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, August 31, 2008


I have written about small houses, and about full-time RV living. These are lifestyles using very little space. I like the simplicity of such living, even though I have not been able to adopt that way of living for myself. I own a house, and share that house with family members who rather like the space and all of the stuff that collects in such space.

Today we went to Ikea. This particular store is in Palo Alto, California. It was a rather nice outing. My wife had in mind getting some items to help her build a sewing center. It was fun looking around at the various displays.

I rather like the Ikea system of furnishing. Most is inexpensive, and suitable for small-space living. Most of the display areas were quite small, and very well turned-out. I could easily see Ikea used to equip and furnish a "smaller is better" living environment.

We also dined at Ikea. It was rather fun. I got a salmon plate consisting of thinly sliced smoked salmon, lettuce, and a very nice mustard sauce that enhanced both the salmon and the lettuce. We also got an open-faced shrimp sandwich which was dressed with sliced hard-boiled egg, some Swedish Meat-Balls (of course) and some little ham and cheese sandwiches. We all shared these dainties, and had an excellent meal.

My inclination to follow Travel Channel food-and-travel shows has encouraged me to be more adventurous in eating, so this was a lot of fun.

We finished our adventure picking up a bunch of little items that are so nicely priced. I got a spring-sealed jar to use for some pickling I hope to do. There are a lot of pickled vegetable recipes in The Barbecue! Bible, and I want to try some. Now I have a suitable jar for the venture.

We collected the items my wife wanted for building the sewing center, and trundled out to the car. We drive a PT Cruiser, which is small yet versatile. I had to reconfigure the seats, but we got all of the stuff into the car along with three adults.

Since Krispy Kreme doughnuts was on the way home, we stopped by to buy. It is a rare opportunity, so we indulged. Then, on home.

Tomorrow is assembly day. It will have to go quickly, since I must again make my way to the south part of the county for my week of work. Too bad my daughter Beth is now in Texas. She is a whiz at building Ikea. Oh, well. I will have to do.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Drifting through life-

I was just making an entry in my other blog, Philosophy on Purpose. I noted that I was an intellectual drifter in the world of philosophy.

I really believe I am a bit of a drifter in all of my life. I have always longed to see what is over the horizon. That sounds romantic, but in reality the horizon is just an illusion. It is just the limits of what I can see from THIS PLACE NOW.

My present THIS PLACE NOW has been a place of being for me for many years. Have I gotten to know this place in depth? Have I embraced this place in all of its forms? Have I put down roots?

No. I have pretty much just existed here. I have been waiting. I have been waiting on the time I can go and see what is over the horizon.

I have been a drifter sitting in one place.

Always staring at the horizon, wondering what is on the other side. Never really getting into where I am right now.

A flaw in my character? A faulty human? I don't know. What makes a drifter? Is there something more I want than is here? Or do I just want it all?

Do I fear commitment? Do I fear being committed to, or do I fear all I will lose if I commit?

I really don't know. I do know that physical highways draw me. I want to move down many roads, and see many things. I don't want to go SOMEWHERE. I just want to GO.

Along with the physical travel, I want to do this intellectually. What is on the other side of this idea? If these people hold to this belief, what do the other people believe?

Always I have had to compromise the drifters life for something of a "real life." A life of jobs and family and home and place. Because I want those things, too.

Life is too short. It is too small. There is so much I want to fit into it, and it just is not big enough.

It will be interesting to see what I do with the rest of my life. It is shorter and smaller than when I began, yet it is surprisingly full. Perhaps what I have left will hold a great deal more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

California Highway 25-

Gilroy California is not too far from where I live. It is in Gilroy that Highway 25 begins. This is one of several shorter highways that exist within a short drive of my home. It will probably be my first highway adventure.

I have traveled many highways in my life. Both actual highways and metaphoric highways. In the case of actual highways, I have usually traveled them because they were the way to get someplace. Only recently have I begun to view highways as adventures in their own right.

Roads have a fascination for many of us. In The Lord of the Rings Tolkien refers to the fascinating nature of roads. Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road, a novel that was highly influential on an American generation. Divine Right's Trip is a road trip on several levels, and captures something of the essence of an era influenced by Kerouac. The movie Vacation is a classic road trip film, one I can watch again and again.

The highway can be a metaphor of the journey of life. As such, the journey itself is important, not just the destination.

Are these things important in relationship to my desire to explore Highway 25 in California? I don't really know. I do know I am drawn to this highway because it is small. I can do it in a long, slow day. I can stop often to absorb it, contemplate it in part and in the whole. I can photograph quite a bit of this highway, and I hope to do so. I can see if it inspires a poem or a tale.

I can simply enjoy the way the highway moves through the land it occupies. I can enjoy the movement of my vehicle over the highway across that land. I can experience the changes of the land from one end of the highway to the other. I can see how the land shapes the highway and the highway defines the land. All in a long, slow day.

Highway 25 might just prove to be the first pearl on a string of highways that I will collect. A snack-size highway that will serve as antipasto to the feast of highways to come.

I am not ambitious enough to aspire to collect all of the highways in California. I will begin small. However, if Highway 25 proves to be an asphalt poem, a macadam concerto, I may well be hooked. Vague dreams will become plans, and one by one I will string highways onto my necklace of road trip memories.

Somehow, I think I will end up sharing them here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Cloth Castle II-

Well, I am not quite sure what happened there, but my picture did not show up. Oh, there it is. I may yet get the hang of this. It is a picture of my Cloth Castle, mounted on the back of my 1997 Ford Ranger pick up truck.
We had some rain the other night. It was the first test of my tent in such weather. No water inside. I took extra time to set it up this time, being sure the tent wrapped around the bed of the pick up and left no room for water to enter.
Yesterday I slept great. I had to replace my original sleeping bag, as my first selection did not hold up. That one was a cheap semi-mummy bag, and it was too small. It was starting to pull apart, so I exchanged it for a large format rectangular bag. I got one cheap, since it is an ugly orange color. The upside to the color is that it would serve very nicely as a distress beacon.
I am finding the tent quite comfortable. I really would like to take it out on the road. The basic sleeping space is sufficient already, but otherwise I need some more gear. I need cooking gear, and I need a cooler. I also need some storage options for the bed of the truck that will keep my stuff safe. Just chucking tents and such in the back of the truck begs for theft.
A bit at a time I am getting things together. I have been getting things done on the truck to keep it road-worthy. Oil change, new filters. I will need to do brakes in a few months. I just got new tires all around.
It is a hearty little beast, and I will probably be driving it for a long time.
Click the link below for a little clearer picture.

The world at my finger tips-

That is what the bloggosphere seems like to me. In one of my many serendipitous explorations I bumped into Antarctic explorers. I was just poking around, and I found scholars exploring changes in Antarctic climate. Through their blog I got to share that adventure.

What was amazing was that they wanted to know a little about the place from which I was doing my exploration. That is the place I sit right now, in the bowels of a jail facility. I am charged with monitoring the 34 inmates in this unit. Imagine that, explorers far away asking about my job.

From this place I follow several other bloggers who live on the road. Tioga George, Wanderwolf, and several others. Some travel in vintage RV's, compelled by economics and wanderlust. Others are better off economically, traveling in wonderfully designed and equipped rigs. They share one thing no matter what their traveling gear. A passion for being out there. Travelers.

Steve Roberts is a traveler whom I have followed, off and on, the longest. Ages ago he melded high technology and bicycles, and hit the road. His adventures are recorded in several locations, this one being central enough to take you to most of the others. Steve has moved his experiments with nomadic technical lifestyles (technomadics) onto the sea at this time in his life.

I have longed for the road for much of my life. I chose to sit in one place, however, and pursue the path of family. Oh, I get to go someplace now and then, but the life of the road has not been mine very often. On the whole my family has been very satisfactory in exchange for that mythical road that still calls me. I do not regret the choice.

Now, Steve Roberts just recently made an observation regarding life on the road in comparison with life in one place. The two are quite different. I cannot say it better, so I shall quote him here.

Although we have only been on the water for a month, the skewed perception of time that I first observed in my bicycling epoch has returned... and with it, a sort of virtual life extension. In retrospect, this journey feels like some indeterminate time on the order of 3 months, yet the present is so full that it appears to flit by with the days barely able to contain all the activity.There are plenty of changes, and those form waypoints in the memory.In contrast, staying in the same place all the time — even a nice place — yields the opposite temporal perception: real time seems to drag, but the past seems to have flown by. ("Has it really been 6 years since we saw each other??? Yikes!") This phenomenon is very hard to overcome, since the setting is constant and it all blurs together into a single undifferentiated jumble of memory, un-indexed by moments of discovery and the epochs of travel.So that's my secret for living longer: keep moving. The number of years may be identical, but it will feel like more...

He may well have found the essence of the siren call of the open road. Change. A constantly changing environment of experience. A difference in awareness, and a different way of thinking. A different way of being.

I am still not at a place where I can answer that siren's call. I have responsibilities I have freely assumed, and I cannot just hit the road without being unfaithful to many people. I just will not do that.

Until the day arrives that I can go forth and journey with abandon, I must be satisfied with this world at my finger tips. It is not a bad world at all. I can sit here at my desk, and as I monitor my sleeping charges I can also visit with the bloggers I have met. I can view their photos, and virtually travel to the places of which they write, simply by touching the right keys.

For the moment, I am content. That is enough.

Monday, August 18, 2008

World of Warcraft-

My primary character is Nehai. He is a level 70 fire mage. A gnome fire mage. He is at the peak of the point scale. Level 70 is as high as a character can level. Until later this year.

Nehai lives in the Outlands, a strange place that came into being with the first major expansion to World of Warcraft. He is essentially biding time, waiting for the next expansion. Just a few months away, and the level cap raises to 80. Nehai can stop doing daily quests to raise funds for future adventures, and go forth to level again.

This week was not Nehai's week. This week my secondary character got to level. Youlse, a dwarf hunter, made level 58. He visited the Outlands for the first time. After finishing some pending quests, he has moved there.

Actually, this week of play was very good. Youlse not only leveled, he was able to aquire some valuable patterns for leathercraft. Finding and aquiring these patterns required much time and careful play. It was quite interesting.

Outlands will be fun. The zones there are made for hunters. There will be challenges, and a bit of role-playing. I do not think Youlse will make 70 before the expansion, but he should advance quickly. His faithful pet Bob (a white wolf) will see to that.

I have played this game for over two years. I have found it satisfying. Though there have come several other games of a similar nature I have stayed with this one.

Though I seldom join groups when I play, I love seeing other people in the game doing things. It adds to my fun, even if I don't often join battlefield teams or instance groups. I like the in-game economy and the option for interaction. Stand-alone games don't offer that, no matter how deep or rich they are.

This expansion will be the first where I am poised to enter it with a fully-developed character. I will not be playing catch-up to the other players who were more advanced than I, as was the case for the original game and the first expansion. Even so, I will not advance as quickly as the players that have the time and the body of friends necessary to enter into the full game experience.

World of Warcraft has a deep story line, and a player can play through most of that story if they have the resources of time and an established group. Only a few players have been that fortunate. Even fewer have continued to this day, and will go forth into the next expansion.

The expansion will be rewarding enough for me. I like exploring the new areas. I like doing the quests I can do on my own. I like the occasional group activity. There are hints and rumors that the new expansion will have rewards for solo players that are greater than those found in either the original game or the first expansion. That will add to the fun.

I still find it thrilling just to be able to enter a persistent, dynamic virtual world with many other people. How long will World of Warcraft be my game? I don't know. For now it fills a niche in my life, and is welcome there. A time may come to move on, and I will.

World of Warcraft is just a game. A great game, but a game nonetheless. There will be other games, and I will cherish them in their own time.

For now, I look forward to new places to explore, and new quests to fulfill.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Highway 395-

After many years of staying home, working overtime, doing extra jobs, and generally working all of the time, I am feeling a very strong desire to satisfy my wanderlust. I want to go places and see things. I want desert vistas, great mountains passes, vast forests, and most of all I want the road.

I have several roads on my list. Highway 1, from as far north as I can find it all the way to the southern end of that highway. Highway 49, the highway through the California Gold country. Tonight I spent some time looking at highway 395.

It would be a grand journey. A slow journey from the deserts of Southern California to the border between Canada and the state of Washington. I looked at it in Google Earth. I hunger for the real thing.

How to make the journey? Would it be a solo journey, just me and my truck? Mostly camping, in that case. Or motel "camping" with my wife, Linda? She does not seem to get excited about such journeys when I mention my dreams of travel. Getting away is difficult, with our many responsibilities. Because they are just dreams, perhaps she just can't embrace them.

I don't know. I just know that the urge to hit the road grows in me. Whether lavish or bare-boned, I want to travel.

Friday, August 8, 2008

San Antonio Vacation-

Seeing the grandkids again was the highlight of our visit. Just being with them was great.

Oh, the meals at Cracker Barrel, Rudy's Barbecue, Rainforest Cafe and such were fun. The River Walk, the Alamo, and New Braunfels were lots of fun. The Witte Museum with the Da Vinci display was great. Madolyn's birthday party at Incredible Pizza. We took lots of pictures.

Being with the grandkids was really the essence of the journey.

Now that I am back I find myself dulled. I want to write about the visit, but there is just nothing there. Some is jet lag, some just travel weariness. Some is the return to some of those day-to-day stressors I had become accustomed to experiencing.

Perhaps I need to rest from my vacation. It is a good thing I have a few more days until I go back to work.

Texas and retirement planning-

We spent nine days in San Antonio, visiting my daughter Beth, her husband Dave, and the grandkids Madelyn, Wyatt and Lucas. We had the joy of them all living with us for several years, and as a grandpa I found having my little ones around delightful (most of the time.) I really missed them when they left, but their decision was a good economic choice.

With my retirement on the horizon I had given thought to moving to San Antonio. It is a nice place, we would come out way ahead as far as money gained from the sale of a California house (even in this depressed economic time,) and we would be near the kids.

My fellow workers often contemplate retirement, and talk about it a great deal. One warned about following your kids. His point was that the life goals of a retiree and those of a young and growing family are not the same. They will likely move on, and a retiree cannot often afford to do so repeatedly.

A wise consideration. As I talked with Beth, she mentioned that Dave was doing well in his company, and that a few career related moves were likely. This gave me pause, for I was quite enamored with the economic benefits of retiring in Texas. However, with the kids off to someplace else one of the greatest benefits would be lost.

I still would like to find a way to eliminate the house payment and cut costs in anticipation of retirement.

My next career is not a solid thing. I have much to learn if I wish to do web development. Professional writing is not an easy thing to just start up, and I still have not published my book.

Much to think about.