New Year’s Day, 2014. The year 2013 is behind us. It is, in a word, history. But…what is history? Each pair of eyes sees history differently. If you’re a Cyclops, or you lost an eye somewhere along the way to injury or disease, each individual eye sees history differently.
Not to mention the known fact that history is written by the winners of wars, along with the politicians who tell the biggest lies.
An example of this that’s always stuck with me is the first published evidence of a ruler using the Big Lie to fool his own people. One of the early Egyptian Pharaohs, an aggressive sort who wished to conquer lots of territory to add to his empire, got the bad news one day that the latest batch of barbarians he’d sent his army to conquer…had instead gotten its rear end thoroughly kicked by said barbarians. In fact, his army was pretty much wiped out; they wouldn’t be coming home again.
Not only that, but–knowing Egypt was now in a weakened condition with so many of its elite troops gone to Dead Warrior Land–the king of the victorious defending nation required of the Pharaoh one of the Pharaoh’s daughters, to marry but also, and primarily, as a hostage to guarantee Egypt’s future good behavior.
Ah, but did the Pharaoh man up to his people? No, he did not. He did not say, “Okay, folks, I messed up, got our fighting men wiped out in an extremely ill considered military action, and basically had to sell my own girl child into slavery to make sure we don’t get invaded like we invaded the other nation. I’m probably the worst excuse for a Pharaoh this land has ever seen, and you can hate me now.”
Not his style.
Instead, he told the people that Egypt had been utterly victorious, that the army wasn’t coming home because it was needed to make sure the newly occupied lands stayed occupied, and his daughter had shipped out to rule over them all, army and conquered barbarians alike.
And it worked. He wrote his own version of history, which the other nation did not refute, since they weren’t all that much into writing. For more than three thousand years, the world believed the Lying Pharaoh’s version of history. When an obscure bit of writing provided the clue to Egyptologists that what had always been believed was 100% false…well, to those that care about such things, the discovery was a sizeable shock.
That said, the tiny snippet of 2013 history I’m about to provide on this page should be viewed through your own eyes (or eye), for two primary reasons.
1. There’s no way my narrow little world view can accurately summarize a year’s worth of history for a planet populated by multiple billions of individuals and nearly 200 separate nations.
2. What history I can document will inevitably be colored by my own prejudices and needs. I don’t believe I have a daughter being held hostage to guarantee my good behavior, but might I have some other reason to shade the truth, to spin the story just so?
That’s the preamble. Next, the history itself.
I. National Politics
More than any other single political story in 2013, the botched rollout of Obamacare got our attention here at the Border Fort. For the first time, we saw cracks in the confidence of Obama supporters who, themselves, received cancellations of policies the President himself had promised they could keep. A few of the many horrors embedded in the so-called Affordable Care Act began to show their snarling snouts, and the likely layout of the political map for the 2014 elections changed before our eyes.
A pivotal change in 2013, indeed. Other scandals like the NSA spy-on-us revelations were important, too, but Obamacare took the cake and most of the frosting.
And yet…. Despite all of the Obamacare negatives, President Obama’s poll ratings held far steadier than Fox News and Rush Limbaugh would have you believe. Will 2014 see that inexplicable trend continue, the tendency of nearly half of our nation’s voting populace continuing to refuse to disapprove of the man in the White House whose Big Lies (a whole raft of them) have been so glaringly exposed?
Only the future pollster knows.
II. Personal Politics. On the electoral front, 2013 being a year between elections, my career as a Tea Party activist was pretty much on hold–but near year end, personal politics of another sort begged for attention.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, specifically the Regional Office located in Aberdeen, South Dakota, was refusing to talk to either me or my attorney. They needed to process a bit of paperwork after having written to tell us things were under way in 2012. On Christmas Day, I declared war on the BIA, battle with the federal bureaucracy, the ultimate form of personal politics in this day and age.
The massive BIA may at this point consider my declaration of hostilities to be beneath its notice, but as they will discover in the coming months, it ain’t over till it’s over.
My post on the topic marked a pivotal change from more than eighteen months worth of peaceful attempts to communicate.
III. Living Arrangements
Alta called a few weeks ago. My wife had known Alta since she was a little girl.
The call came from a homeless shelter in Missouri. Alta was both desperate and destitute. We sent her a bus ticket, I split my bedroom into two bedrooms, and now our new housemate is a living agent of pivotal change. She and my disabled wife are good for each other, mutually helpful in ways unknown to the male gender.
Pam now has a girlfriend with whom she can talk daily, and Alta has the same plus a secure living environment with not one but two people in whom she can safely confide regarding any subject whatsoever.
IV. Home Improvements
Our Border Fort home wasn’t as rude and crude at the beginning of 2013 as the average city dweller might think, but still there were plenty of improvements to be made, changing the overall picture in significant, even pivotal, ways.
1. Early in 2013, it was finally time to upgrade the kitchen in the Border Fort. For more than two and a half years, ever since moving into the house and out of the camp trailer, groceries as well as kitchen utensils were crammed wherever they could be crammed. An old computer hutch housed pots and pans and a few dishes; canned goods, cereals, and the like were forced to make do with a single set of crude, hand built shelves.
First, a full sized set of high end kitchen cabinets had been installed. I didn’t build them, not having the proper equipment to do so, but I did install them. They’re pretty fancy, with gentle close doors, the whole works.
Pivotal kitchen change #1.
2. Sometime in May, the kitchen projects were sidelined in favor of building a front porch addition to upgrade the house itself. This gave us a “mud porch” for the rainy monsoon summer months, greater square footage, a secure place for Pam (and now Alta) to smoke without fuming up the house, and much greater security (including a wrought iron security door) capable of greater resistance to any potential wannabe home invaders.
3. In September, out went the two burner camp stove that had been our only cooking surface (other than the microwave oven) and in came a beautiful, full service kitchen range designed specifically for off grid living.
With that Unique brand range a part of our kitchen now, it’s actually kind of hard to believe we stuck with the camp stove for as long as we did.
4. In the fall, our water storage system was drastically upgraded. The 500 gallon tower mounted water storage tank was sidelined, supplanted by a 2,825 gallon Bushman tank installed in hybrid fashion, two feet of it underground and the rest above ground. We now need to pump water from the well just once a month, and the water supply lines are buried to protect them from the occasional hard winter freeze.
That, most definitely, counts as a huge pivotal change.
5. In December, though it’s still a work in progress, a back porch was added. In that porch, which doubles as a tool shed, I’m currently installing a 50 gallon propane hot water tank. The incoming water, preheated by the passive solar water heating system I built in 2012, will help the tank’s fuel usage stay in the extremely affordable range while keeping plenty of hot water on tap for Pam (and of course me, and now Alta) to grab a toasty shower at any time of day or night.
Pam considers this to be perhaps the most crucial pivotal change of all. History in the making.
V. Mother Nature
In July of 2013, the flash floods produced by heavy monsoon rains flooded our home a bit–which was a minor hassle, but nothing compared to the flash flood that hit the following night, blasting out the concrete apron across the big wash on Paloma Trail.
Now we were not only living off grid, but “below the wash” had taken on a new meaning. In order to drive to Sierra Vista, Arizona, we first had to loop the other way, two miles south through John Ladd’s ranch (after he kindly unlocked the gates), nine miles east on the International Border Road to the town of Naco (with the permission of the Border Patrol), north three miles to Bisbee, and then backtrack another fifteen miles on Highway 92 in order to reach a point just two miles from our house.
Definitely a pivotal change.
There’s a one lane route across the wash for now, thanks to Robert Stoner and his backhoe, but summer’s coming again and no consensus has been reached regarding how and when to do something about the blown-out concrete. 2014’s monsoon flash floods may have us running the long route once again.
We shall see.
VI. My Writing Career
For the better part of six years, I wrote and published articles at HubPages.com… but I was always looking for a better way, preferably a website of my own that was both functional and user friendly.
I’d created this site, Ghost32writer.com, in 2012, but it was in August of 2013 that it finally became functional. Prior to that time, comment Spam had the fledgling site stymied. I wanted to write full time here, sure, using DreamHost for web hosting and WordPress software–but no way was I going to spend all my time manually scrubbing the Spam from the pages.
So I dithered, trying to find a solution.
DreamHost’s first ever user conference, DreamCon, held in Los Angeles in late July and early August, finally provided that solution. Days after returning from California, I installed the Akismet plugin–and comment Spam immediately ceased to be a problem.
By early October, I’d left HubPages, bringing 400 or so of the best Hubs over here to Ghost32writer, and the race was on. No more censoring, because I owned the site. No more “hints” on how to “write better”.
But most of all, way more views.
During my last month at HubPages, daily page views were running in the 550 range, on average. Ninety days later, the stats counter is showing 4,640 page views–and New Year’s Day still has three hours and eight minutes left to go.
Yesterday’s view count was 5,542.
Wait a sec. Ninety days after leaving HubPages, 10 times the view count, and oh yeah, with less than a third of the published pages? (Hub count was 1,576, of which I deleted more than 1,150 as not being worth transferring; current G32 count is 503.)
Yep. That’s right. Ten times the page views–and that’s not all. Pages that had lain dormant, doing literally nothing at HubPages, are blistering the charts here at G32.
In the lexicon of the younger generations, WTF??
This site is organized, too. You can find any post you want, using the handy Index listings at the top of every page. Does HP keep things disorganized for its writers in order to keep them from gaining too much personal power on that site?
I don’t know. But I do know the migration to my own site has already proven itself to be one powerful, dynamic, pivotal change.
How powerful? Let’s let Alexa.com be the judge of that. In August of 2013, Alexa ranked Ghost32writer.com as the 23.8 millionth most popular in the world. So, nearly two dozen million websites were getting more traffic than this one, right?
Right. However, by year’s end 2013, Alexa ranked the site at 4.0 million.
Just like that, a month of so of migration plus 90 days of steady growth brought us up 19.8 million website positions.
I’d say that’s pivotal change of a most enjoyable sort.
That’s a brief 2013 history overview as seen through just one pair of eyes. What’s 2014 going to look like?
Got me; that’s not a history question. Ask a psychic.