Strolling Amok

Pops goes on tour.

The Nature of God – Part 5

[If you are just now stumbling onto this post without having read the various parts in this series from the beginning, I strongly urge you to go back to the start and continue on from there through each successive post. None of these individual entries stand on their own, and you may wind up with little but confusion and unanswered questions by starting here. That is easily done by entering “The Nature of God” in the search box on the home page, which will list links to all available parts.]

Life continued while I kicked my way through it, thankfully without God. After all, that’s the way I wanted it.

I’d just had my project car’s engine rebuilt. I installed it, put on the cylinder heads, and bent a valve because I misadjusted one of the lifters during final setup. And that damaged the cylinder bore, too. Damn. Printed instructions aren’t always enough. That and other things were starting to go wrong because of my utter inexperience, and one evening as I stopped work, I once again took a last look Read more…

All My Problems Are Over!!!

Fraud is where you find it.

I just received the following email:

“Paymaster General Office,
Foreign Remittance Payment Department,
Federal Capital Territory Wuse Zone 11
Abuja Nigeria.
TEL: +234-08118516420

Attn: ,

Good news for you, We have been immediately assigned to effectively co-ordinate the immediate release of the sum of $2,500,000.00 ( Two Million, Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) to you from your approved funds. Kindly re-confirm the following details to enable us get this transfer done, as we only have 72 hours to make
this transfer happen for you.

Full Nmae:
Your Direct Telephone number:
Your Home Address:
Occupation:
Age:
Marital status:

Kindly get back to us immediately.You can call me on +234-08118516420 for more information.

Respectfully,
MR. JAMES MOORE
(FOREIGN  REMITTANCE DEPARTMENT)”


 

Apparently, Nigeria has had a problem with disbursing vast fortunes to deserving recipients for many years now, but their persistence to the task at hand should be an inspiration to us all. Admittedly, the chosen task itself is not so admirable, yet is a reminder that how we choose to live out our time on the earth – our basic orientation to it and how we choose to relate to others – is a very personal decision that reflects the kind of world we perceive and want to expand upon. Our answer to the simple question of “What is our purpose here?” can have a profound impact on ourselves and well beyond ourselves. As Batman once growled, “It’s not who I am, it’s what I do that defines me.” Yet what we do comes from who we are, or often, who we choose to be. There isn’t a one of us who isn’t flawed, but our aspirations and conduct are a better indicator of us than are our self-perceptions.

Cranes, and Stuff

Awww, look at that little guy!

Yesterday began nicely, even though it once again was destined to become hot and humid. I had spotted the crane family you see above days before as they wandered around both the campsites and the shallower water areas. This shot as taken just as I was leaving for an appointment in a nearby town. As photos go, it’s a miserable one to be sure, but who knows when I’d get another chance?

There are snapping turtles in the area too – one lady recently found one that had been run over by a car, put it in her trunk, and hauled it back up to the entrance shack, where she was encouraged to take it to the Read more…

That is Illogical, Captain

In northern Illinois, this is the opportunity to get away from it all.

Now and then, I’m at a loss to explain what might be behind what I observe, when it comes down to the human element. It’s not just the verbal and nonverbal messages during conversations that are considered to clarify the message, the ones that are almost certainly there but are imperceptible in my realm. You know, things you’re supposed to be able to pick up on, read into, decipher, and signal back, in so many words and gestures. The lack of ability to sense and deal with them can be intensely awkward at times. When a conversation stops making sense or begins to become peppered with contradictions, that’s when I have the feeling that there’s something hidden going on that’s not showing up on my radar.

One might reasonably think that continued experience in dealing with such things would be the cure. You know, learning and adapting! That’s simple enough, right? Trouble is, the internal wiring Read more…

The Nature of God – Part 4

[If you are just now stumbling onto this post without having read the various parts in this series from the beginning, I strongly urge you to go back to the start and continue on from there through each successive post. None of these individual entries stand on their own, and you may wind up with little but confusion and unanswered questions by starting here. That is easily done by entering “The Nature of God” in the search box on the home page, which will list links to all available parts.]

A lot of time passed since my teen years, or so it seemed. When I was about twenty-four, I was working on my hobby car project in the garage. I had always liked cars, and used my automotive hobby to console myself, since epic life disappointments had reached a peak, and I was deeply confused about what the right thing to do was.

Book-smart but not street-smart, the only response to obstacles that had seemed to work for me had been to keep going. Persist. Find a way over, around, under, or through. Or, wait for a passing opportunity, but never back down or give up, especially on a person. Sounds inspiring, but I had not yet discovered the concept of knowing when to quit, either. Never have since, actually. In the right circumstances, that can cause Read more…

Chain o’ Lakes State Park

“Ahhhh, west and wewaxation at wast!” ~Elmer Fudd

Made it! After a time-consuming tour of the campgrounds to find the right combo of traits and availability for two weeks, I opted for a site with electrical power and cool shade. There was exactly one site without that hookup (at a cheaper rate), but it looked to me as if I’d be battling very limited daily spans of solar if I took it, particularly in light of the Chicago area’s predilection for “Chicago sunny weather” (grey overcast). True, the cost is a choker ($145/week at the discounted Senior Rate), but oh well…   That cool shade ought to come in handy less than a week from now, as the daily temperatures climb from the current low 70s up over 90 degrees. Chain o’ Lakes is in Spring Grove, Illinois. Given the boggy terrain, the major crop production here in the growing season is mosquitoes.

I actually stayed two nights at the Petro Truck Stop in Rochelle, wallowing in Read more…

The Nature of God – Part 3

[If you are just now stumbling onto this post without having read the various parts in this series from the beginning, I strongly urge you to go back to the start and continue on from there through each successive post. None of these individual entries stand on their own, and you may wind up with little but confusion and unanswered questions by starting here. That is easily done by entering “The Nature of God” in the search box on the home page, which will list links to all available parts.]

I’ve always tended to go along on my merry way, oblivious to what’s going on around me. Just call me One-Track Charlie. I made it to high school without any more incursions into the ethereal realm. On the whole, I didn’t really like high school much. It had its good points here and there, but with my people skills ranking in the single digits, a lot of it was confusing and frustrating. It was disturbingly similar to church. All I was trying to do was to get through it. That is, until one day. I didn’t think about it as some kind of encounter revealing the basic nature of the Supreme Being, but did learn a valuable lesson that stuck with me.

I can’t recall the details of why I was so upset one particular day, but I do remember that I was very resentful of some teacher whom I felt was arbitrary and unfair. Naturally, I was powerless to do anything about it, and as I angrily obsessed about it on the way home, I took a precious moment to Read more…

Rochelle, Illinois

My GPS led me through a web of country roads to get here, and I have to say, the farther south and west you go in Illinois, the more the dense forests and hilly terrain make the trip appealing. Somewhere along the way were jillions of local cars and pickups jammed beside the road for a late afternoon food fight of some kind in town, and the north end of the same town offered a Civil War reenactment this weekend. And we suburbanites think meeting at a sports bar and grille is hot stuff. Whoop-de-do.

Not sure how long I’ll be here: the showers and laundry at this Petro truck stop have a certain appeal. It might be exciting when the time comes to head for the Chain-O-Lakes State Park, since unlike last year at this time, not very many sites remain unreserved, and the unreserved sites always tend to be a challenge to use – which is why they remain open. I’m winging it this year, but who wants to camp on a pronounced slope where even 4WD won’t get you out if it rains? Adventure!

Overland Expo West 2017 – Part 3

[The following video in this post weighs in at 300MB, so those on limited cellular data plans may prefer to not click on it in order to save their bandwidth for higher things.]

On the last day of the Expo, Land Rover opened up their test track to other vehicles, and three remarkable rigs showed up to take advantage of the opportunity. One was some kind of huge, ex-military truck, one was the little Pinzgauer (also ex-military), and one was an Earth Roamer XV-LT, a model no longer in production. (The XV-LTS “luxury expedition vehicle” that replaced it boasts 1,200 watts of solar, a 90-gallon freshwater tank, and a maximum range of 900 miles. It also carries a battery pack rated at about 1,000 amp hours capacity. Yow.)  This is the rig that starts at some $438,000 and change, being based on a highly modified Ford F-550 chassis. Due to its personalized license plates, I am convinced that this particular Earth Roamer is owned by the president of the company. Who was actually behind the wheel at the track, I do not know.

You’ll notice a few things about the footage. First is that each vehicle tends to stop and start, and even reverse at times. This is done as tires leave the ground, locking differentials are engaged, or for various and sundry reasons. Some parts of the video have been sped up to twice their normal pace. This stands out for Read more…

Jefferson City, Missouri

It’s not all glamour and beautiful city parks when on commute. I stopped by the Binder State Park on the outskirts of Jefferson City to inquire about vacancies, but this being a Friday at about 4 PM, they were booked and waiting for the last camper to show up. So I made my way to a Walmart some 5 miles distant and set up camp, such as I do. I napped and at 7:30, there was a knock on the Intrepid’s door. Opening it revealed the husband of the Binder Camp host I’d talked to. It seems that the last camper, who had pleaded on the phone earlier, failed to actually show up to claim his spot, and this guy had driven the distance specifically to let me know and invite me out for the last campsite! Incredible! I’d apparently mentioned Walmart as my next destination, and he had hunted me down. Now that’s customer service. Alas, being 7:30 PM with only a brief overnight to stay, it wasn’t worth breaking camp to move back out there and lose 20 bucks to boot. It had been a whim to stop by in the first place. Amazing story, though, don’t you think?

From here on, it’s Walmarts and truck stops, so the frequent pace of posts may stutter a bit, barring more mini-adventures of which I hope there are none!

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