I’ve been very busy the last couple of weeks, but yesterday I managed to wind up all the big deadline-y things. I enjoyed the work, but finishing felt great. The sun was shining, too, after torrential rains earlier in the week and more wetness in the forecast as far as the weatherperson’s eye can see.
Following an afternoon dog walk, I mixed myself a big Bloody Mary, vaped a bowl of Strawberry Cough, and took a long soak in my happily renewed clawfoot tub. Glorious.
Well, both. Saturday I woke up without Internet. And I’m looking at going ‘Netless for six months. Although I suspended service mostly to economize, I was both looking forward to ‘Netless peace and feeling nervous about cutting back my means of livelihood.
Since waking up that first morning I haven’t really worried about the earning-a-living part. That’s manageable. I’ve done it before, after all. But you know what really drove me crazy? It was the day of the Nevada Democratic caucuses and I couldn’t play political junkie.
I have only one potential means of getting news: NPR on a clock radio. But I can’t bear the racket in the house and I’m way past the idea that I should have to wait until someone else chooses to deliver the news I want to hear on their schedule.
How 20th century!
I’m okay with NPR in the car, but Old Blue’s radio doesn’t work, so that’s that.
Gasp. Newsless. Utterly newsless. As bare of news as one of Joel’s plucked chickens is of feathers. On a day that might make political history. Madness!
I couldn’t even get a weather report. And what if there’s a tornado? A hurricane? A rain of frogs! It could happen — and who’d warn me to expect frogs splatting down from the sky? Or even mild tadpole showers? No one, that’s who.
I missed simply sitting down with the computer during breaks. And Saturday I needed breaks from all that cleaning and drilling and cussing.
There’s solitaire. But it’s not the same. Of course, the caucuses turned out as boring as, and more predictable than, solitaire. Good thing I didn’t waste all that time tracking live blogs, eh? But I so wanted Hillary humiliated. Oh well.
That said, Saturday was also a beautiful day. Nice enough to leave the door open for the critters to wander in and out and the fresh February air to destuff the house. Working in the kitchen with paint stripper, followed by Goof-Off, followed by Brasso, and all accompanied with Elbow Grease (TM), clear air was much appreciated.
As was the sheer focus on getting things done.
Habit kept drawing me back over to the computer before I’d realize, “Oh, there’s nothing there” and get on with life.
I was achy by evening, but satisfied. Habit is a cuss to change. And it’s odd earning a living on a machine that also serves as the closest thing to an unhealthy addiction I’ve ever had. Not an ideal combo, that.
But I could get used to this. By Sunday I was starting to and Monday I was so busy I didn’t miss home Internet at all. There’s the library. It let me schedule this post and look up how to fix old mortise locks.
Even if I need to spend an hour or more at the library some days, it’s nice to be able to walk away from the constant noise and buzz and intrusion of the thing, too. To put a box around the endless, everywhere Web. Limits. It’s more about that than it is about trying to escape it altogether. Establishing a zone of peacefulness. I can already feel that.
But by damn, when I want to look something up on Wikipedia, boy is it a nuisance to know I have to delay gratification, maybe even by a couple of whole days, can you imagine??? Oh, the deep inner torment!
But speaking of following orders, what the hell kind of government would do this — or even think of ordering thugs to do such a thing??? (Another look at it with more detail. Both stolen from Wendy McElroy.)
And speaking of unsurprising things, why are we always supposed to be so shocked when, generation after generation, war after war, the fedgov perpetrates atrocities upon its own soldiers, then not only denies doing so, but even denies care to the poor saps?
And if you prefer more peaceful thoughts, you can download high-res versions of 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints, courtesy of he-knows-who-he-is in comments.
Finally, I’m not linking because I expect you to care about Nevada or South Carolina caucusaries or primuses. I’m linking it just because the name of Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, always makes me laugh. I mean, is that name straight out of Atlas Shrugged, or what?
The precariat. It’s apparently the social class I’ve belonged to nearly all my adult life. In the growing American class war, it is a growing class. The precariat: Those who freelance or otherwise work without traditional benefits or even minimal assurances of security. Those who live precariously.
I’ll tell you right off that nothing dramatic happened. But it was interesting.
I’ve been working my way up to making my quarterly stop at the town liquor store. Today was the day for me to buy my Bloody Mary vodka. But as I pulled up at the curb in Old Blue, a black-clad, hooded young man wearing a backpack stepped inside the shop.
Something about him caused my hackles to rise. I nearly drove off. Then I thought about Deana (not her real name), who owns the pocket-sized liquor store. A young woman in there all alone. I got out of the car, laid my hand on a weapon and peeked through the glass door.
Deana seemed relaxed behind the counter and the stranger, with his back to me, didn’t appear to be doing anything untoward. So I went on in. The only money in my wallet was a $100 bill somebody gave me last week. Even though everything felt peaceable, I knew I didn’t want to wave that thing in front of that man, so I paid by debit card and as I was doing so he left.
Deana sighed and said, “Thank you for coming in just then. That guy was creeping me out. He says he’s trying to get to (Big City) and he wanted me to drive him there. Maybe he was harmless, but …”
I asked her if she was armed. She showed me a couple of non-lethal weapons behind the counter, admitting that she couldn’t find them in a hurry if she needed to.
“Have you considered getting a gun?”
“Well, you know how it is. They say you’re more likely to shoot yourself than somebody else.”
“That’s old debunked nonsense.”
We then talked about training and muscle memory and how we might react in a panic. Apparently, some of her friends, including police, have urged her to take training with the man who instructs all the local cops. She’s not inclined to, but I told her about the kind of training they get — not just plinking at a target, but using cover and concealment, shooting while lying on their backs or crawling on the ground, even shooting when half-blinded by Vaseline-smeared goggles. That interested her.
Don’t know if she’ll change her mind. But in her position, I sure would.
I finally finished a good first draft of that cannabis article and got it sent off to 10 people so they could check the parts about them and offer corrections on anything else they spot.
Already heard back from three. Not a single change requested or goof noted. That’s unusual. It won’t hold for all 10, but very nice start.
The interviewees range from a police chief to a couple whose medical dispensary was destroyed by the DEA. And here they are, all in harmony, even as they come from such different perspectives. I simply can’t stress enough what a remarkable experience this is, both writing about it and witnessing it.
The one big drawback of the writing part: It’s exhausting. All the research (and all the things I still didn’t learn). The scheduling and pulling myself out of my hermit hut. The days and days of drafting, which, with so much information, is like wrestling an octopus. Even the best moments, the interviews themselves, leave me all emptied out. It’s the most glorious exhaustion. But still.
The last couple writing days were all about shifting the last bits into their place in the article, polishing, and — above all — cutting, cutting, cutting, cutting. I sacrificed nearly 1,500 of my own, precious, darling words in the interest of the whole. By the time I’d sent all the emails winging on their way with article attched, I was — not kidding — slightly faint.
I don’t mean to sound melodramatic. After all, I’m not also dying of tuberculosis in a garrett. (Always a plus. that.) Life’s good. I’m just tired. If I’ve been a little quiet and continue to be a bit more this week, that’s why.
Me? Well, directed imagination, I’ve got. Comes with the writer territory. Grit … not so much. I think, though, that when people take the grit test they’re tending to do the “90 percent of everybody is above average” variety of evaluation. Sitting at our computers it’s easy to say, “Yeah, sure, I never let setbacks discourage me. And I always finish what I start. And diligent, oh yeah, you betcha I’m the diligentest!” I told the truth about my failings and came out pretty much gritless. :-)
Reality is the only real grit test, of course. And in a pinch, I think sheer pig-stubbornness might suffice.
The best material is on Rome’s collapse. (The first chapter was so persuasive it darned near made me feel sorry for tax collectors.) Before I return the book to the library, I want to post a couple of paragraphs. In the first, Cahill is mostly quoting from Kenneth Clark’s Civilization (spelling Americanized).
… I really do. Normally I don’t believe in burning bridges unnecessarily, but right now I don’t care. And I don’t care who thinks I’m an asshat. Life’s just too short to deal with some people.
I sent this to a well-known survivalist author. Not naming any names, but I’ll say he’s not the biggest, but someone you’re familiar with. He just sent an email asking a number of individuals and websites to promote his latest book.
Do you realize you just cc’d my private email address to a bunch of strangers like some Internet n00b who never heard of either privacy or bcc?
Do you also realize that, though I’ve always been glad to promote your books and website, the one time I asked you for anything — not for myself but for a guy who was trying to provide a useful survival-info service while dying of cancer — you ignored two emails from me as if they didn’t exist???
I’m going to send this now, but if I get another one of your snotty “I’m so much busier and more important than thou” autoresponders, I’m blacklisting your email addy. What the hell; I’m blacklisting it anyhow. You’re an energy vampire, interested only in self-promotion. You have no idea of either manners or what it means to be part of a true online community.
Consider yourself fortunate I didn’t hit “reply all” when composing this message.
According to Mike, a work party/BBQ to help with long-neglected home projects is forming up for the first weekend in February. If you’re near Pinson, Alabama, or have construction skills, a strong back, and are able to travel, this might be a great event for you. And certainly for Mike and Rosey.
Seems there are some who, rather than helping Mike, prefer to sit at their keyboards and make unhelpful suggestions. I haven’t personally seen the comments in question. But apparently the theme is: gee, if Mike would just put up a few Internet ads or if he had just (past tense) dropped the Fast & Furious scandal and instead pushed his novel harder, he’d be rolling in dough now and wouldn’t have to rely on donations. (Because you know, everybody who self-publishes freedom novels makes a bazillion dollars, and slapping ads on a blog is a guaranteed way to riches.)
Now I’ll stipulate that there are a lot of people who have perfectly good reasons not to help Mike. If you’re poor, if you’re not a gun-rights person, if you don’t agree with Mike’s radical stances, if Mike is somebody who’s barely on your radar, fine. You owe him nothing. But for people who read his prolific Sipsey Street Irregulars blog and who followed where Mike led now to spout economic nonsense solely as a way to avoid being useful to a dying man and his wife … well, that is just BS. Pernicious, vicious, lazy, economically ignorant BS.
I’m glad I haven’t seen that stuff personally — and the people spouting it should be glad I haven’t because I’d be even less nice about it than David.
Living Freedom readers (and BHM readers in general) tend to be a very positive, helpful, “do-er” bunch. People who make their best effort to live by their convictions. Useless yammerheads don’t find this place very attractive. Thank heaven. I am very, very fortunate to be part of this community. I’m also rather spoiled to be in such company and I forget what much of the rest of the ‘Net is like. Filled with petty bickering by people who pretend that typing and clicking is a revolutionary act. And who don’t know one damned thing about the economic realities for those of us who seriously attempt to earn our keep while promoting freedom.
I expected to see David’s fundraising appeal spread like kudzu through the gunblogosphere immediately after he posted it. That hasn’t happened. Only a few gun blogs have picked it up and David reports he’s also not getting a lot of response on social media. That’s shameful. Especially considering Mike’s prominence, tireless work, and huge importance within the gun-rights community and the freedomista resistance. (And the fact that the man is dying of cancer, you yammering morons!)
So please, if you do nothing else, help spread the word about the fundraiser and the work party via your blogs, email lists, and social media accounts. Thank you for that. And thank you for not being the all-too-common keyboard kommandos and worthless yammerheads that infest so much of the ‘Net.