Bannana's Near Death Experiences

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Bannana's Near Death Experiences

Ode to Steve Jobs

Authored by Martti Vallila
Edition: 1

In this Bannana book I write about some of my "near death" experiences. As Steve Jobs explained, during his seminal commencement address at Stanford in 2005, delivered shortly after he knew that his life was destined to end prematurely, all of life is a "near death experience". Or should be lived as such. Live every day as if it is your last was one of the profound messages Steve delivered that day. Follow your passion, even if you don't fully understand where you are going. Go from one "dot" to the next "dot". They will be connected, in retrospect. I was not in the audience that day. I did not attend my own Stanford commencement in, '71 because I was on my way to Mindanao State University, in the southern Philippines to begin a teaching job there with Stanford's "Volunteers in Asia" program. I experienced numerous "near death experiences" during my 18 months travelling the Philippines that are recounted in the book. When my mother died I found, among her possessions, typed versions of the handwritten letters I had sent her from the Philippines, providing me a precious look back into those years. This book draws extensively on those discovered letters, and a journal I kept, and saved. It describes "near death experiences" on skis that I experienced in youth, following Steve McKinney, the first human to go over 200km an hour on skis, on mountains in North America. Steve and I were planning to write a book together. He was killed in his sleep, in the back of his car, on the side of Highway 5 in California, after surviving feats like hand gliding off Mt. Everest. (Death can come at any time.) Other "near death experiences" I describe were of the financial sort, such as the purchase of the house on Vallejo St. in San Francisco on whose roof the cover photo of the book was taken, just as I was leaving a 15-year career in IBM to pursue a "calling": the connection of Russia via its science to the west (described in "Bannana in Russia").
As I watched Jobs' address, for the first time, on You Tube, having turned sixty, I was pleased to say that I have lived my life according to advice he communicated to those Stanford graduates. I have not (yet) experienced his financial success, but am blessed to still be in the game of life. The book begins with early recollections, continues with skiing stories on snow and water, describes a summer in Alabama during which I lived with an old black couple and escaped physical death on several occasions. It tells of the psychological death I was approaching near the end of my IBM days, prompting me to take my "leap of faith" into Russia. My Russia book was focused on business. In this one I recount some encounters with a more dangerous side of the country. The reader may get pleasure from a second hand exposure to the adventures described, which are all true. My time with the Moslems of Mindanao provided me with "field-work"-like memories I share that may be helpful in thinking about the rise of radical Islamic terror.

Publication Date:
1492161810 / 9781492161813
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Adventurers & Explorers

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