San Francisco Bay Area Hiking Suggestions

Alice Eastwood Group Campsite Trails

There is a group of trails around the Alice Eastwood Group Campsite. If you have enough time, you can go all the way down into the valley on these trails, which connect on the bottom with the Muir Woods trails.

Mount Tamalpais State Park and Ampitheater

This is a parking lot that is placed in the middle of the Bootjack trail. This is a nice hike because it goes uphill, which makes returning to your car downhill very pleasant. The Bootjack Trail also leads you all the way up to the Ampitheater.

Here is a shot from the Rock Spring Trail, North-East of the Ampitheater, where you can see the entire bay.


Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve

This is a really nice hike because there are not many other hikers around. It’s not a tourist attraction like Muir Woods is.
There are also very bright yellow banana slugs everywhere on the sides of the trail near the creek.

The Devil Teaches Us Too

Both the good and the bad teach us the way, if we’re willing to listen.

It seems like the path to what we want is dictated by natural laws. We do not fight or rebel against the law of gravity in this world we find ourselves in, because to do so is futile. There is not some entity that said “And there shall be gravity”, at least we aren’t really sure.

Just the same there are natural laws concerning what will make us happy, joyful, content, passionate, and anything else we are seeking. There countless writings from ancient times which speak of the illusion which we seek in the physical world in which we exist as human beings, manifesting in a way that can be most often categorized into categories of mistakes/sins (7 deadly sins, 9 types of the enneagram). This is something we must explore. We must see how our attempts to gain happiness in the world do not bring lasting satisfaction. We must see how certain habits we form are actually destructive of our bodies, and/or keep us preoccupied in our minds with thoughts and calculations that lead nowhere. This is how the bad also teaches us the way… we just have to be aware. We cannot overcome the bad by will, or more correctly false will and determination, a efforted pushing, but instead by just trying to become more aware.

It seems that if we just become more aware, the ego can be convinced of the futility, and we can hit the dead end sooner.

When the wisdom traditions speak of Gods law, or commandments, or whatever, what if they were really talking about the natural laws of our being, our consciousness, and what must be done to find harmony with the universe, and peace within ourselves. These aren’t commands from some being trying to subvert us, but are actually pointers to actual salvation.

It’s like when your mother tells you not to touch the hot metal coil on the stove. She didn’t tell you to control you, she told you to help you. Okay, not a perfect metaphor, but I hope you get the idea.

The depths of hell teach us “there is no salvation here” just as much as the enthralls of joy teach us “you’re here”.

Unjoining a FireChat on Android

I just installed FireChat on my Android phone. I joined a chat room, then left. Then I saw that it was still shown in a list of “Joined” rooms. The next time I opened the program, it practically forced me to join another room.

When I would go back to the main screen, I didn’t see any options to un-join one of the rooms that I no longer have any interest in.

I tried to swipe, and found that the name of the room would move a bit when I swiped, but nothing happened.

I closed and then re-opened the application and then all of a sudden I was able to swipe to the left, even when my finger wasn’t on the text name of the room. If I swiped far enough, it removed the room from my joined list. So keep in mind that it’s a little buggy, but you simply have to close and re-open the app, and then swipe to the left completely to unjoin the room.

Psychology as a Path to the Heart

As a very mind oriented person, I sought psychology as the antidote to the trappings of my own mind. I knew that the way I saw things, the beliefs I had, needed some sort of adjustment.

I didn’t need to know about how the brain works as an electro-chemical machine, although such things can be fascinating. I wanted to know what makes people tick. What motivates them? What makes them act the way they do? It seems like we’re all born innocent, and then things happen to us through the course of our lives that make us act “evil” or good. What happens there to cause this? Even my own confusion and conflict, and my own mistakes, must be the result of the things that have happened to me.

I found at some point that the term “conditioning” or more specific “psychological conditioning” is the label for these events. The things that make an impression on us in a way that alter our behavior is conditioning. Of course things happen to us all the time to condition us, but in this sense I’m referring to the types of conditioning that cause issues, cause conflicts, cause a lack of peace.

I am so thankful that truthfully, the heart (unintended pun now intended) of the matter is addressed by the psychological theory of ego development, of the concepts of the superego. I only found this by the guidance of the Ridhwan Foundation and their Diamond Heart program. The conditioning that forms as beliefs that make up the superego, specifically the conscience, is the thing that I sought to see clearly, to understand, so that I could begin to correct it and adjust it.

But why is this? In my mind it was to find peace, relief, and then be free for what’s next in my struggles and exploration as a human being. Something I’m realizing, this morning, however is that even though it was my mind… it was my heart that was driving this process. The mind has so many rules and worries, and it has so many conclusions about what the truth is, but the interesting thing is that as you dig deeper into your own inner content, and your heart is allowed to open up, to speak, you find that your mind has been a block to your heart.

The hearts desires have been blocked, stopped, dismissed. The movement of the heart, the voice of it, has been silenced for a very long time in me, and surely others in some way. In my own exploration this weekend, one of the things that was told to me by a trusted friend was revealed to be a major blocker to my heart. That thing was itself a form of conditioning, something converted into a mental thought, with it’s own force and energy, and I saw that it was yet another thing blocking me from an aspect of my deepest yearning.

Through any depth work, in a meditative or trance-like state, where the content of my body and mind are given a chance to speak in balance, I’ve seen that certain things said to me have triggered sensations throughout my body. These sensations, in response to the things said, do not match the content of my mind. For someone to speak to something within me, and for it to contradict my mind, made me uneasy, and yet I’ve remained somewhat open to it. For me to inquire into the desires of my heart, and to see the amount of energy it takes to pierce through the fears of my mind, the sense of desperation and shame for being a being that craves things like sex, love, and the deep union that my soul suspects, and that the depictions of romance in our culture, only to see that the pure truth in my heart of that, and how this truly is me…truly what I want, and shouldn’t be shrouded by this thick layer of fear and bullshit, because that’s what I really want… that’s where I’m at… and that the bullshit is the layer that is keeping me from moving forward, from being liberated from this state of fear and loathing…for me to see how my heart runs counter to my mind…

It shows that all along, I was really trying to undo my mind, and undo the barriers to my heart. In a sense, the way the ancient Egyptians thought that the heart was the seat of the mind, and not the brain, seems to point to how much more they might have valued the heart. Still my mind is saying “You can’t trust the heart completely, the mind is still a useful tool”. This may be true, but at least for some period of time, the heart is going to get a microphone and a loudspeaker.

The search for psychology was really just my hearts curiosity and desire driving my mind to undo itself. I had rightfully grown wary of religion because of Southern Baptist Christianity had let me far far astray, and deserved no further attention. This was my only scientific, mainstream way of finding this.

A Letter to My Former Self

This is a work in progress.

I just heard about this massacre in Isla Vista recently, with a friend posting an article on Facebook regarding the misogynist extremism that largely influence this event. At first I thought that the author of the article was reaching to label this as rooted in misogyny. After it was pointed out how he had posted racist / misogynist statements, and was an active member of an extremely misogynist PUAhate forum online, I conceded that this was influenced by a type of misogyny I didn’t know existed. I didn’t even know about a PUAhate culture.

One thing that stands out in the context of Elliot specifically is that I really think that he’s a 3 with a 4 wing on the Enneagram of Personality. This can offer some understanding of his specific orientation of image consciousness, and envy, and how at his lowest level is predisposed to being psychopathic, prone to murder even (see Unhealthy levels).

I have my own form of PUA distain, and sympathize with the story and torment that Elliot Rodger described. But instead of running away from the pain and torment of my own self judgement, and opting to scapegoat women as the cause of my torment, I instead found a way of looking for the truth and liberation in the situation. I still continue to find out what is keeping me from getting my needs met as a human being who has a heart that yearns for friendship, love, admiration, affection, and deeply connected and satisfying sexual union.

I identify with Elliot Rodger, not in his envy and misogyny, but in the root of his story. I’ve experienced the same messages from our culture about what a man is supposed to be, and how he is supposed to act, to get his needs met.

If I was to write a letter to Elliot Rodger, or anyone who sympathizes with him, this would be it. It’s more a letter to my younger self, but I really suspect that it’s relevant.

Self Judgement

The root of your torment is self judgement. Ever since you were a child you had experiences that caused you to form beliefs about what is good and bad. These beliefs formed a structure of your psyche known as the superego, which consists of our ego ideal (what is good for us and others to be) and the conscience (what is bad for us and others to be). Everyone forms this structure, as a normal course of ego development, and it can be quite useful to us as children. However as time passes, these beliefs are no longer relevant as adults, and thus the beliefs expressed by the conscience can be limiting. Instead of supporting our survival, our beliefs can become like a prison cell within our own minds, with our conscience/inner critic acting as the most negatively disempowering cell mate.

Our inner critic often takes the truth inside anything resembling criticism of us, and wraps the truth of that criticism with judgement. It takes the truth and wraps it with messages like “and so you’re unworthy”, “and so you’re eternally flawed”, or “and this is another example of how you’re not worthy of existence”. For example your truth might be that you made a mistake on a project. Our thought to ourselves might start off as “You made a mistake”, but then our inner critic continues it with “…because you’re useless and will never do anything right”. If you think about it, how does this help anyone? Wouldn’t it be better if we simple were able to think “I made a mistake”, followed up with “…and I can avoid this in the future if I learn from the mistake”. Condemnation doesn’t help to make people better. All it does it break them down and make them feel unable to be better.

And since no one likes to experience the negative unending emotional pain, we’ve developed many coping mechanisms to avoid the torment and depression that come from wallowing in the self loathing of our inner critic. Often this involves forming a story about ourselves that makes us superior to others, rather than the fear that we are actually inferior. This is just a delusion, and is the story behind most bullying that you have ever experienced. It’s interesting how the bullies were actually just as insecure and afraid as you are.  It’s a mask of superiority that is meant to hide our true sense of inferiority.

Other various defense mechanisms exist, and they vary from person to person, and the defense mechanisms make it very difficult for us to accept the harsh truth about ourselves. Because the harsh truth can remind us of criticism, we can believe that those that point out the harsh truths about us are criticizing us with harsh judgement, because it triggers those harsh judgements within our own minds. We have to realize that these judgements are more internal than external. The only way to know the truth is to start owning what is ours.

If you can learn to accept yourself, where you are at right now in your development, you will not need to run away from the truth any longer, because it won’t be accompanied by the pain associated with self judgement. I encourage you to learn to be open and honest, not just with other people, but with yourself, so that you can see clearly how your attitudes and judgement not only hurt you, but also keep you disconnected from other people.

Undoing self judgement is one part of the process, but the other side of the coin is the judgement of others. I realized one day that my judgement of other people is something that causes me to avoid connecting with others. Even when you consider yourself a nice person, and you keep your judgements to yourself, it can rears it’s ugly head by making us uncomfortable around the people we carry judgements about, grimacing, and not fully engaged with full acceptance of them. When we identify these judgements as our own, we can be ashamed of them. We can disconnect from this though once we realize that it’s not our own, but something we picked up from the culture around us ever since we were children.

We have to learn to accept ourselves as we are. Even though we believe that doing so will mean that we remain stuck where we are, unwanted and unloved, the truth is that once you let go of your current orientation and attitude, people will be more comfortable around you. It’s not easy, but finding the way to be yourself, authentically, people react to you differently. There is more ease, and more energy available to you, when you’re not trying to put on a front, or trying to filter yourself. You don’t have to be up in your head, calculating how to be. You’re not going to all of a sudden be loved by everyone, but the more you practice self acceptance, the more you’ll be able to learn about yourself and grow, and eventually people will notice this and you will attract good people.


Like I said, you’re not going to all of a sudden be loved by everyone. This isn’t possible. You’ll eventually attain the ability to be comfortable around people, and thus have more opportunities for friendship. Believe me, having more friends in general makes you less tormented and lonely, which ins turn effects your mood, and makes you more approachable by people. A community of friends that you can spend time with are a great support system in not feeling that loneliness.

You may feel alone and isolated, but the first thing you need to accept is that all human relationships are not meant to be a great match. Even if you’re without friends (male or female), and the past 10 friendships you’ve tried to establish have failed, that doesn’t mean that out of the hundreds or thousands of other people that you could meet aren’t a great match for you.

You may think that because the last 10, 20, 30, etc people you’ve tried to create friendship with didn’t work out, that you are flawed, different, and too eccentric or strange to have good friends. This isn’t true. Everyone is so unique in their cultural background and personality type in so many ways that finding the type of friendships, and certainly close romantic relationships, that are effortless to be in are not easy to find for anyone. You have to get out there and meet lots of people, and find people that are compatible with you.

Even if you have some sort of condition, such as autism, that makes it difficult for you to relate to others, you may find that others with the same condition have much understanding and in common with you.

I don’t care about sports at all, and my co-workers at my last job talked about sports often. One of the outings our team did was to go to a baseball game, which I enjoyed, but I wasn’t deeply into it. I felt like I couldn’t connect with these people and their interest in sports that bonded them. I used this as the fodder for my lament, how I just am so unique in my political orientation, my interest in music, and nerdy computer topics, that I just don’t have things to talk about that people share interests with.

The thing that broke me out of this was realizing that everyone can’t be totally awesome with you. It’s not your fault, or their fault, it just is. Everyone isn’t destined to have chemistry with everyone. Conversations are going to vary in their potential shelf life. With some people, you’ll be able to have a conversation for 5 minutes before it dies off and you have nothing else to talk about with each other. Other times it will go longer. It could go on for weeks, and then at some point end. The key is to not have expectations, and to not take it personally when the conversation dies, and your interest in talking to each other is over. This doesn’t mean anything about you. It’s just the way it is. You don’t have to beat yourself up about it. Just be like “Okay, well it’s been nice talking to you, I’m going to go talk to others now”. Keep on looking, and actually learn to avoid situations that are not likely to involve people that you’d share interests with. You’ll find that people are more compatible with you at events that involve topics you’re passionate about. If you’re interested in hiking, join a hiking group in your area on

Crushing Depression

I know from my own experience that every time you approached a possible friendship, and certainly a possible romantic interest (a date), and it ended in rejection that it put you in a depressive state for several days each time. But you have to trust that there are people out there that you can have an effortless conversation with, where you’re not hiding behind some act meant to impress the person, but simply being you… plain and simple. In fact, sometimes you’ll find someone who is a wonderful friend, and this person has a social network of friends who you also will get along with very well to varying degrees.

Making friends with people, and being yourself, you may even eventually be brought to events that you didn’t know about, and meet new people with these friends as your anchor. Eventually, you may even meet a very compatible love interest. Do not think that you’re wasting time by spending time with friends. It will support your heart and provide some acceptance without all the pressure you may feel when trying to pursuit a love interest, and may lead to the introduction of compatible people. Plus you’ll be more stable and ready, less desperate, and thus more approachable if you’re more content with your life full of good friends.

Social Hierarchy

Something that tormented me greatly throughout my childhood was being in a position of lesser privilege than others in the area I grew up in. I was in a lower-middle class family, and went to a school that was dominated by a culture of people who were middle class and trying to maintain the image of upper class. In middle school other kids were accepted into social groups that seemed to require the ownership of name brand tshirts such as Stussy or Mossimo that my mother wasn’t willing to expend the funds for, opting to purchase shirts from Walmart, possibly Target, or a thrift store. The same was true regarding single gear Mongoose bicycles, which were not common in Walmart during the 90s like they are today, but instead only available in serious independent bike shops.

Later during high school it became instead Tommy Hilfiger clothes, or other expensive name brands, as the status symbol. There was a cross over between the “Preps” that would wear these types of clothes, and another group of cliques that consisted of the jocks. If you were involved in football for the school, you were the beloved source of funding, and thus received preferential treatment. When ever I saw this form of privileged treatment, it always communicated to me that I wasn’t as valuable because of my own interests in computers.

The jocks also represented a type of false masculinity that I couldn’t adapt to or emulate. It always left me feeling gross.

Understand that this social hierarchy is a part of our culture. The children, teenagers, or adults in your life that treat others based on this become fewer as you go on through life. It’s not as prevalent in college as it was in high school. The children pick it up from their parents, and apply it to the cliques they would have formed regardless of the social hierarchy (based on mutual interests), and there isn’t anything to stop it. It’s like lord of the flies, with the children making their own rules. But this ends after high school, and it’s lost as people are put into the real world where hopefully they are forced to achieve their jobs from actual talent and ability, not based on the position of their family. Sure, this is a topic in itself, the topic of privilege, which is a serious thing that still exists… but it’s not the rule of the world like it was in your middle and high school years.

The Game

The “game” is bullshit. There is no game. The only way to get respect from people is to not play games and be straight up. “Games” are the tool of people operating from insecurity. People that play games do so because they’re afraid that their actual needs and desires are something shameful, or at least that being explicit and clear is going to make things awkward and ruin all chances of getting their needs met.

You’re only getting in your own way by hiding behind your own nature as a man with sexual desires and not being straight up. Hiding behind any sort of shame, trying to be coy and smooth is the bullshit of insecure men trying to act like they know how to be successful with women.

As far as those pick up artist techniques, run far far away from those. Your intuition already tells you this, I’m just speaking to it loud and clear. What you really want, true love, cannot ever come from any sort of compulsion or manipulation. Going down any path of manipulation or compulsion to attain getting your needs met, will not actually meet your needs, but only lead to frustration when that pain in your heart still continues because you know that it’s not really the true validation that you seek.

As I mentioned above, you cannot be fully yourself with all your natural qualities shining for others to see when you’re up in your head, caught up in how you should act, how you should be, what you should say, etc. etc. Engineering the social situation to get your needs met will never work. People intuitively can detect this, and it turns them off.

Strange as it may be, once you’re comfortable with yourself, and you’re not trying to be funny or charming, your natural ability to become funny or charming can manifest. It’s a fucking paradox, but that’s how it is. It arises naturally, without manufacturing, without interference, without trying. But you have to work on yourself to allow it. Many other aspects of your being can manifest as well the more you work on yourself.


The topic of confidence will come up, and you’ll struggle with it very much in trying to be “masculine”. Even though you know that you’re authentic and not afraid to admit that Girls Just Want to Have Fun is an amazing song, the alpha male concept will still plague you and you’ll wonder if you’re somehow missing something, and this is why you aren’t getting the attention from women that you crave.

It seems like alpha males are confident in some sort of playful yet cocky way. This may fool some women temporarily, but it’s bullshit. So what is real confidence? It seems like a paradox that you’re stuck in, but I learned the key to understanding it from Models by Mark Manson. Mark Manson is kind of a douche, so I’m not totally advocating for him as a person, but his book is chocked full of truth, at least if you’re approaching it from the perspective I did and were able to integrate it fully.

In a nutshell the thing that rang true from this book was this – Vulnerability is the key to confidence.  Think about it. Only if you are fully being yourself, and vulnerable to how people might evaluate that, will people respect you and see you as confident. When you’re afraid of being rejected, you’re more prone to doing all you can to avoid it. But if you’re totally willing to accept rejection, and not see it as a personal attack, but just the way it is, people can feel more comfortable around you. They respect you because you respect yourself. Deep fully vulnerability is the only way to be comfortable, confident, and unapologetic.


Ableton Live Newbie

In the past I’ve developed music using the IK Multimedia’s Total Studio bundle combined with Cubase. The fruits of those efforts resulted in a number of tracks that I’ve posted in my Music section from 2007/2008.

I moved to Berkeley, California in 2009, dabbling with music a bit using Garageband, and later again some more tracks using Cubase.

More recently I noticed the artist Kawehi on Facebook and her cover of Heart Shaped Box on Vimeo. Later I noticed that she did a cover of Closer by Nine Inch Nails.

Closer by NIN – Covered by Kawehi from Kawehi on Vimeo.

The settings she records in are very iconic, but it’s her little gadgets, and her ability to sample on the fly to compose the song right before your eyes, that grabs my attention. She doesn’t use a looper pedal that loses the volume of the first sample you recorded slowly over time. I’m inspired.

A couple months ago I bought a copy of Ableton Live 9 Intro, and now this is really influencing me to learn it and start making music again. One thing that has always been a weak spot for me is arrangement, and it looks like the flexibility and swiftness available for arranging a song with Ableton is so much more supportive than the typical horizontal timeline of ProTools, Cubase, Logic, etc.

Over the weekend I went to Guitar Center and picked up a book, Ableton Live 9 Power!. So far the book has been really helpful. Ableton Live seems like a totally different interface than I’m used to, and I’m not wanting any blockages to making progress with the program, so investing in a nice book is worth it, even though I’ve usually winged it in the past.

I also bought an Akai MPK Mini ($100). I thought this was the same thing Kawehi used in her Heart Shaped Box video, but it looks like she’s actually using an M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32 that retails for about the same price.

MPK Mini


I was just looking through some of the other MIDI interfaces that complement Ableton Live really well. It looks like the other thing Kawehi uses is a Novation Launchpad. She is either using the Launchpad S, which goes for about $150, or the Launchpad Mini, which goes for $100.


Some other MIDI controllers that I might consider to complement or replace the MPK Mini are Akai’s APC20 (retails for $200) or APC40 . Or ultimately, the new Push interface (retails for $600, $565 on Amazon) seems to be the creme de la creme currently.


How to Transfer Music to your iPhone

iphone-itunesThis article is for new iPhone users.

At some point you’re going to want to put music one your iPhone to listen to. You can do this without having to buy music from the iTunes store, if you have music available on CDs or in MP3 files.

What you do is install iTunes software (downloaded from on your desktop computer. Then you import the music into iTunes from CDs or MP3 files you have. After this, you plug your iPhone into that computer and use iTunes to transfer music to the iPhone.

You only want to do this from your own desktop computer which you plan on using in the foreseeable future. This is because Apple tries to enforce content protection by designing the iTunes software only allow content from one machine at a time. So if you go to a friends house and want their music on your iPhone, the iTunes software on their computer will clear all your songs and content from your iPhone before letting you transfer music from their computer to your iPhone.

This is why you want to use iTunes on your own personal computer to import music, movies, and other content to your iPhone. Also, when you sync up, information from your iPhone is also backed up to your desktop computer. So if your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can bring all the information back into a replacement iPhone.

Sit at work? How to Improve your Health

I found this video in an article by Sarah Chang. As a person who sits all day at work, this is a useful reminder with tips on how to improve your health by adjusting your work setup.

If you use a Mac computer at work, I recommend Time Out software to remind you to get up and stretch, or go for a walk around the office.

Office Posture Matters: An Animated Guide from Flikli on Vimeo.

Being Afraid to Love Yourself More

James Harmon, an artist from Austin, Texas, posts some nice things on Facebook often. A friend of mine shares these quotes often. Recently James posted the following.

Sometimes it can be very tempting to cling to another person to fill a void in your life, you know? But it’s like putting Micky Mouse band-aids on a gunshot wound. You feel that void because there’s something inside of you that needs to be fulfilled, and if you don’t ever really work on trying to figure out what YOU can do to fill that void, you’ll get stuck trying to find others to fill it. You’ll go though relationship after relationship and that void will remain because you didn’t fill it with self discovery and personal growth; you just band-aided it with other people. What happens when you wake up single at age 50, and you’ve spent much of your life finding what makes relationships work instead of learning about yourself and finding what makes YOU work? Take some time off and try not to let relationships be the focus of your life. Being able to be happy alone is rarer than it should be.

James Harmon – March 7, 7:49 PM PST

This brought out something from me that I’ve just been wanting to put out there. For a long time, I was afraid to do what people said you should do. That something that you should do being to learn to love yourself. I’ve heard it said “you have to love yourself before you can ever love someone else”. I rebelled against this, and dismissed this many times, because I was afraid that it would make me even more numb to love. I thought love was the longing for someone, the desperate wanting for someone to validate, to hold me, to love me, to fill the hole that has been within me for so long.

I feared that without that attachment that “love” wouldn’t be as sweet. But truthfully, that’s just a recipe for a roller coaster, and really its better to not be dependent on someone else for validation.

After you learn to accept yourself, you can see clearly that you don’t want the first person you can trick into loving you… you want that person who really does complement you, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes, and how many people you have to meet that don’t complement you, and perhaps outright reject you. Because you know it’s not about you, it’s just that they’re not the one for you, and that’s fine. Why they’re not is none of your business.

The people who don’t see this, stay stuck, like I did, for years, afraid to go out and meet people, because they were confused and knew that going out and talking to people meant rejection, and that the rejection meant depression and isolation to recover from the emotional wounds, and further reinforcement of the belief that you’re not worthy enough of someones love. But it’s that belief, that low self esteem, that state of being, that is hell, and it’s one that is maintained by the attitude of trying to get someone to validate you.

Trying to get someone to help show you it’s not true, that you’re lovable, isn’t the way. You won’t believe them. You have to find it yourself. You have to find how to be fine with yourself.