And that’s how some people want to approach the issue of illegal immigrants in the USA. Everything I know and understand about life aligns clearly to say that building a wall between the US and Mexico is a horrible idea. It’s not like Mexico is mounting an attack and we have to defend the castle. They’re sneaking into the country to find jobs. To cover the issue from my own perspective, I’ll offer three planks and then a plan.
Since my last Polar Bear post (think I might start them all this way) , I haven’t spent much time or money on Polar Bear. I did have an adventure with the radiator blowing up. I wanted to replace it myself but time did not work to my advantage and I had to pay a shop. Otherwise, I’ve just been using Polar Bear as my daily driver. The most significant adventure I took PB on was a trip to Steamboat with Nino for a wedding and some boarding. On the way, we spotted another local 4×4 Ford van along side the road. They waved and I honked as we splashed by. Since then, I spotted the same van perched on top of Loveland pass. If I see them again, I’ll have to stop and say hello.
During the drive, we collected a lot of ice on the van. As the road muck spalshed up on Polar Bear and started to drain off, it froze into interesting patterns. The most interesting, by far, was the sea urchin like spikes on the center caps. I’ve never seen anything like it before and it drew a fair amount of attention when we would stop for gas or coffee along the way.
So I see this trending topic going around called, “I need to talk to you about computers.” It didn’t take me long to facepalm. See, Stephenf does a fine job of painting a perspective of technology evolution with a wide scope. He also has a fine point about consumers desiring more specialized and easier to use devices.
Unfortunately, Stephenf missed obvious points. First, the trend isn’t strictly with computers becoming more specialized. There’s also a trend of specialized devices becoming more computerized. Actually, we’ve had specialized devices for a long time. Take a car radio for example. A car radio was once electro-mechanical with no logic circuits. Somewhere along the way car radios became digital devices with lcd displays. Now, folks have full blow media centers inside their automobiles. There exists a giant webbing of technological points and the tendency is for those points to converge – for gaps to be filled in. Netbooks are an example of a gap being filled in. The devices are more powerful than smartphones yet more portable than laptops. Netbooks are popular because they filled a need.
Since my last post, I’ve put new tires and fender flares on Polar Bear. I started off with the notion of getting simple black steel rims. I ended up with teflon rims. They were nearly twice as expensive, but it’s something I really just wanted to splurge on. I’ve never purchased rims before, I wanted to get the most out of it.
The new tires are 32″ BFG A/Ts. From the performance of the van, I thought the 33″ tires must have been too large as it was moving rather sluggish. Turns out, that’s just the engine. I probably could go up to 35″ wheels with similar performance. They might be a bit better for offroading as well.
After spending piles of money on paint and a rear diff rebuilt, I finally got a chance to re-install the spare tire mount. Before reinstalling, I ground the whole thing down a bit and put about 5 coats of black spray paint on it. I also hung the tire itself, for the first time. The bolts for the tire aren’t going to work very well. They’re a bit too long and fairly rusted out. I suppose I could soak them in WD-40 and cut them down to size. However, a couple of new bolts from the hardware store shouldn’t be terribly expensive. It would also be nice to get a threading that matches the lugnuts so I can have spare lugnuts on the rack.
The tire prevents the door from swinging open as far as it used to. Still, the door opens past 90 degrees so I think I’m alright. I noticed the inside of the spare rim has a ring of rust. I might hit it with a wire brush and then gloss a little paint over it. Next week I should be getting new rubber and rims. Eventually, I might see about getting a spare that matches the size of the new tires (32″). I’m not going to worry about that for a while.
There’s a pile of exterior mods left. The list looks something like: window tint, rock sliders, bumpers, wire mesh behind the grill, roof basket, new antenna, and a ladder. Most everything else will be interior. There are still some drive train and engine repairs I want to make. However, since most of those are not particularly critical, I’ll be postponing them for a little while.
The attached image is a photoshop Nino did that includes a lot of the cosmetic changes I want to make to Polar Bear. The cargo box and solar panel were not in my plans, but Nino just happened to find that particular Sportsmobile Penthouse pop-top at the right angle to do the photoshop.
Polar Bear turned out to be more of a … bear … than I originally expected. Nino and I have been tracking a spreadsheet of changes, both planned and completed. It’s not balancing out like I had hoped.
Let’s start this blog post with a definition, the definition of virility. According to Wikipedia:
Virility refers to any of a wide range of masculine characteristics viewed positively. It is not applicable to women or to negative characteristics.
Those of us that are men, and that’s about half of us, have probably – at some point – thought about what it means to be a man. Sure we get to pee standing up without the aid of special hardware, but what else is there? Often times people ask, what does it mean to be a real man? The nice thing about the word “virility” is that no matter how our society changes, the word itself still retains the same meaning. The traits that make up virility today may not be the same by society’s standards 100 years from now; however, virility is defined as the positive traits, whatever those may be.
This brings us to a brilliantly confusing discussion, what defines virility today? This question is important to me. I’ve spent a lot of time working on it. It truly seems to me that, in our current time, we lack clear positive role models. We live in a time when our counter parts, women, have changed significantly over the past few generations. Powerful role models have shaped and changed the concept of what a woman should be. Where are the male counterparts?
As I’ve worked on this problem for myself, I keep encountering paradoxes. It’s difficult to form any clear conclusions to build a strong framework around. However, I have recently come to a powerful conclusion on the issue of control. I’ve noticed patterns in nearly every human interaction that can be discussed in terms of control. The conclusion I’ve drawn can be viewed in two parts, external and internal. First, lets discuss the external:
A man of virility does not exhibit control over another individual.
This concept is easy to grasp and extremely difficult to actualize. I believe that controlling others was once a trait of virility. It’s easily confused with leadership and strength. In fact, I would say that it takes a great deal of strength to maintain control over others. However, such behaviors often manifest from insecurity. A modern man of virility grants every human individual bot the right and the responsibility for personal choice. The word “responsibility” is important here. There are those that, for some reason, seek domination. These behaviors also seem to manifest from insecurities. A man of virility is aware of his individuality and seeks to be surrounded by those who are also aware. That said, lets move on to the internal component:
A man of virility does not allow others to control him.
This is a more difficult concept to fully grasp. When we consider who has control over us, a lot of gray areas arise. Not allowing others to control you does not mean walking up and spitting in a police officer’s face. However, it does mean that when you look at a police officer, you are fully aware that you can spit in his face if you choose. This may seem silly in this context, but when extended to relationships, it starts to show value.
If a man allows another to control him, he will appear weak. In our modern culture, a weak man is not an attractive man. A weak man will be used and tossed aside. This is rarely more obvious than in the mating game. Yield to a woman’s every wish, and watch her sleep with someone else.
If a man attempts to exhibit control, he will attract the weak. In the mating game, a man might find himself sorting through the emotional drama of a needy clingy woman. It’s hard enough to find happiness for yourself, no man should be responsible for the happiness of two people.
It is extremely difficult to maintain a life flow that follows both of these principles. While it may seem that, at times, the two come into conflict – they don’t. This can be seen, again, in the mating game. When a man has control over himself and shows absolutely no intent to control another, he attracts a certain type of individual. Once again, this is highly pronounced in the mating game. Such a man is extremely attractive to women, showing confidence and general satisfaction.
This is when a true kind of magic can happen. A man who is in control of himself but unwilling to control another can only attract a woman with the same traits. Upon an encounter with such a woman, both can have the confidence of knowing that any mutual desires are truly mutual and not a product of manipulation.
Last week, Nino, 3 skiers, and I headed up just northwest of Black Hawk city for what would be my first (and Nino’s) backcountry trip. I had some of the gear I needed, but still dropped nearly $700 for 2 beacons, another set of snowshoes, 2 shovels, and 2 probes. Nino and I also attended a 1 hour avalanche awareness course. We learned enough to know we need to take a real class.
The snow conditions were nearly as bad as you could imagine. Several days of sun had the top cursted over in the open areas. I would find myself over knee deep in snow not 20 meters from a patch of exposed grass. That’s what you get for heading out after the very first snow of the season.
Skiers definitely have a backcountry advantage when it comes to traversing. Uphill, I could keep up. However, downhill, the skiers get to slide along and rest at the bottom while the snowboaders hike it all the way through. You definitely need stamina.
My favorite moment was sitting back in a snow-made lounge chair and looking off at an amazing view down the valley. I want to spend my next day of turns somewhere with a lift, no doubt. However, I expect to do this backcountry experience several more times this season. It’s good stuff.
On October 24th, I purchased a van from a fella in South Lake Tahoe. Nino and I named her “Polar Bear”. The idea is to turn this van into a camper. To be honest, I’m not 100% confident that this is the van I want to build from. I want to have a mechanic look her over and get a better idea of what I’m working with. Here’s what I know so far:
- 1987 Ford e250 3rd generation Econoline van, regular body
- 33″ x 12.5″ inch tires, 8 lug 16″ rims
- What looks like a 6 to 8 inch suspension lift (maybe more?)
- Ford 4th generation 300cu Straight 6 EFI engine.
- 4×4 with Warn locking hubs, p205 transfer case, and 4:11 gears
- 1 ton rear axle (Dana 60 posi) and 3/4 ton front axle (Dana 44)
- 3 speed C-6 automatic transmission with a shift kit installed
- Class 3 rear receiver attached to the stock bumper
- Dual gas tanks (about 40 gallons total I believe)
If you haven’t followed the media noise over Lily Allen and filesharing lately… it’s a lot to catch up on. The highlight came, for me, when Lily started an anti-filesharing blog, reposted another author’s content without citing the source (irony much?), and then took the whole blog down when she was getting too much “abuse”… I can’t speak enough about how brilliant and accurate Dan Bull’s response is. Go get the MP3 and share it!!!!