Friday, June 2, 2023

Blue Texas?

You make assumptions about a state but one day everything changes. Paxton just might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. When the people who are supposed to uphold the law are charged with a long list of criminal activities somethings wrong. It’s almost impossible to get impeached in Texas but Paxton managed it. 

When a party’s election plan involves voter suppression they aren’t going to last. The Democrats have the numbers. What they lack is candidates the voters can get excited about. Once again it all comes down to quality. 

In my previous blog I mentioned how people are moving to get to states where they feel more comfortable. If you are thinking of moving to TX because it’s a red state you might get surprised. Demographics are changing there. More liberal people have been moving in plus younger voters tend to be more liberal. 

You really have to drill down to see what a state is truly like and where it’s going. Take Vermont for example. This is the place that gave the country Bernie Sanders, perhaps one of the more liberal politicians the nation has. Yet the state of the Vermont is also very gun friendly. Yep, it’s one of those places with well armed liberals. Blow your mind? 

Personally, I’m interested in places where the politicians are looking to improve the lives of their citizens. If their main focus is identity politics there’s a lot of basic governing that just isn’t happening. Someone has to pay attention to the nuts and bolts of running a state. 


Thursday, June 1, 2023

People are moving

People are leaving states where they no longer feel safe. That seems so weird to me. When my friends got out of school they moved to where the jobs were. Then never thought that they might be of the wrong political persuasion or in a random group the legislatures decided to hate. Of course, most of my friends were white so that helped -sad to say.

Still, it’s gotten worse now. 

Frankly, if your politicians are busy trying to tell people how to live something’s wrong. They should be concerned about things like the economy. Rather than single out groups of people to hate shouldn’t they be trying to make life better for everyone in their state? 

There are a lot of people I don’t understand. So what? How they live is none of my business as how I live is none of theirs. 


Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Bloody Mess

It’s surprising how much blood can leak from a black fly bite. There’s probably some sort of anticoagulant involved or something. They got me good as I was finishing up the brake job on the car. It’s like they know your hands are busy and can’t swat them. My forearms are covered in red dots from their feast. At least they aren’t potential disease carriers like the ticks I’ve been pulling off. Good thing I’ve found them before they could latch on. 

In the next day or two I’ll be dealing with the little beasts as I mow the lawn. Fortunately I’ve got some really decent face masks for the job. Nothing worse than inhaling black flies. Trust me on that. Actually, lawn mowers throw a lot of stuff up in the air that you probably don’t want to breath. There’s all the pollen this time of year, but there’s things like animal droppings that get picked up and dusted around. Yuck.

Maybe this bug season is driving me a little crazy. It’s not even one of the worse years we’ve had. There was the year I was trying to drive home on my motorcycle. My old KZ-900 didn’t have any fairings or even a windshield. That night I had to stop about every 50 miles or so to clean up some bugs. My helmet visor was so splattered that visibility was seriously impaired. Even the headlight had to be regularly cleaned as it was getting dim.  

At any rate, it won’t be too long before the black fly season is over. That’s what I tell myself anyway.


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Memorial Day

Hope everyone had a good Memorial Day long weekend. I also hope that sometime during the weekend you might have reflected on the meaning. It’s to honor and mourn our service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. 


Friday, May 26, 2023

Vagabond Life Ruined?

Only a few years ago it looked like a pretty cool idea to build a Skoolie (bus camper conversion) and travel the country. Or maybe you’d get a deal on an old RV and do some boondocking. My lovely wife and I converted an old ambulance to a mini home on wheels. Good times. 

Now things kinda suck. Campgrounds and RV parks have gotten both overcrowded and expensive. Many also have a rule where your RV has to be less than 10 years old. Forget about coming in with a bus conversion or something else homemade. 

Free camping is drying up. Fewer businesses are allowing overnight parking. To be fair some people have really abused the privilege. It’s one thing to quietly park on the back of the lot overnight and be gone in the morning. Too many people moved in long term. They open up their sliders, set up grills, lawn chairs and even clothes lines. Then there’s the drama of too many people on too many chemical enhancements. (or people who should be taking meds not doing so.)

Even Federal dispersed camping is shutting down. The rangers lack the resources to deal with the huge influx of people. Property is destroyed, garbage left behind, and some people even dump their waste tanks right on the ground. It’s disgusting. 

There are still some reasonably priced options left. There are Federal, county, and municipal campgrounds that are good deals. It takes some poking around to find them and they are more popular than they used to be. A vagabond on a budget has to plan carefully to make it work. 

Tent camping still has good possibilities. Tenting doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. A quality tent and a good sleep system make all the difference. That doesn’t mean you can’t still overpay for a tent site. During Independence Day week on the coast of Maine last year I paid over $80/night. Not much you can about that. It’s not something I’m going to make a habit of. 

If you are more flexible it’s easy to spend a whole lot less. In fact, after a couple nights we moved from  that expensive site to a much cheaper one in the same campground. Just going to a non-electric site can save a bundle. That’s one reason we camp with our own solar electric set up. 100 watts of power and deep discharge 12 volt battery provides enough for our needs. 

A big problem with camping right now is the huge number of homeless people. There are too many people living in old RVs or in tents who don’t have any other choice. It’s dangerous to camp in a lot of places these days. I feel for the homeless, but I also know better than to leave my stuff around desperate people. 

Security is more important than ever. Not only do you have to watch out for crazy homeless people, you could be mistaken for one by law enforcement. Neither outcome is good. 

I’m still tempted to live out on the road again, but it’s not going to be like it used to be. 


Thursday, May 25, 2023

Dreaming with the dead

I’ve reached the age where a lot of people I used to know have now passed on. The vast majority of people who were my brother firefighters have gone to their last call. Most, but not all, were older than me. 

My high school graduation class keeps getting smaller. High school reunions have resorted to combining with a previous class to get enough people to rent a hall. Such is the nature of things. 

On the bright side I’ve outlived some of my enemies, but that’s a blog for a different day. 

My dad and I were really close. We both had a similar twisted sense of humor. Our whole lives we did a lot of things together. I miss him almost everyday. My relationship with my mom was more complicated, but we loved each other. 

Here’s the thing. I’m one of those people who remembers their dreams. Life in the Dreamtime is very full and rich. A lot of the times the dead show up in my dreams. They generally don’t have any special messages from beyond the grave or anything like that. Most of the time we just hang out and visit. Today I dreamed of my friend who just passed. We hung around my grandmother’s place and had a few beers together. 

I woke up feeling pretty good. Also, it was a surprise to be sober after all those beers. 


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

The Pantry Issue

Looks like my food storage has taken a hit. There’s nothing wrong with it in general. It’s the people I have to feed that has caused issues. Right now I’m regularly feeding three people. One has a rare condition where most vegetables have to be avoided. Whole wheat is also a no no. Another person recently received allergy test results so cow milk, bananas, and egg whites are somewhat allergic. As for myself I should be eating a low salt diet. 

About the only things we all have in common are potatoes, white flour, white rice, meat and fish. I suppose it could be worse. Guess I’m stocking up on more of those items. It’s the dehydrated soups and stews that have proven problematic. Often there’s something on everyone’s forbidden list. 

I cook a lot of stews and soups from scratch. First I make a base with the ingredients that everyone can tolerate. Then I save a serving for the non vegetable eater. Only then are the precooked veggies added.. Everyone  salts their own dish. It’s a bit of a pain, but it works. I make special pizzas that fit everyone’s requirements. For dessert we can all have homemade non-dairy ice-cream. It’s actually really good. 

Of course, in a real emergency I’m betting the dietary rules won’t be followed as strictly. The side effects are milder than starving to death.