Tuesday, August 19, 2003

by Skald

Caravans of vandwelling shamans-- roaming the wilds and back roads-- following the highway routes... in search of satoris, baraka, wisdom...

Hobopoet sanctuaries-- Mad Houser huts tucked behind walls of green-- Shinto-esque shrines... secret gathering points.....

Far-east pilgrim routes-- Clan homes-in-exile -- far flung bases of poets and artists-- escape portals.... save havens from the crushing conformity of America....

Moving and living in the fissures of the suburban monolith...

Invisible and free...

Walkers in the spirit realms.
Free at Last
by Skald

Hot Georgia sun overhead, baking my shaved head as I stroll the square in downtown Gainesville. Slow and easy gait as I make my way to the library.... a smile springs to my face.... I notice the trees rustling in the breeze... I feel the heat and wetness in the air. Im done with work-- nothing to do and nowhere to go.

It happended about a month ago... my mind finally caught up with circumstances. Suddenly I have discovered Thoreau's breakthough.... life is not a hardship... my life has become a past time. Im working 19 hours a week yet have plenty of money. The sun is out, the days are long, the nights are cool and tinged with magic. I arise early to meditate. In the afternoons I run in the languid heat beneath pines and oaks... Athena bounding along with me. When Im finished I am drenched in sweat... a purifying, cleansing sweat. My life is filled with abundance.

These are the rewards of the Hobopoet life... the long sought rewards.
I have time to sit, time to contemplate, time to notice. I have become a real human being.
Military Tents
by Rom Publius

I lived in a wall tent for 8 months in the early 1970's and didn't even have a stove in it and it was quite homelike. I had a dear aunt at the time who worried about me so much, my Aunt Gen. She was half Native American but I guess she worried I didn't have a clue perhaps. One day her husband, my Uncle Alvie showed up. He brought me something as a gift but I knew he was checking my tent/home out for Aunt Gen. Alvie grew up in the north woods at the beginning of the 20th century so he knew primitive very well. I showed him around and we sat and had tea (not a lady's tea party--men in the north
woods commonly drink tea). I think we played some cribbage too.

I had a carpeted floor and the walls were hung inside with colorful blanket material. You know, I don't think Alvie wanted to leave that day and my Aunt Gen never worried about me living there again. There's no reason why a larger wall tent can't be very house-like, comfortable, and even cozy. When I lived in my tent, about a dozen hippie tents formed a big circle around a central social area. It was like an atchen'tan or camp site, for example like a Gypsies' family unit of many tents might have camped in 100 or more years ago. It was really nice and furthermore we had modern conveniences. Many people hooked electricity up in their tents and some even hooked up running water. I persoanlly prided myself for not needing that and was quite comfortable with mantle lamps and if I was planning to winter over, I'd have gotten a stove for it too.
Handmade Houses
by Jo Rebeka

The discussion of alternative building techniques and cob building in particular inspired me to post these links about of a project I helped to work on, building a tiny house for my friend Sally out "light straw clay." This material is a straw/clay mixture that is about 90% straw. It uses 1/3 less straw than a comparable straw bale dwelling, and because the bales are cut open and the straw fluffed and mixed with a thin mud, the resulting material to be packed into the forms is pretty light and easy to handle, like a wheelbarrow full of coleslaw. The insulation value is better than a straw bale house. The entire exterior and interior MUST be plastered with adobe or similar material. The exposed straw clay walls would not be durable at all in weather.

About half the crew was middle-aged gals who were not in particularly great shape. We divided the tasks by fitness levels, and a few parts were challenging (mostly building the frame) .... but, overall, it took a lot of energy but not a lot of strength to do the work. The bulk of the project was completed working 3 or 4 weekend days per month, by a crew of no more that 4 or 5 people on any given day. The thrill of helping build a home with a group of friends is something everyone should experience at least once in life. If you don't want to build your own home, look around for someone who wants help building theirs. Or even volunteeer for Habitat for Humanity, though their building porjects are probably not so alternative-minded. I guarantee you won't regret it!

These pages on my site show interior and exterior shots when the house was bascially complete.


Saturday, August 09, 2003

Cheap Housing
by Rom Publius

Something I've been thinking a lot about is to build a gher or yurt and cover it with inexpensive canvas painter's drop cloths like the ones you can buy in Home Depot, Lowe's, or some such place. I like "native" methods of building these like the one I , rather than the designs made usually by Americans using construction lumber and steel cable.

For a more primitive design, I figure I can find all the wood I would need in a typical alder thicket. In New England there are black alders which is in the pea family and grows down in boggy soil near brooks. Typically, it only gets about 12 foot tall or so and grows in a dense stand of clumps. I figure on using a draw knife to peel them and remove branches and to thin an area near the base for bending. If cut and trimmed right on the spot and then bent and tied
with cord to hold the bend until it dries a bit, this would give me the needed roof members in a few weeks or less, depending on how hard I work. The side latice work pieces are even simpler--just use smaller pieces that are not long enough for roof pieces.

I figure if I bought land, I could set up a tent and, while summering in that tent, make a gher or yurt in this way with materials found right on that site. No real purchase necessary for the framing and the canvas would cost about $100 or so using dropcloths. Ghers typically have regular wood burning stoves in them and the steppes of Central Asia are very windy and often hit -40 F. or less so I'm sure these are sturdy, and snug. I think perhaps I would keep the size smaller--no more than the size of a 2 car garage. Then the original tent, as well as tarp structures, could be used for storage purposes. I'll have the contents of two houses to store when Ileigha and I buy land.

I doubt if the comfort level in winter would be equal to that of most American homes in this design however due to the lack of insulation but air space is an effective insulator and Native American tepees had an onan or some such which typically was a tent within a tent. This gave the occupants two comfort zones. In the onan was very cozy and outside that but inside the tepee was where one would typically cook etc. or do things that one does when up and dressed.

I figure an inner zone of comfort could easily be set up similarly and a steady source of heat for the whole structure could even be provided by using a vented kerosene heater or an oil stove. That way it wouldn't freeze up before one got home from work or some such. I used to heat with wood and it was good but I was tied down to having to build 2 fires a day and I had 6 inches of insulation in the walls and floor and 12 in the ceiling.

Friday, August 08, 2003

quotes from Joseph Campbell

And what is the nature of a wasteland? It is a land where everybody is living an inauthentic life, doing as other people do-- doing as you're told, with no courage for your own life.

To live an authentic life, Take your wisdom from your own experience. Because in thinking, the majority is always wrong.

Any life career that you choose in following your bliss should be chosen with the sense that nobody can frighten me off this thing.
"The Revolution" is Already Here
by Hakim Bey

History, materialism, monism, positivism, and all the "isms" of this world are old and rusty tools which I don't need or mind anymore. My principle is life, my end is death. I wish to live my life intensely for to embrace my life tragically.

You are waiting for the revolution? My own began a long time ago! When you will be ready (God, what an endless wait!) I won't mind going along with you for awhile. But when you'll stop, I shall continue on my insane and triumphal way toward the great and sublime conquest of the nothing! Any society that you build will have its limits. And outside the limits of any society the unruly and heroic tramps will wander, with their wild & virgin thoughts--they who cannot live without planning ever new and dreadful outbursts of rebellion!

I shall be among them!

And after me, as before me, there will be those saying to their fellows: "So turn to yourselves rather than to your Gods or to your idols. Find what hides in yourselves; bring it to light; show yourselves!"

Because every person; who, searching his own inwardness, extracts what was mysteriously hidden therein; is a shadow eclipsing any form of society which can exist under the sun! All societies tremble when the scornful aristocracy of the tramps, the inaccessibles, the uniques, the rulers over the ideal, and the conquerors of the nothing resolutely advances.

So, come on iconoclasts, forward!

"Already the foreboding sky grows dark and silent!"

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Illegal Walking
by Skald

While living in Greenville, SC I would often go for late -night walks... just out for a stroll. I was stopped SEVERAL times by police... for walking on the sidewalk! They questioned me, demanded ID, and ran a check each time. They were rude and belligerent. The thing is, I look like a clean cut Aryan. Just imagine the treatment I'd have gotten if I'd had long hair, or dark skin, or ratty clothes, or a beard,.. or looked Arab or Seikh or Gypsy or Latino. This sort of thing happens all the time, but is never reported. Instead, the news is filled with scary black men & Latinos to keep the suburbanites afraid and docile! And just watch prime-time TV sometime... look at the overwhelming number of Cop shows: Law & Order (with multiple versions), CSI, NYPD Blue, etc.... all
filled with scary poor people, helpless victims, and, of course, the tough, noble police-- the only force protecting us all from the Barbarian hordes of homeless, drug dealers, gangsters, cultist, serial killers,.....

I thought Micheal Moore captured that sense of American paranoia quite well in "Bowling for Columbine".

There is an optimistic flip side to all this-- all this paranoia and fear is artificially created. For most folks there is a natural fear of the unknown and the strange... but it takes vast amounts of propaganda (aka American TV, Nazi disinformation,..) to amplify this normal suspicion and truly terrify/enrage large numbers of people. Which is to say, I still think most folks are basically decent (though willfully ignorant and gullible). Truthfully, most suburbanites have never met a homeless person (or poor black person,....) and have never been a victim of violent crime. Their fears have NOTHING to do with actual experience-- they are a media phenomenon. Insulated in their suburbs, they are living in a TV world of spooks and psychopaths and have no idea what the world is really like.

I'm always amused when I see a homeless person approach some suit & tie couple. The poor guy shuffles up, head low, looking pitiful.... spouting out some bullshit story about his car being broken. Annoying? Maybe. But what's so funny (and tragic) is the look of startled terror on the rich folks faces.... looks of panic... looks of fear. They practically run from the guy! I'm sure they're thinking he'll pull out a shotgun any minute!

I've noticed they react similiarly to people with tatoos, black or Latino males, and anyone who looks scruffy. So while these folks may imagine themselves as corporate masters of the universe,... they are some of the most terrified and emasculated souls ever to walk the earth.

For this reason, I think Thoreau was right-- you don't really own your money-- it owns you,.. and in the process corrupts you into a petty, ignorant, fearful husk of a human.

So, despite our lack of power & money, I'd say we have the better end of the deal .
Storage Units: Cheap Housing
by Skald

On the Vagabond Too site there has been alot of discussion about living in storage units. The "rent" on such units is far cheaper than on an apartment... and there are no utility costs.

Here are some of the suggestions/ideas that were discussed:

*Stealth is very important. Most owners do not allow folks to live in the units or to run a business from them... although some are more lax than others. It's best to avoid the more upscale units... which have security cameras, night-time staff, guards, etc... Better to find a place with minimal staff and no cameras. Do look for a place that has power outlets in the units... and/or a light. Also, some complexes have on-site bathrooms. Climate-control is a nice advantage in climates with extreme temperatures.

Be very discrete about coming and going... do so when the staff is off-duty. NEVER admit to living in the unit, even if its obvious. Consider a non-gated complex.

Park your vehicle away from gates and office windows.

*Modify the inside... suggestions: Build a loft in order to maximize space. Consider building a "box withing a box".... ie. an insulated "box" within the storage unit. The insulation & extra walls will provide a better climate and will also cut down on noise and light coming from your space.

*Make sure that nobody can lock you in the unit or the complex and thus trap you.

*Take time when shopping for a storage unit.... look at lots of places and try to find the best combination of stealth and comfort.

by Alan Watts

Altough we all realize that monotony is boring, almost every form of industrial work- banking, accounting, mass-producing, service- is monotonous, and most people are paid for simply putting up with monotony, for arranging things in boxes, for recording these arrangements on squared and columned sheets of paper, or for welding and drilling innumerable I-beams together for making colossal concrete or glass-walled boxes wherein myriads of others can pursue these dreary routines. For What? For absolutely necessary but abstract and inedible money, wherewith to purchase a box in which to live, another box in which to go about (look at almost any brand of car), and to acquire boxed food which tastes more and more as if its constituent particles were boxes instead of cells.

The tycoons, politicians, and gangsters who manage this operation, whether in Russia, China, West Germany, or the United States, are not happy. By and large they are vulgar men who do not know chalk from cheese, who know very well what they hate and fear, but haven't the least idea of what they love-- except statistical records called money. Some of them have celebrated libraries of pornography. Some have plush harems of frigid girls. Some have yachts and jet planes in which to go somewhere just like the place from which they began. Some have great stables of horses for the merely mathematical purpose of betting on races.

They live in constant fear of thievery, revolution, competition, impotence, cancer, and rising taxation.

The trouble with our rich and powerful people is no so much that they are wicked, but that they do not enjoy themselves. A square can't have a ball, and the great problem of philosophy is not so much to square the circle as circle the square. For our religions are uptight and anal-retentive. Our religious observances consist almost entirely of talk-- "about it and about"-- about obeying commandments and about believing in verbalized statements or creeds presuming to define the ineffable. Virtually nothing is done to encourage any form of silent, nonverbal meditation or yoga wherein the eternal is experienced and not merely discussed. It is a terrible and notorious truth of history that no one has ever been taught how to love by a sermon, for all sermonically based love is simply disguised guilt, which arouses resentment in the recipient. If love can be inspired by anything symbolic, it has to be brought out by poetry-- that is, by words used as music.

Real religion has nothing to do with words. It is a silent, effortless, and fascinated concentration on the basic energy, the fundamental and musical vibration of the world. By such means we experience life as it actually is, as beyond the ways in which it is merely measured and described and calculated in our various systems and symbols. In the end you find out that you yourself are nothing other than that basic and timeless energy.

When you find that out, you don't give a damn about status, fancy possessions, hoards of money, being embalmed and buried in a bronze casket, an living a neatly geometrized life. You don't even quake with anxiety about survival. As the Chinese sages put it, "A man who understands the Tao [the Course of Nature] in the morning may die without regret in the evening". When I explain this to Americans they invariably ask, "But doesn't this imply a merely passive attitude to life?" This is because they have been brought up with such hymns as "Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war".

I simply do not understand the goals and rewards of the Western Way of Life [TM], apart from such side-effects of the project as anesthesia for denistry (which can just as well be effected by hypnosis). What is the point of Progress [TM] if the food is tasteless, the housing absurd, the clothing uncomfortable, the religion just talk, the air poisoned by Cadillacs [or SUVs], the work boring, the sex uptight and mechanical, the earth clobbered with concrete, and the water so chemicalized that even the fish are abandoning existence? Recently, I have been asking questions that really need no answer.

Who wants to serve in a police vice squad, spending hours peeking into men's johns to detect acts of homosexuality? Who wants a job as a debt-collection agent, spending his whole day being nasty to people? What sort of person voluntarily serves as a prison guard or hangman? Also, alas, one might ask what kind of individual would want to spend millions of dollars to become president of the United States, never away from the telephone, guarded around the clock by agents of the Secret Service, reading tomes of amazingly uninteresting documents, and being accompanied day and night by a warrant officer carrying a black bag containing mechanisms to set off the atomic bomb?

We believe that all such occupations, dreary or dangerous as they may be, are exercises of high responsibility and even of glory, despite the maxim that "the paths of glory lead but to the grave". But what is their actual end and purpose? Towards what is Progress [TM]? In fact, what on Earth are we doing? No one has even the ghost of a notion, save perhaps a few simple-minded people who live to smell flowers, to listen to the sea, to watch trees in the wind, to climb mountains, to eat pate de veau en croute, to drink the Malvasia wine from Ruby Hill, and to cuddle up with a lovely woman-- and such pursuits are not really expensive, as compared with the trillions spent on the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory.

For the life-ideal of power-crazy man is (and the word is not insignificant) screwing a plastic woman. She doesn't talk back. She lies perfectly still. She will assume any position you want and be treated in any way. In fact, when it comes down to it, the whole enterprise of technology is to turn all nature into a plastic woman-- a mass of completely obedient and predictable stuff. Why not, instead, lust over the syncopated convulsions of your wife or girlfriend in bed, when you get her into the genuine ecstasy of the witch riding the broom? To me, this is far more manly than smashing and destroying other people and their property, killing wild animals that you neither need nor use for food, or thundering along racetracks in four-wheeled phalluses. Why not go in for something like gliding, sailing, swimming, or even dancing?

Incidentally, I have noticed that these power-men cannot dance, except in the most stilted and formal way, because they will not permit their hips to swing freely-- imagining this to be a strictly feminine gesture. Much of this began because our ancestors had a rigid, antisexual religion, based on an elegantly mistranslated book, The Bible, so that their children fled for relief to the bright lights and distractions of the cities where they could find girls who would play games.

But lack of love for the vegetative, subtle, cthonic, pagan, and sexy aspect of the world means death. The cry, "Back to Nature" used to be derided as unrealistic sentimentality, but I am wondering if it is not becoming an urgent necessity. But mankind is actually feeding on the production of crash and trash-- of superweapons, vast slabs of cement, untold miles of wire, and billions of "objects" to be sold in shops which I haven't the slightest wish to own. Almost everyone who works in a city is producing rubbish and symbols of rubbish.

So WHAT DO WE WANT? I repeat the question again and again wherever I go. We do not know what we want because we are only dimly aware of anything wantable. We have taught ourselves to pursue such abstract and weakly perceived goals as happiness, love, goodness, service to others, fun, fame, fortune, power, peace, or God-- but we have more words than experience for what we mean.

[I propose] that the natural state of man is ecstatic wonder. Ecstasy is the sensation of surrendering to vibrations, and sometimes insights, that take you out of your so-called self. Ecstasy is something higher, or further out, than ordinary pleasure... its achievement requires a particular discipline and skill that is comparable to the art of sailing. Ecstasy is beyond pleasure, it is always a pleasure/pain experience, as when on weeps for joy or as when there is a certain hurt in intense sexual orgasm. Frequent plunges into ecstasy transforms one's normal consciousness. The everyday world becomes luminous and transparent. The chronic neuromuscular tension against the world disappears, and thus one loses the sensation of carrying one's body around like a load. You feel light, almost weightless, realizing you are one with a planet that is just falling at ease through space.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Adventure & Homelessness
by Anna Lore

I did a lot of reading while it rained. One of the books I read was "Foot By Foot" by Francis and Winfrey Line. The book was written quite some years after the adventure which took place in the early 1920's. These two young men after finishing high school decided they would take a year off and travel around the US. They wanted to hit as many states as possible in a years time. Mostly they hitchhiked and walked some 2000 miles. It was a very interesting read. The end result was that Francis Line remained an adventurer, writer and travel film maker. They rose to many challenges earning their living as they went . They sent home over $600 from earnings that year of traveling, so even though they
were totally without funds they managed . Sometimes they were without food for days, slept in mud, were trapped in floods, were thirsty in deserts, and met many interesting people.

After leaving Burro Creek Blm I went to Williams and parked in the National Forest. The next day I went into Flagstaff to visit my favorite book store, Bookmans, a used book store. There I picked up a number of books. The first one I read was "Travels with Lizbeth" by Lars Eighner . This is the story of a man and his dog who were homeless for a number of years. This too was very interesting as well as poignant and tearful reading. Many good ideas in this book for stealth shelters and lifestyles.

What I noticed as the difference between the homeless account and the adventure account was that of attitude. Homelessness is often coupled with depression, a sense of desperation, great loss. The adventurer goes forth with his head high having chosen the course of action and the terms. I couldn't help but think that if more homeless disquised themselves as adventurers, artists, writers, etc. while living a simple life they would not be so subject to
harassment.† People love to have someone of renown in their presence and this homeless man was a published author. He could easily have stated that he was experimenting for a book, which was in fact true.

Monday, August 04, 2003

On Creativity and Art:

Rollo May:

"Nowhere has the meaning of creativity been more disastrously lost than in the idea that it is something you do only on weekends!"

"Forever unsatisfied with the mundane, the apathetic, the conventional, Artists always push on to newer worlds"

"Just as the poet is a menace to conformity, he is also a constant threat to political dictators. The poet is inevitably the adversary of the State."

"Every act of creation is first of all an act of desctruction (Picasso).... The new idea will destroy what alot of people believe is essential to the survival of their intellectual and spiritual world. "

"Artists are the frontier scouts who go out ahead of the rest of us to explore the future."

Joseph Campbell:

"The Artist is the one who communicates myth for today. The function of the Artist is the mythologization of the environment and world. "

"You can't have creativity unless you leave behind the bounded, the fixed, all the rules."

"In thinking, of course, the majority is always wrong."

"Poets are those who have made a profession and a lifestyle of being in touch with their bliss... Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they'd be. Always go where you want to go-- where your body and soul want to go. When you have the feeling then stay with it, don't let anyone throw you off."
McCulture's Trojan Horse
by Skald

Romantic love is second only to WORK in its capacity to destroy freedom. How many men have sold their dreams for a woman? How many women have degraded their potential for a man? How many have lost their ferocity and self-reliance? How many have been reduced to bufoonery by marriage and children? Is there anything more pathetic than the American family man?--- proudly inept-- hopelessly emasculated?

The family man. The company man. What sad idiots. How painful to see a man stripped of courage, creativity, independence,... vision: Men who should be wolves-- perverted into poodles. Poor saps.... too late they realize this woman is the Trojan Horse of society-- the infective agent of conformity. Through her he learns to crave a house in the burbs, a corporate job, a clean bathroom, housekeeping, kids, tidiness, propriety, safety, security. Romantic love is insidious. Two desperate people, bound to each other, sinking into the stagnant abyss.

Children accelerate the process... through them the man regresses. "Families, how I hate them... the misers of love!" Indeed.

Behold the family-- celebrating every one of Junior's shits, farts, pukes, or burps. Behold the family-- terrified of TV news phantoms: violent "darkies", wetback gangsters, teenage psychoes, muslim terrorists, potheads, rapists, serial killers, drug dealers, beggars, drunks. Behold the family- barricaded within SUVs, obscene McMansions, gated communities, country clubs, suburbs, corporate campuses. Behold the family- drowning Junior in gadgets to prove their love. Behold the family-- injecting Junior with fear and nueroses... coddling Junior... spoiling Junior... beating Junior.... resenting Junior.... suffocating Junior... manipulating Junior.

Watch the desperation get passed from generation to generation. Witness Junior's impossible position. Watch as Junior sells out his dream - never attempts to reach it. Observe as Junior learns to be "realistic"... returns to the burbs, the mall, the cul-de-sac... a job in insurance... a wife.... a mortgage.. a car payment.

The cycle returns full circle as Junior fathers his own child. Works. Breeds. Consumes. Dies.

No satoris. No glimpse of mystery or awe. No creative visions. No ecstacy. No magic. No freedom.

An empty husk- Junior goes trembling to the grave.

"A kind of second childhood falls on so many men. They trade their violence for the promise of a small increase in life span. In effect, the head of the house becomes the youngest child...." -- John Steinbeck

Sunday, August 03, 2003

We Are Not Normal
by Skald

"The usual person is more than content, he is even proud, to remain within the indicated bounds of society, and popular belief gives him every reason to fear so much as the first step into the unexplored"
-- Joseph Campbell

We are mutants. Timothy Leary called us "novelty seekers". Tom Peters -"rapid mutators". Kerouac called us the "dharma bums". What is clear is that we aren't normal. We are not content to remain within the strict bounds of society. We are not content to be wage-slaves or land serfs. We are not content to work, consume, and die. We are not content to be passive drones, TV addicts, emotional retards. We are not content to obey and conform. We are not content to live the same day, every day, for another 30,40,50,60,70 years.

We're a motley bunch: travelers, writers, shamans, artists, healers, Gypsies, slackers, hoboes, visionaries, poets, heroes, outlaws, pilgrims, blasphemers, psychonauts, explorers. What we share is a thirst for freedom and ecstasy-- and a refusal to live anyone's life but our own.

We roam the wilds and backroads... follow the highway routes...

We search for baraka... for satori moments...

We gather in secret.... we migrate alone and together...

To the Far East pilgrim paths.... to hidden sanctuaries... moving and living between the fissures of the suburban edifice: invisible and free...

Walkers of the spirit realms

"It is not society that is to save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse." -- Joseph Campbell