Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Directions Are For Cowards: Part 1

Last I posted I wrote of being familiar with the world and needing to find something new.  While I stand by this idea, I feel something was lacking.  Rather than becoming familiar with how the world is, it is more likely, I have limited my perception and slipped into viewing the world through too narrow a lense.  This is something we all do and to no fault of our own.  Learning HOW to see what we are looking at takes time just like everything else, and perspective is an ever evolving thing.

More Recently:
I left Chattanooga yesterday and made it about an hour and a half outside of St. Louis before calling it a night.  These long drives, solo across the country are more time to reflect than most people are willing to take, and without exception usually drive one mad!  So far so good on this one though.  It seems I am growing accustomed to them.  I am just across the border in Nebraska now and should arrive in Utah some time tomorrow if I keep up the pace.  Snow reports for the week look great and I can't wait to see what the terrain is like!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Something New

From the word “GO!” there has been a small arsenal of inquiries people have used to feel our way through the world: who, what, when, where, how, and why. A sense of self, separateness from other objects is enough to start answering who. What, quite frankly turns out to be a state of confusion, and when, is a construct of our own fabrication. The questions of why and how, are the real show stoppers, the ones that have been egging us on from time immemorial. But an existential debate is not what I am after today.

For some time I’ve held that mystery is an integral part of life’s appeal, that it is with an element of the unknown that the world keeps us entertained, keeps us excited about getting out of bed in the morning. And here a quarter of the way through an average life span I feel familiar with much of the world. Every time you experience something new and wonderful, experience that since of awe for the world around you, it becomes more and more difficult to return the next time. Keeping hold of that since of awe and wonder is what defines my life here and now. I am looking for the next revelation, the new thought. I am searching for “the new,” something that surprises, astonishes, utterly baffles me! I am looking for things I can’t explain, things and feelings for which there are no explanations to be had, something new under the sun.

This is what I mean when I tell myself “I have no choice in traveling.” I am compelled to discover, not necessarily to answer the hows and the whys, but to explore. Out of nothing I was set spinning into existence disoriented. I am not traveling the world solely for pleasure, but exploring it for what it is. There may be no great secret to be found, no “the way things are,” but there are plenty of ways to enjoy the view.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Between wondering and wandering, there is only one letter to differentiate.  I've been wondering since my eyes could perceive shapes.  It is only of late that I've begun to really wander, and now that my wondering mind is free to wander the earth, it is an insatiable curiosity that I will pit against all else!  I am in Chattanooga, TN and on the verge of heading west again.  One month until WY is home again for however short a time.  My plans, if you can call them that, are tentative but the excitement I feel in discussing them with others seems enough to assure that these are not the same idle schemes I used to daydream about.  My imagination has been lent some extra executive power to dictate my future and give substance to my dreams.

In the works?    EUROPE

Friday, July 22, 2011

Another Go 'Round

"Got a blank space where my mind should be..." Nothing specific floating around in there aside from the check I just deposited and the bills it is going streight to.  Streight to my liberation.  Debt is a visible mark of the fetters that hold me.  They rust and chip more every day, soon to fall away of there own accord.  I am getting ready for another veture west to fill the blank space and find ambition.  Sometime September - October I'm skipping out and heading back to Lander for the peak of the climbing season!  To see friends and live in one of the places I can call home.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


For the first time in roughly a month, I climbed yesterday. Pulling myself up a piece of stone doesn't DO much of anything. I don't get paid for it. It doesn't produce anything useful: food, clothing, that sort. But it does provide me immense satisfaction for some reason unknown to me. Since April, I've done little but go to work, hide my nose in books, and...wish there was something to write here. Nothing wrong with a bit of reading and obviously working to support yourself is a positive thing; but never the less, I've made a grievous error. I stopped DOING, doing the things I'm passionate about. Odd that, those things, I can't really even put a name to. Climbing obviously has been neglected, but I don't think that quite sums up what I've been missing. For lack of a better explanation, I have to think that what is missing is the unknown. New experiences, places, people, ideas.

Guilt, not unlike that experienced before a critical minister badgering the crowd about sin in my youth at a conference, hit me earlier as I realized this idle trance I've fallen into. Returning to TN has been great and I've learned/experienced some necessary things, but I've become too comfortable and found myself stuck in a routine, quite possibly the worst thing I can imagine!!! A lot of my own thoughts, oddly enough, are expressed much better by other people, and Annie Dillard has perhaps stated this fear to perfection in her book "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek," writing: "Cry aloud. It is the fixed that horrifies us, the fixed that assails us with the tremendous force of its mindlessness. [...] The fixed is the world without fire- dead flint, dead tinder, and nowhere a spark. It is motion without direction, force without power, the endless procession of caterpillars round the rim of a vase, and I hate it because at any moment I myself might step to that charmed a glistening thread."

A reminder that eventually I have to "build a life for myself" is no comfort. Sorry. The phrase is enough to send me out the door with naught but the shirt on my back; turn me into Forest Gump, running without care until it would seem prudent to stop and change direction. What does it entail to build a life?

To "build a life" makes me think of being stuck in one place without the option of leaving, picking one occupation to fill my time for years to come. THAT in turn, makes me think of a prison cell. The longest I've ever held one job continuously is eight months. Ask a 5 year old what he wants to be when he grows up and you'll get an answer something like a police officer or a fire fighter, the stereotypical answers. Ask me what I want to be when I grow up, and I'm likely to kick you in the shins and run the opposite direction.

I think to want to stay in one spot, and want to start a career, those things that come with building a life, you have to have a desire for change, improvement. What have I to gain from a career? I can't think of anything I want to improve right now. The only thing I want to change is my local. Like so many before me, I'm happier when I'm moving, doing. Cut down to it and I guess I have commitment issues of sorts. Can't be helped. Someone find me a therapist. I'll probably just kick 'em in the shins and run away though.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Unique Perspective

The following is part of an essay I wrote back in high school, part of a paper deemed "too abstract" and given a D.  I was offered the chance to rewrite the paper and improve my grade...I didn't.  What is "Proper?"  How do you define abstract?  Why are question marks so damn beautiful!!?

I was reminded of the following essay by the video which follows the essay.

            Stand back. Take it in.  Wait, you’ll miss it, slow down.  There before you it’s becoming clear.  Suddenly the old cliché hits you, “the big picture.”  A wall rushes in flooding your perceptions, before you a continuous line of imagery, you catch up; Incredible? Yes. Incomprehensible?  No, though very near to it.  You see the picture.  Beauty beyond normality strains your eyes as you struggle to maintain consciousness.  You stand outside the universe looking in, as if attending some sort of cosmic art gallery.  The picture, it magnifies, ten, twenty, eighty, a trillion times.  You see a person, it’s you.  The still image comes to life as vivid as if you were there.  Freeze frame, zoom out.  A city, movement once again, thousands of lives before you individually, yet collectively; a jolt! It’s emotion.  You feel them, not good, not bad, a new sensation: love, hatred, shame, joy, alarm, sorrow, all in one; spectacular.  Stop.  Zoom out.  Before you once more, the sole image of radiant beauty, “The Big Picture.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Don't Know But Someone Had a Pretty Good Idea

Many things have been said through the ages, applicable to the whole range of human feeling. Are there any new thoughts to be had? If there are not, the very least we can do is to express the old ones as we experience them individually. And if we are not great orators or writers ourselves, let us pass on what ideas we discover by any means necessary! Much has been said and those words of others you stumble across, though not your own, become your own if the feelings behind them are genuine.

Wisdom is a treasure that only enriches you when it is shared. No small part of life is dedicated toward understanding: nature, people, actions and consequences, the world and our places in it. Learning is not to be defined for its recognition by others. Knowledge may be gained actively or passively and transferred in the same manner. Who is to judge what makes one a fool? Who has the authority to say what is or isn't art, what is beautiful? Express your thoughts and feelings for your own sake. The failure of others to recognize or appreciate them is a loss only to them and you may not be held accountable for their ignorance. What great things have you to offer the world?

There is a faint memory of the fear I'd lost my imagination. That terrible point when I realized I no longer possessed that unchained mind of a child, able to believe whole heartedly anything my brain could fathom. How scary is the acceptance of "reason!" All the world it seemed had somehow pulled me down from an elevated plane, made me dull as it was. But the world is not dull!-rather it is more rich and vibrant than my imagination could ever conceive on its own accord. My imagination had not suffered some silent death but required awakening, a rebirth so to speak. Reason is not destructive; it tempers creativity giving it definition. My thoughts are still untamed and largely without direction but how else can we describe imagination or creativity. Reluctance to accept things the way they are is the foundation of change and progress.

Coherent? Hardly. What I write is honest and, as stated above, for myself. But part MUST be for you since I keep ending with these pleas that something will strike a chord within you as the ideas that prompted the essays struck within me.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Some days I wish I could bide my time; push the pause button on this great play unfolding before me, to use my days at a later point in life as not to waste them.  But this, whether it be a comedy, drama, or tragedy has no script and to hide from one day or another is worse than going to take a piss mid-way through that movie you waited for all summer and blew 20 bones to go see.  Incredible things happen when least expected, and if we fail to see any beauty or joy in one day or another it is our own fault and we need to try that much harder come the next day.  (watch the eastern horizon, it will come eventually)

In much the same way, there are other days when I feel there are a million things I wish to share with the world and haven't a single word to express them.  These are the days to remember it is okay to be quiet and seek solitude, to sit and let the world tell you something instead.

Still other days bring experiences that tell me "THIS, is what I live for!"  Experiences like this are not the same as simply enjoying something, and I believe cannot be communicated from one person to another.

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."  -John Lennon

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cosmic Geography

Were it still unclear whether the world were flat, I'd be the one to go in search of the edge.
There at the far end of imagination where dreams are formed my mind might  be still.
Were the horizon a fixed point, I might eventually get where I'm trying to go.
But the world Alas! she is round and the horizon runs ever ahead of me; so I wait for darkness to pitch the world into slumber.  And when the starry veil mingles with the waters' shimering surface, there there is no more evidence of this world's limitations.

Your life is your own, make of it what you will!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Long Drive Inside My Head

Writing is battlefield for wit, attention span, and those pesky rules of grammar that always seemed to get in the way of me actually getting anything written. My blogger account is packed full of countless unfinished drafts, those ideas that, regardless of their worth or lack thereof, will never be published. I love to think and I love to write, that is I love to express my ideas to others in a calm and reflected manner; very much unlike my attempts at holding conversation. Yet all the time in the world doesn't seem to allow me to express all the things I want. So for once, here it is, all of it; the jumbled mess that came to mind over the course of a five hour, highly caffeinated drive from KY to TN.

Literary heroes who explain the world how they see it...the way it actually is.
Bad things happen in the world and denying it is a lie about 70% of existence. I applaud those authors who write about the grungy aspects of human actions. Being able to relate to the dark side of human experiences isn't pleasant but it affirms that bad times are a big part of what it means to be human, and in that, there is immense comfort. "Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh." -George Bernard Shaw

The homeless and why I slept on a mattress stained with cat piss.
That statement probably made you uncomfortable just now; and think, you didn't even sleep on the mattress! There are boundaries most people have established about many things and it all comes back to how we wish to be seen. Some are more universal and practical than others, like not wanting to reclaim a mattress from the otherwise empty dumpster behind your work, soaking it in bleach, and calling it your own. Others are much more trivial, such as referring to an ipod dictionary for spell check...let's see what happens when I stop using it (please don't think less of me). The point? There is a lot of griping about an economic apocalypse and environmental fall out. "Organic" is one of the biggest fads of our day, any jamoke on Wall Street can attest to that. But there is something further to be done before we as individuals can actually make a difference. Think you can save the world and still encourage every family to strive for a 200,000 sq ft home with a hummer parked in the drive? Bet the next decade proves you wrong! Work in the food industry some time, you'll get a whole new definition for waste.

Stealing from Mega-Corps.
Walking through the isles of a certain distribution giant whom it has become fashionable to boycott, I mentioned to a friend how enticing the donuts looked. She agreed, opened the glass door, snagged an apple fritter, and went about her business munching down. At 11 PM with 30 some odd pastries left, it is common knowledge those things are going to the dump and at 55 cents apiece, taking one isn't going to bring down a multi billion dollar corporation. On one hand I had a deeply ingrained idea that taking something without paying for it is stealing. But with the ultimate harm mega-corps do to communities, that is, the world and how much they waste, I'm thinking lady justice may need to remove the blind fold and tweak her scales. So where does that leave the moral high ground? You tell me.

How much does God intervene on a daily basis?
I don't have a PhD in theology and just like the majority of the masses too much talk about what actions a supreme being does or doesn't take / has or hasn't taken hurts my brain. But what if it's as simple as a game of "Good Decision, Bad Decision?" Personal religious beliefs aside, try to indulge me. God is omniscient and knows everything that will ever happen, not to be confused with predetermining what we will do. Historically God has given us instruction on right behavior, a guide to what will lead to a happy life. From there it is up to us. Why knowing what will happen isn't the same as predetermining what we will do: We know from experience that touching a hot stove will burn us. Subsequently we "know" that without that knowledge a young child will eventually touch the stove and get burned so we tell them not to because it is dangerous. Some will follow the instruction and be fine (good decision), others will touch it anyway and get burned (bad decision (sin)). So it isn't that God causes or withholds pain from the world, simply that sometimes God will hold our hands back from the stove top, but we must realize that sometimes we must take the hint that God has given and experience some lessons on our own.

The Breakdown
Spelling errors- 10 (you didn't think I was really going to leave them did you?)
other pesky gramatical errors? you find 'em!
Time it took to write this...too long
How uncomfortable this wooden chair is: Quite.
Number of comments I hope you share on any of the above ideas: Several

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Beat Goes On

Words can't describe the amount of crazy experiences I've had in the past year; ok words would actually do a pretty good job at describing those but carpal tunnel would certainly set in before I finished typing that much and that isn't a risk I'm willing to take!  I have stood atop one of the most amazing mountain ranges in the world and promptly pointed my skis down their side, met some of the finest people a man could ask to call friends, and yes, I have walked to the store to buy ice cream in subzero temperatures.  I have listened to terrible music while writing a blog -NEXT for the love of God!  And I couldn't be more excited about life.

Last May I left my home, my family and friends, school, and the city I grew up in.  Everything familiar to me I swapped for the unknown.  The camper shell on the back of my Ford Ranger became my home: a slab of plywood and a second hand mattress for my bed, a few Rubbermaid bins for my dresser drawers and kitchen pantry.  There was never anything to prove, not to myself or anyone aside.  I imagined how I would live and it worked flawlessly. Life rarely works out that well and I suppose I should count myself lucky. I'll consider that fact later down the road when inevitably it doesn't.  So much has already been seen and done, only a fraction of which I've recounted here. Buy me a beer some time and I'll tell you about the rest ;)

I have returned to Chattanooga but it seems that familiar time and place in my life is gone.  Uncertainty greets me every morning and though it's a hell of a thing to plan your day around I wouldn't want it any other way.  A fictional character in a damn good movie put it this way, "It's a funny thing about coming home, looks the same, smells the same, feels the same; you realize what's changed, is you." -Benjamin Button.  And indeed I have, however subtle those changes may be, and with an endless source of new ideas this blog will be changing too.  Rather than focus only on things I do, I would like to introduce others (you) to the things I think as well.  It is my hope that the essays to come will spark healthy discussion from multiple points of view.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Short Bio

Not trying to get sentimental on you folks out there but much of the past year has been an endeavor in discovering what to do with life.  A former teacher of mine once said I was "lost."  Good job, you pegged every high school student in the country.   Fortunately my brother just got a shiny new GPS in the mail and I should have my bearings shortly.

I took a few of those bull shit placement tests several years ago; quite reminiscent of shaking the magic 8 ball they never quite hit the mark for the simple reason that "people are complex" and cannot be generalized into a "quick and easy" survey.  From my sophomore year of high school on, I had so much literature about college force fed to me I should have had a PhD by default!  Intuition told me better but I took the bait and decided to see where that road led.  Unfortunately I seemed to have joined the race during rush hour traffic.  I studied history for 2 years at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  The experience was beneficial, however I say that about all experiences because you learn from all of them, unless of course you are brain dead.  But that falls under the Cartesian argumentation of what defines a person and I decided not to write that paper so moving on.  Most of my peers chose majors based on what would lead to a profitable career; mine was chosen based on what interested me, history.  Long story short I left school almost a year ago to the day and you folks know the story from there, if not, scroll back a few posts.  That should catch you up.

My formal education has been on hold ever since but by no means did I quit my pursuit for knowledge.  A lot of folks out there cringe at the idea of a history lecture dismissing it as unbearably dry and redundant.  To so many, it's all about dates corresponding to that thing that happened over yonder, involving that arrogant prick from Europe.  What history means to me probably says a lot about my world view.  Saying I'm one of those people who sees history like a story doesn't quite do it.  I am fascinated by history because it observes the human experience in its entirety.  Rather than see who did what when, I see all the great things accomplished throughout humanities' existence and the unlimited potential of what we might do with our lives.  However this world isn't a fairy tale and as my old psych professor Dr. Wattson drilled into my head, "people are complex."  People are also capable of terrible atrocities and to dismiss either is to ignore the truth about ourselves.  People are complex just as human societies are and regardless of your education, moral integrity or natural ability our world does not permit everyone to live as royalty.  There are a plethora of occupations out there which Must be done for the things continue as they are and someone has to do them.

So, am I lost?  Not at all.  I am getting the most experience out of life that I can see possible.

"I am sovereign of all I survey."
            -Henry David Thoreau

Monday, April 4, 2011

It Moves!

You are excited to read what I have to write; congratulations, you have made great progress! Now that this has been established, let us continue.

It has been three days and a damn good time since I left Lander.
Day 1:Lander to Laramie was uneventful.
Day 2: Very chill morning cooking breakfast at Andrea's followed by a comatose state. At this point I thought about going climbing at Vedawoo ...the comatose state won. Several hours later 7 of us piled into 3 separate vehicles and drove on down to Ft. Collins, CO. The other 6 folks planned to see Trampled by Turtles, a sold out show, that evening. I had no ticket but also nothing to do and nowhere to be so I joined an afternoon of debauchery leading up to the show which included (but was not limited to) visiting one of CO's finest beer breweries, a few heated rounds of the absolute worst game to include in your bar, ping-pong, and finally...finding a ticket to the show. Karma likes me and that's all there is to it.
Day 3: waiting.
Day 4 (today): Downtown Denver...

Separate Material

I've come full circle to the 1st inklings I had of getting out on my own. As I wandered through one of the coolest book stores I've ever been in (tattered cover books), Jack Kerouac's On The Road sat on a shelf beckoning to me. I first read this classic 3 or 4 years ago under my brother-in-law's recommendation. For those of you unfamiliar with the novel, it is the record of the authors' shenanigans across the country. This book is the stereotypical work for restless youths, portraying travel, work, drugs, sex, rock and roll, friendship, family, not much was left out.

I read the novel just before I graduated from High School, still ignorant of the world and all it had to offer. Today I passed by Kerouac's books quite different from the person I was and with fond memories of my own travels. Anyone who knows me knows my habit of expressing elaborate plans that change as frequently as the wind's direction and to once again be on the road living out my schemes seems surreal and fills me with a fervor for life matched perhaps only by "Dean Moriarty."

And now my hotel window overlooking downtown Denver mocks me. To enjoy the view from afar rather than become part of it seems foolish. I am off to correct my error!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


This blog hasn't seen a new post in a long time but a recent acquaintance inquired wether I blogged and it seemed proper to update or discontinue this thing.

It's been 8 months since I moved to Lander, WY and in 4 days (give or take) I'll be heading back east. Living out here has been an experience unlike anything I could have predicted. Good and bad, there has been plenty of both but each has changed me for the better. The adventures I've had since my last post back in the fall are too many to list, typing with an iPod anyway, but for the moment, I'm finishing my last weekend in Wyoming in the same spirit that brought me here in the first place...

Yesterday was my final run at jackson hole, which with only 2 hours of sleep, was an interesting experience. Just a few hours before leaving Lander I decided to make a weekend of my trip planning to stay Saturday and Sunday to see a couple of bands, katchafire and State Radio.

That brings us to the present (sat morning). I once again have my suite assembled in the back of my ford ranger where I spent the night. 12 hours later I roll out the tailgate and wonder what the hell I'm suppossed to do until 4pm.

You are now as up to date as I can stand to share using an iPod in a mcdonalds lounge. Otherwise, ask me about my experiences in person when I return east in a fw days. Good day.