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  • #61
    Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
    I think it's easy to romanticize being off the grid and outside the machine but honestly, I don't see the point. I like being an urban Grokelle. I get my exercise, eat the right foods and still get to go to a jazz club if I feel like it.

    My sister and her husband live way out in the boondocks and they end up spending a lot of time in cars going to get supplies. I can walk to everything I need.
    Hi Paleobird!

    I get what you are saying, but can you see the stars at night in San Diego?? Sounds like a dumb question, but coming as we did from NJ, here is what we really, really still like: the stars, the quiet, the animals that we can hear in the quiet, the darkness at night, the obvious change in the land as the seasons come and go (even mud season here on our hill), the fresh air, the fact that we are out there enough that my kids can run and play and scream outside even at 11 o'clock at night and not disturb a soul with their being-a-kid-ness.

    Nope - we are not off the grid, even though I hold (probably) overly-romantic hopes of someday being able to do so. Our garden doesn't feed us a whole lot 'cause we were city-slickers and are still learning, although the herb garden is awesome and produces monstrously.

    Constant trips for supplies = a poorly managed pantry IMHO. I drive a lot because I take my Third to therapy for her disabilities, but we still choose to live out here because it is balm for our souls.
    I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

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    • #62
      It is easy to romanticize, but you've got to remember at the same time that different people have different desires in life. When I lived in SoCal I was far more likely to go out to the Anza Borrego desert and spend a day photographing nature than go to a jazz club. It's like the perception of primal as a "strict diet"...it is, if you think it is. Was it Frost who said, 'If a society fits you comfortably enough you call it freedom"? I think that's right. Anyway, the same is true for environment, for diet, for just about everything. If living in a city fits you comfortably enough you call it good...but your neighbor may not be such a tight fit though she lives nearly the same life.

      In a semi-funny coincidence, my employer chose today to send me to training on "motivation" (among other subjects). The general thesis was that motivation = dissatisfaction, that the size of the gap between your current state and your wants was the measure of your dissatisfaction, and that as you close that gap (e.g. via success, whether complete or partial) you naturally lose motivation. I thought about this thread (and this forum in general) a few times during the attempted reprogramming session. If you are dissatisfied with your current life you will be motivated to make a change. If you lack any means of attaining even partial success, that dissatisfaction could build until you have sufficient motivation to make a major life altering change. If that major life altering change works (even partially) then the dissatisfaction-driven motivation engine runs out of fuel. It was a really motivation-inducing day for me.
      Last edited by Him; 12-11-2012, 06:01 PM.

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      • #63
        Originally posted by RitaRose View Post
        I'm in Vegas, and it's pretty toxic. The weather is shitty (115F during monsoon season, and that's about 3 months long) and the high desert has the biggest swings of highs and lows between summer/winter and day/night in the US. People move here when their life falls apart elsewhere, and they bring all of their issues that caused the problem in the first place. The economy is crap, and we have had either the #1 or #2 highest unemployment for about 5 or 6 years running. We have the highest pedestrian death rate in the US, and I saw a recent article saying we're also #1 for fraud. It's expected that you'll be all about the money and the sex and the cars and the silicone boobs. It's a very shallow place unless you get into the outskirts where people are less dependent on the grid and more dependent on directly providing for themselves.

        I don't think it's "city life" in general that's so terrible, but I do feel there are some really awful pockets that are not good for the average guy's head. Vegas is definitely one of them.

        Desert makes for easy free 'air conditioning' though by building partially underground with earthen materials and tires. You use constant ground temperature for cooling and sun for adding heat to the structure for when the temp drops off at night... sadly, not good for growing stuff haha.
        -Ryan Mercer my blog and Genco Peptides my small biz

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        • #64
          Originally posted by ryanmercer View Post
          Desert makes for easy free 'air conditioning' though by building partially underground with earthen materials and tires. You use constant ground temperature for cooling and sun for adding heat to the structure for when the temp drops off at night... sadly, not good for growing stuff haha.
          That assumes you can dig into the caliche. I've literally gardened with a jackhammer before.

          But if you have the money to do it, it really does work. There is a community out here with more than its share of celebrities and business moguls. You know, one of those places where they don't allow For Sale signs because, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. They accidentally posted one once, standard size for that area, and it was $8 million. Anyway, the normal size is around 12,000 sq feet, and about 2/3 of that is dug into the side of a mountain with just the first story fully above ground, and the residents tell me it really makes a huge difference. The only problem is that it takes some big bucks to dig into the caliche. Obviously, these people have it.
          Durp.

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          • #65
            I think my post from before disappeared, so let me try again.

            Heat doesn't have to be (nor should it be) all wood. The earth is about 55 degree F, down under the frost line. Lay some PVC down in the yard, and have it connect to the house, use a muffin fan to rotate the air through. In the summer you have air conditioning. In the winter, 55 is a lot warmer than the 17 degrees that we get for a week or two this time of year. Our summers are regularly about 95-105. I only run the AC a few days a year because I hate AC, and I don't need it. I open the windows at night, put in a fan if needed to draw the air through, and let it get cool. In the morning, I close the windows, and the curtains. I get the kids to close the doors when they go out, to keep the cool in.

            Want warmer, how about make a compost heap, (to specific sizes) and run either pex pipe or more PVC through it. Connect the water pipe to your hot water heater and use it for floor based heating. Or, hook it up to the PVC with a muffin fan, and you have air based heat. Compost piles can get up to steaming, so you should get a fair amount of heat. If we stay in our house for a while longer, we plan on doing this. Yes, there are periods of work, but nothing that big. And the compost? Get a hold of the company that trims the trees for the electric company. They love to have a place to dump the chipped wood for free, and that is what makes the bulk of the compost.

            Animals do require care. But if you do a lot of research and are careful you can minimize losses, expended energy and impact on the land. Read the book "Everything I Want to do is Illegal." (Great information on how to rotate animals to minimize impact on the land.) Learn about Livestock Guard Dogs. Learn how to build an effective night time shelter for your animals. Learn how to make hay, and how to store it. If you know how to do things right the first time, you save yourself a lot of time, effort and money. If you don't know what you are doing you end up with a dog that is a half breed that doesn't know if it should herd your flock or protect it. You will lose animals to predators. You will lose animals because they got sick and you didn't know what to do. But reading up first can help immensely.

            Life providing for yourself doesn't have to be drudge all day every day. And really folk, it is very enjoyable and rewarding for people who want to do it. Just like any job, if you hate it, you shouldn't be doing it. If you love it, it is great. Ask my kids - they love putting up hay, harvesting food from the garden, getting in the eggs and yes caring for all those ducks and geese - even mucking things out.

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            • #66
              CCL: you haven't been doing this long enough, because you still sound all happy and smug about how if you do it just right, everything will work. It won't. Mother Nature is a bitch, and she delights in raining shit upon the parade of people who get all smug and happy and superior. LGD's? Yeah, cool. Except that there is zip guarantee that you have a good one until it goes bad, and even then you've spent another what? $700 was the minimum price I was quoted for a Maremma pup.

              Those kids of yours won't always want to help. Animals will get sick in ways you CAN'T help, and always when no-one else is there.

              I did it for years. I liked it. I'd probably do it again, if I had sufficiently like-minded people: gods know I've got the skills, if not the desire at the moment. However, I like my AC. I like my 75 degrees in the winter house. And I really, really like not chasing 7 300-lb hogs around the front yard at balls-thirty in the rain because my damn fence charger shorted out.

              Oh and making hay? First and foremost, you need rain. And then you don't need rain. The two need to happen in something resembling a predictable order. And your haybine needs to work, and the square baler needs to not jam, and the tractor needs to start.......you are cutting it by hand? Huh? There is a reason that there used to be a market for casual labor. It was needed. There was always something to do.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by Him View Post
                It is easy to romanticize, but you've got to remember at the same time that different people have different desires in life. When I lived in SoCal I was far more likely to go out to the Anza Borrego desert and spend a day photographing nature than go to a jazz club.
                First of all I agree with Rita that Vegas is a place that you couldn't pay me enough to live in. And, no, Crabbcakes, you can't see the stars much here because of the marine moisture in the air most nights if you live near the beaches.

                The thing about being an urban SoCal Grokelle is that I can go to a jazz club AND go out to the Borrego dessert to hike and watch the stars at night. All in the same weekend.

                Yes, it all does come down to personal preferences. I have spent some long stretches of time in a very remote area in Mexico where I was living totally off the grid, there was no grid to be off of. I survived hurricanes, rattlesnake infestations and such. Good stories to tell in hindsight but not much fun while they are actually happening.

                I feel like at this point in my life I want things to be comfortable and convenient in the place that I live. Now I will still seek out recreation that is not safe and comfy like climbing mountains but that is different from where I wake up every day.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                  The thing about being an urban SoCal Grokelle is that I can go to a jazz club AND go out to the Borrego dessert to hike and watch the stars at night. All in the same weekend.
                  Yep. One of the clichés I miss most, having left SoCal, is going from the mountains to the beach on the same day. I say cliché but it was true.

                  I was in my inept way trying to make the general case that our perception of whether an experience is good or bad has more to do with us than the experience. It sounds like fuzzy had a bad experience. Does that mean everyone, put in the same situation, would consider the experience bad? No. The issue is fit, not quality. A natural, but not especially correct, tendency is to project our own fit onto others. To say, "I hated this so everyone will," or, "I love this so everyone will." People like you will. I run into this all the time because, well, a whole bunch of what most people like seems pretty horrific to me, and vice versa. That leaves me with two choices: either everyone but me is an idiot, or what people are responding to isn't "good" vs "bad", but "fits" vs "doesn't fit."

                  The upshot: personal experience based advice ("I tried it, I didn't like it, you shouldn't do it") can be very misleading if given by people with different "fit", and if you become emotionally invested in an idea without really knowing how its expression fits you, you can end up disappointed. That's true whether the idea is marriage, living in a shack in the woods, or moving to Paris. I would normally consider it too obvious to state explicitly, but in this thread we have people talking in emotionally-invested terms about things they have never tried and we have people giving personal experience based advice with the assumption that if they didn't enjoy a thing, nobody would. So I'm stating the obvious.

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by CrazyCatLady View Post
                    I think my post from before disappeared, so let me try again.

                    Heat doesn't have to be (nor should it be) all wood. The earth is about 55 degree F, down under the frost line. Lay some PVC down in the yard, and have it connect to the house, use a muffin fan to rotate the air through. In the summer you have air conditioning. In the winter, 55 is a lot warmer than the 17 degrees that we get for a week or two this time of year. Our summers are regularly about 95-105. I only run the AC a few days a year because I hate AC, and I don't need it. I open the windows at night, put in a fan if needed to draw the air through, and let it get cool. In the morning, I close the windows, and the curtains. I get the kids to close the doors when they go out, to keep the cool in..
                    And not only does that work, but the tech is at least 5k years old heh as the Greeks were doing it in some areas.
                    -Ryan Mercer my blog and Genco Peptides my small biz

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Paleobird View Post
                      The thing about being an urban SoCal Grokelle is that I can go to a jazz club AND go out to the Borrego dessert to hike and watch the stars at night. All in the same weekend.
                      Originally posted by Him View Post
                      Yep. One of the clichés I miss most, having left SoCal, is going from the mountains to the beach on the same day. I say cliché but it was true.
                      Though I'm still bucking for somewhere outside the city, I grew up in SoCal, and I remember the beach being 15 minutes away and the mountains being 45 minutes max. You also had both culture and (relatively) middle of nowhere hickdom within driving distance of each other. That was pretty cool.

                      Unfortunately, my personal beliefs and current California regulations don't see eye to eye, so I'll just keep looking and remain misty-eyed when I think about my childhood.
                      Durp.

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                      • #71
                        Yeah, the biggest problem with California is that the polities are bigger than the communities. So the 20-million or so that live in the LA/OC/SD region dominate the legislature that also serves Alpine County (population about 1100) even though they are hundreds of miles apart and have totally different concerns. I would say the counties should all secede from the state but you have exactly the same problem in San Bernardino county for example - the people of the city of San Bernardino outnumber the residents of the Mojave Desert/rest of the county, meaning that everyone living in Baker must follow county code set 130+ miles and a whole different climate/culture away.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by fuzzylogic View Post
                          CCL: you haven't been doing this long enough, because you still sound all happy and smug about how if you do it just right, everything will work. It won't. Mother Nature is a bitch, and she delights in raining shit upon the parade of people who get all smug and happy and superior. LGD's? Yeah, cool. Except that there is zip guarantee that you have a good one until it goes bad, and even then you've spent another what? $700 was the minimum price I was quoted for a Maremma pup.

                          Those kids of yours won't always want to help. Animals will get sick in ways you CAN'T help, and always when no-one else is there.

                          I did it for years. I liked it. I'd probably do it again, if I had sufficiently like-minded people: gods know I've got the skills, if not the desire at the moment. However, I like my AC. I like my 75 degrees in the winter house. And I really, really like not chasing 7 300-lb hogs around the front yard at balls-thirty in the rain because my damn fence charger shorted out.

                          Oh and making hay? First and foremost, you need rain. And then you don't need rain. The two need to happen in something resembling a predictable order. And your haybine needs to work, and the square baler needs to not jam, and the tractor needs to start.......you are cutting it by hand? Huh? There is a reason that there used to be a market for casual labor. It was needed. There was always something to do.
                          Well, not sure how long is long enough. Been living parts of this for near 43 years now. I will say that we have not gone totally back to the land, as such, but we sure do a lot more than most other people. In my years I have lived in multiple houses heated with wood. Only. Woods stoves to make Thanksgiving dinner when the electric stove craps out again (always on a holiday.) My husband grew up on a farm, and yes, he had those pigs. Electric that goes out with every storm. He put himself through college on the corn and beans he grew.

                          No, we don't have a baler. We have tractors that my husband knows how to maintain. Which he is teaching the kids and I. We have a hay rake, and a wagon. We go out and after it dries and fork it onto the wagon the old fashion way, then we fork it into the shed. Yes, we have something of a charmed life when it comes to rain. We live in a desert, and if it weren't for the irrigation that we pay for if we use or don't, we wouldn't have the nice pasture that we have. Having lived back east, I do know that rain is an issue - kids made good money when I was young helping to get up the bales.

                          I guess the fact that we live in this area known for farming, we got our first dog, an Akbash/Akita mix for free, and the second, a Pyre/Maremma for $150. Had I not been afraid that the dog would just go home, I could have gotten another proven adult dog from my neighbor who does rescues. But her dogs see my dogs across the road, I wasn't convinced it would work, so I put out the money. No, we did not get the dogs the exact second we thought we wanted them. We did months of searching on Craig's List and had to travel a couple of hours to get them. Both were puppies, and yes I made a few mistakes with the first as he was the first dog I had. But I sure did a lot better than the people who abandoned or had their dogs taken from them that my neighbor gets. And, we read up on LSGD before we got them so that we had some idea of what to expect.

                          Yup, animals do get sick. But at least I can look up the most common illnesses ahead of time and have stuff on hand to help them. Even my kids know that - as part of taking their birds to the 4-H fair they have to bring a kit of medicines and ointments in case stuff happens. (Yes, it did, too. The goose tore her toenail off on my daughter's sleeve right before the auction. The bird was dripping blood, she had it all over her white shirt, she managed to hide it. Goose got cauterized later, because the public doesn't want to see blood on the animals at fair. Buyer got a different goose that wasn't limping.) And yes, we have had animals die. Even a vet can't always prevent that.

                          It is fine that you like your AC. Never said you couldn't. My husband likes AC too - when it is too hot. We just manage to keep it so that is not too hot. Just like I learned from my mother, who learned from her mother...and you get the point. A lot of the stuff we use today like AC and heat, can be done in other ways if people try. You don't want to try, hey, that is fine. Pay more for your electric. For me it comes down to being frugal, and I refuse to pay more.

                          Yep, some day the kids will move on. Then they won't be around to help. And I won't need as big of a garden as they won't be here to eat it. And my clothes line can be smaller and I will only need to do laundry once a week.

                          But the OP wanted to know what to do. Lots of people are shooting him down. But if he is so motivated to try, by golly, I will help him out in what ever ways I can. And I will help you out too, if you want. If you live on the west side of the Rockies, search the Yakima WA Craig's List for livestock guard dogs. Also look up the "Giant Nickle" online - both of these were how we got our dogs. Our dogs came from inside or near the Yakima Reservation, within a country block of each other.

                          No, things are not always rosey. But they are not always doom and gloom either. That is the point I am trying to make. Not all diets fit all people. Some people seem to do okay on high carb. Here, we know we don't. Not everyone can go back to nature, nor do they want to. That is fine. People should do what makes them happy, not shoot others down completely when it doesn't match conventional wisdom.

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Him View Post
                            So the 20-million or so that live in the LA/OC/SD region dominate the legislature that also serves Alpine County (population about 1100) even though they are hundreds of miles apart and have totally different concerns.
                            That's how things are in Nevada, too. Clark County (where Vegas is located) has a population of about 2 million. The population of the entire state is less than 3 million, so guess who makes the decisons... the almost completely urban/suburban residents of the greater metropolitan Las Vegas area.

                            Vegas also covers only 135 square miles of a 110,000 square mile state, so 1/10th of 1% as far as area goes. But it has all of the population, so they control how it works for everyone, even though most have no clue how things work outside the city. Thankfully, Nevada is less invasive as far as personal liberty goes, though we have become more "Californized" as people bailed from the environment there and then just recreated it here. Freedon is a bit scary for some.

                            I do see a lot of backlash to this trend, though. We have a long history of individualism and distrust of "the system", especially in the outlying areas. And a well-armed populace, if it came down to it.
                            Durp.

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                            • #74
                              Knifegill, your original post was too vague to suggest what actions you want to take, or even if you want to take any actions at all, or if you're just venting against The System. At some point you'll have to crystallize your nebulous dissatisfaction into a list of the specific list of the things that are REALLY bothering you, and a list of action items.

                              This thread seems to think that your only choices are a life of power lunches and EZpasses and iGadgetry, or a life of digging your own well and hacking the logs for your own cabin. Not true. There are dozens of levels of in-between, and dozens of ways to withdraw from The System gradually. And there are dozens of books for every level.
                              5'0" female, 45 years old. Started Primal October 31, 2011, at a skinny fat 111.5 lbs. Low weight: 99.5 lb on a fast. Gained back to 115(!) on SAD chocolate, potato chips, and stress. Currently 111.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by oxide View Post
                                Knifegill, your original post was too vague to suggest what actions you want to take, or even if you want to take any actions at all, or if you're just venting against The System. At some point you'll have to crystallize your nebulous dissatisfaction into a list of the specific list of the things that are REALLY bothering you, and a list of action items.

                                This thread seems to think that your only choices are a life of power lunches and EZpasses and iGadgetry, or a life of digging your own well and hacking the logs for your own cabin. Not true. There are dozens of levels of in-between, and dozens of ways to withdraw from The System gradually. And there are dozens of books for every level.
                                Agree. That's what I'm working on right now. I can't escape from the city as yet (The Boyfriend needs a good-sized population to make a living) but that doesn't mean I have to have a corporate job. If I have thing my way, I'll be outdoors and playing with dogs all day. Pay may not be great, but I'm cheap and The Boyfriend is good and sqeaky with money anyway.
                                Durp.

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