Hubskihttps://hubski.com/A thoughtful web.Hubskihttps://hubski.com/images/discussion.pnghttps://hubski.com/https://hubski.com/pub/389502Dog Owners of Hubski: Indoor Exercise Advice? #askhubski #thepuppyconditionhttps://hubski.com/pub/389502(spoiler: I mostly just needed a place to vent, though any advice would be great!)This is Cooper. He's around 3 years old. He's a Doberman terrier mix. A rescue twice over. He is adorable, loving, and a huge fucking handful.To avoid the quagmire of poorly explained emotions, turn to page 26------------CooperMy partner and I got him this past week. We knew he would be a lot to deal with. He's very reactive to other dogs (barking, lunging), and has a boatload of energy. That's okay, we thought - we have a lot of time on our hands, we can just take him for walks. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac. Turns out, every single house (except for one) owns at least one dog, most own two. They almost all have fenced in front yards, where their dogs are always running around. This means that the furthest we can get without Cooper getting freaked out is about 20 yards, on a good day.That's okay, we thought - we have a fenced in yard too, and the neighbor on the other side of the fence doesn't have a dog! Turns out that there's a reason for that. Mrs. Jenkins, pt. 1Our neighbor is named Mrs. Jenkins. She told me her first name once a few months ago, but everyone seems to just call her Mrs. Jenkins. She's about 80 years old, and has lived in her house for 52 years. I live at the edge of Cully, one of the historically black sections of Portland. Mrs. Jenkins and her family are one of two remaining black families on my block - the rest are, largely, white couples under the age of 30. A few families that have been here for a while, but it's mostly renters.Mrs. Jenkins, I learned yesterday, is terrified of dogs. She was chased by a pack of dogs and bitten when she was a child - I don't know much more of the context than that. Her house is adjacent to 5 other houses - each and every one of those houses has a dog. Her yard is fenced in on all sides, and there is a beautiful garden along the perimeter. Tending to this garden seems to be one of her favorite activities, and she spends most of the morning doing so. Cooper is good with people. Sure, he gets excited when I get home, but he doesn't bark at people otherwise. Except, of course, at Mrs. Jenkins. And her family.The Last OwnersI don't know much about Cooper's past - we got him from a couple who were living in an apartment complex on the outskirts of Portland. It was... not so great. They were hoarders, and had been feeding him pretty much only hot dogs. He had a shock collar on, which they gave us for free. It was clearly meant for their other, bigger dog. On our walk to the car, his owner Vince was giving me advice on being the "alpha", and letting me know that he tried the shock collar on himself, and the highest setting wasn't too bad, so that's what he uses on Cooper.This couple had gotten Cooper from a shelter. He was going to be euthanized soon if they didn't adopt him, because he had gotten into a serious fight with another dog before and his owners abandoned him. I guess he was in a pretty rough condition when they got him. They told me that if he attacks another dog again and the owner alerts Animal Control, he'll be killed.They don't know much about his first owners, but they think he was being trained to be a guard dog.Mrs. Jenkins, 2Back to Mrs. Jenkins. She has tarps on all sides of her fence, except for the side connected to us. She put them up because she was afraid of the dogs that kept jumping at the fence when she was gardening.She's putting up some tarps on our side today. Cooper hasn't lunged at her or anything, but he barks at her when she's gardening. Again, she and her family are the only people I've seen Cooper bark at. I don't know if this is a thing that is even possible, but I think the dog's first owners might have trained him to bark at any people of color he saw. I feel more than a little insane for thinking that. Even if not, I have no idea why the only person that he barks at is the one person in all of Portland who doesn't like dogs.I feel acutely aware of the fact that I am starting to impose on a neighborhood that was once largely black. All my anxieties about becoming a part of gentrification are coming to a head, and I'm having a hard time dealing with it all.Enough SleepI know that these are small problems that feel dire just because I've been getting less sleep than usual. I'm waking up earlier to take Cooper out, because I can actually take him for a walk at 6 AM without worrying about other dogs. And if I stay up till 1 AM, the other dogs are asleep already, and I can walk him then. I've been spending a few hours a day doing leash training with him. He doesn't pull as much anymore, which is a start. I know that his pent up energy is the biggest problem here, and once I can actually walk him safely, everything else will start to fall into place. He can go to sleep sooner, and hang out in the yard without freaking out. I can slowly socialize him with other dogs. Mrs. Jenkins can take down some of her tarps. It all takes a lot of time. I just want everyone to be okay in the meantime.Page 26TL;DR: Any advice for getting Cooper some indoor exercise while I'm working on leash training him? I've been playing tug of war, and he's getting a lot of his food out of a Kong now, which tires him out a bit. He can also walk around in our yard, as long as our neighbor is inside and he is on a leash.https://hubski.com/pub/389407Lit.cat Issue 21 isn't just 🔥🔥🔥, but it's 💥💥💥. At least, I think those are explosion emojis. #goodlongreadhttps://hubski.com/pub/389407If promo videos aren't your thing, here are my personal favorites from this month's issue:Cleaning Up After the Dog: "Pull plastic bag from pocket and wave it like a flag or diploma. Make sure many people congratulate your care for the community."A Senior Citizen’s Guide to Internet Pornography: "Your favorite search engine is the best place to start your journey into the sexually explicit. Many seniors use Yahoo! and Google for looking up old friends or getting the show times of movies to nap through. But did you know that search engines are also a great way to find out about young horny sluts who like having their feet massaged?"Jeezus Changed My Oil Today: "Jesus takes my money, smiles, gives me the change, waves me on my way. Have a good one, he says, then turns to the next car in line, pops the next hood, pulls out his oil wand to service another and I imagine he’s cleansed my car saintly, extracted my sins and my guilt, my oily intentions like a drive-through confession."https://hubski.com/pub/389319The secret is out: mk, ecib, and thenewgreen, have been in YC S17. #foreverlabs #showhubskihttps://hubski.com/pub/389319It doesn't excuse the Tuesday Pubski, but it's been a crazy three months.https://hubski.com/pub/388916If someone gives you a badge, can you then give it away?https://hubski.com/pub/388916I'm just curious about how badges work - if someone gives you a badge, is the badge removed from circulation or can you pay it forward?https://hubski.com/pub/388575Bl00sreviews #12: "White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America" by Nancy Isenberg #bl00sreviewshttps://hubski.com/pub/388575…I'm confused. Usually you're deeply and reliably snarky. This is… ambivalent?Naaah, dawg. This here be a powerful book.Perhaps it's due to what you think of as a unique background.My background is hardly unique - Tell them where you're writing this from.…Seat 1A, first class for my fourth flight of this young month. But it's not like I paid for it.Who's comparison-shopping Porsches and Mercedes in his spare time?I drive a '95 Dodge. I'm looking at used cars. My cousin likes to call himself an opportunistic depreciation monkey. If I blow $15k on a used Porsche it'll be less than I spent on my wife's Honda.Wouldn't happen to be the same guy who spent half a day on Rodeo Drive looking at quarter million dollar watches, would it?Like I was gonna buy one of those. Market research for a career I'd need an associate's degree to pursue.Pretty sure I saw an IWC Schaffhausen Portuguese Tourbillon on your wrist not a week ago.I have also driven Ferraris. That does not mean I will purchase one.Because you can't, fucker. You're a deeply aspirational sonofabitch but you and I both know that your ass grew up on food stamps, that cockroaches and mice were regular roommates and that Rit dye turns Thriftown scrapings into sort-of new clothes and having relatives that live in the poor hispanic community down the hill doesn't make you cool, it makes you an auslander, even if their 1600 square feet and half acre of beans is the largest house you've ever seen. You know what, kid? Nobody else's parents told them to hit first, hit hard and look out for knives. Nobody else's mother used a stilletto to peel apples. Nobody else's dad told them that the easiest way to kill a mouse is to step on it, even if you're barefoot. Nobody else's parents saved the bladders out of boxes of Gallo wine for storing used motor oil. You could BUY that Ferrari and you'd STILL be white trash.I'll have you know my great grandmother hosted Daughters of the American Revolution meetings. Four generations of Herwits went to Harvard. They still do.You're not a Herwit! You're three generations removed from that, white trash. They kicked your grandfather's folx out when they ran out of money, and they kicked your grandmother out when she married your loser goy grandfather. And what about the dirt farmers on your dad's side? They finished what, sixth grade?Eighth. Sixteen hundred square feet. A veritable mansion. Built it out of masonblock themselves, didn't they? You buried them in a dirt lot so far out of town you'd never been there before, after the Masons forgot their song mid-way through.Shut up. They bought those plots themselves back in the '60s. We never knew. Sweet tea, wasn't it? Six Lipton bags and a cup of sugar? And what did you call her cookies? "white trash cookies?"What the hell else would you call a box of yellow cake mix with all the liquids replaced with Wesson. My great uncle helped invent LORAN - You never met your great uncle. The family stopped talking to your grandfather when he dropped out of Harvard upon knocking up the Jewish girl. Your family drove two hours out of their way, went around his lake, parked in his driveway, and then left without so much as knocking on the door. You might as well have been singing "Here's your one chance Fancy", White Trash. Your grandfather was a machinist.A machinist who was regional president of the AFL - yes, yes, yes, white trash, who was mandated early retirement and died bitter in a two bedroom hovel in dirt-poor Albuquerque, surrounded by Hispanics. Funny thing about Hispanics in New Mexico - lots of their families have been there four hundred years and have counties named after them. They might be poor, but they'll never be trash like you.Can we talk about the book, please? There is no "we", white trash.So the interesting thing about this book is it lays bare the fact that here in the land of the free home of the brave, we have since the very beginning followed the exact same classes and structures as English society but that due to our foundation as a representative democracy we have to pretend we haven't. Isenberg starts by pointing out that most of the immigrants to the United States were indentured servants who faced worse contracts than they got in England, that they tended to die a lot, that they always got the shittiest land even when they were free and that the power structures in place were such that whatever valuables they had were generally consolidated into the holdings of genteel land-owners who recreated an Elizabethan social structure where the elites still held 99% of wealth with only 10% of the population. Further, that the exploration of North America has always been a process of "waste people" moving into undesirable lands, dying by the droves, establishing a toehold and then being swept aside by the desirable class. American history is one long lather-rinse-repeat process whereby a frontier is bought dearly by the poor who are then swindled by the rich and the reason we accept this is - actually she never says why we accept it.I think this book is valuable to me through synthesis of some other stuff I read. There's a fascinating book called "Fame Junkies" wherein the reasons why we follow gossip are explored. And fundamentally, we have a biological imperative to align ourselves with the strongest members of the tribe, and we have a sociological imperative to find common ground with strangers through gossip. Therefore, you're going to follow a leader just because he's a leader and you're going to talk about leaders because you have nothing else to talk about. And while Isenberg spends dozens of pages laying out chapter and verse how eugenics was practiced on the poor, how you can't have a discussion in the US for the past 200 years about the poor without discussing breeding, and how stereotypes of morally lax inbred hillbillies are older than the United States, she misses some big stuff that only hit home because fuckin'A, there aren't a whole lot of people you can make fun of anymore. Furries and Honey Boo Boo. That's pretty much it.Allow me to break the narrative for a moment but one of the things that both Methland and The Great Unwinding hammered home is that in the United States, if you're successful it's because you deserve to be and if you fail, it's because you're immoral. You didn't work hard enough. You didn't strive. But here in these United States it isn't the proletariat we worship, it isn't Tom Joad, it's fucking Kennedys and Kardashians. I've got friends that are friends with Max Landis and allow me to say this once and for all that the way you get ahead in Hollywood is by being rich and related to someone else who got ahead in Hollywood and if you aren't, Fuck You. I knew James Coburn's son briefly. Coburn never did shit for his kids. It horrified everyone I talked to because fuckin'A why don't you do shit for your kids? What's the point of nepotism if you can't go by Emilio Estevez wink wink nudge nudge? Nicholas Cage totally got to where he was by being talented, not by being Francis Ford Coppola's nephew, right? And look. That's me. Eating a warm chocolate cookie at 30,000 feet, a complimentary double of Woodford Reserve at my elbow, pissed to fuck that I'm not getting the same opportunities as Uncle-Frank-Directed-Godfather. Let's say you're my grandpa in Bastrop County Texas and it hasn't rained in a year and the cows are dying and nobody's giving you shit and you gotta put your kids in the trailer and drive around for two years looking for fuckin' work before you luck out and get an apprentice plumber job with the AEC. Except it isn't 1952 it's 2017 and your kid's got real promise and she might actually make it out except apparently some Asian kid in Denton is gonna get her slot or some black kid in Houston is gonna get her slot or some Mexican kid in Fort Worth is gonna get her slot because if you're Hispanic or Asian or Black you're a minority but if you're not? And you can't afford school because fuckin'A you can't afford cheese? Well, you, son, you'reWhite trash.And you don't deserve shit.It has been argued - conclusively - that the hardships faced by minorities eclipse the hardships faced by white people, particularly when controlling for socioeconomics.Sure. But what that means is that a poor black kid might get to go to college while a poor white kid gets to shoot meth. And the thing about the demagogues? They don't blame the poor people. The white folk get to look around and notice that everyone has an excuse why everyone around them isn't succeeding but if they're not getting ahead, it's because they're fuckups. They lack breeding, they lack drive, they lack ambition, they lack intelligence, they lack pluck, they lack.That sure looks like you slagging on your peeps, white trash.Call me a follower.How are you not doing exactly what you slagged on that dumb bastard for doing? Isn't that a rags-to-riches story about a kid who used the social safety net to escape poverty?He didn't UNDERSTAND it, though. One thing about this book - it makes the point that you improve the livelihood of everyone in the US by employing and educating the poor white trash. Roosevelt's New Deal did this; LBJ's Great Society did this. And ever since - You mean the LBJ that signed the Civil Rights Act and promptly lost the South to Democrats for the next fifty years at least, right?The very same. "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you."Lyndon B Johnson to Bill MoyersThis is perhaps the least focused review you've ever done. Just sayin'.Fuckin' Trump, yo. On the one hand, he was mostly voted in by rich pricks who want to pay zero marginal tax. On the other hand, we keep pointing to his base as these poor dumb pricks that vote against their best interests every chance they get because Democrats are shiftless atheists that aren't doing their best to keep Darkie down. And what it really comes down to? What it really fuckin' comes down to? Is we need to throw money and education at the poor dumb bastards so they'll be less poor and less dumb. Clinton said "when people think, we win" but thinking has been discouraged amongst the poor since sixteen diggity two. I look at that heinous graph I linked yesterday and I know two things: (1) Piketty made it really goddamn clear that being middle class is an ephemeral thing but once you're a goddamn rentier it's fuckin' hard to fall and (2) that fuckin' bleeding-hot 99.9th percentile wealth class are the guys who can afford quarter million dollar watches and if the past thirty years prove anything, they prove that those guys are winning the economy. "100 year goals", as Gem said. I really like that. That really stuck with me. My hundred year goals, from 30,000 feet drunk on $40/bottle bourbon, are fucking socialism. We follow the alphas and the alphas are rich and so long as we're stupid and struggling we're gonna watch Kardashian and live Boo Boo and we're fucking doomed and I would really like my grandchildren to not live in a neoVictorian shithole. And this book, more than any I have read, point out what a neoVictorian shithole we've created for our poor, how fucking little we ever do about it, and how our entire social structure makes the poor and uneducated the only group in America that we can all make fun of, that we can all slag on, that we can all blame for our plight without ever once goingwait a minutehang onif they don't know any better are they really to blameBecause we DO. We DO know better and somehow we all thought we'd get our message across with clever Youtube videos. The shows most of America watches are not the shows the intelligentsia watches and sweet jesus christ we've got a machine-made reality TV star running the goddamn country and I know like six people that worked on that show that spent weeks or months hanging out with Trump, spent their days on the goddamn jet, and here I am, flying back to work from a quick weekend with my family, daughter at private school wife with a private practice in a half million dollar build-outand Iam goingto mix some reality TVand there is blood on my hands.Redden, who is now forty-seven, works ten-hour days as a cook and dishwasher at the nearby Cookie Jar Café, and he was hesitant at first about taking time off to appear in another film. For one thing, he had always regretted being the poster boy for “Deliverance” ’s Gothic view of rural America. For another, he hadn’t enjoyed working with the film’s star, Burt Reynolds. “Burt didn’t want to say nothing to nobody,” Redden says now. “He wasn’t polite. And he made us look real bad—he said on television that all people in Rabun County do is watch cars go by and spit.”Success is climbing high enough up the ladder to piss on your forebears.And if my daughter goes to Harvard I will have erased three generations of societal decline, getting my goddamn bloodline right back to where it was in 1938. Jesus Christ what a fucked up society we've created. LET'S FUCKING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.NEXT UP:Whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's not get carried away. These things are supposed to be infrequent.They seem to like it around here, though, contrived narrative structure be damned.Well it won't be Water Knife because while Bacigalupi is occasionally brilliant, that book is garbage. And I doubt anybody gives a fuck about Toland's Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945. So I guess they'll just have to subscribe to the tag.Wait a minute. Isn't it like 9am?I cheated. hard to post from space. Here there be proofreading. dealwithit.gifhttps://hubski.com/pub/388285[Trip Report] Combat Field Training 2017 #tripreport #showhubskihttps://hubski.com/pub/388285Missed you guys! I got back a few days ago from a month of training out in the woods of upstate New York. I might have posted a trip report earlier but i spent the time since I've been back in a party-hopping drunken stupor in the Hamptons. Combat Field Training is just a bunch of rising sophomores at West Point sent out to the woods to dick around for a month, blow things up, spend a couple nights in the field and learn how to patrol in enemy territory, survive and evade, utilize platoon and squad tactics when setting up patrol bases, ambushes, raids, recon missions. Basically, we learned many things that involve laying down in the dirt for many, many hours at a time while bugs crawl up your sleeve and you pray they're not the poisonous ones.Here are some pictures! We rucked a lot. Rucking is walking with a big backpack on. Average 50 pound ruck, 20 lb equipment vest, plus weapon and ammo. Crew-serve weapons (machine guns and big machine guns) and their ammo and equipment get distributed to unlucky platoon members. Can you spot the machine gunner laying prone?We ate these! They suck! But sometimes they have m&ms that expired 2 years ago.We looked like this! Is the face paint necessary? No but it looks badass. Each company of cadets was trained, advised and later hunted down by Special Forces ODA, who are ghost-people that get paid to travel the world and kill. They were batshit crazy individuals with incredible tactical knowledge and a great desire to fuck with cadets. Actually though, we learned a lot from the SF guys about who our current enemy really is, and what our current wars really look like. We were also followed around by a Task Force of 11B guys (Infantry) from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. They were responsible for grading each individual and correcting us when we fucked up before ODA could find out. If they failed, we got blown out of our base or movement with simulated artillery rounds, and cadets were randomly selected with a "You're fucking dead!" after which we would have to carry them and their equipment to an absurdly faraway Casualty Collection Point to be 'revived.' I once had my "entire fucking leg blown off you fucking windowlicker" because I did not move tactically enough when assaulting the nearby enemy. I was in debt to the guy that had to drag me until I had to save him the next day for not identifying a tripwire connected to a (fake) IED on the road. This is what C4 looks right after detonation when being used to clear concertina wire. The C4 is a "push" charge, so when we stick a lot onto a metal picket and detonate a charge in the C4, it will turn the picket into a hot knife that cuts barbed wire for us and clears the way. Two female cadets, not in my company, decided to eat a piece of C4 as per recommendation of a very stupid Specialist and were sent to a hospital, and then removed from West Point :( A Taiwanese exchange student decided to steal a chunk of C4 and put it in his backpack. He was removed from West Point and then apparently sent to jail :((We goofed around a lot. It was very hot in the porta-potty, according to my buddy. We had a rest day on July 4th! The lake was wildly beautiful.When we weren't doing field exercises related to patrolling, we visited "lanes" for a day or two in the field where members of a particular branch of the Army taught us about their branch. I was able to command a tank crew of my buddies in a $7m combat simulator system, fly in a black hawk, shoot Howitzers and two different mortar systems, various C4-related and combat engineering (destruction) stuff, and so on. During some day-time solo land navigation I found a downed huey in the woods and carved my initials in it. It was hidden on a hill which was on top of a couple more hills. In hindsight, it was on top of a mountain. Depending on the scenario, we were allowed to build a hooch, which is kind of like a house:The one above is a very, very nice hooch. This is the only pic I'll post that isn't mine because it exemplifies my month of training very well. I mean just look at his face!Here's an incredible album of much better photos if you're interested:https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipNgHJylDv7vGiokMIPi3aVAilGyJ6a-TCrGlysWI74j5U5MLFVY57y2havusrSaLw?key=OFpkWjAyUG54b3p5endpTXlaSDNObkFiREFrT3pBThe month of training ended with a 5-day, 4-night Field Training Exercise (FTX) which included a total of 8.5 hours of sleep and a whole load of insanity that I could never begin to write out in a post like this. In a civilian environment I could easily last 2 weeks in the woods at this point. In a pretend "hostile" environment as a pretend enlisted soldier, 5 days and 4 nights was more than enough for me. In the end we ran 8.6 miles from Camp Buckner back to West Point. It was a lot of fun! This is my squad when we got back; I'm taking a knee on your left.Now that I've completed CFT, I'm promoted to the rank of a Cadet Corporal, which is 2nd-from-the-bottom at West Point and the same as any other Cadet rank (i.e. irrelevant) in the big Army. When I start my next Academic Year in 6 days I'll be accountable for 1 or 2 incoming freshmen and learn the basics of taking care of subordinates in a non-hostile environment. I'm happy to answer questions! I'm even happier to be done!Here's a GoPro montage my buddy put together:https://hubski.com/pub/388186Does anyone know anything about personal finance stuff?https://hubski.com/pub/388186Soo, I recently came into a bit of money, not a ton, but more than I've ever had in my life, and I don't quite understand what to do with it. I've tried to read some online info, but I just feel more overwhelmed than before I started, and there is absolutely no consensus whatsoever in the slightest, and everyone seems very confident that they are right.I contacted a couple of financial advisors, but those interactions have left me feeling a bit off-put, I feel pretty protective of what I do have and I'm kind of a control freak, so I want to understand the reasoning behind the suggestions they made. However, it all seemed very opaque and information I read either goes over my head just slightly or seems misleading. I'm used to reading scientific publications and if anyone tried to published some of the graphs I keep seeing from financial services groups, they would be laughed out of the room.In the end, I'd like to understand exactly why I would put my money somewhere, and then feel fine about just leaving it alone. Anything that requires even the slightest management on my part is going to make me too obsessive, I'd like to trust someone who knows what to do to inform me, but no one seems to in the business of instilling confidence.I'm for sure not asking anyone to make a plan for me, I just need to know if there resources that I am missing that would help me understand this process better? I'm thinking about just throwing it in an index fund and walking away, but how do I figure out which is the best one for me? I get how they work, but the details beyond that are kind of lost on me and I'm tired of talking to people who are motivated by their slice of my pie to inform me.I know this is a very privileged problem but I was not raised around financially competent people (my dad just tells me to buy gold because the end of the world is coming), and I'm feeling really stressed out by this whole affair.https://hubski.com/pub/387967Hubski Trip Report: Jasper and Banff National Parks, Alberta, CA #tripreport #tellhubskihttps://hubski.com/pub/387967I've been listening to a lot of Bluegrass this past year. It's nice. I don't think I'm going to be sitting in jam circles anytime soon, but the music is generally good and fun listen to. Or maybe I'm just really, extraordinarily white.ANYWAY, BFX, DIDN'T YOU GO BACKPACKING OR SOME STUPID SHIT? YOU'VE ONLY BEEN POSTING ABOUT IT IN PUBSKI FOR MONTHS NOW.Yeah.Why Canada? Why Backbacking? The first is easy to answer. My thought is that our neighbors to the north have a beautiful country, and that the Canadian Rockies are a remote, rugged, and elegant wilderness. This was later proven to be true. Plus, Canada 150 is an amazing opportunity to travel for cheap, given that the National Parks are free this entire year even for people who aren't citizens of Canada! The latter isn't an easy or straightforward answer. I have a habit of wandering, both physically and mentally, and there's a draw to such an expansive and possibly difficult endeavor. There's a solace in backpacking, a challenge to yourself and the possibility for an increased awareness of and humility towards nature and your own abilities. It's worth mentioning that this was a solo trip.DAY 1Mostly a driving day to Kamloops, BC. The border was interesting, I was briefly detained and my car was searched. I don't think Canadian Border Patrol was very happy or trusting of the "I'm going on a solo backpacking trip" answer, and totally not trying to sneak in to bum around your country with my backpack! The drive got more and more scenic the farther from the Puget Sound I got. Things start to become high-desert and the hills are much unlike those of Western Washington. There really wasn't much to note here, it was a nice night at an AirBnB, I met an obnoxious naval engineer who was the type who felt entitlement simply because he is an Engineer. And then I went to sleep.DAY 2To Jasper! This day would be a 10km hike into camp, along a 24km loop trail off the town of Jasper. The way into town takes you past Mount Robson, a truly intimidating and prominent peak. It's the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, and a grueling mountain to try and summit. My first attempt to start the trail was thwarted by a rather deep cut reopening, and having to spend a half hour tending to it. Nearly cut my knuckle to the bone a week before embarking on this trip, a great thing to do to yourself when you could really use all of your fingers...after getting that sorted out I somehow ran into a black bear about 2km into this. A little guy, off the trail, who was a bit too curious for comfort. Unclip the bear spray, talk to it, back away, and wait. Fortunately he went up and over the trail, and wasn't seen again after that. There was a bit of paranoia though, given how densely wooded and small the trail itself was.On top of that, I didn't see a soul until hitting camp, which was surprisingly nice. The tent pads were relatively close to the lake, which was drinkable with a filter, and the bear poles weren't too far away. I ended up spending the night eating dinner with a few college age girls from Montreal. They had been trekking their way across Canada mostly via train, and were at the Calgary Stampede the night before (what would turn out to be a commonality of this trip)...got a nice wake up from one of them at 11pm as they couldn't figure out how to use a bear pole. When did I become the person to ask all these questions to. It's an odd transformation.DAY 3Cold and windy in the morning makes for an unfun time tearing everything down. Hike back out, once again not seeing a single person (which is oddly unnerving) and then into town for some lunch before hitting the next part of the backcountry. Found an odd laundromat/coffee house hybrid and had to try it. Actually really glad I stopped in this place, it was so weird, so quaint, and so not touristy compared to everywhere else in Jasper. I met a really nice and interesting couple from NY, a Jewish Husband and Wife not much older than myself, who had recently done a three day trek through the woods. They were on their way back, but we spent a good hour chatting about life, jobs, and "figuring it out". We're now friends on Facebook!I haven't really mentioned yet that there were and are some awful wildfires in the interior of British Columbia which made this a bit challenging. The air was heavy at times, and the views were hazy at best for large portions of jasper. Hitting Lake Maligne was stunning, mountains on either side...including the trail I would soon take.Another 10ish km trek up to camp, at about 2150m of elevation. Except this time I got hit by a snow thunderstorm on the way up. Snow, thunder, lightning, sleet, wind, you name it. This went on for a good 30-40 minutes while I just huddled and hoped not to get hit by lightning. Once again I didn't see many people. There aren't many pictures of this part of the trip. I was cold, damp, and fairly miserable with this night and the next day. The conditions were not friendly towards me, despite having been prepared to be wet and a bit cold. I think the lack of people was putting a sour twist on my mood as well. You spend a lot of time thinking about why you're going this when you're on the down trodden side of things. Then you remember that it's the journey that matters, not necessarily the destination. Well, that and getting back down.DAY 4The original plan was to hike to another campsite on this thru-hike, and then hike back into town the following day. Waking up to 30 and up mph winds and cloudy skies with a chance of thunderstorms put an end to that idea, given the previous days conditions. Knowing when to turn back is important...I still don't know if this was the right decision to make, but I made it...I ended up booking a night at a hostel in Banff, and proceeding to drive down there.The Columbia Icefields are insane. I've never seen anything quite like that. Massive glaciers which are all sadly melting down due to climate change...I doubt generations down the line will have this opportunity. I ended up day-hiking nearby, on a trial which takes you up and over the treeline and opens up into views of mountains in any direction and a gorgeous meadow. On the way up I met a couple, he of Pennsylvania, she of Germany. She had flown out here recently to meet up with him on his trip around North America, they've been working out a long-distance relationship for over a year now and he's hoping to move to Germany. A key point: A former Engineer who just doesn't want to do it anymore because it doesn't help people. Meanwhile, she just got a higher education job at one of the premier technical universities in Germany.The hostel! Man, the hostel was cool! It was taco night and things were way cheaper than anywhere else in town. I met a couple of Australian girls from Perth, a guy from another part of Australia, some Germans, a Scotsman, an Italian, you name it, the nationality was probably there. Nothing like drinking, eating tacos, and getting to know each other. It's nice to now have connections in Australia should I ever want to go there (hint: I do!). The morning though...Day 5Breakfast in the hostel, then off to the woods again!Let's Talk About BobSo. Bob. The guy in the bunk under me. An older gentleman, likely in his mid 50's who is travelling around with his girlfriend. A bit gruff, but talkative once you get him going and happy to share stories of his years of travelling. I mean years. Denali, long canoeing trips, backpacking in extremely remote places, you name it, he's probably done it. Unfortunately he's not able to as much, due to exposure to Asbestos robbing him of much of his lung capacity. There's a sense of longing from him, it's not extremely evident, but it felt like he missed being able to truly explore nature.The Three Rules of Hiking1. Lighter is Better.2. You don't always get what you want, but you do always get what you need.3. Learn as You Go.Along with a variety of other little tips, tricks, stories, and one beautiful poem that I'm keeping to myself (sorry, Hubski). To think, this entire thing started over him asking me where the oatmeal was...More trails. More amazingly gorgeous trails. Banff rules. I mean, look at this. So green. So mountainous. I was hiking this awful fire road for the first 4km, gravel, and uphill with nothing to look at...but at least I was doing it with this guy and his 18 year old son, they're both from around Calgary. He's an architectural technologist who would rather be working in the ministry and spends a lot of his free time supporting his son through hiking, camping, and mountaineering trips. Really great guy.Camp for the night! Also the buggiest night I've ever experience. Swarms upon swarms of mosquitoes and flies, never ending and everywhere. Met a couple of people around my age who turned out to be employees of Parcs Canada in the information wing, and were backpacking their off days. One guy, one girl (his supervisor)...whom I'm pretty sure were interested in each other. They had a lot of questions about nature and parks in the US. I had a lot of questions about nature and parks in Canada. We shared some bourbon. It was a great conversation.Day 6To the next campsite! I joined up with two girls from Maryland who were out here and heading to the same campground. It's surprisingly easy to meet people on backcountry trails and campgrounds, and to hike around with them. Well, as long as you're not creepy, I suppose. One o fthem is moving to San Francisco partly because of being jaded with her employment and situation on the east coast, the other is thinking of joining AmeriCorps. They're both in the midst of change, which I think is an odd theme of the backcountry. The backcountry doesn't change, maybe that's why we're all so attracted to it. The weather is unstable, our lives are unstable, but yet everything remains in its place.Skoki Lodge! Well hello there, National Historic Site where a Royal Honeymoon recently occurred. We kind of invited ourselves in and had a rather awkward encounter with the two people living/working there. Our ultimatum: We can stay, but have to leave when guests start to arrive. The result: Sitting around in a gorgeous historic lodge, playing jenga, and encountering two Germans. One of whom decided to play piano while we were all sitting around. It was one of the most memorable experiences of the trip, I had been looking forward to seeing this lodge for some time.The rest of the way to the campground was short and complete with some very fresh brown bear scat on the trail. As in, still steaming. There were reports of a bear in the area, but fortunately we didn't see it on the way to camp, another one nestled in a valley and picturesque views. And another thunderstorm, but this time I was at least already set-up when it hit...A few of us did an evening hike (sun doesn't set until 10pm this far north) and caught a nice glacier-fed Alpine Lake not too far from camp. Which, by the way, makes me question the accuracy of distances on topographic maps. There's no way it was 6 miles round-trip, it was probably 5 or we were secretly going much, much faster than we though.Day 7A trudge of a hike all the way back to the trailhead, some shifting weather, a long uphill section, and then a blistering downhill section. You really get some great views out this way. Leaving the backcountry was hard. A solo trek passing people I met, almost none of whom I will see again. Past some places I hopefully will see again. There is a beauty and sadness in having awareness of how limited your time is. It was a long, slow, and somewhat sad trek back, leaving behind the life of a traveler is a difficult thing. Your conquests, connections, and battles are lost to the inside of a car as you drive back into town. Ended up meeting oyster and drinking and feeling way too fucking drunk after a single drink. I could be a super cheap date if I lived up in Banff. No Hubski stickers were exchanged, thank God. Boring is a new way to look at front country camping, but that's how I spent my night so I could get up early and head back home...and get Tim Hortons for the first time in a couple of years...By the NumbersJasper/Banff by the Numbers:Days: 7 (Excluding Travel Days)Campsites: 5Bear Encounters: 1Porcupine Encounters: 1Driving Distance: 1151 miles (1852 km)Backpacking/Hiking Distance: 62.50 miles (100.6 km)Backpacking/Hiking Elevation Gain: 9500 ft (2900 m)Pack Weight (Start): 45 lbsPack Weight (End): 32 lbsWhat Can Be Learnedlil, I was thinking of you when I started writing this section.1. Just enjoy it! Let go of your anxiety and engross yourself in the moment.2. Lighter IS better.3. Inclined head helps with sleeping.4. Two parks in one go is one too many. Depth over variety.5. Coffee at high elevation isn't the best idea.6. Bears really don't want to see people.10. People in the backcountry are kind, resourceful, strong, and so incredibly interesting. Acknowledge that this is a niche group and continue to seek out their company.What Can be Repeated1. Interactions with others! Be confident. Be kind. Be respectful.2. Food! Pack it lighter but generally the same items.3. Knowing your limits and understanding when to stop.There's one life, one body, those are two things we all share in common. What you do with them is where we differ. I have developed this sense of wanting to test myself and body to see what it is capable of. Throwing it against nature, and exploring the world as it currently exists. There is too much beauty to pass up, too many opportunities to grow and develop as a person. "What Ifs" are avoidable, and this is just the start.Thanks for reading.https://hubski.com/pub/387858'bl00's Reviews #11: "The Story of Civilization" by Will and Ariel Durant #bl00sreviews #tellhubskihttps://hubski.com/pub/387858You're just here because you couldn't get a T-shirt.That's not entirely true. One does gain an interesting perspective on history when one drinks from the firehose.You're just here because you want some "I can't believe you ate the whole thing" comments.I get comments like that all the time. I am a man of extremes. You're just here because you want some validation. Go ahead. Spell it out. 11 volumes. 10,000 pages.All of it experienced as audiobooks. So 484 hours, 16 minutes. which as we all know is the worst possible way to experience the written word.Zero fucks given. Listen, straw-man-who-hates-on-audiobooks: I have time to sit down and read about once a week. I have two and a half fucking hours a day to listen to audiobooks. And you know what? The same people that get all orgazballs over podcasts? Hate the shit out of audiobooks.That does not change the fact that it's a shitty way to experience a book.You know what's a shitty way to experience a book? Not reading it. If it weren't for audiobooks I would have "experienced" about four books in the past ten years. As it is, I'm somewhere over 250. And yeah- my comprehension prolly isn't as great as it would be if - no, you know what? Fuck you, straw man. Because my recall on the audiobooks is objectively better than the recall on the written books because you can't skim an audiobook. Says the guy who finished Durant at 2.5x.And consumed most of it at 1.7x because for some reason audiobooks are read through molasses. But hey, let's stop talking about process - this is a one-sided conversation pretending to be two, bud. You're only arguing with yourself.For an audience, I know. It's dreadful. Look. There was a Bloom County cartoon that came out the morning after "The Day After" played on CBS…Could you be more off-topic?Srsly. I just subjected myself to 485 hours of European history and I'm here to say, it's nice to know the sun still shines. It's surprising how much of a patriot the experience has made me.It's almost as if the authors hated the shit out of Europe.They DIDN'T, though. They loved the fuck out of the French. This has been far and away the most francophile experience I've ever had. They loved the shit out of philosophers, too - Will wrote like eight books about the fuckers when he wasn't busy condensing all of history into 11 volumes. It's fair to say that The Story of Civilization spends more time on Hegel than they do on all of the United States. It's fair to say that they spend more time on Mayer Anschelm Rothschild than they do on Benjamin Fucking Franklin, and the only reason they give him any time at all is because he spent time in Paris. The only time South America is mentioned is when Gauss goes there. Africa doesn't exist. The Story of Civilization, aside from the first book, is really The Story of Europe from the Pyrenees to the Urals with occasional forays into Spain, Italy and Russia but only when there are French people there.So really, an extraordinarily slanted overview of world history.And how. But lemme tell ya - it's the slant we all grew up with. I can easily say that the two history classes I took in High School were Cliff's Notes of the first seven books. The pedagogy of Durant is the pedagogy of "world" history.You like to use the word "pedagogy" without knowing what it means.It means a method of teaching. The Durants were big fans of "integrated" history whereby they go through the same period a dozen different ways - politics, music, science, art, fashion, theater. So you'll spend as much time on Mozart as you will on Waterloo and you'll hear the same names over and over again because it's all "integrated". The goal, I guess, is to give you a rounded worldview. Mostly you learn how little you care about Madame De Stael. That is because you are a savage.No fuckin' doubt. But as a savage that has sat through the equivalent of 10,000 pages of world history - 10,000 pages of survey, asshole - Shut up. Walk with me. A 5 credit-hour lecture class under the academic quarter system is an hour lecture, five days a week, for twelve weeks. That's sixty hours of lecture. 485 hours is eight fucking quarters of lecture. That's 40 credit-hours. 45 credit-hours is a minor in History at UCLA. And survey or no, I sat through an hour and a half - at 1.7x - on fuckin' Hegel. That doesn't make me an expert on Hegel by any stretch but it sure as fuck entitles me to the opinion that I don't need to spend any more time on Hegel.So in other words, you sat through twelve man-weeks of audio to justify your anti-intellectual opinions about subjects you scorn. Got it.Not at all. I'm very glad I went through all this. It gave me a better perspective on the world as we know it, and the world as we've learned it. A survey view of the Renaissance and Reformation, for example, gives you context. Suffering through a hundred hours on "the Dark Ages" teaches you they weren't "dark", they were pointless. John Gardner makes the point in The Art of Fiction that we don't teach the books that are good, we teach the books that are easy to teach and by calling them "The Age of Faith" the Durants make a much better point about that thousand year history than convention allows, and by convention I mean Gibbon, and by "allows" I mean "ignore it because it's pointless."Scorn AND the assertion that you know better than the experts. Got it.So the thing about historians is they have a perspective. They have a worldview. Gibbon was the first fucker to take on the Roman Empire since Pliny the Goddamn Elder and for that we thank him but his perspective was pretty much "everything between the Peloponnesian War and the Expulsion of the Moriscos is irrelevant because it was anti-intellectual." That's an easy viewpoint to defend in 1776; a little rougher in 2017. History is of, for and by historians and they tend to worship the writers that came before and argue about whether or not they were right. Primary research takes a back seat to synthesis. The Durants definitely traveled the world absorbing all they could, but they also read what came before and regurgitated it through a new perspective. And there's a definite impetus to not discount that which has come before. Spit out that quote. You've been dying to vomit it forth for weeks now."By the middle of the twentieth century," says the Encyclopedia Britannica (XVI, Ioa), "the literature on Napoleon already numbered more than 100,000 volumes." Why add to the heap? We offer no better reason than to say that the Reaper repeatedly overlooked us, and left us to passive living and passive reading after 1968. We grew weary of this insipid and unaccustomed leisure. To give our days some purpose and program we decided to apply to the age of Napoleon (1789-1815) our favorite method of integral history - weaving into one narrative all memorable aspects of European civilization in those twenty-seven years: statesmanship, war, economics, morals, manners, religion, science, medicine, philosophy, drama, music, and art; to see them all as elements in one moving picture, and as interacting parts of a united whole.Your point."Pardon us for writing the 100,001st book about Napoleon but we were bored."Once more with feeling: your point. This is an extraordinarily chatty way to slag on not only a Pulitzer-prize winning series of books, but in a way, the whole of academia.It took me 4,000 miles in the saddle to get through 485 hours of audio. I'm obviously synthesizing this in real-time - So maybe STFU until you know what you want to say...No I want to put this fucker to bed and nobody said you had to read it. HERE'S WHAT I'LL SAY: by couching the history of the world in terms of the history of philosophy, the Durants make a compelling argument that you are what you read. It's basically the argument Edward Said made in Orientalism - the Western world is flummoxed and condescending about everywhere else in general (and the Middle East in particular) because the only time they give any thought to a civilization other than their own is when they're fighting it or subjugating it. If you had no sense of the world outside Europe from 500BC to 1800AD you'd think it was all "here there be dragons" and shit and you would most assuredly regard brown people as savages. And while the Durants are not the history of the world as seen from Western Europe, they are a perfect exemplar of the gestalt view. More importantly, by not waving hands and saying "none of that matters" about the stuff that isn't easy to teach, you get a better perspective on the grinding hopelessness that European society inflicted on itself. I'm not joking when I said these books made me more of a patriot. One cannot get through these books without hating, individually and collectively, the English, the French, the Spanish, the Germans, the Austrians, the Italians, the Greeks, the Swiss, the Swedish, the Dutch, the Russians, the Portuguese (who barely get a mention!), the Irish and the Scots. History is fundamentally one long litany of rich people being fuckers to poor people, of aristocrats fucking each other over every chance they get, of the little guy being crushed in the wheels turned by the big guys. The book that won the Pulitzer is Rousseau and Revolution. It's 1092 pages, or 57 1/2 hours. And I sat through the whole book hating Rousseau and wanting the Revolution to come and cut off the heads of all these fuckers. And then it ends right as Louis 16 abdicates and you have to read The Age of Napoleon to get to The Reign of Terror and it's so much worse than you thought it could be that you just want to hug your kid. And Americans have been horrible to each other and horrible to Natives and horrible to Blacks and horrible to the Japanese but I'm sorry, we're an enlightened bunch of pacifists compared to Europe. This series has caused me to see World Wars I and II as the inevitable outcomes of mechanization applied to longstanding internecine hatred and callous disregard of human life. The Durants start this whole series with a (comparatively) thin volume called Our Oriental Heritage that is literally "everything that isn't Europe" (or the Americas, or Africa) from 10,000 BC to 1925 and I gotta say - I'm pullin' for the Persians. I'm pullin' for the Indians. The Durants don't come out and say that Spain didn't return to Moorish levels of prosperity until Franco died but that's due in no small part to the fact that when they wrote the book, he had another 40 years to go.And the Durants start half of their books by reminding you that for most people in the periods they cover, life is placid, calm, cheerful and family-oriented and that it's the ones they've written about that get the shaft. Whenever they have an actual good ruler to talk about, they generally say something like "we wish we had more to say but he ruled for 40 uneventful years and died in bed." But fuckin'A there's a lot of history to Europe that basically boils down to one royal family killing another by proxy through the extinguishing of hundreds of thousands of peasant lives. Francis Fukuyama caught a lot of shit by titling a 1992 book "The End of History and the Last Man." But man. If "history" is bodycounts on a map, please god let him be right. The whole integrative approach to history argues that the heads-on-pikes aspects aren't the most important. There are plenty of monuments to artists and thinkers. But there are more monuments to tragedy and you can't sit through 485 hours of European history without the keen perspective that it's mostly heads on pikes. Anybody clamoring about how Trump is the "end of democracy" or we're in end times or some shit just becomes laughable. Things have been so much worse and I, for one, am happy to be descended from brave adventurers that noped the fuck out of everything I spent the better part of a year listening to.https://hubski.com/pub/387747Bill Browder's testimony before the Senate on Putin corruption #newshttps://hubski.com/pub/387747https://hubski.com/pub/387718Michael Lewis on the (lack of) transition in the DoE after the election, and the concomitant risks #uspolitics #energyhttps://hubski.com/pub/387718https://hubski.com/pub/387700I guess that's the closest I can get to 'realistic' painting #paintinghttps://hubski.com/pub/387700I wouldn't say that I have something good to share, but it's sort of a relief that it's over now. rd95, you likely remember asking me about painting something realistic. Here's my sixth, and final, attempt:I had to slightly change the saturation because this camera seems to muddy everything with a bluish tinge. I don't think that I'll be able to improve from that, though. There's very little about posture alone that doesn't irk me.https://hubski.com/pub/387468Stone Drug #americana #nostalgiahttps://hubski.com/pub/387468A few weeks ago, flagamuffin posted this article. His post made me super nostalgic for one of my favorite places on earth:Standing inside the front door, you can see the western wear store across the street.Stone Drug is the kind of place where they remember your name. You can get your prescriptions, buy some candy, or a greeting card... or a flashlight, a John Deere baseball cap, a tin rooster to decorate your kitchen, a hammer, diabetic compression socks, a book, knick-knacks, shampoo, a pocket knife, acne cream, or a stuffed animal (my daughters' new obsession).Mike Stone, the owner/pharmacist, wasn't in that day, but I was delighted to see both his son and his daughter behind the counter. Mike is the kind of guy who not once, but twice, opened the place in the middle of the night to fill an emergency script for my sister's kid... And even though Mike seems like a standup guy, my favorite part of Stone Drug, is Joyce:She is salty and mean. She has worked the lunch counter for 35 years. I've been buying her "lunch special" since it was $3.95 (it's now $7.24). Almost every time I go in, she is talking about quitting, because Mike is "such and ass" (she always whispers the curse word). When I lived near here over a decade ago, I used to eat lunch at Stone Drug 2-3 times a week. After a few months, when I thought of myself as a regular, I asked her if I could open a tab. "Hello No!" came the response. When pushed for why, she said "cuz I don't trust you". I even offered to put $100 in the drawer, pre-paying my tab. "I don't want to have to keep track of that!". When I told her I'd keep track of it on a little sheet of paper that would stay in the drawer with her. "But I don't trust you!". It became our little shtick. I'd ask every couple months. The response was always the same. This went on for years, and I still don't have a tab.The lunch counter is the kind of place where people come to gossip and laugh and even mourn... Joyce and I often joke about how I know she keeps a fifth of Jack behind the counter for herself and her "favorite" customers (a little extra funny since we're both LDS and don't drink).Joyce isn't getting any younger... and neither am I. I'm always a little worried for the day I get the phone call from my sister telling me Joyce has died. Stone Drug is always the first place I go when I come visit my sister. Joyce still won't give me a tab, but now when I go in, Joyce always gives me a few of my favorite candies, leans in and whispers "these are on the house". Joyce is one of my favorite people... and I have a sneaking suspicion that I might be one of hers.https://hubski.com/pub/387104No Frames, No Boundaries #witness #spacehttps://hubski.com/pub/387104…And you think about what you’re experiencing and why. Do you deserve this? Have you earned this in some way? Are you separated out to be touched by God, to have some special experience that others cannot have? And you know the answer to that is no. There’s nothing you’ve done that deserves this experience, that earned it. It’s not a special thing just for you. And you know very well at that moment, for it comes through to you so powerfully, that you are the sensing element for all of humanity, you as an individual are experiencing this for everyone. You look down and see the surface of that globe you’ve lived on all this time, and you know all those people down there and they are like you, they are you – and somehow you represent them. You are up there as the sensing element, that point out on the end, and that’s a humbling feeling. It’s a feeling that says you have a responsibility. It’s not for yourself. The eye that doesn’t see doesn’t do justice to the body. That’s why it’s there. That’s why you are out there. And somehow you recognize that you’re a piece of this total life. And you’re out there on that forefront and you have to bring that back somehow. And that becomes a rather special responsibility and it tells you something about your relationship with this thing we call life. And that’s a change. That’s something new. And when you come back there’s a difference in that world now. There’s a difference in that relationship between you and that planet, and you and all those other forms of life on that planet, because you’ve had that kind of experience. It’s a difference and it’s so precious.During a five-minute pause tethered outside his spacecraft, Schweickart felt he underwent a metaphysical experience as he stared at the Earth, contemplating its place in the universe.https://hubski.com/pub/386085What football will look like in the future #goodlongreadhttps://hubski.com/pub/386085https://hubski.com/pub/385856Wandering 200 hours in Iceland #tripreport #tellhubskihttps://hubski.com/pub/385856tl;dr: spend 8 days in Iceland with friends, here are the pictures : https://flic.kr/s/aHskYQ7RPW (taken with a Galaxy S7) and the itinerary : https://drive.google.com/open?id=18uWnQ0053LtnbjZp0X09FcjU7eY&usp=sharing -- (some of things were dropped, others added, but it's 90% accurate) ; Thanks flagamuffin for the tips you gave me!We decided to go to Iceland. I mean, it looks amazing, so obviously if you got an opportunity to go there, you would. Is it though? Amazing? Yes.Who is we? 4 guys, mid-twenties, French, with a low-budget. Let’s get this straight: Iceland is expensive. Really expensive. 5 euros for an espresso, 10 euros (11.35$) for a beer.First things first, we decided to book tickets from WOW Air, an Icelandic company, from May 25th to June 3rd. We chose to add 2 cabin baggage and one checked baggage for the 4 of us to bring our stuff: it worked great.The second and third questions that came, were, where do you sleep and how do you travel in Iceland? Well, the answer was simple: we rented a car! A Renault Kadjar (4x4) from Blue Car Rental. We slept 8 nights there and, while a bit tiresome, we were able to save significant money and explore way more than your typical trip. This was our journey:May 25th -- 26th Day 1Our plane was leaving Paris on May 25th at 10 pm. We arrived near midnight in Keflavík (4 hours travel time, -2 due to time zone). We went to pick up our car at 00:30, we drove to Blue Lagoon and slept in their parking lot: our entrance ticket was at 07:00. Slept 6 hours, woke up, spent 4-5 hours in Blue Lagoon. It’s a geothermal spa that looks really great, and we spend a really great time there. It’s quite expensive though (50€ -- 57$ per person). From there, we decided to drive to Reykjavik, we stopped at a Bonus on the way (name of a cheap –but it’s Iceland so it’s still really expensive-- supermarket). We went to eat a soup at a restaurant called Svarta Kaffid (it was really good: it’s like in San Francisco with bread bowl, but instead of fish it was meat). Once our stomach was doing good, we drove to Þingvellir national park where we did a short trail to see Lögberg and Öxarárfoss. We continued to drive, stopped, walked 40 minutes to see Bruarfoss Waterfall, went back. You can get really close to this waterfall which was nice, but it was less impressive than others. From there, we went to see Strokkur Geysir, Geysir (which gave the name to the word), and Gullfoss Falls. The sky was not good, but the places were amazing. We continued to see a Crater called Kerið with vivid colours. Finally, we drove to Seljalandsfoss and slept there, in the car, with the waterfall in front of us. There wasn’t much noise.May 27th Day 2Woke up early (2nd night to sleep in the car, we weren’t familiar with the conditions yet), visited Seljalandsfoss (great waterfall), and her sister Gljúfrabúi which also deserves to be seen. We drove a bit, parked our car, and went to Seljavallalaug which is a fantastic pool you discover after wandering 10-15 minutes through the mountains. The surrounding is fantastic and the water is nice. There is no shower, so it can be a bit dirty, but it’s ok. We spend a few hours there. We fell in love with Icelandic hot pools. Drove to Skógafoss, went to the top of the waterfall. This one deserves to be seen. Not far from there is Kvernufoss Falls, her sister, which doesn’t get half the praise of Skógafoss but we found it to be even more lovely. We were alone there, we had to jump over a fence to see it (seems to be legal though). On the way back to our car we came across some people who also went there. At that point, it was around 12, so we drove to Vik and went to eat at restaurant called Halldorskaffi, which was also great. After eating, we went to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, Dryholaus, and Dyrhólaey. The black sand beach and Dyrhólaey are worth doing, Dryholaus is a small cave which can give you a nice photo, but other than that it wasn’t particularly impressive, worth doing If you have a blue sky. From there, we drove back to the parking lot of Solheimasandur Plane Wreck and walked 45 mins to see the wrecked DC-3 plane. The surroundings are great because there is absolutely nothing. A lot of people visit this spot though, it can be a bit crowded. After this, we drove to Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon and walked along the path, it’s a beautiful canyon. We ate at the end of the path at 10 pm. There is no night during this period in Iceland, which is quite weird to experience, but amazing if you want to enjoy your time fully. We drove a bit and slept in a spot near Road 1. May 28th Day 3Hike day! We went to Skaftafell National Park, we did the trail which included Svartifoss and Sjonarnipa, and from there we continued on the S3 trail. We tried to reach Kristinartindar (S4 trail), but we saw on the trail that it was very dangerous – way too much ice. So we decided to go back and follow the S3 trail from one end to the other. I think we did it between 6 and 8 hours, I don’t remember exactly, but it was definitely a really great hike and one of the highlights of these 200 hours. After this, we went to see Svínafellsjökull Glacier up-close, that’s where a scene from Interstellar was done; it was also really nice. From there, we went to Fjallsárlón Glacial Lagoon and Jökulsárlón Ice Beach: both amazing and deserving their visit. We drove a bit, and around midnight was when the clouds decided to leave the sky, it was beautiful. May 29th Day 4We drove a bit and stopped at a Cafe in Egilsstadir called Salt Café & Bistro, which was nice. Then, we drove all the way to Selfoss and Dettifoss Waterfall, in the north of Iceland. These two were great waterfalls. You can get really close to Selfoss if you are a bit adventurous, but be careful. We also went to see Krafla Crater. After that, we decided to try Myvatn Nature Baths near 6pm, which was really great: it closes at midnight in summertime, we spent a few hours there. From there, we wanted to visit the famous cave from Game of Thrones where John Snow discovers adulthood, so we went there. It’s called Grjótagjá cave, we wanted to swim there, but the water was really hot (50°C – 122°F) so it was a no-go. Not far from there was another hot spring caves called Stóragjá, which is a bit hidden – you have to find steal stairs that goes down, and then you continue a few meters and there is an entrance with a rope on your left which can be used to go safely in the hot spring cave. We went there, the water was ok. Not cold, not really hot, but it was a fun experience. The cave was nice even if we didn’t see much as light was quite low. After searching Google, it seems that Grjótagjá and Stóragjá are not safe spot to bathe, as there might be the presence of e-coli bacteria. 3 of us bathed in Stóragjá for a short time (about 10 mins) and were not affected. I don’t know how true/scientific these claims are. May 30th Day 5We visited Dimmuborgir, a lava-field, which was nice but a bit disappointing compared to other Icelandic-landscape. Still worth doing if you are in the area. After this, we went to Namaskard, and to the top of Mt Namafjall. I’ve never seen so much wind. The colors were amazing. We drove to Goðafoss Waterfall and then to Aldeyjarfoss (this one is a long way out but really beautiful). Then, we drove all the way to Osar and tried to see some seals: we saw them in the water, and then we walked to Hvitserkur, along the beach. We drove to the Fjords. May 31th Day 6Fjords Day! We drove, drove and drove around the fjords. For the first time, blue sky was there, which was quite nice. It’s a real pleasure to drive around the fjords. We did a short stop at a Vinbudin store (there are dedicated liquor store in Iceland: you can’t buy what you want everywhere and the opening hours are quite restricted) and went to Látrabjarg (the westernmost point of Europe) to see some Puffin. We were able to take some great pictures of them. We walked along the cliffs and there were a lot of birds, it was a nice moment. Then, we went to see Garðar BA 64, an abandoned steel ship and continued the journey to see Fjallfoss. Drove a bit to find a little hot spring called Hellulaug. After meeting with 4 other French guys there, we had the spot to ourselves and beers. It was 2 am. At 3 am, an Icelandic woman from nowhere joined us. She stayed around an hour. At 5 am, we went to sleep. Hot springs are amazing.June 1st Day 7We drove to Kirkjufellsfoss, in the Snæfellsnes peninsula. We woke up quite late as you can imagine, so we did a short version of our plan for this day. We went to Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge, it was amazing: you can enter quite deep in the gorge. At a moment, you will face a rope that you can climb to continue, but there is water around, you have to put your foot on a rock on the right (in the water, but you can see the rock) to help you get to the rope and climb it. Then we went to Ytri Tunga Beach to do some seals-watching. From there, we tried to find a new hot spring from this website: http://hotpoticeland.com/ ; we tried Landbrotalaug but it was a bit weird: there was a hot spring but only 20 cms deep, so it was unusable, and a bit further, there was a little spot with hot water, quite deep, but you didn’t really know where the water was coming from and we were afraid to try it. We tried another one, called Sturlungalaug, near a Volcano, the water had a weird color and bubbles, so we didn’t try it either. The surrounding was amazing though. We drove a bit and slept.June 2st -- 3rd Day 8We went to eat at Reyklavik (to a Taco Bell -- I know, it's definitely not local, but I mean, we don't have Taco Bell in France and some of my friends never tried it and it's delicious so you will pardon me -- and it still cost 15$ per menu to give you an idea of Icelandic price), and went to Reykjadalur Hot Spring Trailhead. It’s a 45 mins’ trail between beautiful surroundings, and at the end, you have a nice hot spring! There were a lot of people, it was really nice to be able to bathe after doing the trail. We went back to Reyklavik and visited the city, Hallgrimskirkja, Harpa and Sólfarið being the main sights, it was a short visit. We did some souvenir-shopping along the way. And then, it was time to go back. We cleaned the car and returned it at midnight, and waited at the airport till 6 am, when our plane took off. Overall, the sky was grey. But we had a great adventure! I would recommend it to anyone who loves nature. Specific: If you want to see Ice Caves and Aurora Borealis, you must go during winter monthsIf you want to travel to Þórsmörk and Landmannalaugar to do some great hikes (we weren’t able to because the roads were closed), you must go during end of June – July – August.https://hubski.com/pub/384957A Wee Stroll #walkinghttps://hubski.com/pub/384957Well, I've said in the last few odd Pubski posts that I still need to write a post about my journey around Ireland last year. Recently I found waiting until I got the record certificate a good excuse to put it off, but unfortunately it just arrived.I suppose, to make it easier on myself, I'll just begin at the beginning. A few different strands came together to result in this journey.In early 2013, while I was still in university, I got a phone call from a friend whom I hadn't spoken to in some time. I was surprised already, and then he told me to sit down. A mutual friend of ours had committed suicide. Naturally, after the phone call, I went to Tesco to buy a six-pack of beer.She was the kind of bubbly, always-smiling girl who instantly lights up the party, and also the kind I've discovered tend to be hiding crippling depression behind that same smile. I hadn't actually spoken to her in months, and discovered that no-one had - or rather, that she hadn't spoken to any of us, and was withdrawing herself from people.It fucked me up a bit.Time passed. The next summer I was climbing Croagh Patrick - the holy mountain in Mayo, visible on clear days from where I am now - with my friend Killian. It was the last Sunday in July, known as Reek Sunday locally, and a day on which thousands of people climb the Reek, some of them barefoot. As we were making our way back down, I started to think it'd be an interesting challenge to climb the highest peak in each of Ireland's four provinces barefoot. That's as far as I got, because I immediately forgot about it.Some more time passed, and I was with my then-girlfriend (and some new friends) on the Camino in Spain. I did some of it barefoot - roughly 350km - but I was too slow to keep up, and did the majority in shoes. Still, when I returned I figured it'd be even cooler not just to climb the mountains barefoot, but also to walk from one to the other in one huge trek. A quick bit of Google Maps told me it'd be just a bit over a thousand kilometres. Like most things, I said "someday" and forgot about it.A little more time went by - don't worry, this is the end of the inspiration story - and I was flicking through the new Guinness World Records book while sheltering from the rain in a bookshop. I flicked through the "Great Journeys" section, always my favourite, and saw it: the longest barefoot journey. 1488 kilometres, by Michael Essing, in his native Germany, and I thought, "I can beat that."The rest was me deciding to do it the next year (i.e. last year), applying for the record, saving some money, buying equipment, and biding my time in TEFL, which I was already starting to hate a bit. I didn't go back afterward, either, but sadly also didn't manage to pick up any sage-like life wisdom or decide what to do with myself. Still working on that!Around this time I also decided to raise money for Pieta House - an Irish organisation that counsels people at risk of suicide or self-harm for free. They have ten centres around Ireland now and are frighteningly busy. They have a good reputation because they've been very transparent about where the money goes (no scandals!) and because suicide is a very salient issue right now in Ireland.I've just addressed the why and not given any actual indication of the what. Maybe I'll just use the old "narrate using pictures" escape. Here's the route:After my walk, I merged all of the GPS files together and loaded it in Google Earth. It deviated a bit from my planned route, but that's not important. Apologies for the low resolution - it's just a screencap. I'd love to make a really nice cartographic map to hang on the wall with my route on it, but don't really have the knowhow.[Edit: I just realised there's no indication of where I started. If you go due north of Galway, my hometown and starting point of Claremorris is about where you hit the white line of the route. The yellow line is the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. I walked counterclockwise around the island.]Anyway! Yeah, that was the route. Over 2,000 kilometres, every step barefoot, and no transportation used at any point (though sometimes people took my backpack ahead for me).It would take too long to really describe the journey, and anyway if I ever write the book if the book ever gets published, you can all read about it there. ;) So here are some choice elements.Yellow paint is your friend! Its smoothness got me through many a hard time. Really, though, the best place to walk is where cars' tires rub off the ground, but this is not always an option for obvious reasons. Sorry to disappoint, but I didn't actually climb the mountains (yet). In this photo you can see Croagh Patrick in the background. This was on the morning of day three, when I was rapidly discovering how difficult it was, and had more-or-less decided to walk around the mountains instead.I got to see some absolutely stunning places. This is Doo Lough Valley in Mayo, really out in the boondocks, for Ireland. I was really happy that I got to see such a huge amount of my own country, because so many people never see much at all of theirs, and travel elsewhere instead.Resting my feet next to Killary Harbour just the next day.Don't ask me.What felt like the loneliest road in Ireland, and where I lost my mind for the first time. The surface was very rough, my feet were in a lot of pain, and it felt like I spent weeks walking through (it was hours).My tent on the seventh night. I camped three times in three and a half months. That's insane.Walking through one of the Irish-speaking areas of Ireland. The entire population is pictured.So for the Guinness World Records I had to provide a fair amount of evidence. There were photos, videos, GPS files, a log book and a witness book... I took many photos like this next to a sign to prove I was where I was. Still in the Gaeltacht here; note that someone had removed "Galway". In Ireland, signs are usually in both English and Irish.An obligatory shot of the Cliffs of Moher. I was too lazy to walk along the cliffs - the path was gravelly and I'd have to loop back anyway. I've realised that so far this post is completely missing what for me was the best part of the walk - the people I met. People stopped me to talk to me or to donate, or to give me food. People brought me into their homes and fed me and gave me a place to sleep. I was left with a completely altered view of humanity - most people are really nice. It's a shame that my richest memories of the walk are those shared with the people I met, because I can't post many of those photos. I lost my phone just after the walk, and with it all of the photos I'd taken with people (most of the photos here are from my camera, and I used my phone (for selfies with people). I have some photos with people, but they were taken from Facebook and the quality is atrocious. (I was taking photos on a Samsung Galaxy 1 and sending them to my sister via FB messenger, and then she uploaded them to my Facebook page). I've cheated here and just posted a photo of my friend Donal and I having a pint in Sligo toward the end.I stayed in people's houses about half of the time, and the other half was a mix of B&Bs and hotels and so on (most of which did not charge me).Down in Kerry. It's green! In the distance are the MacGillicuddy's Reeks, which I also did not climb.These are both in Killarney, where I was joined for a couple of days by my housemate, Lucas. He was recovering from a knee surgery. This was also the day I miscalculated the distance and we ended up walking an extra ten kilometres. It was the longest day of the entire journey.Possibly one of my favourite places on the entire journey. The Beara peninsula has a waymarked trail, which meant I had a respite from contending with traffic. The weather was being extremely un-Irish and lovely.A sight that brought tears of joy to me eyes. I had a minor obsession with road surfaces by the end.Eyeries, the original technicolour dream town.This was at the top of an old road over the mountain that was used to access the now disused copper mines. The photo really doesn't do it justice; I sat here for twenty minutes looking out over the sea.I am not a photographer.Appreciating the view with my new sheep buddy. Joined for a day by my friends Eoin and Jess! This turned out to be a long and difficult day for everyone owing to crappy backroads and a poor decision to have a midday pint.I have very few photos of cities and towns because I usually used my ill-fated phone, and few photos of rainy days as well (they very much happened). Here are some more cliffs, this time way over in the southeast (I've skipped ahead a bit). Approaching Tramore. In Irish, it's Trá Mór, which means "big beach". Yeah.There's a rather strange little park filled with weird Hindu statues down in Wicklow. The owner was a bit pretentious and condescending, but the statues were... interesting.My sheep friend. Approaching Dublin at this point, and well over halfway.With my main man Killian at our alma mater; this tower is on the south campus in Maynooth.The exact point in Ballynahinch where I broke the world record. Yep, right next to some wheelie bins.Roads in Northern Ireland have (small) pavements!Cows on the beach. You know you're in Ireland... At this point I was up on the northeastern coast, walking on a trail that ends up at the Giant's Causeway.And at the causeway, it was busy.Spotted in Derry/Londonderry. There was a lot of sectarian violence here back in the day. The gable paintings are quite famous.Glenveagh National Park was beautiful, but the road was a nightmare for my feet. Mount Errigal is here hiding in the clouds on the right - another mountain I had originally intended to climb.Entering Sligo, and getting very close to the end of my journey.My sisters put this up for me as I was re-entering my hometown. There was quite a gathering in the square to welcome me back; if I was a weaker man, I might've cried. Then I had a load of pints.I'm sorry the picture quality isn't greater and that it's just a few disconnected photos. It's really hard to choose out of so many moments, and to properly describe my journey. So I'll take the lazy way out and give you a bunch of statistics!Total distance: 2080.14km (1292.54 miles)Duration: 104 days (from 1st May to 12th Aug)Funds raised: €29,562.13Avg. distance per day: 20kmAvg. not including rest days: 23.11km (longest was 37.75km)Cost: ~€2000 (this doesn't include the equipment I bought beforehand, and is extrapolated from my bank statements) (it's also very little money, considering)Nights camped: 3Nights in private accommodation: 51Nights in people's houses: 50Pieces of glass removed from foot: 7Thorns removed from foot: ~20 (does not include thorns that only got halfway, of which there were hundreds)Number of sheep seen: Several billionCigarettes smoked: ~2000Beers drunk: ~140Number of ice creams received while walking: 7Number of dogshits stood in: 0 (Yeah! Lots of sheepshit, though)Apologies for how disorganised this post is. There's a whole lot more that I haven't touched on here at all. If you're interested, hopefully someday you'll be able to read my book about it. (If it ever gets anywhere, I'll definitely be sending some Hubski's way.)Here are some bonus shots of my feet!I'm a clean guy.From a piece of glass.The day after I finished.https://hubski.com/pub/383796Close Encounters of the Classified Kind: a post-event analysis of the close approach of USA 276 to the ISS on June 3 #spacehttps://hubski.com/pub/383796Something odd happened a few days ago, high above our heads. In an earlier blogpost, I discussed in detail how the odd spy satellite USA 276 (2017-022A) was set to make a peculiarly close approach to the International Space Station ISS on 3 June 2017. The spy satellite was recently launched for the NRO as NROL-76 by SpaceX, on 1 May 2017.https://hubski.com/pub/383197How the World’s Most Interesting Man Befriended the World’s Most Powerful Man #goodshortreadhttps://hubski.com/pub/383197All I knew about the gig I would be auditioning for were a few scraps of information that my agent Barbara had told me over the phone. It was a commercial for a beer company. Dos Equis, a Mexican brand that ironically needed a boost in the Latino market, was looking for a new spokesman. What specifically were they looking for?“They want a Hemingway kind of guy,” Barbara said. “That’s you!”Was there any script to read?“They want improv,” she said. “You can do any kind of monologue you want, but you have to end with the line, ‘And that’s how I arm-wrested Fidel Castro,’” she said.I couldn’t believe the size of the crowd that was milling outside. The line of actors backed up around the block, perhaps 400 or 500 of them. Too much competition. I turned back to the truck and heard Barbara’s voice in my head: “You left without trying? You never know if you don’t try.”So I turned around. All the actors around me were far younger, and Latino. Naturally, the advertising agency and production company would want a Latino to play the lead. This isn’t worth the time, I thought. All these guys look like they are going to play Juan Valdez. I’m a Jewish guy from the Bronx.https://hubski.com/pub/381910Look what the Lit.cat dragged in. It's Issue 19. It features 💔, 🍕, and Hubski's own 🌮🐱. #morefuckinglitcat #goodlongreadhttps://hubski.com/pub/381910Here's the promo video for the issue: It's been a rough period for me, I'm glad I've finally gotten this issue around together. Lit.cat's Issue 19 is technically the season 2 finale, but I'm still winging it as it comes along. Some notes:I recommend staring at the intro screen for at least 30 seconds. It's really cool. Rediscovering Wishington is really whimsical, the author is too talented to keep submitting to my journal. PolarS was the most popular of this issue, which I didn't expect. It's always fun to look at the site statistics to see who brings in the most visitors. tacocat has a poem published that evokes in me how it feels to finally finish this issue after getting around to it in a month.https://hubski.com/pub/381652My Family’s Slave #society #goodlongreadhttps://hubski.com/pub/381652She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.https://hubski.com/pub/381295What the last Nuremberg prosecutor alive wants the world to know #history #societyhttps://hubski.com/pub/381295Lesley Stahl: Did you meet a lot of people who perpetrated war crimes who would otherwise in your opinion have been just a normal, upstanding citizen?Benjamin Ferencz: Of course, is my answer. These men would never have been murderers had it not been for the war. These were people who could quote Goethe, who loved Wagner, who were polite--Lesley Stahl: What turns a man into a savage beast like that?Benjamin Ferencz: He's not a savage. He's an intelligent, patriotic human being.Lesley Stahl: He's a savage when he does the murder though.Benjamin Ferencz: No. He's a patriotic human being acting in the interest of his country, in his mind.Lesley Stahl: You don't think they turn into savages even for the act?Benjamin Ferencz: Do you think the man who dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima was a savage? Now I will tell you something very profound, which I have learned after many years. War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people. All wars, and all decent people.https://hubski.com/pub/381173Teaching stuff is resolved. #tellhubskihttps://hubski.com/pub/381173Shoutouts: keifermiller, lil, ThatFanficGuy (possibly nowaypablo? I figure that you might get a chuckle out of it. Same goes for am_Unition)Past few days were mostly about this thing:I got an answer, although not from the principal. Like all professional adults, she fucked off. But one of the teachers told me why she thinks I'm no longer welcome. Apparently, students who attended my short lesson about invariants were discussing one of the humorous things that I just threw as a bit of an intuition. See, the invariant is pretty much exactly the thing you think it is: if there's a set of object that follows a certain set of rules, there might exist a property derived from the rules that will not change no matter how many times you will apply them. For example, in cellular automata (like the Conway's game of life) there will always be some sort of a structure that just persists. Glider (same as in Forever Labs logo) will glide forever etc. Here's roughly the analogy I used:You could actually use invariants to disprove Karma. Let's use a simple example and say that there are n people and only one of them has bad karma. Someone with good karma will be forced to exchange it by doing a deed that will effectively swap bad person's karma with the other's good karma. Therefore if there's even one person with bad karma, there will never be a state with only good karma.(I know that it's not precisely how it works, I just wanted to make an analogy that would speak to them.)Apparently I must have had some sort of an agenda against Buddhists or Hinduists or whoever else uses Karma. I mean, there are bad reasons, stupid reasons and there's this. I wonder if I would talk about Ham sandwich theorem (yeah, that's not only a real thing but an important mathematical result! Pancake theorem is a name for it in two dimensions) it would be deemed as insensitive toward people struggling with weightloss.Fact that I wasn't confronted about it is just pure shit on part of the principal. I guess that I'm not mature enough to handle such sensitive topics, right?Anyway, I have requisitioned one of the lecture halls for every other Thursday. My high school outreach is about to become official as I have put forward some paperwork. With two post-graduate students also wanting to get in on that and one professor willing to vouch for us, even the people in administration will have a problem with refusing it. What about the interest of actual students? Well, I went ahead and talked to principals in two other schools in the area. After meeting with them and some teachers, they were really into it and agreed to ask students in their extended (AP) courses. So far I have a rough estimate of thirty-eight people from my high school wanting to attend and twenty-six from the other two schools. Aside from proving me once more that I went to the Forge of Nerds, it also means that this thing is going to run for quite a few people.Official start: most likely this October. Regardless, I am going to do this thing throughout the summer if there will be anyone interested. Shit is going to get real. :DMoral of the story: even if the school is famous for being the place for 'whiz-kids' to be forged into future mathematicians and physicists it says nothing about the principal not being a complete and utter dumbass. I would say that it should be a lesson for me, to stop using weird analogies, but all of it could have been averted if only the mentioned principal would give me enough benefit of the doubt to actually let me explain it and talk it out like adults. But that's not really a lesson for me: I know that most of the "adult and professional because of age" people are full of shit and more childish than I ever was.https://hubski.com/pub/381081Benjamin Fraser - You Drank Some Darkness (flac's first album - it's finally done!!) #hubskioriginalmusicclubhttps://hubski.com/pub/381081EDIT: now on soundcloud!It's here, it's (mildly) queer, and it didn't manage to kill me - it's that album I've been talking about for many many moons. I did every part of this except violin and female vocals. On the whole, I'm really happy with how it turned out - I may have someone else re-master it for me once I have the money, but I'm pretty fine with the job I did on that for now. I had to change some things last minute to get things to sound nice on Bandcamp, but that's ok.This has been consuming basically every hour that I haven't been working for the past few weeks/months, and I am so relieved to have it over with. I crunched the numbers, and this took about 500 hours to make, a large amount of which was spent on 4 or 5 songs that are no longer on the album. I'm planning on putting those out on their own EP in a month or so, but right now I just don't want to record a dang ol' thing.-----------------------------------------------------------------Let's talk about these songs!1. The TempestThis song is 7 years old, written when I was 15. It's a song I like, but it's honestly on this album partly so I can just get a decent recording of it and get it out of my system.The first part was recorded mostly on my tape deck, and the rest of the album is all digital. I wanted this track to sound kind of like the first 2 EPs I did, and then transition into something much bigger.2. FoundThe first thing I recorded for this album, and the last thing I finished mixing. The nylon guitars on this track are the bane of my existence, and I couldn't re-record them because my nylon guitar is on another coast.3. Homeward BoundAnother old one. Here's a live video, if anyone wants to see it. One of my favorite songs to play, the fingerpicking is really fun.4. Life in a VacuumA song I wrote for a cute girl.5. BindA song I wrote for a cute boy. This one was actually cut from the album until a week or two ago, and I'm really glad I put it back on.6. HelenMy absolute favorite song to play. This is actually the second recorded version I have - here's the first. I wanted a sparkly new version now that I'm a bit better at recording, and I really wanted to change up the ending.7. KiyokoReally really happy with the second half of this, production-wise. Based on this person.8. IsaacAnother do-over, here's the original. I think the ending of this might be the prettiest thing I've ever made.9. And Became VisibleThis song has over 200 tracks on it. That shit is never gonna happen again.The poem that gives the album/this track their names is "Elegy" by Tomas Transtromer. I was also considering "Scarecrow".-------------------------------Takeaways:No, you can NOT fix it in post.I spent so much time trying to fix mistakes that I made while tracking, and I wish I had just spent the extra few hours to get better takes/mic placement to start.There's always the next album.I had a very hard time not getting discouraged about my mixing ability when I was comparing my tracks to commercially produced albums, but things became a lot better when I just compared things to the last folk EP I put out. I'm not trying to be better than anyone else, just better than the last thing I made.Finishing something imperfectly is better than never finishing it at allI've been recording music for almost 4 years now, and the fact that it took me this long to try and make an album is a testament to how much the idea of putting out a substantial project scares me. Glad my inner perfectionist was exhausted enough to finally let go of the small things.thenewgreen, steve, bfv, ButterflyEffect, elizabeth, kantos, zebra2, lil, @every person who has ever expressed slight interest.If you like this, you can buy it. If you want a free download, PM me and I'll send you a link.-Brendan.https://hubski.com/pub/380940The View From The Back Row: Journalist and photographer Chris Arnade discusses a country divided by meaning, morality, education, and economics.https://hubski.com/pub/380940In 2016, pundits speculated endlessly on that mysterious place called Trump Country. To many in the Beltway, much of America was a foreign country, to be analyzed statistically rather than in person. Chris Arnade, on the other hand, was determined to escape his coastal bubble. Arnade got into his old van, and has spent the last several years traveling hundreds of thousands of miles, interviewing people all over the country, discovering their joys, sorrows, discontents, and aspirations. In the process he has produced a set of photographs and stories, depicting the everyday Americans who are left out of the media’s understandings of the country, and who feel left out of the 21st century economy. Arnade spoke to Current Affairs editor Nathan J. Robinson about what he has learned in his travels.https://hubski.com/pub/380927A selection of Kentucky Derby hats #fashionhttps://hubski.com/pub/380927eat your heart out limey fuckshttps://hubski.com/pub/380912Horology's Easter Problem #horologyhttps://hubski.com/pub/380912Friendly reminder: if you own a Patek Philippe Caliber 89, don't forget to get the Easter program wheel swapped out before you miss next year's egg hunt. If not, you can grab one at the popular online auction site.there is a gear in the astronomical train of the [Strasbourg Cathedral] clock that makes one rotation every 2,500 years, and that furthermore, the clock features a celestial globe that makes one rotation about an axis showing the precession of the Equinoxes only once every 25,000 yearshttps://hubski.com/pub/380220My first portrait painting: River Gao #art #myart.mkhttps://hubski.com/pub/380220Until now, I have only painted landscapes. My wife asked me if I thought that I could paint portraits, so I gave it a shot by painting my daughter.I'm pretty happy with the result. There comes a point at which you can do no more, and I can stand to leave this one be. I definitely learned a lot from it. She looks paler here than IRL, and making the background black adds a bit of severity, but it was my intent to make it more of a portrait than an image. In that sense, I consider it a success. Also, if you know her, you know this expression.John Singer Sargent said: "A portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth."Here's part of the process:https://vgy.me/a/55p9NDsTUnfortunately I don't have the very beginning on my camera.I'm looking forward to doing a landscape again. I think this painting is going to influence my approach to them.https://hubski.com/pub/379984My personal story of hope, strength and experience [Audio] #thehumanexperiencehttps://hubski.com/pub/379984A lot of you have been here to hear me talk about the shit I've been going through. If you're new it's right there in my profile.Last night I told my life story as part of my intensive outpatient that I've been going to since I left residential rehab. There's an AA thing where we tell our stories to the group so they can learn from our aforementioned hope, strength and experience.It's kinda long. Sorry. It could be longer. I've been through some shit, self imposed and outwardly afflicted. I also like spoken language more than written for its honesty, informal nature and less pretentious vocabulary and structure. (See? I would never say that last sentence out loud in a conversation.)After my spiel the group was very supportive and impressed and I may have helped someone who heard it, which is sometimes all you can do to help someone else recover. I also start to cry at the end so you have that to look forward to. Just trying to tease you into listening to it.Thanks guys. Stay awesome.lil Cedar kleinbl00 (Not choosing favorites but you guys have been their in particular significance.)https://hubski.com/pub/378900rd95's poorly written, crummy career advice #jobs #ramblingshttps://hubski.com/pub/378900Someone on Hubski came to me asking for some career advice. For the sake of their privacy, I’m gonna keep them anonymous, which will be easy to do because I don’t have any good answers for the specific scenarios they laid out for me. However, I wanted to put my response in the open (with their permission) because there are many people on Hubski who are much smarter and wiser than I am. Hopefully their knowledge and insight will keep any bad advice of mine in check. The gist of the letter breaks down “Do I try to do pursue something I love, or do I try to pursue something that will pay the bills? Be brutally honest.”My response follows . . .I’m probably the worse person to come looking to for advice on this kind of thing. I’m a college drop out. If you knew my career, you’d laugh. For all my enthusiasm, for all of my tenacity, for all of my willingness to be open minded, I am not what you would consider a successful person.I could be a dick and say “find a job that fulfills both,” and leave it at that. Thought we both know if it was that easy you wouldn’t be asking the kinds of questions you’re asking. If you want the brutal truth, it’s this. You’re an adult now. Life is hard. Big decisions will always be hard and there will be challenges that come with every choice you make, even if the choice is an easy one. To make things worse, every time you look back it’ll be with nostalgia, doubt, and curiousity as to how things would have turned out if you had chose differently. Ten years from now, you’ll look back and ask yourself “What if I had chosen a different major? What if I went with that other job? What if I moved to that other city?” Even though you know who you are as a person, where you stand in the world, those questions will always be there, because even if you made the best possible decision every time, you’ll never know. So first and foremost, learn to be at peace with who you are today. When you’re not at peace with who you are, know why and strive to find that peace again. When you are at peace, strive to become something more, because if you stand too still for too long, that sense of peace will slowly erode.Building your life, believe it or not, is a lot like building a house. It’ll take your whole life to build, often you’ll be building it alone and often you’ll be building it with others, and you’’’ remodel it from time to time as you go along. What’s important to do though is understanding how you’re building it and why, so you can use it to the best of your ability and know how your house can benefit you and how your house can hold you back. Some of my friends, their houses are like tents. They’re not very stable, they’re not very safe, but they’re enough to keep the rain out. If need be, they can pack up and move on at a moments notice and find someplace new to pitch their tent. I envy their mobility greatly. I don’t envy their lack of stability. I have other friends who have houses like fortresses. They’re beyond sturdy, they’re beyond safe. Mobile, they’re not. If the rivers of their lives ever dry up, they’re fucked. Me? My house was like a tent, until I met my wife and we moved in together. Now we’re kind of like a prairie cabin together. We’re pretty secure in place even though it’s not fancy, but if the need ever arises, we can pack up and move on without sacrificing too much.Know that your career is just one part of your house and you can add and remove other parts as you need be. If you want to do good in the world and your career path is something mundane, find ways to be charitable outside of work. If you want to be creative and your work is all about thinking inside the box, pursue your creative passions outside of work. Your career will only have the amount of meaning you chose to give it. It can be your basement, your living room, or your master bedroom. The question you have to ask yourself is, what room you think is appropriate and why.So think about your life. Think about that house. Think about how you might want to build it and what you want to fill it with. Know that it’s not the worse thing in the world to tear it down and start again, but know that the older you get, the bigger your house becomes, and the harder it will be to remodel let alone tear down and start anew. Unless there’s a fire. Crisis often seems to be one hell of a reset button.Lord Mercy. I suck at advice. Here. Know what’s awesome about philosophy? It’s helpful if you take it lightly. Know what sucks about it? If you need concrete answers, it’s good for fuck all. I can’t give you advice about your situation, but I’ll give you some real advice you can take with you. Headers and all.Work EthicWords cannot stress enough how important a good work ethic is. The surface benefits are numerous. When you’re a hard worker, willing to be flexible to the needs of the job, your chances for better hours, better pay, career advancement, peer acceptance, etc., all go through the roof. People will know you’re dependable and reliable and you’ll likely be treated positively because of it. Just know the difference between being helpful and letting people walk all over you. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, don’t assume that’s the case, but examine your situation to see if it might be. If you’re busting your ass of and getting treated like shit, chances are, you’re getting taken advantage of. However, if you get the feeling that you’re being treated very well and it’s all because of how hard you work, then your work is paying off. Just don’t let yourself get burned out and if you’ve taken on too much, don’t be afraid to approach your boss and say “Boss, I’m overwhelmed. Can we talk about the workload?” See where things go from there. Use your best judgment.If you’re able to take pride in your work and you see your job in a preferable light, whether you see it as a privilege of a challenge or just plain fun, it really does become easier to do. Seeing your job in a preferable light is a key part to your work ethic and actually makes your job easier to do. Some days it’s gonna be hard to get out of the house, go to work, and do the shit that needs doing, but it’s important to keep on doing it. If you let yourself slow down, you’ll quickly lose momentum, and often that momentum can be hard to build back up.Honesty Really is the Best PolicyYou’d be amazed at how much being honest can really make things easier. It makes people more receptive to what you have to say, creates an air of reliability about you, and when you openly acknowledge problems, you and the people they affect are much more likely to tackle them effectively. Just know, trust is hard to gain but so easy to lose. DebtWhenever possible, avoid getting into debt. The more money you owe and the more people you owe it to, the less flexibility you in life. This lack of flexibility can affect everything from your purchasing power to your job prospects to your ability to pursue leisure opportunities. Even more, the further you are in debt, the easier it is to fall further into debt, and the harder it is to get out. This applies more to just owing someone for a car. If you have tickets, pay them off. If you owe back taxes, give the government their due. If you have a warrant out for you, get it taken care of. You would not believe the way things can come back to bite you in the ass, especially years later when you least expect it. The sooner and cleaner you can get things taken care of, the better.This also applies to social debts. If someone loans you money, pay them back. If someone buys your lunch, gives you a ride, helps you out with a work assignment, anything, pay them back. It is very easy to earn the reputation of a mooch. It’s very hard to get rid of it. The best way to handle social debt is by getting ahead of it. Be charitable. Offer to pick up the bar tab, give people rides, pay for their ticket at a movie, etc. People will know you’re generous and repay your generosity in kind. Keep two things in mind. First, sometimes people genuinely can’t repay you back for your favors. That’s fine. That’s why I used the word “charitable.” If you’re doing nice things out of the goodness of your heart and not because you expect things in return, you’ll be seen as a warm, welcome element in peoples’ lives. If you do nice things because you expect something in return, people will see you as manipulative and any act of giving you do will have a negative taint to it. Second, figure out what is socially acceptable as generous. There’s a huge difference between buying someone’s movie ticket and buying someone’s plane ticket. There’s a difference between buying lunch for someone now and again and buying lunch for someone every time you hang out. Knowing the difference helps avoid awkward situations and also protects you from being taken advantage of.Know Your RightsKnow your rights as a consumer, as a tenant, as a citizen, etc. This will protect you in so many ways. Everyone from banks to landlords to the government has the power to take advantage of you, if you let them. By knowing your rights, you can help mitigate this. I’ve literally had an old landlord make changes to my rental contract before signing it and accepting the keys because there were clauses in the rental agreement that ran counter to state law. I’ve had friends that have settled debts, disputes with the banks, and arguments taken to small claims court because they know what’s what. By knowing what’s what, you can also help protect yourself from getting in trouble down the road, just by seeing warning signs and deciding not to pursue something. At the very least, always read what your signing. More often than not, written in the contracts and plain as day, are statements by the company, other person, etc. saying how they can and might screw you over.Which brings me into the segue of bureaucracies. They’re seemingly massive and imposing and they seem to be run by heartless people who don’t care about you. Here’s the secret to dealing with bureaucracies, whether they’re the government, hospitals, your work’s HR, or what have you. A lot of the time, if you can convince them that their job will be easier if they help you, they’ll end up being a lot more flexible in getting you taken care of. Knowing your rights also comes in handy when it comes to dealing with these machines because that knowledge is like a sledgehammer you can use to break down some of those walls that get put up.So, I dunno. That’s what I got. I wish I had some concrete answers, but I don’t. In thinking about it again, I think the best advice I can give is that the sooner you accept that your life is in your hands and that things are gonna be hard, the easier it will be for you to start taking control of your life. Empower yourself whenever and where ever possible, be flexible to options, and know that while your career will be a huge part of your life, it’s not the be all and end all of your life. You can have the shittiest job in the world and still find fulfillment outside of it.https://hubski.com/pub/389062https://hubski.com/pub/389062I may just ramble here for a second to see how people reply because I don't want to specifically talk about my life right now and I've learned to accept the blunt tool aspect that language has and I don't know if that is a fact many people understand explicitly. There is just no way to apply logic to my behavior or reactions and I'm not sure that doesn't apply to everyone. I'm pretty certain of it in fact. Sometimes I fold entirely under pressure that may not seem very intense from the outside and sometimes I can soldier through objective tragedy. I don't exactly remember what's on this list and I looked at it again because it's meant to be amusing in part:http://www.cockeyed.com/magic/bad_4.phpBut there's more than a few things on there that have happened to me, even in the last year. It's hard to explain how that feels because it's just complicated. I feel like I deserve a gold fucking star sometimes for just waking up or not crying at a given moment when that's a hard thing to resist. Everyone deals with things they aren't appreciated for that are internally important. Difficulties that are not important enough to mention but would be so greatly appreciated if anyone noticed at all the level of a quiet struggle. And that seems to be my life. A very slow process of coming to be grateful for anything I have or am afforded and the smallest recognitions of any signal from someone about how hard it can be for me just to not accept failure or any number of undesirable things that would be easy to give in to. This is something that is in large part my fault. But there are a lot of difficult to recognize or understand factors in my life that I deal with every day that I cannot overestate the amount of effort it's been to function at a level where if I fold it's a goddamn surprise to everyone looking at me. And that has forced me to educate myself and accept faults of my own that people who have them can exist easily without recognizing and just generally be open to the fact that I don't often know what the fuck is even happening. But that has given me an empathy that I do want a gold fucking star for one day towards people who no one even wants to look at and people who are easily dismissed for reasons that I've learned to see as incredibly judgemental because I have a taste of how bad life can be in ways that people in the first world have no appreciation for since they've never, for example, had to weigh the benefit of carrying everything you own against its weight and the stress that will create to hold on to objects that are not very basically essential. I have done that. And I have not given up and when I've tried to I've failed. Just general advice I've learned through experience, personal or by observation, smiling itself can be nearly impossible sometimes so. Or comforting in its ease at a moment. I feel like people in America sprint through life and are surprise how short it is when they accelerated its speed by worrying about duvet covers or taking cold water for granted. Everyone reading this should understand the levels of grace they've been afforded just by having electricity and internet access. Billions of people right now are comfortable being unsure how they will next eat. I want a gold star sometimes because the very low level of optimism I seem to put off is a lot more than people who I think have none and whatever level of give a fuck I have left is important and probably hard fought.https://hubski.com/pub/388939https://hubski.com/pub/388939Badges received from others and the badges you earned by persisted posts and comments are in different counters. One does not influence the other.It's like a gift to put on your mantle piece, man. You don't just give your recognition away. ;)https://hubski.com/pub/388928https://hubski.com/pub/388928You don't get to give away badges that your content has been given.https://hubski.com/pub/388926https://hubski.com/pub/388926I think that badges don't go to "you" per se... they go to the post. So this post has been badged, not you.There is a secret sauce algorithm that determines when you earn badges to spend (posts, comments, shares, etc). That algorithm might include a factor of having your content badged... That I don't know.I hope that helps.https://hubski.com/pub/388737https://hubski.com/pub/388737I once had three mice. I named them Theodore, Buttercup, and The Holy Spirit. They were feeder mice meant to be fed to snakes. I had them for about 6 months and they helped with my depression. Mice are particularly hard to pet, and they started to hiss and bite at me whenever I went to feed them in the cage. This went on for awhile and on one particularly bad day I decided to kill them off. I rationalized that they were feeder mice that were going to die anyway. I took a half empty jar of peanut butter and put then waited awhile before I put the lid on it. I woke up the next day feeling the absolute worst, and I was worried that my family would come in and notice that my mice were missing. I bought three more mice and pretended that everything was fine, but in the back of my mind I felt that there was an aura of fear left behind by the previous trio and these new mice knew that I was a mouse killer. I kept them until I left to find myself across the US and I couldn't find anyone to take care of them and I didn't have any friends with snakes so I decided to kill them in the same way, in a peanut butter jar. I don't trust myself to take care of pets or plants right now. If you buy a succulent I'll buy a succulent.https://hubski.com/pub/388725https://hubski.com/pub/388725Houseplants are important psychologically. They demand nothing from us other than water and light, yet they are a living thing whose existence depends on us. By requiring our care they allow us to shift our focus from ourselves to something else, but at a much lower concentration than pets or humans. They're useful for staving off depression. The hard part is when the depression wins.Mine started about ten. I'd had a couple houseplants and an aquarium in my room in 5th grade; when we moved in sixth I took the opportunity to plan a large skylight (which I never got - my parents put them in two other rooms but) and hang up a couple 4' grow lamps. By the time I was sixteen I had maybe 25 pots of various foliage, two aquariums and a hand-me-down cage full of finches. By the time I was seventeen my sister was stealing my shit to sell to her friends, my parents weren't interacting with me unless it was to give me shit, I was a full-blown exercise bulimic and I was trapped.And I let it all die.At one point I went away for four or five days and my parents broke into my room because they suspected there were things to be fed in there. They apologized when they realized everything was long since dead.But they never wondered what the fuck happened, and they never did anything about it.I like green, growing things. My own little Silent Running in the middle of the fucking New Mexico desert was my escape capsule. And the fact that I couldn't keep it alive still messes me up. The fact that my parents never gave a fuck made me angry for a very, very long time.https://hubski.com/pub/388435https://hubski.com/pub/388435I think this game is an interesting response to the original manifesto as wellhttps://hubski.com/pub/388268https://hubski.com/pub/388268In the final panel of that, in the background of the street scene, they have the Led Zeppelin icons as a sign. I dig that. That was a cool comic also! Learned a lot.https://hubski.com/pub/388238https://hubski.com/pub/388238http://www.stuartmcmillen.com/comic/rat-park/Every time I see a solution like this, I just think about how little we learned from rat park.https://hubski.com/pub/387108https://hubski.com/pub/387108A very interesting analysis.The sad thing is that the Democratic platform would have helped them and Trump / the Republicans will only hasten their fall.A root problem here is the income inequality. Ensure more menial jobs are adequately paid and at least some of the economic stress will be removed, and perhaps some pride restored. Certainly one needs to deploy better programs to enable people who live in small towns that lose their cornerstone industries to be retrained and to bring in new investment to such places.I also believe we need to develop a project with Germany to better understand the great success they have in apprenticeship programs - an effort that connects employers, educators and the federal government to enable people to do-learn-do.There were also a couple statements that stood out to me:Adding insult to injury for those with the grit to survive on an assembly line or in a steel mill, the decades-long shift from manufacturing to services is creating the type of jobs that are distinctly unappealing to many men.The declining employment and salaries of men without college degrees make them less attractive as marriage partners."I don’t want it to sound bad, but I’ve always seen a woman in the position of a nurse or some kind of health care worker. I see it as more of a woman’s touch."Do declining salaries make men less attractive as marriage partners? Or is it that lower salaries or less "masculine" jobs make the men insecure, and for that reason they become less attractive? And is this tied to the traditional gender roles of "men work hard so they get good jobs so they can bring home the bacon to their family".Having lived in northern Europe many years I sense there is a very significant difference in how men define their worth. Equality between genders in northern Europe has lead to men also being more free to define where their worth comes from, and increasingly it is separated from the status of position, the masculinity of the position, and the salary they bring home (compared to what I experience in the US). Where I live in the US there are so many ex-pat wives who bring along their husbands and children, that these stay at home men have arranged a club. And they love their lives. They see being a good father as an expression of masculinity. Meanwhile, too many of the men described in this article view almost any work in the tertiary sector (service sector) - let alone a stay-at-home dad! - as being "women's work" that is beneath their dignity.Sometimes I sense that the call for MAGA - harking back to a time when blue collar jobs were readily available and gave a middle-class income, and "blacks knew their place and women stayed at home" - is like some desperate hope that they can avoid needing to change by getting the rest of the world to change. It is like a farmer who hopes fall will come after winter, and refuses to prepare for spring. The ones they hurt the most by refusing to adapt is themselves.https://hubski.com/pub/386778https://hubski.com/pub/386778> I would argue that the hacker had done more to earn money than Coindash had, but I'm devoutly anti-ICO at this point.Seriously! No joke, these scammers have finally got almost the same payday that they've been working on for over a year! These ICOs are like 30 days of marketing. These scammers are like up all night, buying domains, writing copy, deving crazy tools, adjusting based on user feedback. 😂...☹https://hubski.com/pub/386394https://hubski.com/pub/386394I have no intelligent commentary to give. I just applaud you for taking the initiative.net neutrality = good.corporations completely owning everything about me and ass raping me repetitively = badhttps://hubski.com/pub/386159https://hubski.com/pub/386159I've noticed a peculiar thing happening to my psyche. Whenever I hear the words "intersectionality" "privilege" or "coal miner" I find myself losing all sympathy and empathy. My hackles are raised, my interest in debate plummets and I go full "plague on both your houses" mode.I have a couple friends in West Virginia and I don't give a fuck about West Virginia. As a country, we were talking about doomed fucking coal jobs in the '80s. And when your two choices of employment are the Walmart and the prison, your local economy is end stage already. And can we level for a minute? Those of us who grew up in the Mountain West were surrounded by ghost towns left skeletonized by an end of mining, agriculture, ranching, you fucking name it. Everybody moved the fuck on. And while I appreciate that the mortgage is an excellent instrument for trapping workers in place for better predation by corporations, fuckin' take the hit and leave.I spent a lot of time driving through rural Arizona back in the late '90s. I spent a little time driving through rural Arizona in 2010. Know what I saw? New ghost towns. Places where it made sense to live when Clinton was president but totally didn't when Obama was. Empty houses, empty stores. Fuckin' sunrise, sunset. Know what we call the people who left squalor and risked everything to find new opportunity? YOUR ANCESTORS. Know what we call the people who stayed? We don't. They've been forgotten by time. Given her mother’s health issues, Nicole Banks tries to compensate for Walmart’s departure by seeking out fresh fruit and vegetables in the surrounding area. But it’s not easy. The nearest replacement store, Goodsons, is too expensive, she says, and other Walmarts are an hour’s drive away along Appalachian roads that are as tightly coiled as the copperhead snakes that live in the local forest.I mean, eat a dick. I grew up an hour from a fucking Taco Bell. Walmart? The first Walmart I ever saw was a two and a half hour drive away and even at the tender age of 11 I could tell it was a blight upon the community. It was into this stunning setting that Walmart descended in 2005 on the site of an old Kmart, like the spacecraft of alien botanists that lands in the forest at the start of the movie ET. And there it sat: a massive gash of concrete encircled by nature’s abundance.Talk about burying the lede. So a store with higher profit margins crashed, so Walmart came in with lower profit margins, until even they were just losing money. But somehow this is about Walmart leaving rather than fuckin' McDowell County returning to the primordial "largest mixed mesophyte forest in the world" as is good and just and righteous and proper. Know how many people live on South Georgia Island? Two. Know how many lived there when whale hunting was legal? Hundreds.Wanda Church has been unemployed since that day when she cried as Walmart’s doors were closed for the last time; the company offered her a night shift at the next store along, but she couldn’t stomach the hour’s drive either way and wasn’t prepared to leave her home.That howling sound you hear is every urban commuter reading this article and screaming at the top of their lungs that their commute is over an hour and that's just the way it is princess.The company had worked with all the employees who had lost their jobs to find them suitable transfers or give them severance pay. “We look forward to continuing to serve our Kimball area customers when they visit our stores in Bluefield, Princeton and MacArthur,” she said, (without referencing the hour’s drive.)There are THREE fucking Walmarts within an hour. Workers at any supermarket chain you care to mention are quite used to suddenly having a shift an hour away. This happens in major metropolises and yes, I can say with authority that Walmart does it, too. This is literally liberal disaster porn talking about those poor fuckers in coal mining country who no longer have a Walmart across the street but can drive 40 minutes to get to one. They're fuckin' 40 minutes from the goddamn interstate; time was going to forget them sooner or later and sincerely - from those of us "scots irish" who grew up in the goddamn desert, welcome to thunderdome, bitch.Articles like this? They make me want the opioid crisis to accelerate, Obamacare to crash and global warming to destroy the economy of appalachia even faster. If the only thing that kept you hanging on was the talons of Bentonville Fucking Arkansas, you were ready to shuffle off the coil a long fucking time ago.Get busy livin' or get busy dyin' and either way, know that I'm all the fuck out of sympathy.Being a schoolteacher, Phillips has a theory for what happened when the store closed. “Socialization. We lost our socialization factor. Now it’s hard to keep track of people, there’s no other place like it where you can stand and chat.”There was something else Phillips lost with Walmart’s departure. To illustrate the point, he reaches into his red pick-up truck and pulls out a loaded Para Ordnance Warthog .45 handgun and waves it at us, telling us not to freak as the safety is on.“Bought this in the Walmart parking lot,” he says. “Guy sees me reading a gun magazine and asks me was I carrying. He offered to sell me the Para warthog and I got it for $775.” Phillips took his new possession home and added to his collection of 140 firearms.no wordshttps://hubski.com/pub/386137https://hubski.com/pub/386137Warning: Sophomoric Ramblings AheadI saw this posted the other night, last night? This morning? Shit, I dunno, this weekend has been a blur, but I've been rolling things around in my head a bit since I've read this.I read an opinion piece the other day, I think The Guardian, that threw out the statistic that if you were born in America in the '50s, you had a 90% chance to exceed your parents' income. If you were born in the '80s, that dropped to 50%. I can only assume it's been dropping since. Just throwing that out there, though I don't know how accurate it is.I've been pretty bitter the past few years. House hunting and job hunting simultaneously and coming up with nasty disappointment on both fronts does a lot to color my perception. It's not about the money. It never has been. It's about respect. All I want is a job where when people ask me what I do for a living, and I tell them, their eyes light up and say "Wow. That's an interesting job," and then follow up with questions out of genuine interest and not some awkward feeling of social obligation to propel a conversation forward. I don't want a big house, or a fancy house. I just want a solid house. Hell, I'd be willing to give up over half the stuff I own to live in a small house, just as long as I have a house. There's something about owning your own place, not living with others, not paying a landlord, that says "You see this guy? He has his shit together and he made it." I got neither. It makes me feel like a bum and a failure as a husband sometimes, though I know Dala doesn't hold it against me.People talk about movements on here and other places on the internet all the time. Tiny houses. Sharing economies. Community gardens. This that and the other. I sometimes wonder if people are pursuing these things out of an equal sense of desire for simplicity and smallness, acceptance of their fate that they have to do more with less, and an embracing of creativity and entrepreneurship.This weekend I paid for my gas with the random handful of bills I had in my wallet, not because I'm broke, but because that's what I had on me at the time. It wasn't near enough to fill up my tank. It reminded me of when I was broke and I was kind of nostalgic for it. I hate the fear of being broke and never want to go back to that, but I miss being forced to be simple. I have too many books and antiques and stuff. I'm constantly getting rid of it. I'm constantly getting more. I'm constantly getting frustrated with myself about it. I don't know how to break the cycle and I've been trying for years.Sometimes I wonder if being forced to do more with less will eventually be good for America. I think we have too much. A few months back, I drove through the part of town with the multi-million dollar mansions. They're obscene. I found myself frustrated with the people inside because I don't think they deserve their money, because even if they came by it honestly, they also came by it because they're willing participants in a system that exploits others. Here, there, yesterday, tomorrow. Then they take this money and buy things they don't need instead of using it to try and fix the world. It seems so unjust. Then I look at myself, with my nice car, my nice food, my overwhelming collection of stuff, and I think, to someone else somewhere else, they'd look at me and think I'm being just as obscene.The thoughts in that last paragraph have been on my mind for months now. I've just been trying to figure out how to share them without sounding like a melodramatic child.So since francopoli posted this, I think about the job. I think about the house. I think about what I want versus what I already have versus what other people want and have or don't have and then I don't know what to think anymore. But I think it might be time to be done complaining, because complaining doesn't fix things for me or for anyone else, it just adds to the frustration and resentment. But if I stop complaining, then I have to start asking questions, and if I start asking questions, I have to start figuring out how to answer them.That takes introspection. That takes work. That takes commitment. That's big and scary. When I think about those things, then look at people who avoid life's problems through entertainment or drugs, or people who blame others instead of asking themselves questions, I don't know if I can really fault them for it. After all, in a way, isn't that kind of what we all do in our day to day lives? Distract ourselves? Make excuses? Pass the buck . . ?https://hubski.com/pub/385531https://hubski.com/pub/385531The map is finished! What do you think of it? Let me know if I made any mistakes. :)https://hubski.com/pub/385107https://hubski.com/pub/385107Welp... I might as well take the whole bottle of pills and lie back down...https://hubski.com/pub/384538https://hubski.com/pub/384538Four miles west of downtown Denver. Super convenient to highways and amenities. PM me if Denver makes sense for your travel schedule. Even if it's just for a lunch stop, hit me up and I'll buy the band lunch.Edit: screw that - you guys should come stay if possible. We could even do a house show. And your keys player has to show my oldest kid a thing or two.https://hubski.com/pub/384043https://hubski.com/pub/384043I found one buried in an /r/ethtrader post somewhere: https://icostats.com/. Specifically, check out ROI since ICO in the sidebar and toggle ETH in the top right corner.https://hubski.com/pub/383508https://hubski.com/pub/383508Would a sociopath hold a golf outing for kids with cancer only to funnel a significant portion of the proceeds to himself? Oh wait. Yes. Yes, he would.https://hubski.com/pub/383377https://hubski.com/pub/383377Humility is fine. Shame is not. Resist shame.https://hubski.com/pub/383108https://hubski.com/pub/383108neededinevitableWhat does UBI boil down to? It's a prop to keep capitalism from running off the rails once society no longer carries the structures that made it a stable social arrangement.But it needs to do more than that to work in the long haul.It needs to support the current economic system and it needs to suppress the reorganization of society around whatever new social structures emerge. Because those laborers are indeed human beings. If they're freed up, they're going to go into society and create new complexity.And that newness is going to give rise to something else.https://hubski.com/pub/383012https://hubski.com/pub/383012"These people" are "us people" under poorer circumstances. There's a real tendency for people to think that poverty reflects a moral or intellectual failing but it's a shamefully dismissive way to view the problem.https://hubski.com/pub/382664https://hubski.com/pub/382664He makes that point by the end of the essay.https://hubski.com/pub/382393https://hubski.com/pub/382393[badged]https://hubski.com/pub/382068https://hubski.com/pub/382068Only recently learned about Langley Schools Music Project, and I was just enchanted by it. So emotionalhttps://hubski.com/pub/381475https://hubski.com/pub/381475Thanks for this. I connect with your descriptions of the ache of disconnection, even though my situations are all different. I'm rich in friends, even though most of them are scattered so far, and that is its own kind of different pain. Ibuprofen for social pain makes good sense, though I'd never thought of it before. It seems inflammation is the problem regardless, doesn't matter if the trigger is externally or internally initiated. I've been consuming turmeric paste in my coffee to combat inflammation, rhodiola rosea when I need a sanguine shot of energy, and kava kava when I need to chill. It does well enough most of the time.I really enjoyed that How To Be Alone video. It's beautiful, and contains lots of helpful stuff in it, threads from some of the best traditions which promote solitude. I'm thinking of that Pascal quote right now, “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone," though I think he was selling it from the negative, rather than positive side. The Buddhist version sees the solitude as the link to the real source of connection, beyond people. That's present in some Christian mystics' thought as well. Not sure if it's what Pascal was getting at though. Regardless, we need a functional web of social interconnection whenever we leave the cell of solitude, meditation, prayer, what have you. That web's not there on its own though, and I find myself hamfistedly trying to pretend it is, or weave together a few inches of it. Playing music with strangers has been the best catalyst for unexpected connection lately.Are you an Alaskan currently? I've never been, but I have a friend who moved out to Homer. He tells me it's one of the best places on earth.If you make your facebook ad, let me know. I'd like to see it. You should cc: the guy who wrote the guardian article too, if you do.https://hubski.com/pub/381227https://hubski.com/pub/381227Thank you! I'm glad you're enjoying it.As for your neighbors, have you tried sending them sexually suggestive gingerbread men in the mail? I am hard-pressed to think of anything that would delight me more than receiving erotic cookies from an anonymous source.https://hubski.com/pub/380704https://hubski.com/pub/380704Two Fridays ago, I settled on my house. Overcome with gratitude and happiness.Funny story. I was eagerly showing the house to a few of my friends the next evening when cop sirens and flashing red lights fill the street. We look amongst ourselves. Well, shit, we do live in Baltimore. There's always some foolishness bound to be going on. Then we hear a very stern sounding knock on my front door. Confused, I open it to greet my unexpected guests--Baltimore's finest. (Cue white privilege for not being immediately tackled to the ground.) "Sir, we're responding to a breaking and entering call, and possible house party." "Uhh... I closed on this home yesterday."Then my next door neighbor steps outside and starts apologizing profusely. She's been living in her house for fourteen years, the last year and half of which my house has stood empty. She had no idea the house had been sold. Earlier I had knocked on her door but she wasn't home yet. The cops thought it was a rather cute use of their time and greeted me to the neighborhood. All in all, I'm overjoyed. On the cusp of getting straight As this semester, my roommate is moving in just in time to help pay my mortgage, and I'm the block's most eligible bachelor. I'm less than two blocks away from one of Baltimore's biggest parks where I'm looking forward to a summer of soccer leagues and food truck rallies. Finishing and furnishing the basement will be my next project, so if anyone from Hubski wants to crash, have at it.https://hubski.com/pub/380322https://hubski.com/pub/380322“The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.” - Banksy, AdBusters interview backinthedayThe issue is not that these choices are available, the issue is that these choices crowd out the sensible ones. There's a lot of fallacious product design in toothbrushes. At the same time, it makes sense to apply what we know about dental hygiene to what we know about human habit to what we know about materials science to what we know about merchandising because even an expensive toothbrush is what? $4? $5? That's before you get into the land of Sonicare and its ilk and there are justifications to that, too. I have a $140 toothbrush. It was recommended to me by my dentist over my $100 toothbrush because apparently I was brushing hard enough to require some repair at the gumline to the tune of $900 billed to my insurance. The difference? The new one tweedles at me when I brush too hard. First world problems? You betcha. Asymptotic improvement? Mos def. BUT it is innovation in pursuit of improvement. Dollar shave club, on the other hand, doesn't help you shave better. What it does is provide you access to bottom-of-the-barrel no-name Chinese blades at substantial markup to you. Yeah - a bag of Bic safety razors is like $3 for 24 or whatever so obviously you don't have to purchase that, either, but Unilever spent a billion dollars buying Dollar Shave Club instead of, I dunno, making better razors. Lather, rinse, repeat. You rightly state that you are not directly impacted by any of these deeply silly Silicon Valley choices but you are indirectly affected. As you state, you're a fan of Blue Apron - what if Silicon Valley spent $120m on improving the efficiency of produce delivery to wherever you are instead of $120m on ways to sell chopped fruits and vegetables for $10/lb? Henry Petroski has argued many times that necessity isn't the mother of invention, luxury is - we do not invent a fork because we cannot eat without one, we invent a fork because it's easier to eat with one. The inventor/manufacturer profits off of the increase of ease he provides us, and we pay him gladly. The argument put forth in the article (not as clearly as it could be, no doubt) is that the Silicon Valley business cycle is not focused on efficiency, it's focused on inefficiency and predation. And while this is not universally true, the argument for "disruption" is not "make the world a better place" it's "break laws and make money until they legislate you out of existence." I have thousands of hours of music on hard drives. I used to have hundreds of CDs. My access to music went up an order of magnitude with the advent of Napster... but I can't really say that MP3s improved the state of music. It used to be that technological innovation was largely in pursuit of quality-of-life improvement and that argument could easily be made about Napster et.al. However, the inefficiencies of the music market also provided a living for most of the people involved in its generation. And that's another issue - companies like RentBerry and Fiverr are, at base, eliminating inefficiencies. However, in a marketplace that's even a little unfair or uncompetitive, "inefficiencies" are often the profit of the disadvantaged. On a perfectly level playing field, assembly line workers in Detroit should have no problems competing with assembly line workers in Guadalajara. But.This article is annoying because it stands on the premise that someone offering a choice to you is the same as you being forced to participate, and that a choice you don't agree with is somehow this nefarious plot to screw your life up. Fiverr doesn't exist to destroy the middle class dream. It connects freelancers with people who hire them.Hi. Freelancer. Years of experience. Union member, skilled laborer. And where I work, the middle has dropped out. I'm one of the youngest people in my industry that I know of and my 20-year reunion was a while ago. See, used to be you started out as a gopher PA and then you became a set PA and then you picked up a skill and then you started making a little money and your network grew and you started making more money and eventually you had a wife and two kids and a house in the Valley. But now there's a sea of film school grads who can work for free because mommy and daddy understand that you have to do that for a while in order to get experience so they'll pay Janie's $1900/mo rent for a studio in Panorama City while she struggles for free until eventually it becomes clear that as soon as she starts to ask for money there's ten more Janies eager to take her place so eventually she's going to go back to live with her parents in Dayton and take orders at Applebee's while meanwhile, the guys that are actually hiring new kids who don't know what they're doing are generally doing it with their parents' money, too, and they're going to fail out within however long it takes for their folx to get sick of paying for their hobbies and in the meantime, we're all getting older and we're all hanging on to the gigs we have and the kids? The kids are not coming up because the opportunities that are available to them are a mirage. Make no mistake. I'm the other side of that divide. Comfortably. But the gig economy, in my industry at least, is a fucking meat grinder for those without protections. Multiply times everything.https://hubski.com/pub/380003https://hubski.com/pub/380003So a "fixed payment annuity" is effectively an agreement between you and whoever manages the annuity. The agreement says that if you make payments over the allotted time, when the annuity reaches maturity, the manager will pay you back. What's typical (what my pension looks like) is you work for a certain amount of time to be vested, then you contribute the requisite number of hours or days or years of employment, then when you've reached that number (and usually a prequalifying age), the annuity manager lets you flip the switch from "putting in" to "taking out" which you typically do until you die. My grandfather was a regional president of the AFL. He was a tool and die machinist, and then he was a union foreman. His pension kicked in at 65 and provided him with something like 75% of his salary until he died, and then it was supposed to provide his wife with 50% of his salary until she died. I think his other choice was 100% until he died, and then 25% to his wife until she died. That pension was written in the '40s, kicked in in the late '60s, and paid him until the early '90s. It's not atypical for the money that you get out of a pension will be more than the money you put into a pension. This shortfall is covered by the fact that the pension manager has your money now to pay you later so they can invest it, earn interest, make stock splits, etc etc etc. In other words, they're taking on the risk but also capturing any gains above and beyond what's necessary to pay out the pensions of the accounts under management.Now take me - I've been in my union since 2008. I got enough union work to start earning healthcare and start vesting in 2013. At the end of this year, I'll be eligible to actually get money out of my pension when I retire - but I'm a six figure guy and as it sits, I think my pension payout when I reach retirement age will be like $137 a month. Now - if I keep mixing high-budget full-pop network shows under my union contract for the next seventeen years, my payout will reach.... drumroll please... $837 a month.Now granted: That's nice money. But I earn more than that in a day every time I work on a holiday and once I retire, i won't be. And a lot of the reason is that the pension managers can't guarantee they'll make killer gains to cover the shortfall. A lot of the reason is medical plans. See, retirement and medical benefits are often mixed together and when the 'boomers were getting their rippin' pension and health plans set up in the late '60s/ early '70s......they weren't expecting to spend a factor of ten what they were currently spending. I've got great health insurance. It's good enough that I leave my family for three months a year to keep it. And COBRA on it is like $1800 a month. That's for three young, healthy people. Now - I got a buddy whose wife is currently dealing with early-onset Alzheimer's. I have another friend who has been dealing with skin cancer. And I have another friend who regularly tears himself up falling off of horses. And the medical plan pays out for all that. Combine that with the fact that it's gotten harder and harder to make the kind of gains that pension plans are used to. twenty fucking percent. And since like 2011 the interbank rate in the US has been close enough to zero that it might as well be nothing. The rest of the world? Something like 2/3rds of the world's currency was under negative interest rates for the past three years. And if your pension plan was set up on the assumption that it could make an easy 10% a year because it always had forever and ever amen, you have a massive pension shortfall.So that's pensions. You put a set amount of money in, you eventually take a set amount of money out, and the pension manager covers the shortfall by profiting off your contributions. Great to be a pension manager if that's easy, shitty to be a pension manager if it's hard, used to be easy, is now hard. Pension shortfalls 101.401(k)s? Those are just bank accounts. They're bank accounts with special tax status but they're just bank accounts. You put money in, your employer matches it, and you play the ponies. You get to see every month (or every second, depending on how interested you are) just how your 401(k) is doing and you get to rebalance it, reallocate it, contribute to it, draw it down, use it as collateral, tap into it under penalty, all that fun shit entirely on your own. If you don't have enough money in your 401(k) when it's time to retire, that shit's all on you - you should have saved more. You should have invested more wisely. Your employer has fuckall to do with it - it's their pension fund but it's your 401(k). If your pension is with CalPERS, you're fucked because they ran out of money. If your 401(k) was with Enron, you were fucked because you folded your retirement plan into a house of cards.. If you were a public worker, you had no choice other than what CalPERS invested in. If you worked for Enron you had all the choice in the world - but it seemed like the smart thing was to invest in your employer.Ironically enough, Steve Bannon blames the latter for his worldview.