Saturday, November 21, 2015

Weekend Wrap-up – Saturday, November 21, 2015

Another busy week has passed. How was yours? Not much new to report from my world. I'm still listing storage items on eBay and Craig's List. I have a few more items sold and shipped. But, there is so much more to go. I am seeing a little bit of light, but it's a long way down the “long tunnel,” yet.

I pulled my Kenwood TS-430 all band, high frequency transceiver out of storage to start figuring out how I'm going to mount it in the van. I'll also have to pass the power cable through the van firewall so I can hook it up directly to the van battery. It requires more power than is reasonable to take through the cigarette lighter. I may even run it off the fuse block and put an automotive fuse in the line. It already has an inline fuse, but there's nothing like being extra safe.

The ultimate plan is to have the all band (10 meters through 160 meters), all mode (AM, FM, SSB and CW) TS-430 transceiver, a two meter FM rig for localized communication and an 11 meter CB rig for traffic/accident info installed and operational. I already carry a pair of FRS/GMRS handy talkies for hiking and caravaning communication. And, of course, I have my smart phone that provides my phone service, texting and my Internet connectivity. So, regardless of where I am, I will have global communication capability.

I have a few other modifications I'm thinking about for the van. So, I'm doing other things right now, besides the eBay and Craig's List project, to prepare for heading out, again. Living in approximately 50 square feet presents some challenges. Keeping it simple and efficient is really important.

My friend here in WV, who allows me to use her place as my eastern base of operations, has asked me to hang out longer than I had planned to. She has something medical to have done and would like me to hang around until that is complete. So, as it looks right now, I won't be heading out of the area until after the first of the new year. Accordingly, I'm also in the process of reevaluating and rerouting my travels for when I leave since I'll be cutting another month out of my travel schedule this winter.

The temperatures are dropping. This is why I had planned to be on the road and heading for warmer climates. I've been checking in with friends in various parts of the country and they have been telling me the snowbirds are migrating south to escape the bite of winter. I should be among them. But, helping a friend is important to me, so the sacrifice is small.

Another good happening this past week is that two friends of mine have finally taken to the road and joined the ranks of the full-time mobile society. They originally planned to be rolling down the highways and byways back in August. But, as two of the universals laws I wrote about several posts back on October 7, 2015, Universal Laws, stated, everything takes longer than we estimate or plan and costs more than we estimate or budget. Those laws seemed to apply in several ways for my friends, but they finally cut the “ties that bind” approximately three months later than they planned. And, of course, none of the delays or the unexpected extra expenses were of their own design.

I guess I can say the same about my own life right now. It's taking longer to sell off the stuff in my storage and ultimately, either in costs to sell the stuff or the disappointing prices I'm getting in many cases, it's costing me more. And, of course, those things that just seem to present themselves, also known as “life happening” are causing it to take longer for me to get back out on the open road. We just can't beat the universal laws.

The Week That Was

So, there was a horrible and costly terrorist attack, in terms of lives lost injuries and property damage in Paris last Friday night. On Saturday, the French police attacked an apartment north of Paris and killed three of the terrorists. From the reports, this included the mastermind of the Friday night attack. The terrorists didn't go out without a significant fire fight. Again, according to reports, about 5,000 rounds of ammunition were expended by the French authorities. That's nearly 1,700 rounds for each terrorist killed. That is a lot of fire power. I can't imagine the condition of the structure after that barrage. The group known as the Islamic State or ISIS or ISIL claimed responsibility for the Friday night attack.

France is on what they call a “State of Emergency” and all the borders are basically locked down. Meanwhile, in Belgium, the authorities have tightened security in that country due to reports of an impending attack there. Belgium is also where it's thought that the Paris attacks were planned and executed from. Investigations have uncovered at least a couple forged Syrian passports. They tracked at least two of the terrorist attackers to entering the region with the barrage of Syrian and other Middle Eastern refugees flooding across Europe.

Meanwhile, it appears there is jealousy afoot between al-Qaeda and ISIS. A group of Boko Haram terrorists, who appeared to be aligned with al-Qaeda (although, they supposedly took up allegiance with ISIS), stormed a Radisson Hotel in Mali. I believe there were an estimated 120 hostages in the hotels and, at last count, 27 have died. Once again, it appears these attacks were somewhat random. They are almost like flash mobs that pop up in heavily populated venues like public squares, shopping malls and train stations. Flash mobs are obviously well planned, coordinated and practiced. They appear when not expected and usually with positive intentions, though not always.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S. most, if not all, major cities in the U.S. are on high alert. Additional men and women are in the field providing extra security at locations considered high risk. But, do we really know what this means? I doubt it. If you're traveling, expect airline security to be considerably tighter. This is going to be one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. But, remember, the TSA agents are the folks who have not found a bomb or explosive device since the service was formed after 9/11. However, recently they allowed something like 95% of passengers carrying devices of a destructive or lethal nature (small guns, knives, box cutters and such) to walk through the security check points and board their planes. Just saying . . .

Also on the home front, the “bullshit meter” has been working overtime this past week. As usual, the rhetoric flies and then everyone has a field day denigrating each other. The Donald, in his bombastic way, has called for several draconian measures. Other prospective candidates for the 2016 presidential election have weighed in with other equally unrealistic ideas on the terrorism attacks, illegal immigrants and eliminating the terrorist organizations. Bobby Jindahl, the governor of Louisiana has dropped out of the Republican presidential race. Our wimp of a president and Commander in Chief has done little to instill the citizens of the U.S. with any real feeling of security or faith in him. And, of course, the mainstream news media are playing their sensationalism cards. They want everyone to know we're expecting possible terror attacks in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco. No kidding!

Personally, I don't think so. I believe there will definitely be attacks here and Paris may have been a test run. But, I think these terrorist organizations are far more intelligent than they are given credit for. Many of these terrorists have attended American and English colleges and universities. They are very smart. The foot soldiers may not appear to be the sharpest knives in the drawer, but they don't need to be. They are expendable. It also amazes me that with all the intelligence networks in the world that are working on this and with a $25 million price on the leader's head, we can't find this guy and take him out. It took about ten years to find bin Laden and he was actually, in plain sight most of that time.

The bottom line for this week's news is that we continue moving, but one has to wonder if we're moving on a treadmill and getting nowhere fast. Lots of bullshit to keep the meter pinned on the right side, but nothing really happening that's going to change the status quo. My advice is simple. I suggest we each keep living our lives, pursuing our dreams and be aware of what's happening around us. I'm not a hard “prepper,” but it might not hurt to have a “bug out bag” ready for yourself and each member of your family (if you're part of a family group). Live life simply, frugally and as a minimalist, but live every moment to the fullest. Do your best to avoid what may seem to be likely terrorist targets. Those could be in smaller cities and towns as much as they might be in the larger cities.

Weekend Reads, Listens and Watches

Here are a few things to check out. They may inspire, inform or educate you about life matters.

Here is something from Leo Babauta and his “Zen Habits” blog about curbing your need for more “stuff” - How to Want Very Little. You're not alone. This craving or insatiable need for MORE is endemic throughout western culture, but especially in the American culture. It is controllable.


Here's something to light up you eyes and ears a little. A Bit of joyful sound from four guys, a piano and a few other instruments. Put your smile on for Ants Marching/Ode To Joy - 4 Guys, 3 min, 2 cellos, 1 piano - ThePianoGuys


Freedom. Personal freedom that is. That's what my life is all about. If you're reading this blog, that's what your life is about, too, or it's what you want your life to be about. In the world we live in, there is no way to attain 100%, true, personal freedom. But, striving toward that unobtainable objective will get you much closer than just thinking and wishing and hoping. Here's a blog post by Paul Rosenberg from his “Freeman's Perspective” blog titled THE RIGHT TIME WILL NEVER COME. It may give you a few interesting insights.


So, do you every have “Blue Mondays” or “Bad Hair Days?” You know, you're just down and in a depressed state of mind. Everyone has them from time to time. It's a natural part of being human. Obviously, what may have our attitude down might seem like a huge burden to each of us. But, here is a blog post titled How to Lighten Your Heavy Heart from Courtney Carver and her “Be More With Less” blog.


That's a wrap for this week. But, let me touch on one more thing. This coming Thursday is the U.S. holiday known as Thanksgiving Day. Most of the country is going to celebrate it in the traditional manner. Families will travel to some predetermined location. That location may be a family member's home or a friend's home. Some will go to some restaurant serving a sumptuous Thanksgiving buffet. Some will spend it volunteering in a “soup kitchen” helping other less fortunate members of our society enjoy a wonderful hot meal. And still others will spend it by themselves. Some will not formally celebrate the day at all.

Here's the thing. You are free to celebrate the day regardless of your circumstances, any way you choose to. I don't care who you are, where you are or what circumstances you find yourself in. You have much to be thankful for. Each of our lives is a gift. Things may be going great and you have a wonderful family and group of friends you can share your time with. That's also when you can give back and help those who may find themselves in less fortunate circumstances. Or, perhaps you find yourself, in what, to you, seems to be a hopeless situation. You're not, but it seems that way. That's when you seek out a place where others are there for you.

To me, Thanksgiving has become a personal day. I don't need turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, candied yams and pumpkin pie. I can have a hamburger, a pork chop, some chili dogs or whatever tempts my taste buds. I can be in the company of others or I can be very thankful all by myself. I can spend the day traveling to another destination or I can sit at a lake, an ocean beach or on a mountain top and be just as thankful.

I wish for you, in whatever circumstance you find yourself, a wonderful day. Count your blessings. Be thankful for your life and all the richness you have experienced (that includes the down times as well because they are part of the fabric of who you are). Do something nice for someone else. Enjoy your sumptuous turkey dinner with all the fixings or your Subway turkey foot long sandwich with all the fixings. Happy Thanksgiving.

Live free and be happy. EH


Rob said...

The week? Where was I last Sunday? (I'll have to look). I was in Medford Oregon at my cousins house.
Yesterday I got up and was not sure where I was or what day it was... today? Today I'm sitting in the sun at Slab City, Niland, Calif. I had my oatmeal, time for another cup of coffee then take a walk around.

Thinking about the mass murders in Paris, I wonder how many other places had that kind of thing happen last week? We are predominately European so focusing on the atrocities in Europe is natural. As a plus we are fighting the same bad guys in Asia.

Rob said...

Going to be warm here today the 80s