Friday, November 28, 2008


I was reminded this morning of a discussion I had with a friend a few years ago regarding success. If I say Jane is a successful woman, if you are honest with yourself you think of her as making money, achieving some social status, etc. You probably even see her in a business suit. If I say "John is a successful artist" you almost certainly think of the number of paintings/sculptures he has sold. Success is first off thought of in terms of wealth and "accomplishment" where "accomplishment" itself is understood in terms of wealth and power.

I know that there are a few who are simply contrary who will immediately say something about the "successful" people, such as Mother Teresa, who never gathered in wealth for themselves, but even in such cases we are focusing on celebrity, fame, etc.

With those exceptions in mind, we then start to think of others: artists, orators, writers, etc. who may never gain fame or fortune in their lives, but still seem to fit what we would deem successful.

So then, we can see that our initial notion of success is flawed at best. So then what is success?

In the conversation with a friend, I answered this question along the lines of the following: Success (in life) is living the life you choose to live, accomplishing the goals you set for yourself, being the person you want to be.

These travels for me serve as rungs of the ladder of success. Building my own home will be another such rung, and a very significant one at that.

But do not feel a need to follow my path. Seek your own, examine what it means for you to be successful in your life and simply do it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Second Stage

Well I have arrived at my next temporary home, with my temporary home (my caravan), in the backwoods of some quite old mountains in the central US.

The trip here was eight and a half hours of stress pulling a caravan which outweighs my truck. This alone was a challenge, but doubly so for someone who had never pulled a trailer so large before. Still I arrived safely after only minimal issues. The caravan is leveled and held by the leveling jacks, with the water and electric to hopefully be connected tomorrow. I must make some changes to the facilities here where I am parking the caravan for the winter, as it is set up for larger and newer mobile abodes than the one in which I will be staying..

A brief word about this caravan. It is 33 years old, but wears her age well. Though not in perfect shape, she is in damn good shape for the age and should serve as a snug and comfortable home until I can get the first home of my own design and construction built. One of the surprising aspects is a bed larger than any I have slept in previously. To those who do not know me in person, this means that I will fit for a change.. I am well over the average height and so tend to find most beds very uncomfortable as they require me to curl up into a ball, else dangle my feet off the end, which puts great stress on my back. So this better than king size bed in this caravan is a great source of personal pleasure.

Another element is less appealing at first blush though much more so upon some contemplation. This is the ceiling height. The ceiling is about 2-3 inches too short for me so that the only place I can stand straight is directly under one skylight. Obviously this adds challenges, but as I said after a brief contemplation I found that this is a benefit in truth. Having a home where I cannot stand erect forces me to get outside and enjoy the natural world all the more. As I am hoping to use this time to lose weight and gain some endurance in my hiking, the short ceiling is a lemon which makes great lemonade.

With this Thanksgiving time now behind us, I hope to get the caravan in order, and begin a time of rest from the efforts and stress of both my previous location and of moving itself. I will also be marking trees and standing dead wood for use as beams, posts, girders, and filler for my timber frame underground home which I will be building as soon as possible.

There is much to do preparing for the building process so I hope to accomplish much if not all of that while the weather is less than ideal for building. I will be intermingling that effort with examination of plants, wildlife trails and other aspects of the specific locale I will be inhabiting for some time to come. With luck I will spot many possible wild edibles, places where snares may be placed (if I choose to employ these), and places which will serve as prime spots for contemplation and writing.

A final brief note on the latter. The last few months have allowed me to once again enjoy teaching and being in an environment thriving on seeing truth and wisdom. This is a rarity not to be ignored or overlooked. As a result I am once again inspired to work on some projects which have been in the back of my mind in the fields of morality and perhaps philosophy of language. I believe that some of the work I have in mind will serve to clarify some key concepts which cross the border between philosopher and layperson, and which can help us to better understand the foundations and nature of morality itself which we already use on a daily basis.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Last night I finished my stint as a guest lecturer in a bio-ethics class. The evening ended on a high note, with appreciation and thanks given by the students, wholly unexpected by me in a class which is mandatory for most of them.

Though it was much appreciated, the thanks was entirely a bonus to a wonderful experience, a reminder of what I once enjoyed: teaching.

With the promised increase in racial tensions and special barriers to be erected against folks who look like me, promises made by the president elect, I must savor this last opportunity.. I fear that we are entering another dark age where skin tone, genitalia, and political bent are all put above ability, merit, and truth.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Building a dream

One of the purposes of this most recent set of travels is to arrive at the place where I expect to live for at least many years, if not the rest of my life. I had thought that this would be one location, but that has come under some scrutiny due to some difficulties with one of the owners of the land. So I am now looking at my second choice, which to be fair was a very close second anyway.

What this means for me is that I get to build the underground home I have wanted to build for some time now. I suspect that what most folks think of when they think of an underground home is something like a cave, or a dark damp basement. The plans I am developing will be neither of these.

As is my wont, I have read all that I could on the subject, and the most helpful as well an enjoyable book on the subject is The $50 & Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler. He built his first U-home in 1971 and is still living in an expanded version of this same home, and expansion which cost $500.. making the home's total cost $550.. I have never even heard of any other home being built so inexpensively and yet still retaining efficiencies not found in the most expensive of homes today. Imagine cutting your heating and cooling costs by 80%!...

His own home still retains great views, and lots of light thanks to some ingenious placement of windows, and some ideas which ran/run counter to the expected, yet result in many great advantages, which elminating many of the major negatives which can come with some u-home designs.

Mike himself is obviously quite a character who very clearly expresses his opinions, not all of which even I can agree with, and thinks about building and living in ways long forgotten or overlooked by most of us. His writing is as charming as it is informative.

If you have any interest in building, in energy efficiency, in self-sufficiency, or even in green house growing, pick up his books The $50 & up Underground House Book and Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book.. both are a joy to read, easy to understand, and serve as a fine example of what we each can do if we start thinking for ourselves rather than just go along with what is expected.

I have just finished the basic layout of what I suspect will be the final design of my own U-house. There is a certain point in the design process when it feels that everything is coming together and the basic design feels like a final version. That is where I am. This does not mean that I cannot or will not tweak the design, only that I have a wonderful fairly detailed design from which to begin.

Easier traveling

Thanks to the $2.00 or 50% decrease in the price of gasoline over the last few weeks, traveling has again become somewhat affordable. A tank of gas now only costs under $50 for my truck.. not bad since for quite a while there I could not even fill it before the automatic cut off on the pump would shut off at $75 or $80...

With the cult of Obama ranting and raving about how the high price of gasoline is the personal responsibility of George Bush, and since this drop in price preceded Obama "election" much less before he has assumed power, one would expect these same cultists to be heralding Bush for the largest drop in the price of gasoline in history..

Has anyone heard any such praise for Bush? (Not that I like him) Or are we just seeing yet another example of the blatant hypocrisy of some folks?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

On suicide and going to prison

With the announcement of Obama claiming victory, and with his purely evil health care insurance company subsidy, paid for by the poor who must choose between eating, clothing, and shelter, or paying this extreme health care subsidy directly, or else suffer the threat of prison, I am facing a difficult set of choices.

I will not go to prison.

I cannot afford to subsidize the health insurance companies with my income (It is FAR cheaper for me to pay for my own health care voluntarily and directly rather than to get insurance).

So my choices are very limited under the Obama attack on the poor, well under this particular portion of the Obama attack on the poor (the dramatically increased tax rates, the dramatic increase in government intrusion and regulation, and the dramatic decrease in the already diminished liberty all harm the poor the most) are as follows:

1. Go to prison.
2. Leave the country, hoping that I am allowed to leave and that the US does not enforce its claim to always and forever own everyone who has ever lived here. Yes this really is the US position on citizenship, you cannot voluntarily give it up no matter what you do.. You are ALWAYS beholden to the laws and taxes of the US government in their eyes.
3. Hide and hope that I do not get caught of if I do get caught being responsible for myself, then

4. Suicide.

Of these I know which option I want, but I no longer have a clear path out of the country. So I am left with the other three choices.. I will not go to prison leaving only two..

More and more the fourth seems to be the most appealing, and in fact the most rational.

I suppose I have until Jan 20th or perhaps a bit longer to decide.. :)

Please DON"T Vote

In the US today there is a great frenzy of activity and open calls for increased violence against innocent persons. There is a celebration of coercion, theft, and violence that is formally sanctioned by those in power, and a percentage of the population. We call this celebration of such evils "Election Day"

When you vote you are stating that you do not believe that anyone else is equal to you in worth. You are stating that you hold yourself so very high that you are infinitely better suited to decide how others should live their peaceful lives.

If you do vote you should realize that while you do not give up any right to complain you do become a hypocrite the moment that you do complain about ANY action taken by government, or about who gets into power. By choosing to vote you are granting your consent to not merely one candidate, but to the very system itself and ALL Of the actions taken by that government. You are saying that the imprisonment of innocents is morally good and justified. You are saying that the killing of innocents by that government is morally good and justified. You are giving away not merely your freedom and that of everyone else who comes under the heel of that government, but also your integrity.

Remember that if you do decide to vote today, you are pissing all over your friends, family, and everyone else. Have the courage and integrity to do so directly. Tell them that you think that they are not smart enough nor worthy enough to live their own lives, so you will decide how they should live.

Tell then that you do not respect them enough to no cause them harm. That you do not care for them enough to let them make their own decisions about what peaceful actions that want to take.

Tell them that you so despise them that you are giving your consent to the thugs who will steal their property, and threaten them with violence or imprisonment.

Or you could choose to be just, moral, responsible, thoughtful, reasonable, respectful, compassionate, caring, logical, principled and pragmatic and refuse to vote.

Please choose the intelligent peaceful and responsible route and do not vote.