Vox Clamantis in Deserto

The Outland #1

Issue #1 (one), started March 8th, 2017. Originally created on a Remington Rand Quiet-Riter manual typewriter before being transferred to digital format. Free where you can find it. Communications via email at <tfne.tom@gmail.com>, or preferably via snail mail to Tom F., POB 1351, Riverton, WY 82501. This is my mini newsletter on tekhnology, survivalism dystonautics, living in God’s country, aka the State of Wyoming, observations on life, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Feel free to copy this newsletter and pass it along to friends, acquaintances, et al. I am Tom F. from the Wind River Basin in Central Wyoming. Until two years ago I lived in the Northeast U.S. Wyoming is much better. You may have read some of my previous worls under the pen names of Ticom (Cybertek Zine: The Cyberpunk Technical Journal) & Sparks31. To quote Bob Dylan, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” You might also see some writing from my wife Carol Alisa, my old friend and Cybertek co-conspirator Wildflower (who uses a #2 pencil) and maybe some of the other old crew if they stumble across this polemic and decide to send something in. Of course if anyone reading this is so moved to contribute, your submissions are more than welcome, but my advice is to find your voice, pick up an old typewriter at a tag sale or flea market, and start creating your own mini newsletter like this one. Not all who wander, are lost.

After writing in the survivalist genre since the late 1980s, the more I think about it, the more I like the term “dystonaut,” and that approach, instead of survivalist, prepper, threeper, or whatever is popular this year. Dystonaut, from the Greek “dysto” (not), and “naut” (traveller). Voyagers through dystopian space. Poor travellers. You get the drift. Post-modern coyotes scratching out a living in the American remains. Home on the strange. I like it, especially out here in the desert.

I was at Windy City Books in Casper (WY) not too long ago, and came across a book I can recommend. It is titled The Wander Society, and is written by Keri Smith. The philosophical stance is well within that of dystonauts.

What’s in your library?

Putting together a good library of technical and non-techincal books is one of the best things anyone can do. You need to locate and frequent every used bookstore and independent bookstore within traveling distance of your home. When you visit the place, make sure you go through all the shelves. You never know what you might find, especially since some of the better stuff gets mis-sorted. If something calls out to you, take it off the shelf, and give it a look-through. If it looks good, take it home. Eventually you will have a good library put together. Here are the current titles on my desk;s shelf:

  • Wilderness Essays, by John Muir

  • Bushcraft 101 & Advanced Bushcraft, by Dave Centerbury

  • Nova Express & The Soft Machine, by William S. Burroughs

  • Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman

  • Tesla, by Margaret Cheney

  • Clockwork Lives, by Kevin Anderson & Neil Peart (Yes, the drummer from Rush.)

  • My Cool Shed, by Jane Field-Lewis

  • The Knowledge, by Lewis Dartnell

  • The Art of Tinkering, by Karen Wilkinson & Mike Petrich

  • The Typewriter Revolution, by Richard Polt

  • Mad Science & Mad Science 2, by Theodore Gray

  • Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs, by Patrica Allmer and John Sears

Since moving out here, I have noticed that the overall quality of finds at the local used bookstores is much better than it was back East. The nearest chain bookstore was Hastings that was 2 ½ hours away. They weren’t too bad as far as chain-stores went. My nearest used bookstore is about 30 minutes away, and both Jackson and Casper have pretty good independents. In comparison, back East there were six Barnes & Noble stores within driving distance, and I rarely found anything in them. That oversaturation managed to kill off all the good independents and used bookstores in the area, the places where you’d find the good stuff.

Now you can take that list, and have them all ordered and delivered from Amazon within a few days if you’d like, but what you should really do is go visit a good used or independent bookstore in your area and see what you can find. You’ll be much better for the experience if you do it that way.

 I’ve been doing a lot more reading since moving out here. That is, reading of the printed book variety. There is only one high-speed, or really any-speed Internet service in this part of rural Wyoming, and it’s very spendy at around $200/month. For low-bandwidth stuff like checking e-mail, we just just prepaid mobile phones with 3G/4G data. You can tether them to your laptop through USB or WiFi. Reasonably-priced and works OK. The cities have more choices when it comes to Internet service, for those who don’t mind living in a city. I don’t find the lack of regular connectivity to be a handicap. In fact, the lack of distraction from being constantly connected allows you to get more work done. There is a reason terms like “web” and “net” are used to describe it.

Shortly after moving out here, I found this 1960s(?) vintage Arvin multiband radio for all of $30 at an antique mall in Laramie. It has AM broadcast, shortwave (to 7 MHz.), and longwave coverage, and runs off a few AA batteries. You can find units like this all the time at antique shops, tag sales, and auctions, and use it to pick up news broadcasts from around the world. It’ll give you a different perspective on things from the junk you’ll get on the Net and off broadcast TV. It won’t spy on you like your TV or phone. If the power goes out, or cell service, or Internet, it’ll still work. I can even keep some AA NiMh batteries ready for it with a solar-powered charger. As a bonus, it uses discrete electronic components so if it ever breaks I can fix it.

The best time to listen is at night. You’ll be able to listen to different AM stations many states away, especially during the winter, and worldwide shortwave broadcast stations. Nightime is also when the more “interesting” radio shows are on.

That’s all I got for this issue. If you liked what you read, or have a question or comment, please send me an anonymous postcard of an interesting nature from your region. If you found a physical copy of this newsletter somewhere in meatspace, I’d appreciate knowing where it has roamed. Until next time…

Issue #1 (one) finished March 15th, 2017. Copies encouraged. Free where you can find it. Communications via email at <tfne.tom@gmail.com>, or preferably via snail mail to Tom F., POB 1351, Riverton, WY 82501.

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