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Sep
26

I head out for my first official Fall camp. And yeah, it’s good ol’ Camp 1. Can’t knock it other than Lucy eating a few holes in one of my shirts. Bad, bad, camp rat. Kurt told me to kill you, but instead you get tortillas and still no gratitude.

camp-1-clouds

Windy with an edge of cold. Nature is asking, “You ready, —fill in the blank—

for this? What kind of jacket is that? Where is…?”

 

It will be down into the 30s tonight, but I shouldn’t have an issue. I’ve done what I could do to prep for this, but more gear could help. Still,,,wah, this is nothing, press on.

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camp-writing-spot

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I’ll head out of the forest and into the world of man for a book signing tomorrow. Wilderness–>Writer–>Humans–>$–>Hatch Chili Party. It should be my kind of day.

 

***

 

Things went well, sold a book every half hour. And managed to make it to the party a few hours before it got shut down.

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book-signing

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Today, however, not as smooth. I know I make it look easy, but this WildernessPunk thing isn’t the simplest thing in the world to pull off, but add onto this various trials and tribulations, and other random bullsh***************

 

(I’ve been told the following should not be posted at this time. I apologize for this and feel very sorry some of the teeth of this post were forced to be removed at this time. Yet within each conflict is a battle and there is no need to give the other side additional ammunition. I’m already screwed enough.)

 

So let’s post a happy Picture instead.

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morning-walk

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(My advisors say it is safe to continue from here)

 

Can you tell I’m frustrated?

angry-croc

Yeah, I know, I need to relax and roll with it. As sated before, part of the thrill of WildernessPunk and life in general, is a level of challenge, conflict, and complication. If I didn’t have any of that, could I be a writer, would I deserve to write this blog? Most likely the answer to those questions would be… no. Challenge leads to strength. Conflict leads to perseverance. Complication leads to creative solutions.

 

So again I say, bring it on. We’ll see who wins. Alex Bone will give it. I’ve sure as hell taken it. So maybe it’s time to serpent up and see what I can make happen or maybe I’ll just have to move to Africa. I do like crocodiles.

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happy-croc

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Sorry I had to censor this post, but the reason I’m agitated is the reason I still need to watch my written word. I promise I’ll post it one day.

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Grab some Skinjumper-Punk here and help support your friendly WildernessPunker

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camp-south

Sep
24

Published by eXtasybooks  in 2010

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Stars: 5

 

Serenity Lost, by Amy Romine may be labeled a Romantic Suspense novel or perhaps even a Crime Drama, but in many ways it’s also only a few notches below a full blown horror story. The author weaves all of these aspects together and plunges strong characters into a spiral of evil fueled chaos that threatens to add Rebbeca’s life to the growing list of woman slain by a horrid, yet inventive, serial killer.

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serenity-lost

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Eric is a homicide detective who meets the girl of his dreams, but despite the most wonderful night either of them had ever experienced, they choose to remain anonymous to each other. Over the next few weeks, he cannot get the mysterious encounter out of his mind.

 

Rebecca is beautiful and strong willed woman pursuing her career. What started as her being sent flowers from a secret admirer soon became her discovering entrails within a giant teddy bear she received. Charlie, a man she had just started to date, becomes concerned and called for his brother, the detective’s, aid. Both Eric and Rebecca are stunned when they each see the person they cannot stop thinking about after their intense night of passion.

 

But things are not so easy. The one-night stand remains secret. Charlie is Eric’s brother and he is falling in love with Rebecca. Rebecca also has a sister living within an inpatient unit due to her drug addiction and is being plagued by an insane serial killer. The horror brought on by this madman only increases as Eric juggles his desire to keep her safe and never leave her side, with Rebecca’s independence and her relationship to her brother.

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Rebecca also has a burning need for Eric, but is concerned over Charlie’s tender care for her during her escalating crisis.

 

This book is a very well written page turner. At once the characters come on strong as does the menace of the increasing insane serial killer. The suspense leaves one wanting to see how this will end. I should also mention that Rebecca and Eric’s initial encounter is very intense. This is a book of romance and danger, but has its share of powerful eroticism as well.

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amy-fiction

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Not many weak points here and I gave it a great score. However, if romance is only a side note in the stories you like to read, this might not be the best book for you because Romine balances action and suspense with Rebecca’s and Eric’s growing need and feeling for each other and it is an important part of the novel.

 

Romine hit the mark with this one and Serenity Lost becomes a case study for the genre. She took the ‘sickhouse’ aspect of the evil character and brought it in toward horror while keeping the more modern action/drama feel. The relationship as the rest of the story is believable even if often terrifying. I would love to get a chance to read more of her fiction.

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amy-face

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Learn more here

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littleangels

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Check out her Blog Here

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wife-fuck

Sep
22

Remember yesterday? Not yours, mine. Since then, 24 hours later, I’ve gone from being uncertain and insecure to determined. Even my spit of ill luck has washed away as our first Fall storm hits Flag. Funny how sometimes a person only needs a day to plan and plot, with a few conversations and some focused thought, things will often fall into place.

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flag-rain

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And yes, I have plotted my way into a plan and I feel damn good about it. Can I get a Hail Yig?

 

Some of the aspects of this undisclosed plan I find pleasing are:

  1. It is challenging.
  2. It involves spending time with good people.
  3. Is endorsed by people I care about.
  4. And best yet, should, if enacted correctly, will not only save me some significant money, but should keep WildernessPunk going, with a little love, to at least the end of 2016.

 

I could tell you this plan, but then you won’t be surprised and wouldn’t that suck? Is there anything I should/could tell you? What the hell, here’s a few teasers.

 

  1. No permanent housing until 2017.
  2. Besides some sleepovers, mostly camping until at least 10/20, which in Flagstaff will be no slacker feat.
  3. No major traveling out of AZ until Thanksgiving.
  4. Some butterflies and I are preparing to release about 6 of my novels in 2017.

 

Okay, enough of that. Thanks for allowing me to dig into the wells of egocentrism for a moment. So let’s contemplate the word Resolution. This word has two large and different meanings, but each of them are applicable to my current situation and most likely with yours as well.

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cybercity2_shot36

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Def 1: Resolution, to resolve a situation. As stated above, I feel like I’ve resolved much of my current life path. Hell, I got myself to 2017 and beyond. What might you need to do to plot out the rest of this year for yourself? Would it make your life easier if you gave yourself a few new goals or finished some old ones? What would you like to get finished in the next 14 weeks? How would you like to challenge yourself?

 

Def 2: Resolution, to commit yourself to an act, path, or change. For many people this is usually associated with New Year’s Resolutions. A personal pledge to oneself to make a change and bring your dedication to a path up a notch or ten. I suppose I made of few of those too. Chief being to keep WildernessPunk going well past the swells of snow.

 

Pardon my language, but life Fucks with your head. We all enjoy some level of security. As humans we enjoy warmth, food, predictably, income, a safe place to care for those we love… etc. Yet when we wake up in the middle of the night or have the quiet moment alone, we grasp for more. What might make us unique, what are our true dreams? Should you place your life on the table to make a crap roll for reaching the true vision of what your life could/should be? Most people don’t.

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cybercity2_shot26

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Sometimes they pick away at it from the side. Most of us have enough free time to dabble, but we have EXPECTATIONS. Society lays these on us. Family, friends, and enemies lay them on us too. Still the biggest always come from ourselves.

 

So how do we weight safely and security versus adventure and dream fulfillment? Another way to look at this is Law versus Chaos. What does it take for one to chance the Chaos? Pay off or disappointment, what will you find? What could you gain or lose? What will happen if you don’t toss that bet in and gamble a little?

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poker

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This also brings up the idea as to what do you really need in life? This country has its expectations and it will be happy to let you know what they are and it mostly boils down to the more the better, the bigger the better.

 

What about the mouse?

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mouse

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Maybe smaller is better. Can less be more. I bet the Earth wouldn’t argue with that. Remember if you are indecisive, just think, “What would Yig say?”

 

Do I need a two car garage, or a car for that matter? I already traveled through 6 states this month without one. There is a certain satisfaction one gets from living with less. In the end, happiness is the key. If you’re happy where you are, then you might be doing well. If it isn’t broken and all that. But before I go, please also consider where your life is taking you and maybe your planet. When it comes to saving our world, more is worse, mice are nice, and the top 10% of the planet uses 50% of our resources. Now tuck yourself into bed and give yourself 24 hours before you map out your own Resolutions. And as Getty Lee says. “Even if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

 

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geddy_lee_by_rushfan729

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Swing back by to see how the chips fall as I dig in.

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buttes

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Grab some Skinjumper-Punk here and help support your friendly WildernessPunker

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half-off-pizza

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I was feeling the hunger and a waitress just brought me a pizza without me asking for one and is giving my half off.

Sep
21

It is 9/21/2016… and Fall has begun. With it comes uncertainty and with that comes the need for me to either figure out a way to seriously step up my game or make different choices.

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fall

First Day of Fall in Flagstaff

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I never intended WIldernessPunk to be merely a journal of my exploits and issues. My goal, as stated, was to really mix living within nature as much as possible (True Environment) with the juxtaposed concept of not only communicating my thoughts, findings, and adventures to the world online, but also making the money to survive through my writing and my online promotion business ShareStorm.

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paradise

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However, with Summer now over and me living at 7,200 feet in elevation, certain luxuries I’ve enjoyed will be quickly disappearing. Chief of these will be my ability to live with great levels of comfort in a minimalistic camp without a fire. I also have financial responsibilities which will be requiring me, should have been requiring me, to earn more of that elusive green.

 

If I wasn’t grounded into this reality, you would most likely see these posts fade into the mists of the web as I packed up a few belongings and set off on some questionable quest, such as walking from Flagstaff to Tucson heading through Payson, Roosevelt Lake, hitting Globe and then trudging down route 87 through the old mining towns. Damn, wouldn’t that be an epic journey. But it is one that won’t be happening. (Or most likely won’t be.)

 

Back to the seasons. This year has seen my life changed and defined by the seasons more than any year I have encountered. Winter = hardship within my long standing employment of over 13 years, but no serious changes in my long standing status quo. Shortly after spring began, 97% of what most people consider their ‘Life’ was removed from me with a single lie. The rest of the Spring proved difficult as I was monitored by the state until, quite literally the day Summer began. Summer found me more released from their erroneous bondage and I became in many respects freer than I’ve been since my freshman year in College. Yet this summer was divided between having housing, which once lost, begin this experience we call WildernessPunk.

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electric-forest4

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The Summer also became divided into what some might call bad luck vs. good luck or rough sailing vs. calm waters. I found it somewhat strange that my ill luck occurred before I moved out of my place and once I started WildernessPunk so many things fell into place, so close to perfectly, it made me nervous from time to time. Now, with abrupt timing, just as Autumn begins, some annoying complications have hit me. Again, I guess it’s back to the Real World.

 

Still, I have little to truly belly-ache about. Over the past seven weeks I have lived more and experienced more road trips and moments of bliss than some people get in a lifetime. Not matter what one might say, I’ve been a damn lucky guy.

 

I would like to point out that Wildernesspunk is certainly not over. If for no other reason than I’ll be staying in the wilderness for more than a while yet. Things could change, but they haven’t changed yet.

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electric-tree-nicole-jean

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One thing that has changed however, will be my touring around. After my last climax, which I just returned from, I’ll be buckling down in Arizona and as the weather increases so will my determination to ride this through.

 

Oh, you want to know about my last Climax, the finale of my blasts across the west? I’m not sure how much is proper to disclose. My E-Book training turned out to be informative, inspirational, and over all beyond enjoyable. A perfect way to end my longer trips. A butterfly in my stomach turned into a butterfly in my soul.

 

Now is perhaps a bit of a calm before the storm. I sit in Wheeler Park just west of downtown Flagstaff as the clouds roll in. A bluegrass band is practicing on the green. I have 5 hours until my class starts.

 

What do you think I should do first?

 

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blue-grass

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Thanks for your attention. I’ll be back at this soon. Tune back in to see what direction the Chaos tips.

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chaos-strand

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Grab some Skinjumper-Punk here and help support your friendly WildernessPunker

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Boneman

Sep
20

Published by Medallion in 2016

Genre: Science Fiction

Reviewed by Michael D. Griffiths

Stars: 4

 

Ralph, by Christopher Steinsvold is an Alien invasion science fiction novel with a very strong dose of comedy thrown in. Besides the comic aspect, due to the author having a PHD in Philosophy, there is also a good deal of processing the human thread of existence going on.

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bookreviewofralphbychristophersteinsvold

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Markus is called in on a one of the biggest worldwide investigations ever when somehow DRINK DIET COKE is written on the moon in giant letters. They cannot discover the cause, but Markus gets a name for himself, which means he becomes one of three individuals present when a friendly Alien named Ralph shows up, on the White House lawn, in a giant Campbell’s soup can like an Andy Warhol vision of otherworldly invasions.

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andy

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Ralph oscillates between being sweet, odd, and funny to slowly enlightening the earthlings to grander universal concepts of thought. However, things take a darker turn when the humans are told that an evil race of aliens is going to be invading their planet in three days.

I would like to tell you more, but there is a serious amount of suspense built through this book and I would hate to ruin the surprise, let’s just say the invading force is as insane as they are dangerous.

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evilqueen

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I enjoyed the thought processing aspect of this novel. Steinsvold takes on a serious task outlining what such an advanced being would say about how one should live their life. I would say he tackled the issue well and many of the ethics outlined are thought provoking.

Downsides with this one might be that it focuses on different things than people are used to. If you want some summer blockbuster alien invasion, this might not be for you. Although it does have those scenes in here. This is more of a Douglas Adams trip. The author took his time with this and filled out the whole picture, which is needed, but also stretches out the novel a bit.

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alien-ship

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A great thought provoking and funny book, which are two things I enjoy seeing in a novel. Very original. I have been seeing good things from Medallion Press this year. They are finding better and better novels. I hope both Medallion and Steinsvold keep up their superb work.

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aportal

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Learn More Here

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Get some of my Science Fiction Here

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alieninvasionsaucers

Sep
19

Anger, he smiles,
towering in shiny metallic purple armour
Queen Jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground

(Jimi Hendrix)

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jimi

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So now I head down to Phoenix, which is harder for a guy without a car. A 150 miles of heartless desert and with a heavy pack on my back I…okay I took the flipping shuttle. Sometimes the simple ways are best. More expensive, yeah, but at least I will be where I need to be, which for today is at my Photographer friend Kurt’s. I’ll be doing a Sharestorm follow up visit with him before I head of to more distant parts.

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Kurt

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But this brings me to the topic of this post. ANGER. Why am I taking the shuttle when I bought a new Forerunner straight of the showroom floor, back then I had sparkling credit? Why don’t I have sparkling credit for that matter? Why am I without the job I had with ripping benefits, why can’t I stay in the place I paid to upkeep for over ten years, and why am I not allowed to see my kids?

 

I bet you’re thinking I’m about to say that all this makes me angry. I suppose it does, but the reason I do not have these things is become someone else couldn’t control their anger. I suppose this is the wrong place to discuss this or is it. Let’s steer it away from my egocentric self, I think that will help.

 

What is anger all about? Step one, do animals feel anger? Have you ever seen a pissed off dog? Still if you kick a dog and it bites you, is this due to anger or is it due to an instinct for self-preservation? I’m not a biologist, but I think anger is felt by animals and might be a reaction to someone challenging an animal’s ability to survive. Humpback whales and dolphins have been discovered saving seals from Orcas. Perhaps one could argue that anger stems from self-preservation, but can become more defined as an emotion separate from the act of poor survival, which grows stronger the more mentally advanced a species becomes.

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anger-ii

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Humans have evolved into beings with complex emotions. Also, our needs, wants and desires are much further removed from basic survival. What was once a process to help physical preservation has now become a method for mostly social preservation.

 

The mother elk kicking the wolf away her calf is now the angry office worker badmouthing their co-worker behind their back, because of an ill perceived statement at the last staff meeting. I think an interesting issue to investigate would be if emotional anger has increased in cultures/areas where physical violence has become rarer. One could add the anger is now also much pettier. Getting mad at Ned for getting the promotion instead of you is a far cry from hating the invaders who killed your whole tribe while you were off hunting.

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Leopold wolf pack hunting bull elk;
Doug Smith;
May 2007

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However, the chance to defend your honor in any manner other than pissy words is dissipating. As the ability to smack an offensive knucklehead becomes increasing more difficult due to the state using any excuse it can think of to not only rob our wallet, but also steal any dignity we have left, we’re all required to be a bunch of belly aching angry wimps mulling over the minutia of other’s ill behaviors. Or maybe we don’t.

 

What’s my point? Anger has, over the past few decades, gone from a basic instinct of self-preservation to self-centeredness. Since we have five times as many cops as we could possibly need and cameras at every intersection, we have to bury our pride and listen to whatever bullshit any loser feels like spewing on us. My Viking ancestors are rolling in their grave.

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anger

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So what’s the answer? Just don’t play their game. Don’t get sucked into some petty, two faced, back stabbing, cry baby war of words. Most people live in a fantasy land of imagined wrongs based on man-made BS that didn’t even exist a few decades ago. Other things remain more constant like jealousy, gender based struggles for power and recognition, and competition for, well, everything.

 

Remember humans aren’t as important as we make ourselves out to be. We’re the animal that destroys the planet the best, whippidoo. Sure we have tech, art, and rise above the base, but can we breathe under water, spit venom, or fly? No, so relax a little.

 

Sometimes anger is right and justified. If someone tries to hurt you and yours, they deserve a world of hurt. Otherwise, ignore the hater, these days they are most likely focused on human constructs that are half real at best, fade in an out of existence, and are based on ill-conceived ideals. So, rise above, screw the angry person and go take a walk in the woods, breath in a little True Environment, ground yourself, and realign your priorities.

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cb

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We are in charge of our own emotions and life. Take responsibility for yourself and don’t let the words of anyone you don’t respect cause you to disrespect yourself. You’ll thank me later.

 

 

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Did this post make you Angry? Don’t worry I’ll make it away from the cities and calm down soon.

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Shadowbone

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Grab some Skinjumper-Punk here and help support your friendly WildernessPunker

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Amy Face

 

Sep
14

Getting all my data, passwords, and such from Nicole’s laptop took longer than I had expected. I guess I got pretty busy with the laptop she loaned me for a 5.5 months. But now she’s gone, the farmer’s daughter has returned to the Indiana farm and I have one less pal in Flagtown. I probably won’t be making a bunch of new ones either hanging out here at Camp 1, but I did see some old friends at her little departure party.

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clouds

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I had intended to ninja into town to drop off her laptop, but ended up spending the night in Flag. Took care of some things I’ll either keep secret or not bore you with. I sit here within the wind. It has a slight chill, almost like a warning, ‘Summer is almost spent and Fall will lead to a brutal Winter. How do you expect to survive?’ It jokes at me like a playful siren, humor before hardship or is it humor in the hardship.

 

But things aren’t so drastic yet and I spit back at the winds and demand they keep their dances of gloom and doom to themselves.

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sunset-writers-camp

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Then a limping coyote walks by. It might be about the largest coyote I’ve ever seen. Tan, yellow, and light brown reflect off its fur. Yellow is the color of The Selectors in my novels, which are the viscous spirits who protect nature at all costs.  I also found it odd the animal limped.

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skinwalker_animation_by_celticmagician

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This became even stranger, when I grabbed the camera to try to get a shot and the animal had already vanished.

 

I hesitate to write this, since I am within their territory, but the Dine have witches called Skinwalkers which assume the shape of coyotes, favor yellow, and tend to disappear at will. I haven’t had any trouble since it passed, but I’ll need to be vigilant tonight.

 

***

 

The day took an ominous turn as dark clouds moved in from the west while thunder vibrated the hills. I was in a bit of a funk before, but now I have a strange feeling of anticipation.

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storm-clouds

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I hadn’t expected rain, but it came anyway. Sort of an annoying, just wet enough to have to stash my things, but then it would stop. I’d take some wet things out to dry just to have it start raining again. Then the sun would come out and I’d try to work on my newest novel only to have to shut this laptop when the rain begun again.

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storm-coming

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But I have more exciting news. I have a pet of sorts. A huge desert rat is living in the roof of my shelter. Now I know why my sleeping bag was chewed open and where so many feathers went, the little turd. This isn’t some pet store rat. I’ll tell you that. He’s brown and mangy. We stared at each other for a long time when I lifted my camo-tarp to look for something. Then she ran off. I gave her some pizza. Maybe we can be friends and maybe she’ll be quieter at night and not bug me as much since I know where she lives, so if she messes with me, I could mess with her too.

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lucy

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***

 

Just a final note. There were no more Heebies Jeebies. A few elk walked through my camp in the morning and since I gave the rat two tortillas, she let me sleep through the night. Yes, I’m sure the little gal is a she and I’m going to name her Lucy after the dog I had as a kid growing up.

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elk

Um, I guess you probably can’t see those Elk, but they are there I swear it.

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Tune back in as I Do the Unexpected and Head out of Arizona Again. Or maybe you were expecting that.

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apex-moon-clud

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Grab some Skinjumper-Punk here and help support your friendly WildernessPunker

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breakfast-burrito-work-station-%ef%bb%bf

Sep
12

Okay, so this is by biggest break since starting WildernessPunk, but there was a good reason for this. Give me a moment and I’ll think one up.

.Boneatah

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When one has a ride all the time, you get comfortable and move at a different pace, but when one strangely has an unexpected ride, knowing you only have the vehicle for one more weekend sends the sparks flying and you have to determine what would be the best use of the ride over those days.

 

For me the obvious answer was… Tucson.

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desert-ii

 

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Let’s face the facts, this WildernessPunk thing I’m doing would not be for everyone and does not come without its challenges, but after all the hell I’ve recently endured, I have been embracing Dionysus over Apollo. Can this go on forever. Should it? Well yeah, but some pieces would have to fall into place very well and one can’t count on perfection giving you an O, so it’s more than a little possible, my life could change, I might have to start grinding and could have to obtain a rectangle of some sort.

 

Will WIldernessPunk continue? I’ll just have to see how it plays out, but I can tell you that I won’t be talking about work and TV some day in the future and calling it WildernessPunk. Certain standards will be kept.

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darkness

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I was approaching a point and it was, since the cold cometh as well as other situations, I may not be able to continue with my WP ways forever, so it might be time to starting thinking about going out with a bang, reaching a climax, taking it home, and all that. Yellowstone is hard to beat, when discussing climaxes, but since I’m still going, I guess that wasn’t my climax. I might not know what it will be, however a trip to see my oldest friends and poker it up, with even me nerding out and running a first level D + D game was pretty dope. Cactus, poolside, friends, food, and just being a dork was damn fun. I’m so glad I headed down there.

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castle

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Sometimes the soul needs chaos, but the relaxing kind. Chaos doesn’t have to be a bouncing Duffy Duck, it can be chill and perhaps chilling in some luxury. Chaos often means you’re just putting yourself in a situation which doesn’t occur often and I don’t make it down there often enough, so there I went.

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I might have one more climatic trick tucked away, but I will keep it hidden for now.

 

On the way down, I figured I’d move a few miles behind me before I set up my tent, so I gave a small tribute to my father by camping at the lonely old road called Dugus. My father had known Old Man Dugus. In some respects, I live in Arizona because my father took me out here when I was a kid because he used to spend his summers out in Dugus, with his park ranger uncle, when he was a kid.

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dugus

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My favorite story about was how Dugus used to catch gila monsters and fatten them up in a barrel, because for Dugus they were a well worth the wait and he considered their tails a delicacy. They were also live in garbage disposals. Camp 5 was nothing too fancy, but it put me an hour closer to my goal and provided me with a fog filled sunrise.

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fog

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I did manage to get out to the Sonoran Desert more this trip. Wooks and I set ourselves to hiking into the Tucson mountains. I thought we had an early start, but going from high elevation to low doesn’t make up for that pounding heat. Still since my Eternal Aftermath Series has many scenes which take place in this mountain range, the more exploration I can do to scout out for my novels the better.

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saquaros

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So after my last dose of out of town fun with my pals, I’m back up at Camp 1. The car is gone and so is the sun. I’ve got too many things to do to avoid heading into town. The Real World is nibbling at me, hovering around the edges. It will be interesting to so how quickly things might change and how long I can ride the WildernessPunk.

 

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trail-smaller

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Please swing back by and discover which path of Chaos my foot falls n next.

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Grab some Skinjumper-Punk here and help support your friendly WildernessPunker

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camp-1-sunset

 

Sep
09

I ended up really liking Camp 4 and could see myself going back there. As anyone who has read even one of these WP can grok, I’m not a big fan of crowds, yet, when I am isolated, I’m not immune to the Heebie Jeebies and I’m not talking about my favorite Flagstaff band.

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camp-4

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I know this goes a little contrary to the ‘Leave All the People Behind,’ idea, but when I get into the burly regions where nature still rules, like I mentioned before, places close to their True Environment, I tend to feel a certain unease.

 

Thoreau didn’t have such concerns on Walden Pond. A trip and slip or a dash of frost bite might have been his chief concerns. The west is a different creature. I’m not saying animals rush you left and right, but in the wilds and alone, a person does take some risks.

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waldon-pond

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Yet, I’m thinking this improved vigilance is a good thing. I’m certainly not trying to suggest the hyper vigilance many children, urban dwellers, and some abused people worldwide are forced to deal with is a good thing. Never being able to relax leads to lives of woe. Yet vigilance in nature is another issue. Perhaps closer to being a solider than battered child.

 

You can train and be more prepared, similar to a warrior. You can have the right gear, like a soldier tries to insure, but when you are on your own, you can only look so many ways at once.

 

Sometimes your mind can play strange tricks on you. Movement, then nothing. I might need a haircut. Why does my swinging hair have to be the same color as a grizzly’s coat? Okay, a really dirty grizzly, but those are the worst kind.

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And there is that one in a hundred times an animal is there and suddenly you go from flipping a playing card to protecting your family.

 

But is this really what I’m talking about? It is not so much that you could have something happen as much as being ready for it. You feel a little more real checking your own trail for venomous vipers in order to take a leak than shuffling barefoot down a hallway for the 70,000th time.

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That is the difference between this type of survival and walking by a gang to get something for your mother. Perhaps the latter is far more intense, but something about removing other humans from the equation changes things.

 

Sorry if I offend anyone, but humans are mostly assholes. Many evolve above that state, but that is our base selves and truly our animal self.

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We are smart enough to think past it, but that is not a given. Animal state: Includes, sex drive, violence, selfishness, but also some of the better things in life like nurturing your offspring, mating, enjoying a good meal.

 

We take this Animal State, but pervert it with a concoction of mangled Law swirling like a self-important crust attempting to form around a vortex of chaos. All the while we’re proclaiming this is normal and correct, when nothing is static or accepted for more than a decade or two. Yes, yes some concepts like take care of your children and hmm… maybe there is a god or something, but those are archetypal, which is the part of human existence which changes the slowest if at all. I’ll be discussing those at a later date.

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Let’s focus on Trump’s Make America great again. So that proposes we go back in time.160 years ago it was legal to kill a slave. Is that when we were great and the laws were right? When Native Americans were cheated out of their land or killed. Did America rock then?

 

No of course not, but my point is those times were not too long ago and we had Laws some majority managed to get onto the books which we would think are insane now. I have a point, really I promise. So to assume. given our history, we are somehow 100% doing things right now is a belief only a fool could possess. Again, grasping at a point. Humans are a shit show. We need to get better, not go back, but what does this have to do with the boy walking by the gang versus the solo campers in some lonely canyon?

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Humans are a strange mix of Law and Chaos, we expect problems, but random chance, luck, and reason can solve an issue. You can’t talk your way out of a snakebite. The can’t verbally spare with a mountain lion. Bears can’t be bribed with money or favors. In doesn’t matter what your GPA is or if your brother runs the biggest gang in the area, if you fall off a cliff or get hypothermia. The challenges in nature are raw. It is the great equalizer. The real you faces them. Gone are awards, degrees, longevity at the workplace, your ability to wow people. The challenges big and small are met by you. The self you speak to at night and in the morning. No excuses, no mercy, you do it or it doesn’t get done. You stay safe or a Jesse Ventura said, “You lose it out here and you’re in a world of hurt.”

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So who wants to go camping with me next weekend?

 

Turn back in as I return to the southern desert and finish what I never started.

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Grab some Skinjumper-Punk here and help support your friendly WildernessPunker

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Sep
08

Published by Broken-Eye Press in 2015

Steampunk/Horror

Stars: 4

Ghost in the Cogs is edited by Scott Gable and C. Dumbrowski and in their words is a collection of, Steam-Powered Ghost Stories. This Steampunk meeting Horror anthology has 22 stories which cover 240 pages. This was to be the second Broken-Eye anthology I would be reading and since I enjoyed their Cthulhu Mythos publication so much, I had actually saved this one for my big summer vacation to Yellowstone.

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I like these more focused anthologies, which several companies have been putting out lately. I am also amazed at how many authors come up with stories fitting the vision of the publication. This piece is no exception. There are some fine stories in here and Broken-Eye out together a strong collection. However there were a few weak links near the middle of the anthology. Not every story moved me and leads me to wonder if one of the downsides of these specialized pieces is they have less of a pool to draw their stories from.

Since the book contains so many tales, I will hit on some of my favorites.

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The first story, Asmodeus Flight, by Siobhon Carroll is one of the most action packed adventures in the collection. Effie pilots an airship with a power source dear to her, the soul of her father. So when a villain threatens her craft, it is not just her pride and livelihood he is placing in jeopardy but her father’s spirit as well. Just might be payback time.

The Misplaced Body of Fitzhugh Alvey is penned by Jessica Corra. This is quite the comedy. The author does a great job personalizing the characters so quickly you feel like you have been reading a whole book about them. Alvey’s steam powered invention has more than a bit of a misfire when his spirit returns home without his body. It becomes up to him and his assistant to track it down and he can only hope it is in a state where he will be able to rejoin it.

Jonah Buck brings us T-Hex.  I love that this starts with the line, “Carthage must be destroyed.” I have been to Carthage and yep it was destroyed well. When a machine is invented that brings the soul associated with an object to life, the possibilities for learning could be endless, but what if there is an accident and you bring back something so horrible that it might not be able to be stopped. A lot of action after the suspense is built. Nicely done, although I did foresee the climax.

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Team 17 by T. Mike McCurly is a more military style adventure where the ghosts are a real danger and need to be controlled and eliminated. The reporter that tags along with this team of Ghost Busters meets marines, quickly finds that he is in way over his head.

I also liked The Shadow and the Eye by James Lowder. This one is more odd than action packed, but has great characters. He could write a whole novel spin off here. I loved the inventiveness and interplay between the people. He began creating an interesting world with this one.

Cuckoo by Richard Pett was probably the most horrific story. If ghost stories are designed to have to feel unnerved, he did the best job.  Scary imagines and scenes occur until you wonder how far into madness the main character has fallen, but how could he not when he’s forced to torture machines made of flesh?

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The last story I’ll review was my favorite. Scott Fitzgerald Gray presents The Litany of Waking. Again you feel more like you’re reading a novel with this one. A whole novel compressed into a bite sized adventure that even delivers a moral or is it a message? Salida is confronted by unknown voices when she gets too close to a find that could change her life. Yet, would this change be worth throwing the world into chaos?

As I said a strong gathering of tales is presented to us. Possible downsides of this one could be a few weaker tales, which just do not hold up against the general level of excellence so many present. Also in most cases I feel the steampunk overshadowed the ghost aspect. I would have liked to see more true terror strike at the heroes and heroines and not just be more of a side note as to why they have designed a new gadget.

I was happy I saved this for my big vacation. It was fun to read on the road and during my down times.  I think all lovers of Steampunk would enjoy this anthology. If you do not like horror, I would not let the title put you off, just enough rattling to make things fun. Good idea and they pulled through and delivered. So what’s next Broken-eye?

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