When Tech Support Tells You Wrong

I am embarassed.

Apparently, my resetting of a bunch of previously published posts to private a week ago, then back to public yesterday, triggered a flood of new post emails to those who subscribe here or follow otherwise.

Apologies on steroids for this WordPress blunder. I have tongue-thrashed the help desk, although that won’t soothe your bruised inboxes from the deluge! Even unleashed the bad form police to chase after the perpetrators of this #firstworldproblems crime.

Anyway, just wanted to apologize for the mess. Technology! Can’t live without it, and it’s a harsh bedmate not really to be trusted all the time!

Fools Can Be Fun

There’s a community art experience that happens in Ann Arbor every year about this time. On April 1, a fool’s national holiday, FoolMoon takes over Ann Arbor for an evening of lights and downtown strolling and foolery. Then on Sunday, April 3, the FestiFools annual parade of fantastical, colorful puppets takes over State street near the UofM campus. Link to the group’s annual efforts, which first started in 2007.

Enjoy the gallery below of the puppets in the parade. And although you can’t see the smiles on the faces of children watching, you can imagine the wonder of it all.

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Desert Silence

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There is something about how hiking in the silence of a desert that is addictive, as though this absence of civilized noise experienced miles into the hike is something you’ve craved your whole life but didn’t know it.

The experience is not truly silent, respective to the definition. You hear your breath, rhythmically marching and retreating, your feet insulated in hiking boots taking up a hiker’s cadence of choreographed crunching, and the carefree wind, working its away across the desert plain as though you aren’t there and never were as far as it’s concerned.

In the Norwegian explorer Erling Kagge’s book ”Silence – In the Age of Noise” said:

Nature spoke to me in the guise of silence. The quieter I became, the more I heard.

… and …

You cannot wait for it to get quiet. Not in New York, nor anywhere else. You must create your own silence.

There is no such thing as pure silence, a place devoid of any sounds. In documented experiences, those trying to obtain absolute silence in truly desolate and lifeless places or in man-made soundproof chambers, found that while external sounds and noises were absent, they could not escape the mortal sounds of their hearts beating in their chests and some even claimed to hear their veins pulsing.

Yet, when we attempt to reduce our ”civilized” world sounds and listen for what is within, interesting things happen. Erling Kagge:

But I tend to think about silence as a practical method for uncovering answers to the intriguing puzzle that is yourself, and for helping to gain new perspective on whatever is hiding beyond the horizon.

I learned to meditate from a girlfriend who was a trainer at a Korean Zen center in New England. My naiveté at the time expected the purpose of meditating to be one of blocking out or eliminating all external and internal sounds. Turns out not to be the case, and that while an objective is quiet the ”monkey mind” inside us all, quieting means not responding to or chasing it until the monkey stops chattering, and doing the same on any external noise during meditation.

As I hike the desert, quiet in my thoughts at first, but later in more of a meditative state, I am aware of the handful of natural sounds from the endeavor yet stay detached from them and let the general silence embrace me.

These weeks and months in the desert of southeast California find me frequently heading off on hikes. I gear up with my proper hat, my trusty hiking pole that’s been with me for over twenty years and countless hikes, a bottle of water, and my expectations to resolve something I’ve been thinking about. Or perhaps it’s working through a clumsy part of something I’m writing. Whichever the ulterior motive for putting one foot in front of the other, invariably a mile or so into the hike all pretenses of objectives melt away and I enjoy the silence from civilized noise, and the quiet in my mind as I am in step with my breath, my footfalls, and the wind as my desert guide.

Time Machine: Cloud Museum Part 2 – Antiques & Ephemera

Yesterday’s post showed a few of the 150+ vehicles available at the Cloud Museum. I thought it was interesting that while I appreciated the restored models, I was more in touch with the well-used, rusting hulks that predominately cover the outdoor part of the museum. Something about that patina and what must have been (at the time) wide-spread marvel at these mechanical vehicles made me appreciate these rusted knights of a time well past.

Today’s post will feature a small taste of the antiques and ephemera available at this amazing little-known museum. There is a vast amount of items in this category, and if you’re fluent in antiques and ephemera of this era, then you’ll go crazy over all that’s here.

The Cloud Museum had one building set up as a period post office, complete with antique safe of this era, post office boxes, and a small clerk’s window to the public. Adorning the walls were a variety of wanted posters, although back in these days I doubt these were framed!

If you travel to this area of southwestern Arizona, be sure to check out the Cloud Museum. It’s definitely worth the time to wander through the grounds and buildings.

Time Machine: Cloud Museum Part 1 – Autos

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Cloud Museum

Between Yuma, AZ, and the Imperial Dam LTVA (long-term visitor area) where I’ve been hiding from nasty Michigan winters for the last few months, there is a private collection of cars and machines from a bygone era. The Cloud Museum is one person’s vast lifetime collection of vehicles, antiques, and ephemera from the 1910s through the 1930s.

On my runs to Yuma I’d driven by this tempting place to stop and wander back through time, but was always thinking “next trip.” On a warm and sunny day last week, I finally made the stop to wander through the vast collections of old cars, appliances, and ephemera from that interesting and sometimes violent period of American history.

The collection includes over 150 Model T and Model A autos, some restored but most worn-out veterans of the early age of automobiles. As their brochure touts, “The President of the Model T Ford Club of America stated…’It probably is the largest collection of Model Ts in the world!'” If these early Model Ts and As were all that was here, it still would be fascinating, but fortunately there is an extensive collection of antique farm equipment, motors, small appliances, and other extensive antiques and ephemera.

I took well over a hundred photos while there, far too many to post in this blog. This post features a selective gallery of auto-related images, and part 2 will explore some of the more interesting antiques and ephemera.