We’ve all been there. On a trip of a lifetime having the time of our lives, and then it happens… our camera breaks! What now?! Life gets put on hold instantly, as Plans B, C, D… Z are sorted & assessed to get that camera, any camera, working again as fast as possible. Here’s one of those stories, and how “what was feared” turned into something much richer gained while I was in South Africa, far from “home”, far from anywhere. Enjoy! Continue reading Camera Fail – An Epic Disaster or a Blessing in Disguise?!
The human impacts of living, willingly or unwillingly, in a rural American community suffering decades of chronic economic decline. Retrospectives, 20 years and 4 years later, from personal perspectives already recognized 25 years ago. Continue reading Perspectives
I think there is a large misnomer, that holding an U.S. Passport is this Giving Tree of freedom to go anywhere in the world without limitations.
Yes, I cannot argue with an honest list of experiences, that outside a few countries, my ability to enter a country of my choosing is as given as the sun rising every day. Shy a small fee, either upon entry or at departure, my U.S. Passport is a guarantee to hearing the “hard plunk” of a fresh ink Tourist Visa stamp in my little blue book.
It is a badge of honor to geographically unstable nomads like myself. Sparkling in the eyes of fellow travelers no different than the medals on the uniform of a five-star general.
If you are unfamiliar with Couchsurfing, or CS for short, it is an on-line community for “travelers” whom find more enjoyment in meeting people and exchanging their culture with each other as they travel or while they are at home. There are two main aspects of CS; 1) a Surfer, and 2) a Host.
A Surfer, like me right now, is a person or several people traveling with each other, who in exchange for a safe place to sleep free of charge, offer their perspectives on their native culture; their experiences in traveling; the activities they enjoy, such as cooking or playing a musical instrument; funny stories of their lives; their knowledge of a different language, etcetera; or any combination of the above. In other words, a Surfer offers of themselves something that cannot be measured in terms of money or a hard value, in exchange for a place to sleep, a bed, a floor, a safe and secure sleeping location, or as the name implies a couch.
The other side of the CS Community equation is a Host. The Host or Hosts are people, often travelers themselves, who when they are at home, desire to offer an extra bedroom, a safe living/sleeping arrangement, or a couch, to a Surfer, in exchange for the opportunity to learn of another place, another person, one of a million different cultures that exist on the planet we share. A couch, like a Surfer’s experience, knowledge, language or cultural understanding is offered free of charge.
Hey all, just a “little” update for those wanting to know about my three months of travel around Europe.
I just spent the better part of 6 days in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and now the past five days in Sophia at a family’s home… Mostly just enjoying conversation with interesting people I met at the The Crib Hostel or with the friends and family of a woman I met at the famous “beach beer garden” discovered in Bonn, Germany. I have increasingly shied away from meeting ‘travelers on missions to check off another city or country’, as the stories are mostly the same, just with different twists and turns along the way. Stories I have fortunately lived in abundance over all the years of being addicted to travel.
It’s a strange bit this traveling, just to travel, thing.
There’s a moment in The Motorcycle Diaries in which the Bolivian couple, struggling to find work and driven from their homes because of their political beliefs, ask Ernesto why [they] are traveling. The response, “We travel just to travel.” To which the reaction was a bit of shock, a bit of reflection and mostly an inability to understand this desire, craving and frankly, the luxury of being able to travel for no other purpose than to travel.
In many regards I encounter this reaction often. In others, it is a bit of longing to do the same. And to those, whom share this condition, it is a deep connection where words are not needed, it is inherently understood.
There is currently much “buzz” about methane releases from Natural Gas Exploration & Production (NG E&P), especially with regards to the buzzword friendly “Fracking” dominating all discussions. The NG industry is clearly “green washing” the public through slick advertisements, as it knocks off its primary competitor Coal, and has already surpassed Nuclear for electrical output in the US.
The fact of the matter is, there are currently NG “Peaker” plants associated with almost all existing Coal and Nuclear plants, often on the same properties, owned and operated by the same generation company. This is really no different than many of our most famous hydroelectric dams being built with coal plants just out of view of the sweeping and magnificent concrete arches. Glen Canyon Dam, on the mighty Colorado River, and the 2,225 MW Navajo Generation Plant were paired in construction under the CRSP (Colorado River Storage Project) to mitigate water storage requirement priority over hydroelectric generation.
My use of the word “competitor”, when we discuss Natural Gas in contrast to Nuclear or Coal, becomes very much a gray area once we dig into the numbers of overall electrical production. But back to the topic of methane releases.
Author’s Note: A recollection and a reminder to what substandard company management can destroy through apathy and repetition of poor choices expecting different results. I’m certain my position has been replaced, but that which I offered to the company and our customers, will never be replicated. Forty years of company history reveals too many accounts of similar failings. It is no wonder, having experienced progressive policies implemented by global and Fortune 500 companies often demonized by ideological progressives, that I walked away inherently disappointed by not being allowed to prove there are different ways to ‘skin the same cat’, many of which are much more effective. Such is life, the travel and hands on experience with major global players will be missed, but the incompetence and self-serving motivations will not.
How do I say this simply while not understating the true implications of what exactly we do at Lightning Eliminators & Consultants? We provide an engineered, scientific solution, using a naturally occurring phenomenon, to minimize the probability to nearly zero of taking a lightning termination inside a designated area.
I recently responded to a post on LinkedIn in the “Energy Innovation by Statoil” group about wind turbines being “unappealing” visually within the discussion brought about by a completely wide-open question “How do you feel about wind farms?”
Obviously, that is a subjective question, setting the stage for far ranging arguments lacking substantiated reasoning. This being akin to the common misunderstanding of billowing exhaust plumes at power plants thought to be laden with green house gases, pollution and toxic chemicals. The reality being, most of the visible “offenses” are waste heat removal through water evaporation cooling, not the invisible fossil fuel combustion effluent as commonly believed.
It was also stated, wind farms can be the cause of drought, which initially caught me off guard as I have lived and breathed water issues the past 20 years and it is a major determinant in my self assessed classification as “A Westerner”. Water is in our blood, both figuratively and literally. A transplant, to the western US, can be easily identified based on their lack of understanding and comprehension of where their water comes from and exactly how precious it is to maintaining our lifestyles. “Water Wars” are not just some future post apocalyptic scenario, they have been fought for over a century here in the United States.
I will be traveling around Europe for 3 months starting August 6th. So it is not all “fun and games”, I plan to dedicate substantial time to a personal project focused on energy supply and need, Europe as a case study.
It centers around a theory linking the successes [and shortcomings] in the transition towards more balanced energy portfolios; including renewable sources, as fueled by a home grown cultural “energy awareness”.
This may seem a “no-brainer” to Europeans experiencing it, however it is a significant departure from the realities present in the US and struggling to be realized around the globe.
I also see commonalities in regional scarcities experienced historically throughout the EU, as significant limitations & realities to developing/under developed nations worldwide.