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      Today, folk were lamenting over the fact that the food they had purchased in the past, was of higher quality and far less expensive. My restraint faltered and I just blurted out one word in a flippant tone, ( a la “That’s-) “Capitalism.”
 

     The responses:
 
“You know, it doesn’t have to always go there.”
 
“You should feel lucky you live in a Capitalist Society.”

     Esprit De L’escalier: Perhaps I miss-speak when I say that “I long for a world without currency.” That is not technically true, because I understand the value of quantifying resources with a fungible ledger system. It streamlines many things, such as allowing the trading of goods, services and ideas to be less complicated. As I talk, I want to say I long for a world without capitalism then veer off to the less emotionally loaded word. Capitalism is a system that penalizes empathy and rewards exploitation. Where one can shed human decency and actively practice coercion and deception as ‘just doing good business.’
     I am not very good at quickly making my ideas into words, which is why I do not like to argue or debate under the pressure of having to yell my ideas over other people speaking. To explain what I meant with more than one word: Sacrificing a bit of quality, for less expense is normal and logical practice by large corporations, coupled with the fact that there are more hungry mouths than there ever were before means that the price must go up to stem the demand. Tripled by the over extracting of the food resource which feeds into the lack of supply with ever growing demand in an unsustainable cycle of inflating prices, as wages have stagnated over the past decades, except for those at the top of the pyramid whose income keeps going up up and up.
     I just said one word, and was immediately set upon as if I used the lord’s name in vain around Orthodox folk. Basically, I was told to shut up, and that I should not think such abberant thoughts. Perhaps what I mean to say is that “I long for a world where there is no need for anyone to obsess over how much currency they have.” It is a distraction from truly important things like the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the places where we live. Gradually the ideas of the past must give way to a better change for all, or the planet will abide without our species.
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Flagstaff Arizona is a nice quiet mountain town in the desert. The journey here from Albuquerque is already filled with people and their stories like universes colliding. It’s been more than a month since I’ve written because I’ve already been to Albuquerque and am now headed on.

Fried Food Nihilism and Sewing Sound Systems

Knoxville

Seeing my old roommates again was a trip. We still got along and they are both doing fine.  They have a collection of blu-rays to challenge the very gods.  Unfortunately, pants maintenance took precedent, and probably prevented us from doing more outside activities together. Also it was frigid, and the first snow I’ve seen since New Year’s Eve in Tucson.

Julie, even in these subfreezing temperatures, had the habit of going out onto the back porch, which theirs is huge, and nice, and I hope they’re making every use of that barbecue, because that was really nice too. She has taken to watching the birds in their backyard, which was a nice sized backyard. Longer that Stacie’s but not as wide. I could probably fit five to seven garden beds there, maybe three if I was going for a spread out/permaculture set up. Julie also didn’t like being cooped up in the house, which I get.  I’m going to have to go camping with them.

Nathan showed me his nerd room, I mean recording room. His youtube hobby has really blossomed into actual devoted space for it. I also like his comic, a supernatural western is not a genre that gets much play. I can only think of a handful of movies, that even get close to the subject.  Sure it was a bit scattered in narrative, and his main female character just had to be nude at least once in each issue, because she’s a whore and doesn’t have any of those social hangups.  But at least she’s a strong female character, and much more interesting to me than whoever the male protagonist was.

I organized their record collection which was mostly music that I remember from growing up with Nate, a few choice movie soundtracks, and what I think is an unhealthy amount of Christmas music records.  Needless to say, that Nate and Julie have amassed quite a lot of stuff. But they are as I remember them, a little bit older, a lotta bit more cynical, but still a good deal pragmatic, if fatalistic in their world view.

I did eat a lot of really good fried and greasy food while with them, which was a bonus. I made a red curry, for them, Julie, being the grateful one, really liked it. Nate, the bastard, covered it in Sriracha, next time, four habanero peppers, or a whole bushel of chili peppers my friend. . . We also went to an outdoor bar where we had a few pints of craft beer. My favorite was the beer that also tasted like grapefruit.  And we went to an english pub/eatery where the food was good, but the service was pretty terrible. They still go there though because the food really was that awesome.

The Chinese food that we ordered out for on the last night was acceptable but nothing compared to No. 1 in Edwardsville. It wouldn’t even stand against Golden Star in Harrisburg. We got a bunch of veggies and batter with the intention of frying them in their deep fryer, but ran out of time because it was time to head up to Kentucky. Instead of dropping me off on the highway, which would have been perfectly reasonable, they drove me all the way to Ver Sailles. (because we’re in amur’yka it’s pronounced ver ”sails”)

From the pictures they posted on the facebooks it seemed liked those veggies were delicious.

The night they dropped me off in Kentucky, it began to snow.

So sitting here in a fastfood restaurant in Shreveport Louisiana about to head out to find a camping spot, but I’m gonna try to sum up Albequerque to here, with nonstop typing for 20minutes. ( don’t worry there is a post in the works about the bus ride from Tucson to ABQ in the queue, maybe I’ll finish it, or maybe never. )

The time is now 16:29

Abq is a town that makes me feel on edge as I walk down the massive sidewalks and extra wide streets the cracks must be massive here because there are people who are houseless everwhere and with the snow that i’ve gone through leading to the rain in this city and they have nothing but time to sit and read and contemplate in the library and i try to talk to eligible while figuring out where to stay when finally I guess henry relents and affirms that I can visit and the bus ride is short and the walk is short but in my head it is very long because my pack is just slightly too heavy but i’d still like to think that i can tough it out even if the short walk is through houses that are curved and pink and henry’s house is full of things that are important and unorganized and thriving with an atmosphere that is unjudging and never uncomfortable because his parents are just what I expect being sweet sweet people who have deep tastes for amazing things and Henry has games which I delve into the american exceptionalism and play nonstop for a day because when I stay it turns out that the next day is filled with the rainy center of a snow doughnut then the day ends and the next is sunny and bright and chilly and I go to walk on and henry says no gods no medical directors, which I can understand his sentiment, I am excited to return in a month and a half’s time

the sun is bright and Austin picks me up and we listen to his hip hop creation beats that seem to match the scenery very well with the clouds mimicking his cold piano chords and the road and wind buffering the beat of the bass he takes me to santa rosa just to drive and see if his car can go and I give him a fiver because he was once a dj but now delivers discs of pizza

and hour of walking goes by walking down one of the saddest roads that I’ve ever seen with garbage on the sides that were one businesses lining the road and they are now husks hollowed out from the times of change that this city now no longer uses but it is okay because the bank is still on this road and it is very shiny and spiffy with its neon sign and then I get to the onramp

the truck that stops to pick me up is filled with chris and his dog robin and oh my gawd why did I not make the christopher robin connection before while riding with him in his truck alllllllllll the way to shreveport, he even lets me sleep in the sleeper because the night is going down to ten below freezing and our talks stop and start being pleasant even though we are two very differently motivated people who have very little in common and 16 hours is a long time to fill when you’re afraid of offending each other and the night came and went and I had dreams of Nightvale the radio show and the after party that was filled with dances that were spinning and a beautiful latin lady who spun and danced the flamenco while manipulating a puppet that was like watching it througha rotoscope and then its heart was revealed as I spun and spun and spun

Before too long we are in shreveport. but not before I was gifted a burger and many tiny dog pets and cuddles and perhaps I will be able to be back before long and even though I’ve made it so far it is evident that this journey is just beginning.

the time is now 16:48

image

The last few weeks have been a ton of calm contemplative, at times excited, at times hopeful, at times full of despair moments. The freedom that I feel, at the same time well used and squandered, is much more complicated than being overall good or bad.  I am grateful that this space has been a safe place for me.

I see the things I do when I’m confident and the things I am afraid of doing when I have no confidence in myself.  I am content in this place, and I wonder if I am ultimately afraid of traveling again, or that I am only contented because there is a ticking clock in even my most immediate circumstances. 

If a society was a ground that holds everyone up, then, in this one, the cracks run deep and people fall through all the time.  People grow up in cracks, people throw others into cracks, and some just have the ground fall out from under them.  Those who choose to vacate their spot, then amidst all of what else there is, still stand by with a bucket of cement, I wish more of those kinds of people were in office, or that everyone just listened to more.

An ex of mine always referred to hitting rock bottom.  I think that I may have always been offended by that term, because to me, rock bottom is death.  I think financial rock bottom was what was intended, but I think that that’s become a farce, because I have been more enriched by my life  since I’ve had little to no money.  I support myself because there are a lot of kind people, and there are a few who have resources that they use for purely selfish reasons to the detriment of the future of everyone. I support myself by the support of everyone I’ve met, not just my employer or my family.

I’ve learned ways in which to support myself beyond even the need to be supported by having a corporate government supported retirement (insert retirement numbers here).  It’s as simple as breaking ground.  But isn’t merely supporting myself just another selfish reason.

In good fiction, you never make the subtext, text. If you do, it’s only to let go of it, because your story has moved on.  I am making this struggle text so that I can absolve myself of the difficulties that I’ve had in writing. Resolving to do things is hard, and making resolutions not to do things feels easier, but is impossible.  Unless restraints are put on you.  Those who speak of ultimate freedom are not trusted until their experience proves their word, and sometimes that proof is attained at the cost of others. This has been the sway of history, and intentions both bad and good are a matter of influence.

Now that the information age is just starting, or coming to a close, depending upon your perspective, it will never go away, and its remnants have made a permanent mark on this planet.  What we do now may even change the course, and perhaps may wipe away signs that this planet had such a singular experience that is our life. In the great ages of humanity, among them the Stone, Bronze and infamous Nuclear age, it is what defines you and me that I am the product of all of those generations.

I am hopeful for the future of myself, everyone and the planet.  I affirm just about everything I’ve said in this blog so far, because it is the history of me, sparse and emotional and really boring sometimes.  With maybe a good poem here or there.  Of course reaffirmation is boring, but if I have to do the third thing, then will definitely tell you about it blogosphere.

I am typing in the sunshine again while staring at a pile of old and weathered things.  There is a tv satt. dish on it’s metal tripod its cords a clump of spaghetti hovering above the ground. A bike somewhere the color between lavender and smoke, with blocky treads. Dust crowded into its crevices. Stone lamps that look like urns with thick ropes as decoration. a wooden chair inverted leaning against a lazy looking bookcase that just lounges against a flattened television box that advertises a game system and online entertainment. But the real support is offered by the dresser or desk if a metaphor can be made of that. And hiding behind even more stuff is an exercise machine, I know that it’s an exercise machine because of the black padding and sturdy metal bars bent into strange shapes, but I am not sure what exactly it’s meant to workout.  None of these things seems to be broken, perhaps replaced, or unused.  It makes me wonder about their value.

If everyone has a value, then there is a natural hierarchy of values that will develop because of my observations.  But people are not things, so considering their value is not the right way to think about it.

As 2015 opens, I’m getting the impression that this is gonna be more of a year of rage than the last one. Here’s a quick stream of conciousness post that may be pretty incomprehensible, you probably just want to skip be low it, here, I’ll turn it bold so it’s easier to dismiss.

I’m listening to Of monsters and men, AWOLnation, and The tallest man of earth

the time is now 11:01 pm

and I sit here in this tiny cell of a house which is comfortable to me if it has become a prison for my friends. it’s like seeing two terrifyingly beautiful birds in a cage of purpose and necessity. they are happy, and annoyed, frustrated, and sarcastic, and have had to believe in things that not many of us do, though we believe in things that are stupid and pointless and dumb and don’t make sense to them, and that is not a criticism, though I feel it, but I don’t ever want to criticize them, I don’t want to criticize their actions while I observe their reaction but I also want to be criticized more because they can do that between themselves and it’s a tiny thought that enters my head a tiny mote of paranoia that I feel with everyone that meet and have had learned to surf like a wave or like the internet

i know that they are kind and loving with the games they make for each other the play and the reaffirmations of the irony of most of their life in the terms of endearment that their words for behavior that they have for each other and are willing to explain carefully to me an inside joke that I know always will belong to them as sacred as sacred can be in the world because nothing can affect the way that they do things and if it does it is a reflection of what we can truly do to one another even with the best of intentions

the time is now 11:11

wow, that was weird, I guess I desire attention through criticism, so what? I can get defensive? It’s like this whole thing about muslims needing to claim responsibility and apologize for the actions of a few insane people. Let’s kill people who want to kill us, let’s kill people who think differently than we do.

Hey, here’s a dark thought, I believe humanity needs a good die-off because it appears that we have surpassed the means of this planet to sustain us and much of the life that exists.  I don’t like this idea but it’s one that seems to be proving itself more and more, double-but that doesn’t make it all right nor all right.

Of course it should be up to us on what that will look like, and currently it seems like we are best at fighting each other to those ends.  There is also the environmental collapse that we are living through right now that can get us if we don’t war ourselves to death. I am so angry at everyone right now that I am realizing that I’ve always hated the world as it is. I do not like to hate, but it is the defining characteristic of love for without it, we would be more connected to each other and peaceful and also ominously detached. 

I remember observing my father, who has not been confrontational on any issues that I’ve seen except through sacrifice, or outbursts of anger. The most unique to me is one where he quietly, under his breath, rages at the world. I wonder if he does that anymore. If he does, I would encourage that he do it over his breath at least as a beginning or if he doesn’t then he’s lived enough to be detached if he wants to be. Sometimes I wonder, with all the attachments we are born with, if life is ultimately a quest to give up those things because we ultimately with have to.  with that typed, I still have the urge to make more friends, be better at the things I do, and perhaps the world would be a better place.

Okay, so I began these travels with the need to break the patterns plaguing my life. Then it coalesced into the desire to find, have, or figure out the idea that will be for the survival of humanity.  I don’t claim to have a hard line opinion of what ideas are right, or what humanity is, or if survival is an accurate term or the highest ideal but there are a few things that I’ve learned in my travels that I always knew but never had the courage to express with as deep passion as I am typing them now.

1. Without this planet, we can survive, but we must come to grips that our home is not forever, and that humanity will eventially be homeless, if we survive.

2. The opposite of destruction, can only be placed on a spectrum between that of creation and preservation.

3. Peace is the only power than cannot be used unjustly.

4. Peace, at its worst is ineffective, or changes everything. At its best, prevents the violation of another life.

5. Global warming is real, the climate is changing, temperatures around the world once again are on an upward trend. ( This may be an observation and not an idea, but the caveat is that it should be taken into account for everything that we do. )

6. There is no such thing as renewable usable energy. Nothing tangible is limitless. 

7. Meaning is everything, it’s understanding the difference between the existence of an event and the spin. (or interpretation )

Hmm, seven is a good number right?

I might have been going for ten, or overshot five but it’s cool that I’ve landed on seven.

So this is where I’m at at the beginning of the new year.  A little older, a little wiser, a little more incomprehensible, and full of myself. Hopefully this year I’ll be able to do better at my resolutions 4 of 7 years running.

i’ll put these in bold so you can easily skip passed them if you want to.

1.  find, have or figure out the idea that will be for the survival of humanity

2. speak well in front of a large group of people

3. quit smoking

4. lose weight (be healthier)

5. write a letter to my mom

6. write a letter to my dad

(this next one is actually a new one)

7. write more letters that mean something in general

8. write (express and create and preserve) more

The weather while I’ve been writing this has gone from cloudy and cool to darker and chilly to “partly sunny” to cloudy and warm.  Sarah is working on a project as is Garth, with the patience of a thousand breezes. The neighbors walk and drive by on the dirt and gravel road. They get into their trucks and cars. The sounds of the highway and construction bleed through the music of my fancy new noise cancelation headphones but I am still thankful for being aware.

Because I can also hear the babbling choir of desert sparrows. Watch the cobblestone clouds sweep over the mountains. The rounded cacti scattered like pebbles in the sand between the many brooms of abrasive shrubs and trees. This hard, more tan, and less red earth; where puddles are preserved and allowed to evaporate away rather than soaking in.  Where it is obvious that the sun has the most power of all here, it can change everything in moments.

I’m finding that my patience with hitchhiking is fading. More often, I just want to walk than wait at the onramp.  Yesterday I walked 5 miles to I-95 from my friend Matt’s house. I then spent three hours just talking to friends on the phone in the parking lot of a gas station.  I was also just unable to decide which direction I wanted to go. No real plans, nothing to do, nothing that’s falling into my lap.

I stood at the onramp going north for a while, maybe an hour, then an hour on the southbound ramp, then I got called by Mary out in Oregon, a really awesome friend. I’m going to head out there, are it seems like there should is lots of stuff I can do, but I wish that there were things on this coast that I can really sink my teeth into.  But I really have to go out and find it. Also, If only I could figure out the best way to balance out my laziness and fear.  My dad hasn’t helped with his pushing for me to settle down and make babies, and even though he’s halfjoking, I still don’t enjoy the weight of it.  I just want to be at a place where I don’t feel like I’m taking advantage of people, but also where I don’t have to earn money.  And yet, the thought of staying in one place feels like a hot breath on the back of my neck.

Mary told me of a couple really interesting projects they’re working on out there, and I really am excited to get out there again, eventually. It feels like it’s going to be harder this time around though, probably because of the heat.  It was easy to find a secure camp spot of to the side of the on-ramp because of all the tree cover. Just as I settled in to sleep. Wil called me and we talked for another twenty minutes or so, he updated me about his business that he’s starting up on his own, and that’s pretty exciting.  He’s always been charismatic enough to make lots of money and I wish him the best, hopefully we’ll keep in contact when he’s all well-off so I can cricket at him from time to time.

Sleep was filled with conflict imagery.

Easy living for the past couple months has turned my body soft, and I feel it. I was only able to really walk ten miles today.  After I woke up, I just started walking down route 40 towards Havre De Grace.  And being in Harrisburg made me feel really depressed, and while I enjoyed my time in Elkton, I also was pretty depressed while there as well.  Harrisburg’s capitol police had shiny new black cruisers, but the Allison Hill area, just had an oppressed feeling about it.  It was even more a squalor than I remember it being, with piles of garbage on the streets and so much gunfire at night.  The place downtown where my friends live, while cleaner, they said that the rate of violent crime has jumped in the past couple years.

Around noon my pocket started buzzing, it was Grace.  Our conversation at least gave me a direction to travel in, hopefully I’ll make it to Ashville in time, I can see slow going around here in Maryland because of the density of population and while that might mean more chances to get a ride, I’ve noticed an increase in mistrust.  Everyone whom I’ve talked to, keeps warning me that there are crazies out there, and I just want to shake them and say, stop that.  Or, if I am feeling snarky, ‘no more crazy than you are’.

Ron, a networking engineer for the military, picked me up in a shiny brown truck.  He was maybe in his mid fifties and wore a red and yellow hawaiin shirt.  He said that he was only going to perrysville, and I ask if he could drop me off a little bit further in Havre De Grace, because the bridges over the river were most definitely not pedestrian friendly, I remembered this from the Occupy the Highway march.  The conversation stiltedly floated from what he does for a living, to my trumpet, to what I do.  I told him about the activist things that I do, and he got real quiet. I asked him what he thought of the issues.  “I think you’re all wasting your time, but you’re young and still idealistic so I say go for it.”

My response could have been, “Well, if things don’t change soon, there won’t be enough fresh water for everyone, and then not enough food.  The climate is heating up, and our way of life as it is will change drastically if we don’t change it ourselves to more sustainable methods.” But that’s just L’ esprit De L’escalier.

What I actually said was, “Fair enough.”

He then went on to warn me about being careful and the crazies, I didn’t shake him nor do I shout at him, just cordially thanked him for the few miles, and walked on to Aberdeen.  I spent some time in the library, charging my tablet, and enjoying the bliss of the air-conditioning because the sun was just nearly unbearable. It was a short visit because the library was closing, so I walked to the fast food joint near the next onramp to the interstate.Now, waiting until I have a full charge, and then I will probably find a camping spot and see if I can’t set out early tomorrow.

I should eventually work on blogging some more, so this is a post of intent.  Save Maumee went well, at least, no one died. Thoughts have not been making it to paper much. It’s getting hard to figure what I should keep or express right off the bat.

There will definitely be a rumination on this later. But not now, I’m in the middle of something as I’m always in the middle of things.

At least I haven’t begun, yet and again.