Sunday, November 27, 2016

Life and Death

Oggy, dressed as Butch Cassidy, overlooking the Colorado River

possibly a dead, frozen vole in Bryce Canyon
 This vole is a grim reminder that Oggy should get out of this freezing wasteland where hippies should not live in vans and play sad country songs as their fingers freeze.
another Oggy compliation

Thursday, November 24, 2016

God Bless Us All

freezing Oggy-sicle

Thursday, November 17, 2016


Indian Scout eyeing the horizon...

I'm breaking my rules about posting photos of nice spots but the Canyonlands is jaw dropping. The Grand Canyon is a bit too much vista in one direction. A person can't digest it. But Canyonlands has diverse vistas in many directions because the mesa was carved on both sides. Maybe not as deep as the Grand, but deep; 2000 feet. So, I'm not in a position or season to go trekking for days in the back country. A casual day hike of 8 miles is plenty and then quickly get the charcoal fire burning. The snow arrived yesterday in the higher mountains to the east. They get 280 inches a year but a person must carry their skis up the mountain if they want to ski because the closest ski resort to Moab is Telluride, I think. Or somewhere to the east in Colorado.

Looking southwest toward the confluence of Green and Colorado rivers.

I hope everyone appreciated the supermoon. It's been 2 years since I went on a moon hike and this time it was in The Arches ntl. park.You gotta squint to see what I saw.
delicate arch in moonlight
I need a camera with a longer exposure to take scenery photos in moonlight, so these are the best that I can do.
hikers in moonlight
What would've been awesome is a panorama in the moonlight of the vistas. I'm sure it's out there if you care to hunt for it. Or else wait 30 more years for the next supermoon and by then the cameras will be awesome!


Monday, November 14, 2016


jesus christ, I'm adrift in Colorado and there are abundant marijuana dispensaries and actually people smoking pot pipes openly in the Walmart parking lot and I looked at one pricing out of curiosity and a fucking 1/8th of the economy strain only costs $15. and an .oz of the best medical grade is $185. A PREMIUM OUNCE! FOR $185! And with medical script the OZ of Gold Standard costs $130. An 1/8th cost $65 in a medical dispensary in Venice, CA so it was like $500 for an ounce. I can't even get a bottle of ibuprofen for $15. $15 is almost Nicaraguan prices. Unbelievable how low the pot prices are and it is all because it is not shipped illegally through the land of beheadings (Mexico). And Colorado has a 10% tax on everything so there is no excuse to keep this shit illegal. these pot taxes paid for the nice rec center I took a shower in the other day. 

holy shit, Mass and Cali and even Nevada all legalized recreational pot recently. Finally this insane prohibition is going to end. I still get drug tested by the lunatic Texans who seem to believe the federal government has no say in what I do to my body but the state government, comprised of babbling zealots, does, so I can not indulge in order to quiet the demonic voices in my head but one day this insanity will end across the country and across the world and we can quietly get stoned and watch the world collapse. A pot smoker can almost drive across the country, coast to coast, and be carrying pot legally in every state he drives through. Only the theologian belt states are holding on to primitive Nixonian ethics because they love to make money off of drug possession fines while a place like Missouri is over run with Crystal Meth labs.

While I have your attention I will give you this message. remember, your butterfly flight through the virtual cupboards of the internet may have a deeper meaning, maybe you are searching for something other than the price of pot. Listen:
Truth is a very high standard. Truth is not a plaything. To tell what is true within ourselves is not to tell what we think; it is not to tell our opinion. It is not to dump the garbage can of our mind onto somebody else. All of that is illusion, distortion, projection. Truth is not unloading our opinions onto someone. That is not truth. Truth is not telling our beliefs about things. That is not truth. Those are ways that we actually hide from truth.
Truth is much more intimate than that. When we tell the truth, it has the sense of a confession. I don’t mean a confession of something bad or wrong, but I mean the sense where we come completely out of hiding. Truth is a simple thing. To speak the truth is to speak from a sense of total and absolute unprotectedness.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Master of Melancholy

Leonard Cohen was honest. His lyrics had some poetic elements but most of all they were honest and he sang honestly. Maybe he decided to memorialize only the melancholy aspects of his life, or maybe he was always melancholy. Either way, he demonstrated that with honesty and a few chords then you can make some music worth listening to. Karen Carpenter can sing melancholy, but I think she faked it. She was a good actress and her voice can capture melancholy in a way that is perhaps more poignant than Cohen, but Cohen was honest and melancholy in the way Bukowski mostly told fake stories but did it in a way that you knew he was bending the facts for the good of the story, not for his own benefit. He was often the villain of his stories but only because the truth wasn't that interesting. Cohen was not as gifted a singer as Dean Martin or Bing Crosby and his songs are not up to Cole Porter's or Burt Bacharach's standards and his melodies are monotonous, but they always suit the words. Cohen had his finger on the pulse of the broken heart. I'd like to record a cover song from his songbook but he deserves his own voice. Go search for a video with him singing. Somewhere, angels have stopped strumming on their harps because the real artist has arrived. Cohen is not smiling, he sits down, takes his time, grabs his guitar, tunes it slowly, strums a minor chord, and sings something true.

Tales from the Road

Survival, no other explanation needed

I don't want to fill the internet with more photos because it diminishes my ability to describe. A picture is worth a thousand words or more, so every picture is 1000 words I can ignore and my brain shrivels and my writing powers ebb.

what you might see in Navajo land

I'm touring the great South West Indian lands. Zuni, Navajo, Pueblo, Hopi, Mescalero Apache. The land was different in 1000AD so it's not fair to imagine how these cultures survived since I would also have to imagine 1000 years difference in climate and grasslands, imagine western farming practices never existed, etc.

Today we have the Bureau of Land Management basically safeguarding land from illegal squatters but they do tolerate hippies and non-conformists like me for 15 days at a time in any given location. So, a person simply finds a State Forest or BLM land reserve and then finds a road into the land and parks. Usually, the locals have already cut a good road to throw teenager parties off the grid so simply follow the beer cans. Sometimes they are pristine. New Mexico and Colorado and Utah are names the White Man gives to this ancestral land of the First Nation people.

I refrain from describing my experiments in winter heating of the van because I do not want to encourage others from attempting these madman stunts such a...
...putting a woodstove and chimney in your van.

No, it's a bad idea. It's also a bad philosophy because it rejects the nomadic tradition of moving to climates that suit the skin, rather than torturing wild animals so one can better survive the climate one is forced into due to changing seasons. Move south or north or higher or lower to adjust the climate. Do not install a woodstove in your van. You lunatic. What is wrong with you? Well, now that the disclaimer is out of the way I can say that a woodstove is also a bad idea because if you are trying to survive with found fuel then where the hell are you going to find good hardwood and mesquite in a Walmart parking lot? I ask you. You won't. You will find cardboard and white pine wooden pallets behind the Big Lots nearby and you will burn these and they will keep you warm for 20 minutes (insert image of yourself patting your own back) and then vanish like the sweet scent of your first girlfriend's hair shampoo in the summer breeze. You will then freeze and think that Oggy is some kind of sadist for making you put a woodstove in a van and neglected to tell you that it will not keep you warm for even half an hour. Bastard! Well, the deal is that even if you found an unlimited supply of hardwood to burn the stove will have to be the variety to burn sticks.
Small fatsco woodstove in van.
And if you can burn sticks of hardwood in your stove then maybe you can survive a night. But my stove is no designed for sticks of anything. It is a Fatsco Pet stove and it is designed for charcoal. Oh, I burned wood in it for 3 evil winters while processing lobsters in Maine and wandering Labrador but I tell you this was not easy nor comfortable. I knew that the stove was designed for charcoal but I figured where am I going to put a huge bag of charcoal? And do I want charcoal dust on everything? And when I run out of charcoal then I will use wood so why not start with wood?

Well, one day I will describe all the gory details but my experiment with wood is over. The kind of wood that one has easy and free access to is not suitable for heating a van for a few hours let alone an entire night. So, I decided I must experiment with charcoal because it's always around 20 degrees in Navajo November so coal is the next step.

The bags of Charcoal caution the user that it emits carbon monoxide and can not be burned in vehicles. They actually have a drawing of a van with a big X through it so that the illiterate Trump supporter might still grasp that charcoal ought not be burned in their van. BUT, everything that burns emits carbon monoxide, including wood and gasoline, so it's a risk we all take every day because engineering has made it possible to produce tons of CO but not immediately be sick from it. The charcoal manufacturers simply don't want to leave any excuse to get sued and they are not going to say that burning charcoal is perfectly fine in a well ventilated van or in a van with a chimney because that's a ridiculous disclaimer, like car manufacturers telling you not to run your vehicle inside your living room. So, I have a well ventilated van with a functioning chimney and I can burn anything in my stove because all the gases and smoke go straight outside. The combustion heats the cast iron and heats the van and the poison goes up into the air where magic fairies churn it into rainbows and unicorn fetishes.

So, I bought two bags of charcoal and started a fire per normal with some old Honduran newspaper, broken-hearted letters to imaginary lovers and some wax firestarter log. And when I get flames then I poured some charcoal onto the flames and opened the air flow door and the damper on the chimney for full air, and the coal blazed up as expected. I always knew the coal would burn, and I suspected the gas would all vent through the chimney with the smoke but I was suspicious that the time of heating would not justify the expense. In order to fully perform this experiment and post information on the internet where foolish van dwellers will get the wrong idea and try this and die, I purchased a Carbon Monoxide detector. I did not get a smoke alarm because that would go off every time I burn the eggs in the morning. The CO monitor I put right by the chimney so there could be no doubt that it would alert me before I entered the long sleep. The alarm, I should add, does not alert the instant it senses CO, but after 5 minutes or 10 minutes depending on the concentration of CO it senses for that length of time it will sound the alarm.

I was hesitant to fill the stove at first so the first two nights were spent testing the lower limits of functionality. Only after a successful two nights that I did not die and charcoal dust did not annoy me did I fill the chamber completely and let it rip. I will say that it's a success. A properly vented chimney with good draft will vent all the gasses and smoke. The charcoal is a huge improvement over the wood because when I used sticks I had to put all the sticks into the fire standing vertically and they burned to ash in about 5 minutes. Charcoal burns the bottom briquettes first and slowly works up, the ash falls through the grate and the higher lumps of coal slowly fall into the burning chamber. The stove was designed for coal with a slope to feed the chamber so one can fill the chamber completely and know they will not have to push the coal into the chamber since it will roll that way as the chamber empties when the lower lumps have burned to ash. The designer of this stove would say, "No shit, why do you think I say, "USE CHARCOAL" on the instructions." But Oggy must learn the hard way because I don't like doing the right thing until I know what the consequences are from doing the wrong thing.

The only problem is the ash that accumulates from an entire stove full of charcoal actually fills the ash chamber to the point that air flow is reduced. So, I would call this a 6 hour stove. I put a bunch of charcoal in at 9pm and there were still red hot coals at 7am the next morning...but the van was cold because I did not get up at 1am and empty the ash and refill the chamber with new coal. I believe that if I can streamline the disposal of the ash then the stove will keep the van warm all night long so that Oggy does not freeze in Zuni land.

this panoramo is worth more than 1000 words. and the van is actually in there somewhere.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Freezing Again

Fired up the wood stove

If the wood stove is blazing then that means something has gone wrong with Oggy's retirement program. I truly planned on winters in temperate Mexico and summers working in the mountains of the south west. But that all fell apart with a few shady employers and my innocently believing an employer actually has a job when they advertise a help wanted ad. So foolish.

We all need to check our first principles lately.
1) What is it we want,
2) what is it we are doing,
3) and what is it we are actually accomplishing.

These are the questions generally left to the sleaze merchants and the propaganda factories. We let other people give us information packaged in a way that makes us think we are informed, but we are not. We might know what we want (mostly manufactured desires provided by corporate marketing teams), but we are horribly misinformed about what we are actually doing and what we are actually accomplishing.

Take a thing as that thing and nothing else. Start there. Carve wood toggle buttons. In order to carve a wooden toggle button one must know what one wants and what one is doing and what one actually is accomplishing. There are no shortcuts. There are no deceitful propaganda lies and hype. You get exactly the toggle button you deserve. Whatever button you made, is the button you end up with. There are no magic fairies who appear at night to improve the button. And if you pretend you know what you want and then do no research, remain ignorant, then you might claim your conscience is clear when your button is not what you want. You say, "Fuck, I was misinformed." No, you were not informed at all because you did not embrace your desires and the full path to achieve those desires."
About 4 sheep had to die for this vest/blanket and it took me 3 months to finish.

The phrase, "You get what you pay for." can be taken two ways. usually get no greater value then the value that you surrendered....Second...the value you surrendered will be exchanged for exactly what was for sale, and not for anything you believe or wish was for sale. You get what you pay for and the amount you paid is worth the value of what you bought. Simple.

This is the wisdom that I think is not valuable today.
It pays to be stupid because wisdom costs time and if we are collectively dumb then the trick is simply to pretend to be wise and let someone else carve your buttons. And when the button carver's currency crashes, but the button buyer enjoys a cheap fruit cocktail then it's obvious a crime has been committed. But these are things that do no good to write about. I am thinking like an Indian because I am in Zuni and Navajo land. I am not wise enough to know all the details and I suspect that if I were wise enough I would still think it would do no good to write about them. So I state again that we all need to carve some wooden buttons because going back to basics has always been the only path.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Blue Skies

Finally found a spot where the police don't wake me up at 2am.

Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.