Catalonia Secession Updates

About a year ago I wrote something about the prospect of Catalonian Independence and a growing trend towards secession and political devolution in the world.   The regional parliament of Catalonia (in Spain – think Barcelona) has decided on putting out a referendum on November 9, 2014 where they ask two questions:   “Do you want Catalonia to be a state?” and “Should that state be independent?”.    A vote of yes and yes doesn’t mean that Catalonia would split away over night, but it would probably really get the ball rolling.

For what it’s worth, the government in Madrid has pretty much dismissed the motion by calling it unconstitutional and saying that the vote won’t be held…but some Catalonians are asking how can they stop it?   Send in the police or military?

Spain ‘won’t have enough tanks’: Catalonia to vote on independence , defy Madrid  

The article above briefly tackles that question by bringing up the fact that the Spanish military has been so scaled down that they don’t have the teeth in Madrid to put them down if they wanted to.    The poor economic climate and ineffective government that leads to weak institutions plays a large part in bringing about these kind of secessionist sentiments, so that’s kind of a double whammy.    We’ll see what happens between now and then.   As of right now, it sounds like la gente in Catalonia are about evenly split on the issue.

…and in another update   Separatist Spirit:   Catalonia Ditches Spanish King’s Christmas Speech

Catalonian public television decided to not air the King’s Christmas speech this year.   They say it was a brief worker’s strike to protest budget cuts and outsourcing and there’s probably truth to that.   The station said it was unrelated to the independence movement but it sounds like too much of a coincidence to not have anti-central government sentiments too it.    I can’t think of a direct apples-to-apples comparison, but this situation would be kind of similar to major TV networks in Texas (or any state) deciding to not play Obama’s State of the Union Address or something in response to something from Washington.   Kind of a bold statement, really.

Again, we’ll see what happens.    I don’t think Spain as we know is going to unravel this year or next or anything, but it’s interesting to watch the developments as things stay rough over there.   I recently met a guy that moved to Spain from Argentina after Argentina’s economic collapse and just moved from Spain to the US due to economic reasons, I should talk to him a little bit about the situation in Spain and his experiences.

It’s Getting Darker in Detroit – Half Of All Streetlights Out

Bankruptcy Casts Shadow over Detroit’s Plan to Fix Streetlights

I don’t think anyone is surprised that things are bad in Detroit, but after hearing this segment I got to thinking about a lot of the small things we take for granted in modern civilization…like street lighting.   Have you ever been in an urban environment without them?   It’s pretty fucking eerie.   The town in Iraq I was in didn’t have them and it was very unnerving until you got used to it.    People had fires sometimes outside their homes, lights from their houses or in some areas they’d string lights up on their own if it was a place of business.    I remember one section of street with North American-style street lighting for about half of a block on the edge of town and it was even more unnerving to see that.   I still have no idea what was special about that 100 feet or so.  It made me feel like I was walking down my parent’s cul-de-sac or something.

Detroit’s municipal government has been having financial issues for quite some time and I’ve seen a lot of stories of examples of how these issues have been surfacing there over the past few years.    I think the situation in Detroit is interesting because it’s a scenario of what happens when a large American city can’t kick the can down the road anymore.    The City of Detroit has lost out on a ton of tax revenues due to people jumping ship and a declining local economy.   Not a lot of people are falling all over themselves to pick up Detroit’s municipal bonds either, so they can’t just get a loan and figure it out later anymore….and there will probably come a day when the rest of the country can’t just get a loan and figure it out later anymore too.

Another thing that’s unfortunate for Detroit is that it’s not just that they can’t afford the light bill, it’s that a lot of the street lamps aren’t working because they’re old and in dire need of updates.    Neglect of course makes these things worse.   It’s easier and cheaper to maintain something than to completely replace it…but if you don’t have the money for maintenance and repairs, what can you do?

The True Spirit of Halloween

I came across this photo series the other day when someone posted it on Facebook:

Halloween was so much WEIRDer back then

It’s a series of vintage Halloween photos from presumably the Depression-era (or thereabouts).   All of the costumes are home-spun and pretty damn creepy looking.  The folky and agrarian settings of the pictures really make me think of the “true meaning” of Halloween.    Sometimes it’s hard to think about the holiday’s deeper roots amidst the plastic Chinese-made costumes of mass-marketed superheroes and fun-sized Snickers bars, but I try to at least take note of the significance of the day one way or another.   Too many of our holidays have been watered down to the point where they don’t really mean much besides what you consume that day.  Come on,  “Turkey Day”, for fuck’s sake???

Anyways, in the British Isles Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, whatever) more or less marked the end of the growing season and about the midpoint between the autumn equinox and winter solstice, so roughly the beginning of the point of the year where nights are longer than the day.     It was like a day that straddles both life and death and a lot of folklore and traditions sprung up around this idea.    We could go on and on about the roots of the holiday, but I won’t.   It is very interesting though.

I always like to take note of the  seasonal significance of the day to our ancestors, even if these things don’t really matter as much to us today as they did then.  It’s nice to live in a place where you can observe the changes of the season and how life seems to hit a lull about now.   Birds migrate, leaves fall, plants die back, animals hibernate, etc.

Culturally, as someone of almost entirely descended from the British Isles as well as mostly rural America, I really think of the day as part of my personal cultural legacy as the holiday began across the pond and really caught on in America when it was brought over.   It’s distinctly British/Celtic, yet very American.     I think the Americana/Celtic aspect of Halloween is very cool and something that deserves a closer look.

I always try to make a point to eat some of the foods that (in my head) would’ve been consumed hundreds of years ago during a seasonal feast.   Usually that’s something like lamb, roasted root vegetables or a Welsh cawl stew (which is lamb and root vegetables) and since I’m a sucker for pumpkin stuff, maybe pumpkin pie.    This year I’m thinking it’s going to be roasted goat leg, braised leeks and potatoes.

I have to work on Halloween, but I’ll probably celebrate tonight by taking the time to sit down and watch a good horror movie after I take my dogs out for the midnight stroll.  I don’t make enough time to sit still and watch TV much anymore, so that is a special treat sometimes.   I’m not sure what yet, but I really like the classics….

So yeah, I enjoy fun-sized candy bars and girls in revealing costumes as much as anyone, but I also like the traditional folky aspect of the holiday too.    I had a pretty good time with all the Halloween-related festivities this weekend:   A Descendents cover band, a band doing Misfits karaoke on Friday and then a band doing a Ramones set in costumes and one doing the Misfits on Saturday.     I never really got into the Misfits, but I’ll definitely agree that they’re a great Halloween band.   Oh yeah, and the girl I’ve been seeing in the cheerleader outfit was pretty nice too.

 

Russia To Build North Korean Rail Line

Putin Builds North Korea Rail To Circumvent Suez Canal

I thought this was kind of interesting.   Russia is working on developing rail through North Korea in order to have a decent rail line between the Far East and Europe (which passes through Russia, of course).   There’s also something buried in there about Russian gas and oil being piped into Korea and the story of Russian gas and oil is another interesting geopolitical one.

The article makes it clear that this rail line isn’t going to replace oversea shipping, but in some cases it will be a better option than shipping via the sea, such as specialty orders.   While it may not be THAT significant, it’s definitely an example of the focus of the world economy shifting a little eastward bit-by-bit.    Russia has already written off anything beyond phoned-in cooperation with the West and is beginning to focus more on Central Asia and China as far as military, political and economic cooperation.     Kind of an interesting development considering they spent several decades hating each other in one of the world’s more bizarre rivalries.   I never completely understood the USSR vs. PRC stand-off, there has to be more to it beyond each side thinking the other was doing Communism wrong.     Anyways, sometime in the future I want to write/podcast about the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (involving Russia and China) because I think it’s a big story that pretty much got overlooked by the hoi polloi here.

There’s also a quote in the article about Russia believing that getting North Korea involved in the world one way or another will be a good step towards peace.    They’re probably right.    I don’t think anyone is 100% sure on how to handle North Korea though.    In a recent article I wrote about American exceptionalism I said that I thought Putin & Russia saved the day on Syria and it would be kind of interesting if they ended up being the ones to crack North Korea too.    I’m not suggesting that this act will do that, but it’s something.

I also think it’s interesting that we don’t really think about things like trade routes, oil pipelines and other supply chains in our day-to-day lives,  but they’re a huge deal in the world.    We just count on what we need being there and usually that’s what happens, one way or another.   When you start looking into these things a lot of the world’s conflicts start to make a little more sense.

 

 

The Russia Left Behind

The Russia Left Behind

I stumbled on this article today about life in some of the rural areas in the 400ish mile stretch between Moscow and St. Petersburg.    I’ve heard horror stories from a friend that lives in St. Petersburg about what life is like in some of Russia’s rural villages and this article seems to confirm it.    I think it’s kind of interesting to see what things look like in an industrialized country when fuel and capital is scarce and there’s little to no government assistance.    My friend told me that one of the big problems in the countryside is that when something breaks, it often doesn’t get fixed.   You can’t just run down to Home Depot and get whatever it is you need, even if you have the Rubles.  Apparently there’s still destruction from World War II that hasn’t been dealt with in some parts of Russia.

It’s kind of an interesting article.   With Uncle Sugar shut down right now, it got me thinking about what life would look like in some parts of the country if medicaid, disability checks, social security and agricultural subsidies stopped flowing.    Would it start to resemble some of the places in this article?

The Destruction of the Domestic Meth Industry

Today on my way home from work I heard NPR say something about 90% of meth in the US comes from Mexico, which blew my mind.   I’m really not sure what to make of that, but I’m going to shoot from the hip with some of my thoughts.

Meth has been a big problem in Iowa for a long time to the point where I thought I lived near the Napa Valley of meth production.   About a decade or more ago I remember low-rent gas stations selling “first aid kits”, which were basically all of the over the counter ingredients to make meth.   I also remember that when you were walking around in certain neighborhoods, occasionally you’d come across a funny smelling garage.    Farmers had to lock up their liquid fertilizers and law enforcement would take the helicopters out to see if they could find meth labs out in the country.   My grandmother had the authorities come to check out some junk she had in the back of her property because they thought it could be a meth lab (it wasn’t).      A lot of lives have been ruined by it and the meth head archetype is pretty well burned into our local psyche at this point – we see them everywhere.

The fact that the domestic meth industry is against the ropes but the Mexican meth producers are filling the void is another example of how the war on drugs is a failed endeavor and we’re probably worse off having Mexican drug cartels involved than a few “rednecks” out in the woods.    I’m not saying that meth should be legal or that it’s more desirable when it’s locally sourced I just think it makes a bad situation worse when you have Mexican drug cartels involved.

I also think that meth related problems don’t get a lot of national attention, probably because it seems to be more of a flyover country problem than anything.  It’s interesting that it’s not in pop culture the same way crack was in the early 90’s (i.e. lots of rappers mentioned it, a few mainstream movies about it, etc.).   There’s been a few B movies about it (like Iowa, a shitty film about making meth in rural Iowa) but you never hear about say, some nu-metal band singing about it.

I think if you look deeper at this, there’s shades of a rural-urban, red state – blue state, etc. divide here.    I feel like when we have discussions about poverty and social issues at the national level, they mainly focus on major urban centers.   No one really cares about little Jimmy in a place like Southern Iowa and his dead end $7.50 an hour job and meth addiction or the slew of small towns/lower-class neighborhoods that have been ruined by meth.

Just a few random thoughts on a rainy fall night spent thinking about meth.    I’d like to write more about this later.

American Exceptionalism On The Ropes?

 

The prospect of military action in Syria seems a lot less likely than it did a few weeks ago, but I think that even if it doesn’t go to blows, this event will still be looked back upon as being historically significant.   Right now it looks like we’re witnessing the government of the United States attempting to go beyond their political, moral, economic and military limits in Syria and these guys are definitely not used to not getting what they want in the world.   After over 20 years of being the world’s sole superpower, I believe this incident highlights the world’s transition into a multipolar world.

I should also say that war is not completely off the table at this point and if it goes to war it’s going to be a huge shit-show because there’s the potential for a lot of bad things to happen, ranging from only further pissing off the world as the best possible outcome and world war at the worst possible outcome.   Our recent campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as prisoner abuse scandals and drone warfare left a sour taste in much of the world’s mouth and adding another preemptive war to that laundry list of complaints against us surely wouldn’t help improve our public image.    At the more extreme end of potential outcomes, Russia has beefed up her naval presence in Syrian waters and Iran has hinted towards retaliation against the United States and/or Israel if the US strikes Syria.    Israeli involvement could flare up tensions in the regions beyond their already turbulent state (although they did strike Syria in the spring).   The possibility of this going from an in-house affair to a regional conflict to a world war involving NATO & friends against Iran, Syria and Russia is certainly there if cooler heads do not prevail.

Between hurting feelings abroad and full-scale world war lies many other potential outcomes we could face:  terrorism, being bogged down in proxy wars, economic warfare, cutting off petroleum supplies and diplomatic blowback.    With all the other problems we have in our country, we do not need more of them thrown onto our backs.   Fortunately, it does seem like the situation is deescalating and military action looks less likely.    If we’re lucky, the American public will get out of this with only a case of shame over the guys we collectively voted for.

A decade ago we had carte blanche in the world and undertook two separate wars.    Today we’re facing serious diplomatic resistance from Russia (and to a lesser extent, China) and the support/goading we’re getting from Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey plus the toadyism from the UK, France, Germany, etc. on the issue doesn’t seem like a sufficient “consensus” from the world on the situation.   I think this is notable on how far the balance of power in the world has headed to the east since we last decided to flex our muscles in 2003.   I think it’s still safe to say we’re the world’s premier superpower, but it’s looking like we’re a stoppable one with limits today.

In addition to the balance of power in the world shifting away from complete American hegemony towards a multipolar world, I think another significant reason for this operation falling flat is that our leaders in the US and Europe have failed to make a convincing enough case for it to the public.   Parliament in the UK resoundingly swatted down David Cameron’s request for authorization to use military action and there’s little enthusiasm for military action from American rank-and-file politicians.   Not only has the Obama administration and their cohorts failed to muster up the political clout to gain the world’s approval, they’ve failed to even do it within their own countries and political parties.   I think this shows a sharp decline in the power and prestige of the United States government and its figurehead.

 

On the home front in pretty much all Western nations (including Turkey) the overwhelming majority of the people strongly disagree with the prospect of aggression against Syria to the point where there’s not even a real national debate over this on main street.    The divide between regular “folks” (as Obama is so fond of saying) and governments is pretty damn big at this point.    I don’t believe they’ve made a convincing case to the public on this one and I don’t think that I’ve talked to a single soul who thought this was a good idea.   If something does end up happening with Syria, it makes a pretty good case to reject the idea that our politicians “work for us”.    It’s particularly disheartening knowing we have a president who was basically elected on the unpopularity of the wars in the Middle East, a secretary of state who protested the Vietnam War on the grounds that it didn’t serve our interests and Vice President who threatened to impeach George Bush over an unconstitutional war.   John McCain is just being, well, John McCain.

As a member of the American public, I personally don’t feel they’ve made a compelling case to convince me of the urgency of the issue.   So there’s this guy in Syria who has chemical weapons and maybe he ordered the use of them against his own people but we’re not sure so we want to go bomb them?   How thoughtful.   If we’re really just wanting to be good Samaritans, why haven’t we gone into North Korea yet?  They have some scary weapons in their arsenal and that guy is truly a dick.  My guess is because North Korea isn’t next to Israel and their economic output revolves around the cabbage harvest and not fossil fuels.   This inconsistency does not go unnoticed in the world and takes away from the moral creditability we once enjoyed as a nation.     In Russian President Vladimir Putin’s September 11, 2003 Op-ed piece in the New York Times he states “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”, summing up the world’s distaste with our foreign policy.

I believe another issue on the American public’s mind is the idea that we can’t afford another war.    We’re currently a little shy of $17 trillion in debt and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost a couple trillion dollars and still counting – we’ll be paying veterans benefits for quite some time if everything goes to plan.    It should also be noted that we didn’t pay cash for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and we would probably put this one on the credit card as well, thus raking up higher interest payments on the debt.   The average American can look around and see government services being slashed, a declining economy and our cities and infrastructure crumbling down around them and rightfully be outraged over some of our politicians wishing to go on another seemingly pointless military adventure on the other side of the world.   What’s really interesting to me is that I believe this is the first time that I know of in modern American history where “we can’t afford it” actually gives the government some pause when it comes to military action showing that we do actually have limits on how far we can go with our current paradigm in the world.

It should also be noted that if we step on Russia and China’s toes too hard and for too long, one way they could retaliate against us is economically.   Both hold significant amounts of US debt and could force the value of the dollar downward if they really wanted to.    We are definitely not untouchable in this regard today.   When we have an economy built around confidence, a little confidence shattering can go a very long ways.

Secretary of State John Kerry seemed hell-bent on war and made an off-the-cuff comment about how an American attack could be taken off the board if Assad turned over Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.   Russian President Vladimir Putin unexpectedly got the ball rolling on a plan to have Assad turn over his chemical weapons and forced Kerry to eat his words.   I think much of the world realizes that Putin had outfoxed the Americans and after decades of dysfunction Russia is emerging as an important player on the world scene again.    In fact, the international edition of TIME magazine featured Vladimir Putin with “American is weak and waffling.   Russia’s rich and resurgent – and its leader doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him”.   The American edition featured a football player on the cover instead.    As it stands now, this appears to be a diplomatic victory for Russia and definitely a diplomatic loss for the US that will probably haunt us for a little while.   The deal with Assad doesn’t guarantee that there will be no military action against Syria, but it definitely took some of the wind out of our hawkish politicians’ sails.

For the record I believe that Russia’s intentions with Syria aren’t exactly altruistic (i.e. power, money, prestige, oil), but I think Putin is looking better in the world right now than our guys and that the situation has been handled very well on the Russian end.   Ours?  Not so much.   I found it distasteful when Barack Obama snubbed Putin at the G-7 meeting, knowing that he had a list of very difficult questions waiting for him.   I also thought it was interesting that right about the time of the G-7 a massive human rights crisis magically appeared in Russia involving the persecution of homosexuals in the American media and then magically disappeared just as fast as it came, giving President Obama another arrow in his quiver on reasons to not meet with Putin.

So here’s where we are in the world:   Our government, quarterbacked by our Nobel Peace Prize recipient president, looks like bullies to the rest of the world and hasn’t been able to coherently justify this endeavor to anyone but themselves.     We’re a little shy of 17 trillion dollars in debt and the idea of shelling out more to pay for this is unpalatable to most.    Other nations are using soft power (i.e. diplomacy, world opinion) against us and winning.  Our military is still overstretched and worn out over the past decade.  Our leaders look like complete assholes and the American public aren’t behind them on this one, despite pressure from the mainstream media and our politicians.    Vladimir Putin looks like a saint and well, Obama doesn’t.   Neither does Hollande, Cameron or Merkel.     In short, I think we’ve found our limits on how far we can carry on successfully with our current geopolitical paradigm and we’re currently somewhere on the wrong side of that line now.

I really hope we duck out of this one gracefully and use it as a learning experience because the mile-high view of this situation looks like this could wind up being one of the key events that mark the end of America’s position as the world’s sole superpower and shattering the idea that America is exceptional.   I’d rather we see that the easy way than the hard way…

 

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy

Article

I usually don’t think much of what I see from the Huffington Post, but I thought this was kind of a cool article on how things for Generation Y (those of us born between the late 70’s and mid 90’s.   I was born in 1981.) haven’t exactly panned out to our expectations.   To sum up the article, we received a lot of bad (but well intentioned) advice from our parents’ generation that didn’t reflect current reality and we were told that we were special and could “do anything we wanted to do”.     When it turns out that we really couldn’t do anything we wanted to do by following the prescribed path (going to college, putting time in, etc.) we become unhappy.   Makes sense.    I bet this article hit home for a lot of the HuffPost’s readership.

After reading the article it made me think of some of the conversations I remember having with my parents and other “authority figures” in my late teens/early 20’s.   My dad worked at the same factory for about 35 years, from the age of 18 or 19 until retirement and my mom has been at the same place for over 25 years.   That mentality that it’s best to get hired on somewhere and stick around was definitely put into my head and I actually ended up working at the same factory as my dad but I’m probably in the minority of my generation with that kind of opportunity.

My sister had a boyfriend  years ago that worked in the jewelry industry.   In the year or so he was around, I think he worked at half a dozen different jewelry stores.    He was constantly talking to other people in the industry and going wherever he could get the best deal.   This absolutely blew my dad’s mind…  he was worried that employers would think he was flaky and that he would be better off settling in somewhere and working his way up, just like he did.    He ended up doing pretty well in the jewelry business because he thought outside of the box and wasn’t afraid to make changes.

I heard both “if you don’t go to college, you’ll wind up flipping burgers” and “it’s best to get hired on somewhere, put in your time and get your pension” quite a bit.    I don’t know a lot of people with college degrees flipping burgers, but I know a shitload of people with college degrees doing entry level work that they could have gotten without the college experience, often at places where their positions are precarious and they wind up having to find a new job after a few years.

Growing up I also remember the “you can do anything you want” line too.    I think there is some truth to that, but I think we fail to teach exactly how you go about doing “anything you want”.   The path I was taught was basically go to school for whatever it is and work really hard, like there’s always going to be someone there to hand you an opportunity if you can just present that magical diploma.   I knew a lot of people that went to school for things like marine biology, sociology, history, English, etc. figuring that in the worst case scenario they would just end up teaching it somewhere and they wind up processing mortgage applications at Wells Fargo….if they’re lucky.   A lot of people who “followed their passion” could only follow it so far and wind up not having the skills to truly be competitive in the economy.

I also know a lot of accomplished un-accomplished people if that makes sense.   People that have checked off the boxes they were told they were supposed to check off (i.e. going to college for something) and haven’t quite gotten what they feel they deserve in life yet (and probably won’t) and end up in a perpetual state of limbo doing work “beneath them”, but believing it’s just temporary because their boat will come in soon enough because, well, it has to.   I’m not making fun of these people, just pointing out that they exist and that it’s a problem in our society.

The author concludes with some advice to stay ambitious, stop thinking you’re special and to stop listening to other people.    Pretty good advice.   Fortune favors the bold, no one is entitled to anything and conventional wisdom usually isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

The article doesn’t touch the student loan debt issue which adds another dimension to it.   I’m sure it sucks to work at Starbucks when you thought you were going to wind up studying dolphins in the South Pacific, but it probably really sucks if you’re paying down $60,000 in student loans while you’re doing it.

I also think that we’re set up for a huge generational wealth gap.    As the baby boomers who lived in an extremely prosperous period retire, much of their wealth will probably wind up disappearing into thin air and/or being sold at rock bottom prices to whoever will be available to buy.    I honestly don’t know a lot of people (myself included) that come from average backgrounds who seem on pace to outperform their parents economically.    When it comes time for mom and dad to cash in the 401k, sell the McMansion and on a larger scale in society assets like farmland, machinery, businesses, etc.  who is going to be there to buy it?   Probably not little Jimmy with $40,000 in student loan debt and an entry level job.    We’ll probably end up with greater wealth inequality and/or more foreign control over our economy.      It should be an interesting next 20 years to see how this pans out.

This Year Sucks For Gardening, The Present and The Future.

It’s been a pretty disappointing year garden-wise.   We got a ton of rain early off in the spring which made things a little difficult and then the great earth goddess shut it off by the time shut it off by the time summer rolled around.  It’s currently past labor day and it looks like we have a week of 90+ temps and no rain.   The only thing that seems to be growing is weeds.    I can see cracks in the soil in my yard, some of my perennials are croaking and everyone’s yard is completely brown.   Anything I tried to grow in containers on my full-sun deck is completely fried and it’s honestly just kind of miserable to be out there on my deck amongst the dirt, death and disappointment.    I used to like to sit and have breakfast on it in the morning or dinner in the evening, but it’s been too hot for that shit.     Oh yeah, fleas have been a problem too since it’s so hot.    Some things I’ve planted are doing ok and I’m thankful for that.    I’m currently trying to turn things over into a fall garden and hoping I’ll have better luck with that sort of stuff, but I get the feeling it’s going to be too hot for those things to germinate and then it will be too late.     I’ll try winter gardening again too, for sure.

So I’ve been really unactive here this summer.   I’m getting divorced, so that’s changed up my lifestyle a bit.    While married I had a ton of time between when my wife went to bed (say 10:30pm) and when I did (4:00 or so) to do things like blog or write books about Red Dawn.    I had that online permaculture design certificate class this summer that took a lot of my computer time and I put some other projects on the backburner when all of this went down in early June – I still have a 3/4 finished chicken coop sitting in my back yard.    At least I can say I spent this time doing just about everything but moping around over the pending divorce.    I feel pretty good about things overall.    I haven’t been keeping close tabs on some of the things I normally keep up on and it’s been a shitty year garden / urban homesteading wise, so there really hasn’t been much for me to write about.     I hope to get back into writing regularly….and doing more things worth writing about.

The future:    I have an idea for a book, but I’m going to hold off on committing to that until I’ve dwelt on the subject matter for a little longer.   I would also like to get a few articles published in some other mediums.    I kicked around the idea of podcasting in May before my wife and I split and then put it way on the backburner once that happened.   I’m starting to consider it again.   Some of the technical things are a little intimidating but it doesn’t look THAT bad.     The dust still hasn’t completely settled in my life, but everything will depend on what that looks like when it does.  I really enjoy this kind of thing, so I’ll try to make it happen if I can.

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