After my first year of college (USC Film School), I transferred, largely for the sake of clean air and trees, to the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington (my birth state). USC had been a great academic and educational experience. American Intellectual History, with Dr. Thomas Cox, was outstanding, as was American Environmental History, Film History, and my work-study in the main Film Library and also the Cinema Study Center (where I taught film school grad students to use the early Macs for word processing and basic graphics). This was 1990, and my dad, Chip O’Neil, had purchased a Mac in 1985 and uses them to this day for his financial consulting business. I was 13 then, and taught myself Excel, Word, Freehand, MacPaint, and most of the other software I could get my hands on. I created my own e-commerce site, ancientway.com, with the foundation of the Open Source Commerce (oscommerce.com) community, who I will always be grateful for. It is amazing to have a free, highly functional shopping cart system that I can modify or add onto myself (with basic HTML skills and a willingness to stare at PHP code until it makes sense–and a text editor like TextWrangler that can find and replace text in hundreds of files and folders all at once).
At Evergreen, a college well-known for its private rainforest and beach, I dived into a multidisciplinary program called Food and Culture. It ranged from textbook nutrition to films on ethnic “foodways.” We studied the economics of agriculture and took extensive food diaries, calculating calories, etc.. One of the overarching concepts was how to approach a topic from multiple angles at the same time. Later I took a great mycology course (the study of mushrooms), which also was somewhat multidisciplinary, involving field work in the Olympic Peninsula Old Growth around Port Angeles (I was the bucket carrier for a Ph.D. on contract with the Forest Service to scientifically document fungi and the surrounding vegetation) as well as lab microscopy.
I am paying Sallie Mae back a bundle for books. I am a book fiend, and especially while at Evergreen, spent a good chunk of my student loans on books. Some of them are worth more than I paid, but all of them have given me more value in shaping my mind through self-education. Does that sound 1800′s enough? If not, I’ll recommend good posture and whole foods, so I sound really old.
So when I tell you I’m “in” to silver and gold, I mean that as an academic multidisciplinarian. For about 2 years now, I’ve been studying all aspects of silver and gold in history, science, medicine, and economics. It’s a great tale, I tell you. I’d simply encourage you to explore it yourself if it piques your interest, however, I’ve collected a fairly vast amount of rare books and have read in depth on the internet as well, following the subject up to date. And I can say this without reservation–here in 2010, having an understanding of the history and current situation for silver and gold in the world economy gives one a much larger understanding of the many problems and crises the United States and world is facing today. I mean the economic crisis, the China currency issues, the healthcare debate and healthcare bill, and personal investment for retirement and protection against inflation and hyperinflation. There’s also a reason that alchemists and medicine have valued them both for millennia. There’s a good chance that the first thing that happened to you after you were born was to be given silver nitrate eyedrops to protect you from potential blindness. The silver was active, the nitrate was probably the preservative.
I was an aware and dedicated student while in the public school system, and had excellent grades. I’m not trying to brag, but to share. My math skills are excellent, and if the school system had taught me about interest rates and inflation, as well as the original and current definition of a dollar, I would have been all over that like yeast in wort.
Like many blogs, this blog is my way of intellectually “coming out of the closet.” I’ve found myself saying more than once “some day I’d like to write” as I’ve gone about my clinical acupuncture practice and herb shipping business. Perhaps a customer who has ordered from me will read this and think, “He should be reading my e-mail from last week instead!” and please know that I will in time. But I can’t just plug away at the manual labor full time forever. Writing is also my way of compiling my researches into readable, documented form and sharing them with others. The times seem so precarious, as they have been since before Lao Zi rode off on his ox. Ultimately, I may be better served by limiting my life’s writings to 5000 characters. At least I’d be less likely to betray my ignorance that way.
Cab Calloway is singing on Radio Dismuke, telling me “there’s just one thing, you’ve got to have Chinese rhythm.”