Category Archives: Solitude

Wishing you whatever kind of Christmas you want for yourselves

la cantina antlered head 2

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I sat in a Mexican food cafe in Snora the other morning chowing down on a buffet breakfast I hadn’t asked ahead of time how much would cost.  After all, how much could they charge for a buffet breakfast, anyway?

Well, that’s another story.  What I was going to say was that the table next to me had five men having breakfast together.  Obviously something they did frequently, judging from the conversation.  None of them gave off the physical aura of having missed many big breakfasts for a while.

But these were serious, corn fed Texas men wearing cowboy hats and gimme caps with an air of having shiny new pickups with dual wheels out in the parking lot and weighty matters on their minds.  Men of substance and strong opinions about what’s wrong in this world and how to go about solving it.

Men, I thought as I eavesdropped on them, who wouldn’t sit still for someone telling them what kind of Christmas or New Year to have, because these men were capable of figuring it out for themselves.

I learned a lot as I listened to them telling one another things the others weren’t listening to while they waited for openings to allow themselves to tell the others things they wouldn’t listen to.

But it was all right, because they were all saying pretty much the same things, anyway.

So I waited in a state of fingernail-chewing anticipation to find out whether one of them would slip up and tell the others what kinds of Christmas to have, causing a confrontation, a fist-fight, maybe a gunfight out in the parking lot.  I hurried my meal so’s if I had to duck under a table I’d have already packed my gut with as much as time allowed.

However, strangely enough, they all stirred the remains of their meals around on their plates, finished off whatever each had to say that the others wouldn’t hear, and almost in unison, ordered one another to have a Merry Christmas.  No steely eye squints.  No, “Don’t you tell ME what kind of Christmas to have, Charlie!”

Everyone made allowances, I suppose, for the fact it was breakfast ending and they had serious matters to attend and not enough time to do it.  No time for a fist fight before getting on with it.  Or maybe they just didn’t hear what the others said, as they’d done throughout the meal.  Didn’t realize someone told them what kind of Christmas to have.

However, after thinking it and talking it over to the cats, I think my own approach is to mildly suggest that you readers have whatever sort of Christmas you want to have.  But if you choose not to, it’s okay.  I’m not insisting.

The New Old Jules and the Enlightened Cats

Where Were You When The World Ended?

When the world ended

The End Of The World by Archibald MacLeish

Quite unexpectedly, as Vasserot
The armless ambidextrian was lighting
A match between his great and second toe,
And Ralph the lion was engaged in biting
The neck of Madame Sossman while the drum
Pointed, and Teeny was about to cough
In waltz-time swinging Jocko by the thumb
Quite unexpectedly to top blew off:

And there, there overhead, there, there hung over
Those thousands of white faces, those dazed eyes,
There in the starless dark, the poise, the hover,
There with vast wings across the cancelled skies,
There in the sudden blackness the black pall
Of nothing, nothing, nothing — nothing at all.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.   I’m the more profoundly enlightened, severely evolved creature who used to be Old Jules before the Mayan calendar ended.

As for the Mayan calendar, I think we have to assume the ancient Mayans were referring to Greenwich time, midnight.  I can’t see any way around it.  It all had to begin somewhere and I think the ancient Mayans were sufficiently wise to begin it in a place where everyone in the future would be able to agree when it happened.

For the cats and me, that was Big Lake, Texas.  A city park there with dozens of RV connections and three free overnight connections, according to information online.  But when the Mayan calendar ended I happened to be walking on the pavement near a dim sign I’ll paraphrase as saying, “Welcome to Big Lake overnight RV connections.  $15 per night, enjoy, stay as long as you wish and come back often.”

Big Lake Park hookups

As the Coincidence Coordinators would have it, I’d been there a couple of hours, trying out a new harness and leash I’d bought in the Walmart store in Midland, Texas, on each of the cats.  I’d noticed I was the target of repeated scrutiny by a Big Lake City Police officer driving slowly by, me smiling and half-waving as he went by.  Him not smiling, not waving.

Big Lake Park

Then, cats all battened back down into the RV, I took a longer walk and found myself more informed about the Post Mayan calendar calendar and surviving the coming times with the least possible bullshit for all concerned.

So the cats and I celebrated the birth of the new era by topping off the gas tank and heading off down the road where the glow of headlights might shine on someplace free to sleep off the emerging shock of sudden evolution.

Ended up in a Rest Area somewhere between Ozona and Snora around 10:00 pm the Day the World Ended.

I’ve some retrospectives about the people and places of the previous several days, but I’m shooting this off just to suggest if you’re ever looking for a place to spend a hassle-free night parked free with cats purring on your chest, stay out of Big Lake, Texas.

But I’ve digressed.  About that photo at the top:

Very few white men have ever witnessed what honest-to-goodness, eat-it-down-to-the-rocks over-grazing looks like unless they’ve visited the Navajo Reservation in the four-corners area of New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona. 

Or Texas.

The New Old Jules

The Burden of Guilt – “When It Rains It Pours”

when it rains

Hi again readers.

One of the things I like least about Christmas is the fact it brings out so much dialogue about how we ought to devote ourselves to making it better for those less fortunate than ourselves.  Got an email just a minute ago someone posted somewhere talking about it again.

I agree entirely with the sentiment, but it’s a killer for a man [the only one] such as myself.  I’m the most fortunate man on the planet.

So how the hell am I supposed to go about doing it? 

Everyone on the planet is less fortunate than me.  Should I start by figuring out a way to make life better for wossname, Donald Trump?  The Dallas Cowboys and those who watch them?  The American Association of Non-RV Owners?  The Federation of Human Beings Alienated From Cats?

I ain’t giving what few cats I have left to someone, no matter how unfortunate they might be.  Okay, I’m a stingyguts, but there you are.

I’m at a complete loss here, and the guilt is overwhelming.

Old Jules – Headed for the finish line

The Brother of Invention

Humane gunfighters

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Life’s so full of happy surprises here it took me a while to remember to be surprised when I awakened warm, still parked where once chickens scratched and pecked on mornings such as this.  Then I remembered what it was I ought to be surprised about – that I’d expected this post to be made on a fast WIFI connection somewhere out where it’s probably colder than it is here.  Which is plenty cold enough to satisfy the needs of the feline population, I’m informed.

I thought it was the money situation keeping the delays coming hot and heavy, but when I managed yesterday after the temperature dropped to 20 degrees F, to get the propane heater working in the RV, I knew a new reality had dropped in to flex its muscles.  That heater had to be why the Universe kicked in to impose good sense into my activities.

I don’t know how I fixed it.  Maybe just pulling things apart and putting them back together, tapping on things, testing, and taking them apart again was what did it.  Or maybe it was my genius brother, Invention.

So this morning I woke someplace warm for the first cold morning in at least a couple of years.  I hope today I’ll be changing the oil on the RV, wrapping up a couple of other details, and try to round up the cats to hit the road before the end of the week.

But it’s not easy to feel much dissatisfaction with life when there’s warm out there to be had.  I’m going to have to kick myself with some determination to impose a sense of urgency into my intentions.

But I’ve digressed.  I’d planned to tell you about that truck I saw parked in front of the Humane Society Thrift Shop new construction area.

Can’t recall now what I was going to say about it.

Instead, here’s wishing all of you plenty of warm.

Old Jules

Cats Cradles, Communities, Hungers and Bokononism

Good morning readers.  Thanks for the visit.

Cats Cradle

I’m rapidly developing an overweening pride in this.  15-18 pounds of cat slept on it last night, and it’s no worse for the wear.

But, I’ve digressed.

Maybe it was inevitable.  While I was doing other things over the past weeks my mind began toying around with abstractions involving communities and the attraction human beings have for them.  I’d been reading some Jack London and found myself sticking pieces of his thinkings off in the side of my mind, observations about the packages of community he experienced and wrote about.

But on the side Slab City sneaked into my mind occasionally, and the attraction I’ve no intention to indulge, that remains despite my intentions. 

Or the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous RV and van dwellers are going to stage in Quartzite, Arizona in January.  http://cheapgreenrvliving.com/Rendezvous.html 

Evidently thousands of RVs and van dwellers converge on the spot every January for a big RV show, and the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous takes place concurrently.    50-100 people who live in RVs or vans or wish to live in them, and feel the need to be part of a community of a sort they didn’t find surrounded by RVs, campers and vans in RV parks, State Parks, or in National Forests.

Are the people occupying those dots down there different than the ones you’d meet if you went knocking on doors at the Take It Easy Trailer Court in Kerrville, Texas?  I dunno.

But something in my mind connected the concept of community and the human need for it with Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and Bokononism:

Bokononism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bokononism is a fictional religion invented by Kurt Vonnegut and practiced by many of the characters in his novel Cat’s Cradle. Many of the sacred texts of Bokononism were written in the form of calypsos.

Bokononism is based on the concept of foma, which are defined as harmless untruths. A foundation of Bokononism is that the religion, including its texts, is formed entirely of lies; however, one who believes and adheres to these lies will have peace of mind, and perhaps live a good life. The primary tenet of Bokononism is to “Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

Bokononism encompasses a number of unique concepts expressed in the San Lorenzan dialect:[1]

  • boko-maru – the supreme act of worship of the Bokononists, which is an intimate act consisting of prolonged physical contact between the naked soles of the feet of two persons.
  • “Busy, busy, busy” – what a Bokononist whispers whenever he thinks about how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.
  • “Calypso” – song from The Books of Bokonon. Eight such songs are cited in Cat’s Cradle, some of them are presented with a title (i.e. On Dynamic Tension or The Boko-maru Calypso) and others are presented with a number (i.e. The Hundred-and-nineteenth Calypso). The Calypsos illustrate various aspects of the teachings of Bokonon.
  • duffle – the destiny of thousands of people placed on one stuppa
  • duprass – a karass that consists of only two people. This is one of the few kinds of karass about which one can have any reliable knowledge. The two members of a duprass live lives that revolve around each other, and are therefore often married. “A true duprass can’t be invaded, not even by children born of such a union.” The novel cites the example of “Horlick Minton, the New American Ambassador to the Republic of San Lorenzo, and his wife, Claire.” The two members of a duprass always die within a week of each other.
  • foma – harmless untruths; lies that, if used correctly, can be useful.
  • granfalloon – a false karass; i.e., a group of people who imagine they have a connection that does not really exist. An example is “Hoosiers“; Hoosiers are people from Indiana, and Hoosiers have no true spiritual destiny in common, so they really share little more than a name. Another example is a Cornellian, a student or graduate of Cornell University.
  • kan-kan – the instrument which brings a person into his or her karass
  • karass – group of people who, often unknowingly, are working together to do God’s will. The group can be thought of as the fingers that support a cat’s cradle.
  • “Now I will destroy the whole world” – What a Bokononist says before committing suicide.
  • pool-pah – wrath of God or “shit storm”
  • saroon – to acquiesce to a vin-dit
  • sin-wat – a person who wants all of somebody’s love for him/herself
  • sinookas – the tendrils of one’s life
  • stuppa – a fogbound child (i.e. an idiot)
  • vin-dit – a sudden shove in the direction of Bokononism
  • wampeter – the central theme or purpose of a karass. Each karass has two wampeters, one waxing and one waning.
  • wrang-wrang – someone who steers a Bokononist away from a line of speculation by reducing that line, with the example of the wrang-wrang’s own life, to an absurdity.
  • Zah-mah-ki-bo – fate, inevitable destiny

Brought me to realize these cats around here are all Bokononists.  They’ve been sneaking around here converting me to their religion all these years without me knowing it, superimposing their viewpoints over my natural ones.

Forcing me to have a community with them.

But at least I don’t have to go to Quartzite, Arizona to have a community.  Bokononism is a big step up in life if I can look around inside the RV and find a community without having to go all the way to Quartzite, or Slab City, AZ.

Old Jules

Cooking Thermos Bottle Beans and Rice

I came across this on the cheaprvliving forum and decided to give it a try. 

http://www.cheaprvlivingforum.com/post/Cooking-with-a-Nissan-Thermos-5995048?trail=15

I’m making a breakfast of garbanzo beans and rice cooked by that method even as I type this.  Seems to me there are some kinks to be worked out, but overall it’s a shockingly easy, economical, energy-efficient way to cook up a simple meal.

Perfect Man Shrine – Columbus, NM

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Someone during the 1960s built this, put up a small RV park with water and electrical connections around it, evidently for potential pilgrims.  It’s on the boundary between desert and Columbus, New Mexico.  I used to go hang around there most times when I’d visit Columbus for other reasons.  Never saw anyone there, though the shrine did have palm leaves fresh every time during the early 1990s.

But the RV park is grown up with cactus and creosote, doesn’t appear to have ever been used.  The power boxes are full of mud-dobber nests.  I’ve been thinking for some while about the place as a winter refuge.  I gather the place changed hands after someone died, the new owners live across the street and aren’t followers of Meyar Baba.  They work for USFS in Arizona several months a year. 

I was talking to one of the cats about the place last night when I was trying to sleep and she was trying to keep me from it by kneading her claws on my chest.  She likes the thought of it being somewhat remote, while having the potential for desert mice and lizards.  Probably fairly warm, too.  Suggested, once I get footloose, if something else doesn’t get in the way, that I try chasing down the current owners.  Try to get a feel for whether they’d take kindly to having someone park in there occasionally.

I’m thinking that cat might be onto something.

Old Jules

Tolerable Tolerance For Intolerance

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning. 

I entered a friendly discussion yesterday about the particular issue everyone’s bathing in today, yesterday on Cheaprvliving forum, so I’m cleansed of any temptation to discuss it here.  

 http://www.cheaprvlivingforum.com/post/Remembering-911-6005480

I’m gratified to have certain suspicions confirmed regarding a particular sort of individual in the virtual bathtub, but the thread got locked before all the usual suspects came up out of the woodwork.

Anyway, we ain’t going to discuss that here. 

Been doing a lot on the RV, filling in voids with insulating foam, preparing to lift the rearend to install the shocks and helper springs.  Devising a means of keeping the cats in the overhead during travel, and sleeping inside it nights with one, or another cat as company.

The felines tend to become a lot more affectionate when I’m trying to sleep in there, I’m finding.  I attribute it to a recognition we’re going to be on the road together soon and they figure I might put the top-cat position up for grabs.

They’re running for election, in other words, telling lies, saying lies about themselves and telling the truth about the others.

But Hydrox is savvy.  He knows Top Cat is a position comes without anyone having to vote, without me having to lift a finger or make any contribution to the process at all. 

So, shouldn’t be any reason at all for Jeanne to have to lock this thread.  I’m staying low-key, not planning any bathing in synthetics or simulations to influence the outcome of the Top Cat issue.

Old Jules

Wyffie Mysteries, Trailer Possibilities and Nomad Farmers

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Some matters, I’m finding, my mind believes it’s better if I don’t know and refuses to assimilate and process.  I’ve been hearing for years about fast Internet and more recently how a person can just pull his car up in front of someplace in town, turn on the computer and have fast Internet.  I just took things to be that simple without going into it further.

But I’ve been doing a lot of reading the archives of the Cheaprliving Forum, http://www.cheaprvlivingforum.com/, asking a few questions, and discovering a lot without having to ask questions.

For instance, I’ve quickly ridded myself of the popup camper notion by asking one question about it, getting two helpful answers, realizing it was an abysmally lousy option.

I’ve got this laptop computer here and it’s got things on wires to plug into the USB port on the comp.   I’d assumed I could drive into town, plug one of these into the laptop and whatever it is takes a person online with wifie happens.  Now I’m finding these pre-date Wyfie and are for some other kind of fast Internet the world outgrew and left behind while I was sleeping under a tree. 

I’ve read on the forum what’s being said about their ways of connecting to wifi and the special antennae they use, all manner of doodads to amplify them.  And I don’t understand a word of it.  Don’t have a clue what it is I’m going to need to do to be able to get online.

One of the problems is that despite the CheapRLiving moniker, I gather most of these members are, either rich, or rich enough to be able to afford to go out and buy things they want.  So when they talk about solutions they’re actually talking about cavalierly forking out a $100 bill, or several of them, and calling it a solution.

Today I’m going to town for groceries and I’m going to try to find someone who’ll tell me in simple terms what I need to park my truck outside the library and go on line.  Then I’m going on Yahoo Fredericksburg Freecycle and Yahoo Kerrville Freecycle groups and find out if someone’s got one collecting dust in a closet they’d sooner hand off to someone who’d use it.

Then, if that doesn’t work, at least I’ll have a list of the things I need to get it done.  Probably find something on Ebay.

Not much interest coming on the Nomad Farmer thing.  Only two folks expressed a firm interest and one an interest for a couple of weeks.  But it’s early times yet.  Maybe late-winter or early spring some people will be wondering what to do with themselves next summer.

Or maybe I’ll just have to settle for heading for Santa Fe and take in an opera.

Old Jules

Slab City, California – An Impromptu Community

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I’ve been getting some fascinating emails for the past couple of days, maybe from one of the readers here, maybe from one of the Toyota RV forums I’ve been visiting to learn about problems and solutions encountered by others who have more experience with this particular method of escaping reality.

I retired in 02. A friend happened to see a little clip about the slabs on TV one night and told me he had just heard about a place that he thought I’d like. I googled it and agreed. A couple weeks later I loaded up my old 1971 Volvo 144 and left Tennessee for the slabs. I spent a magic 10 days out there living under a bush on a hammock. Meeting people who were, like me, searching for adventure and fun. In that short time, I found everything that a man could want. And for the next 10 years I have returned again and again. I have spent winters out there in motorhomes and tents. It dosen’t matter. Every visit has been good.

 
There are several clubs on the slabs. I belong to the Oasis club. There is also the Traveling Pals Club and LOWS, Loners on Wheels Club. Everybody fits in somewhere. There is no mayor, There is no law. (The imperial county sheriffs and CHP do come onto the slabs if there is a problem.) There is an anarchy that functions, a collective justice system that operates that seems to do the job. If someone is behaving in a manner that is unacceptable, a group pressure will build and build until that person decides to change or to go elsewhere.

There is the Range, a magic spot on Saturday night where musicians come and people come and best of all it is free.A big party under the stars. It is hard to describe. When you are there and the music is playing and people are dancing and you just know that you are in the best place that you could be even if you could be anywhere else. Magic.

The 1 mile square abandoned military base that is the slabs has been settled in different areas. East Jesus, an art colony, is situated in the NE corner. The LOWS in on the opposite SW corner. There is a Canadian area on the south central side. After a while you will know it like a monopoly board. And wait until the first time you find yourself lost at night walking across the slabs in an endless maze of campers and cresote bushes. You will soon learn to recognize the local landmarks, the blinking lights on the towers in nearby Niland, or the lights of the prison located about 6 miles south of the slabs..

Many people hear of the slabs and drive into it for a look see. You can spot them a mile away. Eyes wide, windows up, they’ll circle a few “blocks” and then drive out, never stopping and speaking to a “local”. They can’t get by the the ultra casual dress “code” of the slabs, but appearances are misleading. There is no average person at the slabs. Everybody there is special with a story that is usually bigger than life. At night, by the campfires, the stories gradually materialize until you begin to know these individuals. And then you are hooked.

 
Just from the litle we’ve talked, I feel that you would find that you fit in there just fine. Its not perfect. There are some bad people there. Outlaws, fugatives. But you can be sure they are keeping a low profile. Amazingly, there are plenty of women there, too. Its really hard to describe, it would take a book, and it changes every year. We will be going out there again this winter (my new wife and I). This time we are going to rent a motor home that is parked out there and just drive our car out-which should save enough gas money to pay for the rental.

Oh ya, forgot to mention the nearby town, Niland. It has a lot of support for the winter campers. There are 2 stores in town, May’s that has about everything you might need. food, meat counter, beer and liquor, drinks, bread, toilet paper and even some hardware, and Mike’s Store, he has less but also has shorter lines. I go to them both. There are 3 restaurants in town. Balestero’s that serves great mexican food, and pretty good hamburgers. They also have a bar and a pool table. Across the street there is Uncle D’s Pizza Shop that also serves breakfast. And there is a new restaurant further North on rt. 111, Buckshot I think, that serves pretty good stuff. . There is a laundromat. And a flea market at the “fair grounds” that operates on the weekends. Vendors are moving through every so often so its good to run by there once in a while. There is also a public health building there that treats less serious medical problems. And a gas station that fills propane tanks, too.

8 miles south of Niland is a town names Calpatria. It has a library with internet, a donut shop, and a great hardware store. Also auto parts, and more. You will have to drive another 10 miles south to get to Brawley and the nearest walmart. You can get just about anything in Brawley, but if all else fails, another 10 miles south to El Cantro where I think you could find anything.
 

Being California, there are a million nearby things to do. trails to hike, roads to drive, hot springs to bask in. It just occurred to me that you might be more interested in this than my earlier description.

If the distance weren’t so great, the money so dedicated to various other priorities I’d be sorely tempted to spend some time there.  But Slab City’s 1250 miles from Kerrville, Texas.    At current gas prices I could spend half a months pension check getting there.  And there’s no telling what manner of bowling balls the Coincidence Coordinators would throw into the route to distract me along the way, have me taking all manner of routes elsewhere.

Old Jules

Slab City links:

http://www.dogpile.com/search/web?fcoid=417&fcop=topnav&fpid=27&q=slab+city%2C+ca&ql=

The Slab City Library entrance

Inside the Library

Internut Access

The Doooooowey Decimal System

Reading area