Thursday, May 26, 2016

March 2016 Journal Archive

March 1, 2016

Happy Super Tuesday!!!  

Welcome to the Deconstruction Zone my excellent friends!!  It's been a mixed bag recently here at the Calico Ranch in lovely historic Ellensburg, Washington.  The unflattering photograph above was taken almost a week ago, just before I was diagnosed with bronchial pneumonia!!

Two days ago:  Feeling much better now

Frustratingly, I missed several days of work/school.  But, it's not the end of the world.  This too shall pass; but probably not without leaving a mark.  I went in for four hours today before I was worn out; one of which was spent attending my buddy Tom's thesis defense.  He did a masterful job (pun intended), and I picked up some great pointers, but sure didn't get much else done today.  For the record:  bronchial pneumonia = not cool.  Tomorrow will be better.

As might be expected, certain priorities are starting to pile up.  I visited one of my mentors unannounced today, and he generously took the time to help me map some strategies out for successfully navigating the minefield.  If you're perhaps reading this Shane; thanks so much for your time and attention.  

So, this evening I've been in writing mode; updating my CV, resume, and cover letter, working on my latest thesis proposal draft, and finally adding in a little of my own process in the form of coming here to the Journal to "clear the mechanism."  It's Super Tuesday in 2016 after all!  I've got a lot on my mind.

As expected, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the big winners tonight; but that's not what I want to talk about.  Regular readers know that I frequently reference things that my parents taught me, while I growing up in small town Indiana.  This evening however, it is something that my Mother wrote only a short week ago, and its implications that are holding my thoughts hostage.  

 I grew up Post WWII trusting in and believing everything our victorious government told us and our newscasters reported. My God, General Dwight David Eisenhower was our President!  Europe was a place on a map, and the cities and countries were names where our hero fathers and uncles helped to freedom! We learned world history, but what did it really matter.....we were safe WAY OVER HERE!  I was too young to remember the Korean Conflict, but I knew Russia....ya, Russia was our enemy! I watched the Cuban Missile Crisis in real time and saw how scared my dad was at maybe WWIII with atomic bombs ???? 
But then Viet Nam.....that was a whole new ballgame for us....
I guess what I'm saying is Europeans were working, rebuilding, living and dying, and we NEVER were given a worldview .....outside the Sea to Shining Sea wasn't even real to most kids growing up! Being taught how GREAT n GOOD America was has been my whole life! 
I'd say it was in the late 90s, and then in the last 10 yrs, that I felt like I turned around 360 degrees and began to look was when my reading became broader and someone who shall remain nameless, shook me and said, THINK! 
Who wants to KNOW what you've believed your whole life, isn't necessarily truth?  I didn't mean to hijack this thread.....trying to explain how a baby boomer was least a small town one!

I think I'll just leave that here for everyone to ponder and consider.  It's a reminder for some of us, and a reality check for those who weren't there, of what life was like when we had four television channels, and strawberry was still that wild and crazy third flavor.  I've thought about it long enough, I'm going to blog.

Dave ~ Until they stop you, ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth.

March 5, 2016

Found as an abused and broken kitten years ago in a dumpster...Meeka Meeks is royalty now

Hard to believe this chubby three year old golden beauty was the runt of Meeka's only litter

It's a Calico Ranch!!

You can't make this stuff up...

Happy weekend my excellent friends, and welcome to a space in-between; my safe space, the Journal section of The Deconstruction Zone.  This is the blank canvas onto which I throw any type of mud that I choose.  Please enjoy your stay, stay as long as you like, and come back anytime and often.

As I begin tonight, I want to extend my gratitude publicly to three of my friends, and long time supporters of the blog; Matt Allair, Charles Garrett, and Greg Hindbo. all of whom have been much appreciated sounding boards recently.  Also, I'd like to wish the prolific genius, and all around grand bastard Jeffrey Fuentes a safe and speedy recovery!  Appreciate you all immensely gentlemen!  Like Scooby Doo, "couldn't have a show without you."  

Among seventeen other things tonight, I've been reading through old posts, and verifying some things I've written in preparation for upcoming efforts.  I've started drafting my upcoming poster and paper presentations for the Northwest Anthropological Conference as well.  Really looking forward to the conference this year.  

It's the words of American philosopher Richard Rorty (October 4, 1931 – June 8, 2007) that are on my mind tonight.  Now they can be on yours.  From his very last book, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America (1997):

Many writers on socioeconomic policy have warned that the old industrialized democracies are heading into a Weimar-like period, one in which populist movements are likely to overturn constitutional governments. Edward Luttwak, for example, has suggested that fascism may be the American future. The point of his book The Endangered American Dream is that members of labor unions, and unorganized unskilled workers, will sooner or later realize that their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported. Around the same time, they will realize that suburban white-collar workers—themselves desperately afraid of being downsized—are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.
At that point, something will crack. The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots. A scenario like that of Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here may then be played out. For once a strongman takes office, nobody can predict what will happen. In 1932, most of the predictions made about what would happen if Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor were wildly overoptimistic.
One thing that is very likely to happen is that the gains made in the past forty years by black and brown Americans, and by homosexuals, will be wiped out. Jocular contempt for women will come back into fashion. The words “nigger” and “kike” will once again be heard in the workplace. All the sadism which the academic Left has tried to make unacceptable to its students will come flooding back. All the resentment which badly educated Americans feel about having their manners dictated to them by college graduates will find an outlet.

Rorty hasn't been the only one who has said it/predicted it of course; including yours truly, but I'm impressed that he saw it so clearly in 1997 and earlier.  In 1997, I was in my early thirties, on my second marriage and trying to hold onto a fledgling entrepreneurial effort with a high school education.  My third child (after the twins came The Coug!!) in two years was born in January with complications, making five kids at home at that time.  Translation:  I had no frame of reference and other things on my mind.  The works and words of Émile Durkheim, Hannah Arendt, Max Weber, Jacques Derrida, Marvin Harris, and Martin Heidegger were as unknown to me as those of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Irenaeus, Marcus Aurelius, and Machiavelli (really shouldn't have started that list).  Nag Hammadi only meant two words I probably couldn't pronounce, and I might have guessed that C. G. Jung was a Chinese brand of pipe tobacco.   My wife did what I told her or else, Indians fought Cowboys, except in Cleveland, and every Monday night Hank, me, and my good buddy Wieser were ready for some football.  I knew what I knew and knew that it was all I ever needed to know. Ya know???  I sincerely hope not.

Dave ~ Until they stop you, ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth. 

March 16, 2016

Looks like I finally answered the question...

Happy Wednesday my excellent friends and welcome to The Deconstruction Zone!!  Although things are wonderful as usual here at the Calico Ranch in Ellensburg, WA,  the pressures of  "outside" life are weighing heavily on me recently, so I've come here to the Journal section once again to "clear the mechanism."  As usual, my current malaise requires some back story:

Although considered "progressive" by some, I'll confess right now that in many ways, I'm quite the my considerable detriment in point of fact.  Some have even said that I do what I do...with one arm tied behind my back and a broken leg; metaphorically speaking.  Let me explain:

In certain aspects of my life, some by choice, others by necessity, and still others by court order, I tend not to "follow the mainstream trends."  For example, I do not own a cellular phone, and haven't for years.  That one is by choice.  No, I don't want to explain it right now.  An exception is when I go alone into the mountains.  Then, I usually take a charged one with me (Cassi's orders), so that if I get in trouble, the GPS signal can be traced (it's another tale, but I must grudgingly admit to having somewhat of a history of way-off-trail mountain misadventures).

I do not own a television set and haven't for over a decade.  Except for Netflix, or live streaming, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.  I simply do not watch television.  I have no idea what is on tonight, tomorrow night, or next week.  I do know that if it is important I always hear about it.  That whole "living room arranged around the TV" thing, and the family gathering around the warm glow....not happening at my house.  I also run AdBlockPlus software on my computer and to date it has kept me from viewing 741, 164 advertisements and counting.  These decisions are also by choice.  I control my input fiercely.  

I do not have a bank account in my name.  That's an even longer story, but let's just say that right now I don't need anyone holding onto my money but me, prefer the autonomy and flexibility of cash in many situations, and have my developed my own methods of security and for cashing checks hassle-free, and without paying fees.

Okay, here we go.  I've been attending Central Washington University (CWU) since Fall 2012.  I've had a wonderful experience, love my colleagues and professors, and highly recommend both the university and my particular field of study to anyone who will listen.  After receiving my AA degree at Olympic Community College in Bremerton, WA., I completed my BS undergraduate degree at CWU in the Summer of 2014, returning to start the Master of Science program that Fall in Cultural and Environmental Resource Management.  I am a graduate student with honors, a research fellow and employee of the university, and a professional anthropologist/archaeologist.

Since beginning my attendance at CWU in Fall 2012, I have been receiving payroll checks from the university nearly non-stop for various reasons including, financial aid grants and loans, scholarships, fellowships, academic awards, special programs, various university employment, etc.  If a person does not have a bank account, the university has an alternate option.  The option is that the first two checks will come to the cashier's cage for pickup; after that future checks will be mailed to the residence address on file....simple....right????   Wrong!!!

Instead, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason involved.  Sometimes it's at the cashiers office, sometimes it gets mailed, sometimes they say they mailed it, but I never see it.  I once went a whole 45 days with no income while they scratched their melons over it before finally re-issuing checks.  My financial aid has NEVER been released on time...and it has NEVER been through my own fault...always an admin error.  Today is the 16th...I live 1.6 miles from the cashier who claims my last paycheck was mailed on the 10th.  Something is wrong when you get paid every two weeks and your check is a week late...AGAIN!!!!  Once again the admin office says they have no explanation.

As a non-traditional student...let me say how difficult it is to perform at a high level when you can't even buy yourself a %$#^ cup of coffee, let alone feed your family, buy gas, stay healthy, etc.  I've put up with it for almost 4 years now...and once again I wasted nearly an entire day playing  "Where the *&^% is my check?"  Believe me when I tell you that the opportunity cost for that is higher than I can think about without getting nauseous.  And, I'm so upset about it right now that I can't think straight and am here ranting instead.  Finally, I still have no earthly idea when I'll actually see the money, because they say "we'll mail the new check."

I am Dave's impotent rage.  It might sound corny, but my Dad taught me that you don't mess with a person's spouse, friends, or money...or you get what you deserve.  But I'm painfully aware that any rebellious action I take at this point will only damage myself and my future prospects, so that's out.  Hell, I'm so busy and at a critical point in my research and with deadlines that I don't even have time to be writing this...and that's the whole point of the rant...the payroll office screwed me AGAIN..I had to scramble to beg, borrow and steal money, and spend the rest of the day looking for the check...when I'm supposed to be doing something else, committed to doing something else, and on the f*7%ing hook for doing something else.

Well thanks for listening if you're still here.  Next entry won't be so negative.  This one was for me.

Dave ~ Until they stop you, ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth.

March 26, 2016

48 hours without sleep, 2 conference presentations, and 468 miles driven...Meeka missed me!

The Party is Over!  Let the Party Begin!

Happy Saturday everyone and welcome to the Journal Section of The Deconstruction Zone!!  Please enjoy your stay and come back anytime.  Things are quiet here at The Calico Ranch in windy Ellensburg, WAas I'm officially taking a couple days off for Spring Break from Central Washington University's Cultural and Environmental Resource Management Graduate Program.  Frankly, I'm exhausted.  After a whirlwind of activity, I'm pleased to report that my presentations at this year's Northwest Anthropological Conference (NWAC) in Tacoma, WA (March 23-26) were greeted with mostly positive reviews.

This year I was lead author on both a poster presentation, and an invited symposium paper presentation.  A seasoned poster veteran, I enjoyed that part immensely.  I didn't embarrass myself or my co-authors/mentors at my 20-minute talk, and broke my conference paper/oral presentation cherry; so that's a win as well!!  As always, there is great room for improvement, and I'm already itching to do it again. I came home early so I could caucus for the Bernie Sanders campaign this morning.

I'm no graphic artist...but I'm getting better at making these poster puppies

In other positive news, I'm happy and proud to announce that while attending the conference I officially accepted an offer to become part of the Yama Project Team as the newest field supervisor. From the Project website (check it out):

"The Yama Project is a collaboration of Olympic College, the Bainbridge Island Japanese Community, the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, the Kitsap Historical Society and Museum, Bainbridge Island Historic Preservation Commission, and Bainbridge Island Metro Park and Recreation District. Yama was a Japanese village on Bainbridge Island, WA, occupied from the 1890s until 1924.  Japanese immigrants came to Bainbridge Island to work at the Port Blakely sawmill. The first immigrants were single men, but women, married couples, and families soon followed, and by the early 20th Century, the population of Yama was around 300 people. After the First World War, the sawmill closed and Yama was abandoned by the mid-1920s. Today, the village is nearly invisible, but archaeologists hope to recover the traces of this "lost chapter" in our history.  The Yama Project is scheduled to run for three years (2015-2017), and includes a field school to teach students the methods, techniques, and theories of applied archaeology. Students will develop the skills of survey, excavation, laboratory analysis, historical and documentary research, public outreach, community involvement, and publication."

This year's phase of the project runs from July 5 - August 25th.  Besides spending a great bulk of my summer training and working with young archaeology students (nothing better), as well as the fabulous opportunity to work at and be tied to this vitally important historical site, there is a large value added bonus involved for me.  I get to work with/for my very first anthropology/archaeology professors, Dr. Caroline Hartse, and Professor Floyd Aranyosi; from Olympic Community College in Bremerton, WA.  I'm absolutely thrilled and honored to be part of this effort.

It's a girl!!!

Yeesh...I almost forgot the most important news of all (because I posted it on FB March 21st).  Cassi and I went for another ultrasound on March 21st and found out that we are having a baby girl in August!!  Some people (richer than me) don't want to know the sex of their unborn, preferring to be surprised...I'd unwrap Christmas presents in November if I could get away with it.

Also, my 20 year old son Mike Davis (Young Corpse) just dropped a new track (Keep It 32) that frankly kicks ass and really showcases his voice.  Check it out here on SoundCloud.  Follow and prepare for more, as he seems serious about carving out his own niche.  I know my son, and know what he's capable of when he gets locked in and focuses like I've witnessed for the last year.  It's so great watching him blossom and develop as an artist.

Meeka isn't the only one who missed me (Himalayan eyes and a Phrygian cap)

Well, I suppose that's all the news that's fit to report.  Next stop, the main blog page!  Hope everyone is having a terrific Easter weekend out there.

Dave ~ Until they stop you, ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth.