Category Archives: Personal Musings

sometimes i have something to say about me, life and the passage of time – schemes, ideas, holiday dispatches, thoughts and dreams that aren’t too private and other journalling

Grand Canyon Ramble Flashback (circa 1988)

Grand Canyon – 3 guys and their packs
Grand Canyon – 3 guys and their packs on the trail

Received some photos as a complete surprise… The fella above in the middle J/C.T (who I’m not sure I’ve seen since this journey in 1988) tracked me down to send this delightful documentation from a walk across the Grand Canyon. The emotionless faces were intentional and we were having a much better time then we let on (probably) :-) That’s filmmaker BGK on the left.

Note: J/C and me each had loaded up 24 cans of warm beer (purchased with my fake ID) to keep the trip a bit weirder.

On the North Rim after completing the crossing

In brief:

Getting packs together before starting down

Day one, knee busting endless steps all the way down to South rim (including a tunnel which revealed the canyon bottom

Tunnel to bridge

Day two across the hot bottom, refreshed by a swim in a perfect pool and time for contemplation of the indigenous folks who’d roamed these canyons before we did so for “recreation”.

Cooling off in waterfall with a hole
Life on bottom, contemplating and breathing

Day three, brings nothing but up up up the North rim which included pockets of snow and, upon getting closer to the top, piles of donkey/mule shit, while we avoided the (lazy!) tourists riding on their burdened backs.

Me and BGK at top of the North Rim
Me and BGK at top of the North Rim

We celebrated and gave thanks with a sacrifice on a stone altar.

Sacrifice to the Canyon in gratitude
Sacrifice to the Canyon in gratitude

Love tracking down analog gems like this!

Victorious ramblers!

Aside:  Also, he reminded me of our 30th high school reunion is this summer. Technically, I dropped out and attended/graduated “adult high school” at the local community college which was one of my smartest ideas ever as i took photography, mountaineering, ceramics as well as creative writing, humanities and geology (just to get onboard with this field trip). Renaissance guy in training indeed.

Healing(ish)… &/or surviving

So many years now
Trying, climbing, sliding
Up the slides of a slippery well
Fighting, accepting, relenting
Leaves with only
Exhaustion from the inevitable slide


  • leftantlerkbo.
  • ddonatIs there more than just exhaustion? Does the struggle provide meaning?
  • uncleweed@ddonat Nope, all that “whatever doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” I’m calling bullshit on. It’s just the #fibromyalgia crash carousel of frustration
  • ddonatI’ve been going through deep depression. Eventually, I decided to get help. I’m now medicated, getting counselling and doing my best to get out of it. I hope there is light at the end. I don’t have fibromyalgia, but I hope there is something better through my struggle. I’m a bit proud that I’m still hear fighting.
  • ddonat@ddonat I have hope in that you’re still fighting
  • stew255KBO – sometimes it’s lower case, some times it’s upper case !
  • nabspatCounting on signals
    Walking, crawling, remembered,
    Forget the weaponsHearts and minds, outstretched
    Strip dust and distance, unbound-
    You. Posture beloved.
  • auxinafenicaMakes me mad to know awesome people have to go through this. Sending you and whomever struggles with huge fights a huge huge huge hug.

Postal Club Invitation

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You know i love writing postcards – all of which get mailed but only a random subset reach destination… I do struggle with keeping track of addresses, hidden in messages of all sorts: scraps of paper; biz cards; messenger; twitter dms; imessage; sms; email; random text files; notepad… you get the idea.

As such, i’ve crafted a wee form to reign the chaos in a bit. Consider filling out even if i already have your address (somewhere).

Please note: enter your address EXACTLY and as COMPLETELY as possible. Copy and pasteable, ya dig? *No* short-cuts, shortcodes, just Zip codes, abbreviations, and add your dang country(!) and so on.

Guam Dossier, part 2 – Star Sand Private Beach Club

When living on Guam (1993-96 ish), i had 3 jobs – along with selling my hemp bags and flower sticks.

I previously told you about SS Neptune submarine-ish tour guide, and alluded to the job at Starsand Private Beach Club where i was a “bi-lingual club host” meaning i welcomed the guests (mostly Japanese but some Korean and a few Chinese) gave a briefing of the day’s agenda and available activities (horseback riding, atv riding, kayaking, beach games, bar-b-q lunch…) and led jungle hiking tours which i devised and included war artifacts like an unexploded grenade lodged in a tree, a cave where Japanese soldiers hid out, a traditional Chammoro grass hut (where i’d take my medicinal breaks) and all sorts of wildlife (wild boars included!)

Also led snorkelling group sessions to help pax understand how to wear and clear a mask, avoid coral, identify some fish and go in the appropriate direction to avoid fighting current. Due to slippery rocks and jellyfish, this also involved lost of first aid – some quite grisly. I’ll spare you.

Sometime groups would stay over and i’d be paid to eat my weight in sashimi (granted i was pretty skinny then), entertain with fire juggling, pretend to understand mah-jong and take photos – then sleep in hammock or tent. Sometimes the groups were filming TV shows and so somewhere out there, I am in the background of various mini-series rom-com dramas. Not to mention all the family vacation photo albums in which i make a thin but tanned appearance.

Guam is a quick 3-ish hour flight from Japan making a for an easy and decadent weekend getaway. Most guests were honey-mooners, some families, company groups and lots of 20 year olds enjoying a brief reprieve from the pressures of education and work to celebrate their seijin shiki (coming of age day). Most all came in organized tour groups and then would purchase “optional tours” including the private beach day, at hotel tour desks. Other activities (besides submarines and scuba diving) included duty-free shopping, “massage” parlours and gun shooting ranges.

Anyhow, my co-workers worked the “bad boy” image pretty hard and acted like smooth operating beach toys (with much success plying dates for after work) whereas i was the (almost shockingly) “good-ish boy” hanging out with the folks interested in history, poetry and practicing my Japanese skills. Mostly.

The beach club was run by a corrupt as fck family who controlled liquor and tobacco concessions for outer islands. A weird trio of bosses who were never on the same page and constantly overirdiing each other on decisions and appointing relatives as “managers”. They also imported grunt labor from Truk/Chuuk island and paid them seemingly in booze. They lived on site in shacks and raked the beach and other odd jobs.

The club was sorta landlocked with the only access being through Andersen Air Force base (yes the one in the news recently regarding DPRK’s ambition s to bomb it) which accommodated all sorts of planes (Stealth bomebrs, Concorde and those big transport planes, plus FedEX planes bringing in fresh meat and produce to stock the base stores). Post-9/11, the base shut down the thru-access required to bring guests in and, as such, the club was closed. I imagine there are some squatters there enjoying the pristine yet rugged location noted for the “sand” which was really broken up pieces of coral resembled stars. Not sure of the current situation there and because this was before the advent of “consumer internet” there isn’t much record of evidence. Every few years, i’ll from another former employee or another who’ll dig into the internet and come across my snapshots. There are some photos out there from the last few years (i think from the part of the club made for the Korean guests as the K & J’s had a hard time getting along so became prudent to separate oddly) but could be from another beach with star sand. If you have intell, please let me know.

Like this evidence: Here i am plying my trade with a quartet of lovely Japanese ladies enjoying an idyllic day on the beach.

NOTE: Snap taken with an early generation Japanese panorama camera but developed on “normal” size resulting in black bars (mostly cropped out) on top and bottom of print.

Hi Mom, One Year Gone…


Nov. 27th 2017 Mountain Time – Nov. 28th 2017 in Galle, Sri Lanka

Hi Mom,

Well, the date came around today. Its a foggy number for me as I was so far elsewhere in the “tomorrow” time zone and also took the brothers a couple of days to track me down to deliver the news so I actually had to look at your obituary to know exactly which date was the day.

The date shouldn’t matter and I maybe should be “unattached” according to the Buddhists or doing the whole “she’s in a better place” crap which frankly I don’t believe in – maybe there is an after-life but we have no proof and only folktales augmented by the spectre of “faith” to go on – so to me, whether there is or isn’t makes no difference (also, who’s to say this isn’t the “after-life”). Oh and to the faith of my relations, I don’t want a whole planet to “manage” if it means I must supervise wars and disease and disasters, anyhow I digress… to me, the only salient aspect of memory I feel and care to share is simply “I miss you”. That’s all. And, I want to, aim to, and am keeping your memory alive in a very tangible way.

You have no marker, your body is still at University of Utah Medical Center, used by a little squadron of medical students and there’s maybe an engraving of your name on some associated memorial wall in SLC somewhere – we ordered it, filled out the form but don’t have evidence of actual existence.


Of course, there’s your sons and friends and grandkids still roaming around but your stories will fade if someone doesn’t keep the tradition alive. With this in mind, I post photos of you and about you, on the Internet so folks can click a button of acknowledgement, drop a few words, etc. – but to me, this isn’t all of what’s needed. With your love of genealogy – or rather the research of the stories of ancestors as they are rather than just a list of data points to perform unrequested ceremonies upon – and your interest in findagrave and tending to headstones, I want to put a stone somewhere with your full name, birth place and date and same with death, just for the “Lauralees of the future” who have the same interest as you to dig into the stories of the past.

Continue reading Hi Mom, One Year Gone…

Guam Dossier part 0 – Jerry Day

Pacific Daily News Guam: Article about Jerry Garcia's death with quotes from Dave
Pacific Daily News Guam: Article about Jerry Garcia’s death with quotes from Dave

#Guam (and me) and Jerry Garcia were in the Pacific Daily Newspaper on this day in 1995.

Moving feeds, future-preserving and archiving speaking gigs

How to Stalk Yourself: A Manual for Creatives Filling the Gaps in their Curriculum Vitae

some great tips – recently i’ve moved 13 blogs, pods, columns and other feeds into one big site and now organizing and coalescing the all artifacts from various speaking gigs. So many links are expired, images removed, videos down (thanks and so on.

I have a few tips to add:

  •’s Wayback Machine is a great way to capture some – not all — old posts and reviews etc. Mainstream media outlets are the worst it seems for archiving — plus some sites block Archive with a robots.txt file prohibiting indexing and/or some dynamically generated sites don’t archive well so your mileage may vary
  • Before i do an event, i set up a Hootsuite dashboard to monitor all the conference or whatever’s conversation. Instagram & Twitter hashtags, Youtube, geo-located searches and variations on my name and company name (when applicable)
  • Once i am done a prezo or other gig, i’ll quickly favourite, star, like whatever all the relevant posts (usually at the airport) and then, soon after, create an archive “roundup” in Storify (used to do manually but this is so quick).
  • I keep monitoring for a week or two for any blog followups, news mentions etc. and then add to the Storify. Storify will send each person mentioned a Tweet thanking them for the contribution
  • Once done, i create a roundup blog post for each gig including a preface for context. I often now copy/paste almost entire posts (with a preface) since so many things are lost to the ether
  • Then i add the event to a “Speaking Gigs” list on a page which references back to the roundup post

The Internet has a very short memory indeed.

PS examples (in process) at:


Source: some great tips – recently i’ve moved 13 blogs, pods, columns and other feeds into one big site and… – Medium

Rabbit Holes of History: Norsemen, Dark Ages, Great War, War in Pacific etc.

*** Study Notes from Rabbit Holes including Norsemen, Dark Ages, Great War, and War in Pacific etc ***

Over the past while, whilst dealing with this illness, I’ve gone down deep into “rabbit holes” about various segments of history.

Went deep into Norse history from early viking expeditions to Orkneys and Hebredies in search of (literally) greener pastures, to invasions of Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, Francia and expeditions to Russia including trading with Middle East – Also their steel forging skills – All through to the Norman invasion with William the Conquero. Then Viking voyages to North Atlantic away from Europe and to North America. Also learned about new satellite archaeology techniques used for finding settlement sites in eastern Canada. There will be remarkable discoveries in the next decade which will rewrite books.

Then went deep into “dark” ages to the founding of what is now modern western Europe – roughly from post-Roman to Charlemange. I was specifically interested in how a culture grows up around the ruins of a much greater culture. Like you’re a dirt farmer in what is now England and you look around at lovely aqueduct and empty baths while you try to figure out how to get clean water. Makes me wonder if we’re living in a “dark ages” or we’re the Romans.

Then deep into the “Great war” and the unrest and revolutions which happened in the aftermath which broke down monarchies and gave rise to nationstates… But also produced situations which led to what we now call World War II through rise of fascism, totalitarianism, communism and showed the falls of capitalism through the depression. Each of these flavors contributed in away to the events that transpired. (Also Hitler’s home movies and i’ve already absorbed everything about art theft during this era).

Then deep into the relationship between Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchhill and Josef Stalin and how they had to jockey amongst themselves to convince the others of the importance of their different priorities… Also deep into the north African campaigns through the desert – especially the desert expeditionary unit (mostly New Zealanders) who lived for months at a time in uncharted areas in difficult conditions to gather intelligence. They did receive a rum ration though.

And also I am continually unpacking my knowledge of the war in the Pacific… Most recently started with “Fall of Japan” a massive tome which chronicles – in great nuanced detail – the events in Japan from the day after Nagasaki bombing to the signing on Missouri (Aug. 6-30 1945).

As you might expect, lots of efforts to raid the palace, people convinced the emperor was a body double or coerced, dozens of ritual suicide by high-ranking officials, people going into hiding, renegade bands of soldiers holding tough, and back channel diplomacy actions trying to smooth things over for an inevitable fate. Including all the secret communication machinations used to finally get messages back-and-forth between the right people to effectuate the surrender and peace and landing etc.

Then watched film called Emperor – this began as MacArthur and his crew were landing at Atsugi after the signing and follows the story of a General Bonner Fellows who was tasked with determining whether Emperor Hirohito would be held to trial or not. Of course he had to wrangle between Tojo (who just had tried to kill himself but was “saved” in time to be tried and executed, and Kanabe (?), the previous prime minister, and all the militarists and hard core zealots who insisted on vague answers and didn’t understand that really they didn’t *really* want to try Hito but they needed an legitimate excuse not to do so.

Also Tommy Lee Jones as MacArthur wasn’t too bad actually, and they dramatized the famous meeting between the Emperor and The Supreme Commander with only one dedicated translator between them. And they re-created the famous photograph.

Then, I’m onto a book called “Supreme Commander: MacArthur’s Triumph in Japan” which doubles back over the previous bit and starts with the planning of the signature ceremony on the USS Missouri and into his landing at Atsugi and motorcade (with thousands of Japanese soldiers turning their backs in respect) and starting to issue his edicts to manage the situation and deal with a starving population.

Still working on this one.

A few notes include (from a civilian peacenik perspective):

The rivalry between Army and Navy is far more vast than I realized. We civilians think of the Armed Forces as fairly unified and not completely discrete, or/and even rival, units. Of course this is most evident in the rivalry between MacArthur and Nimitz but also amongst the rank and file – especially jr officers seeking to climb the ladder.

The Tokyo firebombings must’ve been even more miserable way to go then the Atomic bombs further south. Both suck. Also glad Eleanor Roosevelt pushed so hard to spare Kyoto from the bombs.

The Russians joining the war against Japan the day after Nagasaki and still expecting a seat at the negotiation table so to speak. Funny Russians.

The Chinese Reds filling the power vacuum left by Chinese army instantly after the bombs – even while the news was still travelling to POW camps around Asia. The commandants of the camps did not know quite what to think when Allied forces started parachuting in to demand release.

The two-men chosen by Japan to sign the surrender document: the diplomat with the wooden leg who had to get from the US Destroyer to a launch via a bosun’s chair, and then try to maintain dignity wall climbing up a ladder on the side of the Missouri while wearing a cutaway coat and a top hat.

MacArthur’s choice of guests to be on board at the signing was very specific and included the Canadian doctor (who signed on Canada’s behalf) who had done the surgery on the affirmation Japanese diplomat’s leg.

He also made sure to invite a bunch of generals who got their ass kicked in the war including the poor bastard who was left on the Philippines (Wainwright whom MacArthur greeted with a “Hey Skinny!”) when MacArther split to Australia, plus the British general who had to surrender Singapore when they were caught unaware.

As per above: Didn’t realize MacArthur had fcked up and ignored orders after Pearl Harbor. Stationed in the Philippines, he didntorder a full alert and, as a result, the Philippines was destroyed quickly by the Japanese who were well ready for the invasion.

MacArthur’s move of exiting the plane with no weapons was a powerful move. Oh also, MacArthur had Admiral Perry’s US flag expedited from the Smithsonian to have on display on the Missouri. Nice nuanced touch which was noted by the Japanese who, after the ceremony, discussed amongst themselves they would have treated their vanquished enemy so kindly and respectfully. They concurred that they would not have and that convinced them to cooperate with the victorious allies.

I’m interested to continue on with this work and to see how MacArthurs “Republican” views were instrumental in outline things like brewing and hemp production in Japan.

Update about Notorious NYC bar Chumley’s from pal Ephriam

I am fascinated with this mysterious bar formerly frequented by poets, writers, bootleggers and miscreants – plus served as s top of sorts on the underground railroad (not sure how this shakes down but…) and a speakeasy during prohibition.

Had hoped to visit with my pal Ephriam in NYC in around 2006 but the building next it (owned by renowned photographer Annie Lebowitz apparently no less) had fallen in on the structure during remodelling/renovations construction. By the time the damage was repaired, the area had become rather “gentrified” with whiny neighbours complaining about potential noise. Eph-man keeps an eye on the story for me and it seems it is now re-opened (as of Dec 30th 2017). Trip ahoy!

See the “Consider Perusing” section for previous articles about this humble and noble location.


Today’s Facebook moment is dedicated to my friend Dave Olson. Almost 10 years ago we were on our way to Chumley’s only to find that it fell apart. Hopefully this pic will put a smile on Dave’s face. Glad to hear that it will reopen and not be 86’d forever.

Legendary Chumleys' in NYC

Source: Ephraim Diament – Today’s Facebook moment is dedicated to my…

Pirate Looks at 45 – Birthday Musings 2015

DaveO looks at 45

This pirate is 45. No big ‪#‎UW45‬ shindig this year, but if you feel like giving me a present, I made a registry for your consideration:

1 visit someone having a tough time – mentally physically emotionally- give them no advice, just be with them. Calm

2 make me a wikipedia page with talks, publications & media – vain perhaps but also handy

3 buy from a street vendor. 2 bucks goes far – also quality read

3 give time music and/or tools to

4 buy a soup and sandwich for ____

5 mail a postcard to a friend in a foreign land

6 share something you’ve made – paint, music, poetry — with me &/or everyone

7 go see a local band, pay the cover & buy a shirt

8 register to vote & help friends do likewise

9 call your nieces & nephews — tell them things their parents cant like “your parents are awesome”

10 climb a mountain, cross the sea with little or no money & tell me the story

Singalong with Dinosaur Jr., Freak Scene:

So fcked I can’t believe it
If there’s a way I wish we’d see it
Just dont let me fck up will you
Cause when i need a friend its still you

‪#‎lovewins‬ ‪#‎empathyplaces‬ ‪#‎affectionshows‬

Smoking jackets, pajamas and vinyl also accepted.