It’s Sunday again. Time to try to type something here.
Every time I log into WordPress, it has a failed update and 19 plug-ins that need to be updated or were updated. It doesn’t matter how long ago I last logged in. I can log out for five minutes and this happens. I think I’ve been clear that I really do not like WordPress. But I’ve also used static site generators, and I’m not into that, either. And I’m definitely not paying yet another monthly fee to switch to something else.
I think Facebook’s about done, too. A lot of my friends have fled, and right now, it’s doing this transient thing where it does not give me notifications on anything I post. It doesn’t tell me if someone reacts to a post or comment, and won’t tell me if someone comments on anything I write. It’s essentially useless now, at least from a dopamine hit standpoint. I’ve looked at going to Twitter, but Twitter seriously gives me PTSD. It’s just a wall of text, people screaming at each other whatever’s in the front of their head that second. I can’t follow the threads and cannot deal with it.
So, here we are.
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I was thinking the other day about how obsessed I was about forts as a kid. I don’t even know if kids do this anymore, but I was really into the idea of getting a bunch of lumber and building a treehouse or a lean-to or a clubhouse or some other structure. Maybe this was from Hardy Boys books or Cub Scouts or something, I don’t know.
Part of this involved tree climbing, finding the perfect tree to scale. I had a tree in my side yard as a kid with a perfect branch sticking out at a 90-degree angle at maybe five feet off the ground. It was very easy to grab onto the branch, pull myself up, and sit there, thinking about how if I had a few boards, I could easily build a platform up there. It was also the right height to reenact the Empire Strikes Back scene of Luke letting go of the antenna on the bottom of Cloud City and falling. I think that tree died when I was in college, or maybe after. Anyway, I never built anything on it.
(It’s weird how a lot of the big trees from when I was a kid are not there anymore, but the area is still fairly wooded. Trees that were twigs when I left thirty-some years ago are now giant. I don’t know if this is natural progression, a tree disease, or some failure underground that happens when you put houses and septic tanks and roads in the middle of a woods and disrupt the root systems. Also, I don’t know why Amazon or Google haven’t named something “Cloud City,” except maybe Lucas would sue them.)
There was a lot of vacant land around my subdivision as a kid. Part of this was that the entire township was mostly farmland and woods, until they plowed it up in the sixties and seventies to plop down tract housing. The subdivision was done in “phases” and random plots were sometimes left open and then developed later. So for example we had “the woods” that was three lots down from us, and it was simply an empty wooded lot with a trail blazed through it so you could cut through and go to the next road over. A few years later, it was cleared out and another identical ranch house popped up there.
But there were larger chunks of land that were our stomping grounds, especially when I got a BMX bike and was more mobile. A large chunk of land east of us extended back at least a quarter mile, maybe fifteen or twenty acres in the form of an isthmus surrounded by the Elkhart River. A series of trails cut through the thick woods in this area, and between the ages of about ten and twelve, my neighbors and I were constantly trying to find ways to build forts in this area.
I remember a lot of primitive lean-tos and pits dug in the ground and then covered with fallen trees. Sometimes, someone would dump some construction material and we’d find a decent piece of lumber or two. We never got very far with any of these, and I now realize we must have been annoying as hell to whoever actually owned this land.
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A year or two later, I met my friend Jim, and he had an actual treehouse, I think built with his dad’s help, probably from leftover boards from when they built out three bedrooms in the basement of their ranch. There was a woods behind Jim’s that was rife with potential building material. That area had a lot of old houses that were destroyed by a tornado in 1967 and then left to nature to rot. Also, construction crews would sometimes dump junk out there, because there’s no harm in pouring motor oil, PCBs, and asbestos into the water table. This was the eighties in Indiana, who gives a shit.
We’d drag this stuff back to Jim’s and nail it into his treehouse, concocting grand plans of adding extra stories, rooms, stairs, hidden passages, and everything else. I built out a set of three rooms underneath the main platform, and Jim was building a drawbridge and a third floor on top of it. It was like we were constructing our own Winchester House in Jim’s parents’ yard.
Anyway, Jim’s dad got sick of his back yard looking like an M.C Escher masterwork built from garbage, and ordered Jim and his brothers to tear it all down. Shortly after, Jim got sent away to his first stint in juvie or rehab or some lockdown Christian reprogramming center, because he was probably either getting high or hiding shoplifted D&D books out in the fort. And by that time, I’d moved on to the Commodore 64 or something else.
It’s weird for me to think about this now, because I now see the connection between this and the desire to build a house out in Colorado. And I guess why I waste so much time on Townscaper.
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Not much else is going on except I’m still trying to figure out this trip, which is the week after next. I thought about bringing a film camera and a dozen rolls of film just for kicks, but I don’t want to deal with the TSA and hand-checking film, especially given the current airport situation. I need to minimize the amount of hassle while things are still on edge, and probably just carry a single camera and maybe a spare lens.