Doomsday Giveaway

This is Matt. He’s got a pile of books he purchased last January that no one picked up. Matt is sad because books without readers are indeed a depressing fact of life. But there’s a silver lining to the cloud that hangs over Matt’s troubled head.

You can pick up one of these excellent reads. Doomsday Chronicles is an anthology of short stories that reads like a laundry list. That’s if your laundry is, in this case, some of our time’s best genre writers.

You can click on the picture of the book or here and pick up your free copy on Matt’s dime, while they last. All he asks for is a) that you follow him on Twitter and b) that you leave a review when you’ve finished reading the book.

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Ten + One Wilderness Areas

Because everyone is doing it: Ten wilderness areas that I’ve been to and one that I have not.

  1. Alpine Lakes Wilderness
  2. Norse Peak Wilderness
  3. Pasayten Wilderness
  4. North Cascades National Park and Stephen Mather Wilderness
  5. Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness
  6. Goat Rocks Wilderness
  7. Flat Tops Wilderness
  8. Collegiate Peaks Wilderness
  9. South San Juan Wilderness
  10. Okefenokee Wilderness
  11. Passage Key Wilderness

Job Creators

This morning Google highlighted an infographic on Forbes which tells you a lot about my browsing history. We’ve been investigating and investing in our house and our future of late and that means that we’re in the process of designing and building a solar installation.

We’re surrounded by big trees here, most of which we do not own, so our existing roof (which faces southwest) isn’t a good fit. The good news is that we have a straight view south, across East Passage (where it curves around Tacoma), and a growing need for a good shed. Consequently, our path to energy independence is a little longer than most, but we hope to have ~6 kWh on the grid by the autumn.

That said, time isn’t apparently on our side. Despite the growth in PV within the US over the last eight to 10 years and the decrease in cost for that power the White House, and our Thug Congress seem intent on destroying that emerging energy infrastructure.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt said on ABC’s “This Week” that Trump will sign an executive order this week rolling back President Obama’s Clean Power Plan — an “Energy Independence Executive Order” designed to reduce regulations on domestic energy resources. The White House also confirmed that it would announce the creation of the Office of American Innovation on Monday, led by Jared Kushner.

On the heels of Trump’s “Healthcare” defeat, we should apparently expect more job-killing actions, per this morning’s news banners. Politico warns, for instance, that the WH plans on destroying environmental protections, energy standards, and the EPA along with those. They intend to accomplish all this through executive fiat.

Are these people so blind to the world that they can’t see where reality is running rough right over their ideology; hasn’t anyone thought that the Free Market might just want to kill all coal jobs? Perhaps they’re entrenched, so sunk in old costs that thinking ahead of their own institutional inertia becomes an exercise in time travel? Imagine if the Koch brothers only invested in PV back in the 70’s. I don’t know the answer to this poser, but I do know that rebranding your son-in-law “Chief of American Innovation” then sending him out to liberate a few more hydrocarbons from the Earth’s crust is a fool’s errand. Energy Independence won’t ever come from extractive sciences.

Yep, that’s not where the jobs are. Your beloved Free Market is telling you where it’s headed and you’re not listening.

Come hell and unavoidable high-water, we’re still going to innovate our way toward a more energy independent future. Adaptation is now the only mandate. The shed and then panels will rise, but we’re in a privileged position. While the rest of the world prepares for the inevitable changes that the globe will see, our nation backslides at the lead bullies and brats! Frankly, just one more reason for #BluExit.

Paul Ryan Changes the Flynn Narrative

A funny thing happened this morning (on our way to the impeachment). Last night CNN and many other news outlets reported that General Flynn “offered” his resignation. In addition, most news sources have concluded (deductively) that the White House knew that Flynn was negotiating with Russia specifically about existing US censure.

While on my way back from morning drop-off I was listening to statements offered by Paul Ryan on the subject in which he claims that Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation.

“I think the key is this: That as soon as this person lost the president’s trust, the president asked for his resignation, and that was the right thing to do.”

Folks, words matter and I can think of no better example of this than Ryan’s tilted narrative from this morning. He’s spinning the record to protect the White House and his party. What Flynn did was illegal and what we should be doing now is scrutinizing the situation. Did Flynn do this on his own or as directed? There are only two levels above the National Security Advisor so the order, if it came from anywhere, does not leave many loose ends. Follow up is an easy process and Ryan and Chaffetz should be eager to chase down answers to those questions. Seriously, the slight of hand here is too obvious, yet plenty of chumps will buy into this altered truth simply because it fits their pre-existing party bias.

Loyalty, yes, is an important feature of human social networks, but I wonder when these thickheaded buffoons are going to realize that it must work both ways. Your party’s leadership has made a habit of shoveling industrial quantities of fertilizer quality bullshyte down your gullets and the rest of the world is waiting for the moment when, if ever, you’re going to recognize you’re gobbling down poo?

NPR, damn it, you know better than to parrot this crap. Don’t aid your worst detractors.

Things That Interest Me

These are things that have gotten my attention lately, listed in no particular order. For the most part, they are people, ideas or technologies that are influencing what I write, but where I feel their influence changes. Keeping that mind open.

  • The Muslim Ban: Yep, I done did call it what I think it is. Not in my lifetime has such a perpendicular political move been made about the rule of law. Consequently, when the machinations of our government begin to churn, checks and balances fall into place, I am both heartened and intrigued to see how things wash out.

    They’ll do this again and again, they’ll keep trying, but it’s heartening to watch government work. Work for us, in fact. I’d suggest that you watch the whole thing, but it is an hour and seven minutes long. So, if you can’t then go to decision (or read the formal findings).
  • Improve Music: This is Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Horns playing “You Never Can Tell.” Your socks are going to be removed from your feet.

    I think I like the improvisational nature of music because it shows a deeper understanding rooted in the principles of the art. Watching a master and his mates fiddle through something like this is both humbling and impressive.
  • New Zealand: Did you know that the first verse of New Zealand’s National Anthem is written in Māori? Much of my interest rests in the country’s history recognition of the country’s 1840 Treaty of Waitangi. Apparently, beginning in the 1950’s Māori culture underwent a renaissance, and first people’s started moving to urban areas which resulted in the Māori protest movement.

    These people have since filled a socio-economic and political vacuum created by colonialism and greed. From a distance, it seems that the Māori have found a way to work within the system for their own long term benefit and I want to know more about this and how it’s likely to play out in the future.

New Years Resolutions 2017

For Us, and this is the Imperial “Us,” last year was a full-fledged, no-holds-barred goat rodeo. Lots of famous people died, even more, not-so-famous people passed away, and then we elected the first Ompah-Lompa to the highest office of our country. And let’s not forget that 2016 is expected to clock in as the hottest year in more than 136 years of direct atmospheric measurement.

Despite the fact that we could be looking back at the burnt and tangled wreckage of our cluster event that’s not what this post is about, is it? Nope! We’re looking forward, because gosh darn it, 2017 should be better.

So, without further adieu, here are a few of my New Years resolutions.

Take Aral Backpacking

Have you any idea how troublesome it is to locate appropriately sized backpacking gear for a six-year-old? Seriously! As a result, I’m banging the rust off some of my ill-used sewing skills. Our first box of supplies showed up yesterday, and I’ve opened up the Pfaff.

I’ve read a small collection of articles lately that all center around the “problem” of young people staying indoors too much. First, this makes me feel old, namely because now aged enough to see two generations of young people growing up under my branches. For instance, this article in Outside — “The Outdoor Industry Has a Millennial Problem” — posits a number of causes for the drop in younger people being involved in Wilderness, but my older son Justin recently informed me of the only reason that really matters.

In a recent phone conversation, he told me that he doesn’t really know “How to plan a bike tour.” In his possession, he’s got some of the best gear for this purpose ever constructed. He’s been on a couple of nice long ones, enough to know that a bike tour is largely just an exercise in improvisation between disparate locations. I about sprained my eyes rolling them, but I listened all the same. That’s what old people are supposed to do.

It seems that I may have made some mistakes raising the first one. Go figure. I let him labor under the misunderstanding that getting outside requires precision planning and forethought. It doesn’t.

Rather, what you need, he has in spades. An ability to learn from your mistakes, an abundant sense of wonder, and a warm jacket. Alright, maybe some warm socks too. But seriously, that’s the bar of entry to this and many other outdoor endurance sports.

Aral and I have been walking a lot. He just completed a 4-miler (long for him at 6) without even noticing that it was indeed longer than most of the walks he’d previously done. He finished with a smile on his face. So, Mr. Thyer, how to you teach a kid that he can pass the bar-to-entry for backpacking. We’ll you put a pack on his back and march him up the trail.

Continue Primal Lifestyle

I probably need to write up a review of this, but yeah wow, I’m doing so much better. Last Septemeber started a “diet” which essentially got me out from under the consequences of the Standard American Diet. I’ve lost a lot of weight, I’ve kept this weight off too, but even better, I’m not always inflamed. My face, my foot, my sinuses, even my fingers are significantly less bulky. My joints move easier, even when they’re cold.

Tess bought me a pressure cooker for Xmas, and she’s been saying that she wants to join in the fun. Now all I need to do is teach Aral to like eating nuts.

Recover and Publish Short Stories

John Hancock's Recovered Short from Immortality Chronicles

John Hancock’s Recovered Short from Immortality Chronicles

One of my favorite things about publishing through Windrift Books is that after a pretty short period of time all rights revert to the author. Amazon’s relentless expansion of lists means that there’s a place for short stories. Great Stories In One Sitting breaks down reads, based on their length, by the approximate time it will take most people to read them. A lot of Samuel Peralta’s authors have been floating to the top with stories they’ve published previously through him.

GOAT (“Greatest of All Things,” in case you didn’t know) was my contribution to the acclaimed Doomsday Chronicles. It’s gotten great reviews next to the other PA fiction in that collection, and I had the best time writing it. Consequently, I’ve begun to develop one of the supporting characters from that story by writing more about him. Murray Biyaal is a sort of MacGyver hero of the Navajo Nation in a crumbling Western future.

I’m going to start with GOAT and plan to self-publish a whole series based on this cast.

 

Tomorrow is Veterans Day

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, and right now I’m feeling raw. Six years of service to my country as a soldier, six more before that working the front lines of public lands and somehow its become pointless. All that sacrifice. While the rest of you were out there getting college degrees, I was up reading over radio intercepts from DPRK, trying to puzzle together what the fuck those assholes might be about.

I gave my oath to defend the Constitution and this land ultimately because I grew up with a strong land ethic. I read Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac while huddled against a rock for shelter in Colorado’s Flat Tops Wilderness. My radio had died two days before, a storm had moved in, and all I could do at the point was wait it out. Several months later, with my new wife, I found myself back in Florida searching for work with health insurance. My youngest brother had signed up, and damn they made it sound like all you’d have to do was work hard. I’d done that, months wondering the wilderness picking up hunting trash and endless summer days swinging a Pulaski. So I took my work ethic, my young wife and, my land ethic and I signed up expecting that someday I’d return to the wilderness.

My relationship with that woman, my foot, my time, and so much more of was burnt in the tabernacle of service to my country. Until now, I’ve been at peace with this.

I’ve recently been told “Wait and see. Everything is bound to work out for the best.”

Veteran’s Day is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans are thanked for their services to the United States on Veterans Day. Veterans Day honors those who served the United States in all conflicts, especially veterans.

How can this be so? Where is the honor in this?  A man who lied and manipulated his way into office. The Electoral College intends to install a man into office who doesn’t understand the concept of sacrifice. Who, unmindfully, has the land ethic of the Once-ler. A man pathologically unwilling to share. A person with whom I have no common values. Someone as to be so unlike me that our only commonality is the shared genetic heritage of our species and the randomness of the geographical land of birth.

Typically, I’d be writing to ask that people hold their thanks. Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable because it feels like a request. Maybe you want to know what I did, where I’ve been, who I saw die; I don’t know, but the request is made when you say “thank you for your service.” I hear the anticipation in your voices. It’s not a movie, it doesn’t work that way. When I left the service of my country, I left a broken and desperately screwed up person. Not the same guy that gave his oath six years before.

It’s taken me sixteen years and a lot of hard work to feel “normal” around the majority of you. I find grace only far beyond the things of man. In the wilderness. And for a man who holds this as his essential ethic how could I want the esteem of a people that would elect a man with no respect?