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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, June 29, 2008


I recall that, as a young man, I wanted to travel. I felt a longing for the road, a desire to be going. I didn’t really want to go anywhere in particular. I just wanted to be going. I had the opportunity to go a few places on family trips, and a few other places through clubs and activities.

As a soldier I got to travel a bit. I added to the number of states I have visited, and visited five different countries.

When I got married and started a family, I knew that travel would be limited. We never had a lot of money to spare, so ultimately trips to Disneyland were the big thing. I accepted this as part of raising a family, and don’t regret it.

Now, my children are grown. My career is winding down, and no longer fits me very well. I am once again feeling a longing for the road.

I visit a lot of web sites and blogs associated with full-time travelers. Modern gypsies. Contemporary vagabonds. I sate my need to go with their goings. For now, it is enough. For how long, I don’t know.

So, I explore options. I visualize various ways of living this dream. Not all are full-time. All involve travel.

The comfortable convertible and motel camping. I ran the numbers. It would take three years of serious part-time travel for a $50,000 recreational vehicle to begin saving money over this form of travel. The convertible allows you to see everything, but is not quite so exposed as a motorcycle. A good option.

Class A motor homes are out, in my book. Too hard to drive, and they can’t do all roads. Even larger class C motor homes are out, for the same reason. Smaller class C or the class B motor homes have a lot to offer, but the investment is still large.

One idea I have played with lately is a Ranger XLT 4x4 with camper shell, towing a teardrop trailer. Versatile, flexible, yet a few steps above tent camping. I don’t see my wife doing that, however.

For the most part, I just want to get away. See what there is to see down this road, and the next. Drive toward the horizon. See what is on the other side of the next ridge. Find something I haven’t seen before. Maybe just sit somewhere all alone.

That’s where I end up, in these dreams. Some distant place, all alone. No job, no home, no people to care for. Just the sky, the land, and nothing to do.

Right now, that seems beautiful. Why is it I never seem to do it?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Spice Road-

I follow the travels of Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain on the Travel Channel as much as I can. They are interesting personalities, the production values are high, and the travels are interesting. Additionally, the programs are focussed on food.

Eating and travel. Well, at this time of my life I at least can eat. Too much.

Zimmern mentioned the Spice Road in a recent rerun I watched (again). Then Bourdain did so in one of his programs. I had been vaguely interested in this long and ancient communication between the East and the West, and so applied my access to technology.

I did a Wikipedia search on the Spice Road, and got nothing. However, it is also referred to as the Silk Road. That got an informative hit. The article is rather long for a Wiki, and is massively hyperlinked. I shall probably be reading it from time to time to gain more knowledge of this bit of history.

It was an avenue of exchange in all aspects of culture, and has existed (to varying degrees) for two thousand years. Obviously a lot of history, a lot of culture, and a lot of interesting stories.

Books call out to me to learn of this thing called the Spice Road. Yet it is so huge, and spans so much time. The writer in me sees a lifetime of historical novels. If I were sufficiently obsessive and able to focus on such a task, there is more than enough.

For me it is a vague icon, bringing to mind glimpses on the horizon of camel caravans. My mind touches lightly on the concept of such a road, reaching across continents and through most of history. What were the cultures like along the route? How did they change? What were the economic impacts of the various cultures clashing?

What would life be like along the Spice Road?

I will probably obtain at least one book on the subject. It has fermented in my mind a long time. I will absolutely watch any documentaries that come along. Such a huge subject, however, will probably not be dealt with comprehensively. Still, it is interesting, and I shall take what I can get.

If I were more motivated, I would pursue this little itch. Unfortunately, that is what this is. A little itch, and not a passion. I have a lot of little itches, and not enough lifetimes to allow them all to grow into passions.

Life is so short. There is so much to see, do, taste and learn. I can't do it all.

I can, however, scratch where it itches.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I finished High School in 1971. I was aware of the world during the later 60's. The Hippie sub-culture peaked in around 1968, to my recollection, and many of those who were pioneers of that movement left the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco in subsequent years.

Some wandered North. I think many had dreams of Canada, which had been the refuge of many draft-dodgers escaping an unwanted obligation to fight a war in distant Viet Nam. A number of them settled in Ashland, Oregon. That is where I lived.

I know that my parents were a bit troubled by some elements of this counter culture. I found it exciting. I still believe that the common beliefs of the American people needed challenging at that time. Though there were troubles in those times, many important changes were brought about as a result of things that were said and done in that decade.

So, I finished my growing up in part influenced by the Hippie sub-culture. I adopted some aspects of the culture, enjoying the love of personal freedom that was at the heart of the era of love. I saw much that was beautiful in the movement.

I also saw things break down. Over time a tavern downtown acquired a clutch of Hippies wearing western style clothing and sitting drunk on the benches out front. The liberal attitude toward such things as personal hygiene did not always prove endearing. The proliferation of drug use was not very often positive.

My life moved on, and I experienced other sub-cultures. As a soldier in a foreign land, I experienced something called a third-culture. That is when a large number of people from one culture live in a different culture, raising their children in this environment. These children form a third culture, with distinct characteristics. My particular experience was in Germany in the early 1970's.

Later came Disco culture. I was not at all involved in this culture. I was aware of it largely through television and movies. Then New Wave, which was a reaction to the Hippie movement and a shift in musical and artistic styles. Punk was a less commercialized movement of the same era, and may have been a precursor to the New Wave.

Subsequent movements included the Goths. I recall reading some writing on the Internet by a Goth writer who was very critical of the Hippie generation for failing on the promise of a new world of freedom and peace. The Punks and Goths seemed reactive to me, but I thought there were some interesting creative elements to their sub-cultures to the degree I was able to observe them.

Sub-cultures challenge the status quo. The encourage thinking that is outside of and contrary to the main stream of culture. They raise issues that might otherwise be overlooked by the comfortable and complacent. They tend to be radically creative.

Often they are intentionally offensive. Much of their creativity as a body and movement can be focused on intentionally challenging established values and beliefs. I believe that this is often a good thing, since what is offensive is often noticed, and it stands in stark contrast to what is acceptable and accepted. This challenge at least requires an examination of accepted beliefs, and can sometimes lead to beneficial change.

I enjoy the creativity and energy of emerging sub-cultures. Some, such as Gangsta' sub-culture, seems to have no redeeming value. I will not condemn the sub-culture outright, but I do not anticipate much that is positive from that front. However, like the Anarchists they serve to point out flaws in our mainstream culture that need some attention.

Some sub-cultures are just plain fun. Not necessarily innocent fun, but fun none the less. An example of this is the Lolita sub-culture that seems to be an off-shoot of Goth. This can be a fun and creative sub-culture, as exhibited by Lolita fashion. The dark side is the undercurrent of adult/child sexual involvement that is the literary origin of the movement.

Most Lolita fashion and culture is distant from this dark origin. It can often be fresh, exciting and creative. Like the Goth movement from which it originated, it can be practiced by degrees.

I value the fun, energy and creativity that sub-cultures represent. I respect the challenge to the status quo that is inherent in sub-cultures. I value the questions these challenges bring. I cannot accept or support every sub-culture that arises within my own culture, but I can strive to assess them with respectful consideration.


I am fascinated by Steampunk culture.

Steampunk seems to be an expanding culture in fashion and design. Perhaps I respond to it like I respond to Art Deco. There is something special in adding an artful twist to everyday items, which has been an element in both the designs of the late 1800's and the early 1900's. Such designs have a warmth and charm that I find missing in later eras.

Steampunk, to me, reflects the optimism of the industrial revolution. Art Deco seems to reflect a hope for the future in an era of trouble and insecurity.

Neither of these movements are without a dark side. In their original forms, or in their reflection and reintroduction in the later eras, there exists a sense of risk, danger and dispair. Yet there remains an essence of optimism, which surprises me.

I am old enough to remember a time when "civilized" people had not yet been everywhere on earth. Granted, the wild places had become few, but they still existed. For some reason Steampunk captures some of this promises of discovery I sensed as a child.

Today the movement is found in costumed play (cosplay), anime, movies, and games. I was surprised to find a colony of Steampunk afficionados living their dreams in Second Life, the massively multiplayer online simulation on the Internet. Some of the persona are well developed, with their own blogs. The modeling tools have been used to create fashion and architecture in an emersive environment where Steampunk role playing can take place.

To be quite honest, it is the first really interesting application I have seen for Second Life. Then again, I have barely explored that alternate reality.

Exploring Steampunk is fun. Perhaps the influence will bring about some very interesting changes in design and fashion. I know I will keep an eye on the culture as it develops.

Everything Else-

Well, here we go. I started a Blogger account largely for the experience. I was exploring the Internet and the world of connectivity. I also needed a venue from which to share my short stories. That blog went rather well, and I enjoyed the experience.

I received a very nice barbecue for my birthday. So, I thought I would share my experience of learning barbecue on the Internet.

Then I found myself writing some essays on my first love. Philosophy.

Yet, at times I have felt compelled to write on matters that are not philosophical, or related to barbecue or writing. So, here is to Everything Else.

I have maintained a journal (with varying degrees of frequency) since January of 1973. I love my journal. It is hand written up until several years ago. I have used many different types of pens and inks in maintaining the journal. It was a personal log as well as a place to exercise my thoughts. It served as a cathartic device, to allow me to work through some difficult feelings. It was at times erotic, and occasionally a monument to my own limitations.

My journal allowed me to develop my ability to write. It aided me in learning to think, and sometimes in learning to feel. It connected me with my own past.

Now I find that much of the energy and underlying needs invested in my journal have been dispursed into my Blogger blogs, as well as MySpace.

Those blogs are something new for me. They shall receive the focused attention relative to their titled purposes.

This blog is for Everything Else.