Thank you for visiting!

You are invited to read Marcus of Abderus and the Inn at the Edge of the World, the first novel in my fantasy adventure series. Visit the Edge of the World! Come for the view, stay for the adventure!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Childhood Dreams-

OK. The Last Lecture has me on the subject, so I will think on this. I shall write as I think.

As I said in the last post, I don't recall my childhood dreams. Randy Pausch was able to list a number of childhood dreams in his lecture to illustrate what he was talking about.

I don't have a list. Not yet.

I really only recall one dream. I remember that in the days before I learned to read my father said to me, "Everything you may want to know can be found in books." A simple statement, probably intended to encourage me to learn to read. It worked. By the end of the first grade (they didn't teach reading in Kindergarten in those days) I was reading at a third grade level. By the end of the fourth grade I was reading at an eighth grade level. I was voracious. I still am.

What was my dream? I wanted to know everything. Unfortunately, I was too young to realize that I was setting myself up for disappointment. Sadly, I just would not have time to learn everything.

I have learned a lot, but I haven't quite mastered everything. I just don't think I am going to achieve that.

I did learn magic. I have been a clown. I don't know if I ever had a childhood dream about that, but I achieved those things. I must have dreamed about it at some point. Learning magic and being a clown were just too satisfying to have been less than a dream.

I have traveled a bit, and long to do so again. Childhood dreams? I don't know. I have always been fascinated with horizons, and what may be on the other side. Perhaps so.

I am writing, again. Thanks to the bloggosphere I can at least imagine my works are getting out there and being read. By the way, do leave comments as you travel the bloggosphere. It encourages the writers when there is evidence they are being read. And wander around a bit. There are some interesting people doing interesting things out there.

Did I ever dream of writing? I don't know. I think I have always done so. It is so easy with the current technology, it has become like breathing. Perhaps so.

As to publishing, that is not so interesting. Oh, I want to publish the novel I have written, but the process is not nearly as interesting as the writing. I need to do something, however. The sequel is expanding and I will have to start writing it before it ruptures my brain.

Story telling. I am growing hungry for mastering the art. I don't even know if I can tell a story. I can write one, probably at the drop of a hat. To tell one, to really tell one, may be something altogether different.

Childhood dreams? I am not sure. But I am seeing something growing even as I write. A traveling writer and story teller. Perhaps using costumes and magic. Hmmm.

My wife wouldn't particularly like that life. Then again, it is not her dream.

Which brings up that subject. What does she dream about? Suddenly I long to find out.

I don't know if I got wherever I thought I was going, but I like the path this blog has taken. I have some things to think about.

Things to dream about.

The Last Lecture-

I am sure that this is the subject of a lot of blogs. Randy Pausch displayed great courage in facing his death. Having experienced acute pacreatitis, I have some notion of the pain that probably accompanied his final days. That takes courage, but his great courage was in living his life. Actually living his life.

A central subject of his lecture was living your childhood dreams. I wish I could remember mine. He sure could remember his. He also managed to fulfill many of them in most amazing ways.

I could slip into a string of regrets regarding my failure to follow my dreams. I will not. That would be pointless. Though I had good reason for deviating from that path, they were not good enough. Now I struggle to get back onto that path, and The Last Lecture shall serve as an inspirational tool to aid me in that struggle.

When granted the opportunity, I encourage people to follow their dreams. Though you cannot abandon the practical aspects of life, they should not drive you. Dreams should power our lives.

That said, it is essential to learn how to identify your dreams. That is what I am thinking often about these days.

I have too often embraced bitterness in my life. I have found the root of bitterness down the paths that led away from my dreams. Though I cannot easily identify my dreams, I do know that I once had some, and have wandered too far away from them.

Fortunately, life is lived today, in the now. I can seek my dreams, and I can generate new dreams. I do not have to sit and chew on those bitter roots. I can find new paths, and seek what is better rather than what is bitter.

Randy Pausch was probably wired from the beginning to become the vibrant living being he became. Positive, energetic, and alive. Yet he chose to capitalize on those natural proclivities. Those of us who did not start with such wiring may still choose to capitalize on our strengths.

He has given me much to think about, and he has provided a light that shall guide many out of whatever darkness in which they might dwell.

Thank you, Randy. You lived well.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Less is More-

I am fascinated by small houses. Not that I am anxious to live in less than a hundred square feet. Still, I am fascinated with the idea of simplification and less.

Bigger is more expensive. More space draws more stuff. All of that requires maintenance. That draws on available resources, including time. Bigger-and-more threatens to suck away resources and doesn't always give good value.

I am more interested in exploring enough.

In a small house one can focus on quality. One can focus on details.

A small house also has a greater potential to exist off of the grid. Greater independence and self-containment.

Not a return to a "simpler age." The knowledge of those ages past should be used, but we have technologies and materials now that can offer a comfortable simple life that is largely self-contained.

I wonder if Tioga George realizes that he may well be a pioneer of a new era?

I can see families building little homes on a plot of land. The little houses are for each family member, attached temporarily to a central deck or patio. Life is lived largely outdoors, with such adaptations as are necessary for weather and comfort. The whole thing is powered by alternative energy sources. Solar panels, wind generators, and composting or incinerating toilets.

A child grows up, and moves away. Taking their little house with them! Power source and waste disposal gear and all!

Having little space would discourage consumerism. What kind of culture could replace our more-is-better culture?

I really don't know. I do know that the less-is-more appeals to me. Less to maintain. Less to move. A life of semi-permanence. No permanent foundations for movable homes. No permanent links to power lines and sewers.

The present level of technology in our culture is sufficient to make it all happen.

Will it happen? I can't predict that. I can see it happening here and there, as individuals cut their ties with the common culture and take advantage of the resources now available. I don't know if it will become common.

At this point, it is something to think about. Something to share and talk about.

That's why I dropped the idea here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I scare myself-

Sometimes my stories scare me. I wonder at the place inside me from which they spring. How slender the thread is that holds my mind together.

I have walked on the edge of madness several times in my life. It is a scary place. Perhaps it is because I have been there that the mentally disturbed inmates at the jail where I work have generally liked me.

"You treat us like human beings." one of them said. How could I not. I have walked some of the paths that they tread all of the time.

That didn't make me easy on them, however. Most were not stupid, and had learned to manipulate people with their disabilities. Yes, I treated them like human beings. That included accountability.

Some understood that I was offering them dignity along with that accountability.

Yes, a lot of my little tales were fished from dark waters. Sometimes I scare myself.

Camping update-

My work week was four days this week. That's four twelve-hour night shifts. Three days of camping in the parking lot in my Sportz II truck tent.

I don't recall being this rested during any other work week while on night shift. I would finish work in the morning, dress warmly, and go to sleep in my tent. I would awake somewhere around noon, remove some layers of clothing, eat a snack, and go back to sleep. Each day I got at least six hours of total sleep. Several hours more of rest.

My sleep is always broken when I sleep days. In the past I survived on four to five hours of sleep a day, when working nights. Seldom four to five hours of solid sleep. Coming into this period of night work, I was concerned. I am older, now, and do not think I can function on four hours of sleep each day over the course of a week.

This rather bountiful sleep has been quite a surprise. I am delighted. I must attribute it to several things. I am not struggling to stay awake on a dangerous commute, but rather get to sleep quite soon after completing my night of work. I am not disturbed by household sounds as I sleep. My location in the parking lot is distant from most of the noise in the area, and so I sleep soundly. I am also able to relax later in the day, due to not having to commute to work.

I am quite pleased to eliminate my transportation expense. I don't use fuel on the days I camp. I am also pleased not to be at risk of falling asleep on the road. Nobody gets hurt when I sleep in my tent.

I plan to refine this lifestyle, and see just how pleasant I can make it. I will probably add a radio to my kit, and try and come up with some ways to be more comfortable while reading or playing handheld video games in the tent. Perhaps some more suitable pillows and such.

My camp chair is good for sitting outside. I use one of my bags as a footrest, and it is quite nice to sit in the parking lot next to my truck. I watch the birds and the ground squirrels that live in the field near where I park.

My camp food has been simple fare, and good enough for now. I will expand the menu over time.

Tomorrow I begin my vacation, so camping in the parking lot will have to wait for a couple of weeks. I am soon bound for Texas, and a visit with family in San Antonio.

That will be much better than the bed of my truck!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Walt Disney-

I have enormous admiration for Walt Disney. This admiration is informed by a strong sense of gratitude. I know enough about the man to know that he was far from perfect. I probably wouldn't want to have worked directly for the man. I can, however, admire him from afar.

He dreamed big dreams, and did big things. I can participate in a lot of what he did. I love Disneyland, because it captures a certain magic of which Walt was a master. It is an "other" kind of place, somewhere outside the normal realms. I like that place, and go there as often as I can. Granted sufficient resources I would visit some of his other creations, as well.

I have watched most of his movies, and grew up with his television shows as a significant part of my life. Granted, some of his works leave me a little flat, and much of what I experience is actually the product of a creative culture mastered by Disney. It is, however, a creative culture that was born of his creative force.

Where that culture has wandered a bit from the essence of Walt, it is being remade in a form that is more essentially Disney. A great example of that is the reformation of the California Adventure theme park. It will be interesting to see just how well the reformation imprints the essence of Disney on a creation gone awry.

While I love Walt Disney and his creations, I also enjoy the fact that the whole of the world is not just a Disney theme park. Indeed, the contrast is part of what makes going back to Disneyland quite special. Like any good story, like any good magic trick, Disneyland requires a suspension of non-belief. It is engineered to make that suspension easy, and rewarding.

I will always recall the time I returned to the park after an absence of only two months or so. It was the year the family all had annual passes, and we were going as often as we could. I walked in the gate, handed the gentleman at the counter my pass, and heard him say, "welcome back."

When I stepped onto Main Street, I felt like I had come home from a distant land.

I liked that feeling. Thank you, Walt.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Cloth Castle-

So far the day camping thing is going well. The Sportz II truck tent seems to be adequate for my needs. A place to sleep. I am sleeping as well as I do at home, so I am not losing anything. I am reasonably comfortable. So far nobody in authority has decided that this is not a good idea.

I feel better not driving in a fog of weariness. This is safe. I am very unlikely to kill myself or anyone else if my crashing is simply a metaphor for going to sleep.

It is a pleasant little space, my cloth castle. It is not a place on the ground, that I must crawl into it and concern myself with floods and easy access to vermin. It is in the bed of my truck. The bed I use to haul furniture and garbage. Now it is also my bed of sleep.

I do plan to add a radio to my kit. Today it would have been nice.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Movies I Have Almost Seen-

Working in a jail presents numerous hazards. One you might not imagine is premature movie exposure.

When assigned to a dormatory unit, we are locked in with the inmates. This is called direct supervision. It is a system that has many benefits, and surprisingly few risks. However, for me the big danger is premature movie exposure.

The inmates spend a lot of time watching television. I really don't enjoy a lot of the stuff they watch. Hell Date is a form of torture. Who wants to watch someone else go on a date, much less one rigged to be unpleasant? I really don't get it.

My job is not to watch movies with the inmates. However, when they watch movies, I see bits of the movie as a part of supervising. This is rather problematic when they are watching a movie I want to see, but haven't seen yet. Now I am exposed to the movie, and must make an effort not to watch and spoil it for myself.

Premature movie exposure. Quite a number of movies have been spoiled for me as a consequence of my career choice.

Nobody said it would be easy.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Movie review, of sorts-

I don't watch a lot of movies. I generally watch one movie from Netflix each week. It is not that I don't like movies. I enjoy my weekly movie, generally. I just really like reading, writing, and playing World of Warcraft. And doing barbecue. And spending time with my granddaughter.

So, I just finished Beerfest. It was pretty much what I expected. A comedy about beer, and beer drinking, and beer humor. I like beer, and I like comedy. I do not think that this movie was a waste of time. It was funny, sometimes quite funny.

Unfortunately, it would have been much better with beer.

Hey, I was in the mood for a dumb movie. This certainly fit the bill. I have been working through the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series. This was a real break.

It might be fun to make a note or two here in Everything Else regarding what I am reading, and what movie I may have recently watched. Not real reports. Just some notes and observations. It is kind of cool to be able to hyperlink to information related to what I am writing, so much of the tedious work is already done.

I can just ramble a bit, point to a site, ramble some more, and close.

Just like now.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I really am enjoying my adventures in the bloggosphere. I am finding interesting people doing interesting things. I am sometimes surprised with what I find. This is a new thing, this bloggosphere. Part of that vast unknown some call cyberspace.

One place I wound up was a blog by a lady who is essentially blogging her home. A creative person, she is treating her home as a canvas of personal expression. What was astounding to me was the number of people who responded to her posts. Her prose were pleasant, and her photos very good. Still, to have over seventy responses to one post seemed amazing to me.

Tonight I found Repicheep. I was delighted. I was amazed. A man of faith who exhibited a depth and fullness that took my breath away. All so nicely displayed. If you have found your way here, I recommend you stop by his site.

For those who do not know, Repicheep is a character in The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis. He embodies the nobility of the ideal knight. I could go on, but I recommend you visit the site tagged above. It is said best there.

To see something noble and good is uplifting. This site seemed like that. I love this kind of nobility. An admiration for things that are pure and good. A true lifting-up.

My own spiritual journey has taken me through some dark places. Both dark places in the world and dark places of the soul. Perhaps that is why visions of nobility touch me so deeply.

Repicheep. Now there's a mouse!

Minimalist RV-

My tent arrived Thursday. I assembled it in the bed of my Ford Ranger truck. This tent is the Sportz II, and is really rather nice. It took me about a half-hour to get it assembled for the first time. I believe future assemblies will not take quite as long.

Once inside I was surprised by all of the space. It really will be quite adequate for my sleeping quarters. The plan is to use the tent whenever I am too tired to drive home following a night of work. I have found the commute growing more dangerous as I age, and I don't want to hurt or kill myself or anyone else.

An additional benefit will be the savings on gas. My wife, Linda, recommended I check the local camp grounds near my place of employment. The gas savings could pay for a change of location from time to time. However, the camping during the day is not the usual camping adventure, and the campgrounds may not be able to accommodate me in this.

We shall see.

This set-up can serve as a minimalist approach to recreational travel. A minimalist RV. The truck can actually carry a lot of stuff, and it is quite possible to be very comfortable through much of the year. I am exploring available options for storage and transport of gear.

A larger tent can be carried, to be set up at a camp site that will be home for a few days. There are many options. I don't know that this would be a good full-time life-style, but it could be rather pleasant for part-timing.

Again, we shall see.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Living through the night-

I have begun my shift to the nocturnal realm. I worked my first week on night shift, something I haven't done for quite some time. Much of my working life, perhaps as much or half (or more) has been spent on night shifts. The last few years I have indulged myself and remained on day shift.

I like the night. However, I am growing older, and am concerned about my ability to drive safely on the day following a night shift. It can get scary. I have more than once come awake while driving home, and been in the wrong lane. So far nothing more than fright. However, getting dead is not conducive to earning a living. Killing someone else just because I am tired is criminal.

Fortunately, I have slept well the past few days. I also have a plan in mind.

I ordered a tent that assembles in the back of my truck. I plan to use that on those mornings I know I am dangerous. I may do so rather frequently. It will be an interesting experience for me. I will try to record something on the matter from time to time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ken and Noels Teardrop

Ken and Noels Teardrop

This was interesting. I would like to build one, but I am not a particularly great craftsman.

Build, or buy? Time will tell.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Counting Horses, Magic, and Ballroom Dancing-

In my youth, some of which is a half-century ago, the process of education seemed to include strange special programs. I am still not sure just what was intended by these programs, but there was a budget available to bring people to the school to perform for the students.

I still recall a magician who performed in a program for first grade. He did the Die Box trick. I don't know if he did it well, but he did it well enough that I was hooked. Over the intervening years I have learned a trick or two of magic. I have even had a show and done a few paid gigs. I collected enough magic that I seriously had to consider professional entertaining as a career option.

For the good of my family, I continued in more conventional employments. If you call wrangling dead cow wrappers, using huge quantities of poisonous chemicals, messing around with high voltage and radiation more normal employments. Now I am a glorified babysitter for people who never grew up but could not find their way to Neverland. Not much magic in all of that.

In second grade we were visited by a guy in a cowboy outfit who rode a horse that could count. He did rope tricks as well. The cowboy, not the horse. I am pretty sure the horse could not do long division.

At a much later date I went to a high school assembly where we were entertained by a gunslinger. High-speed shooting with .45 six shooters. I was impressed. The guy had some pretty guns, and let me handle them.

That didn't sound right.

The last assembly I recall was a visit by Foy and Fay. They did ballroom dancing. This was before an audience of high school students in 1969. Envision lead balloons. Strangely enough, it was not until experiencing Foy and Fay that I actually asked the question, "What the hell are these people thinking?" That applied to the school administration, as well as Foy and Fay.

I never got a horse. I never learned ballroom dancing. I don't own a six shooter.

I do, however, continue to perform a magic trick or two. Rarely, but I do occasionally amaze and entertain.

So, it looks like something stuck. Wanna see me pull something out of my, uh, hat?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My writing therapy-

It works for me. I wrote two very short stories today. I find writing to be more uplifting than just about anything else I do. Even better than World of Warcraft. I continue to play World of Warcraft regularly, but focus on writing to energize my life.

The writing involves creativity and imagination. There are very few limits when it comes to creating a very short story. Usually just a little idea. So far the ideas come rather readily. I have not yet found the time to just grab some object and write about it. Perhaps, if my blog becomes popular enough I can request photos of objects, and write about them.

One commercial application I have considered is writing very short stories for a fee. A tale centered around a particular person, place or thing, written to order to a customer's specifications. How to market such a venture remains a challenge. Still, it is quite appealing. How pleasant it would be to get paid to do something I like.

Writing helps me avoid the depths of despair that can come upon me when I am overcome by tedium and the unrewarding sameness of my career. Though the job has provided much, it does not fulfill the part of my being enriched through my writing. Games help me escape, but writing adds to my life.

I can hardly wait to see what I write about next.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Saving Private Lockridge-

A short time ago I came across two old photo albums from my Army Days. I thought about scanning the photos, just to be safe. After all, the photos were one of a kind, and thirty plus years old.

Yesterday I sat down to the take care of the task. The albums were spiral bound, with sticky pages covered by plastic sheets. Fortunately, the plastic was low-acid. Unfortunately, the sticky had been sticking so long I had a lot of trouble freeing the photos. I ended up using a chisel point carving tool to ease the photos from the binding.

It took most of the day. Pull a stack of photos. Scan the stack. Pull another stack, scan the stack. Add captions. Finally, I uploaded the album to Picasa. I will drop the album onto a CD, just to be safe. Then my memories will be intact.

That does nothing with regard to the missing album. I know I have more photos, but I can't find the album. Hopefully I will come across it soon, so that those memories will also be safe.

One thing I know for sure. I was a lousy photographer. I had a crappy camera. Remember the Kodak 110 pocket cameras? That camera, combined with a lack of skill and no concept of composition gives you my few recorded memories.

We really should learn some things in school. Basic cooking. Basic sewing. Cleaning, both theory and practice. How to balance a check book. And how to take something other than crappy snap shots.

Oh, well. I can't change the past. I do think I need a better camera than that, though. These new digital cameras, even the most basic, allow you to take a lot of pictures. And copy them!

Volume may make up the difference between skill and luck. Take enough photos, one will probably be good! Keep that one. Copy it. Upload it. Share it.

Delete the others.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Writers on the Internet-

I have found some very good writing on the Internet. Of course, I have also seen plenty of gamr speak and txt spk. What is truly surprising is the amount of really good writing. Technically good. Creatively good. Sound communication and plenty of prosey spice. Well seasoned sentences, and melt-in-your-mouth paragraphs.

As is my wont, I took a moment to think on this.

Gamr and txt spk arise from limits of time and tools. The standard phone keyboard is not adequate for extended typing. Even the thumb boards are not a huge improvement, though they do make chronic texting somewhat more practical. Gamers just don't have the time to type while evading incoming fire and slashing zombies.

Bloggers, however, are blogging because they have something to say. Most love to write, as well. Why choose a written medium unless you like writing?

Vloggers are not always writers, though I think the better ones must write their scripts and practice their deliveries. Others are adept ramblers. Most are at least interested enough in communicating to think a bit before pontificating.

A lot of bloggers can write, and write well. That is good news for the logophile. The language is not dying, and literacy is not in danger. Well, not that much danger. Maybe a little danger.

Now, I think I will go curl up with a good blog.



In 1983 Stephen K. Roberts began an adventure. It was somewhere around that time that I picked up on what he was doing. In the course of the last twenty and more years, I have bumped into some element of Mr. Roberts adventure from time to time. I found it fascinating then, and I find it fascinating now.

Back in ’83 I was really just getting started in my own adventure. I had a young family, and we were making a life together. Though our adventure lacked the scale and romance of Mr. Roberts’s life on the road, it had many rewards. Not the least of those rewards has been the many years shared with my wife, Linda, and our children and grandchildren.

In case you did not follow the link, Stephen Roberts has spent many of the last twenty something years on the road. He has lived on a series of high-tech bicycles, and several iterations of technology laden water craft. He has traveled many thousands of miles, written many thousands of words, and field tested a multitude of mobility related devices. He has witnessed and participated in the development of our interconnected world.

I have worked in a number of jobs I rarely really enjoyed in order to see to the care of my wife, my children, and their children. I sacrificed many of the passions Mr. Roberts has indulged over these many years in order to accomplish what I decided was most important. I do not regret the sacrifice. I made the choices willingly, with my eyes wide open.

In many ways, I have the advantage over Mr. Roberts. Because he documented his adventures so well, I can enjoy the fruits of my sacrifices and also enjoy many of the fruits of Mr. Roberts’s adventures. Much of what he has done, much of what he is doing now, is available to me. It is just a click or two away.

I admire Stephen Roberts. I even envy him, to some degree. To live a life of great adventure, following your deepest passions to their fullest, is a wonderful thing. Not all of us could do it. I am thankful that he is so gifted in sharing his adventures that the rest of us can share in them. He has accomplished many great and interesting things, and there is much more to come. One of his passions seems to be sharing the adventure, and so I have great hope to follow him through his writing and photography.

Perhaps, as I move into the latter part of my life, I can find the resources for a bit of adventure. The kids are grown, and I am more than ready to close the books on my current career. I have a few ideas. It may require some equipment, but I think I will keep it a bit simpler than the things Mr. Roberts puts together.

Until then, I will be following the Technomad with the same interest I had when I discovered him, back in the long-ago ‘80’s.

Playing with your food-

OK. OK. So, I was looking into Legos as a tool to manage my boredom at work. I know, poor baby. Bored at work. However, the stress of boredom (and boredom really is stressful) can impact my ability to continue this often mindless job for the next few years.

Anyway, the Legos were for those times when I had written all I could manage, done as much research and such as possible during inmate down-time. They really aren't all trying to escape or fighting all of the time. Watching them watch television is tedious. Managing the stress of that tedium is a necessary technique for doing the job.

Especially after over eighteen years.

So, I looked at Legos as an eye-hand exercise, with a creative element. I plan to experiment with them in the near future. Sets of blocks come in handy containers. I think that it will be better than standing on the chair, gibbering and shouting obsenities.

Of course some administrators who have never done the job, or did the job so long ago they don't remember how it really is, might think this unprofessional. Perhaps so. However, I am running out of resources for keeping my mind sound enough to do the job. Should they object to this technique, I will have to begin using my massive collection of sick time and vacation.

It will be cheaper to let me play with toys now and then.

On to the subject at hand. I also looked into macaroni art. You know, the kids paste up projects using pasta. I was not particularly surprised to find that some serious artists are playing with food.

Pasta has so many forms. Consider the many textures and shapes. All of those possibilities just scream for artful applications. Oh, yes! Food begs to be played with!

Actually, I will probably stick with the Lego idea. More resiliant. Better packaged. Reusable.

Ah, but pasta! I may have found a whole new hobby!

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Nostalgia must be informed with a bit of romance. The harsh reality of the past does not enhance the nostalgic experience.

Take, for example, the romantic view of primitive people. The Noble Native. It is not a bad romance. It has merit in that it allows us to venerate our ancestors, to whom we owe everything. It allows us to respect people of a culture far different from our own. However, few of us would wax nostalgic about such a way of life if we had to live it.

Anthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel recently did a show in which he visited (and dined with) bushmen in Africa. Bourdaine is eloquent in his descriptions, and somehow balances curmudgeonliness with a romantic view of the world. His experience with the bushmen seemed to have challenged him greatly. The video certainly puts the romance of the Noble Native in perspective.

My mother-in-law grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. Her nostalgia allows her to appreciate the good things in those times. Fortunately, the nostalgia is selective. The world was a dangerous and threatening place in those days. It often is. It was also a time of great good. There is nothing wrong with remembering that good.

Nostalgia is great medicine. It is not very good as history.

Things lost-

I was just poking around, looking at blogs. Today I was using Blogs of Note on the Dashboard here on Blogger. I came across and had a look. The most recent blog was relating to a lament by Ray Bradbury regarding a used book store that is being demolished to make way for a mall.

The blog caused me to contemplate things lost with the passage of time and the cost of change. I often wonder about what has been lost over time. History is just what is left. It is not always the best, it is not always particularly representative of the reality of the era. It is just what we have left.

I imagine that many eras had preservationists. However, the preservationists have the daunting task of selecting a few bits and pieces to preserve. It is their past they strive to save, not necessarily everyones past. Most of that past is lost.

Consider the 45 rpm record. The medium of a tiny era in American music. The A side contained a song that occasionally made the hit parade. The B side contained a song that soon vanished from the memory of all but a few. Of the hit songs, only a few now get much air time on oldies stations. Many B side tunes have essentially vanished from history.

I am confident that there are at least a few B side preservationists. However, the passion will probably die when they do. After that, there will be no resources allocated to preserve the B side music. Baring some phenominal discovery of these tunes sometime in the future, they will disappear forever.

Most of history is like that. It is not a particularly bad thing. How much of everything you have owned and touched do you really want to drag around with you for the rest of your days?

Back to the used book stores. Yes, they have an ambiance that is special, at least to bibliophiles. Yes, there is something special about that book discovery made after long browsing. Something old that is new to you, and purchased as a treasure. Even were the same book scanned and reformatted for the digital era, it would not be the same book. It is a REAL book from a REAL used book store.

Will all used book stores vanish from the face of the Earth? Perhaps. Would the loss be terrible? Yes, to those of us who will loose something we value. Something we love. Will some strive to preserve the used book store experience? Yes. However, when they die much will die with them.

The people who will people the future won't necessarily miss the used book store. It was never really part of their world. A taste of it may remain here in the Internet, just as something of the Internet today will remain in whatever replaces it. However, the true experience with all of its nuances will be gone.

There is a sadness in that. Fortunately, even that sadness is transient.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I have long thought of myself as a cynic. Polyanna was my spiritual opposite. Not that I always looked on the dark side, but I recognized that I was far from an optimist. Though I was not so paranoid as to be unable to trust people, I always kept an eye out for some angle.

Over time I learned that my cynicism was actually a frustrated idealism. I love humanity, and think highly of humans. However, my experiences with humans have been far from ideal. I recognize the potential in individual humans and humans as a species. Such phenominal potential!

Such mediocre results. We are capable of so much, yet do so little.

Still, over time much good has come of humanity. In spite of individual frailty and an astounding potential for stupidity when working in groups. Indeed, the wonder of humans as individuals and as a species seems to be the amazing capacity to make some progress in spite of all of the negatives.

I see that potential, and long for it. In society. In others. In myself. I am often disappointed, and frequently frustrated. When I express that frustration, I sound cynical.

Yet I do not abandon hope.

I can't quite be like Polyanna. Nor can I quite be Eeyore.

Perhaps the best I can hope for is to be like Samuel Clemens. I guess that's not so bad.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


This morning I awoke with an idea for a blog. It probably fell out of a dream. That in itself is scary. I may be blogging in my sleep.

I got up, and wrote part of the blog in my head while going to the bathroom. I wrote some more as I made my tea. The computer was warming up as I made my tea, and carried it back to the computer. Now, here I am.

This, by the way, is not that blog. It struck me as a bit obsessive to write like this upon awakening. I must be a blogoholic.

Is the disease dangerous? I wonder. This incident indicates that I am thinking as I sleep. Thinking leads to ideas. Blogging leads to the sharing of ideas. Ideas have toppled regimes, and altered cultures forever.

Perhaps I need to see a doctor. I will get back to you on that in a future blog.