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RI: Anticipation

Good news for once. No tropical storms forecast for a while; so the weather will hold for us the next few days. It will be hot and humid, with chances of showers, but this is the tropics in the summer time.

The first three rooms for the retreat will be loaded on their boat tonight. They should arrive early Friday morning. I had to hire a Skycrane to lift the things into place. Like most construction, my budget seems to only move in one direction.

I decided to host part of the crew that did the ground/foundation work. Sending them back and forth to Puerto Rico when the timing was in flux didn’t make much sense. They seem to have enjoyed getting paid to lay around the beach for a few days, though.

If all goes well, we’ll place the first rooms on Friday. The next three have been poured into their molds and should be ready to go early next week. Now that we’re rolling, provided Poseidon doesn’t turn his back on us, we should have all the rooms, and the central hallway in place by next Sunday.

Then the finish guys will be getting to work turning the rooms from plain concrete boxes into places to relax and recharge. While the concrete is great for weather resistance and such, the interior designer I worked with should make the space feel more inviting and relaxing.

We’re on target to have the center up and running by the end of July.

 

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Groundbreaking!

Although I feel sorry for the Ricans and dealing with what their government has done to their economy, I have to admit it’s made my task of finding contractors a lot easier. Most construction crews in the Carribean are looking for work.

In fact, there’s a crew on the island now working on making room for the construction. First step is to relocate a lot of plants that I want to keep, then clear and level the plots for the prefab buildings which are being poured. With the limited space and distance from nearby islands, the work is almost entirely manual. Only two small bobcats to help move dirt / sand.

Although I’m glad I don’t have to grab a shovel myself, these guys seems honestly happy to be working. It probably doesn’t hurt that I offered a 3x bonus if they get done ahead of schedule.

If all goes well, the first three of the poured concrete rooms should arrive by barge sometime next week. An extra challenge when building on the island is having to worry about the weather / seas since the barge can’t travel if it’s going to be too rough. Not to mention the added challenge of offloading / placing the rooms without a large land based crane.

David's Island

I’ve been working with an architect over the weekend. I think we have a basic plan down now. My house is currently on the left end of the island in this picture. With my current guest rooms, I can house 5 full time staff, including myself. I’ll also re-purpose the living room into a “common area” to use for classes, mingling, etc.

At the other end of the island (that dome looking structure) the rock there is actually hollow. That’s where my data center, power generators (wind and solar), etc. are. We’ll expand that area for physical therapy and other medical necessities. We’re not going to be a full “hospital”, but I will have medically trained staff when necessary. I will have room for two therapists to live there full time as well, for a total of 7 full time staff. There will also be a small “cyber cafe” which will be the only place on the island where Internet connectivity is available.

RejuvIsland-viewAlong the island between the main house and the therapy center will be the individual rooms. We’re going to have 12 independent rooms which will alternate on each side of the island. The primary access to the rooms will be from the beach. None of the rooms will share common walls and we’ve worked out angles where views will be unobstructed to the ocean. It will be possible to feel as though you’re alone when you need to be.

Along the spine of the island will be a service corridor. For those who choose to eat in their rooms, we’ll be able to use this corridor to reach them. This will also be a way to move between rooms and the main building areas in case of inclement weather.

Speaking of weather the sloped side walls in that photo also serve as the tracks down which the hurricane barriers will close. Given that the bulk of the island is no more than about 12 feet above sea level, we need to be able to seal up the complex to be water tight in case of a severe hurricane. My main house already does this, so we know what needs to be done.

It will take some time to get this all built out. But I have the resources to move quickly when necessary. I’m hopeful that the project will be far enough along to welcome our first guests by the end of July.

Rejuvenation Center

About 8 months ago, I stepped away from the world. At first it was so my sister, Elissa and I could investigate our parent’s murder. Which we did, however we’ve agreed to keep the results of that as a family affair for now.

Rejuvenation Island

I’ve spent the last 6 months or so retreating to my island for some introspection. Partially I initiated this because of our investigation, but also because I was struck by a moment of clarity and realized that I had been mostly moving through my life from one crisis to the next with little direction or forethought.

Some of you may be aware that I have been using my financial resources to sponsor treatment centers around the world for civilians (especially children) who have been affected by the sorts of incidents which we deal with on a daily basis. During the past several years, the staff at the facilities I support have discovered and refined some of the latest standards of care in treating the physical, mental, and emotional effects of those events.

As I recently restarted my Internet uplink and started to reconnect with the Societies, a friend of mine, Nvdia Noire, commented how lucky I was to be spending time on my island. Last night as I was meditating, the phrase “if only we could have it made like you” kept intruding into my thoughts. Then it struck me, “Why couldn’t they?”

The doctors, physical therapists, psychologists, and meditation guides that work for me are the best in the world at helping non-bees recover from the effects of these events. Why shouldn’t we put that knowledge to good use for Bees as well?

This morning, for the first time in probably a decade or more, I awoke with a goal that wasn’t a reaction to some recent personal tragedy. Instead it’s a goal of how I can use the things I’ve been doing around the world to help my friends and colleagues.

I’ve already reached out to the construction team that worked on the house for me. We’ll be expanding it to provide services for anyone who needs some time to recover from an operation gone bad. Whether that’s just some quiet time watching the ocean or more intensive physical rehabilitation, I’ll have services of all sorts ready for whomever needs it.

We will treat everyone, regardless of their faction affiliation. For personal reasons, I will not be aligning the center with the CoV however.

I have a lot to do. Apart from the build out, I’ll have to recruit some practitioners. I’m sure some of my staff will be willing, but many have families of their own to consider. If this takes off, Mike’s little four-seater seaplane won’t cut it as the only transportation to/from the island for long either.

This will have to be brief as there are some details which Elissa and I would rather not share publicly.

Friday, 7 August 2015

We arrived a bit later than expected, but we were able to at least access the former location of our home. We were shocked to see it had been scraped clear, but no other house had been built there yet. It didn’t even look to be prepped for new construction. Real estate in San Francisco RARELY sits idle for a whole year.

It was overgrown a bit, but we were able to get to the place where the house used to stand. I’d contacted Edward, a Dragon paranormal investigator to meet us there. Lissa talked through what she found and we were able to trace out on the ground the approximate area. But by that time it was getting dark; so we called it a night.

I had some of my Drill Team penetrate the SF police department and gather the police reports. Will post them as additional information for anyone who wants to help.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Edward was able to divine that there was definitely residual energy on the homesite. However it didn’t appear to be active. It confirmed our initial thoughts that the attacks had been supernatural in nature. He suggested we contact Jessica, a witch who lives in Oakland. He said her scrying abilities may help see backward to what happened.

Jessica was more than happy to help out. I think she’s a little smitten with Edward, to be honest. She’s an interesting person. She was born in Ireland and has the stereotypical red hair and freckled fair skin, although she wears her hair in thick dreadlocks and dresses a bit bohemian.

Still, we have to give her skills proper credit. She was able to look back and identify that the attackers who killed Daniel and our parents were demonic in nature. She could sense the presence of someone else and felt like that entity might have been in charge. But apparently he was good at cloaking his aura and she couldn’t get a very decent read from him.

She also identified that they entered the home through some sort of a portal in the basement. Actually it was in the place where my grandfather’s apartment used to be. That part of the house was filled in when they cleaned up after the fire. So we couldn’t go down there without some heavy equipment and that would attract too much attention.

Summary

So, we know a little bit more. The killers were demons of some sort. But they were working for (or with) someone else. It isn’t a lot more to go on, but it is something. And for those who offered to help, I will provide some additional information that I can’t include here.

Desert Sunrise

Yuki’s brother and his friends invited us on a camping trip into the Anzo-Borrego Desert. I’d been camping in campgrounds before, but never in the rough backwoods style where you just pull your jeeps over and pitch a tent type setting. We left on Friday night after classes. Everyone was pretty tired; so we didn’t bother with a campfire or anything, just pitched the tents and went right to sleep.

The next morning I woke up early (I tend to do that) and climbed the small hill behind our camp. I watched the sun rise over the desert valley we were camped in, it was a beautiful sight! I resolved to share it with Yuki the next day.

We spent the day hiking some in the desert. It really is a pretty amazing place, with mud caves, arroyos, etc. we even found a place where water was trickling down and life had sprung up around the miniature oasis. When we got back to camp, we ate a good camp style dinner, drank some beer, shared stories from school and watched the stars. You can still see the Milky Way from the desert. Amazing!

The next morning, I once again woke early and tried to get Yuki to get up. “Yuki, love. You have to come see this with me!” I said shaking her shoulder.

“Mmmph” came the muffled response from inside her sleeping bag.

“Baby, really, you’re not going to regret it! Come with me.” I said, trying to pull back the edge of the bag so I could see her.

She opened one eye and growled “It’s still dark!”

“I know. But the sun will be up soon. You really want to see her start the day!” I insisted.

“Fine!” she said with more than a touch of anger. But when she pulled down the top of the bag, she snatched it back up again “It’s freezing out there! I’m not leaving my bag!”

“Ok, if that’s how you want it.” I said with a grin. I backed out of the tent, then reached in, turned her bag sideways and slipped my arms under her, sleeping bag and all. She squealed a little as I lifted her up and out of the tent.

As I started up the side of the hill, she poked her head out. “I hate you,” she said with a scowl.

I laughed, “You do not. And within an hour you’ll be thanking me for this.”

“Hmmph,” she said, still scowling, but she pulled her left arm out of the bag and put it around my neck to help me with carrying her. I stumbled a couple of times, each time electing a squeal from her, but we made it to the top.

I set her down facing east on a flat part of the hill, still in her sleeping bag, then I sat behind her with my knees on each side. She leaned back against me and muttered “Well? Why are we here?”

“Look at the sky.” I said. The sun was just starting to light the horizon. A range of hills to the east created dark silhouettes. We could just barely see a few high clouds covering a few of the last of the night’s stars.

Yuki snuggled back against me and I wrapped my arms around her. “It’s peaceful,” she said quietly.

“Mmhmm” I agreed hugging her. “And…watch!”

The sun’s first rays hit the clouds, dusting them with pink and rose colors against the indigo of the pre-dawn sky. “Oooh!” Yuki said. As I bent my head around to look at her, I could see her smiling. The pastel colors reflected in her eyes.

We sat for a while as the clouds changed from pink to rose to golden colors. The light over the hills continued to grow until the sun finally burst over the horizon. “Oh!” Yuki exclaimed, covering her eyes with her hand. “Too bright!”

I scooted us around to face to the west. The sun’s rays were just touching the hills on the other side of the valley. As we watched, the golden light painted the hills taking them from gray shadows to reveal the browns and tans and reds of the desert rocks.

The reflected light from the sky revealed the arroyos running north to south across the floor of the valley. As the sun filled the oval bowl of the valley, the edges of the gulleys were lined with yellow light while the narrow crevices between them remained an inky black. Slowly, the light spread and even the deep V shaped arroyos faded from black to indigo to gray until the sun exposed the hidden textures of the desert floor.

By that time, the campers were waking up below us. We could smell the coffee and someone had started some bacon. Yuki twisted in my arms so she could look up at me. She tried to keep a playful frown on her face, but finally laughed and smiled. With a sigh she said “Thank you.” And leaned up to kiss me.

As I carried her back down the hill in her sleeping, one of the other guys, who was also there with his girlfriend, said “David! What are you doing, man? You’re like raising the bar there for all of us!” Yuki and I laughed as I set her down and she stepped out of her sleeping bag to dive into the tent and get her jacket.

As she poked her head back up, she quipped “Yep! You have to get up pret-ty early if you want to outshine my David!”

My Darkest Year

After the police and ambulance and everyone left the apartment, I left too without taking anything with me. I lost myself for a year. Partly because of the shock of Yuki taking her life. Partly because my path forward had been so entwined with hers. And partly because I blamed myself for her death. I kept trying to figure out what I had said to her to make her feel like she was going to hold me back. I had thought we were both going to become more together than we could have been apart. She was inspiring me to want to achieve more, not holding me back to achieve less.

I wallowed in that guilt and depression until March of the next year. My thesis remained unfinished. I lost my fellowship. My dad, furious over my academic failure cut off support. I lived off the remains of the money from the casino trip and a bit of savings I had left. I was almost out of everything when Avi helped me see what I was doing to myself.

Enlightenment

I mentioned my friend Abhishekh (Avi) when he went with me to Vegas in Connections. He was from Nepal. A doctoral student in mathematics, studying chaos theory (how’s that for irony?) so we bumped into each other now and then. We started talking about our ideas on the connectedness of things, and that developed into a friendship. Avi was also a Buddhist. When I was finally ready to listen to him, he was able to help me look at the truth of my life.

Zen teaches that we should allow ourselves to feel emotion, but don’t allow those emotions to become a permanent part of us. When an event like Yuki’s suicide occurs, we should try to focus more on what we learn from it than on the event itself. Through long talks, I came to terms with the fact that Yuki made her own choices. I couldn’t keep blaming myself for something that she did. but, there was one thing that has become central to how I view life now.

When we spend too much time agonizing over the past or worrying about the future, we miss the opportunity to enjoy the present. No matter how much we want to, we cannot hold on to the life we think we have. That type of control is an illusion we fool ourselves with. Energy spent trying to hold on to something that isn’t ours to control is wasted energy which could have been spent on the people around us.

Missing but not Lost

People ask me now if I miss Yuki. Yes, of course I do. I think about her often, especially when I see daisies (her favorite flower) or smell jasmine. But she is not lost to me. The memories remain, what I learned from her remains. And, as part of what I now believe, our spirits will meet again one day and we’ll learn new lessons from each other as we continue our journey through life.

Yuki’s Story – Shattered

For full context, you should really read Yuki’s story starting with Social Skilless. This is, by far, the hardest part for me to write.

Back Home

So Avi and I left Vegas right after a huge breakfast buffet. I didn’t go anywhere near a casino floor (and actually haven’t been since). Mr. Wynn’s people delivered my winnings (in cash) to the hotel room before we left. Just a tip in case you ever have the opportunity, half a million dollars in $100 bills is heavier than you may think.

I wasn’t feeling as great about my winnings in the light of day as I had the night before. On the way out of Vegas, we stopped by St. Jude’s Ranch. They help young adults who are finding life more of a challenge than they can deal with on their own.You should have seen the look on the director’s face when I handed him a briefcase with $500,000 in it!

I kept enough for what I needed, plus some to help with the transition for Yuki and I up to Seattle. Avi and I booked it back to San Diego. I was in the apartment long before Yuki got back from Phoenix, I didn’t hint at any of the adventure. She was bubbling about her performance because an agent had approached her after the dance offering to represent her.

Monday, Can’t Trust That Day

Monday was a light class day for Yuki. I knew she was done and back home by noon most days. I told her I had a meeting with my advisory committee and left right after breakfast. I’d already scouted out the best place to buy the ring weeks earlier. We haggled a bit over things, but with the bankroll from Vegas, I wasn’t in the mood to argue too vehemently.

I got back to the apartment just after lunch time. I had a huge smile on my face as I sprinted up the stairs to our apartment. When I opened the door, I sensed that something was wrong. I walked down the short hallway from our front door into the loft area. I don’t remember exactly what went through my mind when I saw her hanging from a cord tied to the railing on the loft. I remember screaming. I remember trying to lift her and get her down, hoping against hope that she wasn’t dead. The police told me I was still screaming when they arrived, having been called by my neighbors.

During the investigation, they found a simple note. It read as follows:

My Dearest David,

I know that this isn’t going to be easy. I see all of your potential, but I know you’d give it all up for me. I can’t allow you to do that. I couldn’t live knowing that I had held you back from becoming all that you can be. I hope you’ll let me go and live the rest of your days fully.

Love always,
Yuki

I still, to this day, do not understand that. We were happy. The night before she was so happy and looking forward to our future. Even at breakfast that morning she’d talked about looking for apartments in Seattle. They say that suicide never makes sense to those of us left behind. I guess. I just still can’t believe that the future I had planned was shattered in a moment.

As I mentioned in Social Skilless, Yuki was my first “real” girlfriend. I won’t bother you with the boring bits. Over a few months we had a date, then another, while we were attending different colleges, we still managed to see each other a few times a week, slowly it became daily. Yuki’s family was in L.A.; so much closer than mine. There was one weekend in September where they came to visit her, and she wanted to introduce me. Wasn’t a good weekend.

Meeting the Folks

Yuki’s parents were born in Japan. Mine were born in Korea. I know a lot of the world probably thinks Asians all get along, but that’s not necessarily true. They didn’t like me right off the bat. But Yuki wasn’t a “traditional” Japanese girl either. She stood up to them. I don’t know exactly what her father was saying, but he was mad! She stood there with a calm defiance and let his anger blow itself out, then she said a few words and he turned away and walked out. Yuki’s mother was a bit easier, although she was uneasy with all the fighting.

In the end, it didn’t really matter. We were young lovers, ready to stand against the world if necessary.

About a month after that, I suggested to Yuki we should move in together. She accepted right away. As our apartments weren’t well suited for either of us, we agreed to rent something near Balboa Park. We’d eat a light, but healthy breakfast, each head to our own schools, then meet again in the evening. I was mostly researching for my thesis. She was working on her last semester and on a new routine she wanted to use when she started auditioning with some of the major ballet companies on the west coast.

Each night, sit on the couch. I’d be studying some book with flawed theories on how global economies interacted, she’d be watching recordings of her latest practices. Usually, I’d get her to put her feet in my lap so I could massage them for her. Dancer’s feet take such a beating. Especially ballet toe shoes. Yuki wasn’t big on letting me do things FOR her. She wanted equal division of things. But this was one where she’d relent and let me serve her need some.

What Happens in Vegas…

We talked a little about the future. My PhD in Economics, along with my ability to see patterns in “random” data, would ensure I could get a job in nearly any major city. She really wanted to go up to the Northwest, Portland or Seattle. About a month from graduation, I decided it was time to ask her to marry me. I had a little money, but I needed more for the ring I wanted to get for her. So, I convinced my friend Avi to go with me to Las Vegas for a weekend. Yuki had performances in Phoenix that weekend; so it was perfect.

We took off in my car after class on Friday and got to Vegas just after midnight. I had about $200 to start off with. I walked past the slot machines and electronic games back to the tables. See, my ability to see the patterns, to “predict” the outcome relies on me seeing the whole system. I can’t predict which slot machine will hit next, or what card will get turned over in poker or blackjack. But, give me a spinning wheel and a marble, and let me place a bet after the marble is in the wheel, I can get it right every time.

I only intended to win a little bit. Turn my $200 into $2000 or so. But, you know what? Winning is addicting. I tried to lose on purpose now and then. I tried to make it so I wasn’t always betting on the exact number to win, but it was still obvious that my pile of chips was growing. Avi noticed security getting a little too curious and pulled me away. By then I was up $12,000. We left, but I convinced him to go into another casino. Then another. Then another. Each time, eventually, the pit boss or someone would be paying too close attention and we’d leave. But the total kept growing. $30,000 .. $70,000 .. when I topped $150,000 Avi stopped going with me. He was convinced the Mob was going to kill me. \

Eventually I got tired. And the last Casino offered to comp me with the High Roller’s suite. I honestly wasn’t sure where the balance stood. Their security chief showed me the payout from my last table $532,600! In one night, I’d turned $200 into over half a million. I called Avi and invited him up to the room. He wasn’t too sure, but I convinced him. A couple minutes later, I heard him knock, but it wasn’t him. It was Steve Wynn.

Seems that of the 8 casinos I was gambling in, Mr. Wynn owned 6 of them. He was very calm and polite, congratulated me on a great run. He told me Avi was on his way up and would be allowed to use the second bedroom in the suite. He also said that I wouldn’t be welcome on the floor of a Steve Wynn casino anywhere in the world anymore. Although they couldn’t detect that I’d done anything illegal, he couldn’t afford to hand me more of his money. He hoped I understood and shook my hand very firmly. I assured him I did. Somehow the glamour of the suite was duller when Avi arrived. At least he didn’t say “I told you so.”

Yuki’s Story – Social Skilless

As I hinted in my post about attending Swan Lake with Katya, I started thinking about the part of my life that I spent with Yuki. For various reasons, some of which I intend to share here, I kept much (if not all) of that part of my life hidden. After talking with Katya, and attending the ballet last week, I have come to feel that not sharing it kept the chains bound about my spirit. Hopefully, sharing with whomever will read this will help reverse that effect.

Life at Home

When I was living at home, my Dad was very much in control over life. He believed that our job as kids was to get the best education we could. Dating, parties, etc. were unnecessary. Extracurricular activities were limited and only continued if progress in school didn’t suffer.

So, basically, I had no social life until I went to college. I got my bachelor’s degree in economics at UC Berkley. Technically, it was close enough to home that I could have lived there, but I needed to get out. I still had to expect unannounced inspection visits from my dad, but things were looser. I started dating a girl here and there, but nothing serious.

Southern California

If you’ve never lived there, you may not realize what a divide there is between the northern and southern half of California. When it was time to get my master’s degree (Dad’s idea), I chose UCLA. The many lectures I had to endure about staying focused, etc. were worth the freedom I had once I got there. I don’t think Dad ever knew how close my first semester was, but I pulled it through. I had my first two “real” girlfriends there.

Unfortunately, I did SO well, that my Dad pushed me to finish up with my doctorate. By now I’d been in college for 7 years, I was ready to get out into the “real world”, but he insisted, and offered to keep paying for it; so I relented. I went even further south though to UCSD for my doctoral program in Economics.

And There She Was

It was the first month I was in San Diego that I met Yuki. She was attending San Diego State (SDSU) as a Dance major. I went to one of their recitals because I was missing going to the ballet with Mom and Elissa. She was breathtaking. Her extension was flawless, her movement combined grace and power, her face was … well, to call it like a “china doll” is a bit crass, but it’s an accurate image. When she was on stage, I couldn’t take my eyes off her.

I felt like some lovesick schoolboy (or a deranged fan or something) when I hung out around the theater after the show. She came out with two of her dance troupe and I approached.

“Excuse me?” I asked, keeping my hands in view and not coming too close to them. I swear she still reached into her purse for mace or something.

“Yes?” she asked cautiously. One friend pulled her cell phone out.

“I just wanted to tell you that I thought the symbology in the modern ballet you did in the second half of the show was extremely moving. The way you went from being closed in to extending each movement as your character discovered her place in the world was very touching.”

“Really?” she asked, a hint of a smile showing. “You want to come with us for coffee to talk more?”

So, I’d gone from a creepy mugger to at least a creep with some knowledge of her art. It was a step in the right direction. Her friends giggled at the idea, but we went for coffee. The other two left, and the sun was up before she and I parted ways. No phone number, but at least an email address. So that was something!

And a name, Yuki Kishimoto.

(to be continued)