Friday, October 29, 2010

This bird will fly

Ordinarily this is where I would moan and curse about the state of my life. But a wise man once said that if nothing changes then nothing will change. So I've changed my life by choosing to concentrate on my trip to Labrador. It could not coexist with my job so the job has been sacrificed. No one cried any tears upon my departure. In fact, the last thing I heard was, "Oggy, you got any food in the fridge, cause we're cleaning it out." I did have some yoghurt and claimed it for my breakfast. Then I was gone and forgotten like the worthless temp worker I am. $400 a week and my expenses were about $350. Pathetic.



Goals: Spiritual thinking. No more copper and doodads. No more gadgets. This may mean the end of my digital career but I think it is for my own improved mental health. No, I don't think my choice will change the world, but it will make me more content. My mental disability forces me to consider the source and effects of all this plastic and copper and ion implantation and it is driving me insane.



Outfit van for trip: Stove, camping equipment, food, alternator, spare tire cover that says "Labrador or Bust: Arctic Wolf Tour 2010"



Say goodbye to everyone: Goodbye. It was nice to know you.



Con my brother into buying me a suitable camcorder for the trip.



Edit and deliver my stageplay that the local theater wishes to produce for next spring.



That is all.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

See the Aurora Borealis! Answer The Call of the Wild!

You want an adventure? You want to behold the glory of the northern lights in their natural setting? You want to travel North to Labrador, Canada in an authentic 1969 Ford Econoline Adventure Wagon customized specifically for this trip with a twenty-year experienced wilderness guide and storyteller extrodinaire? This is your once in a lifetime opportunity to see the Northern Lights as they were meant to be seen, from the middle of an unihabited tundra.

This trip includes, Door to Door service from New England to the Arctic and back.
meals cooked to order in the van.
wilderness survival training and camping tutoring.
A safe and insured driver who wants to change the world starting with you.

Itinerary is up to you! No strings. No strict plans! No cocktail hour where you mingle with phony people. This is not a meet and greet where you talk about your past life. No. This is the part where you actually live. We will travel as the ancients did with the stars as our guide and with adventure as our destination.
We can go through Northern New Hampshire or Maine or Vermont. We can stay in Montreal or Toronto or Quebec City. It's up to you! We can visit a safari park or a university expert on Sea Turtles. Eventually we will drive up the incredible route 138 from Quebec City to Baie-Comeau. From there we will literally leave the world behind on the seldom traveled route 389 through the lakeland marshes and tundra of Northeastern Quebec. You will see terrain that few have ever seen and mingle with animals in their natural habitat. It is North America as it was 500 years ago, as it was before Man's footprint fell so strongly on the land. We will study the stars by a campfire and commune with nature in a way that will connect you with our wolf-nature. Don't worry about bugs as it will be too cold for that nuisance. We will be outside every network calling area in existence. You will be unplugged and so will the music be soothing and acoustically transparent. Songs of youth and heartbreak and nature will relax you as you sleep under the stars, your breath hovering above you. We will be taking short day hikes every day to further increase your connection to the land and we will follow the northern star until we are blessed with the vision of the Northern Lights. Don't be afraid to cry because they will inspire you to tears as all of nature would if we were not bombarded with manipulated cleavage images and expectations that are merely a marketeer's grip on your humanity. Break the bonds to the consumer age!

This trip will turn you into a new person and it is impossible to put a price on such a spiritually liberating course of action. Nothing can prepare you for this adventure that you will remember for the rest of your life and relive in countless dreams of happiness. You will come to understand the old adventure saying, "Even the bad times were good."

This is a team adventure. Money doesn't buy anything of value in this world. You pay your own way and we become a team only because we trust each other. You can't buy trust even if some limp dick lawyer can write a clause that claims to sell it. No, you earn trust with exercises that will take place in New Hampshire and beyond. That's what separates this adventure from others. There are no free rides and you will be escorted by a veteran adventurer. Bring every penny you have because where we are going you won't want to come back.

I estimate $2000 will bring you home safely but the real price will be to the claws of capitalism that have you anchored to your desk, working for the wrong reasons, suffering in quiet desperation. Had enough of Tea Party lunacy and Democratic preposterousness? I have the answer and the answer is a dancing rainbow of light that will almost make you forget the negative 30 degrees that will freeze every part of your face and hands if you aren't careful. But it will change your entire point of view, it will change your soul, it will reveal to you the power of the earth and your place on it. In the distance a wolf howls to its mates in an ancient ritual of communication that will change you. Are you ready to listen to the message?

Contact Oggy Bleacher if this sounds like your cup of tea. Or keep poking at your computer screen and hoping a Wall Street fat cat doesn't mismanage your pension fund. There is more to life than 401K and aromatherapy. I will show you what that is.

Trips leaving soon. Be part of it or forever wonder what could have happened...

You do not pay for this adventure; you earn it. The Northern Lights are waiting for you.


· Location: Labrador / Arctic


· it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Dear Mr. President,

I urge you to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a new National Monument.

I have pondered the value of reckless innovation and have reached the conclusion that it can not continue. While great advances have been made in quantity of life, there have been very few made in quality of life. Proportionately, Mankind is no more content than in the Middle Ages, but we have eradicated countless species in the pursuit of an impossible longevity and grotesque comfort. Stock prices and the increased pyramid of wealth seem at the true root of this heedless attack on nature, not the benevolent lifting on Man from the mud as some CEOs would have us believe. I'm unconvinced and plead my case to you, Mr. President. Do not be swayed by the countless hacks and theives who would pry your soul open with their filthy claws. The Arctic wolf, the Polar Bear, the Musk Ox, the Hare, the Caribou, the Native American ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE DECADE OR TWO OF PETROLEUM THAT WILL BE STOLEN FROM BENEATH THEM! They are not yours or mine to sacrifice but ours to protect. America is not the lord sovereign of planet earth but without your moral action it will become its destroyer.

Please join me in this fight.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dreams to Remember

Dreams to Remember by Otis Redding. This is how I enter my dream world...on the wings of velvet throaty tones, lyrics that observe the world without the satin sheets and post production values of manipulation. DO NOT DISCOURAGE THE VAIN FROM THEIR JOURNEY AMONG THEIR SORROWS! Otis beats me on the head with his Adam's apple language. Like a volcano I am emerging from a dormant period the subducted rock of my sadness slowly melting into magma that MUST ERUPT INTO ARCTIC WOLF MADNESS. Here you witness my desire for unattainable longings and flesh that once was warm and close and is now a million miles away and dreams I once gently guided with training wheel care into full growth but that have since withered into dry capers of agony and only through the milking of my weakened soul can i engorge them again to fullness and when ripe I align them with the unnamed stars in the sky. Otis, take my hand.

Collapsed at work after long bouts with high productivity. There is nothing there but arthritis and prostate problems there, discussions of the springtime we never had and the youth that has grown gray on my chin like a billy goat who nears death.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review of NTB Tires in Newington, New Hampshire: Grade F

Tim of NTB Tires, Home of Bad Service, hand-delivered the best corporate cuntery quote that I could ask for:

"My hands are tied."

Ah, if anything reeks of corporate training, weakness, and incompetence it is that admittance of uselessness: "My hands are tied."
Everyone from Wall Street fat cats who eat blue collar pension funds out of the pussies of 16 year old whores to quavering Presidents with Alzehimers to true cunts wearing shiny flare buttons will mutter this repulsive trope. When the shit finally goes down they all smirk and say, "My hands are tied." with the obligatory shoulder shrug.

And we are bigger cunts if we allow them to get away with it.

Let me explain...

Went to NTB to discuss my alignment. I spent another $250 today to have the Ibeams tweaked so the tires would not be chewed up as they were after leaving NTB. It's a long tale and unless you have a mid '70s Twin Ibeam ford van or truck then this is not something you need to care about. But if you do have one then DO NOT take it to NTB.

The saga in short form:
Back in July I spent $300 at NTB for two new tires and an alignment. First of all, a rear tire exploded a day after leaving NTB. Then a rear wheel bearing seized up causing great and numerous problems. Once that was sorted out I saw that the tires were horribly aligned, visually off which means they were way off. Others agreed and I returned to NTB tires and they also agreed that the alignment, expecially the camber, was all wrong. Funny, the exact shop that had done the original work was telling me how bad it looked. They actually asked,
"Who did this alignment?"
"Uh, you guys. Here's the receipt."
"Oh."

They again could not do anything to help, scratching their asses as you do when clueless.

So, I left NTB again with a terrible alignment and upon closer inspection determined the inner 1/4 of the tire was actually below the wear marker indicating time to replace...after 800 miles. This postponed my Labrador/Arctic Wolf quest indefinitely and after digging into the depths of Banfield road it was decided that only a rare procedure known as straightening the I-Beam would actually reposition the tires correctly. Internet research confirmed this. The procedure could not be done on Banfield but rather on Route 1 by an RV and big rig/bus service shop called Coastal Truck and Auto Body. They estimated a $400 bite from Oggy's wallet but since the van is running so well and ion implanters are being ordered like bean and cheese burritos, I agreed. I can't keep running through tires (the last front tires bubbled out until they were running on metal radial...and this was becoming ridiculous.

So, this morning found me at 5 am running down the foggy road (route 1) trying to loosen my load on my 1974 Vespa Ciao after dropping the 1969 van off so I could get to work at the robot factory. I swear that watching 10 minutes of my life would leave most people hysterically laughing. 5 minutes of Jersey Shore made me want to shoot myself in the mouth but an average visit to the bathroom with me is like a Jerry Lewis short movie.

Anyway, I pick the van up after work and the thing is dialed in. They torqued the I-Beam with clevis hooks and bottle jacks, a procedure I've seen pictures of, and they adjusted the toe and all. The alignment looks good and feels good and only cost $250. Which leaves me with a $300 reciept at NTB that I am scratching my ass about. The alignment they gave me was useless and because it was useless the two tires are now toast. I understand that it is my responsibility to not patronize a garage of pot smoking idiots but let's not cry over spilled milk. I just want to have two new tires on an aligned front end. And I paid $100 for an alignment that was obviously totally useless. Which brings us to this afternoon as I walked into NTB with a handful of reciepts and a small attitude.

I don't want to transcribe the entire conversation even though I could do so. I will highlight some moments that are especially revealing.

Me: See, it actually cost $300 to get the alignment done correctly. I had no problem paying that. But my question is if I got it aligned somewhere else then what did I pay you for?"

Tim: uh huh.

Me: I mean, what did you do? I left here with a crappy alignment that burned through two new tires. What did you accomplish?

Tim: I'll be right back.


Tim brought reinforcements in the form of a square-jawed grease monkey who "Had never heard of straightening an I-Beam."

Me: That van is older than all three of us. They haven't done I-Beam straightening in twenty plus years. But it is a true procedure. Look it up.

Here's something I'll print out for square jaw to look at...

"If the Twin I-Beam axles are the forged variety, which were used from 1965 through 1981, camber can be corrected by bending the axle with a hydraulic ram. To make a make a positive camber correction, a rigid work beam is slung under the axle from a pair of clevis blocks. A hydraulic ram is then placed under the middle of the axle. When pressure is applied, the ram bends the axle upward and tilts the knuckle down to increase camber. A slight amount of overbending is usually needed to compensate for spring back in the axle. A negative camber correction is made by removing the outboard clevis block and inserting a spacer between the work beam and axle. The hydraulic ram is then repositioned directly under the inner axle bushing. When pressure is applied, the work beam bends the outer end of the axle up which tilts the knuckle and decreases camber."



Square Jaw: I've never worked on one but I think they gave you a line of bullshit. There is no way...

Me: Call them and tell them that because they've forgotten more about alignments than you will ever know.

Exit Square Jaw.

Tim: I don't know what I can do for you.

Me: Refund everything. All $300. The alignment was useless. It was negligent for you to attempt it in this shop.

Tim: Those tires have some life left on them. The steel radials won't be showing any time soon.

Me: Great! I'll give them to you when I replace them and you can sell them again.

Tim: You'll have to talk to our manager, Tony.

Me: Wheel him out.

Tim: He's not here.

Me: So you're the big man in charge and your hands are tied?

Tim: I can't help you.


Now, I'm not an abusive person and I know Tim has been trained to pass the buck because he isn't authorized to make a refund like this. It's corporate policy to avoid responsibility and avoid any refunds...always prolong the problem because most people will be too busy to pursue it. Sooner or later they will die. In fact, I'm too busy to pursue it. I'll call the manager who will also deny me satisfaction. I can call all the people I want and they will not refund my money. It will take a court order three years from now to get my $300 back and I believe all the evidence points to neglect and incompetence. For the service boss of NTB to say confidently that a pro auto alignment shop "Definitely fed you a line of bullshit." is just proof he has no idea what he's talking about. It's a procedure that he will never do in his life unless he works on thirty-year old Ford vans and trucks. But to run his mouth instead of admitting ignorance is proof that corporate monkeys will proceed without caution into things they know nothing about. That whole shop will go to their grave thinking they could align that van and a few miles away is a shop that can actually align the van. It should be NTB mandate to decline service to 1980 vehicles and older. Why? Because most of the kids working there were born in 1980.

So, I'm good at a few things and not resenting corporate buffons is one of them. I hold no grudges and consider it a lesson learned. Of course I will speak truth to power and discredit the NTB brand whenever I can but I will do it in a way that does not make me out to be a grudge-holder. I know they were unable to do the work and they know that too but they still tried and failed and charged me for their failure. NTB SERVICE TECHS FAILED. They failed and still charged me money for their failure which they now refuse to refund and claim that their hands are tied. It is this that makes them cunts. Would you bring your car to a mechanic whose hands are tied?

For me to ignore this would be irresposible because they also need to learn their lesson as I have learned: Namely, not to have my van worked on at NTB. I can move forward toward this goal without venom in my heart or hateful words on my lips. This is the universe speaking to me in muted words no different than the rustling of leaves when a deer takes a shit. I move through the placid river of life at times in eddies of sadness and tumult and in times of gentle repose. Money lost is not something I resent or begrudge. I see everything as payment for lessons and the greatest lessons cost the most and I will tell you that $300 is not a significant amount for anything. Wisdom costs much more and the currency doesn't come from your wallet.

I should mention that nothing short of refund will satisfy me. Even if they offered to replace the tires I will refuse. "That van never enters that garage again." will be my comment. You don't complain and then let them touch your car again just like you don't send food back at a restaurant. Either eat it or walk out.

The story isn't over but I've said all I want to say about it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Analysis

I recieved a user report of my blog and someone visited these pages after searching for the keywords, "Hobo sucking cock for money"

Another was,

"Colonoscope guidewire"

and

"Book about Oggy Dog."

I don't know what to make of this except the terms "Climate Change and simple living" are never the terms that get people to my blog. I need to focus more on that. God, what did that person think when he wanted to see a hobo sucking cock for money and found himself reading my environmental/political rants? Did he feel he was misled? Did he instantly click back and adjust his search terms? I want him back and I want to change his mind. No, really, there are hobos sucking cock here...I swear! I'm a hobo and I'm sucking cock right now! Look!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

One year ago....


This was taken a year ago in Northern Quebec not long before I retreated south. Looking back I feel I was a coward for not pressing on in the face of freezing temperatures and mechanical failures and bad tires and dead batteries. Because now I'm on the same damn mission and it's later and I'm in worse shape and my kidneys are bad and I've got to outfit my van for the adventure. Not to mention the wolf is in trouble.

But I have a real video camera this time and I am determined to make it. This time, nothing will stop me. It's Labrador or Bust. This week will determine my fate either way. I had an epiphany last night in my frozen breath dreams that I've been waiting for life to miraculously fill me with love and contentment but I think that I must pursue and cultivate these things on my own. They will not grow by themselves. Like Joseph Campbell said, Follow your Bliss. Fame and fortune will probably not be in your future but some level of peace might be enough.

There's a good line in a movie called "Owning Mahowny" with Phillip Seymour Hoffman back when he was taking roles in everything.

Psychologist: How would you rate the thrill you got from gambling, on a scale of one to one hundred?
Dan Mahowny: Um... hundred.
Psychologist: And what about the biggest thrill you've ever had outside of gambling?
Dan Mahowny: Twenty.

Then the psych asks if he would be satisfied with 20. And that's the question all us addicts have to ask ourselves. Maybe I'm addicted to drama or abuse or self destruction. The times I get a thrill of 100 is getting lost in the forest or having a major mechanical breakdown or solving some motorcycle problem or writing an especially tasteful passage. Work, when I'm paying attention, is about a 10. Reading John Updike is a 50. Listening to Roger Waters is a 60. Everything else literally doesn't register on my meter. I daydream 80% of the time of a place where Roger Waters sings to me while I work on a motorcycle. That's a 100...but it isn't real...so it's really nothing. We're all looking for the 100 and it's easy to think that which gives you the biggest thrill is worth the pain it gives too. No one wants to be satisfied with a 20 out of 100. Maybe I can convince myself that the 20 is really 100. I'm good at self deception.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sacrifice...


Worldwatch has a blog that is transforming cultures. Unfortunately about ten people read it and they are all hippies living in their vans. The latest post contemplated the word sacrifice and how it could be reclaimed so it wasn't a dirty word. Like, when you try to save money by eating at McDonalds you really just sacrificed your health in exchange for you money. But if you told someone to sacrifice more money in exchange for good health they would think that was bad. Because, and I've said this before, the marketeers at McDonalds and Apple and Ford ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD EVER. These are the best manipulators the planet has ever seen. I watch ads now with such a critical eye and I see exactly how they are manipulating the viewer and it's the kind of stuff George Orwell couldn't predict because it's so diabolical. Basically, in every Burger King advertising office there is a sign that says, "Fatty food = happiness" Plain and simple. That's how advertising works. Every campaign must follow that simple edict. It matters not that the food is poison. All that matters is that the advertisements will evoke a quality of home and friendship and family as equivalent to French fries and a greasy chicken sandwich. Now, they have actually succeeded in this goal but they will not stop because our collective memories are so fucking horribly ruined by drugs that if they stopped then we will all forget why we went to these trash dispensaries in the first place. So they keep pounding the message home and Ford and Apple all jump in. I think the latest one that made me sick is the Verizon one. "Powerful. Revolutionary. Unleash Digital Delight. Be The Master of Your Own Economy. Send a Strong Signal. Rule The Air."

Now, I'm an ad junkie and because of that, like a magician, I can see the strings behind any trick. It makes them less fun but then I'm only impressed by the ones that are so arresting that I forget for a second I'm being manipulated. This Verizon one is terrible. Obviously going for the "Frail Girl Empowered By Our Product" approach. Like, she's her own thinker and Verizon is just enabling her to text pics of her tits to her married lover. Awesome! Thanks Verizon! But I approve of a consistent propaganda campaign and theirs is good. Women are the over all number one income earner in America since the higher paid men were all laid off recently. They are the biggest spenders and the best market to manipulate so Verizon has completely tailored their campaign to under 40 women. I approve because this obeys the rule of branding which is to focus and be memorable. That's where I have trouble with my blog. This was supposed to be a branding exercise in counter culture joy. I would represent an agent of change that would be so magnetic that everyone would flock to simpler living...but life got in the way and all I represent is a depressed hobo spitting on the walmart parking lot. I've become an exact reason why no one should do what I'm doing. FUCK! How did that happen. It's like a cell phone ad where all the calls get dropped and the phone breaks. Well, I wouldn't buy that piece of shit. Now people look at me and say, "Look, that's the reason I shop at Walmart and work 9-5 filing paper. I don't want to end up like that!"
So, all I've got left is my honesty and my integrity and blepheritis syndrome. I'm a poor votary of the simple joyful life. I can only think of Japhy Ryder/Gary Snyder from Dharma Bums by Kerouac. He's the one who demonstrated a life of zen and joy and simplicity writing poetry and hiking and cutting wood. It could be done, but I have made a total mess of it. Sigh. I knew it wouldn't be easy but maybe I made it hard on myself by staying in the civilized world.

Anyway, I'm not going to quit but I just want to say that there is a purpose behind all this madness just like this Rule the Air campaign is trying to get you to buy verizon and feel good about it, make your feel like a traitor if you don't buy verizon. I want you to feel like my way of life is desirable, that the wolf is worth saving, that the earth is not disposable, that our culture is not the evolutionary apex of jack shit, and that it is time to do some critical thinking. That's all I do. let me help. Let's critically think together! If anyone wants to team up to make an ad campaign about the arctic wolf that is as equally manipulative then let me know.

Here's my response to the transforming culture post...I swear he writes exactly like I would've if I'd gone to Harvard instead of the Yukon Territory.

"The question you ask seems to be this: is a sacrifice really a sacrifice if it is done ignorantly/unwillingly? I'd say, no, it isn't. Cigarette smoking damaged a great many lungs but the marketing campaign behind it basically brainwashed people into thinking it would be a sacrifice if they stopped smoking. What North America seems to have created is a runaway consumer culture that doesn't really believe everything the advertisement says but also doesn't think critically either. So, the status quo is to purchase what is new and dispose of what is old. How can we get to a paradigm of fixing what is old and pondering deeply the value of anything new prior to mass production? It's not getting any easier as jobs move further from cities making long distance transport more necessary and raw food is being processed 1500 miles from the dinner table. The balance is definitely in favor of dependency on expensive, resource rich, outside technology for our comfort which leaves us vulnerable and fearful. No, North America doesn't have a smallpox epidemic but 1 in 3 Americans may have diabetes in 2050. It's almost like cigarettes were used as an experimental profit model that has now evolved into prescription drugs. Cigarettes took healthy people and made them sick for a price. Synthetic insulin will take sick people and make them well for a price. But you have to have diabetics first and fast food has guaranteed that.

As far as redefining sacrifice, I think you are on the right track. Trans-formative-culture media such as this should concentrate on reversing the accepted paradigm. Thoreau would say that our gadgets aren't saving us time, they're stealing time from future generations who will have to clean up our mess. Maybe the mess cured small pox but it also eradicated honey bees which makes gardening impossible. A buddy of mine would say it all comes down to education and worldwatch is a leader in critical, humanist education. Keep asking the right questions and we will find the answers together.

The truth is out!

The Onion slays me...


Justin Bieber Found To Be Cleverly Disguised 51-Year-Old Pedophile

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bob Guccione RIP


I want to pay tribute to Bob Guccione, the founder of Penthouse. I mean, here was a guy who figured out that men will pay to see naked women. That's right. He figured that all on his own. My first bit of pornography was probably a playboy on the rack of a truck shop where I was giving blow jobs to make ends meet. I thought, "Wait a second... this is something new." I would never again have to hoard the underwear section of the Sears catalog.

And then it was writing porn stories "pillow talk" for a few erotic mags and getting screwed (excuse the pun) out of my pay. I gave them the best years of my life and all my stories ended up getting stolen like A Kurt Vonnegut character and turned into major motion pictures. But what is a little guy like me going to do? Nothing.

Now, the era of Internet pornography such as the one embedded on this page has begun and Penthouse is basically a porn production company also selling thongs and dildos that are shipped from China in huge tankers full of illegal immigrants suffocating in the dank bowels with rats and vats of soymilk.

Well, my balls ache after wanking off and I want to tip my cap with my slimy fingers and give a nod to Bob The Pornographer. Playboy was classy (before the boob job/tattoo era began) but if you wanted teasing threesomes and open mouthed teenage girls pretending to be in the thralls of ecstasy because their "lawyer" has torn their blouse off them in front of a sexy 36D "judge" and a shocked "jury" of cheerleaders...then you needed to visit Penthouse...or High Society...or Jugs...or Barely Legal...or Hustler...or about fifty other magazines that I stole from the printing company I worked at in Junior High tearing covers off books and putting sunday comic inserts in newspapers. Many of those mags were Penthouse and the sex letters and advice about hand jobs were invaluable and my prostate has enjoyed countless explosives throbs with and without the help of another person...and I guess I owe it all to a man who exploited as many girls as he could. God bless him. Teen pussy never gets old!
incidentally, that locker room set is at Entertainium in L.A. where we attempted to open a production design studio but were thwarted by porn stars and crystal meth. If those walls could talk they would go, "blblblbblblblblblblaahagmalllbblbl..." and trail off into hysteria.


In more serious news anyone who cares about anything ought to read Matt Taibbi's article on the wholesale auction of America to billionaire oil sheiks that my father likes to call "Muslims" because they live in a country with a Koran. Yeah, they're real devout. There must be some hidden speech from Muhammad where he recommends leasing parking meters in Chicago and using the money to fly American porn stars to Abu Dhabi for orgies in the sand. "Don't forget to paint your Rolls Royce with 24K gold," said the last prophet...
Anyway, Taibbi is the best pop-political journalist since Hunter Thompson but Vollmann still smokes him in the writing department. He does a lot of hard work so you don't have to and from reading him and Naomi Klein and Ralph Nader and Lester Brown it's fairly obvious that some powerful and villainous folks have been running the United States while 300 million people argued about nonsense. But, like Nader says, go ahead and update your Facebook status...pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

stove



The one I have is the same make and size but has a wider top for two lids and a heat shield around the sides. It is awesome but Fatsco from Benton Harbor, MI says it should only burn coal or charcoal. THe bottom is more for air and to get the ashes. You load coal from the top. IT is built like an enclosed charcoal grill with a grated platform at the bottom. I think it could handle wood on the very bottom but research suggests the heat will bust the seams in time, which I believe. I don't want to heat my van with charcoal . that's crazy. Maybe the Chicken Man can hook me up with pipe and stove etc. see the bird like my soul chirping songs to the white wolf.
ponderous.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wood stove in Van

Following my unconventionality mandate I will be installing a vintage cast iron stove in the van to dry out my Burt Bacharach songbooks and to keep my spiderman underoos dry. But reading about this process on the magical information portal known as the Internet (that Oggy is continuously supporting with his ion implanter safety harnesses and webs of Faraday fiberoptics) I see that people think this is a bad idea. Like, "A wood stove in a van? Sounds dangerous. You could die!"

Well, someone should tell the Sherpas who packed them up Mt. Everest during the first ascents. Or the Russian vets who survived the siege of Leningrad by sleeping in tents heated with a wood stove. Or hell, is driving with 8 cylinders exploding highly volatile gas in a pressurized steel case safe? Is it?

Anyway, I'm freezing to death every night without some heat and I'm a caveman at heart so in spite of the carbon creating effects of burning my paper waste I will survive the cold Labrador nights with the wood stove. My only problem is where to put the thing. There's not much room in the 9 X 5 space. But that also means it won't take much to heat the thing up. Of course, the mini hot tub is going to much harder to fit in...

advice?
this is how it turned out

Monday, October 18, 2010

Is this crazy enough for you?

Not long after this was recorded I was escorted off the property following my calistenics routine in the middle of the parking lot. I was yelling, "IS THIS CRAZY ENOUGH FOR YOU?"













The problem is I'm not content with the status quo and am trying to get to Labrador but am being delayed by mechanical upgrades.







The hypocrisy is this: I say the deepwater horizon spill is a calamity that can not be ignored. We have to change our ways yesterday. There is no five year or ten year plan for the cormorants and dolphins of the Gulf of Mexico. They are suffering today. And the casual response is, "What are we gonna do? Mankind will eventually go extinct when we poison the ocean and acid rain makes all men impotent and women are either forced to pay a Tom Cruise clone (alien invader) to impregnate them or else remain barren."




But for some reason my personal emotional decay, one person out of 7 billion, is cause for concern. Uh, what kind of priorities are going on here? I'm talking about the species of the wolf and people are worried I sleep outside in a storm that poured gallons of water on my bed and I spent all night protecting my Lionel Richie songbook. Who cares about me? The wolves are in deep trouble. The whales. The damn Manta Rays. If you're going to worry about something pick a real cause. Oggy Bleacher's fate is already sealed. He only wants to make a grand exit.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cute kid becomes town menace...

Those pants are awesome!

In the toes of my left foot is a dandelion. Those very same toes are now crippled hopelessly by arthritis. Coincidence?


I'm surprised I didn't turn out gay by the looks of me here in 1975, 1976, 1977. Yes, that is a Thor underoos shirt at the bottom. I didn't mind hamming it up for the camera. There were a few years there where I danced spontaneously and sang for no reason and had all the making of a flamboyant stage actor, someone who would prance around in off Broadway productions of Cats or Grease. I taught myself to tap dance and gave grand bows whenever exiting a room. It was odd looking back. Even in High School I paid more attention to my impromptu monologues and theatrically farting than to quadratic equations and how to add protons. I belonged in a performing arts school and ended up in the bowels of Somerville grade school where creativity was locked in the milk locker along with the tin foil containing our meatloaf. I learned to bounce a ball against a wall and add numbers.
I guess this is a note to all parents out there that one day your kid might delve into the memories you are creating and reflect on it all...and yes, even judge you publicly.

Bike week comparison 1978-2010




These two pictures were taken 32 years apart. I think I'm getting to the source of my troubles. In one of them I'm riding a moped that was only 3 years old at the time the other picture was taken. And that bannana seat Schwinn one speed was probably my first bike and the chrome made me proud. I'm a little amazed that I took the more recent picture without remembering the existence of the older picture. It's like I'm reliving 1977.

Halloween 1977





In honor of the October holiday here is a flashback to 1977 when the costume to have was Luke Skywalker. That's my brother as the future Jedi warrior. I wanted to be an astronaut and fly to Mars so I chose the astronaut uniform. I'm not sure I understood it was a costume to be worn only on Halloween because I found other pictures in June and July where I am still wearing this costume. I'd wear it today if it fit.
.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chilean Miners are Free. Oggy contines to be trapped.

Thoreau lived in a time of slavery and he liked to say that slavery was bad but it was worse to be your own slavemaster. I think people connect with the Chilean mining disaster/rescue because we all basically grind away our lives in our own private copper mines and to see the relief of those men when they were rescued makes us believe that one day we too will be saved. Maybe that is what God means to us...the long pipeline from our hell into a bright heaven.

I continue to be disillusioned by life. I don't understand what any of this mad dash for copper or Ikea furniture of Dr. Suess boxer shorts means. Attitude will carry a man over many waves. But does that contradict the importance of the waves? And what is the point of raising children to consume and produce? What goal are we pursuing? I'd like to play more and better guitar. It's something that has instant results and your playing will reflect your work. But each day at the mine has me praying that someone else will rescue me in a steel tube with a J. Carruthers guitar.

I am committed to going to Labrador as soon as the van is fit to drive there. No more excuses. This is a trip that is easy to avoid and for that reason only the hardiest souls make it there. You have to be driven or drive yourself, be your own navigator and patron. Make the trip. The arctic wolf is threatened and my goal is to learn more about this animal while there is still a chance.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

August, 1967

Now, a picture says quite a bit by itself but I'll go ahead and narrate this one...




Newly married couple moves from New England to New Mexico in 1966 or 1967. Buys a concrete house with concrete walls and proceeds to have a porch built. It's the American Dream. The woman above is 25 years old in the picture, partly excited about moving out of New Hampshire but a little disillusioned with the suburbs of a growing New Mexico city. Is this all there is? Her husband is working at a military base which leaves her time to ponder her life as a stay at home something. There are no children yet but that seems to be the obvious plan. Why have children? Everyone else seems to be doing it. Did she marry out of custom or as a way out? Hard to tell from her expression.

She was born in Vermont in 1942, and grew up in Durham, New Hampshire going to school in what we might think was a Leave It To Beaver world but as anyone will tell you was filled with drama and intrigue as all eras are. Her older sister took JFK's challenge and joined the Peace Corp so during high school and college she and her parents read about exciting locations and cultural exchange in hand written letters delivered by the mailman in the cold as their white breath co-mingled in the airspace near the front porch.
"Another letter from Egypt. Joanie sure gets around," comments the mailman.
"Want to come in for a nip," my grandfather says with a wink. He wasn't a drinker but Vermont natives knew an offer warmed the heart as much as the drink itself.
"No," responds the mailman. "Lots of mail yet to deliver." And he moves down the snowy path, past the gigantic cars my grandfather never stopped driving. My mother and her parents would then read the letter by the wood stove and my mother would fantasize about leaving New England herself one day.

So, here she was in her own home, purchased for maybe $5 or $7 grand in a big dry and hot southwestern state. This could, she realized, never change. She could be content here as the the older Mexican women who shuffled on worn feet from their cleaning jobs at the mansions nearby. The nearby cave dwellings of Indians suggest that people clung to their habitats and the shine from the wedding crystal was beginning to wear off. What did she really want from life? Was it enough to make flowers out of plastic to glue to the concrete walls because hanging a picture involved drilling a hole? And the heat dried out all her flowers. Where were the lilacs of New Hampshire? Where were the colors of fall? Where were the bubbling brooks and icicles? Replaced by adobe and cowboys and Navajo rugs and fake turquoise jewelry.

Vermont natives in 1950 did not fall under the spell of false Hollywood emotions. This picture is evidence that if you asked her to pause and look at the camera then that's what she would do. Unlike us media whores today, she didn't look at every picture as a "Kodak Moment" or something that would eventually be submitted to a beauty pageant or end up on the Internet.

I never saw my grandmother or grandfather ham it up for any photograph but in real life they talked and joked like the Honeymooners. My mother's father told woodchuck rhymes and Vermont humor involving wooden nickles and yellow snow. The fact he had told a joke before never prevented him from telling it again. And he liked to steal my nose and hold it in his hand, something I bet he did with my mother when she was young.

What does this picture say to me? It says that my mother was her own woman, not out to impress anyone with her charm or disguise her feelings behind a rouge of happiness. If you've ever lived in New Mexico then you'll know that only in America would anyone voluntarily decide to move there. It is desolate, waterless, dry and unchanging. Wagon tracks from the westward expansion still criss cross the flat lands. Why would anyone live there? Charm, as Edward Abbey writes, can only be found in the smallest details of the desert; the cactus flower that blooms once a year, the stealthy scorpion and rattlesnake, the flitting fly catcher birds, the lizard mentality of living in a habitat without water are all the elements you can attend to.

Vermont natives are people of the earth. My mother, as honest as a train track is straight, loved flowers and plants and gardening as my grandmother did. Farming and gardening give back exactly what you give and anything that hints of fraud like trading stocks and flipping houses or phony salesmanship is demonic to those born in Vermont. In 1967, the place to be was not central New Mexico where the race to the moon, the summer of love, the communist threat, Muhammad Ali's efforts to avoid the draft, the Rolling Stones, the Vietnam war and most current events were not pertinent. The things that most interested New Mexico citizens was the weather, the humidity, gas prices, air conditioning, and golf course conditions. The military was testing nuclear weapons but that was in Arizona and California. Sandia Laboratories where her husband worked quietly produced things like diamond drill bits and passenger tire formulas and anti-tank armor. Nanotech, military, energy, bio-chemical, space technology: these are the fields Sandia works with. When a battery that lasts a ridiculously long time and is light as a feather and recharged by body heat is produced the chances are it will come from Sandia Laboratories. None of this impressed the practical woman in the red dress who came from Vermont with a suitcase full of home made dresses and probably a single color of lipstick. She didn't wear ear rings and isn't wearing a necklace in the picture though the dress certainly begs for some ornament. That wasn't her style. Though she is wearing lip stick in the picture it wasn't long before she grew her hair out and wore peasant shirts, painted walls in high hip jeans and ceased to wear any cosmetics at all.

She took a risk by leaving New England but she knew the world was bigger than Oyster River, bigger than Boston and bigger than the United States. She'd go one to live in many countries and her sons would travel the world with her blood in them, carrying the same cosmetic free expression.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

1976

Ok, I've been waxing nostalgic for Sanford 1976. Why? Take a look.
Kids, this was taken for our country's bicentennial, July 1976. I don't think it will see a tricentennial so take a long look. And I know I won't see 2076 so this is it. This was the future, bright and proud, leafy green and growing strong in the New England tradition. God bless America. I am proudly wearing my american flag pants that my mother probably made herself. My brother is the taller one in his Red White and Blue shirt. Please do not comment on our hair cuts but admire quietly the innocence and promise of this moment.



Another snapshot into the past. I would guess this is an Easter Egg hunt in April of 1976. We were not concerned with color coordination at that time. Maybe these were our Pajamas with red slippers and I insisted on wearing plastic cowboy boots with my lime green pants tucked in. My brother's shirt has some kind of farm equipment on it and the house which would soon be painted red and the Indian shutters black, is now a gross beige. That black bronze eagle on our front screen door is classic. Also classic is a tree directly in front of the door. The house was on a quarter acre with no neighbors. Icicles hung long from the roof.

Although I am apparently uncomfortable in the picture below I feel a tug in my heart when I view this. My mother's dark hair which is currently pure white, the multicolored afghan that smells like every moment of dreams a 5 year old boy would have. The transparent cloth lampshade, the clothing hutch in the background which is pure wood and not the Ikea atrocities that are around now. The evenly spaced and leveled pictures. The lamps. The soft and natural light by that antique wood chair. the hanging ivy in the background. The leather couch. These were my mother's hand The boy without aches and pain and scars. I can even see the corner of a bronze statue on the end table that was an Indian spearing a buffalo. And that globe with U.S.S.R on it and East Germany.


I return to Sanford searching for these moments like Charles Foster Kane returning to his storage locker looking for his wooden sled. The moose calls and dog fights and heartbreaks of the world leave me full of experiences to pass on and a persepective to share but don't they all eventually reduce down to this picture of security and essential bonding? And where is that in my life now? Non existent. I cough myself awake in a Walmart parking lot and work for 11 hours with fiber optic wire. Humanity has been banished from my life and the rainbow afghan of affection has unraveled with time and distance and resentment. I wrote a note to myself this afternoon as the wire crimping hypnotized me:
"Your children are all grown and the hippie's hair has turned as white as snow flakes on woodstock corn. Sons and daughters speed through life with their burden of resentments and regrets, their baggage propelled by energy drinks and estrogen enhancement. The promise you made when you were 30 and politicians were black and white and ball games were postponed due to popcorn was this: we got them this far. We gave our children a push and though they walk timidly, they walk nonetheless. Because one day your sons and daughters will have daughters and sons of their own and they will know the controlled chaos of youth and your resentments will dissolve into the recognition that color slides do not last forever. Opportunity is all we can bequeath to our children, their easter baskets filled with plastic eggs containing promise that only they can fulfil, their flags may change and their alliances may falter but we got them this far."
I'm merely depressed that my goals of writing can not be realized during the two hours of lucidity between work and sleep. It takes inspiration and time to write and lately I'm funding vacations in my mind while tapping S-O-S morse code to my fantasy lovers. How did Kerouac overcome his own collection of tattered travel stamps? How did he patch his fireman pants? When will these flags fly again?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What day is it?

Birds or moths use paper shreds and leaves to create a home. We really need 100 floors in a sky scraper to conduct business? really>?

Shaws Dairy Farm has BBQ that was OK. The renovations made my remembrance trip unusual. Instead, I created new memories that supplanted the old distant ones. We all renew our faith in ourselves or else chew on aged memories. The scoop girls flirted with their eyes though they had no tip jar. And when asked if I wanted anything to drink I replied, "Whiskey on the rocks," and the girl had braces younger than scars on my fingers so the joke prompted concerned looks and shame. I flirt with the wrong girls and ignore the right ones.

Duck face meets chocolate ice cream with sprinkles. I had almond crunch and was sick from the sugar that my festering kidney converted to candy corn.

For pre-Halloween I dressed up as an aging, crippled hippie for our trip to Mardsens, where a man's hat said, "Nuke their ass, take their gas." Simple and to the point. Got band aids for my hemorrhaging thumb that has bled for four consecutive days. Wonder why I'm pale and thin? Chronic internal and external bleeding. Madbury Corn eaten from the worm's mouth. 11 hours of crimping a day under a wooden slab.



In van news (and thus news of my wolf expedition) a mechanic fixed the toe and is working on finding the adapters to fix the caster and camber. This involves straightning the twin I bean suspension. That's the only option and I will invest in this improvement as the two old mechanics marveled at the condition of the van. I'm proud and want to go to the lair of the wolf on a straight course and not swerving as I do down the road. I will mention that NTB tires is truly useless as they didn't even manage to align the toe of the tires. Nothing. I have to go back there after the I beams get straigtened and get them to replace the useless warped tires they sold me. Nothing has gone right since I brought it there proving that experience will prevail of glossy corporate marketing banners and also that a bad mechanic will do more harm than good. I knew this already but have a habit of falling into the same hole over and over.
I'm so tired my socks are falling asleep.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Alignment issues

Thoreau once said that most people hack at the branches of evil and leave the roots untouched. Here is the chicken farmer hacking at the branches of evil. But in his case I think even the branches are a good start. I have devoted 20 years to pondering the roots of evil and let me tell you it looks like another 20 will get me in the ballpark as well as alientate the remainder of humanity. I don't want to be an enemy of the people but my refusal to be brainwashed by pop culture or to reverse the brainwashing done to me by the dominant culture has permanently damaged my relationship with everyone. But is that my fault? They say devices save time but I still see a 12 hour work day being a 12 hour work day. What they mean is that devices make your more productive. But that is also a wash because of the rapid inflation of humanity. So our appetites have exactly matched our production...and that would be not such a thing if everything we made were biodegradable and wolf-friendly. BUT THAT'S NOT HOW IT IS. We are now sacrificing not our own habitat but the wolf's habitat for our appetites (which as previously mentioned are never satisfied) and this is where a mere shred of empathy would allow us to change our ways but the brainwashing has completely removed any trace of wolf-consciousness and Walmart enslaves the masses to better their profits while planting advertisments that funnel infants into their thought paradigm.
And I am the insane one?
We all walk a crooked bridge but I'm going to find the roots of evil and expose them to the light and thus add a shim to adjust the alignment of this crooked suspension that we rely on.


Was lost in a cornfield the other day and I believe we all need to open our eyes.
I have received a sign as to my immediate plans which will be to investigate my van's suspension issues/alignment problems that eat tires, possibly buy a motorcycle for the wrong reasons, and prepare myself for a wolf raising trip to Labrador. I'm almost glad I didn't quit my job when I had the chance because it was 30 degrees last night and Walmart's electric blankets aren't cheap. I hook them up to my battery and sleep warm on a trickle charge from the radiation of the sewage dumped by repulsive RV dwellers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wolves Save Man

"We learned from the animals, such as the wolves, to see how they took care of each other." --Victoria Hykes Steere, an Inupiaq human rights advocate describing how previous climate changes were navigated by Man.

With the wolves gone how will we learn how to live?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Baldface


While it was very nice to view from the bald slopes of the mountain, fall foliage never comes out right in pictures so here's a simple flower (my mom says it is a morning glory) near the Mt. Hope cemetery that lives up to its name. Hopeful of life and spring eternal.




Regarding the hike up South Baldface Mountain...
At what point did I know I was in trouble?
It was when I jarred my spine as I fell into a ditch for the second time.

Imagine pitch blackness in the dark Maine forest, a few star constellations far above through the foliage. Silence surrounds you except for the far off sound of a river or brook. You are on the Slippery Brook Trail, descending from the top of South Baldface, rushing because you foolishly left the seacoast too late and now have to make up time before your cell phone dies. Why is your cell phone important? Because you neglected to bring your headlamp and are on your knees searching for traces of the trail in the dark, fumbling down miles of rock and mud looking for some sign of the other trail to the parking lot.

Go ahead and get your catcalls out now because you will be eating your words in a little while. I'm an idiot but not for the reasons you think. It's a hiker's scenario that no one likes to talk about. When you find yourself nearly lost on a strange trail in the dark and you are wet from sweat from a nearly vertical climb to the top and freezing winds stealing your warmth, and you don't know where you are and you are alone...what do you do? Read on and find out.

I thought the trail was shorter but it just kept going on and on as the dusk turned into night and the squirrels slept and the stars came out in their humbling millions. At this point, for the first time in many months, I did not think about my many failures as a man and mistakes with women who might have loved me or might have been loved by me or career paths that are attractive but for the ecological distaste and my father's shortcomings and mother's indifference, etc. No. I thought only of survival. So much that I didn't even think to take a picture of my sweaty, hopeless face as I blundered, yes, blundered down the trail with only the dim flicker of my cell phone illuminating merely two feet in front of me so that to find the trail markers on the tree I had to shine the light directly on the trunk of every tree I passed and then jogged to the next area where I wasn't sure it was the trail or now. Oh, this was bad. The six bars of my cell phone battery became five. Then four. I was moving too slow now after my two old man knees matched the old man of the mountain and crumbled far up on the summit like my grandfather whose knees were shorn from him and replaced with plastic.

Ok, Oggy, think. You have to make it out alive. Everyone would just love to write your obituary as being lost in the wild like that kid McCandless they always compare you with. But you are different. You have passed the extremist test and now just want to make it back to your cabin on wheels. No time to eat and carefully sipping water while walking because every second the cell phone is on brings you closer to complete darkness and absolutely no way of getting out tonight. IS that serious? The Temp was around 45-50. Maybe colder but no blanket or sweater or even a change of socks. Nothing but your damp Arcade Championship t-shirt and '70s era jeans. At least the screws in your boots are holding the soles together.

So, I blundered further and with each trail marker I felt I was defeating death because this was like finding a condom in the pitch blackness of your backseat while sucking your lover's perfumed neck and one-handed unlatching that damn double hooked bra while kicking your shoes off. This took all my skills as a navigator and trail walker and numerous times I lost the trail (remember in the fall the leaves covered the earth and made everything look untrodden) and ended up snagged on a branch and had to retrace my steps to a trail marker and continue forward.

Now, Slippery Brook trail does not go to the parking lot. Slippery brook trail crosses the trail that gets to the parking lot and I knew I would never see the signs since my cell phone only cast a half a candle worth of light in front of my left hand.
Flashback to me driving north..."Oggy, remember to put your headlamp in your backpack. It's late and as long as you have a flashlight then you can get to the summit and down. But if you forget...forget...if you could forget Elena and just hike for ten minutes then you'll be fine, but she has to always perch on the cornerstone of your mind and not give you a moment's peace. I'm insane if I think we could be together. That's her whole plan to set you up so you devote yourself to her and then she can break your heart. That's what you have to forget. Forget Elena's dark eyes and her curly hair and her love of literature and her bewitching smile...forget everything. That damn crimping factory has driven you insane...Look at those red leaves. So pretty. AS pretty as Elena's hands on your knee, her...damn it! Stop thinking of her! Ok, As soon as you get to the parking lot you need to put the sushi in the backpack and go. The day is fading fast..."

Flash forward to myself running into a tree and falling to the side into a muddy trough.
"Oh, fucking hell!" as I wipe the sweat from my eyes.

Onward through the night, would the trail never end? I couldn't hear any cars or voices, only the wheezing coming from my fiberglass lungs. But I managed to stay on the trail until the final ultimate obstacle. I was stopped in my tracks by a narrow but deep river. What the hell. My instincts told me the trail crossed this brook and continued on the other side, but where? I couldn't see the trail markers with the weak cell phone flickering (two bars of battery left!)
How the hell am I going to cross this river in the dark using a cell phone for light? Very carefully.

I kneeled closer to the river with the cell phone and could only find one or two passable areas. The sound of the water bubbling over the rocks drowned out all my thoughts as I stepped onto a rock that instantly turned and left me on my knees in the ice cold water!
"Fucking hell!"
But I raised the beacon of cell phone technology to the sky to keep it dry and stood up and jumped onto a log that was as wet as an otter's asshole. I clung to it with one hand reaching forward with the light, hoping to see a trail marker. (One bar of battery left) only to find nothing. Just trees. I scrambled over the log and onto dry land and hunted up and down for a sign of a trail. Nothing. Just leaves piled on leaves, all blue in the white light of my cell phone. I stumbled down a fox hole and over a log cutting my face on branch. Where was the trail! I didn't want to die out there in the forest! I hunted and could not find it and more importantly was becoming disoriented in the dark. Was the river on my left or right. It should be on my right facing down. But which way was down? I was in a hole. Now, where was the original trail? Fuck. I had crossed the river and could not get back to the last trail marker. Now I was very close to being seriously lost in the dark with one bar of battery left.

I did not panic. They tell you not to panic but advice like that is useless. Either you will panic or you won't. I did not panic. I considered my option. I was about to become completely engulfed in darkness near a strong current brook not on a trail on the side of Baldfaced Mountain. The temperature would make life misery for (I checked the clock on my cell phone) the next 11 hours. I'd probably survive based on the fact I had sushi and a scarf and my wool hat. Yes, I was wet and already shivering from sweaty shirt but I would probably live. But, the survivalist inside me wanted to find a way off the mountain as soon as possible. I didn't want to wait for dawn. Maybe the trail took an abrupt right turn at the river and didn't cross it at all. So, I recrossed the river and managed to find the original trail marker. Then I thought I found another trail marker but it turned out to be a rectangular splotch of fungus. Oh, what would become of Oggy? Here's a picture taken when I thought I had all the time in the world. It was freezing on the summit and Gordon's windbreaker was all that kept me from dying.


I hunted up and down the other side of the brook for the trail but couldn't find it. Misery! But I knew it would be on the other side so again I crossed the water with one hand holding the cell phone over the rocks I was trying to step on and my walking stick keeping me steady with the other. Man, I crossed that river three times looking for the trail but I could not find any trace of it or any trail marker. I ended up on the original side of the trail under the last trail marker as my cell phone dimmed to the point I couldn't see anything. This was the dying light of Oggy's last lunatic parade. Curses! Everyone was right, I had brought my own deadly destiny to myself, I'd run my last mile, hiked my last peak. I'd freeze to death on this trail without knowing where the next trail marker was.

My options were not attractive. I could:
1) Blunder down the river in the dark, keeping it always on my left until I found the route 113 somewhere down below...hopefully.
2) Blunder across the river again and just go in the direction of what I thought might be the trail to the parking lot. Ha~! I considered this pure insanity because I couldn't walk five feet without falling on the rocky terrain. I would have to crawl for two miles in a perfect line to my van and most likely I would crawl for 11 hours in the wrong direction.
3) Curl up in a ball and watch my breath for 11 hours.

As my cell phone died completely I decided to look in my pack for an apple or a piece of sushi and cheese and it was at that very moment that I realized something...
At the bottom of my pack, where it had stayed since I removed it from my bicycle in Venice, CA, was my bicycle headlight, an incredibly bright halogen flashlight that I'd stashed there for...emergencies! How could I have forgotten~!

Salvation!

I plunged my hand into the pack, dug past an extra pair of sneakers, an old bus card from Santa Monica, a blues harmonica, a combination lock, a forgotten emergency space blanket (that would've come in handy) and found my flashlight. Would it work after all these months?

Let there be light! I turned it on and instantly flashed it across the river and found a trail marker about seven feet up where I'd never look for it. I literally stood up with my arms raised in triumph. No McCandless destiny for me, not this time. And there was a neat row of rocks across the river that I hadn't seen before. I hoped across and began to job downhill because I knew the batteries would be my only hope. I flew like a deer possessed, like father Elk, like the elder Bison down the hill, skipping over roots, following the trail markers painted on trees like the yellow brick road to my van. It was still a long way to the trail intersection but once I found it I knew I was home. My knees were sore and my pants wet but I crossed the empty street with the sky full of constellations and felt a moment of peace as my fate once more blended into the comfortable known.

So, I'm an idiot for forgetting the headlamp. Yes. But somewhere in my mind I had forgotten it because I knew I had the best flashlight I could want already in my backpack. So I'm an idiot for forgetting that I had packed my flashlight already. The lesson is to be prepared. And if you aren't prepared at least know what you are carrying!


Visited the old homestead in Sanford. See video for more details. The van and Mt. Hope.






Somehow found time to hike Mt. Agementicus on the way south. My soul migrated with the speckled hawks to their oily home to the south. Returning to the shackles of ion implanters is a rusty stake in my heart.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.