Better than salt money

Work like you were living in the early days of a better nation


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For those who came to my blogging recently, I thought I’d link to the beginnings (lord, it’s been ten years, where does the time go?), and to the transitions.

Where it all started.  Being how I got into blogging.  I was being deployed to, ostensibly, Afghanistan but actually to Iraq (technically I’ve served in both OEF, and OIF, though I never set foot in Afghanistan, and there was never any question of sending me there.  Politics).  I cut my chops, in the vein of personal writing, in Amateur Press Associations.  Back in the old days (really old, as in the turn of the century before last) people who had a press wanted to show off the things they’d managed to do.  So they got together and collated newsletters to show off the tricks they’d managed.  These became social, with natter about life, and arguments about religious differences (serif/san serif, 1pt leading or 2, etc.).  SF Fandom adopted the practice, and somewhere along the way I got involved (ca. 1983, or so in APA-L, a weekly, still being produced, at the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society; collation is on Thus. Evenings.  Locals have minac [minimum activity] of every other week.  Out Of Towners [ooties] every three weeks, and Out Of Country [as I recall] every four weeks).

When I deployed I sent a ‘zine, when I could.  At some point Hal O’Brien told me he’d like to put it up as a blog.  I said sure, but since he wasn’t me, and not willing to commit me to a platform; and comms between us being a bit… uncertain, at the time, he didn’t.  When I got back to Walter Reed (details to be found in the blog entries), I took my ‘zines, and backdated them to the relevant time of writing.

There is, as I review them, more than a bit left out.  Some for reasons of OpSec (Operational Security: Yes, my using the term is sort of affected.  I say sort of because I still think in Army, and I type it as I think it, then I have to decide about how to deal with it being in Army.  I could ignore it.  I can gloss it [as I just did], or I could drop it in unpacked and leave it.  Each of those tells a different story, this one is mine, and that’s how I choose to tell it).  Some of it for ease of mind to those back home. Some day, perhaps, I shall go over the letters I sent home and read them.  I am not sure how much I left out, and how much I put between the lines, I’ll recall.  I will be able to map where I was, because the letter after we left someplace I put down the lat/long, so that I’d know where we had been (but no one who might intercept it would know were we were.  No, that wasn’t an OpSec problem, because none of those places were secret; everyone knew the US Army was there; they just didn’t always know who was there).

The second, large chunk of single narrative to read is The Narrative of The Trip.  When the VA got around to deciding I was disabled (and some of that was my fault, but life is what it is, and who knows what contingent factors might have changed the outcome if I’d made my petition sooner) I bought a motorcycle, suitable for long-distance riding, and took a trip.  That, perhaps, understates it, a lot.  I took about 10 weeks and rode some 8,000 miles, crossing the Canadian border four times, and hitting two Provinces, as well as 24 states.  It was an experience.  I don’t know I’ll ever be able to take the time to do something like that again, but if we assume an average speed of 60 mph, I had not less than  133.3 hours of time to spend in meditative thought while I was riding.  Time on a bike, on “interstate slab” is a sort of quiet time.  Time to think.  It’s a “zen” sort of time, because you have to be both in the moment, and aware of the endless possibilities of the future moments (if you are thinking of riding, or ride and want to get better, I can’t recommend, “Proficient Motorcycling” by David Hough, highly enough.  I just re-read it, and the insights that trip gave me were both shaped by that book, and have since shaped how I look at what the book has to say).

Of course, the entirety of that blog is also available; sadly not very well tagged.


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