Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Phase - 3

All of those Erector Sets I played with as a kid are now starting to make a lot of sense.


If you have followed this blog for any length of time (including my old Blog - Hypocrisy), you have no doubt heard me speak about Burning Man. I didn't go to Burning Man last year because life just got to busy. I regretted that decision. This year my wife and I are going, come hell or high water.


Burning Man is a type of event that you have to strive for. It isn't a walk in the meadow, it is the climb to a summit. From that summit, you can see all the meadows for miles. You have to push yourself to get there, which is one of the reasons I love to go. You have to challenge yourself, and the other 55,000 people that also show up have challenged themselves in the same way.


Since the first time I went, the goal of building a shelter in the wilderness has become my goal. I have always dreamed of building my own home somwhere with my own two hands. Burning Man has given me an avenue to that great experiment. My first trip to 'The Man' was with a small tent. Not a great idea. Too many dust storms turned it into a sandbox. My second attempt was my first Geodesic dome. It was made of cardboard and wood and it was sweet. Rugged, carpeted, air-conditioned. I love that dome. My third attempt was another dome made from drywall. Didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but pushed the envelope on what I could build and new construction technics.


So with 2012, I have developed dome #3. A radical departure. My past domes have been 'plate' domes made from triangles. This is a strut dome, made from different lengths of steel conduit. I constructed the frame and my wife is designing and sewing the covering for it.


After 2 months of fabrication and 2 days of construction, it now sits erected in my driveway for the neighbors to gawk at. Still can't beleive that it fits all together, with a total of 96 different struts.

The Man Burns in about 50 days. This is going to be interesting.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

America, Where are you now?

Arizona Memorial

This will fall under that category of me being an old gizer, but I have to stop and wonder about something regarding the current generation.

The world is in turmoil. There are a lot things going on that are on the lips everyone. Things such as healthcare, the world economy, the Arab Spring, natural disasters, politics, gay/lesbian rights, the list goes on and on.

If you have been around long enough, you realize that this is nothing new. There have been issues and concerns going back generations. The only difference now, is that there seem to be more of them and they are more immediate. I will attribute this to the fact that there are more of us (population increase) and global automation brings it all to our ipad or smartphone 24/7.

But what I don’t see is the activism that addresses and steers these concerns and debates from the grass roots level. Sure, there was the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement last year, but it took almost 5 years of financial miss-management in the private sector for people to wake up and yell, “Hey, you guys are screwing us”. How long was it between the collapse of Enron and the first squatters on Wall Street?

My point here is that the younger generation does not seem very interested in their future nor are they willing to lay themselves on the line to make the world a better place for their friends and their family.

This all sort of struck me a month back when I was driving our truck. It has a CD player that is also capable of playing MP3 CD-ROMS.

I have a huge archive of music that I burned onto CD several years ago that has been collecting dust in my garage since converting everything to iTunes. The CD’s became just backups for this music. So I was sliding these CD’s into the car audio player and listening to various albums that I have not heard since I was in grade school back in the 1960s.

Songs that have long since passed from my immediate memory, but upon hearing them again, they all came flooding back.

These were songs of protest, anger and revolution against, what was perceived then, as a system out of control. Issues such as the Vietnam War (Four Dead in Ohio – Crosby, Stills & Nash), segregation (Living for the City – Stevie Wonder), big government (Monster – Steppenwolf) and corporate greed (Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who).

Where are these songs today? I don’t know if Lady Gaga is singing about corporate greed or if Katy Perry is crooning about late term abortion, but my assumption is that they are not. But I could be wrong. One thing is for sure, if they are, they don’t have the same impact.

I have this fear that we are in the middle of an apathetic generation, and that few of the younger generation would be willing to stare down a column of tanks if Exxon Mobil declared marshall law in Galveston, Texas, or put daisies in the barrel of National Guard rifles as they locked down a college campus.

Steppenwolf - Monster (Lyric Out-take)

America, where are you now
Don't you care about your sons and daughters
Don't you know we need you now
We can't fight alone against the monster