Wednesday, October 12, 2011


MY EXPERIENCES ARE OUTRUNNING MY REPORTS.  I'M WAAY BEHIND----So I shall condense a few of my stories from Bluewater State Park, NM---a well kept secret from most New Mexicans.  About 7,500 ft elevation---dependably cool---lovely canyon to hike--lake to enjoy--mountains to climb---and only 60 or so miles from mysterious Chaco Canyon. The Focus of the title story will come at the end

The dam that creates the lake.
Looking west.
Lovely canyon just steps away--great hiking--Campground is up here on the plateau.
Walked it several times---lush and beautiful.

On several occasions this herd of free ranging horses wandered in.

They are amazingly bold.  This one recently lost its mate---and then---

Quickly found another--they loved my carrots.

This little fellow was in the road.

Ever so gently, I got him out of harm's way.
A grade school principal---and the sheriff's daughter-- I engaged--We chatted at length about
One of the first commercial motor homes--a Dodge.  This one is the fitted together halves of two wrecks. The builder showed me its interior. He is a master carpenter--rare these days.

A marvel of great craftsmanship from front to rear.
Meet Francis---the focus of this story--He earns his keep for the park by leading hikes into the canyon.
He lives alone in a tiny rig---lives radically simple---except that he spends 6 hours a day on the computer--reading, commenting, writing his blog: --gave away most of his nest egg to a religious commune in an emotional surge---says he hates organized religion--have a look for yourself
Probably the most difficult interview I've conducted--he was unpleasant,  abusive, and insulting--I endured it to get the story. His opinions are so hardened that he can't listen---only explain his views.  He's lost the joys of give and take.   For all his vitriol, he could not resist my skillfully inviting questions and focused attention---The devil himself wants to be understood.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  I ask my intuition to tell me why this man is so unpleasant? It said that he has spiraled to that low place in a feedback loop.  Moments of unrestrained irritation distanced one after another of his friends---- leaving him more and more alone--with his irritations echoing in his brain.  With only ones cranky self for company, one becomes even more cranky. WHEN YOU FOCUS ON THE BAD-----IT EXPANDS---TO FILL YOUR WHOLE AWARENESS. This man has slipped into a deep tar pit and few will join him there for fellowship.  I found it painful slogging around down there.  In succeeding days as he would walk by I caught him glancing my way---his dark hungry soul wishing for the joy of my attention.  I considered--but rejected any further contact---My own soul has all the darkness it can handle.
But to make good on my title question: THE WAY NOT TO GO WHACKO IS TO NOT LOSE YOUR FRIENDS. My friends are my salvation--(and the greater part of any wisdom and inspiration I may have.  You know who you are and That I treasure you)


KT Roet Travels said...

Loved the story....great pics! Yeah....those tar babies....what a sad life that must be. We are still in T.A. for another week or so. More possible work and we got out trailer all fixed up! We even had snow a few days ago. Enjoy reading about your travels! Deb & Vincent

Jack said...

"Moments of unrestrained irritation distanced one after another of his friends..."

That's a great line Randy. We are all free to think and speak whatever we like but we shouldn't expect others to provide us with an audience if they don't like what they hear. The mind is a crazy thing and solitude, while good in small doses, does it no favors when taken to an extreme.

Nan said...

if you look beyond "crankieness" etc and listen to his message, he is right on!

Andrea said...

No, I do not believe "everyone" wants to be understood.....

Not everything is an absolute as "you say".

I cared for many many people as an ICU nurse....almost all (patients and family) seemed well adjusted.


heyduke50 said...

even the most inwardly focused have a story to tell...

Sondra said...

I think sometimes people loose touch with what HILL is worth dying on, and they try to die on every hill....We must choose our battles wisely and carry on with a new torch when we fall out of focus...and out of the favor of others.
happy travels!

Michael said...

Randy, I'd like to know how you maintain strong friendships while being nomadic. As you demonstrated by with the interview, I think it's especially important when living in a tin can on wheels. That's why I'm not in any big hurry to take mine too far into the wilderness until I round up my favorite backpacker and artist friends.

I feel kind of sad for this guy. I thought a spiritual group might help him, but he seems so mixed up he can't distinguish authentic from grifter. Maybe your answer to me could be gently said to this poor fellow.

Perhaps a Slab City half-way house is in order to be organized.

katrina said...

nice post, and i agree with jack, great line. there's usually a plum of a line in each of your posts.

Randy said...

Deb/Vincent: Thanks---and I look forward to seeing your re-engineered trailer---maybe in Quartzsite at the Rubber tramp convention:
Jack: You're so right about the dangers of extreme solitude.
Nan: Yes he writes coherently about love etc and no doubt thinks of himself as "saved"---sad delusion.
Sondra: "Choose battles well"---"What hill is worth dying on" ---Well said wisdom--thanks.
And thanks to you Katrina: Check this eloquent lady out: .
Michael: Good Question! I keep in contact with my friends 3 ways: phone, e-mail and camping together. It surprises me how often I cross paths with them just by accident. And I like your suggestion of a designated place to connect---and guess what? I'm working on establishing such a drop in spot in the high country of Az next summer. I think we MOBILE FRUGALIST could engineer a hundred such drop-in spots across the west---much as hobos did with their "jungles". (but nicer) 40 of my friends have already created an inexpensive refuge from summer's fierce heat.

Anita said...

Hi Randy, I just saw an article on Google about the percentages of people in each state who have some form of mental illness. The numbers ranged from 17 to 20 per cent in all the states listed. That's a high number. I would have guessed that my students with mental problems were 7 or 8 per cent. I probably underestimated.

At any rate, I think that your "Grouchy Guy" is probably one of them, and I suspect a form of schizophrenia, probably paranoid. I learned how to spot such symptoms simply by reading thousands of student essays and easily seeing the type of language that is symptomatic. I read some of his blog and it fits the pattern. A psychologist friend told me that such people are usually not going to harm others, but sometimes in a rage they do. This fellow is harboring anger, and your instinct to steer clear is wise.

elderchild said...

Quite simply, this one who calls himself randy is better called a liar.......period.......

A "con"venient speaker ;-(

Simply sad for him and all others who but worship and serve the "I(ego,id,self)" for they can not 'see' that they but serve "the father of lies" as they carry on the legacy of the prideful ;-(

Yet while there is breath there is hope!

For Miracles do happen.......

Hope is there would be those who experience The Miracle that is receiving "a love of The Truth".

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this wicked, evil world....... francis

Anonymous said...

I've read quite a bit of your blog and always hope I don't meet you out on the road. No offense, but I wouldn't want you coming into my space, forcing conversation on me, taking pictures of me and my rig... all while smiling and seeming genuine and nice.

Then, later finding myself the topic of one of your wacko blog topcis about how your minds eye and intuition deems me a dark soul who isn't fit for this earth.

You may not realize it but you leave a swath of people in your wake who probably can't stand you and think lesser of you than you did them.

Do you ever tell these people the negative things to their face? A blog is such a safe way to avoid that isn't it?

elderchild said...

i can but feel sorrow for this man ;-(

i believe a prime reason he wrote as he did was because i would not shake his hand.

And i would not do so because he proved himself to be a 'con'venient
speaker and a prideful being soon after we met for the first time.

Most certainly he is of those who would color their lies white, those who yet abide in the grey area's, the shadows ;-(

And now that it has been revealed that at one time he was a baptist preacher i better understand why he is the way he is ;-(

Yet my understanding will help him not!

And he definitely needs help!

Hope is that one day he would "see" how "poor and needy" he truly is.

Father Help! and HE does.......

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this wicked, evil world....... francis

Red Meador said...

I Do have to agree with Francis that Randy is an egotistical little rascal and with anonymous that I would not want him in my camp, even if signing your comment as anonymous is pretty darn cowardly.

Red Meador

Randy said...

Francis, Red: It's an interesting surprise to read negative comments about myself. I leave them for the world to see and I let them do to me whatever they will.
I ask myself how I would feel if someone highlighted only the dark side of me---maybe not so good! I would hope for a fuller picture because I have good qualities too.
So let me give another shot with Francis:
I don't back away from my downside observations: He is wacko because he has isolated himself and stewed in his odd religious juices till he's lost the ability to warmly engage---enjoy humor--or appreciate other's views---He is rigid, defensive, judgemental.
On the upside: He has a life---is not a ward of the state--participates electronically in world discourse--lives frugally--loves nature and beauty--leads interesting hikes and does no obvious harm. My wish for him is that he would take this occasion to examine himself--loosen up enough to get some friends that will work their magic and lift him from the tarpit of wackoism.

Michael said...

Hey Francis (Elder Child), You've got a keen eye and I'm sorry you've had the run-ins. You're right about human nature but I do believe you've lost your mind... just a little. I don't have time to read your blog but I think it might be easier for you to reconcile if researched new discoveries in cognitive science and neuroscience.
I should help you forgive the mess you so keenly document. But that's me. I like sciency stuff. Here's a small excerpt from my notes:

"MIT economists conduct an auction with business school graduates and later on executives and managers at the MIT Executive Education Program, with similar results

They were asked to write the last two digits of their social Security number. If the last two digits were 55 they would have to decide whether the bottle of wine or the cordless keyboard was worth $55. Finally, the students were instructed to write down the maximum amount they were willing to pay for the various items.

Students with the highest-ending SS numbers (80-99) made an average bid of fifty-six dollars. In contrast, students with the lowest-ending numbers (1-20) made an average bid of a paltry sixteen dollars. A similar trend held for every single item. On average, students with higher numbers were willing to spend 300% more than those with low numbers."

— "How We Decide" by Jonah Lehrer © 2009

So the rational mind has a kind of rubber band effect even when trying to apply logic. All our senses have the same problem. Anyone whose studied fine art painting or color theory learns that colors appear different to us depending on what other colors are seen nearby. This illusion also combines with Color Constancy.

"Color Constancy refers to our automatic habit of interpreting local colors as stable and unchanging, regardless of the effects of colored illumination, the distraction of cast shadows, and the variations of form modeling."

"A fire truck looks red, no matter whether we see it lit by the orange light of a fire, the blue light of the twilight sky, or the blinking light of the ambulance. If the truck were parked halfway in shadow, we would still believe it to be a single, consistent color."

— "Color and Light" by James Gurney © 2010, page 144

Here's a new optical illusion associated with new discoveries in neuroscience.

So perceived information is distorted or homogenized by various overlapping illusions to help us simplify then navigate the overwhelming and shifting complexity that is our world.

All our senses have this perceptive effect or flaw. As shown by the MIT graduate study, our supposed logical processes coming from our most evolutionarily advanced region, the pre-frontal cortex, displays the same flawed effect. Our mind is a both sloppy organic computer as well as sophisticated and nuanced information stabilizer. I believe these cognitive limitations, the Bible calls our Original Sin.

elderchild said...

Simply sad for randy ;-(

And for all the prideful who but serve the "I(id, ego, self)", and color their lies ;-(

"con"venient speakers certainly abound, yet that does not mean one should have their portion with them.

And if there be those caught in randy's "tarpit" it would be those who abide in darkness because they have never experienced The Light of Truth!

For there is nothing darker or worse than a lie, because a lie never has been and never will be, yet multiplied billions live and worship lies!

And multiplied millions have been killed and enslaved by those who believe in the lies told by those 'con'venient speakers who with "good words and fair speech seek to deceive the hearts of the simple".

Sadly, randy is still that baptist preacher he once was ;-(

And he definitely needs help!

Hope is that one day he would "see" "The Light", for such "Light" reveals how truly "poor and needy" we all are.

Thankfully a humiliating experience!

And while there is breath there is hope!

For Miracles do happen.......

And Truth IS Victorious!

Father Help! and HE does.......

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(lies) that are of this wicked, evil world....... francis

elderchild said...

Michael, you wrote, "You're right about human nature but I do believe you've lost your mind... just a little."

"just a little" ;-(

Hoping soon, and very soon, more than "just a little"!

For the more i lose of my(I) mind, the more "the mind(Spirit) that was in The Messiah can dwell within" The Life which i have received of "Our Father"!

Father Help! and HE does.......

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease("I") that is of "the father of lies" ....... francis

elderchild said...

Nan, i just now saw your comment and i apologize for not responding sooner.

There are very few who listen with their hearts(the center of the natural life given us), as the spirit(the center of New Life) within bears witness to that which IS.

Sadly, except one experiences The Miracle that is receiving "a love of the Truth", the mind of the flesh perverts the meaning of any and all testimony that is of The Truth ;-(

And very few have experienced receiving "a love for The Truth" because the systems of religion(all of which are of this world) are so perverse "The Way of Truth is evil spoken of" ;-(

Yet, while there is breath there is hope!

Hope that there would those who would experience The Miracle that is receiving "a love of The Truth".......

Father Help! and HE does.......

So let the suffering continue.

For "Love suffers long"!

Until finally soon, and very soon, Home, Home at last.

Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this wicked, evil world....... francis

D0N said...

I must say that I'd rather hang out with Randy and have him judge me than hang out with elderchild listening to him/her spout religion at me.

I worked with a guy who was a born again christian. For the first few days he was always quoting the bible and telling me things I didn't care to hear about. Scripture this and scripture that.

He was the type of religious loony tune that would tape bible verses written on sticky notes to the dash of his car so he could read them while he was driving. This guy was in his 60's and ate so many vitamins that I'm surprised they haven't killed him yet. He used to eat niacin pills and his entire face would turn beat red.


I have no problem with someone being religious. If you want to devote your life to god or santa or the easter bunny... I don't care. Just don't try to get me to believe what you believe. I'm not going to dissuade you from your beliefs or try to debunk them (like Randy does) so don't keep rubbing my nose in them.

elderchild said...

D0N said..."I must say that I'd rather hang out with Randy and have him judge me than hang out with elderchild listening to him/her spout religion at me."

Would be good to realize that after i left randy after what i now realize was his first "interview" i had no desire to "hang out" with randy and thereafter i tried to avoid him.

Just as i do with all "con"venient talkers.......

i did so by taking a lower road to and from my canyon hikes rather than the higher road, which was a shorter route that passed right by his place.

That was to no avail for he came down to the lower road one day and began his questioning once again.

i have found that most "con"venient talkers "hang out" with other's of the same mold ;-(

That could be why you appreciate "hanging out" with randy.

Apparently you "rub each other's nose" ;-(

The man needs help.......

And your comment is indicative of the same.......

And while there is breath there is hope!

For Miracles do happen.......

Father Help! and HE does.......

Randy said...

Don: thanks for the kind words. You may be right about the futility of fighting religion. It's a kind of mental disease---very difficult to dislodge. I think I and my readers have had enough of this blog and so I will close this comment section---letting stand all that has been said so far--BUT NO MORE. I will think twice before getting personal--it has consequences.

elderchild said...

Even athiests are of the religious ones who worship and serve an "imag"ined god, for one's 'god' is that which, what or whom one desires and/or serves.......

Hope is that one day randy would "see" that he is one of those religious one's for he see's his god each and every time he looks in a mirror ;-(

As for me i am thankful that, in spite of me, i have been translated into The Family of "Our Father", Creator of ALL.

As for religion?

Once again, "multiplied millions have been killed and enslaved in the name of the god(s) of this or that religion ;-(

For the fruit of death is bore of relgion's way,
because life is but a pawn in the wicked game they play!

"Come Out of her, MY people!"

Father Help! and HE does.......

Jim said...

I thought I commented on this post, but I don't see it now. Was it deleted?
I'm wondering if you see any similarities between our St. Francis and that one troll we indulged briefly a while back? His hunger for attention is palpable. That was the essence of my comment: I would hate to do ANYTHING which might reward, encourage, or enable such a personality. It is my responsibility to avoid them and not do anything to ease their misery because it is only the pain of their condition which MIGHT motivate them to seek help.
I'll leave it to others to turn the other cheek or attempt to kill someone with kindness. It has never worked for me . . . and I doubt it works for anyone.

Randy said...

Jim: I did not delete your comment--except the test one. But Elder child's unending comments I will stop. I've not quite got the hang of blocking particular people. I'll learn. (teach me?)

Jim said...

I'd be happy to share how it's done IF I knew how. I haven't actively blogged for years . . . so many new features since then.