Out on the road.

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ut on the road, heading to Reno and Fernley, Nevada, for Thanksgiving. We were going to Reno for Thanksgiving with my extended family who live there. Traveling to Fernley was to visit the National Cemetery and my parents grave sites.

The National Cemetery is a dedicated site that sits on high desert land. The area is covered with tumble weeds and other desert plants. I’ve only been there in cold weather months so I know it to be cold and wind swept. It suits me.

The VA buries veterans at the cemetery closest to them. In New Orleans it used to be at Chalmette, where the Battle of New Orleans was fought during the War of 1812. But, it is full. So, my next resting place is in Slidell. But, by buying the farm and living there, I’ve upgraded myself to the pinnacle of national cemeteries. Arlington.

Not that I’ll care.

Fernley was just a little desert town when I buried my parents about 18 months apart. I almost didn’t recognize it this time. FEDEX built a huge distribution center there. You know what happens when a big company moves into a little back water town. The town explodes. The people are flush with cash. New people move in. All the funky little businesses are gentrified out of business.

When I buried my parents, and returned to visit their graves I drank coffee at a little cafe where the waitress greeted everybody with, “Hon, sit anywhere that you want.” It’s gone, replaced by a Starbucks with counter help that misspell your name. Every single time.

Anyway.

This is Area 51, or a gateway to it. True believers think there are captured space aliens here. They think the government uses them for experiments. Try going on the fenced off land. You won’t get 500 yards before soldiers armed to the teeth riding in Humvees turn you back to the public roads. They are authorized to shoot to kill. That’s just how serious they are.

The soldiers are intense because Area 51 is a skunkworks. Experimental planes and rockets are developed there. Most never see service and are left in the far reaches of the barbed wire desert. There are also conventional planes, B-29s and the upgraded version called the B-50. There are probably others. They were used to test experimental things. They are left to molder and rot in the desert. They don’t rust. The desert is too dry for that.

The little rest stop in the picture with the pink building is fairly well known. You can buy gas there. You can buy food to go there. You can eat in the cafe there. Or, you can visit the cathouse in the back. You know, “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant.”

Everything is expensive so I usually refuel closer to Las Vegas. I do stop to make pictures. And, some times I buy road food, No. I don’t go to the backroom. I pass no judgement on those who do, but I’m not that guy. Besides, my co-driver would kill me. But. I am a guy who enjoys road trips. I haven’t taken one in over two years.

You know why.


Driving, photographing, waiting.

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nother drive by shooting. Well, sorta. I was waiting for the light to change looking at the traffic in front me. I had an ah ha moment. I turned off the windshield wipers to let the rain water accumulate. When there was enough water I made a few pictures. The light turned green and down the road I went.

As some of you know, sometimes I put the camera on the dashboard while the car is moving and let it do its thing while I have both hands on the steering wheel. But, never in the rain. Too many bad things can happen. I need total concentration.

I started reading the news today. All of it was bad. Really bad. Sure, news organizations report bad news. But, this is extreme. My biggest fear is the new variant. I can see how this is going to go. I really don’t want to live in my self imposed lock down forever.

I see something else too. Remember how some people attacked Asians because they thought CoVid19 is a Chinese infection? Well, this variant apparently started in South Africa. Think about the ramifications of that.

Racism to numbers unknown.

This is a chance to show each other and the world what we are made of. Likely, we’ll show everyone that we are made of gutter trash. At least Trump isn’t president with the ability to stir things up.

I think we need to stay cool, think before we act, and to always stay mighty.


They say, “if you bought it a truck brought it.” New Mexico is a crossroads state where I-25 runs north and south while I-40 runs east and west. You can go everywhere in America from here.

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his was an experiment. Not the picture, the final editing. The caption says it all. The processing takes it to another higher level because to me it says what it means to travel. For some it means slipping into the mist in order to get away from daily life. For others it may mean something about being on the road. It means different things to each of you.

Hopefully, it will make you think.

Now to the heart of this post.

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his is so hard to write, but I have to do it. It was an incredibly sad day around here. As some of you may know I am the legal godfather to an adopted child who came from Russia. She came as a baby and now she is fifteen years old. She joined a rambling southern family.

A few day ago her cousin went missing. The State of Mississippi issued a silver alert, which was broadcast or published in every kind of media. State Troopers found him. He was dead by his own hand. Suicide. I am unclear if it was yesterday or the worst possible day. Thanksgiving.

I cannot imagine what his immediate family is going through. I know that his big sister, who has a good career, is married and who is living her life is not doing well with this.

I have always had two thoughts about suicide. It is either the most cowardly thing a person can do. Or, it is the most courageous thing a person can do. Cowardly is giving up and hurting who and what you leave behind, especially your family. Courageous is that you are making the ultimate choice not knowing what is in front of you. No worries. I’m not that guy. I started thinking about this years ago in a psychology class.

That’s all from me except for this.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is open 24 hours a day. Use it if you need it. 800-273-8255

Peace, y’all.


After lunch.

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nce upon a time, in a far away place, I took this picture. I forgot about it. Amazon Pictures found it. It was something I saw after lunch with a friend, as I was walking to my car. I stopped for a few minutes and photographed the hell out of it.

I used my favorite camera of the time, even though it wasn’t anything big time. I used Nikon for most work, but I carried a Canon Powershot G-9 everywhere. It was a little thick to fit in my pockets so I wore it like a big camera on a strap and slung it over my shoulder.

I made so many pictures with it that I it wore out. Canon couldn’t repair it, but they were amazed at the number of times I pushed the button.

340,781

That’s a lot.

I sorta bought a used one from a kid on Craigslist. We met at some coffeeshop in Albuquerque. He wanted $250.00. I offered him $100. He asked why he should take such a low price. I replied that it was obviously stolen and there are two cops sitting right over there. He asked how I knew. He left the SD card in the camera. There were a bunch of family pictures stored on it. He claimed it was his family. I showed them to him. He was a blonde white boy. I smiled at him and said, “so you’re Black, who’d have thunk it?

He walked away before I could do anything.

So, being the law abiding soul that I am, I it mentioned to the cops. They shrugged their shoulders. Unless I could prove it was stolen they couldn’t do much about it.

That’s how I got my first free camera.


A crack in the wall.

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his is a New Mexico picture. Sometimes I just see shapes and I want to see what they look when I photograph them. I’d forgotten this picture until Amazon found it some buried sub-archive. Boy, was I happily surprised.

I’d tell you that this is an adobe wall, but it is not. It is some kind of concrete that is made to look like adobe. It’s sort of a touristic thing to do when you want to attract people to your business as they are wandering around Santa Fe.

Some would say that this is not real adobe that the picture isn’t true.

Of course it’s true. It’s not a study of construction method, it’s a study of the shape created by that dark gap in the wall.

Some people, Sheesh.


From another perspective.

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o you remember what I said yesterday about November 21 being the start of my year? Well, I started that. After some thought I decided that I wanted to take a look back at my traveling life.

This does two things.

You get to see photographs that you might never have seen. You know. Exclusive to the readers of Storyteller. I have further plans for that.

This also forces me to work through my archive and do something about the 50 year old mess.

I also am playing with, tinkering with, and experimenting with different art forms.

Anyway.

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his is The Church of Saint Francis Assisi located in Taos, New Mexico. It’s actually in Rancho de Taos. The plaza that is built around the church is dusty and has seen better days.

Just about everybody and their brother has photographed it. And, their brother’s brother too. It’s a challenge to do something different. I think I did, but only because of luck and timing. Saying that is a gamble. Obviously, I haven’t seen every picture that was taken there.

Happy Tuesday.


The soft underbelly.

This stuff never changes. It’s swamp growth. It doesn’t care what season it is unless it’s super cold with temperatures down in the low twenties. Then, like every other plant, it dies. But, it grows back in a fairly short time.

So, my year starts today. A friend of mine suggested that I start my year on my birthday rather than January 1 or even on a financial quarter. I think that’s a pretty good idea. So away I go.


In Memphis.

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atching up. Or, Ketchup.

Just as I predicated, violence begets violence. There was a protest in Wisconsin. Black people came out to protest the Rittenhouse Verdict. Standing guard on the perimeter where serious looking Black men armed with long guns also known as AR-15s.

That verdict made everyone fair game on the street. We can be our own judge, jury and executioner whenever we feel the need.

M

oving on.

Covid-19 is starting a very slow surge just in time for the holidays. Nationally the numbers have grown by about 20,000 infections per day. Some states like Vermont who had the virus well under control are seeing a pretty steep rise. The government says about 70% of the country have gotten their jabs. The real number is 50.1%.

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loser to home.

You might recall that I’ve complaining about a slow computer that was slow to download, slow to open websites, slow to do anything internet related, which is to say, just about everything. When it started happening to others in the house I thought, wait a minute. I started researching and learning about browsers.

Normally, the browser that comes with your computer is the best one for you. Being Mac people we use Safari. It turns out that Safari should be good except that Apple packed it full of functions that most of us don’t need or want. The next browser could be Google, but it’s Google and all that it implies.

So. What to do? What to do? More investigating revealed that Opera might be the one for us. I downloaded it, installed it, brought over my bookmarks and set to work. It was life changing. It’s faster than anything I’ve ever used. Websites, including this one, open in a couple of seconds to open. Zoom is solid. Spotify is solid. I can even use Instagram on my big machine.

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nd, finally.

Today begins my 68th trip around the sun.


One of my favorites.

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lans. I had some plans for today’s post. A nice, peaceful post for a Saturday afternoon.

Then Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty of all charges. He killed two men and wounded a third. I needn’t recap the entire event because I’m sure you are aware of it.

What happened next is heartbreaking.

A number of Congressmen are cheering for the verdict. They are offering him internships at the Capitol. Some are offering him jobs in businesses they own.

I went to Facebook. The comments were horrible. There were no complaining comments. They were all pro acquittal. They were congratulating him on defending himself.

Let’s see if I understand this. The jury gave Rittenhouse a license to kill. If he was Black what would have happened, do you think? The jury just made The United States a much more violent place with approved vigilante justice. They also painted a target on Rittenhouse’s back.

They say that empires usually die at 250 years. The US is 246 years old.

Think about that.