It's the future, Jim, but not as we know it...

There's more to tomorrow than robots, flying cars, and a faster internet.
22C+ is all about Deep Futures, futures that matter. Welcome to futures fantastic, unexpected, profound, but most of all deeply meaningful...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are You Going to Ascend Soon?

Some time ago I had a person come to me for some spiritual counseling. Let's call him Jack, and he was about forty years old. Jack was not a happy chap. He hated his job and was planning his escape, a nice trip around the world. In particular he was going to visit all the great spiritual destinations out there. 

Nothing wrong with that, you might say. Good on him for having the goolies, so to speak. Yet as I spoke to Jack it became quite clear to me that he was living a fundamental delusion. This delusion is common in alternative spiritual circles, so I am going to discuss it briefly here today. It also mirrors a psycho-spiritual delusion that is the foundation of many religions across the world.

Jack had been told by a certain spiritual teacher that he was going to ascend one day, and this formed the basis of his spiritual belief structure. 'Ascension' is the idea that you are going to be pulled up and out of the body and into a higher dimension. This other place is trypically seen as having a higher vibration, being more blissful, and generally just a lot nore groovy than the mundane world of the earth plane. Sound familiar? Well, to me this other place sounds a lot like the Heaven or paradise of most religious philosophies.

Here's the problem. Ascension is a false teaching. It is not going to happen. There are two reasons why this is vitally important to understand.

Firstly, what generally lies behind the belief in ascension (and Heaven) is the rejection of what is here now. There is a subtle desire to escape. In this sense ascension entails a rejection of the life that is before you, and also the 'you' that you are now. You are saying that this life is not good enough, this 'me' is not acceptable.

Secondly, this rejection of your life makes it impossible for you to be fully present, and it is in presence that the true joy and love of "God" is found. If you speak to those who have experienced strong transcendent experiences they will tell you that they almost always emerge when the mind is in a deeply embodied state of silent presence. Thus the great irony is that the belief in ascension actually cuts you off from presence, from God, and from Heaven on earth.

What is now before you is the truth of life. There is tremendous simple joy to be found in just being here now, in the body. You were not put here to escape. You were put here to be here.

What drives the delusion of ascension is the dissociation of mind, body and spirit - and the trauma this entails. Your mind feels this pain at all times, but it doesn't know quite what is wrong. In fact if you stop and become fully present, you may actually find yourself falling into a state where you begin to feel this pain within you. If you have the courage to give it a voice, it rises from belly and into the throat, expressing itself as a sad whining sound, like a lost child which cannot find its mother. It is the fundamental feeling of being lost and unloved. Empty. This is how I have experienced it.

The mind, in its dissociated state, is unable to recognise that it has created the pain by itself, by not being here fully. Instead of stopping to be here, it runs. It tries to escape. It finds solace in entertainment, fiddling with gadgets, 'romance', eating, drugs and alcohol, sex, gossip, reading blogs like this... Or going on a spiritual journey. It might even believe that it is going to be lifted out of the body and beyond the mundane world into a better place. In this endless seeking it turns toward a hoped-for better future, and away from itself. Yet in all this there is no relief. The pain does not heal.

The quest is doomed to failure, for it merely perpetuates the split, the separation. 

This is what I told Jack. I told him that he was already a being of light, love and compassion. There was no need for him to ascend, merely to deepen into presence. In that moment Jack didn't understand. He didn't want to. His final words to me where that he had arranged the meeting to check to see if my knowledge was coming from a higher plane. But alas my understanding is not higher, merely deeper. He decided to keep aiming for the higher place.

Yet one day, one lifetime, Jack will get it. Maybe that little seed God planted in him that day as we talked will find fruition soon. It is not for me to judge.

The only way to heal your pain is to be here now. That's it. One of the great mysteries of our species is that this is so very, very simple. Yet only a few extraordinary individuals have ever been able to master the process.


Marcus T Anthonys' The Mind Reader' now available!

What if you could see into the unknown country within men, to the dark places that even they dare not venture…?

Greg Marks is an extraordinary young man. After having several incredible paranormal experiences, the formerly average university student finds that his mind can access an undreamed of intelligence: the light. Yet Greg struggles to understand his newfound abilities. He joins a mysterious group which teaches him how to harness his intuitive abilities - to read minds and receive communication from mysterious spiritual realms. But just when it seems that he has scaled undreamed of heights, he is confronted by dark forces that threaten his very mind and soul. For Greg Marks has become a threat to those who would prefer his knowledge not be revealed to the world.

The Mind Reader is the exciting semi-autobiographical novel by futurist and mystic Marcus T Anthony, detailing many astounding events that really happened to him.

The Mind Reader is currently available directly from Marcus in eBook format (PDF) for US$2.99, and is also be available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99: here. It is available in multiple formats for computers and mobile devices here on

If you would like to purchase the eBook (PDF) directly from Marcus, click here

Early praise for the book

Marcus, have been reading your book The Mind Reader. Went to read chapter 30 but no more of your book was available. I want to purchase the rest of your awesome book - how do I go about doing this? I would like to be able to download and read on the computer.
Katie Donnelly, Futures Community, Colorado

Brilliant, Marcus; this gets better and better. Extremely powerful, it brought tears to my eyes to read it. Looking forward to reading more.
Simon Buckland, Wall Street International.

It's been a privilege editing this wonderful work. I hope it finds its way to a lot of people.
Rebecca Faith Grossman, professional editor (and editor of this book)

About The Mind Reader

What if the world we inhabit is but a shadow cast behind a brilliant, all-knowing intelligence? What if we could peel back that shadow and experience the light in all its brilliance, illuminating all that we see, hear and know? And what if that light gave us the incredible power to see into the souls of others and discover their deepest secrets?

Greg Marks is a seemingly normal young man who is thrust into a life quite extraordinary. At the beginning of his third year at the University of Newcastle in Australia, Greg begins to have paranormal experiences: voices that call to him in the night, cryptic dreams and visions that seem to be telling him something important about his life journey, and seeing an eerie light that streams from people and trees. The awakening of Greg’s inner light also makes him smarter; his intellectual life blossoms, and he finds himself going from being an average student to one who receives brilliant grades. Yet Greg is not in control of his newfound ‘brightness’. It comes and goes of its own accord.

It is when Greg is almost killed in a lightning strike that the full reality of the light is revealed to him on an exhilarating journey out of his body and into another spiritual dimension. Greg resumes his normal life, but he is never the same again.

As a means to help him cope with the confusion his newfound abilities bring, Greg joins a meditation class, and it is here that he connects with a mysterious student named Michael, who invites him to join another secretive group called the Journey of Light. There Greg stumbles upon a small community of incredible people who teach him the seemingly impossible: how to telepathically sense the thoughts and feelings of other human beings. But the teachings are not without a price, for Greg is confronted by the reality of his own traumatic past, and the terror of invisible, dark minds that stalk him wherever he goes…

From the Prologue of The Mind Reader 

"How much do you really want to know? How deep do you want to go? If you stuck a camera in someone’s eye that could record everything he said and did, how interested would you be in seeing what the camera reveals? What if that little device could also record the thoughts of that guy? Would that turn you on?
Or would you turn it off?  
Imagine that you were able to peer right into the guy’s soul, into the dark country within him that even he has never dared venture?        
I am the man who discovered the camera. I just didn't realise that it would cut right into the heart of the universe itself, and flay wide and broad the secrets of the cosmos. All those secrets. 
Before you call me mad, I have a story to tell."  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Winner!

Now is the exciting time when I get to announce the winner of my competition, which involved helping me to help name my new book, which was tentatively entitle Light. And the winner is... me. Yes, sadly, I have - at least for the time being - not chosen any of the titles provided by the three brave souls who put forward suggestions (I eliminated Wayne's suggestion as I have a feeling he wasn't being serious). This is not just a cynical attempt to save cash on having to distribute the competition prize, which is actually two of my books! To dispel any such claims, I have decided to give the prize to all three who put forward suggestions. To claim your prize just email me with your address: mindfutures-at-gmail-dot-com.

You can see my current title in the book cover, below. What do you think? It isn't easy to select titles, and in fact every single person I have spoken to has suggested a different one!

The book is currently available in eBook in pdf format (email me). It will be out in Kindle form in about a week. It should be around $4.99 on Amazon. The hard copy is probably a month or two away.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Death, Karma & Free Will: A Mystic Speaks

One of the fascinating - some might say disturbing - aspects of mystical, spiritual and intuitive experience is that sometimes different mystics can come to quite different conclusions about the same subject matter. As regular readers of this blog or my books will know, one of my favourite spiritual teachers is Leonard Jacobson. I first met Leonard two decades ago and find his teachings and insights to be truly profound. 

 Gary Weber

Another mystic friend of mine is Gary Weber. Both Leonard and Gary share a similar 'mindset' - they exist predominantly in a state of silent presence. However they have come to quite different understandings about certain vital issues: Leonard says there is free will, karma, and life after death. Gary states that there is not. So I sent a query to Leonard on his most recent video webcast, and asked him about this difference. I asked him how it was possible that he and Gary (I didn't name him) could have such divergent thoughts on these ideas. I should mention that before this question, I had never introduced Gary's thinking to Leonard. However I do believe that the two have met.

I might state that my own insights in regard to these specific points are more in line with Leonard's, and are laregly drawn from many insights I have had in meditative and non-ordinary states of consciousness. At any rate, Leonard's response to my query is well worth listening to. It is a good example of how to 'agree and disagree' without projecting from ego. 

You can see it from minutes 26.30 - 39.00 on the video below.



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Prometheus: Further and Shallower

Prometheus is the long-awaited ‘prequel’ to Ridley Scott’s Alien films. This movie is paradoxically both entertaining and disappointing, but certainly worth the price of the ticket.

The movie is visually. The spectacular the vast landscapes of an alien world are brought to life, perhaps as no other film ever has, with the possible exception of Avatar. Earth-bound cinematography at the film’s beginning is also exceptional. Grand sweeps of mountains and waterfalls herald the promise of a similar grand vision by the famed director. The viewer will no doubt be aware of the essential plot line. Set towards the end of the twenty-first century, ancient cave paintings found across far-flung civilisations point to a connection with an alien civilisation, seemingly inviting humankind to venture forth and visit them. And ‘now’ that human beings have the technology to span the galaxy, a vehicle is sent to a distant world to investigate, seemingly in the hope to uncover the origins of humanity.

Acting takes backseat in Prometheus to special effects and a promising story-line. Barely a character in the movie becomes anything more than cartoon-character deep.

Many of the characters are so ‘flat’ that their reactions in particular scenes often appear inexplicable and confusing. For example (slight spoiler incoming) when a team searching the landscape of the planet stumble across the remains of a giant humanoid alien, one of the party seems completely disinterested, saying angrily “I’m going back to the ship”. Given that this is, assumedly, the first time human beings have ever laid eyes on alien life, the reaction is bizarre to say the least.

Meredith Vickers (Chalize Theron), with her Aryan good looks, plays the role of a rather robotic executive for Weyland Industries. The robot analogy is clearly played up, given the similarity in appearances with David, the one ‘real’ robot on show.  A heavily made-up Guy Pearce plays her boss. However Pearce’s screen time is minimal, his importance being that he is the expedition founder. Idris Elba portrays the ship's captain Janek. But again, he remains something of a cardboard cut-out.

The other unconvincing and disappointing aspect of the characterisation is the sameness of the human beings on show. Each seems to be shallow, egotistical and untrustworthy. The best science fiction allows us to penetrate the veneer of human surfaces to peer into the soul of mankind. Director Scott did this brilliantly in Bladerunner, where Rutger Hauer’s amazing performance as the replicant (robot) remains a defining performance in the long history of Hollywood robots. Other characters in the film also spring to life.

Having commented on the lack of characterisation in Prometheus, the one redeeming and memorable acting performance is that of Michael Fassbender as the android David. Ironically, without his meticulous acting the film would be devoid of any genuine soul. Like the androids in Alien and Bladerunner, this machine man has depth and complexity, as well as a seemingly mischievous agenda which seemingly transcends his programming. 

 David (Michael Fassbender)

The ultimate disappointment of Prometheus is that it fails to address any of the questions that it apparently seeks to answer – the deeper existential and spiritual queries of the human species’ place in the cosmos, or the ‘meaning’ of life. Of course the refusal to answer the questions is not a ‘sin’ in itself, as great science fiction films are notoriously ambiguous in this respect. It is the refusal to address them in any genuine way which disappoints.

In part the problem is that both the aliens and humans depicted are driven by little ‘higher’ motive than profit, sexual gratification and the survival instinct. Where are the deeper mystical and spiritual moments that a narrative that sweeps the galaxy might invite? We don’t get to see any. Instead what we get are essentially neo-Darwinian biological machines in a shit-fight to survive, to destroy ‘the other’. This leads me to wonder whether Scott’s own spiritual vision has stagnated in the three decades since the beautifully crafted Bladerunner was released. Thus in mnay ways Sctt's future fails to transcend what I call "Money and Machine Futures", where technology, money and selfishness dominate at the expense of greater depth of meaning and experience.

This problem is compounded by the dominance of the special effects, which are admittedly very special. They make the movie worth seeing for that reason alone. The aliens – both humanoid and monstrous – are as realistic as any seen on the big screen.

The movie retains elements of the space-horror genre. After all, Alien is probably the greatest of all such movies. It does retain elements of suspense quite well, and there are a few scary moments. But experienced horror film buffs won’t need to worry about covering their eyes (although the young Chinese girl and her boyfriend beside me did seem genuinely horrified at times!)

Prometheus doesn’t live up to the greatness of his previous science fiction films. In some ways, it is almost a parody of them. But that does not mean that it is not worth seeing. It certainly is. Despite its limitations, I stayed gripped for the entire two hours.

I give Prometheus four stars out of five. If this were not a Ridley Scott movie with such high expectations, the movie-goer would leave the cinema thinking “that was a pretty good flick”. But given the weight of expectation on the film and its director, I left feeling just slightly let down.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Video & Radio Talks by Marcus T Anthony

Here is a little complilation of some public talks, interviews and videos I have done in recent times. I hope you enjoy them. (If you are interested in inviting me for public talks and interviews, contact me, Marcus: mindfutures-at-gmail-dot-com).

Video Presentations

“Cosmos,Psyche and Our Brilliant Futures.” Talk given at the March 2012 TEDx conference at the University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong.

In this short talk I make several predictions about how I think the way science sees the nature of mind and intelligence will shift in the coming years.

“Deep Futures.” A 2011 talk about Deep Futures, given at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. 

Here I discuss the need to deepen our view of the future to acknowledge a broader range of human experience, and move beyond Money and Machines futures. The talk includes a discussion of the changing nature of human intelligence, as well as the idea of a non-local intelligence, or Integrated Intelligence. (The first five minutes is an introduction by Dr Luke van der Laan of USQ).

Short videos:

Radio Talks

"Discover Your Soul Template." On the H2O Network (New York) with Dia Nunez. In this interview I chat with Dia Nunez about the idea of the Soul Template and what it means for your soul’s journey.

"Deep Futures and Consciousness." On The Morning Brew, Hong Kong's Radio 3 with Phil Wheelan. Here we talk about how we can develop our minds to include more intuitive ways of knowing, and what it means for the future. (Scroll down the page till you see my name, then click).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Choose My New Book Title and Win!

I have been writing my latest book for a year now, and it is all but complete. One thing I am not entirely happy with is the title: Light. Perhaps it's a little bland (click here to read or download the first part of the book). So I'd like to get a little help from you with choosing the final title. 

This is a competition! Everyone who enters will get a free e-copy of the book (in two weeks). The winner will also get a hard copy of the book, plus one hard copy of my other books of choice (Discover Your Soul Template, Extraordinary Mind or Integrated Intelligence). Plus, they will get a credit in the book if you suggest a better title than the ones I've given.

To enter, all you have to say which one of the suggested titles is best OR suggest a better title.The winner will be either 1) The best new title 2) ONE of the people who choose the most commonly selected title of the one's recommended below. In the second scenario, I will just draw the names out of a hat.

Don't forget to either send me your email address, or if you don't want to do that, check here on 22C+ within the next two weeks to see if you have won (mindfutures - at - gmail dot com). There will be a new post on this site to announce the winner, but I'll also announce it in the comments section below, so you should receive an email saying there is a new comment on this post at that time.

The title has to match the theme and style of the novel. You can see a brief introduction to the story below the suggested titles. It is about a university student, Greg Marks, who learns to channel consciousness and read minds. The upside it that he becomes a lot 'brighter' - including academically - and develops incredible intuitive abilities. The key conflict emerges when he is confronted by some very dark 'energy', which is effectively trying to destroy him. He also has a hard time trying to reconcile his newfound abilities with what he is being taught at university. This is why my suggested titles are mostly centred on the idea of an interplay between light and darkness. Clearly, the book is about a spiritual journey.

The book is semi-autobiographical - 20 years of my life condensed into one. Most of the 'paranormal' events described really did happen to me.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions. Leave them in the comments section, below.


Suggested Titles
  1. Light
  2. The Light of Shadows
  3. Shadows at the Edge of Light
  4. Shadows of the Light 
  5. The Light of Darkness
  6. The Mind Reader
  7. A Darkness Beautiful
 About the book
Something awakens...

There is a doorway between this world and another more mysterious domain. Greg Marks is about to stumble upon the key, and open the door. Unbeknown to him, he is about to discover something wonderful; something terrifying...


      "How much do you really want to know? How deep do you want to go? If you stuck a camera in someone’s eye that could record everything he said and did, how interested would you be in seeing what the camera reveals? What if that little device could also record the thoughts of that guy? Would that turn you on?
     Or would you turn it off?
   Imagine that you were able to peer right into the guy’s soul, into the dark country within him that even he has never dared venture?
      I am the man who discovered the camera. I just didn't realise that it would cut right into the heart of the universe itself, and flay wide and broad the secrets of the cosmos. All those secrets. 
     Before you call me mad, I have a story to tell."  

Light is a semi-autobiographical novel which dares to venture into the frontiers of mind and cosmos, detailing many events and experiences which actually happened to the author.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Profound Simplicity

I simply love the message of Leonard Jacobson. Leonard's message is deceptively simple, but truly profound: embrace the present. If you have a few moments to spare today, I think you would get a lot out of watching at least some of this video, below. I don't know of any spiritual teacher today who is as  wonderful, warm, humble and wise as Leonard. He really does walk the talk. The best thing is that he provides people with very simple tools to transform their lives, and free them from the grip of the "mind" and its illusions.
Here is Leonard's latest video webcast. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review of Sheldrake's 'The Science Delusion'
The Science Delusion is Rupert Sheldrake’s latest book. I found this book to be an excellent and very readable presentation of some of the problems facing frontier science. All in all it is a great read. It’s a definite five stars in my book.

Let me begin with the only major criticism I have with the book: the title. The name “The Science Delusion” is obviously a response to Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion. I think it is the title more than anything which has offended many in mainstream science, or those members of the public who have a strong atheistic or skeptical mindset – i.e. those who like to read Dawkins’ books.

 Rupert Sheldrake
An article about Sheldrake’s book in The Guardian online attracted some savage criticism, bordering on hatred. It was clear from many of the comments that many of the critics have never read The Science Delusion or any of Sheldrake’s other books, simply because their criticisms were so far off the mark. One poster simply wrote “What the fuck is this shit, and what is it doing in The Guardian?” Another comment lambasted Sheldrake for being a non-scientist writing about science, and having never conducted experiments. In fact Sheldrake has a PhD in biology from Cambridge, and has designed and conducted some of the most ingenious experiments imaginable. His telephone telepathy experiments are simply ingenious in their simplicity.

My point here is that the title appears to have set up Sheldrake and The Science Delusion as being anti-science. In fact, as Sheldrake himself argues, he is neither. The book simply addresses key issues in the philosophy of science. Its key target is the philosophy of materialism, and the rigid scientism which so often emerges from it. There is nothing that says that science has to conduct itself within a worldview where materialism is a founding ideology, and where the machine universe is its founding presupposition.

So there are better titles that could have been chosen.

Instead of being anti-science The Science Delusion pries open ten founding presuppositions of scientific materialism – each with a chapter of its own - and identifies key problems within all of them.

1. Is Nature Mechanical? 2. Is the Total Amount of Matter and Energy Always the Same? 3. Are the Laws of Nature Fixed? 4. Is Matter Unconscious? 5. Is Nature Purposeless? 6. Is All Biological Inheritance Material? 7. Are Memories Stored as Material Traces? 8. Are Minds Confined to Brains? 9. Are Psychic Phenomena Illusory? 10.  Is Mechanistic Medicine the Only Kind that Really Works?

At the end of each chapter Sheldrake asks several open questions to materialists. Each question is designed to gnaw away at the delusion that these founding principles of scientism are part of an immovable bedrock; instead Sheldrake attempts to loosen their iron grip on unthinking practitioners and advocates of science by implying that each of them is more uncertain than is often taken for granted.

Rupert Sheldrake makes reference to his hypothesis of morphic resonance periodically throughout the book. This hypothesis states that nature/life operates within fields of intention which operate ‘above’ the simplistic reductionism/genetic fixation which dominates so much of mainstream and popular science. Whether morphic resonance will pass the test of time remains to be seen. But the success of the book does not rest on the validity of the idea of morphic fields. This is not a book seeking certainty. Instead it seeks to acknowledge the ambiguity which lies behind business-as-usual science and education.

I agree with Sheldrake that morphic resonance fits the evidence better in certain fields of enquiry, especially in terms of the nature of consciousness. There is simply too much data and evidence that is currently dismissed or explained away as “paranormal” in mainstream cognitive science (it doesn’t fit our worldview, so we can ignore it). The extended mind – mind which is not merely contained in localized skulls, but is entangled with others minds and the environment – simply must be accounted for. It is too important a part of life, nature and the human condition to be dismissed any longer.

I find The Science Delusion to be very thought-provoking and entertaining. It is, I believe, a book that should be read by all science students – and in fact anybody with a high school education. Readers may not agree with all of it, but the questions it asks are too important to be ignored.


Sheldrake, Rupert (2012-01-05). The Science Delusion . Hachette Littlehampton.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What a F#*% Up!

Does Spirit have a sense of humour? Some people certainly think so. The way I look at it, if we have the ability to laugh at life, and laugh at ourselves and even at others, then it is part of "Spirit". Here's a little story which leads me think that maybe someone or something up there does have a sense of humour. For those offended by the "F" word, turn away now!

A couple of days ago a friend of mine, Joe, called and invited me for a weekend trip to Macau with two other male friends. It was to be a boys' weekend! Macau is the former Portuguese territory not far from Hong Kong. I had nothing else planned for the weekend, so I said "Why not?" This was not the first time I have been away with Joe. About eight months previously we went for a night away to Zhuhai, another nearby town. On that occasion my friend booked two rooms at a local hotel for us, using his credit card. On this occasion he told me the name of the hotel, and mentioned the price. I said that was all OK for me.

So it was that yesterday afternoon I found myself with my three friends sailing aboard the hovercraft ferry heading towards Macau. The trip is just over an hour, so we all took the time to have a little nap in our seats.

I am blessed - or cursed, perhaps - to have a lot of visionary experience, and as is nearly always the case, as soon as I became drowsy a simple image came into my mind. It was of two words typed into a computer screen: "Fuck up". It was a very clear image, and so unexpected that I dismissed it as some random projection emerging from my psyche. So I just let it go.

We arrived at Macau port, and made our way to the hotel via bus and taxi. We rocked up to the hotel reception in high spirits. Macau is quite a party town and has a vibrant nightlife, so 'the boys' were pumped. Sadly, a couple of egos were about to be deflated.

When my friend presented his credit card at the counter, I asked him if they needed my ID too. He looked at me wide eyed.

"You booked your own room online, didn't you?"

I hadn't! I had just assumed my friend had booked two rooms, just as he had on our previous 'road trip'.

I couldn't believe it. We were in Macau on a weekend, one of the busiest places on the planet, and rooms would be difficult to find. But things were about to get worse. The receptionist then informed Joe that his booking was for the following weekend, not that night! Since he went through an online booking agency, the hotel was powerless to change the booking. 

 Joe turned back to the rest of us.

"What a fuck up!" 

As soon as Joe said the words, I recalled the vision I'd had on the ferry.  I couldn't help but laugh, even though it was a frustrating situation to find ourselves in.

Joe cursed a few more times, but there was nothing we could do. He was adamant he had chosen the right date when he had booked, but that was useless to us now. An over-the-counter booking was three tims the online booking fee.

My other two friends had made their bookings without problem. So they were set for the evening.

The hotel was kind enough to let us use a computer to go online to look for another room. Unfortunately the booking web site (the same one) showed all rooms at that hotel booked, so we had to make a desperate search for another hotel that wouldn't cost the earth (late bookings are usually more expensive, as cheap rooms go first). Luckily we did find two rooms at reasonable price at a hotel very close by. Joe used his credit card to make the booking. We made absolutely certain the date was correct. We breathed a sigh of relief when the confirmation booking came through.

Joe and I made our way to the next hotel, our two colleagues tagging along. It was only two hundred metres away! Again we found ourselves rocking up the the counter. My friend produced the booking number, ID and some money. The young attendant went to her computer to confirm the booking.

"Sorry, your booking is for next weekend, sir," she said flatly.

"What? That's impossible!" Joe said. "We made absolutely sure the date was correct! Can we just change the date and stay tonight?

"Sorry, we have no rooms tonight, sir!"

Several more curses echoed around the room. Clearly the problem was something to do with the web site we had used, but it didn't help our cause. The receptionist was less than helpful, and refused to let us use the hotel computer, so we made our way back towards the first hotel. Joe had just made two useless credit card bookings through a less-than-reputable Chinese web site, his credit card having already been debited $US600 for services he would never be able to use - and with the possibility of a refund being minimal.

As we walked Joe kept making clipped references to the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down, where the main character snaps and starts blowing people away with a shotgun. 

One of the other guys laughed. "Oh, what a total fuck up! I wish I had my video camera here!"

The first hotel kindly let us use their business room computer again. This time I used my credit card and a different booking site. This site showed that we could book a room the very hotel we were in, so I booked two rooms, triple checking the date. Moments later I got a confirmation email. We had to pay about 20% more than our two friends, but we were just happy to get a bed.

We'd wasted about two hours of our day, but we didn't let it spoil our evening. We went out on the town and had a great time eating, drinking, and behaving badly. And laughing lots. Fortunately, there were no more fuck ups.

Thank God!