21 December 2009

Be Prepared…

...and how being prepared turned a major disaster into just a major headache...

Ah, Christmas time! Family, friends, big meals, travel, and snowy weather. What could be a better wrap up to the year? How about forecasts of a major winter storm barreling your way, right through the route you need to reach your family that is 350 miles away?

Here’s what I did last weekend. A lot of my family lives in and around Huntington, WV so that is where we gather for holidays. I live in Richmond, VA. I decided to take off early from work on Friday, December 18th, and get a head start after seeing the forecast for a major winter storm predicting feet of snow in some areas. The predictions were that the snow would reach Beckley, WV about 5:00PM that evening. I’d be just about there at that time, and I figured that would put me enough ahead of the storm that I could make it to Huntington by about 7:15 that night. Note that my original plan was to leave after a Christmas party that night, about 9:00PM, drive halfway and “camp” in the jeep, then head into Huntington on Saturday morning. Well, that’s sort of what happened. At least the camping part.

11 December 2009

Oh yeah, here's some good advice

I apologize to my loyal readers for the lack of even a good quote in nearly a month. But the holidays are upon us!

Anyway, I deal with a lot of email every day, much of it spam. This showed up in the INBOX today. I am flabbergasted...

{My take in italics and bracketed.}

     Because of recent abductions in daylight hours, refresh yourself with these things to do in an emergency situation.
     This is for you, and for you to share with your wife, your children,everyone you know.
     After reading these 10 crucial tips, forward them to someone you care about. It never hurts to be too careful in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do:
The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do! {Need a little more information here, chum!}

2. Learned this from a tourist guide:
If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you...Chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION! {How about referring US to that guidebook so we can glean such useful tidbits?}

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won't see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives. {As Wikipedia would say: Sources needed. This is ridiculous.}

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc. DON'T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE. If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, Repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location. {I think this one takes the cake. You stand as much chance as being severely injured as the carjacker. How stupid can you be?}

16 November 2009

A Great Quote VIII

"There are those people today who live the same life, day-in day-out - predictable, risk-free, dreamless.  They are the harshest critics of those who choose to break free from this mundane existence. 
In this world, too many people are afraid to pursue the life they truly desire, too afraid of being criticised by others, too afraid of failing, too afraid of not knowing the way.
However, there are also those who choose to follow their dreams, those who choose to rebel, those who strive to be free - those who live.  Stay true to yourself.  Break free from the chains of society - and live.  May you too have the strength and courage to pursue your dreams."

10 November 2009

Rules....I just can't put enough emphasis on Rules...

It's happening again. In today's ThisIsCornwall.co.uk, they report another instance of "let's make it 100% safe for everyone all the time". (Note that "paddling" is defined as wading and splashing out to waist deep water.)
        "Schoolchildren Facing Paddling Ban
Before shoes and socks are removed for an ankle-deep walk at the water's edge, organisers must put 'proper measures in place' to stop paddlers getting into trouble or suffering from hypothermia after a quick dip in the sea."
Yes, that's right. Children in England may no longer wade at shore's edge before, after or during school trips.
"Required checks at the coast – as well as at rivers and ponds – include looking for sharp stones and strong currents.

Under guidance entitled 'Avoiding impromptu water-based activities', the Department for Children, Schools and Families warns: 'The pleas of children or young people to bathe – because it is hot weather, for example, or after a kayaking exercise – should be resisted where the bathing has not been prepared for.'

The guidance says that paddling and other 'in-water activities' should take place 'only when a proper risk assessment has been completed and proper measures put in place to control the risks'.

Teaching staff will have to dip their toes in first – because the department rules state that assessment is best made 'preferably in the water so that unseen submerged hazards can be identified'.

If a beach is cleared for children to enter the sea, no child should be able to swim deeper than waist height, adds the guidance.

It says: 'Be aware of the dangerous effects of sudden immersion in cold water, also of the dangers of paddling, especially for children or in rough seas.'"

Now I'm not against being careful. And checking things out. But that is common sense, and in my not-so-humble opinion, not regulated.

05 November 2009

A Great Quote VII

"When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure."

- Peter Marshall

03 November 2009

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do

Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, has got it right. This video is worth your nine and a half minutes. It's been my philosophy for years.

Too cool!

30 October 2009

Six Senses

This is a subject that kind of sticks in my craw. Some time ago an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch chronicled the travails of a senior in high school who hated the traffic outside her high school when she would drive to school each morning. Here's the catch: she was driving her freshman sister to school, then turning around and driving home because she didn't have a class for a couple more hours. Then she would drive back. Traffic had apparently thinned out by then. The kicker was, if the sister was late because of traffic, it was an unexcused tardy. If she rode the bus (a mile and a quarter, if I remember correctly), and the bus was late due to traffic, it was excused. This makes so much sense to me it is not funny. If you ride the safest form of transportation to school known to God and man, and it is late due to all the others who insist on clogging up the roads bringing their "too good to ride the bus" children to school, that's is others' fault, therefore excusable. If you choose to be one of the people clogging up the roads, so sorry.

The number of teen drivers who have accidents in and around school is not even funny. I know at least a dozen who have had everything from fender benders to car-totalling accidents on the way to or from school;  it is not funny. We live in a society of children who think that everything is supposed to be handed to them; they should be carted around, and God forbid, they WALK to the corner, turn left (or right) and arrive at school. How many of us shared a car with mom or dad once we got our driver license? I certainly did, as did most of my friends. Driving to school was a privilege, not a right. But now, turn 16, get the license, get a car!

So what happens here? Parents need to realize that convenience isn't always that. Children don't always need a ride here and there. I realize that some places aren't suitable for walking - many neighborhoods near me aren't suitable for walking to school. There are no sidewalks or crosswalks. But how long can a 1.25 mile bus ride be? Especially when the consequences of dealing with the traffic are not good. Dire consequences like multiple unexcused tardies to school. In many schools around here, 3 unexcused tardies equal one absence. Three absences means no exam exemption (assuming the grades are OK).

So why do so many parents give the kid a car as soon as they get the license (and some get them BEFORE they even get a Learner's Permit!!!)? Why do so many schools allow younger teens to drive to school? And why in the heck does a freshman/sophomore need a chauffeur instead of riding the cheese wagon? I'll tell you why: Our children are special in this day and age; they are born with SIX, that's right, SIX senses!

Smell, sight, hearing, touch, taste and ENTITLEMENT!

20 October 2009

The Ridiculousness of It All!

The ThisIsCornwall online newspaper today had a story about the possible demise of one of childhood's grand pleasures: visiting a petting zoo and feeding and petting all the animals (thus the name "petting" zoo). Why is this?

Apparently some children became ill with E. Coli after visiting a farm in England. So the British Farming Minister has decided that the animals shouldn't be touched any more. Here is the story in full:
"CHILDREN should be banned from touching animals on petting farms in a bid to halt the spread of E.coli, says the Government.
Farming minister Jim Fitzpatrick said preventing youngsters from coming into direct contact with livestock was a "common sense" precaution which would still allow farm visits to go ahead.
His call comes as attractions report a drop in visitor numbers, with concerned parents staying away.
The outbreak of E.coli O157 last month forced the closure of the World of Country Life attraction in Exmouth, Devon. Its walk-in pet centre has now reopened with approval from the Health Protection Agency after numerous tests concluded there were no direct links to the virus."*
 Did you note the last sentence? "...numerous tests concluded there were no direct links to the virus"!!! How ridiculous is that?!?!


19 October 2009

It's about bloody time!

At last, an article in a widely read publication, especially by families, that gives us some good news about what NOT to worry about!

In Parade Magazine yesterday, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner penned an article on "What Should You worry About?"* Oddly enough, stranger abduction and shark attacks are not among them! They use, of all things, economics to help us understand the news cycle and why only the most sensational, no matter how rare, bad events get us churned up into a frenzy. This can start even smart people worrying that the next time junior goes wading in the stream in the woods behind the house he'll come dragging himself home missing both legs from a wayward shark gone mad. There is almost never "the other side of the story". For instance. Mr. Levitt and Dubner point out that "between 1995 and 2005 there were an average of 60.3 shark attacks worldwide each year...on average 5.9 fatalities per year." But the headlines didn't read "Shark Attacks This Year About Average". Elephants kill an average of 200 people a year. But the remote, poor places where elephants kill people aren't where the people are that are gluing themselves to the TV screens and watching the ads in between the horrors.

I commend these authors for bucking the trend. It's obviously so easy to focus only on the sensational, and it draws viewers, apparently. Does that mean we are so bereft of anything better to do than sit and watch the "news" that we start to believe everything presented to us? Or, is there an alternative?

Of course there is. Challenge the "obvious". Check out the real stats. And make an informed decision about what is safe and what isn't. You'll be much more relaxed when junior is wading in the stream in the woods out back, or walking to school, or playing in the neighborhood (gasp, out of your sight!). The other benefit is that you'll feel safe enough yourself to go out and DO SOMETHING adventurous instead of ingesting the "news cycle" and its constant stream of "THE SKY IS FALLING"!

*To read the entire article I quoted above, pick up the October 18, 2009 edition of Parade Magazine, or go to http://www.parade.com/news/2009/10/18-what-should-you-worry-about.html

10 October 2009

A Different Kind of Adventure

This blog is about adventuring. So here's an adventure that anyone can participate in! It doesn't require knowing how to start a fire in the rain, or how to keep up with 20-odd boy scouts on top of a mile-high mountain in Maine. It does require that you put away the iPod (and preferably the cell phone-PDA-Blackberry) and just enjoy yourself with friends, family, and especially the kids.

I just got home from spending last night and all of today at one of Richmond, Virginia's premiere annual events: the Richmond Folk Festival. It had a three year run as the National Folk Festival, and support and attendance was so keen, that it is now in its second year as the Richmond Folk Festival. Featuring six main stages and some 26 acts, it offers music from around the world. But this isn't mainstream music. Friday night I listened to Wylie & The Wild West. Wylie plays Western music; it ain't country and it ain't bluegrass, and he included some incredible cowboy poetry recited by one of his friends - then he performs it again as song. This was followed by Paul Williams & The Victory Trio performing Bluegrass gospel. An amazing three hours of music punctuated with a Cajun crab cake sandwich that was absolutely fabulous - the food at the Folk Festival is awesome, too. 

Saturday (today), I started the day with Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill playing Irish music on the fiddle and guitar. I followed up with  Khogzhumchu; they are Tuvan Throat-singers from Russia in Central Asia, on their first trip to America. I can't imagine how they must feel now. When I watched them perform on stage in a tent with approximately 500 seats, there were another 200 seats outside the tent, and another 300-400 standing around them! All participating in the "sing-alongs" and giving Khogzhumchu a standing ovation - it is an amazing musical genre. Dennis Stephens played traditional Church Organ music on a foot-pumped organ. The Jerry Douglas Band is a Bluegrass innovator and plays Bluegrass with a dobro, fiddle, upright bass, guitar and drums. La Gran Banda is a Columbian brass band. WOW! What a musical adventure! I saw traditional crafts, and listened to "front porch music" (you figure it out). I also saw old friends, made new friends and thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone there smiling and tapping their feet.

But the real reason I write is to suggest that if you want to go adventuring, here is a way to do it, and include the whole family. The Richmond Folk Festival draws thousands of people from all over. Everywhere I looked I saw families with kids of all ages. Babies in strollers, toddlers holding onto mommy's hand, and most importantly, youth from around 12 to 18 out with friends on their own. Also, moms and dads letting the kids play "over there" with all the other kids while they enjoyed the music. These are parents who realize that our communities are basically safe places, and have raised kids that they can trust to "go play" (with strange kids, no less) with no worry about them getting snatched or running away and getting lost. Of course, in a crowd of 185,000, there are so many easily identified volunteers, staff members, and cops, a lost kid couldn't stay lost very long if he didn't want to!

Lenore Skenazy, in her book, Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry, has small sections describing "baby steps" to going free-range. This is a chance for you to take a "baby step" in adventuring! Here's how:

I'll bet almost everyone in this country lives within reasonable driving distance of a festival of this sort. Richmond alone has the Greek Festival, the 2nd Street Festival, the Watermelon Festival, Innsbrook Afterhours, and many, many more. So find one near you, plan on it, and attend! Take the kids, and let them roam with friends. Set a meeting time and place, and be sure they understand the rules - yeah, the rules. They should know when and where to meet you - every two or three hours if you're making this an all day event. And what to do if someone creeps you out with an inappropriate advance. Oh yeah - another rule {VeryBigFrown}, stay with your buddy {VeryImportant}. If you just can't resist, let them have the cell phone. But please, promise NOT to harass them every 15 minutes as long as they check in as required - here's a tip, make the first check in an hour out - if they show up, give them 2 more. Added freedom for being responsible. And keep the cell phone in your pocket! Unfortunately, they won't keep it in their pocket, they'll be too busy texting their friends telling them about their adventure and making their friends jealous. This will be an adventure they won't forget.

Go for it! Go have FUN! Once you realize that you can adventure on a scale like this, it is much easier to plan larger and larger adventures. Next time, on The Expert on the World: New York City with 25 boy scouts (and 2 scared moms). 

For more information about the Richmond Folk Festival, visit their website, RichmondFolkFestival.org. If you live within a couple or three hours drive of Richmond, put it on your calendar for next year! And bring the kids so they can make new friends and be exposed to some great adventures in music and fun!

08 October 2009

A Great Quote V

"Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always."
- Rainer Maria Rilke

02 October 2009

A Great Quote

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."
- Albert Einstein

29 September 2009

28 September 2009

Let them roam!

Several years ago, the scout troop was camping in a beautiful spot in Virginia: Sherando Recreation Area (look it up, it's beautiful). The only problem was that the recent rain would prevent us from rappelling, so we needed an activity to keep about 12 boys ranging in age from 11 to 16 busy for an entire day! Or, at least get through the morning; we could worry about the afternoon later. Included in this group were several younger boys who had joined the troop only a month or so earlier, and several of the youth leaders in the troop. Some of the younger boys' fathers had accompanied us to provide transportation and watch the fun on the rocks (and I'm positive they were certain I was about to kill off all the boys from either falling kids or falling rocks). But that was out - allowing kids to have adventures does not include deliberately endangering their lives.

I had a brainstorm. Scouting requires hiking for advancement, and these new Tenderfoot Scouts needed at least a 5 mile hike using a map and compass. I grabbed the trip leader (an older youth) and gave him a map of the park. There was a nice trail up on the ridgeline that circled the huge bowl that Sherando sits in. I pointed it out, noted that they should not cross any asphalt once they left the campground (paved roads also ringed the area), and turned them loose with their compasses and the maps. A couple of the dads got up to go, too, but I stopped them. They looked shocked. In a rather loud voice, I said "I trust the leaders, they'll be fine." The boys all heard me.

And off they went. We adults sat around and talked and played cards. I noticed a few glances at watches a couple of hours in. At three hours, more glances at the watches. At nearly four hours, I thought they were going to go nuts wanting to go searching for the kids. Four hours and about 15 minutes into the morning, here they came. The younger boys were practically strutting with confidence. The older boys were seething! What could have gone wrong?! "You told us it was a five mile hike! It was closer to TEN!!!" I reminded them that my comment was the boys needed "at least" a 5 mile hike. And that they had fulfilled the challenge of taking a group of newbies on a 10 miler with no adults, and gotten back. The attitude instantly changed as that dawned on them.

The afternoon was spent playing Ultimate and football, with the older boys completely including the younger ones. They had bonded during that four hours on the trail that morning. The fathers were astounded, and after that, knew we trained our youth leaders to handle things.

Three different groups learned some very important things that day. The youth leaders gained a huge measure of confidence, and learned that their scoutmaster trusted them to get the job done. The younger boys learned that their scoutmaster trusted the older boys to be able to take care of them, and that they were capable of doing a lot more than they thought. The new fathers in the troop learned that the older boys were capable young leaders, and that although the scoutmaster was a bit crazy, he knew what he was talking about when it came to letting the boys run the show.

The older boys moved on to run trips to the Albemarle Sound sailing catamarans they rebuilt themselves, trips to the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Maine, and many other adventures. The younger boys are now the leaders taking the newest scouts out on adventures they can grow from.

26 September 2009

Rules, rules, and more rules, Part III

Rules are designed for safety. But what happens when the rules get in the way of the activity itself? In some cases, stupid rules make things more dangerous.

Over nearly 30 years of scouting, the rules got nuttier and nuttier. I'm an expert in vertical rope work: rappelling, ascending rope, high angle and vertical rescue. So the scouts decide, against the recommendations of the cavers and climbers they asked to help write BSA rappelling rules, to require a second rope to be attached to each boy who is rappelling. There is no doubt in our collective minds that the insurance companies and lawyers insisted on this. The second rope is handled by a "belayer", a person who is supposed to stop the rappeller from falling. There's only a few problems with this. One, you can't see the kid that's on rope. Two, one of the most common issues with beginners is feet slipping out from under them. When that happens, the person on rope can twirl a bit. Guess what? Now the two ropes are twisted. This guy isn't going anywhere like down. You sure can't haul them back up. And of course, the kid is scared, and generally not able to help themselves. The second rope just compounded a very minor problem. The only solution is to have another rope rigged for rappel beside the main rope, and you send an experienced person down on this rope to unwind the mess.

OK, you say, but a second rope seems like a good idea! What if the rope breaks? What if (and if you know rappelling, you know this is another common mistake) the rappeller lets go of the rope - now they have no control. First issue I have is this. I've been doing vertical work since I was 14 years old. I've climbed and rappelled thousands of feet with many, many different people. We use 7/16" (11mm) kernmantle rope (special rope designed for climbing and rappelling). I've read every issue of American Caving Accidents. This is an annual publication detailing every accident in the caving world that can be documented, even if only through news or anecdotal reports. Guess how many times a broken rope has figured in an on-rope accident? None that I can find. Zero. The ropes are very strong. People take care of them. Regular inspection reveals flaws that cause ropes to be retired and turned into short pieces used to teach knot tying. Here's the answer to the second issue. Bottom belay. A person on the bottom of the drop who has the rope wrapped behind their thighs. Rappeler lets go of the rope, belayer puts some downward tension on the rope. A hundred and ten pounder can stop an adult. It's that simple.They don't stand directly under the rappeller. They wear protective gear. And they pay attention to the person on rope. It works.

There is no foolproof way to totally protect someone rappelling, but when you go 35 years doing it and teaching it, and no one in your charge has done anything worse than a pair of wet pants and a slightly sprained ankle, that's not chance, that's adherence to the rules that matter, not the artificial ones. Anyone who doesn't will pay the price, and even useless rules won't be useful!

(Rappelling at the Manchester Wall on the south bank of the James. Yes, there is a double rope - this is a dynamic climbing rope that stretches and is used in a double configuration when rappelling on it. There IS a bottom belay on Andy.)

(and there is the belay!)

22 September 2009

A Great Quote

"Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use of strength. "
- Henry Ward Beecher  

19 September 2009

A Great Quote

A regular feature of "A Self-Proclaimed Expert..." will be EXCELLENT quotes that relate to the general topic of ADVENTURING! Here is a wonderful way to start:

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry*

*I will use not use Wikipedia.org as an authoritative source, but rather as a quick reference for further information about the quote's originator, where appropriate.

14 September 2009

Rules, rules, and more rules, Part I

We live in a society governed by rules. Laws, statutes, ordinances, regulations, whatever you choose to call them, they're rules. They are necessary for an orderly and civilized society, and to deal with those who can't seem to just get along. But when it comes to kids and play, there should be a lot fewer rules. People make rules for youth to protect them from harm. So let me explain why I am qualified to talk about this subject.

My adventuring started at 14 years old. I started caving. I didn't know there were "rules" about how to do it safely, I just brought along a friend, a couple of flashlights, and crawled through the caves of Carters Caves State Park in eastern Kentucky, about an hour from my home in Huntington, WV. We crawled through body-sized tubes, running streams, some of the stickiest mud this side of the Mississippi, and huge walking passages. For hours on end. No one knew where we were. My dad, who'd driven us there, knew we were "out there crawling though the caves somewhere", but no idea exactly where we might be, because we didn't know ourselves. We wandered the woods and headed underground at every available opening, with no idea what lay ahead, and of course, no safety gear, no backup of any sort, but a keen sense of "where we were" while underground, so we had confidence we would find our way back out. One day, crawling out of what I'm sure is the absolute muddiest yuck hole I'd ever been in, clad in a cotton sweatshirt and jeans, a $5 hardhat, and carrying one flashlight each, the two of us were greeted by several pairs of worn, muddy boots. They were worn by real CAVERS! Thus began my association with "organized caving". I learned that carrying basic safety gear helped (but in no way guaranteed) your survival in these alien worlds. With caving comes vertical caving - using ropes and climbing hardware and "software" to enter and navigate caves - drops of hundreds of feet in pitch darkness. But again, basic rules in safety, taught by experts, kept your survival chances extremely high. I was safer "on rope" than driving to and from the cave.  Then really long rappels (875 feet is my longest), and rock climbing...I carried this spirit of adventure over into scouting, and for nearly 30 years spent a huge amount of time teaching scouts to be adventuresome.

11 September 2009

Who Runs the Show?

One of my favorite blogs is Lenore Skenazy's Free-Range Kids. Today she said, "I want the kids to learn the basics then run the show." This is exactly my philosophy of raising kids (and I use the term "kids" to refer to anyone between old enough to play and adulthood). If you take the time to read some of the blogs I follow, you'll see that one of the central themes is "kids" running their own show. 

I was a Boy Scout leader for nearly 30 years. I'd be interested in hearing from all of
you that are/were Boy Scouts or leaders...did you let the boys "learn the basics and run the show"? Or run it all yourself? What were the results...

Feel free to comment. Talk amongst yourselves.

09 September 2009

Ponder this:

"Be grateful for each new day. A new day that you have never lived before. Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably. We can squander, neglect or use it. Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use it today. 

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as your can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

07 September 2009

What's it all about anyhow?

If you want more of a hint about what this blog will be all about, check out the blogs I follow. Notice a theme? I spent a lot of my life trying to encourage young people to "be all they could be" (to swipe a rather excellent advertising slogan from the US Army). I've been on a few adventures - though not of the scope of Zac, Mike, Johnny, et al. My adventures started way back as a kid, where I spent afternoons after school, and all day during holidays and summers playing in the woods behind our house. Acres of woods, completely out of sight and sound of the house. But dinner was at 6, so you were expected to be home by then, even when I was in the third grade. My parents asked me to let them know if I went somewhere else (like a friend's house) so I'd call as soon as we got there. I walked to school - it seemed like LONG walk, especially in the rain. Typically I would meet up with several friends on the way, but only a few intersections near the school were guarded. I've lived through it so far!

So why aren't more kids out there playing in the woods? And what can we do to encourage adventures again? I have a tremendous amount of respect for the parents of the teenage adventurers I've been following and am happy to see that there are those out there who believe in their kids. There are also others who feel the way I do. Sir Evan's Dispatch is a good example. Probably my favorite, Free-Range Kids while not directly related to adventuring, certainly helps make the case for raising kids like the ones I mentioned above. 

Let's see what we collectively can do to help raise a new generation of kids! Ones who CRAVE adventure that isn't being presented video LCD screens!


06 September 2009

Life is about LIVING!

Life is all about LIVING! And I don't just mean the everyday "get up, go to job, come home, do housework, eat dinner, watch TV, do it all again tomorrow" kind of living. One of the things I want to point out is that there really is more to life than the rat race.
Click to see a Frazz comic strip that pretty much sums it all up.
Who knows, with luck maybe I can help you find the right road.

05 September 2009

I Broke a Solemn Vow

I did it. Finally. I broke a solemn vow. I swore I would never start blogging. I don't think anyone cares too much about what I have to say about much of anything. But some things have come to light that sort of stick in my craw, and I want to rant. Or rave. Or just speak out.

I've got some things to say. Mostly positive, but I reserve the right to be somewhat negative occasionally. Hey, it's a free country. I do have my opinions, and I am an EXPERT ON THE WORLD!

I hope you'll find this commentary relevant, perhaps irreverent, and at least entertaining. Please feel free to comment, add in, and have a good time. This blog will ramble, poke, examine, and hopefully entertain you enough that you will keep on coming back!

Thanks for reading on.