I am not a patriotic American. Which I have long believed makes me a good citizen.
At some point in the last decade or two, patriotism became something unseemly. It got tied in, distinctly, with nationalism and culture—two things wholly unrelated. That shift came from a place of fear: America was something fragile, something which must be preserved.
This is horseshit. Utterly. It is wrong-headed thinking, backwards, and misunderstands the basic ideals of America's formation.
America is an idea, a theory, that once given form gave rise to a flawed-but-great society. America is not a culture or identity or flag or history book or show of force or even benevolence. America is a belief and concept: that all men are created equal and free, and that together we can create a society and system of government that respects that fundamental idea.
Ok, so it's a work in progress--and there is a long, long way to go. But despite all the shit flying around in the news, the awfulness in the world, and our own failures towards our fellow humans, it is undeniable that we have made progress. ... [CONTINUES]
Donald Trump and the Inevitability of Now … the Fiction of Border Policy and the Truth of Our Humanitarian Failures
[EXCERPT] ... Donald Trump was inevitable. The way his grotesque features are made more craven by his loathsome self-love, as though he exists in a masturbatory vortex in which his face turns a deeper shade of orange the more often his name is spoken … Donald Trump was always us. Perhaps he could have manifested in other ways … Sam Walton's ghost could have returned and pulled us all into weekend jobs as a greeter at the gates of a time share outside Hell … but this was always going to happen.
This is the land of Shop 'til You Drop, and it doesn't matter what you just have to buy something. Donald Trump has been a a public figure for almost five decades now. He's slapped his name on anything he thought might sell, run businesses into the ground, refused to pay his debts, was outed as a racist landlord and admitted to sexual assault on Access Hollywood.
But the important thing is: He was on Access Hollywood. And the Apprentice. And any television show or movie cameo that would have him. ... [READ FULL ESSAY]
Blogging Walden: 'What's the news?' ... Why we need Thoreau now, as much as ever
It may come as no surprise that a writer living in a small cabin in the woods likes Henry David Thoreau. Despite a lot of recent criticism heaped on the man and his work, I continue to think he was a genius who penned amazing treatises on solitude, nature, justice and self determination.
That's not to say the guy was perfect. But I feel a certain kinship to the naturalist writer who accidentally burned 300 acres of woods when a campfire got out of control. He also had a tendency to annoy people, didn't mind contradicting himself, and could be kind of an ass.
As a self-described part-time hermit, Thoreau's approach makes perfect sense to me, and recently I've been re-reading Walden and putting down some thoughts.
The follow-up finds Yuri Realman settling into his hermit lifestyle, and struggling with his dreams of being a writer. He's pared everything back so he can focus on his work, but still the rejections pile up.
And then his story goes sideways--for a moment--when a misunderstanding winds him locked up in a county jail. It's a week that tests his beliefs and philosophies, while also giving him a little insight into the criminal justice system: who gets sent away, and just how bad is the food..
More stories from the road, and insights into off-grid living. In this issue Yuri visits the wild beaches of North Carolina, the Pinball Hall of Fame in Vegas, and jail. As his resolve as a writer is tested, his work takes a turn towards the existential.
& Ranch, Issue #1!
& Ranch is the story of Yuri Realman: a guy who abandons his life in Washington, D.C., to follow dreams of becoming a writer. He quits his job and spends a year living on the road, before settling into a small cabin to reconnect with nature and pursue his passion.
& Ranch is part photo-comic, part literary and photographic journal. It's a story about someone taking a risk.
Follow Yuri's adventure as he moves from a cubicle in D.C. to life on the road, exploring Joshua Tree, Texas, Big Sur, ghost towns, and the Pacific Northwest.
As Yuri settles into his new off-grid cabin life, he begins to embrace the natural world, experiment with consciousness-altering drugs and write surreal short stories.
Issue #1 is 6x9, 56 pages.
And a review of the Coleman stovetop-oven
I used to bake bread often, but then again I used to have an oven.
For a while, that was one of the biggest things "missing" in living off the grid. I experimented with building a brick oven, but never really took to using it. I experimented with flat breads, but it just wasn't the same. And so for the past couple of years I largely stopped baking. ... [continues]
Involved: A Max Steel Mystery
Max Steel is a private investigator hired to do what seems like a simple job: Follow a cheating husband, and get pictures. But when the philandering target winds up dead, Max finds himself the prime suspect--and time is running out for him to clear his name (or at least throw the police a better theory).
I'm a big fan of mysteries and noir, and enjoy writing the genre from time to time. "Involved" is a straight-ahead detective story until the end, which takes a dark and fatal turn.
32 pages, 5.5 x 8.5
This whole trek towards minimalism and tiny home, off-grid-living began years ago when I left D.C. and traveled around the United States. I spent almost a year living out of a van, ultimately reconnecting with the outdoors and realizing I didn't need a whole lot of stuff to actually be happy.
These are some of the photos from that amazing 15,000-mile adventure. Not long after, I scraped together the cash to buy & Ranch and have been here since.