Friday, 28 August 2009


Meet Joyce: Pilot extraordinaire. Welcome to her world
The story begins here, with our 10 day stop at a landing strip near Chehalis, Washington. That building in the rear is mostly hangar; the small portion in front is home to our host Jerry. Nearby are lots of other hangar/house combos clustered around the airstrip--a designedly aircraft loving community. And then----and then--
one day--literally out of the blue, a lovely aeronaut glides into our lives; whisks us away, three by three-- up and away to magical places.
Each whiskee gets a headset and a window.
I think the plane is a Cessna. My companions are Dodi (my right) and Paul. Our pilot and owner is Joyce--whose love of flying is legendary even in flying circles---nearly 1000 hours flying time.
Thar she be--mighty mt Ranier, taller than its ring of clouds----
And brooding Mt St. Helens. We wing through smoke where once stood solid rock.
See that house perched there--I'm guessing it's a fire lookout post.
And that is Seattle.
The Seattle Space Needle at eye level. What a thrill!
A regatta sailing below us.
In subsequent days, hangar doors opened and all sorts of aircraft emerged. We have a front row seat--that's my satellite dish on the left. This fun craft dipsey doodled like a motorcycle of the air--got airborn in 7 seconds flat.
Guy next door had two planes.
Directly over my trailer--para-glider--fun, reltively safe, slow--cheap enough for the middle class to get airborn.

NOW ABOUT THE PILOT: Even more interesting to me than the plane ride was getting to know the pilot. All who rode with her commented on her enthusiasm and easy confidence--enjoying life with nothing to prove---nothing to fear. She spoke and acted like a friendly general. My heart flutters in the presence of powerful women and I asked if I might interview her. She consented.

------Was a mother--workaday housewife till the nest was empty---took flying lessons---smitten with the wonder of the wild blue yonder---bought a plane----mastered the art---flyes where notions take her.

Somewhere in the process an ordinary lady morphed into a forceful extraordinary personality. I consulted Maslow's list of 24 characteristics of self actualized people: ARE NOT FRIGHTENED BY THE UNKNOWN-----ACCEPT THEMSELVES AND OTHERS------ENJOY THEMSELVES WITHOUT SHAME---- LACK DEFENSIVENESS AND POSE---etc. (the complete list is elsewhere on my blog)

Probe as I may, I could not uncover the secret. Are all of us potent personalities, cloaked by childhood scripting, lacking only the will to uncloak? Or are some of us just sheeple period. I think Joyce has demonstrated that being siezed by a grand passion is transformative.

I share with my readers a poem I sent to her.


Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

— John Gillespie Magee, Jr died 1944--age 19 years

Monday, 17 August 2009


I DRIVE INTO TILLAMOOK, OREGON LOOKING FOR TROUBLE---Looking for DRAMA! It is to me what blood is to a vampire. I'm drama hungry always--AS ARE YOU---and if I cannot find drama, I will create it. Saying hello to someone you pass on the street is a small drama; a meal at a restaurant is a drama. Simply put, drama is movement from situation through change to consequence. The crucial element is MOVEMENT and you are in love with it for the same reason as I---movement creates BRAINGLOW---a word I invented to describe the state of my brain when I am interested. Dull people barely glow at all and dynamic people light up a room.

Here's big time drama for me---that monsterous building once housed blimps that patrolled the coast during WWII---located in Tillamook for a very good reason: a gap in the mountains that allowed easy access to the ocean. And those mountains back there---scene of THE GREAT TILLAMOOK BURN. (1933--45) over 300,000 acres. The immediate drama that catches my attention are those holstein cows.........
Twice a day on cue they wend their way to the dairy barn......
go to their favorite spot to eat and be milked. The best producers among them give 22 gallons (186 pounds) a day--the average is 8 gallons a day.
The milk comes here--- 1.2 million pounds a day to Tillamook Cheese---one of the world's
largest. As luck would have it, I visit on their 100th anniversary. Goodies like ice cream sold for a song. Fellow WIN Member Dodi and I help them celebrate. The hidden drama here is that milk prices have fallen to an unsustainable low due to overproduction. Whether taxpayers should help with price supports or let bunches of them go belly up is a drama currently playing itself out.
One-of-a-kind tree that has arborist speculating if ancient coastal Indians "tweaked" it to create this oddity.
Extreme tree hugging. Biggest Sitka spruce in Oregon.
See the drama? A nothing of a tree hangs on for 800 years--gets very big--someone notices--makes a path--posts a sign--bingo, the world comes to ooooh and aaaah. Do you know the story of Tioga George---shy little man began to post his travels on the web---now thousands tune in to see what he's done and where he is today. Are you going to share your drama with the world in some form or fashion?
I think I'm faking a thoughtful look--behind me is the drama here--Oregon's second highest waterfall--300 or so feet. I think this is the day I got taken to the woodshed--but that's another blog.
Here's what I came to photograph--the stone that didn't roll---and sure enough it gathered moss --as the old saying predicts. What I don't get is whether thats a good or bad thing. The rolling stone gathers none---who's the good guy and the bad. What is this aphorism supposed to teach?
I'm standing where an Atlantic City type Boardwalk was supposed to be. 2000 dreamers worked to build a West coast version of that famous recreation area. Highways, railroads,a natatorium(whatever that is) and 59 houses were built.------AND THEN-----AND THEN---men built a jetty and God sent a storm---WHAM---POW the enterprise died a lingering death. Only 5 of the houses were salvaged. I located and interviewed one of the last to leave. He moved his home a mile away where he's lived ever since.
Here's the sad story--hope you can read it.
Meet Robert Gray--1755--1806---the most famous sea captain you've never heard of. The first American to captain a ship around the world---did it twice. First to sail into the Columbia River---he named it---was the basis of our claim to Oregon. (Statue and museum in nearby Garibaldi)
A bit of mundane drama I enjoyed---guy pushes the pipe into the sand--air escapes via that hole near his thumb---then he puts his thumb over the hole and lifts up a pipe full of sand exposing a big hole---he immediately reaches to the bottom and pulls up 3 or 4 shrimp looking things--said he uses them for bait--saves $4--cost of a box.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Four questions about the Microsoft-Nokia alliance

The Microsoft-Nokia alliance turned out to be a lot more interesting than the pre-announcement rumors made it out to be. Rather than just a bundling deal for mobile Office, the press release says they'll also be co-developing "a range of new user experiences" for Nokia phones, aimed at enterprises. Those will include mobile Office, enterprise IM and conferencing, access to portals built on SharePoint, and device management.

Of those items, the IM and conferencing ideas sound the most promising to me. Office, as I explained in my last post, is not much of a purchase-driver on mobile phones. And I think Microsoft would have needed to provide Nokia compatibility in its mobile portal and device management products anyway.

I understand the logic behind the alliance. Nokia has never been able to get much traction for its e-series business phones, and Microsoft hasn't been able to kick RIM out of enterprise. So if they get together, maybe they can make progress. But it's easy to make a sweeping corporate alliance announcement, and very hard to make it actually work, especially when the partners are as big and high-ego as Microsoft and Nokia. This alliance will live or die based on execution, and on a lot of details that we don't know about yet.

Here are four questions I'd love to see answered:

What specifically are those "new user experiences"?

If Nokia and Microsoft can come up with some truly useful functionality that RIM can't copy, they might be able to win share. But the emphasis in the press release on enterprise mobility worries me. The core users for RIM are communication-hungry professionals. If you want to eat away at RIM's base, you need to excite those communicator users, and I'm not sure if either company has the right ideas to do that. As Microsoft has already proven, pleasing IT managers won't drive a ton of mobile phone purchases.

Will Microsoft really follow through?

Microsoft has been hinting for the last decade that it was were willing to decouple mobile Office from the operating system, but they never had the courage to follow through. Now they have announced something that sounds pretty definitive, but the real test will be whether they put their best engineers on the Nokia products. If Microsoft assigns its C players to the alliance, or tries to make its Nokia products inferior to their Windows Mobile versions, the alliance won't go anywhere interesting.

What does this do to Microsoft's relationships with other handset companies?

Imagine for a moment that you are the CEO of Samsung. Actually, imagine that for several moments. You aren't exclusive with Microsoft, but you've done a lot of phones with Windows Mobile on them. Now all of a sudden Microsoft makes a deal with a company that you think of as the Antichrist.

How do you feel about that?

I can tell you that Samsung is not the most trusting and nurturing company to do business with even in the best of times. So I think you make two phone calls. The first is to Steve Ballmer, asking very pointedly if you can get the same software as Nokia, on the same terms, at the same time. If you don't like the answer to that question, your next call is to Google, regarding increasing your range of Android phones.

Maybe the reality is that Microsoft has given up on Windows Mobile and doesn't care what Samsung does. But that itself would be interesting news.

I would love to know how those phone calls went today.

What does RIM do about this?

It has been putting a lot of effort into Apple-competitive features like multimedia and a software store. Does it have enough bandwidth to also fight Nokia-Microsoft? What happens to its core business if Microsoft and Nokia do come up with some cool functions that RIM doesn't have? Are there any partners that could be a counterweight to Microsoft and Nokia? If I'm working at RIM, I start to think about alliances with companies like Oracle and SAP. And I wonder if Google is interested in doing some enterprise work together.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Nokia and Microsoft, sittin' in a tree...

Multiple sources are reporting that Nokia is hedging its bets on mobile phone software:

-- The New York Times says Microsoft and Nokia will announce Wednesday that Microsoft is porting Office to Nokia's Symbian S60 phones (link).
--TechCrunch, quoting the Financial Times in Germany, claims Nokia is planning to dump Symbian in favor of its Maemo Linux operating system (link).
--Om Malik says he asked Nokia about it, and the company denied plans to dump Symbian. But the company also said, "recognizing that the value we bring to the consumer is increasingly represented through software, there is logically not just one software environment that fits all consumer and market needs." In other words, we have an open marriage with Symbian (link).

In one sense, this is absolutely not news for Nokia. It has been playing the field for years, trying to prevent any single company from gaining control over mobile software (and thereby imposing a standard on Nokia). The change is that in the past, most of that energy was aimed against Microsoft.

Microsoft too seems to be bending its standards. With the exception of the Mac, Microsoft has been extremely reluctant to license Office for other operating systems. In the past, if Nokia wanted Office, it would have been expected to license Windows Mobile.

But now both companies feel threatened by Apple and Google, and all of a sudden that ugly person across the dance floor looks a lot cuter.

The real question that no one seems to be asking is whether most customers will care about any of this stuff. Most Nokia smartphone users are blissfully unaware that their phones have an operating system, let alone whether it's Symbian or Maemo. They just want the phone to work well.

And speaking as a former Palm guy who dealt with the mobile market for years, putting Microsoft Office on a smartphone is like putting wings on a giraffe -- it may get you some attention, but it's not very practical.

Don't get me wrong, I like and admire QuickOffice, which is probably the leading Office-equivalent app in the mobile space today. It's a cool product, but for most people the screens of smartphones are too small for serious spreadsheet and word processing activity. It works, but it's awkward and produces eyestrain. Most people who have a serious need for Office on the go will just carry a netbook.

So Nokia and Microsoft will both get some nice publicity, but the announcements mean very little to the average user. What both Microsoft and Nokia need to do is create compelling new mobile functionality that's better than the stuff being produced by Apple and RIM. Until they do that, all the strategic alliances in the world won't make a significant difference.


Update: The announcement this morning was more subtle and perhaps far-reaching than what was reported yesterday. I think the strategic situation is still the same as what I described above, but there might be more value for users than I expected. More thoughts after I have a chance to digest the announcement.

Sunday, 9 August 2009



Down from the slopes of Mt Hood where he camps, thinks, meditates, writes, consults, comes an ever so regular guy---but also an ALIEN being--- One of us-----and yet???

Meet Wayne wier, Author of FADING TOWARD ENLIGHTENMENT and A SIMPLE EXPLANATION FOR EVERYTHING. He would not call himself a guru---labels do not interest him---but I'm free to do so---and if you engaged him for two hours, I think you would agree. Says he reads my blog and is curious to see the Stealth Trailer. I'm curious to hear his physics AND HIS METAPHYSICS.

He brings beer!----conversation facilitator. After the tour of the trailer we settle into a three way conversation about life, its meaning and how best to live it---terrific! Rare indeed to engage someone who walks the walk of his highest intuitions---has done the work of seeing into himself---and has the verbal skills to communicate what he sees. Like Thoreau and Buddha he abandoned conventionality ---adopted simplicity, mobility, nature and spiritual inquiry. For more info: This will give you his version of our meeting.

Wayne tests my trailer for height---he's 6 foot. That's paul mellowing out. We met in a lovely industrial park adjacent to a nature preserve. Note the murals I've pasted on my doors--I really enjoy them.
The conversation deepened to quantum physics. Here Wayne demonstrates his solution to a current scientific mystery: two paired electrons with opposite "spins" , when separated, affect each other INSTANTANEOUSLY (faster than light) when either spin is reversed. Recent experiments separated a pair about a meters distance and verified the phenomenon. Seems impossible, yet it is true and Wayne presents his solution in his latest book, blending deep physics and spirituality. I've read portions of Fading to Enlightenment, his personal odyssey and was reminded of Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.
The Jeep driving, Macho Guru bids us farewell. It pleases me that in telling my tale via this blog others may be influenced in some small way. He wrote in my copy: To Randy: A man who inspired me to take up the Nomad Life. I engage people all the time hoping to be influenced---to be tweaked toward excellence---to diminish my faults.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009


WHEN YOU ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, WANT TO STAY OVERNIGHT! The Oregon coast highway---generally conceeded the loveliest in America. Late evening catches us somewhere south of Cannon Beach.
BINGO---We happen upon this terrific spot. RIGHT HERE is where sensitive souls want to linger---indeed--to spend the night. RIGHT NOW is when I need to pull the trump card from the boondocker deck and play it---takes only 3 minutes--the card is played! With one clever move I have guaranteed that we can camp in this primo spot, or ANY primo spot, unhindered. Can you guess without looking what the trump card is? I play it sparingly and I hope you will also----lest it lose its "trumpness." I will reveal the card in a moment---but first---

As darkness envelopes us, Paul (my Georgia--lawyer friend) and I toast this wonderful life of freedom on the road--(and our cleverness)
A new day! We have camped where few have camped before. Only the keenest eye can see in this photo the trump card.
And here it is: The boondocker trump card--do I need to explain? I am immobilized with wheel trouble---help is on the way.
I lower the jack , stash it, and go my way. (P.S. In extreme cases, I take the wheel off and hide it)
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES: OK, it is a bit of deception not unlike an O'possum playing dead or nature placing owl eye patterns on butterfly wings. I make no apology because the laws that restrict harmless boondocking are made by campground owner associations--who wish to coerce us into their "corrals"--selling us services we do not need or wish to purchase. Our rigs are self contained, requiring only a place to park---and it is unjust to demand $20 to $50 a night from us. The great outdoors belongs to all of us. We fight unreasonable laws like Ghandi and Thoreau and Martin Luther King--by peaceful non compliance.
William lloyd Garrison, I think said it best: "With honorable people I will be honorable but when I must deal with the dishonorable you can expect the worst from me." (or words to that effect--I've forgotten the exact quote)

A final point: I would not have you think that cleverness like this is often required. It is not! Millions of free places to park await you in our National Forest and BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands. Join us--we will show you.

Sunday, 2 August 2009



Many thanks to all those who expressed themselves on this subject----I feel reinforced in my lifestyle choice---convinced that all of us were describing the same elephant. Sampson 1960 has, in my opinion, gathered up our thoughts into a chewable bite----so I'm pleased to present his/her essay in this prominent manner. I will close with a final observation of my own and then move on to a new topic. Here is sampson's essay:

Novelty and challenge are what bring happiness, and the traveling life is full of novelty and challenge. So it's easier to feel fulfilled living this way. But it's by no means guaranteed.

Is it possible to feel fulfillment without traveling? Certainly it is. But the mechanisms of standard society have most of us so controlled, so indentured to a way of life we didn't actually choose, that it's very difficult to feel real fulfillment. Lack of fulfillment is what drives people into addictions! Looking for the freedom they know is out there, the freedom they could feel when they were little children, the freedom that is right there. If only they could reach through the fog and claim it. But they can't get to it. So they drink. Or they porn away on the internet. Or they surf the channels. Or they buy stuff. All are substitutions for feeling real things in the real world with real people.

REAL life, REALLY being present in the world. This is what is so simple, but is so hard to do in our society.

So the travel part is just a mechanism, a freeing mechanism that makes it easier to reach real fulfillment in a culture that is really like living in an occupied country. Can travel be used in the same way as other addictive 'substances"? Possibly. But I don't think it's very likely, given that the traveling life so fully engages the whole person. That can't be said for life on the couch, on the barstool, or in front of the internet screen.

Harriet Tubman said: "Yes, I freed a lot of slaves. But I could have freed a whole lot more, if theys only knew theys was slaves."

So Randy, inside do you feel empty?Didn't think so. (end of Sampson essay)

FINAL THOUGHT: Perhaps the mobile lifestyle is best understood as a phase of life. I like the Hindu notion of three phases: 1. The Student----learn, learn, learn. 2. the Householder---build, build, build----family, career, business, possessions. 3. The HOLY MAN ---when we feel the urge for simplicity, solitude,mobility, spirituality. Customarily the couple cuts a deal--the wife has aspirations also----they give the business and possessions to the kids. The ideal for the male is that of a SADHU, a wandering Holy man. Hundreds of thousands move slowly about the landscape in India, wearing little or nothing, carrying only a small bowl. (people walk up to them and silently put stuff in their bowl---it's traditional---the giver gets a blessing, the receiver dinner) Generally accepted and even revered, these holy men focus on experiencing the wonder of life---giving little thought to destination---only journey--now, now, now.---and lying down wherever nightfall catches them. And then one day they die and are cremated. A far nobler end-game than the sickly whimpering of an old folks home. But I digress!

Extreme? Yes! Not your cup of tea? Mine either--but I like the simplicity, solitude,mobility, spirituality----So I declare myself AN AMERICAN HOLY PERSON--and all who share these aims. We will wander the continent in our cozy trailers, experiencing here/now, here/now, here/now, till the game is over. And I call to my housebound sniper man------leave your same old, same old staleness and join us in the cool freshness of Tillamook, Oregon--or wherever your finer impulses urge you! Randy 8/3/09