Friday, August 30, 2013

I finished another chapter of my book: Romancing the Vasilopita

Well, I've never tried to sell a book before. Something I have learned is that books are usually sold before they are written.  So, even though I haven't finished the whole thing, I have begun sending proposals to agents.

I put the first chapter on here a few months ago.  Here is the 16th.  I. don't think I'll put the whole book on here, though.  I hope to sell it and make some money.

Well, here is chapter 16 which I just finished today.

Chapter 16: 

The Eighth Day of Christmas: Romancing the Vasilopita

In which the oldest Wilcox son learns to make vasilopita, and finds a girlfriend he didn't know he was looking for.  Recipe for vasilopita and instructions for playing the coin game included.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dropping out. Going off-grid. Disappearing. Is it an option?

Well, I still have no job.  I am on my 4th address since I moved out of my ex-wife's house a few weeks ago.  I do not get enough money in unemployment insurance to pay my student loans, my phone, child support, and my car each month. A few days ago I got a letter from the IRS.  I haven't opened it.  What will they do, put me in Club Fed?  That might be a step up for me at this point.

Civilization isn't really turning out too well for me.  I'm thinking about going off into the woods.  Of course, it will be against the law. One isn't allowed to live in national forests.  But I seem to be running out of options.  I don't want to be supported by other people.

A big concern is my sons.  But what good am I to them now?   I don't see them but a few hours a week.  I have become Disneyland Dad but without the money to even take them to Disneyland.

If I do this I will have to be concerned about bears, exposure, and being found by rangers.

Summer is almost over and I think its going to be a hard winter.  I probably shouldn't try it before next spring.  But by then it might be too late.

So, I have done a quick inventory of what I have that can help me survive in the woods:

Water gathering and purifying
Field sanitation
Soap making (It is the easiest thing.  Sometimes, I wonder why I ever buy it.)
Outdoor cooking
Survival food gathering  (I took a 1 week course in the army, but I need to brush up.  About all I remember is how to prevent scurvy.)

Equipment and Supplies
1- Trailhead-6 tent
1- Army cot
1- wind-up rechargeable AM/FM/Shortwave radio receiver
1- axe
1- wind up electric lantern
1- Leatherman super tool
1 - double barrel shotgun, 12-ga
1 - pump action shotgun, 12-ga
100 - #8 and #6 bird shot cartridges
40 - #00 buck shot cartridges
1- shotgun cleaning kit
1-  6lb sledge hammer
1- fishing pole with assorted hooks, lures, and other tackle
1- cast iron grill, with fork and spatula
1-one cast iron skillet (it was a wedding present from my grandmother to my mother)
1- .380 semi-auto pistol, with about 50 cartridges
1- pistol cleaning kit
1- hunting knife
1- fishing knife
1- whet stone
1- magnesium fire starter
2- sturdy trousers
3- packets of cabbage seeds
1- packet of radish seeds
1- packet of fennel seeds
1 - good coat
1 - water proof bag
1 - 100 square foot waterproof tarp
1 - pair low-rise hiking shoes
2 - pair wool socks
3 - durable long sleeve shirts
1 - pillow
1- bolt/chain cutter (you never know)
1 - assorted other hand tools (unfortunately, they are mostly for working on machines)
1- turkey call
1- compass
1- mirror

Things I will need to get
A. a good back country emergency medical kit
B. spade and hoe
C. box of nails
D. map of destination (Idaho?  Nevada?  The coastal states have too many people.)
E. 100 feet strong rope
F.  candles
G. matches
H. wool blankets
I.  carbolic acid (50 lbs?) and a large supply of toilet paper (takes up so much space.  Alternatives?)
J. thermal long underwear
K. sturdy boots
L. water containers
M. empty 55 gallon drum
N. 5 gal gasoline can
O. animal traps
P. a spit for cooking
Q. rice, dry beans, barley, wheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, yeast, oatmeal, and salt to last the winter, hmmm.  Maybe 20 pounds bacon to last me till I kill something. If I eat 1/4 pound a day that will last 80 days.  Surely, I'll be able to find a bear or an elk in 80 days.  Hmmm.  Shotguns are only for close range.  Maybe I should find someone who'll swap me a an old 30-30 or an SKS for one of my shotguns.
R. cotton undershirts, more wool socks
S. water-proof and pest-proof containers for food and clothes
T. Dutch oven and tri-pod w/chain
U. several 12" to 18" pieces of re-bar
V. plastic sheeting
X. a cup, a plate, a spoon, a fork, a cutting board
Y. sewing kit
Z. Seeds and grape vine cuttings

Things I'll need make on site:
A. a fish trap (so easy)
B. a rain water trap (rain water is usually cleaner than stream water.)
C. charcoal
D. smokehouse
F. outhouse

Sunday, August 18, 2013


"Lutherans also face a challenge because of the church's central and northern European roots. When many ELCA congregations were planted, Scandinavians and Germans were migrating to the U.S. in droves. Now, Lars and Gretchen have scattered and neighborhoods have become more ethnically diverse. Meanwhile, churches are still catering to their charter members."

I just read this story about membership decline in ELCA and thought, "Hmmm.  Part of this applies to the Orthodox."  Certainly, the ELCA has other much more serious problems than ethnicity, but it is clear to some Lutherans, at least, that their ethnic focus is a problem.

Last week for vespers of the Dormition of the Theotokos I visited the magnificent Ascension Cathedral in Oakland.  Except for one litany and the Trisagion prayers every word was in Greek.  And who was in attendance?  Five chanters, one priest, one deacon, and nine other worshipers.  And, shockingly, because Oakland is a famously predominately black city, not one black person.  Now, having said that, several people talked to me and welcomed me.  The people I met there were very friendly.  But who goes to the Orthodox Church to make friends?  Anyone who visits a service of the Orthodox Church is looking for God. Why hide Him behind a wall of language? 

And I don't mean to pick on the Greeks.  The same problem occurs in the OCA.  In Berkeley the OCA parish, St. John the Forerunner Orthodox Church does all the services in Slavonic.  Slavonic!  It isn't even a real language!  It's the Orthodox equivalent of Esperanto

Who puts a light under a bushel?  The Orthodox, that's who.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Job Search

Today is Monday 13 August 2013. 
Last week I spent a few nights at my sister's house while I worked (volunteer) for the Cub Scouts during the day.  I also had three job interviews at an Acura Dealership.  Haven't heard anything from them since last Wednesday.  Yesterday I applied for 15 more jobs.  Have been sick to my stomach since Saturday.  Talked to a recruiter yesterday who said he would have something for me by the 19th.  Today I talked to another recruiter who said I am unemployable because although I have a fabulous education I don't have any skills that are in demand.  That wasn't helpful.  I think I'll talk to another recruiter.