Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Van Report

Bed supports screwed to the floor

Upright for bench bulkhead bolted to ceiling frame (near side doors)

Upright for bed platform bolted to ceiling frame (at back of van in center)

I took last weekend off.
My dreams have been telling me I need to be more present to the here and now, and worry less.
And I'm almost done with the interior.
I got everything framed in (except for 'kitchen' shelves, they may have to wait)
and most of the plywood cut out to close in the cargo areas.
People have been asking for more pics, so....
The interior structure of the van consists of five upright 'wall studs' that are bolted or fiberglassed to the frame of the van, and two horizontal beams in the bed bolted to the frame. Each upright is also attached to the floor with angle brackets.
The bench and bed platform are attached to the bolted down frame members with 2 1/2" coated exterior decking screws.

The bed platform on the port side is 39" wide, 27" tall, and about 8' long. This is enough room to fit my twin air mattress, with a little extra near the head of the bed for bookshelves.
The bed platform is actually 5 pieces of plywood. Two are fixed, and the remaining 3open on a hinge to access cargo areas. The cargo area under the head of the bed (fixed piece toward tail of van) will be accessed by opening the back doors. I spent a good amount of time yesturday sanding and painting the plywood for the bed platform. I don't want any splinters to stab my air mattress. Waking up to a flat bed really sucks.
The bench on the starboard side of the van is about 5' long and 16" wide, by 20" tall. It also has 2 hinged panels that serve as the seat and allow access to storage below. It is wide and tall enough to accomodate 5g. buckets, and leaves a path between the bench and bed that is approximately 15" wide.
Today I finished insulating the ceiling and reinstalled the head liner (which was a major pain in the ass). I also used acetone to clean the remnants of Katrina mold off the trim pieces, repainted them, cut them to fit around my uprights and reinstalled them. Then I ran off to the Big Orange Box store to get piano hinge (AKA continuous hinge) for my storage access panels.
I also purchased a gallon of gloss white Rustoleum enamel for the outside of the van.
I wanted to give the van a cool paint job, but at this point I only care that isn't so ugly I get harassed across Texas. So it will get a half assed, roll on paint job.
Here is what the interior looks like now (before all access panels and cargo panels are installed)

It isn't easy to take good pictures of the inside of a van, but it's really coming together. I may just pull this off yet.
I can work on the van for the next two days, then Friday I need to clean/organize/get ready for a major garage sale this weekend.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Life is a miracle.
Don't forget to stop and smell the roses once in a while.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mad as Hell

End Game

I'm reading End Game by Derrick Jenson. Wow.
This book makes me horrified and angry beyond words. It makes even someone as comitted to surviving as I am consider doing the planet a favor by offing themselves.
(I only briefly thought about it.)
Everything I saw last night made me angry.
I was watching Modern Marvels on the History channel (Bulletproof) and an ad for the logging show Axe Men came on. I can't watch that show. It hurts me to watch the hills around my Green Valley be stripped of life, and to watch the process be glorified.
I said as much, and the Ex said "As long as they replant, it's OK. Without lumber we have no new houses, no growth." This is precisely the kind of attitude Derrick Jensen rails against.
"Maybe we shouldn't be growing anymore."

It was obvious he didn't understand. Didn't WANT to understand. He kept arguing, I kept grunting non-commitally.
Then Modern Marvels 'The Lumberyard' came on. More death. I went away. I couldn't watch it.
I looked at the internet, and saw an article about regulating banks, and how there should be worldwide standards and a Global Oversight Committee. Global Bank?

"This is it. We've reached the border. This is it. The New World Order."
Clutch - "Juggernaut"

Then the Dark Lord came on the TeeVee. Wow, he's letting real people like you and I ask questions in a "town hall" forum. Our government really DOES care about the little people. I feel so warm and fuzzy inside. Obammy GOOD......
Don't think for a minute all those people weren't selected beforehand, so they could only ask questions that continue to distract us from the real issue.




Oh wait, I forgot. That is exactly what TPTB want.
No more Salmon, or lobsters, or trees, or clear trout streams. No more tigers, or bees, or apples, or whales, or pumpkins.

Will our children be as blind to the horror of their existance as we are to ours? Will they just accept that "it's the way things are?"
If I live to see it, I WILL off myself. And I'll take out as many of the murderers as I can along with me. Death by cop anyone?

I'm glad the economy is in the toilet. It slows the "progress" a little bit.
This civilization has got to go. We need to throw it out and start over. Yes, lots of people will probably die. It is necessary. I just hope it's TPTB that go first.
Come on Mother Nature, little help here?
I know you're pissed. I know you've got it in you to take this shit OUT.

One passage in End Game really helped me quit worrying about my own story;

"All of this has to stop. The truth is I am going to die someday. That's life. And if I die in the population reduction that takes place as a corrective to our having overshot carrying capacity, well, that's life too. Finally, if my death comes as part of something that serves the larger community, that helps stabilize and enrich the landbase of which I'm a part, so much the better."

The most important revelations in my life have come when I was very afraid of dying. Each time, I was able to let go of that fear. If I die, then I die. C'est la vie.
Not too many things feel as FREE as releasing your fear.

So I'm not afraid anymore.
Now I'm just ANGRY.

"I have suffered/ for your sins. But now is when/ the fun begins!"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Center Console

Here are pictures of the battery box lid/bottom of center console, before it is faired and painted.
The center console box had to be a bit narrower than the battery box so I can get my hand in there to fasten my seat belt.
Word to the wise for anyone building a battery box in this location; leave enough room between it and the doghouse/engine cover to be able to remove the engine cover.
I didn't check before I glassed in the battery box, and freaked out when I remembered. I lucked out though. It's a squeeze, but I can still remove the engine cover. I'd recommend at least 4" between box and closest portion of engine cover.

Finally, a Good Dream

Just down the road from the green valley, a lazy creek winds through a vast field of tall grass. We used to call it "quack grass" because if you squeeze a blade between your thumbs and blow through it it 'quacks'. It is soft and doesn't cut you, and is a lovely shade of bright spring green.
Following a path through the shoulder high grass to a swimmin' hole. Next to the creek was a fire pit, and a shack on a floating dock to lift it up when the creek was high.

Swimming in the creek, seeing fish hiding in the shadows where the bank undercuts.
Grilling food on the firepit, having meaningful conversations with intelligent people, being smiled at by beautiful long haired men, laying in the sun, enjoying a homebrew or two.
Didn't want to leave such a pleasant day, but dusk was gathering and I had to make sure the chickens were in for the night.
Walked back up the road to the farm house, past friendly neighbors who also grow their own food.
Put the chickens to bed, and sat by the fire for a bit while someone told a story.
Then off to bed to sleep like the dead, much to do in the garden tomorrow.
:) :) :) :) :) :)
Thanks Hermit Jim, it worked!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Battery Box

Here is the battery box I built, with 3 - 12v marine batteries each 105 amp hours.
An amp hour means you can run something that draws 1 amp (or 12 watts) for an hour.
I will have 315 amp hours in my system, so if I wanted to know how much energy I was using to run a 60 watt lightbulb on my 12v power system, it would use 5 amps in an hour, or 5 amp-hours. If I wanted to use a 500 watt heater, it would use 41.6 amps per hour. (500 watts divided by 12 volts) So I could only run my heater for about 6 hours before my batteries were dangerously low.
Amps X Volts = Watts
so Watts divided by volts equals amps.

I highly recommend the 'Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual' by Nigel Caulder. It is not a cheap book, but if you own or are building a boat, RV, or Freedom Van it is a great investment. It has detailed information and drawings, diagrams and pictures on all critical systems; 12volt and 120 volt electrical systems, solar panels and wind generators, propane heating and refrigeration systems, plumbing, troubleshooting, and diesel engine repair, among others.

They can explain all this better than I can.

My batteries will be connected in parallel, with the positive terinal of one connected to the positive terminal of the next, and negative to negative.
This will give me 315 amp hours at 12 volts.
There will be a positive cable attached to the van's starting batteries, and running through a battery shut off switch to the positive terminal at one end of my 'house bank' of batteries.

Cheap Battery shut off switch from Harbor Freight
(the nice ones are $50.00 at West Marine, this was $5.00. Hope it doesn't burn shit down.)

This will let me charge the house bank with my alternator when the switch is on, and turn the switch off when I quit running to avoid draining my starting batteries while I run lights or heat up water in my hot pot. All interior lighting and electrical (inverter) will be run from the house bank.
The house bank will also be backup power to help the van start if for some reason the starting batteries should die. Just turn the battery switch on, and crank 'er up. (as long as I didn't leave my heater on all night, then I'd be SOL.)

The battery shut off switch, inverter and terminal strip will be mounted to the sides of the battery box, aft of the seats. My drink holder gets mounted to the front of it! :)
I don't have the top on yet, but it will be hinged on the forward side so it opens to the aft, so I can maintain the batteries or add electrical components. There will be another smaller box on top that will double as a seat and center console compartment that opens toward the front. I've got to have someplace to keep maps!

Time is running out. I probably won't get a chance to mount the solar panels for my back up charging system, but I will take them with me. Maybe I can do it in Washington (for all the good they'll do up there).

I'd better get back to framing up the kitchen....

Ominous Dreams

In the first dream I was working on the van in a boatyard by the sea.
The sky began to turn that sinister shade of blackish green that means trouble.
I looked across the water and saw a massive rotating wall cloud (the nasty kind in a thunderstorm that spawns tornadoes). I started picking up tools and materials, and securing everything.
Then as I watched, an enormous tornadic water spout descended from the cloud. It was the biggest water spout I had ever seen. And it was coming my way.

I ran around frantically getting the cats in the van and the rest of my supplies. I was ready to leave, but when I looked up the tornado was nearly upon me.
I laid on the floor of the van, protecting the cats with my body.
The van started shaking violently. I put my head down and prayed.

I was lucky. The tornado passed right next to to the van, ripping a 45 foot sailboat out of its cradle in dry dock, and wreaking havoc among the other boats in the yard.

Once it passed, I went to the main building, which had sustained a direct hit. Some people had survived, crouching under stairwells.
"Why didn't you warn us?" they cried. "You saw it coming but you didn't warn us!"
"I was busy taking care of myself." I said. I felt a little annoyed.

I wondered why it was my responsibility to warn them. They had eyes just as I did; they were adults who could take care of themselves. I was busy protecting innocent cats who didn't really understand what was going on, and couldn't protect themselves.


In the next dream I found myself on an island in the tropics. I decided to go diving for lobsters. I swam around, diving down to look under the cracks and crevices where the spiny lobster likes to hide. There were no lobsters. I couldn't believe that in an area with so many good crevices I wasn't finding lobsters, so I continued to work my way along the shoreline.

I found about two lobster carcasses, but no live lobsters. Ill tempered crabs were the only life I saw. They were too skinny to eat, and would scuttle up and try to pinch me if I got too close. There were LOTS of them, all over the place.
I started to feel creeped out. Where were the lobsters? What happened to them? Something was really wrong.

I kept working my way around the island, and came to an area where the sea floor looked man made. It descended in an even grade of about 30 degrees, and appeared to be evenly spaced cobblestones set into concrete. There were no crabs here; no life whatsoever.
Curious, I clicked on my headlamp and followed the ocean floor downward. Soon I saw the grate of a large drain. As soon as I saw it, I tried to swim back up to the surface, but I was being pulled toward the drain!
I began to panic, and tried to swim faster, but I wasn't making any headway.
Then I woke up.

I like to analyze my dreams. Some dreams are obviously just my mind playing, or hashing out recent events. Some dreams seem significant, and I remember them in lots of detail. These two dreams were the latter kind. I have a dream dictionary that I use as a guide, but various symbols mean different things to different people.
What I am feeling in the dream is just as important as the symbols or content of the dream.
First dream;
Vehicle (van) - represents freedom, ability to make decisions.
Dry dock - necessary changes being made, delays.
Not being able to pack in time - anxiety about details, not being ready for change.
Tornado - emotions or urges we feel powerless against, which may become obsessive.
Cat - substitute for baby, one that needs protection.

Analysis; There is a storm coming. Something beyond my control. I am anxious about not being ready for coming changes.
The people asking me why I didn't warn them when I saw it coming was very clear in this dream. I felt angry that they were laying guilt on me, when they were as able as I to take care of themselves.

Second dream;
Ocean - represents The All, the subconscious, the womb, forces from whence we came.
Diving underwater - delving into mind or unconscious, exploring the meaning of a dream. I dream about swimming underwater a lot. I'm not sure if it's because I've done it a lot and really enjoy it, or because I analyze the crap out of myself.
Lobster - not in the dream dictionary, but to me lobsters represent food, sustenance. No lobsters = no food.
Pinched by crab - physical or psychosomatic pain, even illness caused by being too tight or self protective. Grasping or hurtful attitudes.
Drain - is not in the dictionary. I think this represents deep, primal fears. I was always afraid of the big drain in the deep end of the pool; being sucked into it and unable to escape.

Analysis; This is a fear dream. Afraid of things I can't control. Crashing ecosystem, (where are the lobsters?) no food. Being sucked into something I cannot control. I think this dream is warning me not to be sucked under by fear.

Both dreams warn me to watch my attitude; not to become obsessive, or controlled by fear. Maybe I should lighten up a little. I know I am repressing the crap out of my fear and grief. When I pray or meditate, or let my emotional shields down, I start to cry. But crying doesn't get me anywhere. I can grieve when I'm safer. I don't have time for that right now.
I'm off to obsess over my van.....

Monday, March 23, 2009


I haven't posted for a while. I've been really busy.

All my friends now know I am leaving the state in about 2 weeks, so they all want to spend time with me. I love my friends, but time spent hanging out is time I could be spending on the van.
I have accomplished a good bit though.

After installing the final piece of sub floor, I built a battery box, painted it and glassed it in. It fits between the two front seats, and holds three large (105 amp hour) deep cycle batteries. I want it to be waterproof inside, so any corrosion or leakage stays put. I really don't want battery acid to leak on the van or my stuff. All the water leaks I found when it rained have been sealed.

I finished insulating and closed the walls in with paneling. It almost looks liveable! I have been cutting up 2X4's for internal frame structure, and today I am applying the last coat of paint before they are installed.
The van now smells like a new house; fresh wood and paint, instead of a moldy old vehicle. I found a flood line on both seats when I was cleaning, so my suspicions that she's a Katrina victim are confirmed. The Beast is a SURVIVOR.

It's a beautiful day to paint; sunny and warm and a little breezy. Bugs and dried up sweet olive flowers stick to it, but that's OK. I'm not going for perfection. The van will just carry a little bit of Louisiana with us, wherever we may roam.

Getting closer.......

Friday, March 20, 2009

Right to Eat (HR875)

This is reposted from Tom over at American Preppers Network.


Looking more into HR875
For those who think gardens and small farms are safe under this bill, you need to keep reading deeper into the bill....They've purposely made it so long and boring, that you miss the important parts. Therefore, I've taken out just one small but very important part for you to read.

First of all, "food production facilities" ARE regulated. Sure, Food production facilities are excluded from the same regulation as Food establishments, but fall under separate regulation under section 206. Now, as in the definitions: food production facility' means **any** farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation. That is so broad that it could include hobby farms and even gardens. Let's say you have a couple rows of grapes. Can that be a vineyard under their definition? Lets say you have 5 goats and a horse on a 5 acre piece of land. can that be considered a farm? Now go to section 206 Here is just a small part of it. This is where it gets scary....

I've highlighted my comments in Blue

(a) AUTHORITIES.—In carrying out the duties of the Administrator and the purposes of this Act, the Administrator shall have the authority, with respect to food production facilities, to—
(1) visit and inspect food production facilities in the United States and in foreign countries (overstepping their bounds a little eh?)to determine if they are operating in compliance with the requirements of the food safety law;
2) review food safety records (are you good at record keeping?) as required to be
kept by the Administrator under section 210 and for other food safety purposes;
(3) set good practice standards to protect the
public and animal health and promote food safety;

***Notice this part***

(4) conduct monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products, or the environment, as appropriate; and
5) collect and maintain information relevant to public health and farm practices.
(b) INSPECTION OF RECORDS.—A food production
facility shall permit the Administrator upon presentation of appropriate credentials and at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner, to have access to and ability to copy all records maintained by or on behalf of such food production establishment (Look at this one, I highlighted it in Green, these guys are so STUPID that they are intermingling 2 different defined terms "food establishment" and "food production facility" taking it into context I'm assuming they are talking about a food production facility) in any format (including paper or electronic) and at any location, that are necessary to assist the Administrator— (You want government prying in your personal life more than they already are?)

Plus there's tons more very restrictive legislation. This is an evil bill Co-sponsored by the wife of someone who works for Monsanto

Not to mention, even if it did specifically exclude gardens, hobby farms and organic farms, which it does not, the cost would be so enormous that our already high food prices would go through the roof....If Monsanto favors this bill, it cant be good.

Now, there are those people out there that think this is a good bill because it "protects us", or those that feel small farms and gardens are safe. But some of the problems are 1) They appoint industry leaders as experts. Who do you think will get to be the "expert" a small organic farmer or the CEO of a major corporate farm? 2) The wording is so broad that it's open to interpretation. 3) They appoint "food police" to enforce these regulations. Now, when the food police come to your "farm" and fine you. You know what they will say? "Sorry, I don't interpret the law, I enforce the law" Can you afford an uphill legal battle to protect your farm, garden, vineyard, orchard, or livestock?

Here's The petition to fight this bill


Sign, copy and email this petition to everyone you know. Drop a comment and let the world know you've done your part

Here's my personal declaration to fight this bill

**Note, Please copy and forward this article to everyone you know and re-post it to your own websites, just make sure there is a link back to this site so we can get more people involved in fighting this bill

I'm so pissed off about this bill I can't even talk right now.
I am very concerned when government intereferes with the second amendment. But as a grower of plants, this is hitting one of my most basic, God Given rights to even exist.

Stop the insanity!!!!!!!!!
Just LEAVE US THE FUCK ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


It finally quit raining. All the plants really needed the rain, and they are rejoicing in spring today.

The rain did cramp my style with the van. It was a good leak test though. I found out I need to seal the seams where the very rear of the van body connects with the main body. I also need to remove the running light fixtures and silicone around them. I'm spending a lot of time de-leaking this van, but it will be worth it. I had a van in Key West that leaked like a sieve, but was my shelter when the weather was too rough to go back to the boat. A leaky van getting all your crap wet really sucks in Key West, but it can be deadly in Northern climates. This van has to keep out Washington rain.
There are several leaks in the seams of the firewall in the cab, so I still have more work to do there, but I got the massive holes fixed. My cab has a floor again! Now I just need the van to dry out so I can grind and prep.

It is rather disorienting to watch the road go by beneath your feet when you are driving.

Just don't look down.

It was a big fiberglass project. I used about 3 sq yards of fiberglass mat, one yard roving (heavy cloth) and 1 yard cloth. It's about 8 layers of fiberglass. Each side took about 3 hours to lay up. The resin roller was critical for this project, and gave me a much more solid repair. It was close to 1/4" thick when I drilled through it for the seat holes.
Mayberry mentioned on a comment how expensive West Systems is, and yeah, it 'aint cheap. I spent about $200 on a gallon of resin and quart of hardener. But it doesn't stink like polyester resin, I get a perfect cure every time because it is pre measured, and it bonds to metal much better than polyester. Polyester is the way to go if you're building a boat, or repairing a polyester resin boat. My pick for vehicle repair and metal bonding is West Systems Epoxy, so long as I can afford it.
Now I'm waiting for paint to dry. I should be able to re-install the seats by this afternoon, then I can get my last piece of plywood cut for the floor/battery box.
And once I have seats I'll be able to drive somewhere to get the wall paneling and continue on the interior.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Full Circle

Funny how things in my life seem to come full circle.
My very first memory was when I was about 1 year old. My folks were moving from Louisiana to Washington state in an econoline cargo van. I still remember the two kitties, meowling in a cage.
I felt so sorry for them. They were so scared and confused. I wanted to tell them it would be OK, but I couldn't talk.

Although maybe they could Understand me better before I could 'talk'.

So my first conscious recollection of this life is in a Ford van, with 2 kitties, moving to Washington from Louisiana.
Now I am renovating a Ford Econoline Van that is nearly identical to the one in my memory, getting ready to move to Washington from Louisiana with two kitties.
Stuff like this makes think there may be something to "fate".

There is another repeating pattern here as well.

When I was leaving all I knew for the first time in my early 20's, I painted my car.

I had never done anything like that before. It was sort of my way of asserting my independance. I was leaving my marriage, and felt abandoned by my family because, except for my mom, they disagreed with my decision.

This led up to my move to Key West to live on a sailboat.

So I sold all my crap, packed the camping gear in my '82 Toyota Celica, and took off cross country. I had many memorable adventures;
The Black Plague campground in California, and getting sick afterward,
The guy at the free campsite by Lake Mead who was just looking for a license plate... "They say I poured gas on my girlfriend and burned her, but she was just drunk and fell in the campfire.."
Seeing missile tests over White Sands, New Mexico and watching people sled down the snowlike gypsum in shorts.

But I'm rambling now.

Once again, I find myself restoring a vehicle to make a break for freedom.
I know so much more than I did when I painted the Green Machine. Still, that paint job with spray can Rustoleum lasted 10 years. That car was my baby. She always got me where I was going, even if she had to limp in.

I feel like the van will be as loyal a steed as was my Celica.
I hope the Beast proves me right.

I feel like I am on the theshold of a truly grand adventure. When several cycles or themes of my life repeat all at once, I know I am in for some interesting times.

Rust: The Final Battle

Remember when I said I only had one hole left to fix in the holy hippie veggie van?
Turns out that one hole is actually about 8 holes. I'm gonna need more fiberglass.
As excited as I am about getting my interior finished, I need to get the last (front)section of plywood subfloor put down before I can continue building.
So today I pulled the front seats and removed the rest of the carpeting from the cab. I knew I had a big rust hole by the pedals, but I didn't know HOW big. At least where the seats bolt in the floor is still solid and relatively rust free.
No wonder she's noisy going down the road. The only thing between me and the engine compartment was a layer of natty old carpet.

I should mention that all my neighbors think I'm totally loopy for putting this much work into an "old POS van". But that's OK.

Maybe some of you out there are wondering as well, so let me tell you why.
This van was built before computer chips were standard issue in vehicles. It is a 350diesel, so it was built to be a work vehicle, and take lots of abuse.
It was also built by Americans with big hands, so my little hands can get to every bolt or screw. It was built with American steel alloys, not with cheap Chinese metals. One of the first things you learn when working on boats is to stay away from foreign metals, especially below the waterline. If you replace a thru hull fitting with cheap metal, you're asking for trouble. Corrosion is a bitch.

This van was built to WORK, and to be worked on.

One of my ex boyfriends had a late model Saturn that needed a starter.
"No problem," says I. "I've replaced my share of starters."
I looked at the Saturn, and it turns out you need to remove about 5 major components in the engine compartment just to GET to the starter. I couldn't even get my hand in there to see where to start. I didn't love him THAT much, so he took it to the shop, and for $220.00 got a new starter. I found that disgusting, as a starter change on my 1982 toyota cost me all of $25.00.
I've owned several newer vehicles since then (when I say newer, I mean 1990's) and my disgust has continued to increase. After the last vehicle fiasco, I swore never to buy anything with a computer in it again.

My $700.00 van was EXACTLY what I was looking for. Diesel, mechanical fuel injection, lowish mileage (anything not pushing 200K is lowish mileage to me), no serious frame damage. Two fuel tanks so I can run her on used fryer oil. Ugly enough that I won't feel bad chopping into it to customize it. I would've preferred a standard transmission, but the C-6 3 speed auto that's in it has gotten good reviews as a tough tranny.
So let the neighbors laugh when they drive by in their nifty 2000 model pieces of crap. Mine may be loud and ugly, but its cheap and easy to fix, and when the solar storms intensify, or somebody drops an EMP weapon, my baby will still be running. All those pretty Hummers and Lexi (plural of Lexus) will be dead in the water. I'll be pushing them out of the way to clear the roads for people who drive REAL vehicles.
I've wanted my old diesel "Beast" for as long as I can remember. I've always been talked out of getting what I want by friends/co-workers/dealers who say it's impractical. I should get something "reliable". Now I finally have my Beast. She gives me great joy, in all her rusted glory.
And she's more reliable than any of the '90's model pieces of crap I've owned.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Van Status

I got lots of work done on the van today. Yesterday I removed the old weather stripping from the back doors, sanded, prepped and painted them. Today I installed the new weather stripping, repaired and glassed in the other rear corner, fixed 3 other holes, got another interior frame board cut and painted, and started insulating.

The end of fiberglassing is in sight. There is one hole left to fix out of fourteen fiberglass worthy holes. The Holy Hippie veggie van is almost hole free. There is still some fairing and painting to do to the fiberglassed areas, but I'm ALMOST done slinging fiberglass.

I am using several layers to insulate. I used spray adhesive to attach Reflectix (shiny bubble plastic) to the outer walls of the van. I sort of felt like I was enclosing myself in a giant tinfoil helmet while doing this. Maybe it was just the adhesive fumes....
The next layer is pink, 3/4" foam cut to fit between the frame members of the van. This will be anchored with Great Stuff spray foam once I get my wall paneling cut to fit.
Any voids I cannot readily access, like inside the metal frame members of the van, get filled with 'Great Stuff'.
Lots of good progress today. Maybe I should wake up to leather clad Mel Gibson every morning...

Millet. It's What's for Dinner

OK, that doesn't sound especially appealing, but it turned out good!
I wanted to make a sort of Tabbouli salad, but I didn't have bulghur wheat.
So I cooked some millet the same way; bring to a boil with twice the water and let sit for 40 minutes or so.
And here's what I had for dinner; (serves two really hungry people)
Millet Salad
1 cup cooked millet
2 chopped green onions
handful of chopped fresh parsley
1/8 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/8 cup pine nuts
lemon juice (from lemon in back yard)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper and salt to taste
pinch of sugar
Toss all and chill thoroughly. Toss before serving.

Grilled chicken panini
2 small chicken beasts, marinaded in lemon, pepper, thyme and olive oil/butter.
4 slices of bread
roasted red peppers (I keep some in a jar of olive oil in the fridge)
1/8 cup cream cheese
horseradish spread
Whatever greens you have available (I used mixed baby greens)
Splash of balsalmic vinaigrette dressing

I grilled the chicken, toasted and buttered the bread, and made an awesome sandwich with the above ingredients. Tomatoes would be good too, but I'm allergic to them, so I use peppers.

I love to eat real food. Especially when I just cobble something together from whatever I have on hand. This meal cost me nothing. It was either preps or picked out of the yard. That is a good feeling. My body thanks me too. When I eat a good meal that doesn't consist of "frankenfood" I feel all tingly and happy and good.

Here's hoping for an abundant future where I can cook great food in a big kitchen with good company for lots of people!

Grains of Truth

I'm cooking millet for dinner tonight. I've never cooked millet before, except adding it bread, so we'll see how it turns out. I looked it up in my faithful "Joy of Cooking" and they said all cereal grains were mostly cooked the same, with some variation of water amounts and cooking times.

Joy of cooking is a great book. I got mine for my 18th birthday from my Mom, because I referenced hers so much. That was as close a rite of passage into adulthood as most of us will know. I treasure mine, with all it's gravy stains and loose binding.

But I digress. All of this got me thinking about grains. That humblest class of plants, which we take most for granted, yet are the backbone of our diets. Not a single group of humans has been successful without a reliable source of starch. For most of us that means grain. You can't buy them in a packet from a seed catalog. Most people don't give much thought to grain. But wheat is what enabled "western" civilization to arise in the first place. And rice is what allowed eastern civilization to arise. Because they are labor intensive to harvest with primitive technology, they are now exclusively the domain of the military industrial machine that includes modern agriculture.

That bread comes from somewhere.

I have fond memories of a breakfast porridge cooked from a variety of whole grains, with maybe a little honey, salt and milk. It is humble food, to be sure, but the feeling I get from eating whole, healthy foods that invigorate me is almost like being high. Better, really, because I know I have substantial sustenance to power me through a morning filled with chores. With whole grains there is no burst of energy followed by a sugar crash like our sterilized, modified, simple starches of "modern" civilization. Slow and steady wins the race with whole grains.

I realized today I have been neglecting grains in my thinking. I intend to stock up on a variety of grains, not just wheat and corn and rice, but barley and buckwheat and rye and oats. These plants have been our friends for a very long time. They should be just as valued as squashes and carrots in my seed stash, if not more.
And what about Quinoa and Amaranth and Millet and Flax?

Our plant friends are likely to face some trying times in the future, just as we face. The grater variety of grains we grow, the greater the liklihood of a few of them thriving through whatever challenges are to come.
I'm sorry I've neglected you, grains. I'll go shopping tomorrow.....

Eye Candy

I stole this picture from the Minnesota preppers site http://minnesotapreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/
because I liked it, and I thought it was time for a lighthearted post. I'm tring to look on the bright side of things, and a bright side that appeals to me is the likelihood of a bunch of skinny, longhaired, unshaven men running around post collapse. That is right up my alley. I thought even Tom Hanks was attractive when he was half starved and all scraggly lookin'. There's also a good chance there won't be near as many females left as males.
This makes me feel better about being single.
I know it's mostly guys that read my blog, so if Mel Gibson in leather doesn't do for you what it does for me, here's some eye candy for the guys out there.
Check out these two. They look like keepers to me.....

I was talking about the fish....what did you think I meant? ;)
Have fun! I'm off to channel pent up sexual energy into slinging some fiberglass.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Today I am drifting. I have not slept since yesturday. I was priveleged to watch the sun come up today. Now I am in that half world between waking and sleeping. Sometimes altered states are a valuable endeavor.
I have resigned myself to the fact that once in a while, my soul just needs to drift....
I'm not getting physical things accomplished today. I'm getting spiritual things accomplished today. And that is OK.
The most valuable thing I experienced last night was when three of us girls were using the Ouija board... Somebody (me?) suggested we join hands and pray for an aura of protection around us before we used the board.
We are of diverse faiths, and all believe in what is right for us as an individual.
But we prayed for protection, and despite our differences, it was the same. And it was powerful. I really liked that feeling. We were TOGETHER, though we believed different things. They were really all the same thing.
Maybe this is just my inner hippie speaking, but what ever happened to a "BE-IN"?
Some random hopeful part of me that has not been destroyed by our System thinks that if we could ALL just join hands, and surround Humanity with an Aura of protection and prayer, we might just pull through. It was a powerful feeling, holding hands with my sisters, and praying for Good.

Take my hand. Pray for us. Pray hard. It doesn't matter what God you pray to. Just Pray. Pray for good. Pray for us. We need it now more than ever.

Reality check.

A friend just sent me an e-mail with pictures of our planet, relative to the other planets, relative to the Sun, relative to other Suns, relative to the galaxy at large. It was a good reality check. I responded with this song, which has always been one of my favorites;

"Don't you feel small, it happens to us all..."
-Moody Blues


Last night we went to the 'Paraplex' for a friend's birthday. It is billed as the world's first paranormal investigative complex. I guess I had high expectations. It was a beautiful building, built in the 1890's, that served as a mortuary for over 80 years. Unfortunately, any hope we had of actually experiencing anything paranormal was quickly smothered in cameras, computer monitors and hollywood effects.
I got the feeling that if there were any ghosts there, they were mostly pissed off at the intrusion of technology. Give me an infrared camera, an EMF detector, and an old abandoned house with NO POWER and I'd have a lot more fun.

In the basement, where the bodies were kept, was a "horror house" where animatronics jump out at you, lights flash, and loud noises startle you. In a group of four, I took point. I was the first to go into the dark corners, push though the body bags, and trigger the shit that jumps out at us. Hell, compared to the reality we face, I can jump a little at sudden noises, but it doesn't scare me. Everybody said how brave I was, and I thought that was funny, though I didn't say so.

It did get me thinking about fear though.
Fear is one of our most primal feelings. Fear exists for a reason. Healthy fear is critical to survival. But when fear turns to panic, it becomes counterproductive to survival.

Panic is paralysing. Panic can kill you when what you feared in the first place is not deadly. Panic is a loss of control and loss of awareness. If you panic, you are as good as dead. I learned that while scuba diving for the first time with no prior training. I couldn't clear my mask, I couldn't see, I got water up my nose and started choking. We were 80 feet down. If you screw up at 80 feet, you're pretty much fucked. You can't just swim to the surface. Some primitive part of my brain realized I was on the verge of losing my shit and probably dying. I remember thinking "I WILL NOT PANIC." I took control of my breathing and made peace with the fact that I couldn't see. I calmed down, took a moment to breathe, then successfully cleared my mask and went on with the dive.

That was my first really meaningful experience with wrangling fear. After that I became a bit of a fear junkie. I wanted to challenge it, to push my boundaries. Fear fascinates me. I have learned to let my fear speak, but not let it control me. I'd rather stand up and meet my fear head on. It is thrilling in a way, especially when you overcome it. Given the choice between fight or flight, I'm ready to fight. I'd rather die standing up than be beaten/enslaved on my knees.

That has always been my philosophy on fear.

But on March 1st, I was paralysed. I mentioned the emotional reality of it all settling in. I was scared shitless. Everything seemed pointless. I couldn't do anything except freak out.

I cried. A lot.

I prayed. A lot.

And at the end of the day, I realized that I cannot control this. So I let go.
Therein lies the secret to conquering panic. Letting go.
Let go of the control you think you have. Let go of the beliefs you have been conditioned with. JUST. LET. GO....

Trust in faith. Trust in God. Trust in yourself.

I trust that there is a higher power that guides me. I am not religious. I do not call myself a Christian, or anything else for that matter. But I have a deep, unshakeable faith that is always with me. It is my guiding light that shines, no matter how dark the storm. And I am most thankful for that.
As soon as I let go, I can breathe again. I'm still scared shitless about what we face. But panic will not incapacitate me.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


It was a flip flop, but now it's an anti-squeak washer!
I enjoy finding ways to use stuff that would otherwise be thrown away. I needed a washer to keep my bedframe from squeaking, and I'm too cheap to buy anything that would work, so an old flip flop is the perfect solution. All my clothes that are too nappy to give to Goodwill get turned into rags, or bags to put my power tools in so that they take up less space than they would in the case.

I got the first part of the bedframe installed today, and repaired my rotted out corner.

I cut the lengthwise bed support and put the first coat of paint on it. I took measurements for the kitchen area, and got the boards cut for it.
I also ordered new weatherstripping for the rear doors. Hopefully that will solve the leak issues once and for all. It's starting to look like a camper van!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Progress Report

I've foamed the floor in, and it turned out great. Solid and level. I bought a shelf for my clothes (the plastic 3 drawer one from wally world) so I could measure the bunk area to fit. I also got a bed. I wanted a nice memory foam mattress ($300.00), but in light of my recent financial developments I settled for an inflatable twin bed($10.00)
I slept great on an air mattress during Katrina, until the cat poked holes in it while playing with cockroaches. This one will be much better protected, with several bedding layers on top of the mattress.
After much measuring, I cut supports for the bedframe, and sanded and painted them. I don't really care what they look like, just that they don't give me splinters and are somewhat moisture resistant. I got some long (3") U bolts and drilled holes for them in the upright supports of the van. These will attach my 2x4 frame members to the body of the van.
I've started atteacking the structural rust at the back of the van, inside. One corner is entirely gone. Old rust got cut out with a sawzall, and new 2x4's were cut to fit the voids and form a structure for fiberglass. The 2x4's were treated with unthickened epoxy thinned with acetone to sink into the wood. Rot is the last thing I want.
I'll post pics as soon as I get the whole works in place.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Today I have officially joined the ranks of the unemployed. You won't see me in a statistic anywhere. I haven't been 'on the books' long enough to apply for unemployment. But there it is. I've managed to save some money, and I hope it's enough.
Monday the boss bitched me out. He wanted to know why I hadn't been putting in 100% effort. "Well, aside from the fact that I've been sick, you agreed to give me a $3.00/hr raise when I went on the books. And you owe me sales commission, so I am less inclined to work my ass off when you owe me money."
He said he never agreed to that raise, or when it would take effect. He said he was just doing what was legal, and any discrepancy in pay was between me and the Federal government. He wanted me to grovel and beg for my job. He said he needed me to make a long term commitment to the company, or cease to be employed. He gave me a day to think about it.
Curiously, on my way to work Monday, before any of this happened, I was thinking how nice it would be to be able to work on the van full time and get the fuck out of here ASAP. I was thinking about having to wear sunglasses every evening while driving ever westward, going to search for my green valley.
Be careful what you wish for.
I don't regret it, by any means. I think he was actually just pissed off and bluffing to try to get me to work harder. Boy was he surprised when I turned in my key today. He thought I needed him more than he needed me, and he was wrong. I mentioned that the federal government could kiss my pasty white ass; I was going to live on a commune with my mom.
God willing, I will never work 'on the books' again. It just supports this ravenous beast of a system. Fuck that. Fuck Louisiana and all the crooked motherfuckers that operate down here. I don't need this shit. I am so out of here.
So now the van is my full time job. I have a lot to do. I will probably take a break from the blogosphere, it is time consuming, and time is not something I can afford to waste now. I am leaving on a journey several thousand miles long in less than a month. I need to get my ducks in a row.
No more cigarettes, no more beer. It is a distraction and an expense I can no longer afford.
There is only room for focused intent and hard work to get ready to leave this place.
I feel like I'm drifting, floating... All of my attachments here have been cut. All that remains is leaving.
Ahhhh, the open road will be mine soon. Bring me that horizon.

Monday, March 2, 2009


If you knew a friend was going to die in 24hrs from an unforseen accident, would you tell them?
If you knew a whole city would cease to exist in 6 months, would you tell it's citizens?
If you knew a world was about to crumble, would you warn them? Would they want to know?
Knowing is a curse. I've come to realize that lately. The emotional reality of what I know the future to be just hit home yesturday. I think I've been pretending I just thought I knew, based on rational analysis of facts.

I always wanted to be wrong.

But now I've accepted that I FEEL it. The real kicker of the situation is that I really CAN'T warn anybody. It wouldn't be fair to unload that on them, and they probably wouldn't be able to listen anyway. It just causes more grief. There is a reason some of us are panicking, and most aren't. It's simple. God only gives you what you can deal with.

Most people simply cannot bear to face the full emotional reality of what we are creating for ourselves. They would not make it. Their psyche would crumble. Better to allow them some happy delusions at the last, then cause them to live in unnecessary prolonged and helpless fear.

Bees are disappearing. Bats are dying. The oceans will be too acidic to support creatures at the bottom of the food chain by 2025. Our entire ecosystem is crashing. And that isn't even considering the geopolitical, financial, technological capacity we have to destroy ourselves. We are in the middle of one of the largest extinction events in planetary HISTORY.

This is not good news people.

We are phucked six ways to sunday. We are very likely going extinct as we speak. It's such a shame we had to take so many beautiful things with us.

But hell, there's not much I can do about it. I've thought about this for a while, and the best I can do is be with the people I love most, and pray.

I've had a good life. I've felt joy and sorrow. I have loved the ocean like a Mother. I've had the good fortune to experience many people and places. I've known much beauty and love. I don't regret a moment of my experiences here. Even the most painful have had something to teach me.

A very few times in my life, when I have felt most lost, I reach out and ask for help. It is of great comfort to me that I am always Answered. I prayed a lot yesturday.
And today I was answered.
The answer isn't always what you like to hear. Very often it flies in the face of anything logical. But I've tried logical. I've tried doing what we are "supposed" to do. Logic has nothing to do with god. The grand plan by it's very nature defies our logic. I guess that's why they call it faith.
Things will change fast now. I've been kicked into high gear. I had grand plans for my McVansion ;) but I need to get out FAST. One month, and I put this town to my rudder, and ne'er look back.