Saturday, November 9, 2013


Where was I?

Oh right, blogging.

I forget sometimes. Or rather, I try to sort out the ten thousand and one things I would like to say, and then say nothing (there being so little good to say about anything right now, on the global stage; there being the urge like Lao Tzu to walk out the city gate to go live with the wise ones in the mountains.) Perhaps if you are a long time reader of alternative media, you are burned out on contemplating doom/collapse? Situation normal for just about everybody, progress ongoing, growth for all eternity, resources are infinite, the economy is doing so much better. It's evident at this stage, the vast majority of humans will never question the stories that sustain the culture they inhabit, no matter the evidence, least of all in the West, particularly here in America. Onward progress, growth until death. If we turn the earth into a radiated desert planet, at least we didn't give up! LOL.

What have I been doing lately, other than trying to avoid thinking about what a toxic predicament we are in? I have a new job; I am no longer employed by uber retail center. I am now maintenance man, maintaining the structural integrity and appearance of 12 houses for a small company managing care for the profoundly autistic. It is a perfect job for me, in some ways, insofar as they simply let me fix what needs fixing, build what needs building, with little oversight, not many questions, occasional and sufficient direction. I make my own schedule mostly. It is a company almost entirely run by women, beautiful, strong women, staffed by extraordinarily beautiful people, who seem content to let me be, trusting that I will get the job(s) done, and seem grateful when I do. It's the only job I ever had where I've felt like I'm doing something truly good.

Several of the houses have up to an acre and more of land surrounding each, much land to plant fruit and nut trees, big gardens. I'll write a business plan; I already have an investor willing to pay for the trees, for a cut of future harvests. The only drawback to the job thus far has been the driving, 75-125 miles a day generally - all the houses are in the suburbs, two at least 35 miles out. Not having owned a vehicle in five years, I think sometimes - as I am driving through cornfields and suburban sod wasteland, the vast sheets of tar surrounding every corporate building, the fields of new McMansions, the 4,000+ sq ft houses that are being built as if we are not ratcheting up the polluting of the waters to heat them (fracking), the expanding of the highways to 4+ lanes at every outlet of the metro, as if oil remained @ $20/barrel, as if we are not piling on the debt building these doomed things, as if there will be economic growth for the full term of the 30-50 year bonding that "pays" for it - that I might have been happier scaling down, working part time living close to work and writing novels. Anyway, this is what I am doing now, fixing holes in walls, broken appliances, doors off hinges, etc. Autistic guys are hard on houses.

One other thing I've noticed, on my travels through the suburbs, are the apple trees no one picks. If I had been more organized about it I could have brewed 50-100 gallons of hard cider, more than the four gallons I've brewed thus far. Not that I'm set up to brew that much, what with my mashing of the apples with a sledge hammer. I don't like the idea of using a food processor or old garbage disposal like some people do, there being cyanide in the seeds, not wanting to obliterate the skins, but I didn't have a proper apple obliterator to go with my prototype press, nor the $700-1500 to buy one. The sledge hammer is a bit exhausting though, most of an afternoon and evening involved in these less-than four gallons, not including the picking. I have 11 more 5 gallon buckets equivalent of apples to obliterate and press.

This is the obliterator attachment I am making for my press. It is missing a few pieces, as I am modifying it after a test run. Long term plan is to make one to hook up to a bike, because the hand crank isn't all that much more efficient than the sledge hammer. (That is the four gallons brewing in the carboy.)

I built this green house with scrap I had around, three sliding glass doors I scavenged, acrylic glass I pulled out of a dumpster. I might have $50 in this thing, but who's counting when the 2x3's I've used on half a dozen different projects. The plant rack, I'll roll into the greenhouse during the day, back into the garage at night and cover, a shell within a shell, with plastic commercial veggie oil containers painted black filled with water, underneath, radiating stored sunlight all night.

 I have this old stove in the garage (traded for it, for an 18 pack of Michelob Golden Draft), but it doesn't burn efficiently, needs to be modified, and I might just incorporate it into a rocket heater design, maybe.

My house is for sale, technically, though as you can see I am still living in it. That seems to offend many of the people who come through here. I receive an email feedback form, after most showings. Most people don't know what to think about the 'lawn' except to tell me to clean it up, and the house doesn't feel like a condo in those teevee shows/media commercials - "it doesn't show well, the house should be staged; messy, dirty" - i.e. remove any evidence that someone actually lives here, plant sod. They all seem to agree the house is over-priced @ $25,000/15% less than I bought it for 7 years ago, despite all the custom tile work, custom paint, revealed hardwoods...funny how people will believe TPTB when we are told the economy is better/stronger/healthy, contrary to the facts in our immediate presence. Most people don't think, they just respond to authority.

In fact, I ran into some old friends at the bar the other day, who were keen to tell me what a piece of shit, dumbass, idiot, pathetic loser, milker, waste of a life, failure at everything I've ever done, how could I be so fucking stupid to think anyone would buy my house with all those weeds everywhere, etc, resources are abundant, bankers make the world go 'round, God is on their side. Another guy I am more fond of hanging around with, at that same bar told me, when he was driving by my house recently with his landscaping boss, he pointed out my house and said, "hey, I met that guy," and his boss exploded, raging that he had "called the city 3 times on that fucking mess of a house.

So now I'm like, why am I not ratcheting this up a few notches, now that I might have the income to do it? Why shouldn't I build that recycled glass attached greenhouse? Rocket stoves to reduce the natural gas burn, so on and so forth? What was that I was saying, about taking this house off the grid, all those years ago when I started this blog?

Then again, there is an offer on the house. A third of what we bought it for in 2006. $30,000 less than we owe on it. We made a counter offer. No word yet. I am ambivalent about it. As ideal as this new job is, as beautiful as so much of the staff I work with is, as much as I like many of the clients, as much land as there is for me to permaculture, driving 75-125 miles a day through the suburbs doesn't feel like a step in the right direction, and it hasn't been very good for my mental or physical health either. In fact, it feels like a regression in some ways, like I felt in 2006 when I was contract remodelling during the housing bubble. All those names those old friends called me the other night, were names I called myself back then, which I've been doing again, frustrated with traffic, with petty mistakes I make, contemplating a society I can't fix. It is exhausting, and mean. It would be easier if I could just puff as I please, bop around in my van all day singing and grooving. You know, attitude adjustment, like the other day when I went to do some plumbing in one of the houses, but realized, what should take ten minutes will take 3 hrs because the "official" plumber thought he was clever, but only fucked it up and made more work for me; and then I was at the plumbing supply store and I saw that huge mountain of garbage on the bank of the Minnesota river, and then I got to thinking about the nuclear facilities on either side of the Metro, and then I got to thinking about all the florescent lights which there is no real protocol to dispose of and they all have mercury in them and 97%+ of them end up in places like that mt of garbage, and the goddamn companies who manufacture them have no responsibility whatever for the...spiralling...deeper...deeper...blinding...see, if I could just have puffed and turned on the music, but we all know what a hideous, awful, evil thing that is, (ever repeateth the fascist.) Never mind, half of the people driving in those suburbs and on those freeways, are on some kind of fukitol pharmaceutical peddled by rapacious, predatory capitalists, to obliterate their moods, which is fine apparently. Good for the economy. They won't ever have to think about... See, there I go again. Can't do anything about that, so I take it out on me

Sorry to be such a downer. Just being honest about where I'm @. It's the late fall going into winter. My pond was partially frozen over the other day. I cope as I can by doing.


Some time ago I mentioned writing a Prospectus for Sustaining Universal Needs (SUN) non-profit. The SUN website is up and running, not yet grand opened, as we are building content, but in progress. The Prospectus should be available to read sometime next week.



Luciddreams said...

"and a good day to you sir...we're really enormous fans!!!"

Branded (just in case it's not's a Big Lebowski'ism.

Anyways, fuck that conventional landscaping prick, and all the rest of the code following drones.

Turn around and go the other way William.

Away from the adding of more corridors and building of more lanes. I just have a feeling that money will stop mattering soon, and we should plan accordingly while we still can.

William Hunter Duncan said...


That is one of the great insecurities now looming over us all, that we have worked so hard to procure dollars, and the dollar is headed inexorably toward worthlessness.

Otherwise, I spent much of last night listing to myself all the things I am grateful for. It is a long list. A different kind of attitude adjustment.


William Hunter Duncan said...

BTW - Any readers who seek to emulate my apple obliterator and press prototypes, don't bother. The obliterator works great if you have a few hours to make one gallon of juice - much LESS efficient than a sledgehammer - and the bottom half is a pain to clean (though would work fine if I had a bag to put the mashed apples in - might break down and do the food processing thing this year.) They have not improved upon the antique models for a reason.

Martin said...

Very kewel greenhouse idea, Wm. - thinking of emulating it myself on a smaller scale and without the rollout shelves since I don't have the luxury of a garage.

William Hunter Duncan said...


More to come on the performance of it. When I get to it. LOL. Let me know how it goes.


Jason Heppenstall said...

Good to hear from ya WHD!

Ignore the fools in the bar. These kind of people have no idea what constitutes a viable way of life. The world is full of mockers.

I like the greenhouse! I was thinking of doing something similar myself but I'm so busy at the moment learning new skills and studying that I feel there isn't enough time!


William Hunter Duncan said...


Thanks for checking in. I'll be working on the greenhouse in the morning tomorrow. Pics to come.

And yes, good advice about those old friends, though I still care about them, as I care about all.