Snippets 110

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This Side of Paradise-F. Scott Fitzgerald

“No, its isn’t silly. It’s quite plausible. If you’d gone to college you’d have been struck by the fact that the men there would work twice s hard for any one of a hundred petty honors as those other men did who were earning their way through.”
“Kids–child’s play!” scoffed his antagonist.
“Not by a darned sight–unless we’re all children. Did you ever see a grown man when he’s trying for a secret society–or a rising family whose name is up at some club? They’ll jump when they hear the sound of the word. The idea that to make a man work you’ve got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We’ve done that for so long that we’ve forgotten there’s any other way. We’ve made a world where that’s necessary. Let me tell you”–Amory became empathic–“if there were ten men insured against either wealth or starvation, and offered a green ribbon for five hours’ work a day and a blue ribbon for ten hours’ work a day, nine out of ten of them would be trying for the blue ribbon. That competitive instinct only wants a badge. If the side of their house is the badge they’ll sweat their heads off for that. If it’s only a blue ribbon, I damn near believe they’ll work just as hard. They have in other ages.”
“I don’t agree with you.”
“I know it,” said Amory nodding sadly. “It doesn’t matter any more though. I think these people are going to come and take what they want pretty soon.”(312)

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11-5-17 Morning Briefing

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After the bear ate the Honda, we sat and thought about what to do with its remnants, roughly 7k dollars. The obvious choice to some, would be roll it into a similar vehicle, maybe something a little nicer, and go on about your business. Our ideas ranged from thousands of dollars worth of berry and tree plants, to quitting employment, to eventually paying off a high interest credit card and buying a 1996 Honda Odyssey for a thousand bucks. Old thing had less then a thousands miles, and decent gas mileage, it was fun, gambling. And things have mostly worked out. Took it to the mechanic and he said there wasn’t anything worth fixing right now, put some miles on it. Good enough.
That all to say last night, I noticed the interior light was on. Asked the wife about that, she said oh yes, been on all day. I stood out there for fifteen minutes messing with it, trying to get it turned off, pressing the door censors, trying to pull the fuse, nothing would work. Wife took the plate off, got the bulb out, no problem. I checked it this morning, started it up to make sure it hadn’t been drained, put the bulb back in, fidgeted with it and go it to work normal, so I’m guessing something is wrong in the dome outlet itself.

Then I feed the chickens. Neighbors had stopped by with the remnants of their garden, watermelon, fatty kohlrabi, tons of gourds . Lifted the stinking trash barrel with body breaking hulk strength, a plentiful offering to the gals. We continue to feel beyond blessed with how well the homestead has developed. We’ve spent the last month scrapping the main living room of several layers wallpaper. We got one little corner left to scrap clear, which I plan on finishing today. Then its some of plaster work, and time for a paint job. After about a year now, we might have a living room, with a couch. The deep question, do we need one or want one?

After breakfast, I set the gang to cleaning beans. They love it, smashing open the pods, getting the shiny beans all piled up. We talk about the whole process, what we’ll do next. The different kinds, how we’re eating some and setting some aside to plant next year.

I got garlic planted a couple weeks ago, planting next year food now. I also built a couple more raise beds before winter, they are halfway filled with composted chicken manure, wood-chips and a heavy layer hay, just waiting perfect for next early springs planting of radishes, cabbages, and onions.

A Neighbor supplied us with a hay bail, and sold us a pig, which we got this week. Another use of the bear check, was a new deep freeze. Same neighbor is offering to bag a deer for us as well, so I look forward to make jerky with that this winter.

For breakfast, Britney made fresh biscuits, and we had egg and bacon sandwiches. Somewhere in the year, she’s become an expert baker. I had gotten into starting sourdough cultures, but she came in out of nowhere and became the expert on it all, bread, cakes, tortillas, rolls. Its great eating, and more and more, the idea of food sustainability, eating off our own land, becomes a real achievable goal. A guiding principal in all this has congealed in my mind, the 1800s mindset.

Now this isn’t a dogma, or any sort of strict rule, but before I make a decision I like to think, what would a 1800s homesteader do in this situation. How would they approach it and look at it? So for instance with the car. Thinking 1800s told me I’m not planning on traveling too far on a daily basis, that any transportation I do have has to serve multiple purposes, and that ultimately I couldn’t spend that much, and definitely wouldn’t have or be comfortable with easily accessible and expensive debt. We giggled one night, thinking about how horses would be ideal, get a buggy like the Amish, to haul the gang. Is there anyway they could stop us?

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That’s how it feels mostly. Like I’ve snuck of the reservation and made it to clear land. A place to be and do what I want. Land. Big plans are brewing for the future, and the beauty is it begins and depends on simple things. Fresh eggs and biscuits, the moon when it makes the sky glow, the froth of the Milky Way, little hands moving with archaic deftness separating the beans…

Snippets 109

Fitzgerald,_Saturday_evening_post

This Side of Paradise-F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Well, my first point is that through a mixture of conditions of which the family is the first, there are these two sorts of brains. One sort takes human nature as it finds it, uses its its timidity, its weakness, and its strength for its own ends. Opposed is the man who, being spiritually unmarried, continually seeks for new systems that will control or counteract human nature. His problem is harder. It is not life that’s complicated, it’s the struggle to guide and control life. That is his struggle. He is a part of progress–the spiritually married man is not.”
The big man produced three big cigars, and proffered them on his huge palm. The little man took one, Amory shook his head and reached for a cigarette.
“Go on talking,” said the big man. “I’ve been wanting to hear one of you fellows.” (310)

On Dreams

THE DREAM OF SAINT JOHN DAMASCENE

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At my most sober, center, and worked, I start having the strangest, most detailed, oriented dreams. When things start going lucid, I’m always stuck in a physical space, a movie theater, a mall, sometimes an unfamiliar city, or suburbia. I think my own inherent suspicion and anxiety make it go bad, sour, but there also seems to be something there, watching me, security, the man in black. As a child its a shapeshifting empty, black hole monster, It. With maturity it manifests in real world concerns, personal relationships, physical and emotional harm to self and other. It tries to scare ya.

The movie theater, mall setting is the most common. That’s what really gets to me. Being in a room with all those other people. I start thinking, you want to say that they’re just a figment of your imagination, that its just filler-people pulled from your memory, but in the dream it doesn’t feel that way. They feel real, they react real, slow, life-like, dreamy. What happens with me is I will become suspicious of the authenticity of the whole endeavor, and my subjugation in it. This seems to “wake me” up in the dream, and that provokes a force to come play cop on the whole thing, scare you awake. Scare you awake. Think about it. When you dream there’s a thing in there that wants to wake you up….What?

I’d like to fight it. Knuckles and bones, teeth. I don’t know what that means about me. I can accept maybe its a symptom of my own broken, depressive, scared self. I can imagine others free from this creature, entity. But to what degree? What could you do if you were free in that space? Does it have to be this way?

There’s usually a shake-down with the Shadow Monster. Breath on your neck. Recently they had a futuristic, neon blue probe body scanning systems, armed guards in glossy stormtrooper black. Empty your pockets. But then the vertigo, the flee, the scene has to change. Usually it ends with running, then some subtle torture until you wake up. But what about the moments it bleeds over into reality? What then?

Snippets 105

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All the Pretty Horses-Cormac McCarthy

I caint laugh. I think my jaw’s broke.
There aint nothin wrong with you.
Shit, said Rawlins.
John Grady grinned. You see that big old boy standin yonder that’s been watchin us?
I see the son of a bitch.
See him lookin over here?
I see him.
What do you think I’m fixin to do?
I got no idea in this world.
I’m goin to get up from here and walk over there and bust him in the mouth.
The hell you are.
You watch me.
What for?
Just to save him the trip. (183)