The joke that became a website.

I was just screwing around today, something I often do. I was clearing out old bookmarks on my iPhone when I came across one that I don’t ever recall using, so I clicked it. A site called ‘instant domain search’ came up with a domain search bar, being an unpretentious soul without much thought I typed in “”. Boom the domain was available for 10 bucks a year including domain registry privacy AND a website. Well for 10 bucks, who could resist. I was sporting an unkempt look today so I fit the part rather well and putting all pride aside paid my 10 dollars and am now the proud owner of the “Old man with an iPad” website. It’s a real bare bones platform, just image and writing posts period. But hey, it’s a place to have foolish fun with pics and rambling commentary that I wouldn’t bother posting here (or anywhere else for that matter). Everyone should have a place where we can practice not taking ourselves too seriously and is buried in obscurity amongst the 1.9 billion online websites.

There’s always a Cheaper Place to Live part 2 and You Can Doodle Anywhere.

In 1997 even a simple lifestyle in California was becoming expensive. To remain there would require more time spent working for the basic conveniences than I was willing to sacrifice. I’ve never found conveniences all that convenient, the time spent working for them wasn’t worth it.

If you want to live cheaply you have to go where no one else wants to live and be open to an alternative lifestyle.

Aubry Valley and cliffs, they stretch 75 miles west.

The search requires staying away from conventional real estate listings. I discovered an ad in the back of a motorhome magazine, motorhome magazines not only have listings for camp spaces to rent but many are for sale. The ad read, “Beautiful acre plus parcels for sale in the high desert mountains of Arizona. $100 down $75 a month financing, no credit checks.” I called the listed number and talked to the land agent. The parcels were located in a defunct subdivision accessed only by dirt roads. There weren’t any public utilities or services, water had to be hauled in from the nearby small-town railroad well, 25 cents for 55 gallons. I sold everything I had except for some basic tools and bought a ’72 Dodge class-c motorhome and headed out. My monthly income from investments at the time was $600 a month and I had all the time in the world.

The trip took 13 hours and traveling through Arizona was a wonderment at every turn, from vast open spaces to rolling hills covered with huge rock formations it was a sight to behold. You don’t enter Arizona; you’re enveloped by it.

The small town I was directed to by the land agent had a KOA campground where I spent the night. The next morning I met with the agent and we headed for the hills.

Many of the parcels were barren and rocky with a few Indian Paintbrush bushes, some were too steep to walk on but in the middle of the subdivision was a section of heavily treed parcels. Juniper and pinion pines aren’t tall and majestic like California’s Redwoods, but they’re sturdy trees that can easily survive the high desert winds.

In the dry seasons.
During the summer monsoons and after winter snow melt.

This is a small section of the parcel I decided to purchase.

We drove back to the land office and filled out the purchase contract, I handed him $100, and the parcel was mine. The next day I left the KOA with a few supplies, 40 gallons of water and bounced up a series of rocky dirt roads for 12 miles and parked in front of the lot. The trees and bushes prevented parking on the lot, but I had arrived ‘Home’ in the solitude of nature; there wasn’t a soul for miles and I was elated.

Solitude is interesting because it affects people in a variety of ways. Many panic in its openness, there’s nobody to grasp, there’s a complete absence of reassurance with from the familiar. I seem to settle into it with a slight apprehension that’s soon replaced with an expansiveness that embraces me. The further out I go the longer I want to stay where there isn’t a human made sound, just the whispers of nature through the Junipers.

By the end of the next day I had cleared enough space to pull the motorhome in 10 feet off the road. I made some coffee, took a lawn chair out amongst the trees and sat there long into a night of vivid stars and what seemed liking roaring crickets.

The 40 gallons of water and supplies lasted a month so there was no place I had to go and spent the days clearing out rocks and bushes. Once a month I’d bounced down the roads for water and supplies and after three months I had enough space for a 21′ travel trailer and traded the motorhome for a 4-wheel drive pickup truck.

Over the years improvements were made in sanitation, water storage, solar equipment and heating. I added an 8’X12′ front room with large windows to the trailer giving me 230 square feet, plenty of room for the dog and me.

Gabbie, my fellow hermit.

Gabbie and I spent the next 15 years wandering the hills in solitude, excluding the once-a-month hour in town getting supplies.

In 2012 I met a wonderful woman who said I was living her dream; we were married a year later. She was and still is my dream.

“Life is hard at times but we find living it is easier.”

The Wood butchers Art of the 70’s and there’s always a cheap place to call to home.

The 70’s in Santa Cruz California was a magical time for those who protested the establishment by creating alternative dwellings and bohemian lifestyles rather than attend protest rally’s harassing the cops. We had better things to do.

I arrived in Santa Cruz in 1969 and needed a cheap place to call home. I was a painter and sculptor so a home would also be a studio. In my wanderings around I came across a guy who owned a ramshackle nursery on the outskirts of town. He sold plants and made redwood planter boxes. In the back of the nursery were several shacks that he rented out to artists and musician’s for very little money. He didn’t have anything available at the nursery but where he lived a few miles down the road was an old shack and a large rambling chicken coop in the back of the property. I fired up my old ’52 ford pick-up and went to take a look.

The shack was around 10’X12′, had a concrete floor and was fairly weathertight. The chicken coop was 20’X40′, with a completely open front but there were sides and a back wall. The front opening was 8′ high and an old tin roof sloped down to the 5′ high back wall. The worn concrete floor was serviceable and there was an electrical line that went from the guy’s house to the coop. There was even a working hose bib by the front opening. He would rent me the chicken coop for $30 a month, water and electricity included.

I had permission to remodel and live there hassle free. The rent for an average 800 square foot house in Santa Cruz back then was $350 a month, $30 a month for an old chicken coop was a good deal but for an artist studio with living quarters it was the opportunity of a lifetime. I worked one night a week at a small cafe as a janitor where I made $75 a month plus four free meals. I saw the cost of renovating the coop as doable, in the end I spent a total of $23.

The first thing I did was raise the rear roof up 2′ from the back wall using my trucks jack. This left a better ceiling height but also a 2’X40′ open section.

While pursuing my favorite pre-occupation of cruising the cities back alleys for anything thrown out that could be useful. I noticed that several glass shops in town threw out their empty glass packing crates, they were made of wood, and many were 6’X8′. Along with the crates were old wooden sash windows of varying sizes from 2’X2′ to 6’X7′ with the glass intact. It was a time when people had their old wooden sash windows replaced with modern aluminum sliding windows. When I asked about the windows and crates I was told I’d be doing them a service by hauling them away, an incredible resource. After hauling many truckloads of creates and windows back to the coop, I was ready to remodel. I carefully took the crates apart and used the wood along with the small windows to close in the narrow rear opening and the large 6’X7′ windows to close in the front opening which gave me an 8’X40′ glass wall with various colored wooded frames. In my alley wanderings I found an old steel frame bed with an almost new mattress (another perfectly good item thrown out to be replaced with a waterbed), a porcelain sink, a flowered carpet, an easy chair and love seat, a broken but repairable wooden dining table, two wooden chairs and an old wooden glass paned door. I traded a few of my paintings for an old Westinghouse electric refrigerator and small water heater. After a month’s work I had a front door, a walled off sleeping area with clothes closet, kitchen counter, shelves, kitchen sink with running water, a Coleman camp stove, a refrigerator and water heater. With the addition of an old parlor wood stove the place became a comfortable cheap home and studio for many years.

Here are some of the eclectic dwellings the artists were building at the time. This was long before the tiny house craze of today.

Many of these were so artistic people with a few acres would let you build and live rent free for a little artistic help around their place.
One of my favorites.
If you had a little money, the sky was the limit.
With some creative work this would be the perfect setting.
They had a similar idea with windows that I had at the coop.
Steep hillsides weren’t an issue.

“We must find the things that make our heart soar and when we do, go there and linger into the eternities.”

Fame and Fortune

We are living in an age of franticly scrambling for fame and fortune without realizing these are not gifts from the gods they’re a test that few pass and many fail leaving them in a small box where there is no room left for discovering the original self.

Turning Inward-The Delicate Art of Survival.

I’ve used this blog primarily for posting my digital doodles but feel the time has come to share a few thoughts.

While we are all aware that things have changed it’s not a simple change of inconvenience, it’s a major planetary transformation. The outcome will be dramatic. While the human capacity for hiding in complacency has worked in the past we no longer have that comfort, our cherished companion of apathy has turned against us. Life takes effort. If you can take your mind off of the distractions that only we humans have the luxury to pursue you’ll find all other life forms pursuing the delicate art of survival. If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience a time when you’re existence depended on the ability to rally the mystical forces of your inner self to battle that which was attempting to kill you you’ve never truly lived. When you’ve limped through life with the battle scares of what I call ‘a great encounter’ you have an opportunity to emerge with resentment or insights into a cosmic understanding.

When I was a medical engineer I had the opportunity to know many people who possessed the mystical insights necessary for daily survival. They all had one thing in common, the ability to apply the necessary effort to accomplish what most take for granted; eating, swallowing, breathing, regulating body temperature, evacuation of bowels and bladder, pers onal hygiene and voluntary physical movement.

I find it fascinating that I’ve lived to see the day when the able bodied socially accepted will have to swim in the murky waters previously reserved for the underprivileged, physically and mentally challenged social rejected. Thus providing them the opportunity for introspection into who they are and that which truly matters.

Waking up and not being able to move because some microbes are chewing up your important wiring forces you to focus and rally the internal forces that are only available when you’re alone with the self. Social isolation is a gift if you can embrace it, solitude is the doorway to the essence of who you truly are. Not the superficial image you’re used to seeing in the social mirror.

Regardless of financial affluence if you can’t spend it to buy convenience, physical and mental comfort, welcome to the world of poverty. A world where self delusion doesn’t exist, the poor know who they are only the rich don’t. I remember my ghetto days, not being able to find work because no one hired “cripples.” Not eating for seven days until I found enough change on the streets to buy a twenty cent bean burrito at Taco Bell. Hovering over an old toaster I found in an alley dumpster to get a little heat in the winter. Surviving a deep gash in the head by going to bed for a few days rather than a hospital emergency room. Going to a local hospital and sitting in a waiting area smoking the cigarettes left in the ashtrays while waiting for the patient food trays with uneaten meals to be left in the halls unattended for the golden moments of a bums smorgasbord.  The daily trips to the public library for five hours of warmth and studying philosophy and art history. I was poor but I was free, unencumbered by social dictates other than good manners, quietly gliding through life. The elation that accompanies a looseness of spirit is unequaled.

It took me twenty years of immense effort to become a socially accepted, highly respected and affluent medical engineer. It was never really an end goal, it was an experiment. Could I emerge from the limitations of an impoverished orphan with physical disabilities and mingle in the ivory towers of the rich and successful, and then leave it behind for a life of wilderness solitude.

A wilderness hermit isn’t suffering from a ‘Lock down’ or having to ‘practice’ social distancing.

Now I’m not implying that my past experiences were a planned exercise for the worldly events of today but they were the impetus to develop a simple minimalist lifestyle for 23 years that has placed me in an advantageous position.

This is the time to realize and accept the fallacy in governments and social infrastructures, to become aware of your inner self with its remarkable strengths, to appreciate loving companionship’s, to appreciate the beautiful calms in between storms of devastation, to abandon fear and embrace serendipitous happenstance like everything in nature does knowing that it’s a part of the great immensity.

The mystical winds are sweeping across the planet, I see it as a Grand Reclamation.