Musings on genre writing, waterfall wandering, and peak bagging in the South’s wilderness areas.
Tomorrow I’ll take mine down and make sure it’s clean and ready to go. Not much longer till we head out for our first trip of the Spring/Summer season.
We’re probably going to sell my kayak this summer and buy a tandem model. We’ll keep Carole’s excellent Wilderness Pungo for when our son wants to go kayaking with us. We decided a couple of years ago that we wanted to switch to a tandem kayak, but we’ve either just been too busy working to shop for one, or it wasn’t in the budget. Recently, though, we have been able to look around and eyed a number of them. For a while we were going to get a sit-on-top model, but we have opted to get a conventional type. And, again, we’ll go for the Wilderness kayak–we have really been impressed with Carole’s (it tracks exceptionally well) so the company sold us on design and general quality.
|Carole ahead of me when we paddled Holmes Creek in Florida in 2017.|
|Carole out in the bay at Gulf Shores National Seashore (also in 2017). That’s her kayak in the foreground and my Perception model on the left.|
Over the next eight months Carole and I have planned seven trips, all with our Casita travel trailer. These will pretty much all be within more local states (NC, SC, VA, WV, TN, GA); but we are heavily leaning toward a camping trip to Pennsylvania. I think it would be nice to visit Gettysburg. We’ll see if we can firm up the plans.
The only month that we probably won’t go anywhere is June. That’s a busy month for us. We have our 35th wedding anniversary, my son’s birthday, my birthday, and Father’s Day. All of that will keep us busy sticking close to home.
At any rate, I made it. All the way until retirement. Hopefully I won’t croak anytime soon. Recently an old friend of mine died a week before he was to begin retirement. The second I saw all of that happen, I realized that there was no way I was going to try to punch the clock for even one more year. I’d like to enjoy a few years of the kinds of adventure I want to take and not suffer one more day of the grind of working for either corporate or federal pay-masters (both of which I have done).
|Taken on a camping trip. This, and all of the photos that follow, were taken on camping trips. Lots more camping ahead for us!|
At any rate, here are photos of this Spring’s show.
|The front yard.|
|One of the dozen azalea beds in the back yard. (Things still don’t look right to us since the property owner behind us harvested the hardwood forest back there.)|
|Azaleas and dogwoods on the left side, back yard.|
|Another of the twelve beds in the back.|
|Dogwood branches in full bloom.|
|Our travel trailer. I took this today after getting the Casita all scrubbed for our upcoming vacation.|
|It took an awful lot of elbow grease to get the Casita cleaned up this time. She was really, really dirty.|
At any rate, I spent the money for a new truck and camper shell. Then we turned our economic attention to our aging Casita travel trailer. It’s still a good unit, but to get it up to standards I’ve had to spend some money on the plumbing (which needed work) and the wheel bearings and brakes.
One of the very few things about our Casita that I never have liked were the stabilizer jacks on the rear of the trailer. The design of the things just aren’t something I have liked. It has always been a bit of a pain to lower and lock them into place, and to retract and secure them when it’s time to leave. To me, they were just not very good. It didn’t help that the trailer manufacturer welds them to the frame rather than bolting them on so that they can be more easily replaced or repaired.
Last year I bent one of them because I frankly screwed up and didn’t secure it properly when it was time to move the trailer. My fault, all on me. Then, recently, the second one was bent when, in backing the trailer into its spot on our parking lot in the yard, it disengaged on its own, partially lowered, and was damaged.
Faced with two broken jacks instead of one I was getting ready to head to a shop to have someone use a torch to cut them off. One of my wife’s friends mentioned it to her husband (Frank Shue) who figured he could come over and cut them off for me. So he brought over a simple cutting tool and went to work. In no time at all he had both jacks sliced off the frame and now I can travel down the road knowing I don’t have two faulty jacks at risk of coming loose.
When we get back from our current trip I’m going to install new stabilizer jacks, of a completely different design from the old ones. Other improvements on the trailer this year will be to replace the subfloor and put in wooden flooring (instead of carpet), do a fix to give the trailer a high-lift axle so that I can add 15-inch tires instead of the current 14-inch, replace the old TV antenna, and then add solar panels for recharging the battery and producing energy when we’re boondocking (instead of relying exclusively on our excellent Honda generator).
Over the next two years we’ll be using the Casita a lot. More than we ever have before, since my working responsibilities are now a fraction of what they have been most of my life. Retirement, baby.
|I never did like these jacks. Not only an uncomfortable design, but a pain to use.|
|Frank Shue cutting them off. Much appreciated!!
|Now she’s pretty much ready for our next vacation!|
A bit of a smile played across the other man’s lips.Or seemed to beneath the cover of wiry gray hair sprinkled with those fewlingering lines of darkest black. “Marlin,” he said. “My name is Marlin.”
How are you? I am fine.
So, for years, beginning at about age six, I would start all of my letters to friends and relatives that way. However, one day I looked at the latest letter I was writing and said to myself: “That is fucked up. I need to stop that shit.”
I think I was 38.
|Potato Knob, Black Mountains of NC. (Why? Because.)|
Last year I spent about half (maybe more) of the time banned from Facebook. This cut me off from communicating with my various Facebook friends and even with my family members (via FB). After the fourth time of being banned (for saying something negative about the government of Saudi Arabia) I figured I’d just stay away. But, since I do have so many actual friends there, I returned.
Well, it didn’t last. Once again I found myself banned for making a single negative comment about police brutality. I didn’t even use profanity. Still, the brief sentence was flagged and I found myself once more banned from Herr Zuckerberg’s domain.
This time I did follow through and deleted the program from my desktop and various electronic devices. When my prison sentence is ended I don’t think I’ll go back this time. I think it’s for the best. I’ve found that I produce more work when I’m not on Facebook than when I am there. The professional writing networking I once enjoyed there had collapsed anyway, so it wasn’t any good for that.
It reminds me of the situation I had with a trio of former friends. These three guys were all about my same age, all fairly creative in one way or another, and all three of them had found a way to lead an existence without working. Instead of holding down an honest job, they stayed at home all day long doing a little cleaning, but mainly lounging about performing very little to nothing in the way of honest labor.
How did they do this? How did they get the money to pay for that roof over their heads, the clothes on their worthless backs, and the food they stuffed into their selfish gobs?
They had–all three of them–married women who were willing to demean themselves by working while their worthless husbands sat in the domicile. Sure, a couple of those guys learned to vacuum, and fold the clothes, and wash the kids. But by and large they spent their leech days just puttering around, driving to see locals pals, smoking their tobacco, and living safe knowing that their wives were bringing home the bacon so that they could be lazy, worthless bastards.
I don’t see any of those guys anymore. One of them was just far too stupid for me to talk to. One turned out to be psychotic. And the last of them became a neo-Nazi.
I deleted them all. Not the same way that I deleted Facebook, but just as effectively.
|My biggest question remains: Where did they find women who had so little self-respect that they kept those scumbags around??!!|
In many ways, Krigstein was too good for the industry. I say that not to make light of the art form we call comic books, but to separate the vision of comics books that Krigstein seemed to have from that of the other artists who toiled in creating sequential art.
The first time I ever saw his work was in a coverless EC comic book I happened upon while digging through the giant stacks of old comics in one of my dad’s used bookstores. I recall Jim Steranko was really popular at the time, so it must have been around 1966 or 1967. Maybe as late as 1968. The story dealt with an indigenous South American Indian who took revenge on his white employer who had unknowingly killed the Indian’s parents. The afflicted man took his revenge by placing a school of ravenous piranha in his master’s bath–the fish eating the evil man from the waist down.
This was powerful stuff for a kid of nine or ten years old to see–from a comic that was then only fourteen or fifteen years old. If I’d known such stuff had been banned by the Comics Code Authority, I’d have cursed them. The story was brilliantly illustrated and the moral of it must have appealed in some way to Krigstein who had–I later discovered–tried to form a union for comic book artists in the very early 50s.
He ended up working mainly for EC Comics–specifically for William Gaines, because Gaines paid the very highest rates among the then many comic book publishers. And those page rates showed in the stunning quality of the work his stable of artists turned in for the various suspense, crime, horror, and science fiction titles that Gaines published.
The next time I stumbled upon a Krigstein story was his work “The Master Race”, in a copy of IMPACT #1, also in my dad’s vast inventory of old comics. That one impressed me even more than the piranha yarn. Here I was as a kid, seeing what is probably still likely the most brilliant visually conceived comics story I have encountered. If anyone has done anything close to it for sheer power and brilliance I have not seen it.
Krigstein’s comic book career didn’t seem to last very far beyond the demise of EC Comics (shut down by the Comics Code limitations). He drifted off into more traditional artistic venues and rarely seemed to look back.
At any rate, here is the photo of Mr. Krigstein who so impressed me when I was still a very little kid. It’s fitting that he had such striking features. He was almost like one of the distinctive Asian characters that he lovingly illustrated from time to time.
Musings on genre writing, waterfall wandering, and peak bagging in the South’s wilderness areas.