Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

New York

I hit the New York State line just after sunset.

I drove until I got to the Finger Lakes region and then grabbed a room for the night.

The area is quite lovely, and my friend Jen Ambrose grew up here, so I was interested to see what the surroundings were like. I made a point of listening to her music and seeing how it might fit with the land. (and if you haven't picked up her CD yet you are being unkind to yourself)

The area is trying to develop itself as a wine region. I have no idea of the quality of their product, but there were wild grapes to bee seen along the road.

Further down the road I came to the Mohawk river and the Mohawk valley. It seems to be some pretty rich farmland, but I spent the whole time thinking of the James Fenimore Cooper stories I used to read as a kid.

Finally, I arrived in the area where we are going to set up a new headquarters, with its distinctive buildings and its quiet "back-woods" feel.

Thanks for coming along, I hope you enjoyed the trip.



This was just a short hop to get to New York.

All I got to see of the State was what the road presented.

There was this, which was a monument of some sort. I went passed it too quickly to tell what it was for.

And this was the best shot I could get of Lake Erie (admitedly mot very good)

I wish I could have spent more time exploring, but the trip was almost over.



I found some of the worst drivers in the country in Ohio.

(But a big Howdy to Don, Brian, and Jennifer St. Clair anyway)

It was really quite amazing. Driving a truck full of books and such, and pulling a car, you don't go very fast as a rule. Couple this with the fact that the right lane ends with an "exit only" at every third off-ramp in Ohio, I had to make quite a few lane changes. Every time I signaled to make a lane change the moron behind me, with all his inbred kin following him, thought that the proper response to my signal was to speed up and cut me off so that I would not get in front of them for a couple hundred feet.

I suspect it was lucky that I was driving such a slow vehicle, because by the tenth time in a row this happened I was ready to chase someone down and beat them senseless. After an hour of this I started driving as if I were back in Africa. That is to say not "defensively" but "offensively". (I think I may have scared people just a little bit when I would just keep pulling into a lane even though someone had sped up to try and get ahead of me. He with the most gross tonnage wins).

Ohio is the most urbanised and tamed of all the states I traveled through.

Once outside the cities, the farmland were also quite developed, having the feel of "farm industry" rather than farms.

I hit more traffic jams here than in the whole rest of the country put together. This one, which had me stuck for two hours was caused by a semi that had managed to jump its trailer over the center barrier, closing off both lanes in my direction.

(I am pretty sure that the various irrigation ponds along the road were infested with small pernicious Shoggoth as well)



I hit Louisville around dinner time.

This was a good thing, as I had a dinner appointment with the owner of a small, but rather exclusive press to talk about a book.

Louisville is a little strange, and it has some intriguing buildings, one wonders why they needed a minaret.

The meeting went well and the food was excellent. We talked about publishing a couple of old (but interesting) manuscripts we had laying about.

After the meeting I turned the truck north and headed towards Ohio.

The moon was huge, and driving through the Kentucky hills was quite pleasant. One interesting thing I noted was that, after I had gotten away from the urban areas that every now and again the aroma of marijuana plants would come strongly through my cab window.

It made me wonder if Kentucky has gone the way of Northern California and Southern Oregon.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I was ready for more plowed fields when I hit Indiana.

(Big wave to AnthroGal)

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I would be passing through the Hoosier National Forest.

I did in fact take a little time to slip off and spend some time with the trees. The Hoosier is a good forest, it has a decent "wildness factor". I intend someday to spend a couple of weeks exploring it.



Here the grasses have won the war.

Trees have been relegated to servitude, acting as wind breaks for the fields of corn.

Southern Illinois was mile after mile of cultivated fields, tamed lands. I was not as comfortable here as in other places on this trip. Some of the books grumbled in the truck.



I forget who said (but I bet Todd can tell me)
"In the war between the grasses and the trees, the smartest thing the grasses ever did was enlist the aid of man."

Nowhere is this more evident than in Missouri. The war continues there, with blows struck, but timed in seasons.

The land was densely wooded as I drove along, but every so often a corn field was notched into the woods.

Missouri, outside of the cities is definitely rural, almost wild.

I kept getting urges to stash the truck somewhere and slip off between the trees and see what it would be like to follow the deer trails for a while.

One very surprising thing was how bad the air quality was. Going through Kansas City was a lot like driving through Los Angeles, and St. Louis was no better.

The Missouri river valley is beautiful though.


Monday, June 27, 2005


Sometimes you just have to make an unexpected move.

In my case it was dropping down to Kansas from Nebraska. Logically, I would have continued on the northern route and gone on through Iowa, but as it happened, I needed to make a stop in Kentucky for a meeting. So I decided to take a State road, dropping from interstate 80 to interstate 70.

This worked quite well until I crossed into Kansas near a town called Belleville.

I had passed through the town and was heading down the road when I noticed those red flashing lights that we all dread. I was not in fact speeding, so I had no idea why I was being pulled over.

A very nice local officer informed me that I had lost my tail lights, break lights and turn signals.

After checking the fuses, which were all just fine, I realized that there was something really wrong with the electrical system.

I enquired of the officer about nearby motels, and as luck would have it, there was one less than a mile away. The officer said he would follow behind me to make sure I was not rear ended in the dark (which I thought was rather kind of him, because in many cities I would have had to call a tow truck).

The motel was sitting all alone on a hill near the crossing of two State roads (I checked, there were no shrines to Legba that I could find).

I checked into the motel and gave U-Haul a call. Arrangements were made to fix the truck the next morning at a local car dealer. After I had everything set up I went to check the cargo.

After digging around I discovered the source of the problem.

One of the artifacts was packed poorly, and had worked itself out of its container. It was a little hungry I guess, because it went to work gnawing on the electrical wires. (note to self: Make sure that everyone can construct the Elder Sign correctly before you let anyone help pact sensitive objects again).

Fifteen minutes with a claw hammer and a cattle prod got it back in its container with no further mishaps.

The next morning I took the truck down to the repair shop.

As an aside, one thing I found to be interesting on this trip, was that from Wyoming on, all of the housekeepers in the motels were Anglo girls. It was a bit of a strange thing to me. In the western US this niche is filled almost exclusively by middle aged Hispanic women.

In Wyoming, the house keeper came into the room just as I was finishing my packing and without looking up, I greeted her in Spanish. I heard an "excuse me?" and looked up to see a blond haired, blue eyed girl of about 18 years with a rather quizzical look, behind the cart. It took a moment to recalibrate. I didn't even know that white girls could clean rooms. Live and learn.

I was told that it would take at least three hours to effect repairs to the electrical system. The mechanic who looked at the wiring called everyone in the shop over to look. There was some speculation that I has somehow driven through a puddle of acid. I decided to walk around and see what the area was like.

Kansas truly is the heartland. There were fields as far as the eye can see. There were mostly corn and soy bean.

There was a small river nearby, so there were trees growing.

There were hard working people around, but the area was sparsely populated.

A little way off the main road I found a lovingly tended cemetery. You can tell a lot about a community by its cemetery. This one had gravestones with dates going back to the civil War. There were several generations in family plots. I got the impression that people came here to stay.



I always get a bit nostalgic when I cross Nebraska

My adopted father was Cheyenne, and he used to tell me stories of the days when his people roamed across Nebraska and eastern Wyoming, so when I am driving along the Platte river I tend to remember the stories and try to imagine what it was like during those times.

There is still a good bit of wild prairie to be found in Nebraska, and deer and antelope are to be seen frequently.

Nebraska is also not as flat as people think. While there are not as many buttes as in Wyoming, they are still to be found.

While corn fields usually come to mind when people think of Nebraska, if you follow the Platte river (which has a couple of different forks) you will spend some time in really nice woodlands. I found this part of the State quite appealing.

About three quarters of the way across the State I made a hard right turn.


Sunday, June 26, 2005


Big Sky Country

I am very fond of Wyoming, it still has a lot of the "old west" flavor I grew up with.

It is also a very beautiful State, where the prairie meets the mountains.

The people are friendly and there is a great deal of history to be found.

I really love seeing the snow covered mountains in the distance.

One of the real pleasures to be found in this part of the country is the food.

If you know where to look you can find small restaurants like this one. They are most likely a bit off the beaten track, but worth taking the time to find. They cater mostly to ranch hands and such. You can count on huge, high calorie, home cooked meals at reasonable prices. The kind of fare needed to fuel a person through a hard day's work.

The rumor that folks here keep the best beef for themselves is true. More importantly though, most of these places serve buffalo meat. There is nothing better, though eland does come close.

I bedded down for the night at Laramie, once a famous cattle town, now a college town.

In the morning I was greeted by this sight from the motel parking lot.



The first real indication that you have entered Utah is the salt flats.

Just when you think that it could not get any more desolate than North East Nevada you cross over into Utah and run right into the Bonneville Salt Flats, the place where people make the land speed record attempts.

The temperature was in the mid 90's and you could feel the heat reflecting off the salt like an oven.

Here is the truck and carrier I was driving. It contains the "locked" portion of our library, including both books and artifacts that no one was willing to entrust to movers. This presented two problems, the first is that the truck was maxed out for weight, the second was that driving through towns tended to make the local dog population howl (it is best left unsaid what some of the books and such were)

Utah stays environmentally challenging until you pass Salt Lake City and start heading up into the mountains.

As it happened I passed through Salt Lake City on the day that the boy scout went missing, so there was a lot of activity in the hills outside the city.

Utah has always made me a little nervous. I think it is because of some of the very strange things that Mormons believe about Native Americans.

By early afternoon I had made it across the state.


Saturday, June 25, 2005


The Great Basin, sagebrush for as far as the eye can see.

If you have only spent time in Las Vegas (which means "fertile valleys" in Spanish) you may have no real sense of just how desolate Nevada really is.

Mostly it is flat but you do get the occasional hill such as this one.

The most exciting thing that happened during my crossing of the state happened just after dusk. There was a storm of insects.

There were hundreds of millions that came out, it looked like a snow storm in the headlights. I had to stop every twenty miles and wash off the truck's windshield for a while. The next morning I had to find a hose to wash off the radiator because I had collected so many bugs on it that it was overheating.

I have to admit that I was happy to leave this leg of the journey behind me.


Friday, June 24, 2005


My trip started out in Napa California. Napa used to be a nice place, but these days it is a nice place to leave.

Napa has suffered the same fate as many other once comfortable Northern California towns. Developers are wedging tract homes into every available inch of land and selling them for highly inflated prices. The local infrastructure is not able to handle the population growth and quality of life has taken a real downturn.

So after much thought the decision was made to move the headquarters of our organization from California to Upstate New York.

We will still keep a presence in California (if for no other reason than to irritate the competition) but it is time to get away from a State who will get rid of an incompetent governor by replacing him with a "movie star" with absolutely no skill at running anything but his mouth.

Traveling east from Napa you have to cross the central valley through the Sacramento area.

I have always wondered why Sacramento was selected for the State Capital over someplace like San Francisco, I would guess it may have something to do with being so close to where all the gold was.

The Central Valley is hot and dry as a rule where it is not irrigated, but soon you are in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains (Sierra Nevada basically means "snow covered mountains" in Spanish).

Once you get out of the valley and start climbing the whole ecology changes. You start getting mixed pine and manzanita.

Manzanita (which means "little apple" in Spanish) produces a bright orange berry that is quite tasty and was used in times passed to make a very refreshing drink.

a couple of hours into the mountains gets you to Donner Pass (yes, as in the ill fated Donner party who got snowed in on the pass and ended up eating each other,or so the story goes).

This year the snow is still heavy on the mountains. In June, it is still so deep that some camp grounds in Yosemite have not opened yet, though in most years they would have been open a month ago.

After another hour or so of winding down the other side of the mountains you end up in Reno Nevada.



So, I have just finished driving across the continent from the west coast to the east coast.

Call me crazy, but it was a lot of fun.

I have made the crossing several times in my life going in both directions and taking several different routes, and I have never failed to learn something about this great country.

On this trip I decided to make a few notes on each State I crossed and take a couple of pictures that I thought might be interesting, and then blog the trip from this end.

So sit back and enjoy the Traceless Warrior Jaunt Across the Continent.


Saturday, June 18, 2005


And going, and going.......

I will be traveling for the next five days or so and will not, in all likelihood have any internet access.

I will have some interesting things to tell you about when I get my hands on a connection again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The final word on the USA patriot Act

Is given to us by Penn and Teller.

All I can say is Damn!

I have been arguing with various Right Wing Dick Heads about the "Patriot Act" since it was passed by congress. They always give me the same bullshit arguments, and they are always wrong.

You need to see this, you should maybe point your friends at it.

So here it is, with thanks to Crooks and Liars.


Monday, June 13, 2005

One of the Great Evils

Is Slavery.

You would think that by this time we, as a people would have eradicated this abomination from the face of the earth, but this is not so.

We in America would also like to thing that this is a problem that is far away from us, this is also not so.

Yahoo news tells of Slavery in Colorado. That would be right here in the good old USA.

Look folks, let me run it down to you. Saudi Arabia is a slave holding State. The United Arab Emirates are slave holding States. Kuwait is a slave holding State. Yemen is a slave holding State.

Of course they all have a lot of oil, so we look the other way.

Look these countries have been preying on the Sudanese, Malaysians, Indonesians and Filipinos for as long as they have been countries. (and to a lesser extent the Balkan countries of the former Soviet Union)

Ask yourself why we haven't sanctioned them into the Dark Ages. Ask yourself why we have commerce with slavers.

When slave holders have the gall to come to America and bring their slaves with them it is time to say enough.


It will be very hard to do so if we as a nation are using slave labor ourselves.

It is hard to think about I suppose, but a good number of illegals who make it into this country end up in some sort of involuntary servitude.

We also support companies that go to third world countries and sometimes treat workers as involuntary servants.

What you have to ask yourself is "Do I oppose slavery?" and "What am I going to do about it?" because things won't change if we don't do something to make them change.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Important Breaking News!!!!!

(Alright, everyone hold your breath)

My friend Kevin Germain has a blog!!!!

Not just any blog, but an incredibly kewl Sufi-like blog where he talks about music and other groovy things (He happens to be a passable fair Ud player AND ex-Punk Rocker so this is not just theoretical)

He is also blogging some of the material from the Sohbets of Shaykh Taner Ansari, one of the great Sufi thinkers (and doers) of our time.

Don't hesitate GO READ HIS BLOG! You will be glad you did.

Do it today, avoid the rush! Tell all your friends about it! Urge them to visit! Blackmail them if you have to, they will thank you for it later!

The blog that everyone will be talking about soon! (If you visit now you can be smug when your friends rush up to you and tell you about it "Oh. Acoustics, Health & Sufism? Sure I have been reading it for days.")

Remember Acoustics, Health & Sufism, tell um that Mushtaq sent you for a chance to win valuable prizes (a snowballs chance in hell, but a chance never the less)


Friday, June 10, 2005

Republicans kill Big Bird

Serve him up as the main course at a GOP fundraising dinner.

The Washington Post reports today that A house subcommittee (ruled over by republicans)drastically cut founds for PBS and cut all funds for shows like "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow," "Arthur" and "Postcards From Buster."

The committee then decided to cut all funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting within two years.

In other words, while the GOP is willing to waste billions of dollars of our tax money to bumble around brainlessly in Iraq, it is not willing to fund programs that help teach American children to read.

Millions of American parents use the TV as a convenient baby-sitter, occupying kids to that parents can get a little work done around the house.

It is an imperfect solution, but to be able to have children at least watch a show where they run the risk of actually learning something does make one feel a little better about things.

For many parents the choice between a TV show that will teach the children to count and spell are preferable to the mindless drivle of commercial broadcasting, with all the violence and the incessant commercial interruptions urging children to demand that their parents buy overpriced, high sugar content, low food value kibble (breakfast cereal).......


You don't think........

Nah, it couldn't be that the real reason that the Right Wing wants to destroy Public Television and Radio is not because of the (nonexistent) liberal bias, but rather that PBS prevents the corporate media from programming children to be good little consumers?

I guess it is possible that corporate media might be unhappy that every minute spent watching or listening to PBS is a minute where they don't get to sell you something. So it's goodbye cookie Monster, hello commercials every five minutes to sell your children worthless crap and turn them into good little Republicans.

Personally, I think that after killing hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East, this is the worst thing the Right has done in a long while.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ever so subtly tagged

By Nietzsche's Wife.

1. Total number of books I'’ve owned:

In my lifetime, easily over several thousand, at the moment around seven hundred.

2. Last book I bought:

a) Finding Flow, by Mihali Csikszentmihalyi
b) Quicksilver, by Neil Stephenson
purchased together

3. Last book I read:

Finding Flow, by Mihali Csikszentmihalyi

4. Five books that mean a lot to me:

(in no particular order)

a) Cartesian Meditations, by Edmond Husserl

b) Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein

c) The New Image of the Person, by Dr. Peter Koestenbaum

d) The Yoga Sutras, by Patanjali

e) Secret of Secrets, by Abd al Qadir Jalani

I would pass this on to





Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Nothing Good Ever Came Out of Texas

That's what my old folks used to say.

I used to hear things like "Texans are slant drillers" and "A Texan will cheat a rock".

Every year when I was growing up in New Mexico, during hunting season we would get an influx of drunk Texans who would shoot at anything that moved, deer, antelope, livestock, people, vehicles, you name it.

One year, when I was young and still living on the family ranch, one of my uncles was out hunting on our ranch. He got a fine mule deer and after field dressing it set out to drag it home on a travois. He made sure to tie red cloth from the antlers and such for safety.

A couple mile from home someone shot his deer.

He jumped behind a rock and yelled out that there was a person with the deer and would they please not shoot this way.

Another shot struck near the deer carcass.

My uncle yelled out again, warning them that they were shooting at a person.

The shot at the deer again.

My Uncle (who had distinguished himself in WWII in the Pacific theater and had a couple of medals that said he had done brave things) hollered at them that they should stop shooting at him.

Another shot rang out and struck near the deer.

So my uncle returned fire.

He wasn't actually trying to kill anyone (or so he said) but he made them keep their heads down while he got up on them.

What he found when he got to them (behind them actually) was two drunk Texans who had come to our fair State for deer season. Of course the were hunting on our land without permission, and they were so drunk that they did not know what they were shooting at.

My uncle force marched them back to the ranch at rifle point and called the sheriff to come deal with them.

That is often how I think of Texans.

I also think of Texans like this.

As a child I remember driving through West Texas and seeing signs that said "Nigger, don't let the sun set on your black ass in this town".

Now I guess it will be "Faggot, don't let the sun set on your pansy ass in this town."

When the governor of a State says that a section of the population should go elsewhere because he doesn't like them, it is time to do something.

I propose that we should kick Texas out of the Union. They have been the most un-American State I can think of with their disregard for human rights, their willingness to execute developmentally disabled people and children and a number of other such things.

We should make them a sovereign nation, send George Bush back there to be the King, and then cut all diplomatic ties. (There should be an amnesty though, so the good people can get out before we close the borders).

We should amputate Texas from the Union like the gangrenous limb it is.

To hell with Texas.

I'm sick of this shit.


It was forty years ago today

That married couples in America were allowed to have the right to plan their families rather than to be forced to have children randomly and repeatedly.

Probably, most of you who are reading this don't remember the event. It happened in a case that came before the Supreme Court called "Griswold v. Connecticut" and it changed America in profound ways (most of which have been forgotten it seems). I lived through the event and it was one of the things that helped shape my political thinking, so I though I would relate a little about what happened and why. Also, the powers that tried to keep families as slaves to reproduction are coming back today, so you may just want to know about this.

For something like a hundred years there were laws on the books at both the State and Federal level criminalizing giving information about birth control and transporting and dispensing contraceptives.

This did not change until two planned parenthood workers bit the bullet, and set up shop in Connecticut, one of the States with laws against dispensing knowledge of birth control or contraceptives. (This was around 1961 or 1962 if memory serves). They were arrested and convicted in Connecticut court. The appeals went to the Supreme Court of the United States.

What you have to understand is that during these times there was this idea, that has been pushed by the "conservative" Christian churches that people did not have any rights over their sexuality. The prevailing view was that sex should only be allowed between two people licensed by Christian churches and/or the State and only for purposes of procreation.

These "Christians" thought that Only God had a right to decide when a couple should have a baby and only God had a right to decide how many children a family should have. And remember, sex was only for procreation, any other reason was a sin.

These were the days that you found conversations like this.

"You wanted to see me Dr. Jones?"

"Yes Bill, I have some bad news for you. Your wife had some complications with her last birth. Having six children has taken a lot out of her, and she is all torn up inside. I hate to tell you this, but for her sake you are going to have to refrain from exercising you marital rights, if she gets pregnant again you will lose both her and the baby."

"Good Lord Doc! What am I going to do?"

"Bill, here is the address of a certain house on the other side of town, if you start getting "urges" go visit there."

You would be amazed just how many times variations of this scenario were played out before legal contraception was available.

We also had a lot of Things Like this happening on an all too regular basis.

The people of America also lived under an incredible weight of guilt and shame when it came to their sexuality, even when you were legally licensed to have sex with someone.

It was never just you and your spouse in the bedroom, it was you, your spouse, the Church, and the State.

Griswold v. Connecticut changed all that. It allowed families, for the first time to legally have access to family planning services and contraceptives so that they could choose when it was appropriate to have a child, and to choose how many children to have (or even to choose not to have children).

More importantly though, this ruling was the basis for "The right to privacy" that has come to be something that we all expect to have now.

Of course the Neo-Cons and the Christian Taliban would like to take this all away from us and force us back to the guilt ridden days of a family having no choice about when and how many children it should have.

On the anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut we should remember what we stand to lose if the Republicans are allowed to stay in power.


Friday, June 03, 2005

This is for Isadora

Who didn't believe me about the giant man eating frogs.

Image hosted by


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Bloggingsphere Update

It's hard to believe that I have been doing this for seven months now!

It may be the most I have ever written in my whole life (outside of school).

As some of you may remember, I originally started this blog to teach myself about the process so that I could help my friend Steve Barnes build his blog at Dar Kush.

Well Steve is going strong over there and his readership is growing daily. If you haven't read his blog then get over there and check it out, you will be glad you did.


The most amazing thing to me is that people are actually reading this thing! Not only that but a couple of things I have written have been picked up and and republished elsewhere, including at one of my very favorite online magazines, Circular strength Training. Is that kewl or what?

I have actually been enjoying writing here and so far have no intention of stopping.


Still Reading

There are some real gems to be found and I have been quite delighted with my ongoing reading of these blogs.

Blogging as Art

Zuhrtime Soliloquy by Aida offers some very good poetry as well as prose of a philosophical and spiritual nature. It is well worth the read.

Nietzsche's Wife, the polyglot genius at Ecce Mulier has been particularly creative lately, if you haven't read her you should.

Blogging as Life

Ethnically Incorrect by Sume is always thoughtful and is a blog I check daily.

Another favorite is instant gratification. I really get a kick (no pun intended) reading the adventures of Don and his merry band of friends. BTW Don just got married! Three Cheers and best wishes.

DisOrganization, Jennifer St. Clair's blog is a pleasant place to visit. She does not understand why people might enjoy reading about the simple pleasures of her life, but we do.

Kwasi, at Ramblings of an African geek is starting to write more, and this is a good thing. He has a lot to say and is quite articulate.

WriteousSister is very intelligent and well worth the read.

There are many more that deserve a look, check out my blog links in the side bar to find them.

The New

Here are some new places I have stumbled across that are worth taking a look at.

Knocking From Inside is a blog written by my friend Tiel, who is smart, funny, creative and can twist your arm off and beat you to death with it if you annoy her. There is some really good stuff here, read it.

Sufistuff and Light of Eminence & Sufism are two very nice Sufi oriented blogs.

Governor Silver, very good training stuff, check it out.

A Soldier's Thoughts, A blog that is sometimes painful to read, it reminds me too much of conversations back in the Viet Nam days, But it is a blog that should be read. Check it out.

Freshair by my friend Desert Rose is great fun, though it is a new blog, and half of it is in Farsi, don't let that stop you.

The Tasneem Project is very ambitious and very informative and has a great blog, check it out.

MuslimHippie, I saw the link on Sume's blog and loved the name (it could have been me it was referring to)

I really like this one, though it is a relatively new blog. It is fresh and thoughtful and I expect great things from the writer. Check it out and give her some encouragement.