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b. 1950
co-owner of a telecommunications design and construction company, Vietnam War veteran
resides in southern California
raised in southern California

Modulating the master system clock

              Back in the Seventies, I was a really competent druggie, consistently having a good time on weed and psychedelics without ever getting paranoid or uptight, even in work situations, where I ingested frequently. I was pretty content with who I was and what I was doing, and would tend to get a strong surge of joy whenever I dosed. I had these great jobs that paid well and had loads of responsibility. My colleagues at one place nicknamed me “Mr. Maintain” because no matter stoned I’d get, I’d never be rattled. I was a department manager in an electronics firm, getting ripped every day of my life, and I'd go into a meeting after just finishing a joint and act completely normal.

            Of course, it was even better when I could “work” independently. In 1976, when I was in between marriages and taking a lot of psychedelics with my bachelor buddies, I took a job as an engineering manager in an electronic transaction firm. I did research and development and maintained systems that we’d developed, including special-purpose computers, terminal networks, and ATMs for the banking industry. It was a very prestigious job at a great company.

            I had the privilege of choosing any shift I wanted and had a lot of latitude to determine when I came in, so of course I abused that privilege. Mostly I decided to work from one in the morning to whenever the sun came up, because that was the “wasted” time when nobody was around to watch me. The only tollgate was getting the given project done, which I always did, though not nearly as quickly as I could have.

            When you go into a computer room with all these machines humming and lights twinkling, it's kind of a trip in itself to turn off the overhead lights and just sit in the corner and absorb it all. I’d do that often just as a way of relaxing. There's a special energy in the room when you think about what's going on inside the machines, which are busy little bees doing all kinds of neat things.

            One night, I got totally ripped on peyote and went to work with another big baggie full of big fresh buttons, which I mixed with orange juice and downed when I got in. I didn’t expect to see anybody during those hours of the graveyard shift. I was all alone in the big computer room which took up the whole nineteenth floor of an office building in west Los Angeles.

            I got so buzzed that I couldn't even walk, so I laid down on the floor and stared at this one processor in a cabinet six and half feet tall. My body had said “stop,” but my mind was going a million miles an hour. I didn’t have the physical capacity to get up, but I was wide awake and pulling all kinds of mental stunts, my brainscreen flashing with a kaleidoscopic burst of geometric matrixes and meshes.  I truly felt that ‘d achieved a special state of mind providing me with increased mental capabilities.

            In the days before floppy disks, there were big fat harddisk drives and drums and all kinds of big mechanical gizmos that made noise and generated a lot of heat. So the machines required a lot of ventilation and this mainframe had a lot of fans. We had a power supply up on top, which had a muffin fan that whirred in the back. Below that there was this one metallic panel with sixteen little bitty lights flashing very rapidly. The bulbs protruded a bit and the light they emitted was a dim yellowish white, real friendly to look at, in contrast to an LED which is typically red and more intense.

            I zeroed in on this one nineteen-inch panel, the counter for the master system clock. We programmed the computer to time different functions, sequences, and events: at clock time such and such, do this, or at clock time so and such reset that or do this for so many cycles. The clock drove everything. Moving right to left in this row of tiny lights, the clock time went faster and faster by the power of twos. So the little bulb on the far left switched on and off so fast that it looked like it was always on. Each successive light was increasingly dimmer because it switched on and off half as fast as the previous one.

            That night, it was real easy to focus on the counter. It was so comfortable to look at. So I just stared at it, forcing my will on it.  Using my special powers, I tried mentally to slow the clock down. I was amazed when I determined that I could command the fastest light to blink off and on at a slow enough pace that I could see it. Since the lights flashed progressively faster from one end to the other, I started with the slow pulse bulb, mastered that, and ramped up to the faster ones, migrating my way across the whole panel. The power I was feeling as I successfully moved down the panel was causing  my brain to explode with a sense of exultation and achievement I’d never experienced before.

            Eventually, though, my engineer’s logic overcame my elation and called into question what was really going on here. I needed to find a secondary way to test the conclusion that I could slow time. Corresponding with the visual evidence that I’d slowed the clock cycle, the confirmation came acoustically in the noise made by the whirring of the fans. It's one thing to say you're controlling the pace of the lights blinking, but it’s another thing altogether to have third- party evidence in the form of a the Doppler Shift. I was slowing time to the point where I could hear the sixty cycles of the hum and the beats of the fan. The whirring sound broke up into individual beats as the blades spun round. As I slowed the flashing of the lights, I could hear the sounds of the fans drop off and intensify in depth, going from one pitch to a much lower one, lower and lower, as I moved across the ramp from a high frequency to a low one. And I could hear the same kind of shift in the surrounding noise at the same time that the fans slowed down. What’s more, I could see the entire register slow down as I focused on the first light, watching it switch on and off at the correct rate relative to the one at he other end of the panel. Hey, my eyes are taking this in, but so are my ears! It was really bitchen.

            I thought it was time itself that I’d slowed, not just the frequency of the cycles. I was totally fascinated by my apparent ability to slow and speed up time. I kept testing it again and again over several hours, staring at the panel and gradually slowing the pace of the clock counter, saying to myself, "I can do this. I can really do this." It took a while to discern the correlative sound of the fans. "Oh yeah, that shift in the pitch is consistent with that in the clock pulse...”

            To this day, I'm convinced that I’d actually distorted time within the particular dimension I was in. Usually, hallucinations come and go in quick flashes, so you have a hard time prolonging them, bringing them back, or even remembering them so vividly you can describe them in detail. I had a long time to really study this phenomenon and confirm it’s apparent reality.

            I had to finish my buttons buzz before I could summon the strength to get off the floor and start functioning again. In the ensuing days, I told some of the other guys in the company about my discovery. A while later, the lenient policy changed and I was moved to the day shift. So I quit and got a new job where I could pick my shift and get paid for doing nothing.

            Every time I did psychedelics after that, I’d try to manipulate time. I felt like I had the power to do it again, but I never again had the wonderful setting I had that night. The big intelligent machine, flashing and whirring in the dark, was the ideal object of focus, a tableau of master circuitry with the switch to unlock the gearbox of time and tinker around.



Engorged on the gorge


            I've lived a bunch of wonderful experiences, on and off of drugs, but the greatest day of my life, if I had to pick one to live over and over, was a night in the late 1970s I took peyote at Lake Powell with my old girlfriend Joanne, a beautiful blonde who had a great body and was always a lot of fun. I called her Buckwheat because she was  always hanging around good-naturedly like the character in Our Gang.

            It was our first visit to the man-made lake in Glen Canyon. We went with a group of about eight of us. I thought it would be just another lake on the Colorado River, boring and featureless, but to my surprise, it was the most majestic place I had ever seen, with incredible cliffs and supernatural rock formations. Everything about it was just magnificent. I felt very mystical and grounded there.

            Centuries before the canyon was flooded to create the lake, it was the homeland of the Anasazi, one of the oldest known Indian cultures in America. The whole area is steeped in the ancient Indian spirits. The Colorado River runs through one huge canyon hundreds of miles long. Down river from Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon, is spectacular for its immensity, but it’s rubbly, geologically speaking. As you go upriver toward the Lake, the loose topsoil disappears and you’ve got sandstone and a whole different type of soil that's harder. So the canyons that got carved there, including Glen Canyon, are a hell of a lot more beautiful and mystical than the Grand Canyon, in my opinion, even though they’re not as deep.

             We’d spent the first day in the sun, checking out this amazing place, which completely surprised me. We were deep in a canyon where the walls go up forever, floating in this giant, fifty-five foot houseboat. We’d set up a stereo on top of the boat, where there was a big flat deck. That night we took lots of big fresh buttons, which we’d blended with orange juice and gulped down. We knew that if you wanted a good buzz, you had to puke, so we let loose after a good while and then came on beautifully. There's something about vomiting them back up that makes them work better. Whether that's pharma-biologically true or not, I don't know. That was part of the ritual.

            Joanne and I left every one else below and went up to the top of the boat and got naked. After a while, we had some really great, scintillating sex, and then laid back to smoke a joint and took in all  the extraordinary surroundings. That's when I really started to peak with my head beginning to burst from a sensory overload.  How could anything be more perfect?  I was never too religious, but for the first time in my life I Knew that there must be a God and that he must have also been more than a little bit buzzed himself when he created this spectacular setting. I felt like I was in Heaven and close enough to God that I could take a joint and hand it to him and share a mystical buzz. 

            We laid there and looked at the sky and hung around the top of the deck all night. The place was really working on me. I’ve never felt so good in my life. It wasn't that I had an incredibly deep connection with Joanne. If another girl had shown up, I would have done her too. It was a combination of everything. It was a beautiful, warm night. The moon was coming out. The stars were more intense and palpable looking than I’d ever seen. We were in one of the deepest canyons in the world, a million miles from any high ambient light source. So the sky absolutely came alive.

            The best moment of my life was one song long. The chorus of Electric Light Orchestra’s "Laredo Tornado" was echoing off the canyon walls and blasting back: “Laredo Tornado...Laredo Tornado.” That night, ELO became one of my favorite bands, and I swear that I could hear God say that he was digging them too. I’d always liked them, but they really showed up differently that night. I was really appreciating how good life was at that moment.

            Normally, you're kind of sexually dysfunctional on peyote, but everything was coming together so beautifully, I was getting off on everything. Feeling so good, I got into a fit of almost chronic, cathartic laughter. I was so happy, the emotion and the pleasure overcame me. What made it so intense was the sum of all these flashes of appreciation for what was going on around me, imagined or real. Hey, I just had some great sex, got a great buzz, took a trip in Heaven and became best friends with my new bud -- God. That's very cool!

             Ever since then, Lake Powell has been my favorite place in the universe. I now have a houseboat of my own for me and my family, and this year, I'll go there three times. I'm always trying to relive that moment in one way or another. I know I never will in whole, but I get a piece of the ecstasy every time I go there.



            The narrator of this story is one a real captain of industry, the sort of self-motivated entreheur who gives me pause in arguments over taxing the rich at higher rates than those who earn less, because he is a living illustration of the self-actualizer who makes things happen and expects to be rewarded for it.

            In talking to this guy about his experiences, it was eye opening to hear of inspired and often reckless behavior related to the ingestion of taking psychedelics, even PCP (Angel Dust), yet I wonder if the same drive and willingness to face the consequences is a feature of the Type-A achiever.

            Tripping on the job is usually a strain, but in this circumstance a chance to quietly take in the hum of artificial intelligence without any supervisors around seems enchanting and atmospheric.

            Keeping the focusing on the one panel helped his mind project into another dimension. Naturally, one concludes that Jim only hallucinated his ability to slow time. Only Superman can do that and he’s not really allowed to. But is it possible his perception were so trained and focused as to enter the frequency dimension of the clock counter’s pulsings and speed up his synapses in order to detect the changes, the switchings and rotations, the rolling gears of time. Probably not, but it’s quite intriguing that the mind, with the aid of the peyote, can manufacture and sustain such an illusion, complete with both visual and audio correlation.

            Since we all notice time can seem to change speeds, flying by when we’re having fun and dragging when we’re under duress, it is conceivable that the mere perception of time can be altered at will to some degree. Whether it can be trained to perceive flickers of light at thousandth of a second intervals is hard to believe, but the holistic consistency of this hallucination is thought-provoking. It is interesting that he believed it was time itself he was manipulating and not just the speed of the clock pulse or his perception thereof. Perhaps a bit grand a claim, but working within a finite dimension between him and the mainframe.

            The narrator is a leader in the field of telecommunications equipment, an authority on electrical engineering. His command of this plane of reality is completely in sync with his proclivity for the psychedelic dimension beyond. His scientific acumen was not outraged by the claim of his psychedelic consciousness to be manipulating time. There was perhaps enough of a fusion of psychedelic and scientific thinking, so that the one informed and enhanced the other into magical state.

            One can imagine that one’s chosen field takes on a higher potentiality under the psychedelic than more quotidian matters, so it can be a vessel into which one pours his psychedelic-inspired scenarios for magic and transformation, miracle. I painter could imagine he’s created a masterpiece, a researcher the cure for cancer, etc. while so inspired.

            Still it seems like a very safe field for projecting the imagination. The experience did not induce Jim to try more complicated feats of chronological manipulation.

            The second story here demonstrates the high level of exhilaration psychedelics are capable of delivering. This is clearly a peak experience in this man’s life. The peyote deepened his appreciation of the place, his life, the music, everything.

            A nice poetic image, the iimpulse to pass God the joint. Feeling so good, he felt he was communing with the Maker.



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