Friday, July 31, 2009

Computer outage

As I began to go through the morning routine of checking email, weather, and the like the new computer died on me. Near as I can tell the hard drive is shot.. so until I can get another computer or this one repaired I will be offline..

Thursday, July 30, 2009

For Kim

Twenty-nine years ago or so this goofy looking socially awkward kid took it upon himself to stand up for a little girl who seemed to be getting the short end of the stick at a family gathering.. a couple of years later that ongoing role was captured on film.

This is a rare shared memory between Kim and I, and perhaps a beginning to something which led to where I am today. Regardless, I was made better for my interaction with that little girl, perhaps even when we reconnected as adults telling ribald stories and keeping the family traditions in liquid refreshment..

We both recalled the day of this photo, and I the Easter which started this role for me. For a person who lives very much in the moment, this shared memory stands as a landmark for me, reminding me that though I walk a solitary path usually blazing it as I go, there are times, or were times when that path crossed others and was better for it.

I took some heat in recent years for offering Kim a place to live while she sorted our her life, a time which some have demeaned by claiming mental illness on her part, chalking up the effort to learn and live to being bipolar, but I know better. Kim had her problems, including medical problems, but she was no more bipolar than the earth is a cube. Her memory deserves better.*

She and I often did not see eye to eye as adults, but we each saw that the other was walking a path with intention and some degree of strength. We each knew that the other has flaws, but respected one another nonetheless.

Kim grew into a woman I sometimes grudgingly liked, but always loved. She could annoy me at the same time that she made me laugh out loud. She expected great things of herself and of the world.

She expected me to be her protector, drinking buddy, sounding board, and honestly I probably don't know what else. I probably did not excel at any of these, but I did what I could when I could, and I will cherish the memories of the various times, from the little girl in her Easter dress to the woman ordering her own special concoction from the bartender who she had already worked into the palm of her hand..

Our time was far too short cousin.. my efforts too little.. my thanks always left unspoken. I am headed to Austin which you loved, and I will drink your silly girlie drink concoction in your memory.. It is too little and too late, but thank you for helping me to become who I am.

*no offense intended to anyone truly suffering from bipolar, the comments are directed at the falseness not the particular accusation.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More Travel

A trip to north Texas area, and then on to Austin may well be in the works. Due to the untimely passing of a family member, there is reason to head to north Texas. Once there the additional 3-4 hours to Austin make some sense provided that I can pick up some work there to cover the cost of traveling.

It would indeed be nice to see friends again down there, and I must admit a craving for the ever desirable, always delectable Freebirds!

More later as I learn more about the arrangements and timing.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Blog changes

As you may have noticed I have changed the name of the blog. With that name change comes a slight change in focus, from exclusively travel and the building of my off grid home, to include elements of philosophy, including a focus on the value of the individual.

As the title implies, I have no desire to rule any others, nor do I accept the claim that anyone has the right to rule me (or any other person for that matter). This is the pinnacle of peaceful coexistence and the necessary consequence of simply recognizing that others are also inherently valuable.

As this understanding and respect for others has been one of the major factors in the decision to lead the life I am living, including the off grid home I am building, I decided that I should not try to separate it out from the adventures of living.

I hope that you enjoy these changes..

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fresh food

Even though there are many difficulties right now, and I may well be at a crossroads, there is still much to enjoy. Fresh raspberries for breakfast, right off the cane. Blueberries for a mid morning snack, needing only a bent knee to harvest. Dinner tonight? Fresh mixed beans (Chinese long beans, Adzuki beans, haricot verde (green beans)), Chinese cucumbers, which in my experience are the most flavorful without any of the bitterness of regular cukes. in basalmic vinegar, mustard (real mustard not that neon yellow stuff) garlic, black pepper, a touch of cayenne, and salt marinated in the fridge. And fresh tomatoes sliced with salt for a appetizer.

If I were willing to heat up the house by cooking, I could have corn straight from the stalk as well, with a side of edamame.

This is a time of abundance, even in the small garden to which I have access so though my mind may be troubled by other considerations, my body is quite satisfied with the bounty of non-processed, fresh and flavorful produce at my doorstep.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Anyone else notice the not too subtle return of generics in the food aisles? Mind you I am a fan of them, seeing no reason to pay for a name. Heck my own was given to me, why would I pay for another?

Anyway, on the shopping trip today I noticed again that white packaging was making a comeback. Sure it is still slicker than the quintessential six pack of cans labeled "beer" (my favorite example of generics) but I suspect that some marketing guru somewhere pointed out that the white packaging reminds folks of a certain generation at least, of discounted, inexpensive options, thus the comeback.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I have to admit that though I am a fan of scientific achievement and particularly space exploration, I am sick at heart of hearing about all of the advancements "due to" or which "would only have come from" the moon missions. The truth is that we either would have developed these technologies as they became necessary, else they were never necessary.

No government has ever or will ever create or otherwise be responsible for advancement of the species. This is self-evident but also easily proved once one considers the purpose and nature of government.

All government exists for the sole purpose of controlling others. Those in power assume that they are angels with no need of control, and many who are slaves to the powers that be agree with smiles on their faces. What this means for technology or for advancement is that the focus of these advances will always be in the form of control of others.

So when you look to the advancements of the space mission, look to the use of emotional appeals to increase taxation. Look to the increase in the use of cameras such that it is almost impossible to be in public but not on camera.. Look to the abuses of power for personal gain.

These are the legacy of the space mission, and every government endeavor.

As are 70 pound fancy calculators.. prohibited research into fuel cells and the infamous billion dollar pen which can write in space (the Russians were smart enough to use a pencil!!)

Microcomputers, modern fuel cells, and even fancy pens are the result of private individuals seeksing to make a living. Never forget this fundamental lesson of liberty..


I have been asked by a few folks if I am at a crossroads, and the truth is that as they mean the term, I am. But what I found interesting in the questions was my own reaction which is that we are always, or should always be, at a crossroads where we should seriously consider our next step which will begin a new path, a new direction, perhaps a new adventure.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

James Bovard

One of the writers I enjoy reading for the clarity of thought, precision of language, and for the defense of the reasonable (aka "liberty") is James Bovard. I was turned onto him during a week long seminar at the Institute for Humane Studies more than a decade ago, and have enjoyed much of his writing since.

All of which is simply a brief introduction to a very humorous post from Bovard here:

While not central, nor even representative of his areas of focus, it is delightfully amusing, and to anyone who has ever worked on cars, houses, or other mechanical devices, completely unsurprising..

Read the article, then this anecdote will make more sense:

Many years ago, some friends were renting a room from me, and as a favor I did some work on the car of the girlfriend of one of these guys. (She was sharing a room with the guy.. ) At that time in my life, I swore very rarely. So rarely that most folks who knew me would have told you that I simply never swore. So while working on her car, I apparently let loose with a string of explicatives after some bolt slipped for the umpteenth time, or some part would not go into place.. She came out the door and to her credit asked if I was alright. Puzzled, I said, "yeah I am fine. Why do you ask?" It was then that she commented on my use of profanity, which she rightfully understood to be out of character.

In a rare moment of perfect clarity and timing, I responded that profanity is an essential tool in car repair..

While I may have loosened my tongue a bit when it comes to explicatives, I do still hold that the maxim is not merely true but absolute. Vehicle repair necessitates profanity!

That said, I will add one addendum: Or a damn fine mechanic!

To tell the truth, I prefer the latter to the former.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Reading: Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist
Gift from Earth

As you may know, much of the south is suffering under near record temps and unfortunately drought. These factors are not lost on me trying to build in what is at a stretch "the south" aka my current house site. I was recently informed that it may be likely that I will need to sink a well, something I have been avoiding not only because the cost and environmental damage, but also because the well water here is decidedly nasty. I am perhaps the biggest fan of well water, and still (pun intended) I will be the first to say that this well water tastes like an omelet of rusty nails and rotten eggs (iron and sulfur) with the appearance of weak tea..

The upshot is that I now must look even more closely into rain water collection and perhaps consider 5000 gallon tanks or the like to get me through the two to three months of possible drought times.. else drill a well.

Or perhaps better yet reconsider building here.. unfortunately I have invested a year prepping for this build, and that same year losing income so my options are more limited than I like. Still, other mountains do call out...

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I am going to make an effort to note what I am reading with each post, or at least often enough so that anyone interested can follow what has risen to the top of the reading list.

Currently I am reading Epitaph for a Desert Anarchist: The Life and Legacy of Edward Abbey. If you are not familiar with Abbey, then become familiar. He is a character much worth reading.

I just finished Harry Harrison's One Step from Earth, a wonderful science fiction collection.

I managed to get a window ac unit installed today in the caravan, though it is struggling to keep the place tolerable. I am hoping that once the sun goes down that the unit will cool the caravan sufficiently to sleep.

Such is the state of affairs..

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Back in the hills

I am back in the hills again after a successful trip. There is a great deal to think about, and perhaps blog about on the trip though none of it travel related, or location related, but instead life and liberty related. I have to decide if I want to explore the question of the celebrations of the 4th here or not, or address this and other topics in a separate blog such as bringing the Letters Not Sent blog back to life..

In the meantime, the long absence from blogging has ended. I will start to once again provide regular updates, and I sincerely hope very soon to have those include photos of the excavation starting..

Amongst the things that have happened during the silence, has been a changing of phone and numbers.. so if I've not given you the new number, and you had the old, then drop me an email. I have lost all of my numbers thanks to a cracked and thus unreadable phone screen and a very unhelpful AT&T "customer service" division..

Tomorrow will bring a better day...