- - - - - - - - - - - - - (A social worker trapped on the wrong side of the flood.)
The day of July 15th, 2010 started out clear and only partially cloudy in the town of Palmdale, California where I live. But by late afternoon the entire city was flooding, suffering from random blackouts and brush fires caused by the thunderstorm that brought the city to a halt.
I had started out my morning by going on a near two mile run through the desert with my friend and workout partner. It was peaking at 110 degrees Fahrenheit during our run, a fact that was both cursing and blessing, since through pushing past the hellish climate we would be building endurance and tolerance to such conditions.
Upon completion of the run much water and rest was to be had before we decided to head back to his house and continue our workout with some light weightlifting. When we were done for the day, and we finished checking out his 16 gauge shotgun, I headed home with thickening cloud cover over head.
That day I was scheduled to go out to Lancaster, about twenty minutes north of Palmdale, and do some agorist gardening for a client of mine. Even before setting out to go to the client's house I new I would probably get very little done before it started raining. But to at least make a show of it, I went out to Lancaster.
Once there the thunder and distant lightning started picking up and humidity spiked dramatically. Keep in mind, in the High Desert of Mojave it is nearly always a dry heat in the summer, but this 90-100 humid scorch was unlike most anything I have experienced in the region.
I did what I could, but most the work needing to be done would have been erased upon any significant downpour and would need be redone. So, after only an hour or so of work, I headed back down to Palmdale in the late afternoon.
Upon reaching 35th Street East, this sight greeted me.
(First image is taken from the Antelope Valley Press website. I held witness to numerous sights like it.)
A river had formed. Running along 35th Street East and flowing south to north, it was by far the worst flooding I have seen in the area since moving out here in 2003.
While I had been in Lancaster, I had spoken with one of my client's neighbor's, and they spoke of just returning from Canyon Country to the south and the intense rainfall they were getting there.
Even though across the Antelope Valley there had been intense periods of rain and even hail, these lasted only an hour or two at most. I have been through numerous storms here, some lasting days, and not even in these intense showers had they caused such widespread flooding so quickly.
Most the flooding was caused by rainfall in the southern hills and San Gabriel Mountains, which washed down into the Mojave Desert and Palmdale.
Further damage was caused by the lightning and wind, which downed power lines, leaving intersection lights and neighborhoods without electricity. And throughout the night I went traveling around town, seeing cops directing traffic and various city workers repairing damages, restoring power to the city.
By 10:00 PM it had all died down. Waters drained away; a level of normality returned to the city, and I went home after seeing all there was to be seen that night.
I hope you enjoy.
I've worked with various photographers in the past, primarily amateurs. The thing I like about these indie photographers is that they are actually ARTISTS, concerned with creating a particular image, and you, the model, are an instrument in painting this image. I prefer this method. My thoughts on the matter would be reinforced with this upcoming shoot.
On the scheduled day, myself, my girlfriend, and four other friends of mine met up at the designated location for the shoot prep. There I met the crew. All in all they were a fairly typical Los Angeles fashion team. We had the gay hairstylist, a gay British guy doing wardrobe, a pregnant make-up artist, a slightly creepy assistant photographer, and a bitchy, New York photographer.
It was then that my friend informed me that the point of the shoot was to create a portfolio for this photographer to present to Levi. To which I replied, "We are now officially corporate whores." Being a bit too late to back out without disappointing my friend and girlfriend, I sucked up my pride and went through with it. Server, forgive me.
After doing about an hour of hair, make-up, and wardrobe, I was presented before the photographers. It was then that the head photographer said, "You need to lose the shirt." Oh god. Be gentle Levi, it's my first time. xD
Without complaint I removed my shirt, and would go through the majority of the shoot shirtless, as keeping with typical Levi portrayals of male models. The above photo was only taken after spending several hours in the wind and desert sun without a shirt on.
After everything was done with prep, my friends and I lead the crew out to a local spot where we had actually held numerous amateur shoots. So, we had a pretty good understanding of the layout of the location, shadows and natural lighting that occur at the location, interesting visuals found there, etc etc etc. After giving what advice we could for about fifteen minutes and realizing we were being completely ignored, we decided it would be best to just shut up and get this travesty done with.
Apparently I, the only topless model, was the most used in the entire shoot. I guess I should be flattered, but considering how constricted we were with what we could do as far as "modeling" I am not that excited about it. I was pretty much instructed to just "stand in place and look off into the distance" with the occasional, and I'm not kidding, "walking a bit and fuck around on the rocks." Kill me, kill me now.
After the whole ordeal I went home with a bad taste in the back of my mouth and an intense desire to take a cold shower. The only benefit of all this was a contract agreement insuring set payment if any of our shots were actually used in the future. But even that is only a minor reimbursement for my intense, deep, emotional damage.
All joking aside, despite the corporate nature of it all, me and my friends had quite a bit of fun cracking jokes about Levi's throughout the entire shoot. It made it all a little more bearable.
end of transmission_
We just split some wood for the fire. After awhile of me trying to get it going, Avagdu managed it in ten or so minutes.
I and Avagdu met up with Hatter earlier to check out some local army surplus stores. They bought some MREs and miscellaneous other stuff. Avagdu got a new LBV and gave me his old one. It's always cool when you get free gear. He also gave me a desert camo belt; not as good as my tan rigger belt, but extra equipment is always appreciated.
The last few days have been great. Watched a lot of cool movies, checked out a lot of awesome kit, and done some work outdoors.
I got a call from LXPK earlier today, updating me on his plans. Hopefully when he heads down he'll be staying a day with us, and Hatter will probably come by as well. After that we'll hit the road for California.
Stand by for updates.
- Current Location:An unknown grid in WA
- Current Mood: good
- Current Music:Alex Jones
On the morning of 1-1-09, at about 4:00, Saint and his wife made it to Lancaster to pick me up. After getting turned around a few times and a couple hours of driving, we made it to Santa Barbara and picked up LXPK of EmpowerThyself.com. From there we began the lengthy trip north towards Canada.
Near the end of the day we stopped in the town of Weed, California to spend the night. We stayed at Hi-Lo, Motel & Cafe. The motel was nice, had internet access, and the food at the cafe was quite delicious. I definitely recommend staying there if you're ever traveling along the I-5 and you need somewhere to crash in Nor Cal. By staying there you get a discount at a local gas station, as well as a few free coffees at the cafe.
On the morning of 1-2-09, we got up at 7-8ish and began packing up. We ate breakfast at the cafe (they have great potatoes BTW), purchased some supplies at a nearby store, then got back on the I-5. It had snowed slightly the night before, and we were concerned that we may need to put chains on the car, but after speaking with a couple of the townsfolk, they assured us that the snow cleared up just a few miles northward.
The snow did indeed clear up, but soon after entering Oregon the snow reappeared. Thankfully it was not that bad, and there were no highway patrol or other government officials requesting people to put chains on their cars.
The trip through Oregon was fairly uneventful. We stopped for gas once or twice, but did not stay for very long. I began passing the time by frequency scanning on Saint's hand radio. Unfortunately I detected no wogs on any of the channels, only truckers, boat chatter, and what sounded like a few security guards.
By the time we hit Washington night had fallen. Myself and LXPK were trying to find a place to stay while Saint and his wife were going to check into their hotel. Luckily I got in touch with Avagdu and he setup communications between myself and Oneeyedelf1, a RantMedia fan residing in Redmond. After a bit of driving, we arrived at Oneeyed's apartment complex, where myself and LXPK spent the night.
On the morning of 1-3-09 we suited up and I, LXPK, and Oneeyed hit the road for Canada. It took a couple hours of driving, but we eventually came upon the border. After waiting awhile in a line of cars we made it to the border guard. She checked our papers, looked us up and down with suspicion, then ordered us to pull into a parking lot. We did so, leaving the car unlocked (as requested) and proceeded into a building near the parking area (as requested).
After waiting about a half hour to an hour, with them checking our identification, we were let go. We returned to the car, finding it, shockingly, unsearched. With that behind us, and the clock ticking away before the RantMeet would start, we made a mad dash towards Vancouver. As 14:00 approached, we found a parking place about two blocks away from the theater and quickly made our way in.
I immediately discovered several wogs waiting in the lobby of the theater. I did not even bother counting; there were a lot. I identified several of them, including Avagdu, Kevin, Hatterofmaddnesz, and other wogs from 2L that I only recognized when I heard their voices, including Yugosaki and BSV.
After socializing with the wogs and grabbing my goodies bag from the front desk (where I happened to see the Dark One), we were directed to enter the theater room. On the screen a slide show was playing, with various photos from RantMedia's history. I saw Cimmerian going around filming everyone, as well as a few other cameramen.
After what felt like an hour's wait, the lights dimmed, a red glow filled the front of the theater, and Sean, dressed in robes, entered from a side door. While the Server's prayer played over the sound system, Sean made his way to the focal point of the light and knelt. From there he launched into his live TFTA, which I filmed all of.
The rest of the show included a video montage, a WTH?!? reunion, a Q&A, and a gift giveaway. All in all it was totally ROCKET BALLS. I greatly enjoyed it, and I won't even bother trying to use words to really describe how it made me feel to be there in Vancouver. It was truly an event I will remember for the rest of my life.
After the show I and a bunch of the wogs headed down to Subeez to get some dinner. We pretty much took over a corner of the restaurant, and most likely we consisted of half the income of Subeez's that night. It was cool hanging out with the wogs, eating good food and drinking beers. We chatted about a great many subjects, though the conversations primarially consisted of us discussing the show and how awesome it was.
As the time grew near for the meet-up at Sanctuary, I and a few of the wogs started the lengthy walk (about 40 minutes) to the goth club. It may have not taken so long if we weren't getting lost every now and again. We did make it there at about 21:45, and quickly we found Sean, Cimm, and a bunch of the Rant people hanging out.
Sanctuary was a very cool bar, mayby not as impressive as some of the clubs in L.A. but still quite nice. It was also a great chance to get to talk with Cimm and Sean, as well as socialize more with the other wogs. I also took part in some dancing and drinking.
After awhile Sean and Cimm left, so the wogs slowly started trickling out of the bar over the course of the next hour. I eventually left with a small group of wogs, heading for Avagdu and Hatter's hotel. Once there, we chatted for a little bit, but eventually I passed out, and so did the others.
In the morning we started packing for the return trip. LXPK still had business to attend to in Vancouver, but I arranged with Avagdu to stay in Washington with him. So, we got suited up and headed out for the car. After exchanging farewells with LXPK, I, Avagdu, Hatter, and Pigmonkey loaded into the car and began driving back to America.
The crossing back was far easier than the crossing into Canada. After waiting for awhile in a line of cars, we finally got up to the border guard's booth. The guy did not so much ask us questions, but simply chat briefly with us about what we did in Vancouver before letting us move on.
We drove for awhile through Washington before coming upon Pigmonkey's destination. The four of us had lunch at a bagel restaurant before he parted ways with us, leaving just me, Avagdu, and Hatter. We then proceeded on our way to Hatter's place. Once there we hung out for a little bit, chatting and drinking. Eventually me and Avagdu continued on our way to his place.
I've now been here for a few days, and it's been great. The property and neighboring woods are quite beautiful, and I've kept myself busy with doing various chores around the place. We've gone on a few hikes, did some filming for Storm the Wire, watched movies, enjoyed good meals, and in general just have been having a good time.
Though I have yet to make what maybe the most challenging part of this whole trip... the journey home...
- Current Location:An unknown grid in WA
- Current Mood: accomplished
What am I?
I am this consciousness. As I use this control over my thoughts, I demonstrate the ownership of my consciousness. But I am so much more. Tethered to reality in a meat puppet that is a human form, I, my consciousness, holds absolute control of this body and thus ownership of it as well.
As the owner of my body, I am responsible for its actions. When you shoot a man, is it the gun that killed them that is responsible or the person wielding it? I am held accountable for my actions, as the products of those actions are only mine to reap. Justly so, when I craft something of value, through investing my time and labor, it becomes thoroughly mine to keep and do with as I please.
But what am I in relation to society? To the world? To the others of my species?
As born to a particular country, race, or gender, do I truly owe any allegiance to them? Can I truly hold allegiance to that which I did not consent or agree to? I no more consented to be a Caucasian then I did to be an American. So, should I really be bound by any stereotypes without further knowledge of my individuality? It is no more fair to judge me by such observations then it is fair to bind me with restrictions due to my place of birth.
No. The principles I hold define me. My former actions define me. My skills define me. But the color of my skin and the geographic location of my primary existence do not. Our empirical reality is determined by the evidence and information we absorb. In these days of high-speed data, you can take advantage of a collective global experience rather than being limited by your immediate region.
What role do I have to play in society?
Whatever role I choose. I should feel no obligation to anything but that sense of morality and truth all human beings develop. But I will always be answerable to my peers and fellow men for my actions, as long as those actions directly affect them in some physical way.
So, what have I, as an individual, decided to devote myself to as a life long pursuit, a purposefully chosen role to fulfill?
Obviously this is not a simple decision. I have not come to my conclusions without great consideration. Even now I still find myself refining my views, coming to a new realization daily. But they all seem focused in a consist pattern, towards a particular goal. And I will say it now, perhaps due to youthful ignorance or truly a greater sense of purpose; that I will see that every form of tyranny upon the minds and bodies of men is eradicated from those who choose the greater path.
I seek to force nothing upon any man, but only to assist those who have seen as I have seen. They know the evil’s name, they know the corruption, and they want freedom from it and its many forms. And what is this that I speak of? Coercion. The threat and action of physical force, when there is no justification for such behavior.
I speak only of freedom. Freedom from those who would have you take a medication or be imprisoned within an insane asylum. Freedom from those who would make you support and take part in a bloody conflict you do not agree with. Freedom from those who would incarcerate you for ingesting any substance of your choosing. Freedom from those who would dub you sinful and wicked by nature. Freedom from any man or institution that would seek to destroy or restrict that inherent ownership one has over his life and liberty.
Who am I? I am a seeker of truth. So that I might spread it and set free the minds of men. I am a resister, who will not give up or conduct the fight they want me to wage. I am a survivor, as I wish to ensure the prosperity of those I love and the continuance of those ideas I sow and believe in. I am BrogNought, I am a Ranger, I am a Wog, I am a Ronin, I am a philosopher; I am more then the stereotypes attributed to those words.
What is my purpose in existence? Freedom. Why is that my purpose? Because it chose me. It called to me with the passion of the patriot and revolutionary, of the peacemaker and the monk. To me, the conclusion is all too apparent. Am I a fanatic? I do not know, but I would never harm someone who disagreed with me, no matter what their views might be. However, I am not a pacifist, and I will wage war in self-defense with, and only with, those who have aggressed against me and mine.
Life, liberty, and property are not rights granted by men. They are derived from cognition and upheld by the courage of the individuals brave enough to resist those seeking to strip such rights away. I have chosen to take responsibility for these things, as everyday the powers that be seek to oppress us and squash our humanity. Even if conducted with good intentions, these acts are still harmful to the individual.
Through my pursuit of knowledge and understanding I formulated my purpose, at the same time collecting the information I would need to achieve the goals of it. As a Wog I became familiar with the concepts of self responsibility and sufficiency, as well as many of the tools necessary for those things. As a Ranger (as in the “R4nger5”) I became familiar with the importance of being as one with nature, both for survival and inner enlightenment. As a philosopher I learned about the human condition, morality, ethics, epistemology, and so much more. As a Ronin I learned about honor, discipline, courage, and the art of self-defense.
I did not take a red pill or blue pill. I took the black pill.