I arrived home from Korea on Monday. I was originally meant to stay an extra week while the trials continued. I wrote my last post the night after the last successful trial, the day my mind was connected to the drone. Having my consciousness transferred into the drone was a life altering experience. I thought I was witnessing an event that would change the course of history. I’m still having difficulty processing what I discovered the next morning.

Last Friday the 25th of July, 2014 was a long day. All of the crew as well as myself got to test drive the Drone “Son of Road Block” which had been modelled after the combatant “Road Block” from the 90s tv show “Robot Wars”. All systems were a go. I even accidentally discovered a mechanism that allows the driver to operate SORB’s rear saw. I just had to put some “gas” into it, lol. I know, I shouldn’t joke.

That night the entire crew went out to celebrate over drinks. The project’s founder – he still wants to be referred to as Victor – stayed behind to further calibrate the saw. We tried to convince him to take a break but the man’s mind was fixed.

We all settled down at Kwang-Sun’s house for a night cap of Cheongju – a rice wine – and conversation. Most of the conversation revolved around the trials and which super models they would like to pose beside the drone in magazine publications. Even in Korea, men are men. Even with the stories and the laughs I couldn’t settle myself. Maybe it was the excitement of the trials or maybe it was this strange and eerie feeling that had been building up inside of me ever since that first night I had sat down to dinner with Victor for the first time. That conversation about Frankenstein, it shook me up in ways I didn’t understand at the time.

My dreams where full of robots and beautiful women… at first. A faint memory of being trapped inside the body of a rampaging battle drone and feeling the void in his confused programming still sits with me.

I couldn’t sleep very long so I called up Kwang-Sun and offered to come in early and help him set up shop. He was more than appreciative. The lab is located in an old run-down industrial district. None of the crew fancy arriving early or closing up late.

I arrived at the lab at 6am, I had to bribe the cab driver with a fat tip to convince him to drop me off right at the gate.  I knew the area was run down – I had spent days at the lab already – but I hadn’t seen anything suspicious in that time.

I met Kwang-Sun at the front door.  He laughed and commented on my dishevelled appearance believing that I couldn’t hold my alcohol and that I was hung over.  I laughed it off and I didn’t bother mentioning the dream.

Inside, everything looked as it did the night before.  Kwang-Sun entered each room systematically as he activated all of the systems.  My mind was still fixed on the day before.  I yearned to “ride again”.  Impatient, I decided to visit “The Bridge”.  The moment I entered my heart nearly stopped.  Hooked up – how I don’t know – to the throne was Victor.  He had somehow managed to fasten himself into the machine.  His body was as still as the dead.  An expression of terror was frozen onto his face, his eyes wide open.  My first thought was, “The poor man must have had a heart attack.”

I stood there unable to speak as Kwang-Sun entered the room.  The expression on his face was of instant urgency.  Kwang-Sun is a mechanic and “The Bridge” falls outside of his expertise, still he knew the emergency procedures.  He punched in some commands on a nearby console and the restraints on the throne loosened.  We both stood by as the computers went through their procedures and a green light went off above the helmet on Victor’s head.  What I had believed was a corpse blinked at us.  I assisted Kwang-Sun remove Victor from the machine and we carried him to a couch in a nearby office.

In a couple of hours Victor finally came to.  By then all of the crew were present.  It took a while for Victor to regain his composure.  He told us all what had happened.  I will attempt to re-tell his story as best I can.

When we had left, Victor had gone about the exact thing he had mentioned, he began to re-callibrate SORB’s saw.  It only took him an hour to adjust the algorithms.  Once the programming was complete Victor sat at the console for a few minutes just staring at the screen.  As time passed his hunger to test the saw grew.  He wanted to feel the blade spin, to feel the steel screech as it chipped and hacked away at wood.  Victor knew how many men it took to monitor the drone’s systems but he didn’t care, he was riding an enormous high.  He wanted the experience and he wanted it then and there.  Like an addict he took the plunge without a second thought.

Victor set all of the systems in “The Bridge” on timers and went to work.  He sat down on the throne and lowered the helmet down onto his own head – out of procedural order.  With helmet on head, Victor sat still as he waited for the timer to finish its countdown.  When the timer hit zero the restraints automatically fastened locking Victor to the throne.  He closed his eyes and started to breath in deep.

In mere moments his mind was once again inside of SORB.  He could feel the engine revving up inside his very being.    He drove around the lot at top speed relishing in the rush, adrenaline transformed into electricity.  SORB came to a stop as Victor concentrated on his rectal muscles.  He felt something… a release of sorts… a tickle.  It was the saw, it was spinning.  Victory!

The lot was fairly empty.  In his haste Victor hadn’t consider what exactly he would test the saw on.  SORB has no arms or legs and can’t open the gate either.  All SORB is equip with is a lift and the saw… the saw.  Victor had an idea, he would cut a hole in the fence and set off on his search for test objects.

He backed up to the fence and he went to work.  Victor prides himself on choice of materials and equipment and the saw didn’t disappoint.  It slid through the fence like a hot knife through butter.  He compared the sensation of the saw cutting to his experiences of riding on a farm tractor.  I’ve never ridden a tractor so I’m taking his word for it.

Once he cut through the fence he used the lift to bend it back and drove on through.  He sped through neighbouring lots like a demon of speed.  He did donuts, he jumped pallets and he flipped over random barrels with SORB’s lift.  By the sound of it, he was out of control and loving every minute of it.

The moment came when he finally found what he was looking for, something to cut down.  He spotted a tall pine tree growing in an overgrown field not too far from an abandoned factory lot.  Cutting down random trees is never a good idea but Victor was drunk with robotic power.  He raced  backwards at full speed towards the large plant.  His saw made contact and wooden splitters filled the air like snowflakes in winter.  The SORB saw thrashed through the wood with ease.  Once the saw had cut all the way through Victor could feel the resistance on the blade melt away.  Since the saw was in the rear – no cameras back there – he couldn’t see his handy work nor could he see what was crashing down on top of him.  The trunk of the pine crashed down on the SORB’s body.  What Victor didn’t anticipate was the pain that accompanied it.

Victor attempted to hoist the tree off of himself with the lift but the weight was too much.  He couldn’t get the blade to work either.  He attempted to call out the abort safe word but SORB’s audio system had been damaged and it only came out as an inaudible garble.  His mind was trapped in a machine that was trapped under a tree and he couldn’t escape.

A couple hours had passed and Victor had long given up on the abort command.  All he could do was stare out at the dark emptiness of the lot.  Without warning something caught Victor’s eye or lens.  A lone man in a black windbreaker was jogging across the lot.  Victor called out with an incomprehensible mumble in a hope to get some aid from the stranger.  The stranger froze.  A moment passed and the man looked around the perimeter in a panic.  Victor continued to call out.  He blinked SORB’s headlight causing the man to jump.  The man turned towards Victor confused.  He took a deep breath and slowly began to approach the drone.  He knelt down in front of Victor.  Victor let out another loud garble.  The man in the windbreaker put his finger in front of his lips and shushed the little bot with Victor’s mind inside of it.

Victor could only stare at the man.  He was covered in sweat and was breathing heavily.  A deep voice echoed through the lot causing the man to jump behind the tree trunk.  More voices answered.  Victor couldn’t yet see the sources of the voices.  They all spoke in Korean.  Victor later told me that they were members of a local gang and the man they were searching for had been a deserter.  The man they were searching for was the man in the black wind breaker.

It didn’t take long for the men – a half dozen of them – to enter into Victor’s line of sight.  A flashlight glinted in the drone’s lens which caught the attention of the men.  Dressed in leather jackets with hoods the men rushed in Victor’s direction, he couldn’t see their faces in the dark and he was afraid to use his headlight, for all he knew his headlight had attracted them from a distance in the first place.  One of the men spotted the windbreaker stranger crouching behind the trees and yanked him to his feet.  The man in the windbreaker pleaded for his life but to no avail.

Windbreaker Man was thrown to the ground right in front of Victor’s line of sight.  An argument broke out followed by many swift kicks to Windbreaker Man’s stomach and ribs.  They continued to assault the defenceless man as he pleaded desperately for his life.  Victor sat their paralyzed and helpless as the man was bloodied to a pulp.  In a desperate attempt to scare off the gang Victor let out a piercing garble.  All the men became startled minus one.  This one tall man pulled a knife from out of his jacket pocket and thrust it downward into Windbreaker Man’s throat.  The leader then instructed his men to remove the tree from atop the drone.

Once the tree was lifted, half of the men lifted the corpse of Windbreaker Man and the other half lifted the immobilized SORB.  They walked them a great distance before tossing both in the back of a black van.  Victor has no idea how long they drove for, all he knew is that he was wedged in a dark trunk with a dead man and he was too afraid to turn on his headlights.

When they finally stopped the men were quick to open the trunk and reach in.  Once again, half the men grabbed the drone and the other the corpse.  At first Victor managed to see a dark and empty road.  As the men switched direction Victor could now see a stone wall approach.  As the wall drew closer  he suddenly realized that there was no land on the other side.  They were carrying him to the side of a stone bridge.  The men lifted him up high and all he could see was the sky.  In moments the sky was replaced by murky water.

Victor felt fortunate that the drone’s sensors couldn’t detect the cold.  The bottom of the river felt peaceful to him and he figured he would never have to see any of those men again including Windbreaker Man.  That thought didn’t last long as the water around Victor began to waver.  A large lump crashed into the water and sank down to the bottom right in front of Victor’s camera.  It was Windbreaker Man’s body.  His dead eyes stared right into the lens.  Victor was unable to look away or close his eyes.  The two remained locked in eye contact for hours, until Kwang-Sun and I managed to disconnect Victor from the machine.

The tale I was told that morning after sent shivers up my spine.  In fiction or on the news it all sounds so exciting but when you are so close to it… it’s surreal.  Kwang-Sun asked Victor if we should report the missing drone, Victor told him to leave it be.

The next couple of days were rough.  Victor stayed clear of the lab.  On the Saturday I sat down with Victor one last time and I asked him what his next step was.  He told me that he was done trying to play God – I didn’t see his intentions as such – and that he now knows how it feels like to be completely helpless.  For half an evening, he had been unable to move while inside the damaged drone.  He had no arms, no legs, and the fucking saw wouldn’t turn back on.  He now had an appreciation for what paraplegics live through every day.  He thinks now is the time for him to venture into the world of prosthetics, to get away from vanity projects and help people who are in need.  Pretty amazing change in one’s life purpose for sure.

I am now back home.  The experience has affected me in ways both positive and negative.  I have seen how different the world can appear through a different perspective and how one’s direction in life can change on a dime.  I have a lot to think about.  I might take a break from blogging for a while while I clear my head.

– Bear Hunter

broken-heart-robot2-598x743

A Fascinating Dinner

I’m enjoying my time in Seoul. Today I took a tour of the city. I could go on about all the things I saw but it’s just straight forward tourism, nothing all that interesting.

Last night I finally got the chance to meet the good doctor Victor. Victor invited me out to a BBQ restaurant where you cook your own meat. He thought I’d find it novel. I didn’t have the heart to tell him the trend had picked up in North America.

We discussed my flight, the tragic crash of the Malaysian flight and the schedule for the coming week. He assured me – many times over – that everything had been planned out to the tiniest of details. The drone has been through rigorous tests with both radio and satellite controls. All systems are at peek performance and the sensors are all responding to their respective algorithms. He mentioned that it is still very much unknown how the drone’s sensors will respond to brain waves. He assured me that all safety precautions have been taken and that there are specific vocal commands the operator can recite if he feels any need to abort. Personally, I’m confident in the doctor’s expertise and preparation.

While washing down some kimchi with some imported beer – nasty wherever it’s served I discovered – and I felt the need to ask, “Doctor, why did you ask to go under the name of Victor as an online alias?”

He chuckled for a moment and then his voice took on a more serious tone, “My father was a Korean politician back in the 1960’s. The government was in a constant state of fluctuation.”

I know next to nothing about Korean history so I sat and listened.

“We would take frequent trips to the United States as a family so that my father could steep himself in the culture and language of what he saw as a ‘truly democratic’ nation. As a child of eight or nine I was never too keen on trips to museums or reference libraries. To pass the time I fell back on my favourite pass-time, reading.”

“Did you bring books along with you?” I asked.

“No, no.” he replied “My father insisted we travel light with only the bare necessities. I found my own means of learning western culture… I enjoyed pop culture and science fiction books. One really had an impact on me, Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’. I was amazed by Victor Frankenstein’s accomplishment of bringing about new life from old but…”

“But what?” I was engrossed.

“The doctor never really knew what was going on inside the monster’s head. He could only deduce or should I say guess by what he saw with his eyes.”

“Appearances can be deceiving I agree.” as I did.

“So true.” he answered. “Late at night I would imagine being inside the monster’s body myself, feeling what he felt and seeing the world through his eyes. I wanted so bad to know what it would be like to see through the eyes of something that was cold and dead.”

He paused for a moment, expression frozen. I was getting a little scared, I thought that maybe he had undercooked his pork and it was coming back up on him so I asked, “You alright Victor? Let me get you a napkin.”

He came out of his trace and chuckled the most unexpected chuckle and said, “I’m fine, it’s all coming around full-circle. I often wondered if things would have turned out differently with the monster if Frankenstein had been able to get inside of his head, really get in there. I worry about robots and artificial intelligence eventually getting away from us. I want to make sure we never lose touch and that we can alway empathize with whatever it is we create. Always be able to monitor its inner most workings…”

Victor took another pause. His latter words caused me to take pause as well. That look in his eye when he said, “Always be able to monitor its inner most workings…”

I’m very excited about the coming week but I also had an eerie feeling come over me. I had to type out this blog, something inside of me urged me to do so. I’m not sure why myself. I have switched on some privacy settings so that Victor doesn’t see the post, I don’t want to upset him. I’ll let him give it a read after the trials are over and the pressure is off. I hope this post doesn’t upset him. I’m sure when everything goes as planned he’ll be in such a good mood that he’ll find this post nothing short of humorous. The man does enjoy a good laugh after all.

– Bear Hunter

boris+clive

Now I’m in Korea.

The flight on Thursday went really well. It took roughly 14 hours. It was peaceful for the most part. I caught up on some work, did some writing and I watched some inflight movies. Their selection was rather odd: they had “Airforce One”, “Snakes on a Plane” and “Con-Air”. Those were only a part of a much larger collection of course. In honour of the experiment I will soon hold witness to, I decided to watch the “Matrix” and “Tron”. I was tempted to watch “The Lawnmower Man” but I decided against it.

I had a tough time keeping my mind on my work or on the films. The whole flight I kept falling in and out of day dreams. I imagined the Doctor embodying a giant mechanized body stomping through the streets of Seoul. At one point the singer from Gangnam Style popped out of nowhere in his own mechanized body and they broke out into song and dance. At that point I’m sure I had fallen asleep and I was actually dreaming. Gangnam Style has forever ruined South Korea for me and I’ve just arrived.

I also kept wondering what I was up for. I was given very few details on the specifics of the experiment. Much of what I was told I was sworn to secrecy. In one conversation with the doctor weeks ago I asked him, “Victor?” – he’s read my blog and he wants to be referred to as Victor – “How can you trust me? We’ve never met in person.”

“I can tell.” He answered, “You are a man who values discretion. A man who is careful as to what he says and to whom he says it.”

Paradox mentioned much the same thing to me shortly after I met him. A strange thing for secretive men to say to a man who writes a public blog. I suppose I’ve always been good at telling people exactly what I think they need to know… It does make me question myself though… Do I subconsciously hide things from people? Am I prone to deception? I hope not.

While sitting there cramped on the plane I was really able to reflect or over-think, depends on who you ask.

The flight landed in Seoul on time. I was feeling really good until I started walking through a lounge in the airport and overheard a voice on an overhead flatscreen television. I looked up and saw images of a plane wreck. An airport employee took notice of me and the confused look on my face and decided to translate the news into English for me.

A flight through “Malaysia Airlines” was shot down by land to air fire over the boarder of Russia and the Ukraine at the very same time my flight to Korea was in the air. I Thanked the Airline employee and took a seat for a few minutes. The shock hit me hard. I can’t help but wonder what is happening in our world. There is no telling what people, organizations and governments are up to or what they have planned. It really frightens me at times.

I made it to the hotel in good time. My plan was to shake off the jet-lag but I couldn’t stop thinking about the downed plane. I haven’t done much but watch television and take the occasional walk for the last day and a half. I have dinner reservations with Victor tonight. Hopefully his enthusiasm will help jolt me back into a positive state of mind. I do look forward to seeing the prototype robot drone he’s constructed for the experiment.

– Bear Hunter

brainmachine

Dawn of the Apes

I needed to calm myself before my flight tomorrow so I headed out to watch a film. What I ended up seeing was the new Planet of the Apes film. “Dawn of Planet of the Apes” was just as good as “Rise”.

The virus that had begun to spread at the end of “Rise” is now a spreading epidemic. The human race is dying off in the millions and now cure is in sight. Some humans are immune to the virus and manage to find each other forming small communities desperate to survive.

The genetically enhanced apes continue to thrive out in the forest. Over the decades their numbers have grown considerably and they have constructed their own unique village. They haven’t seen any sign of humans in years and aren’t even sure if there were any survivors. Some of the apes feel like they are better off.

Conflict finds it’s way into the Ape village when a group of armed humans stumble into the ape’s territory and shoot a Chimpanzee out of fear.

The Apes want to be left alone and a human village desperate for electricity wants to use an old Dam Hydro-electric Plant in the Ape’s territory. Some humans are willing to take the Dam at all costs, others wish to find a peaceful solution with the apes and the Apes are divided on how they feel about the human strangers and whether or not they can trust them.

The tension in the movie never lets up as both societies struggle with survival, fear, trust and a desire to hold onto the things they cherish. It was just like watching the conflicts of human history play out right on the scene before me but with intelligent apes as one of the parties.

One of the big ideas in all of the Ape movies – old and new – is that like history, evolution repeats itself. What we feel is unique to humanity may possibly re-emerge in other lifeforms after we are gone or possibly while we still live. This film gets into this well. There is a scene where the lead Chimp Caesar admits that he made a mistake thinking apes were better than humans and through the conflict comes to realize that they are more alike than he thought. I think that sentiment can be carried outside of fiction as well. A lot of species out there today – other mammals in particular – possess so many of the same traits we do. Some are only a few evolutionary steps away from us.

Through these similarities we can understand that we all struggle to survive and thrive. There is always that fear that we’ll have everything we have taken away. When a raccoon hisses at a person exploring their nest is it any different then us calling the police when a stranger shows up poking around our house?

The film also reminded me of how delicate relations can be between different unassociated groups and how slip-ups and misunderstandings can escalate especially in the face of fear. The answers on how we should conduct ourselves around unfamiliar groups can be hazy. I wish that showing pure love and acceptance was a clear path to reciprocation but that isn’t always the case, caution can be vital… but so can keeping a cool head and paying close attention to the facts.

Other then some overly convenient plot points the film really did make me think and the ending left me a bit unnerved. Maybe it wasn’t the best movie pick right before hoping on a plane to another continent but at least it brought some interesting questions into my mind.

– Bear Hunter

pota2

Off to Korea

I took the day off work to the chagrin of my employers. They are already uneasy with my leaving for a week. I’m nearing the end of my current contract and they want my 100% dedication. I wish I could give it to them… to my credit, I am ahead of schedule.

My flight leaves tomorrow. I’m off to Seoul. I’m both nervous and excited. I’ve never travelled east of London. I kept putting off travel because of one excuse or another. I’ve always been too caught up in work, always afraid of not being settled and ready for marriage and children. I’m 43 now and I have neither and… I’m not sure if I want either. I want to live. These trials I’m travelling overseas to witness are a once in a life-time opportunity. If I have to risk my professional reputation than so be it!

I have a cool job, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I feel like I’m in it for all the wrong reasons. I’m a capable engineer and I enjoy the constant challenges but hell, anyone could do my job! Maybe not anyone but you know what I’m saying, anyone with the skills. Lately, I’ve felt like I’m lacking something, like my life has no purpose. I spend so much of my time researching the bizarre and I stand by and watch people with true meaning in their lives accomplishing amazing feats. Why didn’t I go into Astro-Physics or become an Archaeologist? Try and created/discover something revolutionary rather than build bridges and over-passes.

Tomorrow I set out on my first adventure. I told Paradox and he just laughed and said, “It’s about time Bucko! Maybe you’ll find yourself a nice subservient Korean girl who can do all your calculations for you so you can start enjoying life for once.” The man has an interesting perspective on things… although, subservience has never interested/impressed me.

Time to put my work aside. I need to get my mind out of work and into robots. I am really excited. Wish me a safe flight.

– Bear Hunter

korean-air

Taking the Lunge

I’ve done it! I’ve booked a flight to Seoul, South Korea.

Over the last few months I’ve been in contact with a neuroscience specialist who has been engaged in some exciting and controversial experimental trials. He has assembled a team of scientists and engineers to construct machinery meant to create a mental link between man machines.

My technical expertise falls outside the realm of his experiments but he told me that he’s impressed by my enthusiasm towards the subject matter and has thus invited me to check out his work. I am beyond excited. This is the kind of thing I’ve been dreaming of seeing with my own eyes for far too long.

The Doctor – who would like to remain unnamed for now – has been experimenting with theories around creating a mental link between humans and robots. The ultimate goal is to transfer a human being’s consciousness into a robotic body. A person’s nervous system would allow them to operate the machine with thought. They would see through the robot’s cameras and feel through the robot’s sensors. His mind would be inside the machine.

From what the Doctor has told me, he has already had some success. There are a lot of kinks in both the hardware and software, and funding is limited so he can only reveal so much until his results are more consistent and reliable.

I’ll be jumping on my flight this Thursday. It’s a long flight but I’m sure I won’t be able to sleep a wink. This has been on my mind all week. I hope I get the chance to test the technology out myself. Prepare yourself world, because Robo Bear Hunter is on the rise!

– Bear Hunter

Fairies of the North: Part Two.

A while back I wrote the first part of my friend Paradox’s treacherous journey into the “Torngat Mountains” in Labrador, Canada.  On the second day of his trek the hefty explorer suffered a terrible fall while setting up his tent causing him to smash his head against a rock.  Other than what I believe to be a concussion Paradox walked away unharmed.

The fall did slow him down.  He settled down in camp early.  Afraid to go to sleep – Paradox suspected a concussion himself – he decided to dig into his Elk Jerky and consult his logs, maps, and update his journal.  How he managed all of this with a minor head injury and snow pants frozen solid with urine is beyond me.  If you didn’t catch the first part, Paradox’s body did not react well to the fall, the poor man soiled himself.

Paradox suffers from what I would consider overly obsessive compulsions.  Once he starts something he has to finish it.  His journey had only begun and nothing was going to cut it short.  A good example of his dedication would be the time he stalked a Big Foot expert for two months straight to expose the man as a fraud.  He found the evidence he was looking for but something else as well.  The hoaxer was a CIA agent who was already investigating Paradox.  The watcher was watching the watched as the watched watched him.  Paradox wiped the man’s hard-drive, his servers and left a sex tape on the man’s desktop of Paradox having an affair with the man’s wife.  Paradox doesn’t like being watched… I suspect his alias is starting to make sense to you.  A lot happened in those two months of stake-outs.

Back to the mountains.  After a night of forced insomnia and drying his crotch with a flip-up lighter Paradox was good to set out again.  Lucky for Paradox, the subzero temperature and the pounding headache was enough to keep him awake in spite of no sleep.

The early morning was looking bright… it was summer in the arctic so I suppose it’s always bright.  Paradox was in good spirits.  He spotted a lone polar bear in the distance and he also identified seven unique varieties of lichen.  The man was in paradise.  He fished in a creek and drank from it’s clear waters.  He ran free in the grassy valleys.  He felt a renewed connection to his inner spirit and a connection to the land.  Despite the increasing intensity of the smell emanating from his pants, Paradox was sure that the worst was behind him.

That night Paradox set up camp in the glow of the low hanging sun.  He climbed into his still salvable tent and wrapped himself tight in layers.  The gentle hum of the creek – and his exhaustion – lulled him to sleep.  The banshee wail of a sudden storm jerked him awake.  His head pounded with renewed vigour.  The fabric of his tent shook and rippled like a beluga’s stomach after being paddled by a fisherman’s ore.  Paradox fought agains’t the blankets and furs tightened around his body from uneasy sleep.

A hole in his tent – from the previous accident – whistled a high pitch shrill in the wind like a lost soul desperate to be heard and found.  Paradox has a rare inner ear condition and is sensitive to high pitch sounds… which only served to acerbate his migraine.  The man groaned out loud as he struggled against his furry prison.  The whistle was driving him mad.

After moments of agony that stretched on for eternity, as described to me by Paradox, he managed to free a single arm.  He reached out with great speed and purpose, his finger on a collision course with the hole in the tent.  With the aim of a master archer, Paradox’s finger entered the hole in the tent plugging it up… but for an instant.  By reaching out with such force Paradox had propelled his large form into a roll.  His finger shot through the hole, followed by his arm.  In an attempt to regain his balance Paradox’s arm tore through the tent wall with a vengeance.

The man sighed at the site of the large hole in the side of his tent.  At least the whistle was gone, but hell it was cold.  Paradox began to pry the layers away from his body as a massive gust of wind forced its way into his tent.  The tent inflated like a warm plastic bag full of dry ice.  Paradox held his breath as the ground lost its solidity.

In frantic desperation Paradox thrust off his covers and dragged his weight over to the hole and stuck his head through.  Whether it be evil spirits or the worst storm he had ever seen, Paradox’s tent was now airborne.  He was five feet off the ground and climbing. The flight was short lived as Paradox’s body was slammed into the ground.  Another gust and the tent was airborne only to once again slam into the cold ground.  This repeated time and time again as he scrambled to find his knife.

With knife in hand Paradox slashed away at the fabric.

Freedom came as Paradox fell free from his tent.  He lay flat on his back as he watched his tent rise up into the white sky and out of sight.  It was at this moment that Paradox made a profound life decision, he was going to invest in an RV.

The man stood – head pounding, furs torn and pants reeking – in the howling haze of the storm and screamed at the top of his lungs.  He would not turn back and he would not be defeated.  There was a strange hum in the air, something beyond the snow and wind.  Paradox heard, and he followed.

– Bear Hunter

Not one of Paradox's photos but very nice.

Not one of Paradox’s photos but very nice.

Righteousness in Numbers

It feels good to be right, to know that your beliefs and way of life are justified.  That you have the right idea and other people/groups have to concede to your expertise.  You have people to back you up when doubt rears it’s ugly head.  Too many people share your belief so how can it be wrong?  I just described a common problem and definite fear and frustration of mine.  People feeling righteous in numbers.

History is full of situations where people jump on the bandwagon.  Whether it’s religious crusades, witch burnings, the suppression of scientific ideas or today’s consumerism.  Followers assume that if every one else is doing it that there must be enough evidence to back it up.  Why question something when someone else in the group has probably questioned it already?  What most of the followers fail to realize is that few of their “members” have bothered to question the group’s beliefs and those who have have left or been expelled.

People will fight tooth and nail to prove you wrong just to feel that rush of righteousness.  They will ignore the evidence you present to them, they will mock it and dismiss it.  How do you convince people of the truth when they truly don’t care what the truth is?  All they care about is getting what they want and feeling justified in getting it.

Religions aren’t the only groups that are guilty of this.  Government parties, educational institutions, corporations and even some scientific communities.  They can feel justified in doing whatever they wish as long as enough people agree with them… and those people only agree in hopes that they’ll gain agreement in response.

So much of our world is built on a foundation of self-gratification with only enough truth to keep technology working, governments somewhat stable, food sources available and providing people with a feeling of semi-security.  As long as anarchy doesn’t break out all other lies and assumptions are acceptable, as long as people feel good about the lies.  Who needs to be happy and healthy when you can be “right”?

– Bear Hunter

Self-righteousness at it's worst.

Self-righteousness at it’s worst.