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at the Andiamoi cafe in Sprinfield, IL after my cousin Justin's wedding. It is 8:30 in the morning, and I am excited to get to go on a tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright home in about an hour. This cafe is nice, my dad and I stopped in yesterday to help me curb my needs for a decent cup of coffee - after being on the road and at a hotel for a couple days with no decent cups anywhere nearby - we decided to stop in this place - located katy corner to the old capitol of Illinois... pretty nice! good coffee, and a few beers on tap - smaller place with nice glass and wood display cases, brick walls and nice tiled floors, oh! and friendly staff. nothing spectacular i guess, but a cozy multi-use place with charm. i guess Im writing this as less of a memoir or review and more for honing my writing skills, which have been severely lacking the last, oh.. dozen years! I know I have a certain style of writing, and that if i can hone it up - might actually be worth something to somebody! At least to my friends and family, whom i could start writing again. It feels like my concept and funtionality within time constraints have weakened to an abstract reality or something - i never get anything done simply because there is no limit of time ever for anything. I can do things any time, or finish them whenever. I need to start a sort of regimine of discipline for both body and mind - so that a schedule may start forming out of certain habits - i.e. meditation and stretching in the morning, yoga and dancing at night - weekly sketching excersizes, and maybe even daily writing. this in conjunction with chores and work, should frame up my time nicely - and may end up just being a jumbled mess, but i will try to make it work for me. So much stuff and so many different things to do all the time! It's at once exciting and tiresome - making full time hours seem like much more, and at the same time - feeling like less because everything is enjoyable. Im hoping to become inspired by both the Frank Lloyd Wright house and by the old river town of Quincy, which I will be visiting later today. I should find something by way of a gift for Margaret too! can't forget that. A lincoln mug or something?? well this is turning into more of a free writing excersize - which is OK too i suppose - get those thoughts out of my mind! The wedding was interesting because there were lots of people on Mary's side, and not so much on our side - and i sort of realized just how strange my family is! or at least awkward... while everyone else was mingling and dancing, my family stuck to one table and made small talk more or less and played with the little glass beads that were all over the table as a decoration! we were stacking them, launching them with spoons to try and get them in to the pitcher of water, and this is my aunts and uncles! very bizarre but also kind of neat - i bet the new inlaws were like - what the fuck!? A certain John came and sat with us and we talked about Chicago for a while - i could see him looking out of the corner of his eyes at the stacking and playing of the glass beads. and then finally after the Nelson clan had enough to drink - we were able to make it to the dance floor for a few 'numbers'. I danced with Jeanne the chicken dance, and took Launie by the hand up there to dance to 'you make me wanna shout' and we all danced like lunatics - while the Gaznaziak clan all knew how to dance. We can't follow directions - we are FREE and wild! The western wind blows through our hair (and minds!) a web of one's own - imagine an internet that is dominated by self expression on all levels. a place where each page looked wildly different, adhering to no restricting design codes or conduct, and people were free to publish anything and everything they felt was important to them. like minded people would naturally bond with others and communities would form organically, much like people do in real life. this is a generalization of the way things were - more or less in the 1990s and early 00s before Friendster and then Facebook came along and changed the face of the internet forever. before what I like to call 'The Mononet'. The internet today is extremely convenient. It is a place where you can share photos, communicate ideas, stories, articles, and so much more instantly without any trouble or technical know-how. It has also helped movements such as MeToo, BlackLivesMatter, and Occupy Wall Street gain incredible momentum that would have - in the past - most likely been contained to a region or a smaller group. You know that. It's great. Social media with all its baggage is a boon to connectivity, planning, and keeping up with old friends. but good god the modern mainstream internet is so damn boooorinnnng. The streamlined design of websites, paired with the mono-style of facebook, other social media sites and blogs have really created a place where things are certainly stagnant - at least compared to what things could be - . The days of the grotesque internet are over and i really miss it. Back in the 90s and early 2000's nobody had facebook or myspace or even friendster and certainly nobody had a blog. mayyybe they were on makeoutclub but if you wanted to have a spot on the 'information superhighway' you had to make your own website. its easy and fun and you can make one right now in no time and it will be unique and cool. There was at one point - website hosting services like Geocities, Angelfire, and ------. Back in 1997 I had a website that listed all the Omaha bands. I was living in Seattle and was missing Omaha a bunch so I made a on page website that was basically a list of bands, some with links to their own sites if they had one. It was not pretty. I spent 30 minutes learning some basic html. I don't know if CSS was even a thing yet. I had a goofy background picture of a bunch of coffee beans. There was a counter at the bottom and links to a whole buch of other websites that were also made by people who had no idea what they were doing. The whole point was that nobody knew what they were doing and it was fun and exciting! There is a website host that I've been leading up to talking about and its called Neocities, a play on the old Geocities host. On Neocites, anyone can make their own hosted website for free - using basic HTML and CSS (they have guides for teaching you how to do the basics) and a decent amount of storage to build up a substantial place on the web for yourself. In fact, their goal happens to match up with my mine here at GoodNature Guide, reading: "Our goal: to enable you to harness the creativity, beauty, and power of creating your own web site. To rebuild the web we lost to automation and monotony, and make it fun again.." you can see this super simple one i made just now that i'll use to feature poetry. and all these cool websites here, here and here. Using Neocities in combination with the 'newish' release of CSS grid, allows anyone to quickly make a responsive and nice looking website in minutes. Interested? Simply set up a Neocities account HERE. Then check out the basics of HTML and CSS HERE (or on Neocities) And then learn about CSS grid if you want to HERE, or just copy and past the CSS from HERE to give you a good responsive 'Holy Grail' template that works wonderfully. Then have fun and share your page in the comments! I'd love to see what everyone makes! The Internet doesn't have to be so streamlined. It can be messy and busy and unfiltered by the design police making sure everything is being done with 'best practice' in mind. I realize that the medium isnt as important as the message, but if the medium can be anything you can think of - the message can be a part of the medium! the point im trying to make is that while standardization is probably pretty important when it comes to our major websites and insitutions, but when it comes to personal expression - wouldn't it be way cooler if we all had personal sites that we all shared with each other? We could use social media to let each other know when we update our sites, and bring self expression back onto the web! lexington- made salami and havarti sandwiches from the local grocer deli - had a picnic in front of the courthouse/police station, walked around the block. north platte- stopped and walked the town center, intrigued by the Pawnee Hotel and the theater across the street. went into Brown's shoes and remarked that every guy who works at Brown's shoes is kind of the same. drove out to Bufallo Bills Ranch and snooped around the property. it was closed for the season. ogallala- dropped off ducks at the last ranch before coming into town. awesome ranchers who are really into good food - Laura and Matt. went to the gem museum in town and saw an amazing collection of gems, petrified wood, arrowheads, and neat works of art made with shards of petrified wood which looked like matchstick art. very cool. stopped at the little used bookstore in town and picked up 'catch 22' which i hope i will read someday. cheyenne- stopped in for a beer at Freedom's Edge brewery in downtown. great beer, and a great tap room. laramie- arrived at my cousins house around 9 or 10, patrick and kristie were at the football game, Jeanne and Jim were watching the game on the TV. we joined them and waited for P&K to get home. we had a beer and chatted for a while before heading to bed. in the morning, M and i woke up way too early. everyone was asleep - it was sunday. we drove downtown and walked around laramie. stopped into night heron books - a coffeeshop, bookstore open at 7 every day. nice place, picked up 'dune' which i hope i will read someday. walked down the alley to Coal Creek Coffee, and had an excellent double latte in an 8oz cup. lovely cafe, really perfect. they had a cool espresso machine and a really nice atmosphere. back at P&Ks we had breakfast which P cooked - a version of grandpas cabin cakes, which were really nice.. K even made her own syrup which her dad taught her to do. a good idea. bear lake- took off up hiway 30 from I80 through granger and kemmerer, up to bear lake - a place i had camped at with my dad some 10 years ago on the idaho side - it is a huge lake which is in both idaho and utah. uinta-wasatch national forest- logan- Seattle 1997. It was a party near Capitol Hill that Ginger invited me to. It was at her house and she was 28 years old, living with a few other people in their late 20's and early 30's. The theme of the party was 'kindergarten'. So there was 'chutes and ladders', coloring, and ants on a log - among other things. It was BYOB, but we were all under 21 - Louis, Chris and I. I met Louis through Garrett at work. Louis and Chris were in the Navy. I had just met Chris and we were walking up to the party from the ferry terminal. Louis was born in Brownville, Texas - right across from the border of Mexico on the very southern tip of Mexico's odd shaped rudder. He was Mexican, very charismatic and an all around lovely person. He could talk to anyone, and his eyes twinkled with the excitement of each moment. He was frustrated living in Washington, because everyone thought he was an apple picker. It was probably the first time I had ever encountered a personal case of racial profiling in real life, and it pissed me off. I knew him for about a week. He was at Hot Topic and we hung out after my shift. He bought be a gumball from one of those giant gumball machines at the mall. I didn't think any thing of it, but when we were in the parking lot by my car he went to kiss me, and i started and backed away. He looked confused and hurt - I looked surprised. He thought I was 'family' because I was friends with Garrett. He was dissapointed, and I felt kinda bad - but our friendship was established then. It lasted about a week - maybe 2, and then he was shipped out somewhere and I had not heard from him since. Chris was another story - I didn't know what to think of that guy. He was a scrappy white boy from somewhere in Washington. He was a fast talker and had stubbly blond facial hair and a sort of buzz cut. Him and Louis for friends for whatever reason, and Louis had invited him just as I had invited Louis to this girl Ginger's house. Ginger - was from Lincoln, Nebraska - where I had spent very little time though I was from Omaha - I met through a certain Greg Fling - who made a comic book in Seattle. He published a comic called G.fling, and I loved the comic, subsequently starting an email correspondence (back in the early days of internet).. .and it turns out one of his stories was about a failed date with 'ginger'. He said she was from Nebraska, and gave me her email. We chatted and decided to meet up - and she took me to the *'saturn cafe' sic and i suppose it was a date, even though i didnt think of it as one.. in my naive 18 year old brain. anyway thats another story i suppose. She had invited me to this party, and i had in tow two navy guys. Louis was the hit of the party, and just charmed everyone. Chris smoked a lot of cigarrettes and was pretty cool i guess. I remember talking to a girl who had been to burning man, i think every time since it had started and had made a book, or was going to publish a book of her photography. Lord knows what was talked about ,or what i had to say to anyone - but i do remember at some point ginger showing me her room and her Darth Vader collection - she had an odd obsession for all things Darth Vader. She gave me a couple t-shirts - one was the amazing 'piglets for peace' shirt, and the other - was for a bookstore maybe --- i forget about the other shirt - she wanted to get rid of any shirt with a logo or message on it... and she and her ex boyfriend (who had long bangs with red hair, and was in his 30s) said that id probably feel the same way in a few years. it was true. We stayed late - too late, and we hurried to make the last ferry. They were going to Bremerton, and I to Bainbridge Island. I remember it was misty and cold... must have been the winter. I took out some money at an ATM for ferry fare, and for some reason i looked away and chris (pretty sure) stole my 5 dollars (back then atms dispensed 5 dollars) that came out. he said that it probably went back into the machine, because thats what happens if you let it sit there too long. yeah. so that made me think he was even sketchier. had to get out another 5 bucks, and we hauled to the ferry building. no dice, we had missed the last ferry by about a half hour. it was cold by the water, but we huddled together, our backs against the wall of the building and tried to sleep. Chris smoking intermittently. I think i slept a little bit, cuz i remember it being morning all of a sudden with the light creeping up - us all damp and soggy, cold, hungry, and tired. the ferry took its time docking, and the left first. The last i saw of them, their heads slowly bobbing down the platform to their ship. On shore on the peninsula, I walked to the edge of town and stuck out my thumb. It was still drizzling outside and I waited for a while before someone decided to pick me up. He was a very animated character in little running shorts and a tank top. he was red headed and had a lots of body hair. he looked like he had just got done working out or something and he was listening to disco. Seattle 1997 I met both 'girlfriends' while I was in Seattle on the ferry. I put girlfriends in perenthesis, because they were both pretty short lived and we didnt really get anywhere emotionally or physically - as i was inept at anything like that, and i suppose i still am. Oh, and both were named Erin. Erin the first - looked like Maid Marian, or one of those illustrations of a pale damsel with long dark hair, wide brown eyes and twining her hair whilst looking at the moon. Upturned nose, and short brown hair - tall and lanky, but somehow refined and completely classy. She was a lesbian, and was 'giving me a shot' in seeing if she could go for a guy after all. She was on the ferry sitting next to this other girl I had met at the very first party I went to in my life - just a week or two earlier. i sat down across from them and we really hit it off, I called the girl i knew and asked about Erin - who said she was a lesbian, but did mention me and thought i was nice. she gave me her number. or i gave her mine - either way it doesnt matter. we made a date and were to meet at some crazy complex in downtown seattle which was like a lazer tag place, but also a huge arcade and indoor game place - that i could not find for the life of me. and back then there were no cell phones or anything - i had to give up trying to find it - and went to a little cafe called the speakeasy - it was halloween and there was a band all dressed like zombie hillbillies and they were playing old timey jug band stle music - but with only 1 jug or so. Few places on earth can be considered a free space. There are neutral zones in conflicts, other places like national land require entry fees at times. the public lands, BLM land, National Forest. All collectively ours. Saratoga Hot Springs is a place unlike any other. It sits mere 20 feet away from the winding and crisp North Platte River, and at times there had been over a hundred hot springs found among the banks on either side of the small river. At night the steaming air can be seen with the moonlight. This is the town where the trout jumps in the street. Before the 1830s, few if any white people had seen the hot springs. It was considered a place of healing and a neutral space among much contested hunting grounds in the North Platte Valley. Indian guides would not lead the hunters, explorers, and trappers here - as a sort of unwritten law among the various tribes in the region. It was truly a special place, and was used to heal people by soaking in the very hot pools and then swimming in the very cold river. It was known as "Big Medicine" and we can probably guess that it had been used by plains indians for thousands of years. By the late 1830s, trappers and mountain men had begun sharing the waters with the tribes as well, and it wasn't too long before some enterprising capitalist found the place and purchased the land. Cadwell, a Civil War veteran from Elmina, New York had happened across the spring and built a bath house on the site, featuring two wooden tubs with a horse powered pumping station. ** around this time (perhaps shortly before the purchase of the land?) an indian runner was sent to view the hot springs to see if it carried evil spirits (presumably now that the whites where using it) The runner reported that teh springs boiled and bubbled more than normal and that it made a terrible groaning sound. This kept the tribes away from the spring, which was only re-inforced by the onset of smallpox in the region. Indians who would try and heal in the waters would die anyway, and so the springs were avoided altogether and a new name was bestowed upon the waters as 'Bad Medicine' This is a tragic and terrible story for anyone visiting the springs today, but I think it is something to keep in mind as we bask in the benefits and The story goes that when the town was incorporated, it was decided to keep the springs truly neutral, and for them to remain free and open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day to anyone who wished to visit.