My Top 10 Odd & Offensive Achievements

Dec 7 will be the 15 year anniversary of my first domain name registration (Prehensile.com). Here are a few of my highlights along the way…

1) I am was the #3 result for “assless chaps” on Google Image Search.
Assless Chaps

2) I am the box model for Splat! “Fetish Pink” hair dye.
resume now says: "Pink Hair Model"

3) Sam Donaldson said “Get a load of that guy!…what an ego!” about me at the 2001 Webby Awards. (NOTE: I was wearing white assless chaps at the time. Seriously.)

4) I modeled for the cover packaging of several Tantus Silicone dildo models. (non-explicit.)

5) I Organized a number of adult stars to do a “Pink Aid” fund raiser & DVD after Hurricane Katrina. Habitat for Humanity would not accept the $, so we gave it to the brand new Burners without Borders. (*NSFW)

6) I shared the NBC.com homepage with Obama on Inauguration day.
NBC.com homepage

7) While living in a webcam house, MTV followed me around for a week and did a 30 min doc about my projects called, “Naked on the Net.”

8 ) I was a contestant on an Adult Pay-Per-View reality show filmed in Jamaica. (I was booted for impotence. Seriously.)

9) Had my long hair cut off on a daytime Talk Show by Danny Bonneducci, Dick Clark, and Mario Lopez. (Mario used my hair as a horse’s mane and galloped around the stage. Seriously.)

part 2

10) I was the poster boy for the Facebook precursor, “CollegeClub.com.” My face was on plastic cups, posters, stickers given out on campuses all over the country.

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And here’s a video of me explaining them in a little more detail during HugNation Happy Hour:

“Whirlpools of Wonder”

whirlpool of wonder

We think of our body as a solid object, separate from the rest of the world.
But this is a totally arbitrary perspective.
Our body is a collection of 65 trillion cells. And those cells are assembled in all sorts of specialized communities. These groups of cells form tongue muscles, bone marrow, cataracts, ligaments, nerves etc. What we consider a body is actually a collection of cellular communities working together.
The epidermis is one of those cellular communities that sort of holds the rest of the communities together, but it is hardly an airtight barrier.
Liquids, gasses, and solids are constantly passing between “us” and the world outside through border of our skin.
But even if this skin border wasn’t so fluid, could we define ourselves as “what is inside of our skin?”
What about the countless bacteria and microbes that live inside us? Are the living organisms in our saliva or stomachs part of “us?”
If the answer is no, then how do we define “us?” Are we simply the collection of cells that originated from the DNA stew of our conception? If so, then only a fraction of this body we walk around in is actually “us.”
And what of the proteins we eat or oxygen we breathe. At what point does it stop being fuel and start being “us?”
And don’t even get me started on the quarks and space dust flowing through us at every moment.
The reality is that what we consider “us” is really just a specific density of matter, at a certain moment, collected around a nervous system.
Our brain is connected to this nervous system and functions as command center to protect this complex collection of cellular communities.
But the brain is not connected to ALL of the systems. We can’t control our lymph nodes or spleen. We have no conscious sensory connection to our kidneys or bile ducts.
Again it gets puzzling, “If a system functions without our conscious efforts, is it still “us?”

It is almost as if our consciousness is on a “need-to-know” basis with our body and surrounding environments. The vast majority of systems – inside and outside our bodies – work perfectly and harmoniously without any conscious input from us. We identify most strongly with the systems we *are* put in control of (like vision or touch) but clearly we consist of many additional systems outside of our control.
So if conscious control is not what defines us…
And if the boundary of skin is not what defines us…
Then what does?
Question:
The microbes in my stomach break down the food that I need to eat. Part of me?
The tree outside photosynthesizes and makes oxygen that I need to breathe. Part of me?
Where do “I” end?
Alan Watts explains that a person is more like a whirlpool in a river than a rock. The whirlpool may be in the same place every day, it may be recognizable. But the water rushing through it is constantly changing. The whirlpool is a idea, not a concrete object.
The same is true for a school – the people move through it while the idea of it remains.
We, too, whirlpool through the world.
And just as one section of the river can never be separate from the while, so, too, are we connected.
The entire universe is interconnected. All boundaries are arbitrary.
There is only One.
One universe made up of galaxies. Made up of solar systems. Made up of planets. Made up of eco-systems. Made up of organisms. Made up of cellular communities. Made up of cells. Made up of particles.
Drawing a circle around any portion of the universe and labeling it a separate “me” is as silly as trying to catch a whirlpool with trashbag.

-John
Nov. 9, 2010

BONUS: Taking on the same topic during Hug Nation:

Moments of Kindness – Observations on 1st Saturday

Hugmobile

In big letters on the side of the Hugmobile it reads, “The world would rather hug you than hurt you.” Occasionally someone will confront me and mock my naiveté. They will start making an argument that the world is harsh or cruel or dangerous.
Be careful how you define the world.
You can find evidence to support whatever you believe…so be very careful what you believe. Here are some of the moments of kindness I observed last Saturday…that help define my world.

  • Jason discovered a huge bag of new chap stick tubes on his desk at work last week. While these are awesome gifts for homeless, their cost has made it cost-prohibitive to include them in our care packs. He asked all around the office, but nobody would admit to bringing them.
  • A friend of Merek’s mom wanted to help out. So she made sandwiches with the most expensive kosher brisket she could find.
  • John & the K Pound crew decided to skip a Friday night of partying and use the money and time they would have spent to make 160 sandwiches for the Homeless.
  • A woman and her 9 month old baby girl took a bunch of donated kids clothes and toddler toys. She said that she had all her baby’s no-longer-fitting baby clothes washed and folded and wanted to donate them.
  • A homeless woman tried on a near-new leather jacked that was among the donations. A volunteer chimed in with a smile, “That’s a great jacket!” The homeless woman took it off and offered it to the volunteer. (This happens a lot.)
  • For the 10th month in a row, friends and neighbors have spent their Friday eve and Sat day in joyful service to their brothers & sisters in need.

-John
Nov. 9, 2010

"Adjust your Baseline"

Occasionally it is important to recalibrate your baseline.

Actually, the more often you can do this, the better.

Abundance and poverty have nothing to do with the size of a bank account. If you feel like you don’t have enough, then you are poor. Getting out of poverty has everything to do with adjusting your baseline.

By baseline, I mean the conditions that you consider normal. The conditions that you expect each day. Baseline for someone growing up in Uganda is going to be much different than someone growing up in in Long Island.

Baseline is significant because it is the vacillations around baseline that determine so much of our stress & emotions. If you are served breakfast in bed by a butler every day of your life, it could feel like a horrific tragedy if you woke one morning and discovered there was no fresh orange juice. Whereas someone in Uganda might consider it a stellar morning if they had access to a drinkable glass of water.

This is not to say you should focus on others’ suffering. It simply means you should practice lowering your baseline so that you take fewer and fewer things for granted.

For most of human history, and around most of the planet, a shower would be a miracle. Not only does clean, drinkable water flow out of our walls, but we can even adjust the temperature so as to make our DAILY bathing more pleasurable.

Wow.

The majority of the world is struggling to find a glass of water to drink and we urinate into bowls of drinkable water every day. Wow.

Again, this is not an exercise in feeling guilty. It is a practice of feeling blessed.

When you can remind yourself of your blessings, then gratitude just flows effortlessly. And gratitude is the foundation for joy and abundance.

If your baseline is out of wack, then you take amazing things for granted. You get angry about a flight delay and disregard the fact that you are traveling across country is less than a day. A few generations ago, the same trip would take months. (check out Louis CK’s amazing comedy routine “Everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy”)

But this attitude of gratitude can extend far deeper than modern comforts. What happens when you look at your existence in comparison to other species on the planet? Or other chunks of matter?

From this perspective, the baseline shifts dramatically. Suddenly consciousness itself is a gift. Every physical sensation is a treasure. Every song, every smell, every taste, and every color that we perceive is a miracle.

We stop judging the quality of things and start being appreciative that they exist at all. Of all the matter in the Cosmos, being a collection of cells that has coalesced in a way that allows for physical perception AND a consciousness mind that is aware of the colorful world around us!?!? Well, that is something to celebrate.

When baseline can be reset to this level of gratitude, then each moment of existence is cause for joy. Everything is amazing. And when everything is miraculous, it is much easier to avoid the cultural trap of acquisition and wanting. The motivation to get and hoard dissolves when existence itself is a treasure. With this depth of gratitude, The measuring stick of wealth fades away and all you can see is love.

I try to adjust my baseline at every meal. I know that I’ll eat every day, so “grace” is a perfect opportunity for daily recalibration. I learned this from my grandpa.

My grace is never exactly the same, but it always includes some version of the following:

“Dear Universe, help me to see the miracles in every moment, help me focus on all that is good in the world and to stay aware of the gifts that surround me. Help me be a vessel of Love in the world.

Amen.”

-John

p.s. I am so grateful for the ability to communicate. For the tools to express. For the technology to share. Thank you for your presence and patience in receiving these words. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.