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The old Indian chief sat in his home on the reservation, smoking his ceremonial pipe, eyeing the two U.S. government officials sent to interview him. "Chief Two Eagles," one official began, "you have observed the white man for many years. You have seen all his progress and all his problems." The chief nodded. The official continued, "What do you think of all the white man has done?" The chief stared at the officials for more than a minute, and then calmly replied. "When white man found the land, Indians were running it. No taxes. No debt. Plenty buffalo, plenty beaver. Women did most of the work. Medicine man free. Indian men hunted and fished all the time." The chief paused, then added, "Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."


I feel like traveling.

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I am tired of looking at scenes like the photo below. Iowa and its surrounding states have a special kind of beauty all their own – but scenes like this one do get old.

475151_22929464(It’s a cornfield.)

I want to be somewhere like the photo below. Somewhere completely free of diesel trucks, leash laws, traffic noise and, above all, cornfields. Don’t get me wrong, I love sweet corn, but cornfields serve as a stark reminder of what used to be. It’s very difficult to find original prairie – any place that corn can grow profitably is being used to profitably grow corn.

650549_72079295(I have no idea where this photo was taken)

Stone State Park is just outside of Sioux City. It’s a beautiful park, plenty of scenic overlooks and a decent campground with modern facilities. Its only drawback is that it’s a campground where you literally park your car next to your tent. You’re awoken all through the night by headlights, RV’ers and other desecrations to wilderness solitude. I want to go somewhere that requires me to hike a few hours to get to the campsite.

I want to be able to sit by a fire with a good book and my dog, cook foilfood in the coals and at night relax in the tent with my wife listening to NOTHING but the bugs and night creatures. No bumping sound systems,  no horns, no diesels, no traffic, no light pollution etc. A couple big nasty cigars are involved somewhere in that equation. Wouldn’t mind a six-pack and a few good friends, either.

prairie-stone-state-park(Stone State Park)

A quick word about

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My wife and I have been getting into lately. It’s an auction website for ‘free’ stuff – they use ‘credits’ and you bid to win random free items.

So far I’ve gotten a few books, a door alarm, some antique stamps, a vial of gold flake and a few other random items. Kind of interesting.

When you sign up, they start you off with 50 credits but occasionally will give you 100-500 free ones. Just the luck of the draw, I guess. You can purchase credits 100 for $10 – but that’s a ridiculous ripoff.

The only items really worth bidding on if you’re wanting to not spend any cash are the ones marked “Free Shipping.”

The easiest way to get credits on Listia is to buy an $5 or $10 gift card. These will go for anywhere from 800-2000 credits and won’t cost you anything to ship (E-giftcard, ya just email them the code)

It’s a fun diversion, you can end up with some really esoteric stuff – and it’s always a pleasure to get stuff in the mail. If you sign up at the following link we both get 50 extra free credits. Just sayin.

Almost camping season.

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It’s finally getting towards the tail end of winter. The air outside has that certain spring smell to it, no longer the cold, dry stench of dirty snow. At least when the sun is out, anyway.

This is good news. Camping season is almost here (at least, the camping season where I stand half a chance of convincing my wife to accompany me) and I’m stoked. Last time we went to Target, we stood in the camping aisle checking out the tents. Definitely going bigger this season; last year we used a four person tent. We found one that has over six feet of headroom inside; it’ll be great to be able to stand up in it. The extra rooms will help with the several metric tons worth of baby stuff we’re inevitably going to bring.

We’ve still got over a month until Stone Park opens the gates to vehicle traffic, but we might end up just waiting until most of the snow melts to hike/bike in and camp.

I’m stoked.

Living In Your Car

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Every now and then life reaches out and smacks you one. Your house burns down. Your significant other leaves you. Your medications are too expensive and without them, you cannot maintain a stable lifestyle. Regardless of the reason, winding up in the back seat of your car alone happens to the best of us. Having done so myself, here’s a few tips for you.

First off, pat yourself on the back. You have a car, which puts you rather high on the totem pole as far as homeless folks go. You have the capability to warm yourself, cool yourself, secure yourself and move yourself without ever setting foot on the ground. Keep a healthy mindset – it’s half the battle.

(image credit
Begbie Images)

Hygiene is huge. There just isn’t much air in a car and stink happens – keep that in mind when you buy the packet of baby wipes or crash the shower at college athletic complexes. It’s worth the effort to keep yourself presentable – this makes a huge difference in your dealings with others.

If you’re trying to keep it on the down low that your Honda is your home, it’s much easier to do if you’re clean and don’t have seat belt indents on your face.

Spend time outside of your car, if at all possible. Sacrifice the necessary fuel and drive to an outdoor park (if it’s warm) or a coffeeshop (if it’s cold). It can do wonders for your mental state to spend a day in the warm sunshine, kicked back against a tree with a decent book or relaxing with a cup of cheap coffee at a bookstore or coffeeshop. If you’re lucky and have a laptop, wifi is free at many places. Pick up a refillable beverage and hang out until they make you leave (this is where proper hygiene makes all the difference in the world).

BE MINDFUL OF WHERE YOU PARK. I cannot stress this enough. Pick the wrong spot and you’ll be woken up to a cop rapping on your window. If you’re lucky, it’ll be a good cop who will tell you to move on without giving you any trouble. Like any profession, there happen to be douchebags in the law enforcement community as well — these are the guys that’ll search your car just to hassle you, leaving all your possessions lying out beside your car as they pull away feeling all manly and crap. Seriously, just avoid all that and park sensibly. Don’t park in a loading zone, in front of a driveway, in a bar parking lot after 2am, an interstate off ramp, or anyplace that’ll draw the attention of your city’s finest.

Keep your car clean inside. You more than likely will have a ton of stuff packed into a tiny space; decreasing your personal space inside your car. Keep it picked up – a bunch of wrappers and trash strewn on the floor won’t help you at all.

It’s never an ideal situation, but with the right attitude you might even end up enjoying yourself.

The Daily Writer by Fred White

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Z1983_DailyWriterI like to review books. I recently saw this book in Barnes and Nobel and thought it looked interesting, but not quite $17.99 interesting. I bought a used, like-new copy on for 99 cents + shipping and checked it out.

Most of the time when I review a book, I write a few lines about it, what I thought about it etc and then it goes on my shelf – to be picked up in a year or so when I desire to read it again.

That approach wouldn’t work so well with this one, as it is “366 meditations to cultivate a productive and meaningful writing life.”

So I present to you a 366-part book review. This time next year, I’ll be done. It’ll be like one of those book reviews that is probably too long, except this one will take you a year to read.

Best Ad Ever.

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