The land that we bought was surveyed a couple of years ago….so the markers….the surveyors tape…is reasonably fresh.

Our boundaries are “findable”.

I know where I stand….and who is standing too close.

That’s pretty weird.

When you look at the survey, everything is registered down to a matter of inches.

It’s measured and recorded, marked and defined….a legal way of saying, “mine, mine, mine”.

I suppose that I could fence it and really tell the world “whose is whose and what is what”.

I could fence it all….and send a quiet message to “keep out”.

I could put up a “posted” sign….like an invisible force field….keeping all the other folks out.

I have a survey in hand….but maybe I need to break it down even further?

Maybe I need to put up a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag?

It’s really kind of nuts, this private ownership thing.

Wasn’t there a time when you could roam free and just hold up your hand in greeting when you came into another man’s vicinity?

What did the Indians do? Roam around and fish where they needed to….hunt where they needed to?

Did they hunt wherever they wanted to unless they hit some surveyor’s tape and had to take a detour?

Were they puzzled by the first “white man’s fence”?

I guess that I don’t mind a little definition if it keeps people honest.

It just amazes me to realize that if someone wants what I have, there’s not too much standing in their way of taking it from me.

I could be a victim of “eminent domain”.

I better enjoy it while I can.

I better enjoy believing that I can actually “own” anything.

Nomadism sounds good….a van and a steady string of Wal-Mart parking lots and high desert vistas.

Only owning the clothes on your back….and a van….and “this lamp”….and…

Nomadism would be weird for a family.

We’d be like Gypsies.

Those Gypsy weddings look expensive, too.

I don’t know if I’d want to do that.

Having something is good….having a place is good….having a piece of land to stand on is good.


I move through this world and it’s the same wind pushing against me….the same sun hitting my face….the same rain wetting me….no matter where I am.

It’s all the same….whether I stand on what’s “mine”…or whether I stand on what’s “yours”.

It’s all the same.

Why can’t I go to Wal-Mart and buy a sign that says “OURS” then?

Anyway, if it’s “OURS”, why should I be responsible for buying the sign?


“signs” Five Man Electrical Band

dirt sits


So….here’s a disturbing chain of events:

  • We buy a piece of land….with some buildings on it. The property has been vacant for a long time. The buildings are decrepit….the land is overgrown….the pond is full of vegetation.
  • The land is what it is…it can stay that way for a while. My involvement won’t change much.
  • I’m not getting over to work on the land like I think I should. It’s gnawing away at my spirit….it’s making me feel bad….making me feel lazy. I want to be an element of change. I want something wonderful “right away”.
  • “Wonderful right away” isn’t reality. It takes a lot of hard work to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear….I need to chip away at this monolith a little bit at a time.
  • Dirt sits.
  • This thing is what it is.
  • I shouldn’t be troubled by not doing what no one’s done for whatever amount of time they weren’t doing it.
  • Inactivity on the land is eating me up…no matter what I say to pacify myself.

I shouldn’t be troubled.

I like the sound of those words.

I guess I am troubled sometimes, though.

Not “troubled”….like certifiably troubled or anything like that….just a little bothered by the things I know I should do….but for some reason….laziness, fear, latent stupidity….don’t.

The trouble with land is that it’s a huge totem to procrastination.

It’s a marker.

I can’t get around it even if I’m walking over it.

Maybe that’s why I like burn piles….bonfires…big piles of crap going up in flames.

That’s a pretty dramatic display of some kind of forward momentum.

It’s a hot reminder that I’m accomplished something.

But when it’s gone….when the pile’s burned down to ashes….the memory of accomplishment goes up in smoke, too….and I have to start building the pile again.

Maybe I’m a pyromaniac?

That can’t be good.

That’s another thing….or this is another thing….what I’m thinking right now is “another thing” :

What was I thinking? Dang……

Oh…no….that wasn’t it….it was just seconds ago….ummmmmmm….

OH!! Now I remember….I was thinking that it sure is easy to get a plan together….a cohesive and vibrant plan….a mission statement.

That’s easy.

It’s easy….and it gives you comfort and the illusion of competence to be able to say, “Why, yes…after we tear this section down, we’ll begin by building the “Tower of Babel” over in the lower 3 (we don’t have enough land to say ‘the lower 40′),,,,and then over here, we’re going to put up the ‘Hall of Smoke and Mirrors’….then, when we’re finished with those two projects, we’re going to build a landing pad for the spaceship….and really kick this project into high gear.”

Maybe I just need to get back over to the property with a shovel and a box of matches?

Do “something”….even if it’s wrong?

Awwwww…..what the heck? It’s just dirt….

It can sit for a while if I tell it to.

It can sit for a while if I don’t say anything.

It can sit for a while if I do nothing.

Dirt sits.

“make the dirt stick” Chris Whitley

What’s a “GOPRO”?….(monkey has a new tool)….

The guy who invented the thing that will make movies like this (above) is worth 3.5 billion dollars.

He just wanted a way to make good surfing videos.

His name is Nicholas Woodman.

Here’s an profile in Forbes magazine about him….and a short film….

When I watch these videos, I can understand why people want one of these cameras….looks like a lot of fun.

Now, it’s time for a time-lapse video of a bunch of mailboxes being opened.



noises from the open road

Don’t get too caught up in this video waiting for the scene to change.

I have a feeling it’s this same scene for the entire 10 hours.

“White Noise” isn’t the reason I road trip….and “hell” would be never going anywhere.

Maybe it’s “kind of unkind” to put a video like this on a blog.

I looked up “road trip” on YouTube and was amazed at the number of “gopro” videos there were.

Everybody’s documenting everything.

Bunch of weirdos.

Of course, one of the greatest roadtrips of MY life is fully documented on a set of audio cassettes called the “Road Dawg Tapes”….so I’m a huge hypocrite if I complain about anyone else’s efforts to immortalize themselves on YouTube.

It’s kind of funny….and fun, too.

I’m going to post some of those “gopro videos” in the next couple of days.

It’s a lot more interesting than a 10 hour white noise video.


press and hold


When I called her this Saturday to make sure that we didn’t need anything in town before I got home, Jenny told me that the minivan was messed up.

When she used the turn signal, all the gauges went dead.

Without any dash lights or speedometer, she couldn’t drive the car.

This is always kind of a panicky feeling for me when there’s something wrong with the Dodge.

It makes things pretty awkward for Jenny and the kids.

So I thought about what I was going to have to do to fix the car the rest of the drive home from work.

When I got home, I checked it out….and found that I could kill the dash lights, too.

It was easy to mess it up.

I could replicate the problem.

Now, here is the interesting part….

I “rant” sometimes about the internet….the “brave new world” and the way all this technology seems to separate us from each other….and how maybe being sort of a “luddite” might not be so bad….but….

the first thing I did was “google” the problem….and….sure enough, after about 20 minutes of searching, I found that it wasn’t uncommon….and that someone had posted a solution.

I couldn’t have done that 30 years ago….or even 20 years ago.

I couldn’t have “googled” anything all those years ago.

What am I complaining about? It’s COOL when my computer tells me what button to push to fix a problem.


Here’s what I found….just in case the dash lights on your 2001 Grand Caravan Sport ever get wacky….

1. Get in van, close the door.
2. Hold down the trip set button for at least 30 seconds, even after you see 5of and 2 other numbers, i.e. 01, 02, 03, 04 or 05. Then let go and do nothing else.
3. As shown in Chengny’s post, you will see about a 40 second series of tests, gauges going up and down and dash lights, warning lights etc flashing.
4. When that stops, turn off key.
5. Unplug the negative battery cable for at least 5 minutes
6. Reconnect the neg. battery cable
7. start the engine for a few seconds and turn off.
8. push the emergency flashers button and leave it on for a couple minutes
9. slowly the outside flashers got brighter and started to work as well as each turn signal
The computer had to reset I guess, everything is now working again!


How could I have known that?

Anyway, the car is back. The new “old/junk yard/salvage yard” starter is working well….and the dash lights do what we expect them to do.

Anytime I can press a button and fix the problem, I get kind of happy.

Usually, it’s the other way around.

Go, Computer, go !!

“let me roll it” Paul McCartney and Wings


the romance of a volkswagen bus

Travel the world in a VW Bus.

How much more romantic can it get than that?

The description for this movie says….”In 13 months of owning this VW Bus, we have driven from Chile to Costa Rica…and removed the engine 7 TIMES!!!”

How about that?

I’ve owned 3 buses…..a 1972, a 1968….and a 1967 that never ran.

The 1972 was my first car.

Check out this video….

“Oil’s coming out everywhere….it’s dripping from the roof…”

That’s the kind of vehicle I want to drive down through South America.

And when I see smoke coming from the engine bay, I want to take it out for a quick test drive.

I don’t really get it….those VW’s are cool, but…

Our Dodge Caravan runs better than my VW ever did.

And the Caravan is probably about the same size…..let’s check….

VW=What? I can’t find it….the internal dimensions, that is….but I have a feeling it’s about the same size as a good running Caravan.

The Caravan is so much less cool, though.

Check out this video of the van guy having a better day….

No, wait….that’s more bus breakdown….how about this one?

There’s a constant going on here…..

That bus breaks down, man!!!!

Awwww, what the heck….looks fun to travel around.

I KNOW that it wasn’t all just “breaking down” the whole trip….but maybe….it is a VW bus.

Look under “Kombi Life” on YouTube to find more videos by these guys.


sunflowers and your face


“long distance winner” Buckingham Nicks


I woke up with this song looping in my brain.

I think it was the first line of the song, actually.

Funny how that happens sometimes.

“Sunflowers and your face fascinate me….”

Thinking about memory and the things we support….the memories that we loop until they’re so familiar that they stay with us for a lifetime.


That’s what early mornings and coffee will do for you, I guess….get your brain going in weird directions….or maybe I’m just typing…..hard to say.

I guess that what I’m thinking is that so many of our experiences just seem to wash over us and go away somewhere….and some are with us forever.

I’m not sure why that happens….it’s hard to figure out sometimes.

The weird thing about it is that it’s not always the big, important things that stay with us.

Sometimes, it’s the way a stick sounded when it cracked under our feet on a walk through unfamiliar woods.

Sometimes, it’s a small baby’s hand patting our cheek after a bath….or the feeling of wind at the top of a new hill.

It’s all pretty random.

It’s not the things that we think are important that we remember the best.

I say “we” like it draws me together with someone else.

Maybe it’s just “me”.

I hope not….it’s good to be connected.

I wonder if we pick something out of an experience to remember because it’s easier somehow to remember a detail than it is to remember the entire experience?

Like how shiny a hospital floor tile was….or the shadow that the hawk left for a moment on the rock face….

I don’t really know….and like I said before….I may be “just typing”.

Experiences float through like unnoticed clouds.

Some of them leave memories for a while.

Who knows where they go?


How the Heck will I deliver The Mail?!!

OK….here’s what I’m thinking….

The mail is important.

It’s important that people get their letters and catalogs and packages….and stuff.

It’s important…..somehow.

I do an important job.

I’m important.


Maybe not….but if this “oil thing” goes down like this show says, it’s going to be hard to deliver the mail.

What I’m thinking is that they (the post office) will probably have a “secret stash” of gas that they will use to keep us drivers on the road.  They support us in every other way….why not keep our postal wheels rolling with a secret stash of gas?

Of course, it will have some negatives.

I’m sure that I’ll be attacked by roving bands of marauders with siphon hoses each time I stop at a mailbox to deliver the next package or letter.

It will slow me down to have to battle the roving hoard at every box.

And where am I going to get tires when I can’t get petroleum rich rubber to put on my wheels?


It’s going to be hard to be a mailman.

It’s really going to stink to be a mailman without any gas.

Anyway, remember when National Geographic was the go-to place to find topless pygmy women?

To hide behind the Curious George books and soak in all that new knowledge of pygmy anatomy was a good thing….a good right of passage.

To know in your “child heart” that all the ladies had “those”?

It wasn’t scary….it was revelatory.

Now, it’s scary….the gas thing, I mean….and National Geographic.

The pygmy women must have put on shirts….what is the magazine going to talk about now?

Check out this video to see something scary.

I’m scared.


why would you want to do that?

This is pretty wacky.

I thought I’d post it “just for fun”.


I was reasonably interested in “survivalism” for a time….back when survival might be an issue….back when I thought something bad might happen.

Now I know that something bad can always happen.

Always, always, always.

But….more likely….something good can happen, too.

I guess that you find what you look for.

My father’s take on it all was that there were some things that might not be worth surviving.

“Why’d you want to survive that?” was his comment.

The older I get the more that seems like a good observation.

There are a lot of movies like this on YouTube.

I’m kind of surprised how many goofy movies are on there…..

I’m surprised by a lot of goofy stuff.