Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Since I Left the FB...

I have been deprived of the ability to succinctly announce my mood to all those who care.  Therefore, I'll post a few pictures for you.

I will not go into detail, and will let you leave a comment to describe the situation.  Closest one to the final answer will win a virtual high-five.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

360 Degree Panoramic View of Agua Caliente

It only took 4.5 years for me to finally put this together (of course, I had to find the pictures first).

click  to enlarge

Anyone up for a trip?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Conditioned Air

Obviously from the previous post, one can glean that the main topic of dinner conversation would be fear.  To me, this emotion is the one aspect that prevents many people from reaching their full potential.  Whether it is change, the unknown or something new to one’s world, fear can have a powerful impact on how one lives.  I am a firm believer that the only two aspects of your life that are not in your control are your birth and your death.  Everything in between is something that you can be master of, if you allow yourself to overcome your fears and make sacrifices.

Until recently, I had always considered myself a well rounded individual.  I am highly educated, a loving husband and father, an appreciator of arts, fine food and drink, a ballroom dancer, a sports enthusiast, an introspectively religious man, etc. Yet, I always have two drawbacks (three if you include poor communication): fear of failure when applying knowledge; and fear of being able to provide for and protect my family.

So, after reading Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, I made a conscious decision to address my fears.  To step out of my comfort zone, and learn skills that I think every father should know, so they in turn can teach their children.  I decided to become better rounded (to which my wife replied, “Are you going to go eat another slice of pizza?” Not funny, and indicative that I am not who I should be).

To accomplish this task, I realized that I, and society in general, are too reliant on food and technology.  It amazes me that if you ask a random person where food comes from, they invariably reply the market.  Occasionally, someone will reply a farm, but no one ever answers the Earth.  One of my favorite quotes from Travels with Charley is:

“We Americans bring in mercenaries to do our hard and humble work.  I hope we may not be overwhelmed one day by peoples not too proud or too lazy or too soft to bend to the earth and pick up the things we eat.”

That quote had a profound impact on me because it captures two important aspects of my beliefs: Man should be humble; and the Earth is our provider.  It also did not hurt that it was congruent to the Arizona Immigration Law debate.  In addition, because of my wife’s diligence in providing fresh, unpreserved, non-treated foods to our table, as well as my work in my Father In Law’s garden, I have grown to appreciate what the Earth provides.  Through sunlight, soil and water, everything a human needs is available.  One does not need manmade technological objects to survive, especially since man has existed for thousands of years with only what nature provides, and hard, humble work.

Manmade items are what has made us “too proud or too lazy or too soft.”  I admit technology does has benefits (i.e., medicine), yet I think it has distanced ourselves from mankind’s true reality.  For years my mother railed against computers, etc., for she and my father are from a generation where nearly every hand was calloused.  Today, mostly index fingers and thumbs are calloused.

It’s no secret that I have been turning away from technology.  I eschewed Facebook, we do not use credit or debit cards, we do not have television, and as of January, we will not have cell phones.  Yet, I am no fool, for I still understand technology and use it to my advantage when available.  But in there lies a fear, what happens if that technology is not available?  What if one day it was gone (which is entirely plausible)?  What if I had to provide and protect my family without the benefit of 1s and 0s, and a steady supply of food and water?  Well, I used to think that I’d be alright because I considered myself “an outdoorsman.”  Ha, that is obviously not even close.  I camp, but with all the trappings of a 21st century woodsman.  Plus, I consider myself doing a disservice to my children and their progeny if I do not instill in them the basics of being a human.  Sure, I will advocate the use of technology and help them learn those skills; however, I intend on providing them with basic and primitive skills that will make them rounded individuals.

This leads to another Steinbeck quote from Travels with Charley:

“Communications must destroy localness, by a slow, inevitable process [...] Radio and television speech becomes standardized, perhaps better English than we have ever used.  Just as our bread, mixed and baked, packaged and sold without benefit of accident of human frailty, is uniformly good and uniformly tasteless, so will our speech become one speech [...] What I am mourning is perhaps not worth saving, but I regret its loss nevertheless”

Spot on quote to my beliefs.  No wonder I’d want Steinbeck next to me at the dinner table.

Now some may read that as me being a doom and gloom “the sky is falling” Chicken Little.  Nothing could be further than the truth.  I’ve read many blogs about these scenarios, and all of them are corrupted with fear.  The terrorists are going to get us, the Chinese are going to set off an EMP bomb, there will be anarchy!  Bullshit.  The simple solution is to take advantage of all skills, technological and primitive, and then one can face any situation without fear. 

So, I’ve started my little journey.  Last Sunday, I asked my Father In Law for a length of rope.  For some reason the ability to tie and untie a variety of knots felt like the perfect place for me to begin.  Hey, at least if I fall on this journey, a good Alpine Butterfly will keep me from hitting the ground.

Finally, I’ll leave today with another quote.  Not one from a book, but from a Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar radio drama I was listening to in the mall parking lot while waiting for my wife to get off of work (we only have one car – saves green in many forms).  The back story was the investigator had to go to Venezuela to probe an insurance claim, and while doing so, Johnny Dollar met with the local chief of police, El Jefe.  As Dollar waiting in El Jefe’s sweltering office, he glanced at the rickety rattan fan, and sweated under his suit collar.  El Jefe coolly stated,

“Down here, this is all us humble people have.  Unlike you Americans and your Conditioned Air.”

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dinner for Six

Many moons ago, I remember the fad of the five people, alive or dead, you would invite to dinner.  After almost 35 years, a clear and definitive list has presented itself to me.  I am ready to let go and live the life that my bones yearn to live.  A life unencumbered.

"Fear of death increases in exact proportion to increase in wealth." - Ernest Hemingway

"Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power." - John Steinbeck

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." - Psalm 23:4 - God

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” - Fulton Oursler

"O you youths, western youths,
So impatient, full of action, full of manly pride and friendship,
Plain I see you, western youths, see you tramping with the foremost,
Pioneers! O pioneers!" - Walt Whitman

I wonder what the topic of conversation would entail?  Once the vision clears in my own mind, you shall know, too.

Monday, August 2, 2010

If There's a Place You Want to Go...

...I'm the one you need to know.  I'm the map.  The map.  I'm the map.  The map.  I'm the map!

Most intriguing one to date...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Told you so!

It's pretty cool when your Thesis is proven on a massive scale.

And if anyone ever tells you that bacteria in a box will solve your problems (ahem, Rid-X), I have a bridge for sale

Monday, July 19, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Driving back from the in-laws last night, Ana and I got on the topic of Jon Cusack, and how I used to think I looked like him when I was in college.  Anyways, Ana said, "People always told me I look like Helen Hunt."

I immediately said. "Oh, yeah.  She's hot."  Then I stopped myself and said, "No wait, I confused her with Holly Hunter.  Now, she's hot."

That is where I should have stopped because then I said, "Helen Hunt, no, she's not hot."  Then I immediately tried to backtrack, "Well, she is good looking though."