Friday, February 25, 2005

The Day After Today

Well the day after today is tomorrow, and that’s a big day in my life. I’m going to be married to the most wonderful girl in the world. Sorry guys, she’s taken but you can read her blog here. She’s the one that makes sure I keep on the lookout.

We’re going to be married on top of a mountain overlooking Lake Tahoe

Then we are off for a trip across the pond for our honeymoon. While there we’ll be having a visit with the Watchers and the Writer. I’ll try to post something while we’re gone if I get a chance.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Greatest Show On Earth

It’s come to my attention that many people still are not seeing what is really going on here on planet earth. Here is a very good article by Richard Dolan.

You should all take a look at it. It’s important that we all be aware of what is going on behind our backs. It seems the people in power have learned from history.

If you are familiar with how we were goaded into the Second World War, then you can see how the script this time is new and improved. They are correcting mistakes made last time. That means us regular people need to be on our toes or their diabolical plan will succeed this time.

We need to learn from history, and time is running out.

I’ve been trying to get acquainted with making a Flash presentation; here is my first attempt at it regarding this subject.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pentagon Shack Construction

I’m sorry some of these pictures are a bit blurry, but if you have ever used one of those 110 camera’s, they were rather small which made it difficult to hold it steady sometimes.

Here’s a couple of pictures of the early construction.

You can see one of the walls have some cedar shacks on it already.

We had one those big 2 man saws that we used for cutting up cedar logs. There were a couple of large dead cedar trees that had fallen down not too far from the site. Here is a picture of the shaking site.

After cutting up the log we used a shake splitter to break off the shakes. There were probably more unusable shakes than good ones.

Here you can see how we constructed the walls using the small trees that were at the site of the cabin.

Here are a few pictures showing the progress on the walls and roof.

That’s me on the roof with Rotten Ron.

Here you can see the shack with 3 of the walls completed and our little plastic shelter for sleeping during the construction.

This is a view looking up at the cabin from the downhill side. We temporarily covered up a window opening on the right.

Here it is starting to take shape. This is a view of the front door. We covered the roof with tarps so that we could stay there while working on it.

Another view of the cabin taking shape. You can see some of the windows we installed. It was a lot fun hiking those up there in the middle of the night!

Another view of the cabin taking shape.

This is a view looking at the front entrance. Off to the right is the door we were building.

This is me and my friend P. as we installed the front door.

We built the roof so it spiraled up as it went around the shack. This gave us an upper story on one half of the cabin which allowed us to build a sleeping loft.

This me hanging out on the top.

This is a blurry picture but it shows one side of the shack completed with the roof on. We brought up some black building paper which we used underneath the shakes on the walls and roof.

Finally here a couple of shots of the sleeping loft.

The Pentagon Shack was completed in 1978 with the installation of a small lightweight wood burning stove.

I spent Christmas there that year with my younger brother and my friend S. There was an advantage to going up there in the winter time. The river was very low at that time of the year and it was possible to ford it, cutting off 4 or 5 miles of hiking.

We used to keep a stash of old shoes hidden under a tree. When we got there we would take a our boots and pants off and put on the old shoes, which were frozen solid. Then you had to find a good walking stick.

The river still had a strong current and the bottom was covered with slippery stones. The deepest part at this time of year only came up to your crouch, but with a backpack on it was a treacherous crossing. A slip and fall could be fatal as the water was very cold!

Christmas of 78 was white in the mountains and after a couple of days myself and S. went down but my brother wanted to stay on for a few more days. He claims he was being stalked by a mountain lion, so ended up coming down a couple of days later.

It would be nice if the Pentagon Shack still survived. I doubt the boys at the real Pentagon saw us as any threat. One day during the construction phase we arrived at the cabin and found a hand written note: “This is great but what would the Rangers think?”

We were uneasy about having been discovered, but we hoped it had been written by somebody we had known. Whatever the case, the next time my brother went up for a visit in 1979 the shack was gone. All that was left were the ashes from a fire. They also found our stash of tools and removed them.

We can’t really complain I guess, it was technically illegal, but it was sad to see a beautiful cabin which took several years to complete destroyed like that.

The Pentagon Shack

Back in the 70’s my brothers and I along with some friends got this idea about building a cabin out in the deep forest of a nearby National Park.

It first began when we first started hiking there. The area use to be worked by farmers back in the early 1900’s. There remain ruins of their cabins and the cleared out areas where they grew hay.

We were especially attracted to Anderson’s Ranch which lay across the river. There were no trails to the place, and you had to hike 3 miles up stream to use the bridge to get across.

We made several attempts to find our way downstream on the other side, but the going was arduous. There were several large creeks to cross and the tangle of dead trees from a recent landslide made going difficult.

We eventually made our way there, and in the summer of 75 we hiked in with the intent of an extended stay of a couple of weeks. We brought with us a large roll of plastic which we used to build the Plastic Shack

We framed up a structure underneath a large tree that overlooked the fields of Anderson Ranch. Then we covered it with plastic and called it home. It was a nice time, but that is when we got the idea of building a more permanent structure.

We wanted to find a location that we thought no one would find. Following the elk trails up a steep mountain slop we reached the top of the ridge. There was a small semi flat area that was mostly old growth cedar trees with a dense growth of smaller trees growing under them.

For the next three years we went up there whenever we could to work on our cabin. It was named the Pentagon Shack because we made it with 5 walls. We cut down a larger tree to act as the center support post.

Then we got 5 more logs to use as the corner wall posts. Then 5 roof beams were connected from the corner posts to the center support. We accomplished this during our 2 week camping adventure, often during the rain that is common there.

Over the next few years we continued to visit the place and mostly used the small under growth trees to lay the floor and build the walls.

I have a few pictures taken of the construction project with one of those 110 cameras. I’ll post some with my next entry. Unfortunately we didn’t get any after it was completed.

Of course we had to hike up all the tools and supplies required for the construction. Often we would hike up in the middle of the night so that no one could see what we were bringing up.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Truth About the Bible

I notice a lot of blogs like to quote the Bible freely. But I wonder how many people really know how the Bible was put together. I was raised on the Bible being the son of a Lutheran minister, so I learned all the Bible stories at an early age.

I never thought about how it was put together as I was taught that it was divine inspiration directly from God. As a child that was easy to accept.

I was lead to believe that our church worshiped the one true God. So I became confused when I learnt that within the Lutheran church there were divisions. One division claimed to have a better and more correct understanding than the other.

As a child I couldn’t understand this. Especially when I thought about the other Christian religions, Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists and many other churches. Then there were the other religions which also claimed the worship the one true God.

How could this be, I thought? How was it that I was so lucky to have been born into the most correct religion, in the most correct division of that religion as a Lutheran, and the most correct division of Lutherans? What were the chances of that happening I wondered?

I asked my father about that, and he tried to explain that all people that worship God are saved. Well not according to them. Some how I doubted the Catholics would think that or any of the many Protestants would think that.

Most people who don’t study theology at a college level don’t ever realize how the Bible came to be. A close study of this information and an in depth look at how the Christian religion was shaped and formed in the early centuries sure paints a different picture to me. It seems clear religion and the Bible was designed specifically as a controlling device. Something those in power could use to keep the masses subservient and to induce people to take up arms against their fellow man.

To me, most people around the world just want to live in peace and watch their children grow up and enjoy their grandchildren. Why would anyone in their right mind want to leave family and home to take up arms and go off to a strange land to kill other people?

I know this sounds heretical and probably most religious people reading this might take offense, but it clearly seems to be the truth to me. Its not that I don’t believe in the Creative Force but I can’t accept the way this concept has been twisted to suit the needs of those that wish to lord it over the rest of us.

It can be debilitating to drop ones beliefs that have been entrenched in one since childhood, but if a belief is based on a lie it is something that must be done.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Blog Manipulation

I’ve probably been watching too many X-Files recently. We’ve been renting them starting with season 1 and working our way through. Probably seen most of them already, but I still like them.

Anyway, I’ve been doing a bit of blog surfing today and checking out the various offerings. It seems blogging is really getting a lot of attention these days. I’ll know when it has really hit the big time when Microsoft includes blog in its spell checker.

It seems the news agencies are really concerned about the eroding effect blogs are having on their influence. They probably hate when that happens, but we could sure use some influence that isn’t dictated by corporate moguls who don’t have the regular guy’s best interests at heart.

After all it is a free country right? Why should we be dictated to by people with questionable intentions?

So back to my X-File theme, I was just imagining a government office somewhere with the entire floor filled with cubicles and at each cubicle is a professional blogger. Why not? I mean those Karl Rove types are pretty smart, why wouldn’t they try to capitalize on the blog explosion?

When you see some of the very professionally looking blogs in support of Bush you know there is some money there. You can also spot the flaming comments they like to leave on blogs with an opinion contrary to the government line.

They spent a lot of money paying professional journalists to push the government line in the media, by comparison a room full of bloggers is probably a pretty good and safer investment. Actually if they are not doing that, then I am wondering why not? Surely they are savvy enough to see a good thing when it’s out there.

Too bad I can’t prove it, but it’s not that hard to spot. This probably wouldn’t have made a good X-File episode anyway.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Truth Is Out There

Well while I was busy recalling my adventures on the freight train for everyone here I continued to be on the lookout, since that’s my job.

It seems there has been plenty going on in the world, and from my vantage point we seem to be heading one step at a time closer towards a black hole, one we won’t be able to get out of.

It’s hard to notice when it’s just slow incremental steps, but does anyone else see where we are heading? Looks like to me, we are not far off from a full scale world war.

As I surf the blogs I see people are getting caught up on one side of the political fence or the other. It’s the old divide and conquer trick. Everyone feels they are right and have all the facts on their side. To me it looks like no one is paying attention.

We don’t need to take sides, how can anyone expect to see the big picture if they are stuck on one side of the fence? I’m not talking about fence sitting either. I don’t see why we need to feel right to make someone else wrong. Is there some way we can set our differences aside and work together at determining what exactly is going on here?

Those people with power and money throughout history have always worked together to keep the population under their control, should it be any different today?

I doubt it. The difference today is they are more sophisticated and have more technology at their command. They are experts at manipulating the human psyche. They control us with invisible strings. If we don’t see that, then what hope is there?

We all have beliefs that cloud our view of the world. The truth is out there, but beliefs will keep us from seeing it. There is comfort in beliefs but I challenge anyone to temporarily set their beliefs aside and take a clearer look at what is out there.

Friday, February 18, 2005


I survived the marathon over the Golden Gate Bridge in 4 hours and 20 minutes. Not a great time, but I reached my goal, which was to finish the race. After a day of rest it was time for the trip home.

We hitchhiked over to Oakland and picked up a train heading north. Not much happened as we were beginning to feel pretty confident with our freight train riding abilities.

As the train rolled into Eugene Oregon, we were feeling so confident that we stood in the open door of the boxcar and waved to the cars stopped at the train crossings. We decided to stay in the boxcar as it went through the yard, so we wouldn’t have to hike so far.

They were in the process of breaking up the train and re-aligning the cars. I need to tell you about some signs we use to see posted on the cars. All the cars usually had a little wooded bulletin board on the outside where they would post things about the contents or whatever. Often we would see a sign in big bold letters that said: DO NOT HUMP.

We didn’t know what that meant, but thought it was pretty funny. Now we were going to learn what it meant. The yard engine took our car and pushed up a little hill in the middle of the train yard. It then went down the other side of the hump and a controller in a tall tower would operate the switches so the car would line up on the desired track.

It came down the 'hump' probably traveling at 10 to 15 mph and then crashed into the line of cars it was being attached to. The car we were in had a broken door that was stuck in the wide open position.

When we crashed into the line cars we instantly found ourselves lying our back and the door slammed shut! We jumped up and tried our best to pry it open, but it wasn’t going to budge.

You can imagine the thoughts that were going through our head about being trapped inside a boxcar. There were a few pieces of 2x4 wood lying around so I tried to use that to pry open the door. Just as I was applying pressure there was a loud bang and I found myself on my back again.

We had just been 'humped' by another boxcar slamming into us. The good news was that it caused the door to open slightly. I immediately stuck the 2x4 in the newly opened crack to prevent the door from closing again.

We decided it was best to just stay sitting until the 'humping' was done. We sat there never knowing when the next hit would come. We continued to be hit by more cars being lined up on the train. With each hit the door opened a little more. The hits became less violent as the train grew in length.

Finally the door was open wide enough for us to get out. We started hiking down the train yard to find a train that would take us north. Just up ahead we saw a man in a suit walking towards us. In train language, he was known as a bull, a train yard cop.

Apparently when we were waving at the stopped cars the police had seen us and radioed to the train yard to be on the lookout for us. We were taken down to the police station for questioning.

I had the foresight to carry with me a notarized note from my father giving his permission for me to travel. Not bad for a Dad who was a Lutheran minister. My friend K. did not have such a document so the police phoned his mother at work.

I don’t know what he had told his mother he was up to, but she was not happy. The police finally told us we needed to get out of town and suggested a bus. At this point we were quite tired of life on the train and so we ended our trip by taking the Greyhound bus back to Seattle.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Second Night on the Train

Now back to my story on train hopping. That night in the boxcar we settled in away from the door and the draft so that my friend K. was able to stay warm with just his blanket. This leg of the journey took us up through steep mountain passes.

At one point in the night we came to a stop as we waited for a train coming from the other direction. Apparently they have extra engines that help pull the trains through the mountains.

I remember hearing the train approaching thinking I had never heard anything so loud before. But still it got louder until it reached a deafening thundering roar as it passed by our boxcar.

Later that night we found ourselves stopped in the middle of a long dark tunnel. Putting your hand in front of your face revealed that we were in total darkness. We wondered why were stopped. We did have a flashlight so we could move around and look outside.

Soon we heard footsteps walking through the tunnel. Looking out the door we saw the conductor walking down the train with a lantern. We thought he was mighty brave, especially since he had no way of knowing who might be in the empty cars.

We eventually moved on and daylight appeared. The mountainous region caused the tracks to curve in many places offering us a view of the rest of the train. It was amazing to see how long the train was. We also noticed fellow travelers in other cars.

The most beautiful site was when we went over a tall curving train trussel over Lake Shasta. The trussels have no railings and it is a wide open view from the boxcar door.

The final stop for the train was Roseville. We stopped a few miles outside the freight yard in the hot early afternoon sun. We were out of water and dying of thirst. We could see a gas station not far away and I volunteered to run over and buy some drinks from the soda machine.

It was a bold move as we had no idea when the train would start moving again. Of course back in those days you wouldn’t find bottled water for sale so I had to settle for 4 bottles of ice cold Pepsi. Not my drink of choice, but it helped stave off our thirst.

Once we made it to the freight yard in Roseville we had to hike through it to find a train to Oakland. At the train yard building there was a sign about not talking to the workers and under it was a bench. There we saw other travelers waiting for a train to Reno. None of the people we saw on our journey were young kids like ourselves; they all looked like your typical hobo’s. We never talked with them much; everyone seemed to keep to themselves.

We found an open flat car for our trip into Oakland and spent the time standing up and enjoying the view. It was comparatively short trip with no incidences. In Oakland we disembarked and completed the trip to my Uncle’s house in Redwood city by hitchhiking.

When we arrived we were quiet a mess. We hadn’t been out of our clothes for almost 3 days and I developed my first case of athlete’s foot because of it. Our faces had a dark gray pall to them from all the train soot, and though we had gloves we didn’t always wear them and our hands were black.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Train Wreck

Don’t let my title mislead you, before I continue with my freight train story, I have to take moment to comment on current events, since part of my job here is to be on the lookout.

I keep an eye on what’s going on over in the mid east since it has serious repercussions for everyone on the planet. I know someone over there is itching to push the button on the nuclear bomb. Recent events there seem to have taken us one step closer.

I’m talking about the very sophisticated attack on Mr. Hariri in Lebanon. This was not your run of the mill homemade bomb put together by crazed militants in a cave. To quote from the article from The Economist Global Agenda :

“The blast was big enough to leave a huge crater and shatter windows hundreds of metres away. Moreover, it was sophisticated enough to defeat jamming mechanisms, which the billionaire Mr Hariri’s convoy always used while traveling, to forestall such remotely triggered attacks. Mr Hariri, who made his fortune in construction in Saudi Arabia, knew he had many enemies and took what countermeasures he could.”

Not your everyday roadside bomb eh? Why does it seem like every time some new sophisticated attack occurs there is also some new terrorist group to claim responsibility? Where did the ‘Victory and Jihad in Greater Syria’ come from??

Are we supposed to believe there are all sorts of people out there organizing and with easy access to such weapons that nobody knows about it? Is our war on terror so inept that explosives of that nature are easy to come by for every new Tom Dick and Harry group that comes along? That’s too much for me to believe.

I know the intelligence services of the US or Israel are very sophisticated, I don’t believe things like that happen without someone having advance knowledge. Come on, really! This is the age of high tech, and high tech industries are very carefully monitored. You can’t just go out and get a bomb like that without it raising red flags… right? Someone knows about it, you can’t fool me.

I always assume if a sophisticated terror attack occurs anywhere, it was done by a sophisticated organization, and you don’t just start up an organization and suddenly be all sophisticated and everything. It takes years of experience and building of networks that don’t happen over night.

So you can use your own brains to connect the dots, or you can be spoon feed what to think. I think a lot of people can see what is going on, though it’s not always safe or wise to say it out loud these days.

The First Night on the Train

Once the train got out of the yard it started rolling pretty fast, probably 50 or 60 mph, which made for a very chilling breeze. I got out my down sleeping bag and crawled in. When you are riding the freights you sleep in your clothes, boots and all.

My friend K. wrapped himself in his blankets and settled down next to me. Within a short time he was freezing and asking me if we could trade. I was reluctant to do so, but could see if I didn’t he wasn’t gong to make it.

I used his blankets for about 2 minutes and quickly came to the conclusion that they were useless, and unless we both got in the sleeping bag together we wouldn’t survive. It was a mummy bag and very confining for just one person, but somehow we managed to fit the both of us in it.

I really don’t know how we managed to fall asleep, but we woke to a sunny morning and the train was at a dead stop in the middle of a forest. There was nothing else around so all we could do was sit and wait, hoping the train would eventually get moving again.

It finally did and crawled slowly until we found ourselves in the Portland train yard. We exited the train there and headed for Interstate 5 where we took up hitch-hiking since it was legal in Oregon.

It took all day for us to make it to Grants Pass in southern Oregon where we decided we had had enough hitch-hiking so we headed to the local freight yard to pickup another train.

This time we were able to find the train they were lining up before it took off. There is always an ample supply of open empty boxcars on a freight train, so we found a comfortable looking one and moved in.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Heading Out

Before I continue I should explain a little bit about the freight yards. Usually the big yards are divided up into three sections. On one end trains enter and leave. It is a maze of switches that allow them to separate the cars and line them up on separate tracks. Cars are pulled out of the front section into a middle section where they can be loaded an unloaded. Then in a third section on the other end, they recombine for the trip out. So a big freight yard could be a mile or two long.

That’s how it was arranged in Seattle as trains traveled north and south there. They came in and left from both ends of the freight yard. In some places, like Roseville, California, trains enter and leave from three different directions, making the freight yard even more complex.

So that night, K. and I entered at the south end of the yard around 9 o’clock thinking we had plenty of time to find an empty box car to ride in. Apparently freight trains don’t keep as strict a schedule as passenger trains. As we got deeper into the yard we saw a slow moving train heading out and we knew this was the one we wanted.

It’s impossible to jump into an open boxcar when it’s moving; at least it is too dangerous to try. So we started running along side an open flat car and grabbed onto the ladder leading up to the open top. It was little tricky running with a backpack on, but the train was still moving very slow.

Once we got up to the top we discovered it was filled with steel re-bar, long bundles of iron rods. Not exactly a comfortable place to make a bed for the night ride, but that was our only choice.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

More About Freight Trains

I guess before I continue talking about hopping freights I should make a disclaimer: freight train hopping is illegal and could be dangerous. If you want to learn about other people’s views and adventures you could check out this guys link.

He talks about quick one hour rides, during the 90’s, doing it just for the thrill of it. My story is a little different since it was about 2 to 3 day journey back in the 70's.

The background to my freight train adventure was to get to San Francisco for the first running of the Golden Gate Marathon. I don’t know if they still do the marathon anymore, but back then K. and I were on the high school cross-country team, so we thought a marathon across the Golden Gate Bridge would be a feather in our cap.

To be honest, it wasn’t my first freight train adventure. I did a training run earlier that year with another friend. We rode a freight train from Seattle to Portland to visit our brothers that were attending college there.

Hitch-hiking was illegal in Washington State at the time, so that was the excuse used for riding the train. It was that experience that inspired me to attempt a longer trip to San Francisco.

A few days before our planned departure we went down to the freight yards behind the old Sears building in Seattle to check it out. In most freight yards they have signs posted telling you not to ask the people about the trains because they weren’t allowed to tell anyone. That didn’t really seem to matter, if you asked one of the workers something they would tell you.

So we found out that each night at 9:30 a train would head south for Portland. That was all we needed to know. When the time came our friend dropped us off at the edge of the train yard. We each had a backpack with clothes, some food and water.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Riding Freight Trains

I suspect freight train hopping is a dying art. I don’t know for sure since it’s been 35 years since I did it. I’m betting anyone reading this has never hopped a freight before. If you have, please leave a comment. If you haven’t, then maybe you would be curious to hear what it is like.

This could get a little long, and I know I don’t like reading long blog posts, though I have been guilty of creating long posts myself, I will attempt to rectify that now. So all I will say this time is that it was the year 1970, I was 17 and I was with the same friend, K., I wrote about in my previous entries. We rode the freight trains from Seattle to San Francisco and back again.

Of course I always like to interject some philosophy into my stories, all I can say about freight train riding is you have to have a certain attitude and be open to adventure. That’s part of the beauty of it, you are at the mercy of circumstances and you have to be able to react to them.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Free Falling Into Darkness

Have you ever experienced a free fall? I’m not talking about sky diving, I’m talking about dropping down in total darkness where you can’t see the bottom. Sometimes I think life is like that, if we don’t make the effort to see, we don’t know where were going.

Like I mentioned in my post: If you heard the Truth, would you believe it? How much can you really see of your world if you exist in an infinite universe and you only have five senses that really aren’t even tuned that well?

Back about 33 years ago when I was 19 I went for a visit to Yosemite park with a couple of friends and two of my cousins. We decided the thing to do was to try and score some wine, and then find a pretty spot to drink it. None of us were of legal drinking age, thus we needed a buyer to help us out. Our luck was good that day. The third person to pass us by was a young longhaired man and his female companion. The perfect mark, I thought, and I wasn’t disappointed. I handed him our money and asked him to get us a gallon of Gallo Blush.

We drove into the park with the underlying joy of anticipating what was to come. The view in the valley added to the sense of adventure and expectation. The towering vista of Half-dome drew us like a magnet and we parked in the lot that offered access to the falls. We decided to take a blanket and hike part way up the trail and find a good spot for our party. It was a very enjoyable afternoon, passing the jug around, each partaking to their fill, some taking more then others. We had a lunch of Italian sausage and French bread along with some cheese and crackers. It was a wonderful afternoon party.

The problem with fall is that the days are very short. Somehow, in the stupor that was starting to take over me, I sensed a chill developing in the air. I realized darkness would soon be on us. We had no flashlight, and I didn’t think we were prepared to spend the night.

My friend S. was in no condition to stand up, let alone navigate the trail back to the parking lot. It was decided that I would go back to the parking lot with my female cousin and the other two guys would stay with S. until he sobered up enough to get back down.

Once back at the parking lot I decided I would take a flashlight up to the guys as it was getting increasingly darker. When I got there I found S. singing ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall. He was laying on his back and the other two guys were attempting to slide him down the trail while he sang his song. It looked like they had the situation under control so I handed them the flashlight and I headed back down.

By this time the darkness had fully descended. At first I didn’t notice, it must have been the wine I drank, it took away my power to pay attention to critical details. I cautiously moved forward a few more yards down the trail. Towering trees and thick under brush surrounded me. It was totally dark, I mean really dark. I put my hand up in front of my face, nothing! I couldn’t even see my fingers.

I should have panicked, but the alcohol impaired my judgment. I thought about going back to the guys with the flashlight, but I inched along somewhat cautiously. The darkness was so complete that I did not have a trail to follow. I could still hear the drunken revelry up behind me. It wasn’t much further to go, and I was sure to be there momentarily.

I moved forward like a blind man, feeling my way for obstacles. I knew the direction the parking lot was in, so I let my radar guide me. Unfortunately my radar took me right to a large rock out cropping. I moved towards the right, more rocks. I tried moving to the left, the same thing. My way seemed to be blocked by a wall of rocks. I must have gotten off the trail. That fact didn’t change anything. My eyes were becoming accustomed to the darkness, but still I could barely see my hand in front of my face. I had no idea where the trail was, or where I had veered off of it.

I took stock of the situation and determined the rocks in front of me were just a small pile of boulders I could crawl over. Not a problem.

I got on top of the boulder in front of me and slowly started going down the other side. I had my feet first, and hoped to find something solid to rest them on. Nothing at first, so I edged a little further down. Not being able to see turned out to be a real handicap

I had to edge a little further, still nothing to plant my feet on. Okay, maybe just a little more, how far can it be? Now I had a problem. I had my body so far down the side of the rock there was no way I could pull myself back up. I pictured in my mind that my feet were just two inches off the ground. I couldn’t see the ground, but I was sure I would laugh if I could see how close I was to touching it.

I went ahead and extended my body fully, hanging only by my fingertips. I completely expected that my feet would surely touch the ground then. They didn’t. Now what was I going to do? I seemed to have only two choices. Hang there by my fingers until it was light and then let go, or let go now. Since I couldn’t feasibly hang there all night, I did the only thing any drunken person would have done, I let go.

I had honestly expected to drop just an inch or two. I think I must have entered a different dimension for those few moments that I was falling in complete darkness. My heart jumped up into my throat and for an instant the darkness was all I knew, and all I could feel. That sobered me up quick.

I landed in a heap among an uneven bed of small rocks. I lay there for a minute trying to grasp the magnitude of what I had just done. Was I crazy? That had to be the most stupid thing I had ever done. I did a mental body check. Everything seemed to be in one piece. My left ankle, which took the brunt of the fall, was a little sore, but nothing serious.

I got up on all fours and crawled along for a little bit. I told myself I would never do that again. I had been lucky that time. I just wanted to get back to the parking lot. I couldn’t hear the sound of the drunken party any more, but I knew I was very close to the parking lot; I had to be.

I got back up on my two feet and once again assumed the blind man’s position. I knew now that the trail had eluded me. If I wanted to get back I would have to rely completely on my sense of direction. I sensed the parking lot was near at hand as I carefully moved forward. I forgot about the close call I had with the boulders and felt assured I’d be back at the parking lot in just a few more steps.

Well maybe more then just a few. I kept moving forward slowly, but still no clear sign of the parking lot. How could that be? I’d been walking for a lot more than five minutes, and it took less than that to deliver the flashlight. I must really be going the long way.

Suddenly my blind man stance warned me that I was confronting another large boulder. I would have gone around it, but blocking me was another boulder. I tried going around it from the other side but once again I was surround by boulders. This time I couldn’t go back. Even if I could find the way back, I would be faced with that boulder wall I had been forced to climb/fall down.

I didn’t seem to have a choice, so I climbed up on the boulder. It turned out to be bigger then the last one. It was probably four or five feet tall. When I got to the top I felt around all sides of it, looking for another rock or something I could climb down on to. There was nothing there, so I started to lower myself once again down the backside of the boulder.

Once again I found myself stretching my body out trying to find a footing in the darkness. Didn’t I just swear I’d never do this again? I was hanging by my fingertips once again; completely unable to pull myself back up.

I hung there for a while to wallow in my stupidity. My fingers were waiting for the command to let go; what other choice did I have? I took a deep breath and relaxed the grip my fingers had on the rock.

Free falling into darkness.

I heard the wind rush by my ears, but all around me was darkness and I had no idea when I would reach solid ground. It seemed like an eternity; there was no way to brace myself for what was to come.

I hit the hard ground with a hard thud, a tangled mass of legs and arms. I groaned as I lay there, my left ankle throbbed in pain. The contemplation of what I had just done brought shear terror to the core of my being. Why was I still alive? I somehow felt that I stood at the edge of deaths door and stopped short of walking in. Not that my injuries were life threatening, but what I had just done could have easily taken me beyond the threshold of life.

I took stock of my condition and determined my ankle was the only serious injury. I doubt I could stand on it, but that didn’t matter. I didn’t want to stand up. The rest of the journey would be made on all fours. There weren’t going to be any more chances taken, and for certain sure, no more rocks were going to be climbed.

I had to struggle to keep the tears from falling as I crawled along the forest floor. All I wanted to do was be back at the parking lot.

That night I learned how dangerous it can be to try to navigate when I am not fully aware of my surroundings.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Reality Check

I’m trying to take a look at the situation we find ourselves in today in regards to the war in Iraq and how that compares to the war we had in Vietnam forty some years ago.

In my mind I am thinking about how I can explain what I see to my young adult daughters. I remember when I was a young adult and faced the Vietnam War. Of course back then it was worse in some ways because we had the draft, and if you weren’t in college you were most likely going to war. If the war didn’t kill or maim you, the psychological damage of being in a war zone would take its toll.

Still, back then the war was an issue, something you could have a peace march about or a sit-in or some kind of protest. It seemed like if just a few misguided politicians could be turned around the whole thing would end and we could go back to being the land of the free and get on with things. It’s not like there was any real evil intentions there.

In fact, that seemed to be what eventually happened. Enough people didn’t like the war going on and the politicians had to get us out of there.

Today, from my Lookout post it seems so much different. The Iraq war doesn’t seem like an issue. The young people are not up in arms about it staging protests. Of course there is no draft right now. That makes it easy for the younger generation to ignore it as an issue that doesn’t affect them directly.

There is another thing different I notice about today. I can’t be sure if I have a clearer sight born from years of being on the lookout, or if there is really something more now then there was 40 years ago.

The fact is the people in the upper levels of the government seem more transparent in their evil core. They seem more sinister and bolder about their selfish agenda and lack of respect for creation. At least in the 60’s and 70’s the politicians had to give lip service, they had to make a pretense towards showing a respect for creation. Not now, not anymore, now it seems like a true dark evil is in control of things.

How do I explain to my daughters so they can see this for themselves? The training our education system gives them seems to blind people, they can’t see the dark blackness that is leading us to oblivion. Mostly they don’t even see any reason nor have any interest in how things are run. It doesn’t have any direct affect on their lives, so it’s hard to get interested in it.

That’s how the dark evil can get away with a lot of stuff, if it doesn’t have a direct affect on someone’s life, it’s easy to ignore it and pretend its not there. But it’s like the frog in the slowly heated pot of water. The slight rise in temperature doesn’t affect him directly; he doesn’t notice that anything is going on. He gets boiled alive before he ever figures out what is going on.

Nobody wants to believe a person can be evil, and sadly most people really don’t see the depth of the darkness. I don’t know if it’s because they can’t, or because they don’t want to. To really see how bad it is can be terrifying if you aren’t braced for it.

The New Age crowd shun this idea by pushing the ‘you create your own reality’ concept. I might agree with this if they said you create your own subjective reality. But I’m talking about objective reality, what good is subjective reality if it doesn’t encompass everything? It’s a formula for disaster; people that create their own subjective reality won’t see what hit them. And I do believe there is something coming our way.

People seem to equate the idea of seeing objective reality with hopelessness. If I try to explain how bad the view looks from here, they think I am depressing or see no hope in the world. But that’s not true; the clarity of sight allows one to see the challenge we are facing. The trick is to learn to take the challenges that seem impossible and face them without flinching. Really, do we have anything better to do under the circumstances?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Things to Lookout for

I’ve been on the lookout sometime for some indications for a clue on the current state of affairs here on our planet. One thing that has come to my attention is things that happen, but are not reported in the media and news outlets. To me this indicates something that deserves special attention.

Why is that you ask? Well to me it is an indication that there is something going on that the powers that be (PTB) don’t want me to notice or know about. There are number of subjects that fit this scenario, such as HAARP or UFO’s.

Probably everyone is familiarly with those subjects to degree. Though I bet no one really has a clue about what HAARP is about, and UFO’s of course don’t exist. It seems the PTB have been very successful in their attempts to keep these topics off the front burner, where I feel they belong.

There are so many reports of UFO’s by credible people, that a thinking person just cannot dismiss them out of hand. It seems this subject will get a new treatment by Peter Jennings. The UFO Phenomenon -- Seeing Is Believing Two-Hour Primetime Special Airs Thursday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m.

That should be interesting to watch. Some people think that the presence of extra terrestrials are here to save us from ourselves. There is a recent article on by Henry Markow in which he discusses this angle.

Personally, I think there is enough evidence, if you search for it, to indicate that our planet has always been watched over by beings higher up on the food chain than humans. I know how we manage those beings that are below us on the food chain.

HAARP is another thing we should be wondering about. It is a strange technology that has been developed with little or no fanfare. Makes me wonder what the heck is going on here?

So that’s my report today from my lookout station, it seems there is much to be on the lookout for.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Super Sunday

Well here it is, Superbowl Sunday, and I have to be on the lookout. I know the Watchers and the Writer won’t be watching it so someone has to. Its all part of the bread and circus thing they got going on here behind the lines.

I know today no one will be thinking much about the real issues facing us today; it’s the perfect day to be on the lookout.

I remember Superbowl I, I was in Junior High and my brother and I had a paper route, it was 1967. We pooled our money and had bought an old used black and white TV for $15 so we could have TV in our room. It wasn’t a very good picture, but it was cool to watch it in our bedroom.

Now days you can usually find 3 or 4 TV’s in a house, and this year you can bet there will be a lot of big screen high definition TV’s tuned into the game.

January is always a big month for TV sales, the circus will be in full swing today, a good day to be on the lookout.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Signs of the Times

That damn alert system that’s on the wall behind my desk went off again yesterday. Actually this time I wasn’t at my desk when it happened. I often like to spend my lunch hour outside running, so when I’m done the company has a bathroom with showers. Well I was just about to step in the shower when the alert started sounding.

Let me tell you a little about this alert system. It was installed last year and replaced the original fire alarm system, which was just a system alarm bells. It took the electrical contractor that was hired to do about a year to install.

I work in a large building that is a quarter mile long, its only two stories and only about half of actually has a second floor. Downstairs is the factory and inventory operations and upstairs us office and computer types work.

Anyway, the electrical contractor had a fairly large crew of guys working on running all the wires and installing the little white speakers complete with strobe light. I was one of the lucky employee’s that has one installed right over my head.

The damn things have a painful piercing sound they force at you as they announce their activation. This new system has the ability to broadcast a voice messages while the strobe light flashes. The point I am trying to make is the company spent big bucks to get this installed while preaching to the ‘associates’ (ever notice no one is an employee anymore these days?) how we need to conscious of cutting costs. I guess the new alert system was really important to helping the bottom line. Who knows, maybe homeland security forced them to install it.

Last summer we actually did have to evacuate the building and gather out in the parking lot under the beating sun in 100 degree temperatures. The sheriff and fire department had shown up and eventually we were all lead across the street like sheep to someone else’s parking lot.

Turns out someone phoned in a bomb threat. You can bet it wasn’t a terrorist though, it was a disgruntled former employee, excuse me, ‘associate’. Actually, I think when they do something bad like that you get to call them an employee.

Well the authorities must had all of a 30 or 40 minutes to search this huge building for a bomb, they never could find anything so they let us go back inside. I don’t think anyone really believed there was bomb in there.

So back to where I started with this thing, the alert goes off just as I’m getting ready to step in the shower. It announced that only emergency coordinators needed to report and everyone else was to remain at their stations until they heard the all clear signal.

That was yesterday, and we are still waiting to hear the all clear signal. Of course everyone went home last night and came back this morning. But I think the whole thing is pretty much a sign of the times . We’re always supposed to be on alert and they are never going to give us the all clear signal. At least I can’t imagine them ever doing that, can you?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Final Chapter

Life seems strange sometimes, the way events happen you have to suspect a director behind the scenes. Many people turn to religion to explain the twists and turns life takes. For me religion falls short of answering the deepest questions. It seems to be designed to stop questions rather than encourage investigation.

To continue on with my story, the $19 was an unexpected gift; it meant we didn’t have become ‘drug dealers’ in Lincoln Nebraska so we could continue our journey. I don’t remember much about the next day or two. We were very careful with our money and our optimistic projection was that we might have enough gas money to make it to Seattle.

Our route was going to take us through Yellowstone Park as that was a favorite haunt of mine from previous years. As we approached the park I suddenly remembered that it cost $3 to enter it. It was too late to find a different route and the $3 was going to cause us to run out of gas in Montana.

We headed for Old Faithful where they have a large lodge made out of logs. It has a wonderful lobby with 5 floors of balconies that are built around it. Only 3 levels are open to the public, but they have a lot of nice sitting areas with couches and high backed chairs.

Our plan now was to try and sell some of our stash there. I knew the place usually had a lot of ‘hippie’ types hanging around so I figured we had a good chance of success.

We arrived in the early evening and split up walking around the lobby propositioning likely looking people. For some reason we decided that we should present our commodity as mescaline instead of LSD, thinking it would be easier to sell. The hours passed and things looked bleak. At 9 o’clock the lobby was officially closed and we hadn’t had any luck.

Despondent and depressed I sat down in a chair in a dark corner of the upper level to contemplate our plight. After a little while a young ‘hippie’ looking individual sat down next to me and we started talking. I had given up the idea of selling our goods and I proceeded to tell him the story of our cross country saga.

He was quite taken by it, and when he heard that I had some mescaline to sell he was very interested. He said he needed to contact some friends in California first, but he wanted to make sure it wasn’t LSD. I assured him it wasn’t. If he could get a hold of his friends they would by the entire lot.

As it turned out he was unable to reach them. By this time it was getting to be one in the morning and we desperately wanted just enough money to make the trip home. We finally convinced him to buy $15 worth and we did the deal in the bathroom.

At last things started looking up. K. and I left the park that instant and found the first restaurant that was open so we could have a decent meal before continuing our drive. We drove the rest of the night and came to Spokane around lunch time.

K. had another brother living there and we were able to get ourselves another meal before hitting the road again. We made it back to Seattle that night with $1 to spare.

That ended our two month adventure.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Day Tripping

I need to get finished with this story, as there is still more to tell. Events and conditions would continue to push me in certain directions. I want to make a disclaimer here, I am by no means encouraging the use of LSD, in fact I would advise against it. In my case I seemed to have no choice, and perhaps because of my disposition or whatever, my ‘trips’ were often a positive experience for me.

Anyway, I’m not sure where we spent the night that night after our day in the park. Memories from that long ago are a little vague. We continued our drive across the mid-west, and according to our calculations, we would run out of gas somewhere in Nebraska.

The lure of the drug was too much for us. We continued to take it as we drove. The curious thing about LSD is the body quickly develops a resistance to the drug, requiring larger doses to have any affect. By the third day we were taking 8 or 9 hits every few hours in a desperate attempt to recapture the magic we encountered on the first day.

Sadly it was not really possible. We found ourselves in some sort of burned out, spaced out state. Sitting next to each for three days, doing nothing but driving, only eating peanut butter and bread, taking non-stop LSD, all this is a sure recipe for disaster. On top of that we knew we didn’t have enough money to make it home and our only choice would be to become ‘drug dealers’. Not a very happy prospect.

It’s amazing we didn’t cut each others throat. I do have a memory of totally getting angry at K. for his wining and complaining, as if it was my fault or I had some control over events. That kept the car quiet as we speed at 90 mph across Nebraska.

Somehow in our dazed state K. remembered that he had an older step brother living in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was decided we would stop by for a visit. I don’t remember if we called with advanced warning, I like to think we did. We arrived in the evening in time for dinner, a real meal!

I’m sure we must have looked like some wild men, after 3 days of ‘tripping’ and sleeping in the front seat of the car, and no bath, we must have been a stinky mess. I don’t remember the conversation at dinner, but I think we sort of let on to our plight, without coming right out and asking for money.

After a good night’s sleep in a bed, a hot shower and a hot breakfast we were ready to hit the road again. Our plan was to head downtown and see if we could find a customer. As we were saying our good bye’s K.’s brother slipped a small wad of cash into his hand. K. put it in his pocket and we drove off, anxious to see how much it was.

Looks were deceiving, the wad looked substantial, but it turned out to be all one dollar bills. We had $19 more dollars. Maybe it was enough if we didn’t buy any food.