Welcome to a new and improved Research Journal update, where I provide information about my life, about my writing, and about my unschooled Master of Theology Program (uThM).

Well, I guess we should get started….

The End of our Fate and Other Reviews

So, a rare event occurred last week, and I was really surprised it appeared. They actually put a movie in theaters that I wanted to see.

Can you believe it?

The sixth installment of the Terminator franchise, or, more aptly, the FOURTH reboot attempt. Kick a dog while it’s down already.

Come on. Does anyone know how to actually write a decent story these days? You sure can’t tell by what they’re putting out or releasing. Most of it is just abysmal garbage.

But, nothing venture, nothing gained, right? So I watched the flick and, for the most part, it was….okay. It certainly wasn’t the best Terminator movie. Sadly, it will almost certainly be the last. We might get another shot at a tv series, but even that is sketchy. And, they’ll probably screw that up, too.

I did a full review on this movie right after I watched it. You can check it out in my blog feed.

I also stumbled onto an article and couldn’t help but write a comment on it. The title was Introverted: Fake it Until You Make It or some such nutty premise. It’s basically some self-identifying introvert who claims science has discovered that people are happier as extroverts, so introverts should fake it until we’re magically like everyone else.

I swear. You people really need to get a grip. But, I won’t go into it in detail here. Check out my response at my blog feed.

Awhile back, there was an article that appeared in my Pocket Feed about self-driving cars being bullied by people.

That’s right. I’m not kidding.

So, I wrote a response titled, Humans are the Problem – Self-Driving Cars are being Bullied by People. In the article they talk about how self-driving cars have been vandalized, how people have shot at them as they drive by, and how some people have reacted extremely negative to their presence on the road.

Look. Automation is coming. It’s actually already here. Have you been in your local McDonalds lately? That’s not a new employee they hired sitting out there in front of the cash register. It’s a kiosk. And it is the future, whether you want to accept it or not.

Personally, I think we could do with a lot fewer people in public. I actually started going back to Walmart when they put in the self-checkers. Now when I go to check out, I’m relaxed, I can take my time, and most importantly, no one is standing behind me in a 20 minute line, making me want to turn around and stab them in the throat!

Back the hell up already!

Updates from my uThM Program

So, lets switch gears a bit and talk about my Unschooled Masters Program. If you’re still unfamiliar with this project, you can get detailed information at my website, just choose from the main menu at the top and you should find it.

It’s slow going, which is kind of by design. One of the reasons I decided to unschool a graduate degree instead of laying out the $20,000 to get a worthless piece of paper (oh, there will certainly be more on that later), and be forced into jumping through hoops at a neck-break speed, I now have the flexibility and freedom to go at my own pace.

If it takes me the rest of the year, two years, five years – hell, if it takes me the rest of my life – it doesn’t matter. I’m in control of this thing.

But, lets go over what I’ve been doing lately.

First, I finished a course I’ve been working on for the last several weeks. It was Metaphysics & Mystery course by Charles Eisenstein. It had several lecture videos, which were actually more Q & A than lecture. In some ways it was pretty disappointing. For one, it was yet another new age, hippy dippy, woo woo diatribe masquerading as a genuine discussion of consciousness and reality. For another, the instructor was less than inspiring.

The reality is, I was drawn to the course because of the questioner, Lauren Buckley. When she asked, “Why am I here?,” that was all it took. I was hooked (Yeah, I know I’m a sucker for a pretty girl with a sultry voice).

But still. Go watch the trailer and tell me it’s not down right captivating.

To be honest, I think Charles really should have stepped aside and let Lauren take over. Let her answer some questions. Better yet, let her just keep asking them. Who cares if there are answers!

So, thankfully, I finished the course this week and I’m also really thankful I didn’t pay any money for the course (which I RARELY do). But, as a single silver lining, I did come away with a very LONG list of questions, and this formed the assignment for the course. It’s posted here if you want to read through them. There were some really thought provoking ones.

Another serendipitous turn of events occurred recently. I have been using Chuck Missler’s teaching materials for my bible survey and book by book surveys for the Theology sections in my program. But, out of the blue, I get an email from K-House that said the Koinonia Institute would now be offering free membership.

I was SO excited! I’ve always wanted to enroll but I couldn’t justify paying the membership fee. So, I started my first course and, so far, I’m absolutely loving it. I plan to take all of their course offerings, and will post the reviews and assignments as usual for each course.

Another course, replacing the metaphysics one, is an open course from Yale, PHIL 176 – Death. I actually started this course before I launched my uThM program. But, it’s a good foundational course on a topic I’m really interested in. So, now’s the time to finish it. It has several lecture videos and three written papers. There was a discussion requirement, but I’m skipping that because discussion groups typically suck.

I do wish I could focus and get more done for my uThM program. It seems I can handle two lectures for two courses per week in a five day period. It doesn’t seem like a lot. Plus, I’m not getting any of my independently assigned reading done.

Of the books I WANT to finish reading currently are: Lucid Dreaming (I’m having a real hard time reading the book, let alone applying the principles and becoming conscious in my dreams). The Plains of Passage. Great story, but struggling to keep up any consistency.

There are probably 200+ books on my informal want-to-read list. And, I have five days a week free, so there really is no excuse. Too much Youtube, of course. But, I will say, my course assignments do take a long time to complete, several hours for each one. Yes, I know. In graduate school you’re supposed to skim the reading material, not actually….oh, say it isn’t so…your not actually supposed to….READ….the assigned reading.

How dare I!

On top of the 200+ book list, I also have hundreds of academic articles I would like to read and over 6000 popular articles in my Pocket feed.

With my current schedule, I simply have no excuse. I need to do it, simply because I do WANT to do it, and I have the opportunity to do it, a schedule that would allow me to do it. I just have to stop watching videos on Youtube and get it done already!

What in the world is wrong with me?

Well, to see my comprehensive study plan for my uThM program, click here.

What’s Happening with the Eden Property

Okay. So, a little more background to get everyone caught up. A year ago, I had a heart attack. To make a long story short, the VA ended up refusing to pay (even though they were obligated to do so). I appealed and they again skated on their obligation.

This left me holding the bag for nearly $80,000 in medical bills. Needless to say, overnight, I went from having my house paid off, my Eden property nearly paid off, and testing each week the viability of making Eden livable full-time, to having everything in jeopardy, with my fate near 100% that within another year I would have both assets stripped from me and I would be literally sleeping on the streets.

Well, thankfully, the local hospital where I had the procedure done, they came to my rescue. They granted my request, under the circumstances and because of the VA’s gross negligence and outright fraud, to forgive the entire $80,000 debt.

I received the news the other day. 100% forgiven. I still can’t believe it.

This means I now have a future again. Just like that, I’m now able to pick up where I left off, preparing and thinking about how to develop the Eden property into paradise on earth.

I’m trying not to get excited. At least not until I get the official paid-in-full bill from the hospital. Then it will be time to celebrate.

So, what does this mean for Eden? I will most likely, by December, be back at it. My first objective will be to put a float under the end of the ramp so I can pull the narrow dock. I do not like that thing and want to just dismantle it for the lumber and use it on decking up in the trees.

Once the ramp is independent and floating, I will attach one of the small docks to it. I will be primarily downsizing to two small docks. One will be used as a dock to mount and dismount my kayak and (fingers crossed) rower. On the other dock, I plan to set up a floating garden, where I can grow salad greens in the winter time and hot plants in the summer, since it can be moved out to the pilings and tied off during the day for full sun.

Then I will be taking it easy, slowly stretching out and experimenting with living systems. No rush like I was in a year ago, when I thought my job was in jeopardy.

If I get to the point where I’m living out on Eden five days a week, then I will seriously look at selling my house and stashing the money to live on in the future. I will keep my job as long as the current schedule remains available. Once it is no longer an option, then I think I will simply retire to full-time leisure, study, and subsistence living in paradise.

But, we will see. Life has a way of surprising us all.

That Should Cover It

So, that’s about it. I think I covered everything I wanted to in this update [this was originally a script for a podcast, but after writing it, then recording it, uploading everything, and trying episode 2, I just came away with an uncomfortable feeling – I don’t like the podcast format – I simply prefer the written word].

Hope you enjoyed this post, please check back for new ones in the future. Now that I’m not doing any podcasting, it’s my goal to post new content on my blog every day (finger’s crossed).

Until the next update….

Excerpt from In the Meadow:

A second later, the engine roared to life, and Dawn glanced back, one last time, at the trailer she’d grown up in.

The empty yard.

The trail she’d blazed through the blackberries.

That gaunt looking trailer.

Everything she saw now looked so dirty and run down, almost a shambles.

It was like a dream.

Paul circled wide, then threw the truck in reverse and backed up. As he braked and put it back into drive, Dawn could see Harold’s place a few slips down.

Paul gave the truck some gas.

As they went by, she could see Harold standing outside, near his front door, motionless, watching them.

She didn’t mention the earlier conversation to Paul.

Why would she?

He was just a creepy ass guy, and one of the handful of things she didn’t have to deal with anymore.

They drove out the front gate of the trailer park, down the side street to the corner, Paul stopping for a moment as he waited on the traffic to clear.

He took her hand and smiled at her, then pulled out onto the highway, heading west.

They drove past the Ray’s Grocery Store, past the gas station, where Bart was out front, talking excitedly to the Desmond boy.

Paul kissed her hand and she smiled, laying her head back against the headrest.

There was nothing else standing in her way now.

As Dawn began to relax, she watched as her old life quickly dissipate into vapor in their wake.

For the first time in her life, she was leaving Oakridge. She was moving to an entirely different state, a new home, with the man of her dreams.

She’d never even been out of Oregon before.

“Now or never,” Paul said, as they drove past the trailhead sign, on the right.

Dawn tightened her grip on his hand.

She’d finally gotten her wish.

She was leaving Oakridge.

Buy my book In the Meadow to find out what Dawn will do as her perfect fairytale life begins to unravel. Are the girls calling out from the banks of th Skagit River trying to help her? Do they want to hurt her? What secrets will she find?

Click here and grab your copy today! Get the sequel, Returning the Meadow and keep the story going even longer!

But, trust me when I say, this is going to be a roller coaster of a ride. People are dying all around her. Get started in this thriller story today and find out why they’re warning her…calling out to her….trying to tell her…to RUN!

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