Saturday, January 19, 2013

22 Degress of Fire: A Quiet Ember

22  of 42 out at sea.  In the Far East...


 APL Philippines

Vessel's Details

Ship Type: Container ship
Year Built: 1996
Length x Breadth: 276 m X 40 m
Gross Tonnage: 64502, DeadWeight: 65642 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 13.7 / 10.9 knots
Flag: USA [US] 
Call Sign: WCX8884
IMO: 9077276, MMSI: 368684000

Last Position Received

Area: China Sea East
Latitude / Longitude: 31.3125° / 121.7453° (Map)
Speed/Course 28.7 knots / 0˚
Currently in Port: SHANGHAI
Info Received: 0d 0h 2min ago (AIS Source: 830)
 Current Vessel's Track
Wind: 17 knots, 142°, 8°C
Itineraries History

Voyage Related Info (Last Received)

Draught: 10 m
Destination: CN SHA CJK
ETA: 2013-01-20 00:30
Info Received: 2013-01-19 18:10 (0d, 1h 31min ago)

I must be a gypsy too.  I find it very provactive-positive-if -travel-equals-life-affirming- in- love-with-this-life-erotic-on-the-highest-love-not-romantic-or-sexual-level-all-the-highest-potential-sea-water-mystery-loving-journey....the Jypsy's Journey to the far East on a massive ship. 

My degrees of measure on this trip have been less.  What if my first 42 degrees of writing burned away all obsessive feelings and healed me.  So now I am a calm -waiting, but not a desiring, sad, or even compulsive female pulsing with the other's energy.  I have returned to my aware self- glad of myself- and of the Other, the mystery, how life is in the here and now.  

I have a friend who travels to the far east and works extremely hard for 42 days.  That is the end of the story and thus my degree of burning seems low and almost to have no fire...but here is the good part.  

The fire is that quiet and deep heat-  a penetrating ember of fire -the underneath red glow, it doesn't really smoke, crackle or jump high in the air.  It is the low Earthy pulsing kind.  
When you close the wood burning stove...after the fire has really taken off and it is hot and the logs are half burnt which makes the heat form...and you lock it in...cut off almost all air...down to the point where there is just enough to make the heat of the embers last a long, long time.   It heats the whole house, sometimes the tile around the stove is so hot you cannot even step on it It even appears that the fire is not moving, but it it is...
I am the starter of this fire, the sustainer, the reaper, the keeper....I just need an Other(a water gypsy-kind) sometimes to ignite It once in awhile. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

15 Degrees of Fire: Ancient Flame

15th Day of 42 out at Sea
 the Jypsy-APL Philippines, first engineer- merchant marine...
Measuring of time in creative degrees


"This association between the human being and the architectural column indicates that the Greeks identified the human being with the characteristics of the column: strong, orderly, proud, erect, beautiful. The column symbolized the human being, while the human being symbolized life, the intellect and the human spirit. 
  Thus, we think of the Greeks dedicating their many-columned temples not only to the Gods, but also to the idea of the human being. The human being was indeed the measure of all things, even of his Gods. And just as each column contributed to the support of the whole structure so each human contributed his support to the whole community. 
Greek theories of virtue are based on the term arete, which means "goodness," "excellence," and "virtue." The goodness or virtue of a thing is that by which it performs its function well. Thus, the function of a knife is to cut; a good, or "virtuous," knife cuts well.  
  Plato argues in The Republic that when reason rules the soul, as is its function, the soul is virtuous; as such, it possesses wisdom, bravery, temperance, and justice. 
  For Aristotle, the ethically virtuous soul habitually chooses its path of action according to a rational mean between two vices. Thus, when faced with a fearful situation, it chooses the mean, which is courage, rather than wallow in an excess of fear, which is a vice called cowardice, or proceed heedlessly and fearlessly, which is rashness. "

The Hero (center) led to the Temple of Virtue (top)
by Athena (left) and Hermes (right),
the three Graces are near (bottom left),
           Rubens (1625). 

The amazing Greek philosophy and theology is the mixture of the two.  The human being is the measure of how the gods have exceeded in their creation.  To honor the human being, with its reason, physical performance, soul, potentials to create, invent and have compassion is to honor the gods.  If you pursue Arete- the virtue, excellence and goodness that is innately within you then you are an embodiment of the highest possible conclusion.  The Greek’s understanding of life with their fate and or tragic view makes death a quality known from the beginning.  They know that the human has a limited path and must stay within the virtue of their qualities.  Thus when faced with hardship, monsters and the such one must be like Odysseus- brave, yet cunning, give thanks to the gods and especially Athena your goddess of wisdom.  This can be a personification of male and female qualities united in one human being.  Odysseus listens to his wisdom, but acts bravely with strength and skill.  Human beings can be everything as Homer and the Greeks show us.  We are divine, yet limited.  We can create great works of art, yet we should know that our inspiration comes from a higher source.  It is a balance of attributes that requires that we do not deny any part of the human being.  If we start to mark ourselves as evil, or born from a wicked union, we are paralyzed by this tainted view of life.  We will live in fear, and are unable to shed this deep feeling of inferiority.  We shall never rise to our potential of creativity, peace, balance living within the mean between the gods and the vices of our limitations.  It is ultimately a quest for the middle path-a temperate way creating harmony towards our fate.  Our fate is death, yet we have such amazing potential.  The question is how do we travel with the knowledge of both of these ideas, and take action.  How do we use our reason and allow the muses to inspire us.  It requires our full human beingness…that is our natural inclination to believe in a higher power, but also our natural tendency to be curious and use our intellect. 

Is it Ironic that I am teaching the Odyssey, with the epic hero Odysseus seducing my every thought?  And my friend the Jypsy traversing the massive N. Pacific in an exaggerated commercial ship.  The Hubris exists of such a ship, thus it is out of balance.  A Greek would be enamored by the creation, yet appalled at the nonharmony and excessive resources it uses.  Now on the other hand they would wonder at the Engineer who must keep the beast going on a second- by- second basis.  They would think it tragic and a comedy.

 Does Jypsy, the first engineer, act with arête, virtue, goodness and excellence?  I am not sure.  I think Jypsy might be a lost Greek, unable to fit into this modern world with its crazy excessive-consuming nature.  Yet his pursuit of excellence is one part that he takes seriously.  If a Greek was well schooled in intellectual knowledge, had skill as an athletic being, and pursued art as in music and other endeavors, then Jypsy might be part Greek.  His awareness on the ship is wide- eyed and nervous.  As in his virtue, that motivation to do the right thing according to Engine room is obvious.  Does Jypsy have too much hubris, pride?  It does not appear this way so far.  The research is still ongoing.  He does not show gratitude to the gods or Athena for his grace in the engine room.  This is our modern position.  We do measure ourselves by exclusively human ideals, yet with this position we are left empty in some parts.  We feel a bit lost on the whole.  It is a battle ongoing to find the medium between scientific life and the nature of inspiration and some mystery that continues to astound us.  We feel something, but we are afraid to cross the threshold to embody our whole potential.  The purpose of the gods is lift man to this height.  If the Greeks teach us anything, it is about the creation of art, architecture that reflects the highest potential of man, but he could not do it without the gods, they show us the way higher.  It could be an illusionary circle, but it is required to move to a higher state of being. 

   Let us as it were celebrate the first God, not as establishing the earth and the heavens, nor as giving subsistence to souls, and the generation of all animals; for he produced these indeed, but among the last of things; but prior to these, let us celebrate him as unfolding into light the whole intelligible and intellectual genus of Gods, together with all the supermundane and mundane divinities - as the God of all Gods, the unity of all unities, and beyond the first adyta [the highest order of intelligibles], - as more ineffable than all silence, and more unknown than all essence, - as holy among the holies, and concealed in the intelligible Gods.  
-From Thomas Taylor's Introduction
to The Theology of Plato by Proclus

Monday, January 7, 2013

9 Degrees of Fire: Fire & Ice

File:Sea of Okhotsk map.png

9 Degrees of Fire: Fire & Ice 
9 days of 42

Another Journey of 42 days that my friend the Jypsy, First Engineer on the APL Philippines Commercial cargo ship, must travel.  It is the same journey as before.  He goes from Oakland, California to China and back again.  

APL Philippines left Oakland California on January 30th, 2012, 5 P.M. and as of today January 7th, 2013  is somewhere in the Sea of Okhotsk.  APL Philippines ETA to Yokohama, Japan is January 10th, 2013. 

2013-01-04T15:08:00 (UTC)

Lat/Lon: 54.29451 / -167.1749
Speed/Course: 19.7 kn / 260°  = (MPH- 22) They traveled across the Bering Sea at 22 mph.  All the while Jypsy maintained an engine room that is five levels or more.  I mean the belly of the beast has a lot of stomachs digesting all sorts of fluids, exhaust and oil, and whatever else your imagination conjures.  If you can think of it they probably got it.  All the equipment is bus size or man size. 

Sea of Okhotsk
The Sea of Okhotsk covers 611,000 sq.mi. (1,583,000 km2), with a mean depth of 2,818 feet (859 metres). Its maximum depth is 11,063 feet (3,372 metres). It is connected to the Sea of Japan on either side of Sakhalin: on the west through the Sakhalin Gulf and the Gulf of Tartary; on the south, through the La Pérouse Strait.
In winter, navigation on the Sea of Okhotsk becomes difficult, or even impossible, due to the formation of large ice floes, because the large amount of freshwater from the Amur River lowers the salinity which results in lowering the freezing point of the sea. The distribution and thickness of ice flows depends on many factors: the location, the time of year, water currents, and the sea temperatures.   (

Daily Vessel's Itineraries:

Time (UTC) Vessel's NamePosition TypePortArea Latitude / Longitude Speed Course AIS Source 
2013-01-07 12:31APL PHILIPPINESMidday positionOkhotsk Sea

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

0 Degrees of Fire: Entering the Fire

0 Degrees:  Time Paused .....Entering the Other World

APL- Philippines in Long Beach Port

Belly of the Whale and its Dimensions

The ship ported in Long Beach California on December, 26th.  It was out to sea for 38 days.  I was invited to stay on the ship with Jypsy for two nights and they were going back out on the third day.  Another 42 days out.  The same route Oakland, California to China and back again.

My journey to see the Jypsy was a strange mixture of beauty and everydayness.  I traveled through the western desert in winter.  Rain, dry air and light was a storm of beauty.  The rainbow was not one of storybooks and unicorns.  It was a display of nature on a high.  I saw violet and orange clearly.  At one point I thought I would get into an accident because of the brightness.

I do not know if this was anything, but it felt like an omen.  The rainbow stayed with me for more than an hour.  Sometimes pieces, sometimes a full one across the sky and one time two rainbows appeared.  Now you can pay attention to the flow of energy as you travel.  You can pay attention to nature as you travel and how things seem to flow.  The flow was a constant gravity pulling me calmly to the center.  Everything was in sync for my meeting.  He had an hour for lunch and I was there perfectly on time.  The directions were clear and I did not get lost.  I have not been to Long Beach since I was a kid, so I was a little bit worried.  Sometimes we only notice the bad flow, such as car issues, getting lost, traffic jams, being late and or other unforeseeable situations.  But I want to notice the good things also.  It sets a tone for the meeting.

Engine Room APL Philippines 

I was escorted by Jypsy onto the mammoth vessel and could not help the overwhelming presence of such a ship.  It is a little city unto itself.  There are monsters and bellys deep on this floating caravan.  Monsters lurk in the bright modern day offices and disguise of mortal men.  Men who have become so empty, unhealthy and dumb that there ego rages in every direction like a Hydra.  They become large with inauthentic life.  They eat in excess.  They let the toxic material of our modern world snuff out the natural light that would shine if they were healthy, exercising and spirited men. On this ship the monster is ever ranging, seemingly quiet and calm, yet plotting its next chaotic scheme.  Or is simply unconscious of anything that he is doing.  These are both dangerous.  The hero can be aware and even slay the ego-head.   You cut off one head and two more pop up-just as chaotic and venomous as the last one.  The pettiness is insurmountable.  You can only do your best.  Try not to get bit, burned, and or eaten.  It is all very dangerous.  A ship of this size has man-size or larger machinery.  It will swallow you and or your limb if strange jobs are requested.  If the chief does not allow proper rest and constantly frustrates his engineers it become a serious situation.

Carlos Castaneda speaks of this fortunate fate.  The problem is that in our modern scientific existence we do not have any identifications or understandings of the petty tyrants, monsters, hydras, ego-raging maniacs or warrior path.  All are unknown to us.  We are fools bumbling around each other.  Jypsy is not a fool, but never had any training to be a warrior.  He is a very aware, intelligent, caring and conscientious individual.  He wants to do a good job, and works tirelessly on a vessel that has been neglected.  It is run by a least the chief engineer is a out-of-control-unhealthy-monster in the first degree.  If the hero, Jypsy, stays with this mundane existence and just sees everything as is, with no hidden lessons, trials and or understanding of these freaks that cross our path, then he becomes lost and or so discouraged that he cannot survive and or slay the monsters.

This scenario is not just about this ship and this hero, it rings a bell in all of our lives.  We can be as scientific and evidenced based as we want, but it does not change the nature of our psyche and unconscious.  If we ignore our own possibilities, potential, and short-comings by living in a scientific world then we will be lost.  And lately lost means people ignoring nature and consuming entirely too much.  We we become radical consumers we inflict this way of existence on everything we do.  It becomes our mythology, our psyche doesn't understand anything unless if fits into this worldview.  Therefore if we are not buying a three bedroom house, working 9-5, having 3.4 kids and going to church every Sunday, we do not exist, or we are failures.  So the stories from Greek times and all of the ancient cultures were not about just the simple story, it goes much deeper.  The Greeks told stories of human potential and the psychological aspects of human life.  The hydra, Hades, Medusa and all of these myths are signposts to all the human energies.  Somehow we must bridge the gap between our modern individual, the hero, and the world.  

Jypsy is a good monk to beauty.  It is not the surface kind of beauty, but he has an intuition of quality.  Every time I have been around him, he is like a door way to something beautiful.  It it can be landscape, buildings, choices in what he pays attention to and more.  I don't know how to explain it.  After I see him something lingers that has quality.  Getting by is not enough.  Attention to details, but not so much as to be a slave to them.