Michaeldgriffiths's Blog
One's man Chaos is another person's Entertainment

Jun
09

June 3rd, My Son’s Birthday

Those eight or so of you who have followed WildernessPunk since it’s inception almost three years ago will remember it started as more of a journal of my adventures mixing wilderness and technology. This involved making enough capital with the latter to live within the former. Although my intentions were close to noble, I hadn’t exactly volunteered for this assignment. It had been forced upon me when evil actions caused me to lose my job, my residence, and my ability to see my young sons.

After recently tackling the truth behind environmentalism, which proved to be an unpleasant subject, I thought I’d return to a more relaxed exploration of nature, because hell, it’s June. Yet, there are other reasons I’ve fallen into this introspection.

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The first several episodes of WildernessPunk were all written within the wilds of Walnut Canyon, which is located ten miles east of Flagstaff. While writing these words, I find myself, almost three years later, back within the embracing lands of Walnut Canyon once more. Also, with a bit of a strange, but not unexpected twist, I am spending the night due to further inappropriate acts by the previously mentioned evil. But it’s a beautiful day and a large cloud just plunged me into shade, so like a good WildernessPunker, I’m going to turn my turds into ale.

It does feel odd to be back where this all started. How have I changed? How has this country changed? Three years ago, I would have had a hard time imagining my life would be so much better. Yet, I also would never had imagined the disaster our government has become. On the upside, Trump has proved every nihilistic punk rock song correct.

And damn, I hate to say it, but it is a lot easier to camp with a car than a mountain bike.

Looking out over this rich forest, it seems hard to believe we have humans actively fighting for the destruction of our globe. But we have to remember there have always been humans willing to put greed before all else. They just have greater abilities to annihilate now.

10,000 years ago, Blak might have been able to convince a few members of his tribe to go attack another village while they’re sleeping, but he could do little damage to the environment itself. A 1,000 years ago, a king might be able to slaughter thousands and destroy crops, but besides overgrazing, he could do little to hurt the planet before time ended him.

During our current times, there has been an increase in the ease and damage a person can inflict on our world. A man can sit in an air conditioned office and order a 100,000 acres destroyed with the click of a mouse. Whoa, hey Boneman, I thought this was supposed to be the light hearted June romp?

June 3rd

 

zzzzRight right, happy happy, summer summer, June June. I feel I’ve reached a moment of reflection. Here I am halfway between when my avalanche of crap started and the beginning of WildernessPunk three years ago. Strange to think where I was three summers ago. I had only a few backpacks worth of stuff, was sober and on probation. Ha, and now I’m the one who’s sent cops over to the nasty one’s house twice today.

Yet here I sit, in Dark Skies (My favorite bar this side of the Rockies). I was supposed to have had my children yesterday and should already be relaxing by the pool in Tucson. Instead I’m supposed to suffer these mild 70 degree days, camp out, and see my old buddies. Are there sixteen new beers of tap? I guess she showed me.

 

 

June 4th

A day, six cops, and one Judge injunction later and I’m still here in Flagstaff. Is this the end game of my three year struggle? Will the evil one flip the whole situation with my boys by denying me the time I’m due with them this summer? A cliffhanger feeling mixes with supreme annoyances. Will unforgiving narcissism win out over justice, goodness, and hell unexpected bells, I even have the forces of law on my side.

I’ve hatched plans and organized a few plots. Self-centered villains with no regard for anyone but themselves, might have their strengths, but we’ll see where the last Ace falls.

June 5th

zzFlagstaff Police Department and I found no leads and after a three days search. On the third day of trying, grandma let the boys in blues into her home. But the inner door to the attic was locked. Ms. Gaslight hadn’t answered the door when the cops knocked on it for five minutes. Once the Officer left, I found the fortitude to talk to my former mother-in-law for an hour (Yuck) and the evil one appeared behind us in a dark hallway. It felt like something out of a horror movie to just have someone show up within a police searched house. I called the cops and got my kids. We’re currently safe in Tucson and I’m going to court next Tuesday.

Thanks for letting me indulge in my own voice for a while, because in the end, isn’t our own voice all we really have? I feel this recent development brings the beginning of WildernessPunk full circle and solves what lay in the center of my life being torpedoed three years ago. A new chapter, or in this case, a new book, is about to begin. The first page beckons…

Life always remains a battle, we fight against the ills, so we have a chance to enjoy our rewards. More often than not, life’s bounty is best enjoyed with others. Family, friends, animals, and nature. As many before me, I have persevered, obtained my goals, and learned more than a little along the way.

May the joy find you and let your battles be true

 

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You can check out some of my fiction here, where Detective Dak is placed in charge of the anti-clone task force. His main problem… He’s dating one.

 

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May
31

What am I talking about this time, gentle readers? For those of you who know WildernessPunk you are familiar with its style of looking at important issues from a different perspective. While most people out there have their steadfast side of an argument where they hammer against those with a different view, WildernessPunk likes to tackle an issue sideways, which is easier because no one can see you coming.

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So let’s consider industrialization for a moment. Much of it has been for the greater good. The invention of the cotton gin and vaccinations, yep, they sure make life better. But what about those innovations which improve on something we’re already capable of doing? For example, we washed clothes before we had washing machines, we cleaned dishes before we had dishwashers, hell, we even got from one place to another before we had vehicles, so why did we invent them?

To save time.

One could argue it makes our lives easier and improves the quality of our existence, but let’s focus on time, and not just because it’s in the title. You’ll see why shortly.

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Let’s just hone in on something easier to wrap our heads around than the complex use of fossil fueled vehicles. I’ll pick on washing machines. Alright, in the past, or the present if you live in the other 80% of the world, when your clothes got dirty you washed them yourself. This might seem like more of a pain, but was it?

Positive benefits from washing clothes by hand

  • A person got exercise
  • You were aware of the resources used
  • You were more likely to recycle the grey water
  • Little or no carbon waste was created
  • You might get some fresh air and observe nature
  • No noise pollution
  • You didn’t have to waste capital on purchasing and repairing the machine
  • More space within your dwelling
  • Clothes got cleaner

Negative consequences of using a washing machine

  • Creates pollution during each use
  • Uses resources and creates pollution mining the metals to create it, during its construction, and through transportation
  • Takes capital to purchase and maintain
  • User gets much less exercise
  • More water is wasted and can’t be reused
  • Takes up space
  • Does not clean clothes as well as hand washing

I find it interesting how quickly these changes become mainstream. Modern washing machines appeared in 1907 and just over a 100 years later, many people can’t imagine wearing clothes which aren’t washed by machines. How did an unneeded luxury become a necessity? Perhaps more importantly, how does this effect our interaction with the environment?

 

Do you need a washing machine… No

Do you need to use a washing machine to clean your clothes… No

Are you a true environmentalist if you use a washing machine… No

Did I just piss you off? Well perhaps it’s time to put your money where you mouth is, or in this case back into your pocket with all the cash you’d be saving. Or another alternative is to just not call yourself an environmentalist and get on with your life. The upside is at least you won’t be a hypocrite. And in case you’re wondering… I did blow off using a washing machine for 10 years and look at my biceps, wow.

Moving away from the WM for a minute, I think we all need to reevaluate our intensions. What are your values? If you are crying out about climate change as you toss your clothes in the dryer, crank up the television, while you order something from Amazon, before you drive to the store, YOU ARE NOT AN ENVIRONMENTALIST, I don’t care what memes you post, what music you listen to, or how many piercings you have.

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Things which were luxuries are now demanded and if you don’t use them you’re a freak. Well perhaps it is time to, as Hendrix said, wave our freak flag high. Here is just a quick list of luxuries you can not have and still be an environmentalist.

Unrequired Luxuries

  • Washing Machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Imported foods
  • Beef and Lamb
  • Video Games
  • Driving to places less than two miles away (If not further)
  • Daily showering
  • Hygienic products
  • Pets
  • Lawns

This list could certainly go on and I’m not saying you can’t have some of these things, but if you claim to be an Environmentalist at all or care about Climate Change, you need to relabel these items as luxuries and not as the necessities we think of them as.

One final note. In 2018 one in four people in the USA was considered obese. We think we have saved time with all these labor saving inventions, but what we have really done is sacrifice our environment and our bodies for the privileges of spending more money to get tasks done. So yeah we might be saving time, but you could very well be paying for this time on the backside of your life by dying earlier because you lead a more unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. All the while the environment is also paying the price because of the greater amounts of industrial waste you continually create. Oh yeah, and you’re paying for the privilege of polluting more and being less healthy. And if you spend money at a fitness business and drive yourself there, because you don’t think you have the time to do your own calorie burning tasks by hand, you just lost more time, used more resources, and created more pollution, while decreasing your cash flow.

I’m not trying to be the ultra-downer. I’m just trying to bring up the idea that if you need to exercise to stay in shape, perhaps you can do tasks which help the environment, instead of hurting it, and save yourself money instead of wasting it. It is a long road toward being an environmentalist, but we all just got one step closer.

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You can check out some of my fiction here, where Detective Dak is placed in charge of the anti-clone task force. His main problem… He’s dating one.

Skinjumpers

May
30

The Point by John Dixon is a fantasy novel set during our current era. The story revolves around Scarlett Winters an eighteen year old female rebel. Scarlett was usually more interested in partying than using her skills to insure her future. When she discovers her ‘Posthuman” abilities in a manner which could have got her in trouble, she is forced to enter a special Posthuman program at West Point or go to prison. This was almost enough to have me stop reading and pick another book for military fiction is rather low on my lists, even below Young Adult and this had both.

The Point by John DixonGenre:  Dark Fantasy

Publisher: Del Rey

Released:  2019

Stars:  4 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

The Point by John Dixon is a fantasy novel set during our current era. The story revolves around Scarlett Winters an eighteen year old female rebel. Scarlett was usually more interested in partying than using her skills to insure her future. When she discovers her ‘Posthuman” abilities in a manner which could have got her in trouble, she is forced to enter a special Posthuman program at West Point or go to prison. This was almost enough to have me stop reading and pick another book for military fiction is rather low on my lists, even below Young Adult and this had both.

However, I am glad I stuck to it, because it turned out to be a fun rump and I grew more interested in Scarlett’s progress through the law and order maze of West Point. She struggles to keep from losing her mind as West Point seeks to bury her individualistic ways beneath soul robbing regulations which attempt to turn the students into drones for the system.

As the tale progresses, more of her power is revealed and she is classed as a level III, which only one other girl possesses. The plot grows thicker and some of the leaders and her follow students have darker sides which makes her own path less certain.

The Point by John Dixon ii

Scarlett herself is a child of chaos and has a hard time fitting in. If it was not for a few privileges her special powers bestow upon her, she might not have made it through the program. The danger level grows when they discover there was a first class of students who went rogue and are causing acts of terrorism. Soon she and both her enemies and allies will have to step up and engage these villains.

This is a tight novel and I am sure others would give it a higher rating than I. However, I just do not dig military heroics as much. Also, I know the X-Men cornered the market early, but I have read a lot of fiction where modern teens have to use their mutant powers to overcome their self-absorbed ways and become heroes. One might argue she will do better as part of a team instead of going rogue, but frankly her being at West Point ends up costing a few thousand kids their lives when the villains come looking for her. I guess I should enjoy the triumphs of a chaotic person being forced to be lawful, but instead I just saw it as an agency robbing Scarlett of ninety-five percent of her life.

The novel is fast paced and has a fair dose of action. I enjoy the characters which are tarnished and the heroes and villains are all not just black and white. The novel has a few funny parts and developed characters although some faded into the background to the point where I didn’t remember who a few of them were when mentioned later. This is an above average Young Adult book, because only a youth could have been in her shoes. I also love that this novel stands alone and the author is not proclaiming it as a first in some lengthy series I would never see the second book of. Lovers of X-Men style action and military fiction should get a lot out of this and check this new novel out.

The Point by John Dixon iii

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The Point by John Dixon iiii

May
24

What provides you with your inner strength? If I asked you this, you might list off the things which inspire and create the cornerstones of your life. Perhaps goals, projects, jobs, friends, and family would make the list. If you dug deeper you might move out of your normal lane and list more rugged skills like camping, hunting, bicycling, and hiking which provide you with a stronger inner core  through stepping outside of your comfort zone. Some people take it up and notch and increase their positive self-regard by extreme acts such as sky diving, swimming with sharks, or trying to find a decent date.

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Sure we can all list a few things we currently do or have in our lives which help maintain our self-esteem, but what about things which set the stage for who we are? What events fortified the foundations for who you became? What trails, which ended both well and badly, created the fortitude within you which helped establish the adult you are now?

Have you noticed how things which happened to us when we are younger are the most potent? How many of you reading this still listen to the same type of music you liked in your late teens? You are more likely to remember your first date or kiss than your 3,000th. Hopefully I am talking about kisses and not my 3000th date. That could indicate a problem.

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Personally, I believe surviving challenges as a child set us up for success and a positive self-regard as an adult.  I’m not suggesting you let your preteen be chased by a bunch of deviant Taliban predators. The task should meet the skill level or… maybe surpass it by a few degrees. Challenge brings out the best in us and of course children are challenged in school, in social situations, and through various competitions. But this isn’t what I’m talking about.

First off, sports don’t count. It is a group being told what to do by adults set within a formatted framework of rules. Sorry, but saying, “Golly, Billy sure kicked a ball a lot tonight,” just isn’t what I’m talking about here. Again, most of school is just following rules like a billion other kids. Do this, learn this, follow these math and science rules of thumb… And unless the social situations end up leading to violence, this isn’t what I’m discussing either.

What I’m talking about is an unexpected and unsupervised test of one’s metal. I’m not sure what it is about natural challenges, but they often seem the most potent. Sure being chased through the city by murderous addicts would be intense and coming through it in one piece could help establish positive self-regard, but still cities, have police, distractions, rival gangs, hell you might be able to escape by just running up to a random door.

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Perhaps it is a throwback to our roots as a species, but facing an obstacle out in the wilderness is a whole different situation. Here are some reasons this could be.

Reasons why Wilderness Challenges are more Potent

  • There are usually few or no other humans present
  • Nature doesn’t give a shit, it can’t be reasoned with, and doesn’t quit
  • Often solutions are long ordeals and not quick fixes
  • The items you have are all you get unless you make yourself more
  • The skills everyone present possesses become more important
  • Simple things like fire, water, or a knife can save you
  • Lack of getting these simple things can mean your doom
  • Nature is the great equalizer, being rich or poor, black or white, straight or gay, conservative or liberal doesn’t matter to the bear, the sun, or the blizzard

Let’s get back to character building and childhood. If you are chased by addicts you can blame them, but you can’t blam`e nature. When it challenges you, you can only blame yourself if you fail. Conversely, if you triumph, no one can take it away from you. Cheating is difficult, and hell, even cheating is something you could be proud of when faced with a true challenge.

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So how important is it to have respect for your own skills and abilities? How much do earlier childhood victories help shape who you are? I feel that knowing you can overcome obstacles, even smaller ones, independently, and owning the experience of winning out against adversity as a youth, can set the stage for believing you can do so again as an adult. If you have never been individually challenged, how would you know whether you could persevere?

Again these do not have to be huge tasks. I don’t recommend dropping your eight year old off in the artic, but knowing at an early age you have what it takes to kick it into high gear, problem solve, hang tough, and keep yourself and others safe gives children the positive self-regard which will help them make it through their much harder adult life.

But what if they aren’t challenged. How will they react to a random issue when they have no back up? Will they be lost? Could they feel they are ill prepared to tackle an issue which isn’t solved by a cell phone?

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“Kids are very nervous today—they have a lot of anxiety,” says child development specialist Rebecca Weingarten.  “We need to promote constructive failure,” says Weingarten. “Kids can’t be afraid to face the normal repercussions associated with taking risks.”

Another study from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta shows that free play actually changes the way the neurons in the front of the brain connect in a positive way.

So we know free play is good, but how does this translate to daily activities?

“It means no adults, no restrictions and no added rules during playtime,” says Thomas Dittl, a kindergarten teacher who is a big advocate of free play. “When you give kids room to explore and learn on their own, amazing things happen. I’ve seen this happen time and time again with my kindergarten students. They figure things out on their own. They learn how to share. They invent new ways of doing things. Even at a young age, it’s setting them up for future success.”  https://bit.ly/2KRNiiG

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So we know adventure is good for the brain and body. I’m not advocating forcing your kids to do things, but they should at least have the opportunity to gain the esteem boost that comes with self-reliance and risk. In the end it will make them healthier inside and out.

Alright now, just for fun, I’m going to make a quick list of a few of the things I did or had happen to me before I entered High School. I hope my mom isn’t reading this.

My early childhood adventures/risks/challenges

  • Faced off against a vicious dog, armed with a pipe, on a ledge above an abandoned junk yard. Age 5
  • Escaped from several feet of quicksand. Age 7
  • Saved my brother after he fell through a fishing hole in the ice. Age 8
  • Found and excavated an old trash midden Age 9
  • Explored and mapped out all the woods I could reach between the highway and river where I grow up. Age 10
  • Kept my brother from being swept over a waterfall. Age 11
  • Chased off 2 buglers with a baseball bat Age 11 (They robbed my neighbors that night)
  • Saved friend who was about to be swept under in an ice covered river and then made sure he didn’t get hypothermia. Age 12
  • Explored an abandoned three story house. Age 13

I’m not trying to brag, but I can look back with pride and mark my earlier years by accomplishments and not by what level I reached in the Halo game my mom bought me.

writers-chair

 

You can check out some of my fiction here, where Detective Dak is placed in charge of the anti-clone task force. His main problem…. He’s dating one.

doorway

May
13

Redhead by Ian Cook is a Dark Fantasy novel set during our current era. It revolves around a reporter, Rebecca, and her new friends, a scientist name Jim and an archeologist named Larry. Rebecca discovers strange doings regarding redheads. There had been assaults and disappearances. Since she is a redhead herself, her supervisor asks her to investigate the events.

Redhead by Ian CookRedhead by Ian Cook

Genre:  Dark fantasy

Publisher: Matador

Released:  2012

Stars:  4 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

As the disappearance and attacks increase, Rebecca and her friends begin to travel to several countries and they discover redheads are being sacrificed. Then Rebecca is almost sacrificed, but is saved by supernatural intervention. Things get serious, but people are dying, so the small team continues to hunt for the facts.

A potential enemy, Nerferatu, is discovered and the magnetic pole may be changing. Not sure if these are related, the team continues on with their investigation. Nerferatu targets Rebecca and as she gets into more danger, Jim and others begin to grow angry with redheads worldwide. The author does a great job keeping both the characters and reader in the dark. A very good example of, ‘show me don’t tell me.’

Redhead by Ian Cook i

The story flows well and there is a good amount of action. It also grows into an epic tale. I enjoyed the various locales used and I imagine the author did more than a little research to draw these ancient symbols together so well.

This is a strong novel, but might be a tad to long. The characters are a bit flat. Sometimes their actions seem inconsistent, but in the case of Jim, this was do to the affects of the upcoming ritual. Also how Rebecca always gets saved in the same manner becomes repetitive.

I enjoyed this novel and read the first half in one sitting, which increased its intensity. I think Dark Fantasy fans will enjoy this one. Readers who like mythology and the history of Northern Africa should also get a kick out of this.

 

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Redhead by Ian Cooki

May
11

A few thoughts before I dive in. First, I know we all get hit over the head with the three Rs. The second is, since I’ve already covered Reduce and Reuse in the last few articles, we can fast forward to Recycle. Still bored… don’t worry I’m going to WildernessPunk this and get to the core of this issue. Recycle is the last of the our list of six ideas we can all accomplish to lower our Negative Environmental Impact (NEI)

Here’s a quick review of those six ideas

  • Minimizing Food Waste
  • Commuting by Bicycle, Walking, Buses
  • Use Energy Wisely such as high efficiency devices and keeping them unplugged
  • Consume less
  • Eating for a Climate Stable Planet
  • Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

Yep, yep Recycle. All of us do it, or at least I hope so. But are we recycling enough? More likely, we’re trying to recycle too much. Too much, one might think recycling is one area where more would always be better. We might like to think the Recycle fairies find some use for all the items we imagine we keep out of the landfill.

But what happens to the items we put into our recycle bins which can’t be Recycled? Could we be creating more problems by trying to Recycle to much? What happens to things which can’t be Recycled when they arrive at the recycling department?

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So are we doing more harm than good by Recycling more than we should? Chances are… yes. So let’s dig in and hash all this out so we can be good WildernessPunkers, shall we.

First off, what we can Recycle will of course vary from country to country, state to state, and town to town. So um, we’ll just focus on where I live. It might not be exact, but at least it will help educate us on a general system which should be close to accurate for most of us.

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Like always, let’s strive to keep this simple and make a few lists. The first will be what we can recycle and the second will be things you might think are okay, but are not.

Commonly Recycled Goods

  • Cans, but make sure things like soup cans are clean
  • Plastic, water bottles, other drink bottles, clamshell fruit or take-out containers, rigid plastic like detergent bottles
  • Paper, junk mail (plastic windows on envelopes are fine), newspapers, office paper, shredded paper in clear plastic bags, and cardboard
  • Plastic bottle lids, but only if the bottle is dry and they are screwed back on
  • Plastic lunch containers, if they are clean
  • Cardboard cereal and pasta boxes
  • Aluminum foil, pie pans etc, but only if free of food
  • Milk containers, again as long as they are clean and dry
  • Shampoo bottles if clean and dry
  • Cardboard, but condense and remove tape
  • Glass jars, label can stay on but loose the lid

Old North Bridge

Items which cannot be Recycled

  • Plastic containers which have not been cleaned and dried
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic straws
  • Juice bags
  • Plastic bags
  • Prescription bottles
  • Batteries
  • To go coffee and soda cups
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Pet food bags
  • Election Signs
  • Yard Waste
  • Hazardous waste, not in curbside, but some companies can help
  • Smaller items

Yes, I know some of this is a bit tedious, but if you really care about saving the Earth and stepping up to knock down your NEI, then this is good to know. Putting items into the recycle bin which can’t be recycled is much worse than tossing it into the landfill. It can break down the machines and cause whole truckloads to be contaminated and thrown into the landfill.

Also in case you were wondering…

“When done thoughtfully, recycling is cost-effective. Less energy is required to make products from recycled materials than to produce them from raw materials.” Benjie Sanders / Arizona Daily Star

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And just for a fact teaser here are a few stats.

There’s a reason people say to recycle paper and save the trees. According to Waste Management, recycling 500 average phone books could save between 17 and 31 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil, 587 pounds of air pollution, 4,077 kilowatt hours of energy and landfill space.  https://bit.ly/2JcL7JX

So I’m going to leave this here. Over the past few months, I’ve done what I’ve set out to do and covered, in a brutally realistic manner, what each household in the USA could, doesn’t, and should accomplish to lower our NEI as individuals and as a country. Of course more could be done and a greater insight gleaned with continued work, but more often than not, a simpler approach is more likely to succeed than an exhaustive data explosion.

recycle_chart1111

On a person note, I’m not sure about all of you, but I know I’ve learned a lot by collecting this information. We often suffer from accepted delusions and I hope I’ve helped pop a few erroneous thought bubbles.

I would also like to state, I’m pleased to have completed this process. Not only because of the positive benefits of sharing, but also because of some of the darker places my research brought me too. We have a long way to go, but as my uncle’s show used to say, “Knowledge is Power.”

And come on America, we got this. We’ve stepped up before and we can do it again, especially when this might be the most important thing our species has done in 10,000 years.

 

poker

 

You can check out some of my fiction here, where Detective Dak has to decide between is lover and his job, but will either choice be able to save them?

 

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May
07

Immortality by Nick M. Lloyd is a Science Fiction novel set, well… in April and May of this year. When I was reading it, the different days of the week were listed with the date, which I found strange for it was the same week I read the book. I read most of this novel and finished it on a vacation, which is always the best way to read a book and it pleased me, quite greatly, I had picked such a fine book to complete during my trip.

Immortality by Nick M. LloydGenre:  Science Fiction

Publisher: Sampson Communications

Released:  2019

Stars:  4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

 

The novel has several points of view, but mostly follow the lives of Tim and his friend Samantha as they become directly involved with helping make some sense of the messages the Earth receives from an alien race. These incoming aliens state the Earth is in danger and will have its atmosphere torn away by incoming cosmic rays.

The alien race claims they are there to help, but Tim, Sam, and many others are not so sure. Both the heroes work for a tech giant billionaire who is charged with sending supplies into space to assist the aliens. They quickly find themselves at the lockdown site as things on Earth grow tense. Some countries become more hostile to the aliens and when some of the ‘rescue pods’ sent to Earth start to leak radiation, everyone’s stress level is pushed to the edge.

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Things get crazy quick, but this novel is full of tense suspense, I do not intend to ruin. This is an exciting, fact paced novel where the reader is kept in the dark as much as the cast. The author writes well and the characters are strong and atypical.

Not to many things to throw sticks at with this one. A few things did not completely add up to me and some of the character’s motivations seemed a bit vague.

immo

Overall this is a fine work. Nice to have a science fiction novel set in our time. It is also fascinating to see what our current technology could do when fighting against a more advanced race. Science Fiction fans should eat this one up. Also lovers of Thrillers in general will enjoy this. Great summer novel.

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Apr
22

Looks like I took another mini break from WPing after my last camping adventure. What have I been doing besides bingeing on ‘True’ horror stories and proofing my newest novel which probably will never be published? After celebrating Patriot’s Day, I also hit one of the rare and lonely rivers which cuts through southern Arizona, the San Pedro. But enough about me, for I intend to finish something I have started. I hope my parents haven’t just fainted.

San Pedro log

What I’m talking about was addressing the list of the 6 things we can all accomplish, within our urban environments, which will help lower our Negative Environmental Impact (NEI).

Here’s a quick review of those six ideas

  • Minimizing Food Waste
  • Commuting by Bicycle, Walking, Buses
  • Use Energy Wisely such as high efficiency devices and keeping them unplugged
  • Consume less
  • Eating for a Climate Stable Planet
  • Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

And as at least three of you might know, number 1-4 have been covered bringing us to… Eating for a Climate Stable Planet. No, I’m not coming for your hamburger, but I do intend to toss some data out there. But before I do…

I’ve noticed some interesting things since I’ve begun to seriously investigate our NEI. (Some of you might want to stop reading now) Most of the people I associate with all claim to be environmentalists and interested in helping the environment. But despite their claims, they do little more than the average Trump supporter to accomplish anything to really reduce their NEI. Most people, recycle, have maybe one small pet project, post a few anti-pollution memes on Facebook and call it a done deal. Meanwhile, in this country, the average person pollutes about 200 times more a day than someone living in India. Think about it, chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re 200 times worse than someone living in a more traditional environment. If we went back 10,000 years your current lifestyle would be causing about 1000 times more damage than Rutroo the Barbarian.

rutroo

I’m not demanding you change, but unless you’re living in a tent in Alaska, I think few are the Americans who can claim to be environmentalists. “Hello, I’m part of the worst polluters the world has ever seen, but I’m an environmentalist.”

Still, what are the, would be, heroes of the Earth to do?

I hope we wish to do more than admit we’re hypocrites and wander off mumbling.  Part of having to power to change is the knowledge of how things currently are and what could be done. This being said, let’s look at the environmental cost of what we eat. Buckle up people, because for most of us, this is going to hurt.

Many may remain unaware the consumption of food creates to highest NEI for humans. It beats out the resources we use for running a house and transportation. So if eating creates the highest impact on our environment, rethinking and adjusting our eating patterns might be the easiest way for each of us to lower our NEI, or is it?

personalfootprint1

Obviously the first, but perhaps not the easiest step, would be for as many humans as possible to become vegan or at least vegetarian. Yes, this would help, but it’s really not so simple. For instance the difference between low meat eaters and vegetarians is only a 12% drop. This is great and if everyone did this, terrific, but this still doesn’t address the remaining 50% NEI vegans create. Even the difference between a guy who eats a steak every night and a vegan is only double. It seems strange you have to change your whole life, and make things rather difficult for yourself in multiple ways, just to cut this in half and then be stuck. We just can’t lose this 50% best case scenario NEI creation… or can we?

foods-carbon-footprint-7

So if we’re looking at a 50% NEI even if we’re trying our hardest with what we eat, lets looks at where this 50% comes from. It isn’t too complicated. Plants and meat cost energy and resources to produce. Then more to prepare and package. Then still even more to transport to our local store. Then a bit more to remain in a temperature controlled building until we purchase it. Still not done, even at our home we’re using energy to keep the refrigerator running and then cooking our yummies for consumption.

Since this is a lot to take in, I think we would be better tackling these one at a time. So here’s the list of

 

Food’s Baseline Negative Environmental Impact

  • Food Production
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Packaging
  • The Transportation of Food
  • Housing Food
  • Maintaining Food

 

Food Production:

We already know producing meat can up to double your NEI, depending on how much and what type you eat regularly. But whether you’re vegan or on the cowboy diet, this is still contributing to your food’s baseline NEI. Eating less meat will help this greatly but as previously stated the difference between a light meat eater and a vegetarian isn’t huge.

WildernessPunk Suggestions:

  1. Grow your own food, raise your own animals, and reuse grey water to do so whenever possible.
  2. Eat foods which require less resources and energy to produce.

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Food Preparation:

Apparently this is considered part of the food production process, although producing food seems different than preparing it to come to us. Interesting to note, whether one’s vegan or on the Cowboy diet, this is one the highest producers of NEI through the food cycle, if you include huge amount of food waste which occurs as is mentioned in WildernessPunk: The Number One Thing.  https://bit.ly/2KVVHGQ

WildernessPunk Suggestions:

  1. Grow your own food, raise your own animals, and reuse grey water to do so whenever possible.
  2. Do not shy away from purchasing food which appears imperfect.

 

Food Packaging:

There is less data available in regards to what percent of a food production of NEI is creating by its packaging. One interesting trend appears to be the more (better) food is packaged, the less food is wasted. Still part of me wonders how our dystopian ancestors will feel while walking through fields of Styrofoam when they hear “They had to make everything as perfect as possible for three generations or so and placed Styrofoam under each piece of meat. This helped people live to an older age, so they could pollute even longer, now go eat the caterpillar paste out of the communal pot and remember to share your fork with the whole village.”

WildernessPunk Suggestions:

  1. Buy bulk when possible, but be sure not to do this if it creates food waste.
  2. Attempt to buy food with the least amount of packaging possible.
  3. Recycle, reduce, and reuse this packaging as much as possible.
  4. Buy unpackaged foods.

FoodPackaging-CountriesChart

Transportation of Food:

This is where vegans create as much NEI as the biggest carnivore. It appears transporting food creates roughly 11% of its NEI and is in many ways what we might have the least control over, but let’s take a stab at it anyway.

WildernessPunk Suggestions:

  1. Grow your own food, raise your own animals, and reuse grey water to do so whenever possible.
  2. Research what types of food are produced near your area and try to eat these whenever possible.
  3. Buy food at local markets.
  4. Avoid exotic foods.

foodemissions

Storing Food:

This appears to be the smallest producer of NEI. Only 5% of the overall NEI is created by maintenance and storage.

WildernessPunk Suggestions:

  1. Use energy efficient transportation when buying food.
  2. Smaller more focused trips to the store help reduce food waste.
  3. Research which of your local stores are more eco-friendly.

 

Maintaining and Preparing Food:

The average citizen of the United States’ use of electricity makes up 14% of their NEI. Refrigerators make up only 8.8% of this. So roughly  1.2% of our yearly NEI is created from refrigerator use. Which is probably one of the most reasonable uses of energy in our country. This is only increased with the knowledge the best thing we can do to lower our NEI is to limit food waste. (See WildernessPunk Number One Thing) Also interesting to note our refrigerator use alone produces twice the NEI the average man in India creates with everything he does.

Cooking food creates slightly less NEI than refrigerator use and is easier for us to avoid by purchasing more food which doesn’t need to be cooked.

WildernessPunk Suggestions:

  1. Keep refrigerator on a higher temperature.
  2. Be efficient when removing items.
  3. Try to compost food which gets too old to eat or feed it to animals.
  4. Try to avoid buying more than you can eat before the food goes bad.
  5. In most cases, give the expiration date on food an extra week or two.
  6. Eat food which requires less energy to prepare.
  7. Recycle timesaving products which are big energy wasters.

 

Food Production is one of the hardest things for the average consumer to influence. Of course, limiting your meat intake is the best way to lower your contribution to our NEI. Producing as much or your own food as possible is also a strong play.

This may seem like a hard bunch of data to take in, but if we think of things as a national effort, we would start looking at huge improvements. If as a country, we could produce 20% less NEI the effects would be staggering. And as always keep in mind all these improvements, help the environment, our country, and our personal finances. We have nothing to lose but our NEI.

I think its time to wake up and get started.

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You can check out some of my fiction here, where Dak has to decide between is lover and his job, but will either choice be able to save them both?

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San Pedro north

Apr
16

Trace the Stars was edited by Joe Monson and Jaleta Clegg. I have read one of Jaleta’s novels from back when we had the same publisher, Thus, I was looking forward to seeing what type of anthology she’d been part of releasing. I have to say I was impressed. I read a lot of anthologies and this one outshines most of the short science fiction I have read over the past few years. They really choose the stories well and this gives it a wholistic feel even though the tales all come from different authors. It also has a younger feel and I think its fresh view on space travel are more updated and this book would appeal to younger readers, even those which had not explored the genre yet.

Trace the Stars Edited by Joe Monson and Jaleta Clegg i

 

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Hemelein Publications

Released: 2019

Stars:   4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

 

 

 

 

One of the stories which stood out for me was Sweetly the Dragon Dreams by David Farland. First off, this is really more of a novella than a short story, but I like the idea the editors didn’t limit themselves because this tale was worth it. There are even a few pieces closer to flash fiction, so again, nice they opened up the anthology for whatever they felt would fit.

In Farland’s tale a complex society has grown up around humans helping tend to a more advanced race. There could be problems with this relationship, but it pales to the danger an emotionless non-living race poses, which wipes out all life they encounter. When they discover they only have years to prepare before they too will be destroyed, both races work together to try to save their peoples.

Working on Cloud Nine is another story which stood out for me. Written by John M. Olsen, this tale goes into what would occur on a space station staffed by only four people, if one of them turned out to be doing all he could to sabotage the station. The author does not lay out Phil’s motives, goals, or who he works for and the reader is just as much in the dark as the others as to how far Phil will go to endanger their lives and way?

Trace the Stars Edited by Joe Monson and Jaleta Clegg iiii

A more lighthearted tale in the collection is Jaleta Clegg’s Making Legends. I thought this was a fun story about how various uptight personalities react when they have all their responsibilities removed. It is in a space opera context, but the story is universal. How would you react if you had no obligations or social pressures? She explores this idea on a space ship with only three remaining crew members with hilarious results.

I have read and reviewed a good number of science fiction anthologies and feel this one does better than stand out. If you enjoy modern science fiction, I think this is a great grab for you to consider. As I said, it has a more contemporary feel and several new concepts are explored within its pages. This is a little lighter than a whole book and also might be good for more relaxed vacation or summer reading for science fiction buffs. Another book worth getting.

Trace the Stars Edited by Joe Monson and Jaleta Clegg

Learn more here

Trace the Stars Edited by Joe Monson and Jaleta Clegg ii

Grab some of my Science Fiction here

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Apr
01

You know what? I think it’s time I take a break and mix it up a little. My last four or five posts have been rather serious and… it’s Spring. Coinciding with this fresh get out of the house feeling I have, is my first solo camp of the year and a renewed decision to avoid banging my head up against the steel wall of what our current politics has become.

Sometimes you just need to shed yourself from all this damn humanity. Ergg, we’re all so narcissistic and self-important. Humans do this. Humans want that. Humans are entitled to… Sometimes I just want all the talking heads to shut up, but since they never will, I’ll just take myself to a place I can’t hear them. Here, by the edge of the Gila River, it’s just the murmuring current and the talking beaks.

Gila camp

Strange how moments alone, especially when off the grid, allow and perhaps force one to reflect. Spring is important to animals. As one, we emerge and renew our methods used for The Strive.

The Strive: Whether personal or natural, the search to find the techniques and methods which will allow us to complete our goals.

gila rapibs.jpg

Could focusing on what your Strive was through different stages of your life help you to look back and chart your growth or at least your adventure? What was your Strive last Spring, the Spring before that, and the proceeding one? Should someone have a Strive which progresses through the years or would this be little more than stagnation?

For the sake or creating an outline for reference, I’ll toss up my last three Spring Strives, which have occurred since WildernessPunk began.

  • Last Spring: I was evicted and had new goals only months after finally having a new foundation.
  • Two Springs ago: I was preparing to escape the clinging fingers of the mountain town I’d called home for so long.
  • Three Springs ago: Evil acts had cost me seeing my children, my job, my vehicle, my home, and started me on the WildernessPunk journey.

This spring well… I know I need to change, improve, and evolve, but no dread and doom looms over me. No fist of dismay, hovers through my waking thoughts remaining me of faults and malingering problems. Of course many still exist, but not the crippling kind which cause you to live within a rotting tent in the woods.

Gila North

In the end what motivates us more, having it all yanked away or enjoying the support of a stable environment? This is an interesting question. Let’s break down to possible pros of each situation.

 

Aids to accomplishment provided by a Fortified Environment

 

  • Utilities allow one to work during any hour of the day
  • Enough food and water provide the strength to work longer hours
  • Rooms designed for purpose and equipped with gear allow for a larger range of accomplishment
  • Less time is used for daily maintenance needs
  • Emotional support and pleasurable pursuits help recharge the soul

 

Aids to accomplishment provided by Challenging Environment

 

  • If isolated, less distractions could be present
  • Many luxuries which eat time such as televisions and the internet may not be present
  • Living closer to the edge can create a burning desire to improve one’s situation
  • One has more freedom to explore various paths
  • Exploring diverse paths is more likely to provide greater inspiration and sometimes opportunity

 

These are just a few ideas, but it really becomes a balance between equipment and inspiration because people can be inspired by different things. Many are those who can be inspired through the works of others. When this is the case, a stable environment allows for more information to be absorbed, but also you can only read one thing at a time and even at my worst, I’m never without a book.

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Still it can mostly come down to the person and like so many things is really a dual between law and chaos. What helps you succeed more, an organized house, complete with food, and temperature controlled, filled with all the supplies you need to get the job done? Or does the same four enclosed walls start to wear on you and leave you feeling uninspired as each day your experience drifts you further from any interaction with the True Environment?

For others, traveling, meeting new people, and seeing new beauty and places recharges the mind and leaves one eager to get started on the new adventure or project. Others find the time it takes to survive and travel through such areas a drain on their physical and mental resources and will get little done other than just making it through the day and then falling onto their cot exhausted.

gila Chair.jpg

Of course age and other factors affect such things. A retired man might very well get more done on his computer in a comfy chair, while a younger woman might try to stay within her apartment as little as possible.

So which are you, a more lawful based person who thrives when you’re in your comfort zone, or a chaotic person who likes to explore the new and the different?

Something to think about as you Strive to achieve the goals which stretch before you, for life is a short ride and we should all be sure we’re traveling along the right road.

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You can check out some of my fiction here, where Dak has to decide between is lover and his job, but will either choice be able to save them both?

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gila tunnel