This is the story of our exploration of the human condition... continuing the adventures in our BattleWagons until something great happens or we decide it's a lost cause. Est. 2008

Friday, October 31, 2014

ARTWORK FRIDAY- The Book of Genesis...

I'm working on a hobby project to re-write and tie together all of the major spiritual texts of the world to serve as an appendix to a sort of sci-fi novel.  Long story short, here's the very first look at the (I'm sure to be plenty revised) project that may take me YEARS to finish...

In the beginning, we were told, God created the heaven and the earth. We were told the earth was a dark, formless waste, and that the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.  Then we were told about everything else God made, everything from food and water to stars in the night sky to dry land, light and day, and there was even a blessing in to have as much sex as we could muster.  God wanted us to live in bliss.
We already had everything we needed.  We had a fertile planet, not too close to the sun, abundantly rich in oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon.  We had intelligence.  We had figured out how to farm, how to have our food much easier than hunting for it.  We were set.  So when the Anakim told us 4,000 years ago that all of this was God’s creation, to enjoy it, to be prosperous, you would think we would have simply said “thank you”.
            The Anakim had arrived and terraformed of the most barren and uninhabited land on this foreign planet.  Not much was known about us from their perspective. The third planet in a system of 8 regular planets, typical young star, ripe for life with intelligent inhabitants, but those inhabitants hadn’t yet understood their place in the universe.  They didn’t know their world was one among many.  They still believed in Gods and other superstitions.
            This made the Anakim’s arrival that much more dramatic.  As any futuristic happenstance is viewed as magic from the previous generation, the arrival of the [ALIEN A] was an act of God.  Their ship, bright and hot as the sun from its journey through the atmosphere, slowly landed and transformed the land around it, a procedure that takes, well, about 145 hours or six days.  They prefer to terraform the environment around their ship before meeting the locals as kind of a goodwill gesture.  It’s their way of saying “we mean you no harm.  In fact, look at this beautiful piece of your planet we’ve created for you.”
            Originally, the seventh day was the First Day, the day the Anakim made their first contact with us.  We took it as a blessing that something so magnificent could be interested in us.  It must have been God, yes?  I mean, it seemed like every plant on every field was growing.  It had rained for the first time in years.  (This was the middle of the desert.)  One could understand how a hunter-gatherer with no ability to even fathom creatures from other worlds could feel like he had a whole new life given to him, a soul, previously denied him by his too-simple existence.
            The ancient word for this place where the Anakim originally landed was called Itl-Eden, or as it was popularly simplified over the centuries, Eden.  In this place, in their grandest symbol of peace and friendship, they created a spectacularly bountiful garden, overflowing with fruits and vegetables, lush green trees, no predators.  It was a place for early humans to live and have the opportunity to think more, to evolve as a species.
            Part of their terraforming created a lake in the center of the development area, mined from a nearby aquifer.  Enough water sprang from the lake that four rivers left Eden, flowing through different lands, and gaining different names.  The Pison flows through the entirety of Havilah, where gold, bdellium, and onyx are mined for trade.  The Gihon, similarly, runs the entire length of Ethiopia.  The Hiddekel cuts through the east of Assyria.  The fourth river, of course, was the Euphrates.
            To keep our early ancestors safe, the Anakim sent a guardian to live amongst the humans.  They tried their best to replicate the appearance of humans, but they usually lived for centuries, sometimes millennia.  Even in human disguise, they still lived for hundreds of years.  The first one they sent was named Ahdam.
            To say Ahdam was a guardian would be selling him far too short.  Ahdam was the Anakim’s equivalent to a highly trained survivalist and goodwill ambassador of sorts.  They sent him with every tool he could need to win over the locals.  This garden, of course, was a great start.  The second phase of the terraforming project creates more complex organisms from the host planet.  Ahdam was crucial in this process, spending time learning about the native flora and fauna over his stay on Earth.
            One night, while Ahdam was sleeping, the Anakim sent another guardian to Earth.  She carried a message from her commanders for Ahdam.  She handed him what looked like a twig or a branch.  When he grabbed it, an image projected in a faint blue light from all of the little tips of wood.
            Ahdam, this mission just got much more dangerous.  The Baalists have found this planet.  We’ve intercepted several reports that they may already have spies there.  The orchard has an emergency distress beacon.  It’s wired into the red apple tree.  If you sense anything out of the ordinary, take a bite from an apple from the tree. Your messenger is Eive, and she will be your partner for the remainder of the mission.  It may take a few revolutions in this sun’s vortex before you see any signs of a Baalist invasion, so your mission in the meantime is to try to learn as much about the local species as possible.  Observe their customs and traditions, and emulate as much as you can.  Enjoy this opportunity to learn about a group of aliens nobody else has ever seen.
            The transmission ended, and the tips of the branches all simultaneously ignited into tiny, candle-like flames.  Ahdam and Eive looked at each other and smiled.  They realized they were both naked. (The Anakims are an advanced warm-blooded species, able to regulate their temperatures in much warmer and colder environments than humans.  They were also more emotionally mature.  Thus, they had no need for clothes.  They turned to face the humans that had already gathered to see what the spectacle was.  They continued to smile.  This was science.  This was forming bonds with an alien species.  And even though local human customs of the time demanded they wear clothes, they were not ashamed or embarrassed.  They just laughed it off, grabbed a few nearby fig leaves, and got to work building a habitat like another couple of the native hunter/gatherers who had shown up to investigate all of the commotion.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WEDNESDAY NO SKILLS: I don't work in signs anymore

Weird, but I'd been making signs for almost twelve years. Start to finish, I've been in the trenches, designing, creating, constructing, and installing everything from businesses cards to billboards to vehicle wraps, banners, cop cars... so many great experiences, and so many defeats.

The scene here in Bozeman is lack luster. My first employer here was corrupt. They wanted a production manager, but they weren't expecting a competent one. I found that they weren't paying one of my guys for OT. Didn't last a week after that.

The second place I worked was more honest, but just horrible at everything. One guy owned the place with his wife. They were nice enough, but I was treated like I had no experience. I hated it.

So now, my skill set is put on the shelf, and I'm working overnight at a teenager's group home. I'm the security/data entry guy. Four nights a week. And... I kinda like it. Sigh...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TUESDAY UPDATE: The BattleTrailer Strikes!

So here we are, looking the future in the hairy eyeball. We bought our trailer today, or future home that will bring us (hopefully) closer to our dreams. It's a 1971 Road Runner trailer, beautiful and old, and it'll be our house. We're hoping to move in after Thanksgiving. We'll keep you all posted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TUESDAY UPDATE: New Job, New Goals

I started an overnight job at a group home for teens.  We have eight kids in the house, coming from all over the state of Montana.  My job is to make sure they don't sneak out, hurt themselves or each other, and stuff like that through the night.  In the morning, I get them up, make sure they've taken their meds, etc.  I may even make them breakfast one of these mornings, just because I can.  ;-)

Talking about goals, the Hetero Life Mate and I have decided to return to the roots of the BattleWagon Chronicles.  We're looking for a trailer that we can pull with our Suburban and park somewhere instead of paying as much rent for this apartment we're in.  I've talked to a guy here in Bozeman who has an organic farm and orchard, and we may be able to park the trailer there relatively inexpensively in exchange for some work on the farm.  Bonus points for fresh, organic food if that's the route we go.  Other options include renting a spot at a long term campground/RV park like a KOA.
First thing is first, though... we need to find a trailer.  We're looking for something in the 20-30 foot range.  We'd prefer a bumper-pull trailer, but we'd settle for a motorhome.  As long as it has a somewhat functional bathroom, kitchen, furnace, a bed big enough for the HLM and me (and the Baby on and off), and a separate bunk or bed for Baby and/or Little Man, we'll jump on it.

It's the time to shed the bondage of debts and paycheck-to-paycheck living.  Like so many lower-middle class Americans, we make too much money to qualify for most assistance, but not nearly enough to survive.  Society wants us to buy into this by being lemmings, pushing the idea that we must live in a nice apartment or house that we really can't afford.  Breaking these bonds are how we thrive.  We're going to live in a trailer.  We're going to have it paid for in three-months rent.  We're going to own a house, and we're going to have the ability to take it wherever we please. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WEDNESDAY SKILLS: "Resume Work" or "The Seach Continues"

I've been in search of some better work opportunities, so I figured I'd share some of the resumes I've built to get in the spirit of things.  If you like what you see, let me know, and I'll make you one, too.
This one was my first attempt at something creative.  It's not really the best work in retrospect, but it did get me my favorite job, in Alaska.  I've since updated it.  I haven't sent it out anywhere, but I always keep it up to date.  

This is actually a copy of a resume that I built for my (hopefully future) mother-in-law.  She wanted something simple, concise, elegant, but not fancy.

This one I built to come to Bozeman.  On my professional version, it has horizontal lines across the top referencing my salary history.  As it's specific to sign-making, it's usually accompanied by a short portfolio and sheet of references, both of which were made in this same style.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Here I am, on the heels of the third job I've had in Bozeman since we moved here in February. Three jobs in six months. That's a record for me.  I never thought I'd have to step so quickly backwards and downwards to make ends meet, and still, here I am with nothing except my family, my partner, the kids, and a clean house. It has to be clean, after all. What else am I going to do with my time?

Well, maybe spend this time, really spend it, with my kids. They're beautiful. The boy is 4, and he's bright, energetic, and curious. He loves Iron Man, and he LOVES his baby sister.

The girl is 6 months here in a week or so. She's beautiful. Red hair and a smile that she busts out as if she's just reminding you that life is worth living. Big, curious blue eyes, and the beginnings of a chuckle that is as contagious as it is disarming.

I guess my point in celebrating these kids is that there is a pretty significant low in my head, a low that feels like it's drowning in a fog of failure, defeat, ineptitude, and payments for decisions made years ago. Still, in this fog, occasionally I see another face, and these faces are representative of unending love. I am so thankful.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WEDNESDAY SKILLS: Too busy to post regularly...

 I haven't really had the opportunity to create much at work, so I'm just posting a couple of pictures of some sand-blasted signs in progress.  The ones pictured above are for a local dentist.  At this stage, the two on the left are blasted out.  The rubber that prevents the sand from blowing through is still on the borders, and the inside has been painted.  The sign on the right was blown out all the way to the edge, and has been stained.
 This sign was blasted out of foam.  The background was chiseled by hand to give it the effect of being blasted from wood.  The cherries and the leaf were also carved out to look a little more three-dimensionally realistic.  The entire sign was spray painted a beige color as a first coat.  I've since painted the border a dark brown, the letters maroon, and the cherry, well, cherry-colored.

That's about it for now.  As I said, way too busy, but I haven't forgotten about the blog!  I'll post more when I get a hot minute!