I have not kept up on my Research Journal as I originally intended. I hope to do better in the future. It is difficult with my current schedule, but I will try my best.
Rainy Weekend (Almost)
Rain was predicted for the weekend and I was a little apprehensive about staying overnight on the deck. It’s covered and my hammock also has a rain fly, but there are no walls and, in my local area, rain is usually accompanied by wind – which is a recipe for disaster.
Luckily, the storm front stalled at sea for two days, and I was able to get in a full day of work. I ran out of energy (literally) on the second day, though, and ended up packing it in by noon.
I’ve just about decided that the remainder of winter will have to be day trips by rented boat instead of paddling with overnights. At least until I can get the deck and structure built and the wood stove installed. The paddling really takes the energy out of me, and so does sleeping out in the wet and cold elements. Once I get the tarp cabin finished, I’ll have a place that’s hopefully warm and dry and I can then focus on other tasks like wood cutting and hiking.
I got back yesterday afternoon, and by evening my entire body was sore. Shoulders, arms, legs, hips. Most of it was from either the paddling or cutting firewood for a few hours, but my left wrist was also sore from an inadvertent fall while trying to get down the ramp to the dock. The visit before I suffered another fall and bruised my forearm. It was sore to the touch for nearly a week.
There is tar paper on the metal ramp that runs from the upper flat to the docks, but even that loses its non-skid properties when it freezes and when the ramp is at a sharp angle (we have not had much rain this year and the lake is still rather low).
Needless to say, I will be putting out wood strips on the ramp and docks for the remainder of winter. I cannot afford bones breaking or accidental drowning. I have things to do.
I have finished reading Lolita. I also watched the 1991 movie adaptation (which was abysmal). I need to do a complete review of the book, but suffice it to say, I’m still unclear as to the motivation of the author. The book is obviously from the point of view of the pervert, and the depiction of the young girl, Deloris, is a fabrication in his own demented mind. There are moments when Deloris says things like, “He broke my heart. You merely broke my life.” I will try to post a review of it as soon as I can. My list of uncompleted book reviews is growing. I really need to retire so I can get these important things done!
It is that time of year again. Property taxes came due on November 15th. How wonderful. Paying rent to the government for property you’ve already paid for. What a racket. And, in great and undeniable liberal tradition, my property taxes have gone up yet again, to pay for things I will never use, never want, and don’t even agree with. My best bet will be to sell my house, which will reduce my tax liability by 60%.
I have exactly two more months left before my Lake property is paid off. I am, as of December 5th, down to $1,995. My hope is to have it paid off by January 5th, with the reconveyance completed on January 20th.
I’m using this date as my finish date for my shelter at Eden, with the water system functional, the compost toilet system functional, and the wood stove installed.
At that point, I have about $5000 left in credit card debt to pay off, and the balance on my car (which should be paid off when I sell it).
After I return from my trip at the end of January, I will have a decision made on whether or not I will put my house up for sale, or just work part time for the foreseeable future. There is the possibility of just working my current full time schedule, too. At least until I don’t want to do it anymore. Oh, wait. I already don’t want to do it anymore!
I’ve been recently thinking about consciousness again. It’s frustrating how fragmented my thinking is, continually being distracted by work so I can make a wage to buy things like a house I don’t even use half of. Or, a car I could easily do without if I didn’t have or need a job.
But, what I’ve been wondering lately, is – what exactly is consciousness? Do we even really know? After all this time we humans have been thinking and reflecting and experimenting and torturing each other, do we have any idea what makes us so different than the animals surrounding us?
I have a new fangled rat trap set up in my kitchen because there is a hole in the floor behind my washer that’s big enough for rats to get through. Now, these rats are super rats. I’m talking Special Forces Rats – the Navy Seals of the rat kingdom. I say that because, outside of these four walls exists a jungle where these rats are subjected to a brutal and life-threatening gauntlet of ferocious tiger like creatures with razored claws and mouths full of flesh obliterating teeth. Wild and rabid, feral in every sense of the word – this is what these poor rats have to contend with. And, by some miracle of God or nature, a select few happen to make it through that jungle and find welcomed solace through that small hole in my floor.
It must be some culture shock for them, when they discover a place that is warm and dry and safe and there is food on this strange contraption that looks like a……snap.
And that’s it. Well, sometimes.
Over the last year, my kitchen has been the scene of multiple murders – just as cruel and heartless as the jungle from which these heroes of the rat world have emerged. Only to be brutalized by yet another gaping maw. But this one is made up of black plastic teeth. And, their ultimate demise is to wind up in my trash can and to be hauled off – 100 miles away – to be buried on a mountainside and simply forgotten.
But, there was one such warrior that has perplexed me. One morning I awoke to the snap of the mechanical jaws, followed by the common accompanied shrieking as the rodent recollects on it’s poor decisions. But, this particular savage did not go quickly or quietly into that still night. No. He spent the better part of an hour, moving across the floor, flopping around, laying still, then moving again.
The last pour soul to find his way into my snare I mercifully dispatched with a few quick stabs of my grass sickle. Unfortunately for this newest creature, I had no murder incorporated tools at hand in which to steal his life with.
Instead, after the long agonizing hours (for him as well as me), I rousted out of my hammock to find the critter not in jeopardy at all, but simply the victim of happenstance. He had been caught by the tail and was frozen there in fear, awaiting his certain yet untimely fate.
As is my custom, I took the trap by a extended grabber and hauled the little battle weary warrior to the front door, his little front legs all the while peddling in invisible air, surprisingly silent through the entire ordeal.
I took him outside and let him go. He quickly disappeared down an open drain pipe, certain I was that I would never see this fellow again.
Flash forward two weeks – I am again awoken by the sound of the trap being dragged across my kitchen floor. What did I find upon inspection, but this same rodent, now caught in the same trap, but this time head first. I recognized him right away by both his color and his freshly healed bobbed tail – the end having surely fallen off post previous fiasco.
But, as is typical for me, I again grab this unluckily fellow with the extension grabber and wish him outside, where I again let him go. He sits beside the trap – maybe amazed, shocked – with a few taps of the end of the grabber next to him, he then quickly shakes it off and disappears through a whole in the skirting around my house.
As I come back inside and lay back down in my hammock, so grateful that I can go back to sleep with a clear conscience, I wonder how it was possible that this same, poor, miserably misguided creature could end up in the same trap, at the very same spot twice….
Was he just having a bad day?
Unlike the previous time, he did not inadvertently get caught. This time around, he was head first. He intended to find out what was in that contraption. And, keep in mind, there was no bait. This fellow was lured in strictly by his own innate curiosity.
Or was it simply stupidity?
So, I have to ask? Does his mind not process or store memory? Can he not recollect past events, learn from his own mistakes, take lesson from his previous bad luck?
I wonder to myself, does he even consider at all? Can my little friend (I think I can call him that by now) contemplate what he’s doing from one moment to the next, or is he driven purely by the instinct hard coded in his DNA?
Do we give the animal kingdom too much credit? Do we anthropomorphize our pet cats and man’s best friend, when, in reality, they are built and operate without consideration for others? Do we attribute to the wag of a tail as love, when in reality it’s simply computer software operating on canine hardware?
Are animals conscious? Do we even know what consciousness means?
The Podcast Possibility
So, I returned from this weekend with an idea simmering in my head. It is an idea I’ve toyed with before, but never seemed to get out of the gate or get off the ground.
The idea is creating a podcast, and I think, maybe, I might have stumbled onto the right combination this time. I don’t know, it could turn out to be simply another failed attempt at a medium I have no business venturing into. But, the possibility is there that it just happens to be the right time, right place, coupled with the right purpose.
So, I’m thinking of starting a topics based podcast, focused on several things. It will cover the host of my interests – from current news and events, to philosophy, physics, sciences, the fringe. I would like to pose questions to those listening and then interact with them as well, but all asynchronous (through social media or email). It would incorporate book, tv, movie reviews, as well as what MOOCs I’m taking at the moment, etc.
I have also wanted to create a systematic bible study podcast or videocast, posting this on Youtube.
There are three other concepts I have as well for other podcasts/videocasts that I would experiment with once I’m part time or fully retired – these would be based on cottage crafts that I hope to sell to supplement my lifestyle.
I think I would start off by creating an episode every 2 weeks for the first set. If it took off and I had a few listeners (it doesn’t take much attention for me to get excited about something I’m doing), I think I would increase to a new episode each week for both the topical podcast and for the bible study screencast.
With a little research, I discovered I could do it for next to nothing. I can host the mp3 files at archive.org (free), post them on this website, which has built in RSS capability for categories, so a mp3 file with a regular link like this should appear in the feed, as well as additional show notes like a PDF file.
I would also be able to host my videocasts directly from Youtube (again, for free), and create an RSS feed the same way as above, such as for a video like this one.
I’m just playing around with the idea at the moment. Tell me what you think in the comments below. Good idea? Terrible?
I turned my camera toward my dock, knowing full well the bear from my last post had crossed over it. I was certain I would catch it again. Well, I didn’t actually get another shot of the bear, but I did get a few pics of other critters wandering around at night….
A family of raccoons traveling across my property early morning.
A buck wandered up in the middle of the night to see what was going on.
Same buck from a different angle.
Here is a pic of the local bobcat (I’ve named him Bob the Cat), taking a much needed stretch after a long night of hunting.
Another pic of Bob, chillaxin….
I have to say, this fella has some talent. This is the exact spot where I slipped and fell.
Here’s a collection of videos clips of the same critters. Keep in mind, this is not the best editing, so please don’t hold it against me:
What I Hope to Focus on Next Week
Looking at a map today online, I determined that from my back door at Eden (I don’t actually have a back door, but…), I have 1.5 square miles of wilderness I can explore on any given day. This land is private, behind locked gates, with limited public access. And it is nearly a mile and a half from that proverbial back door to the nearest “functional” dirt road. Fourteen miles to the nearest paved road.
Out my front door, and a short paddle away to my other lot, I then have access to approximately 20 square miles of wilderness (which can technically be accessed by the 1.5 square miles, if going the long way around by foot).
If I incorporate all the wilderness available, I have over 750 square miles of forest available to me at any given time. This does not include any of the coastal lands accessible just a mile by the crow or a short paddle (hour) by kayak. There is a lake just over the ridge from me that is untouched by development, and is surrounded by timber.
What does this all mean?
I have the potential of living in a true and breathtaking paradise with no expectations and the next 20 years of my life in blissful solitude.
I simply cannot wait!
My Current Reading/Resource List
Academic Article Review of Black Bear Behavior – 1%
Academic Article Review of Cougar Behavior – 2%
What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Getting Older – On Hold
Beyond the Quantum – On Hold
Desert Solitaire – 12%
Biocentrism – 5%
When we Die – 15%
In Six Days – 0%
Lose it For Life – 10%
Celibacy in Crisis – 25%
The Hour of Our Death – 20%
Through the Wormhole Episodes – 1%
Death Yale Lectures – 1%
Joe Rogan Experience Podcasts – 2%
Ninja by Lustbader – 30%
Fountain Creek Trilogy – 1%
John Updike Early Stories – 0%
Dexter by Design – 10%
Mammoth Hunters – 55%
The Goldfinch – 0%
The Regime (Left Behind Series) – 2%
Before the Fall – 100%
The Testament by Grisham – 100%
Where I Lived and What I Lived For – 100%
Astrophysics for Busy People – 100%
Hermits: Insights of Solitude – 100%
In conclusion, there is a lot happening as of late, and winter is here already. When I woke up at Eden, stirring from my hammock at 9am, it was still around freezing. This means I need to get with it. The rain is coming soon.
Before I even know it.
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