Greetings and welcome to 2023!
As has become a tradition, the first post of the New Year is dedicated to a primer on this blog and the people and places that inhabit it in the hopes that it makes context a bit easier to gather for the writings that you will find here throughout the year.
I am your amiable host, Toirdhealbheach Beucail ("Toridhealbheach" is a version of my name in Old Irish Gaelic; "Beucail" means "booming or roaring", as in the sound of a cannon. If you ever met me in person, you would find I have only two volumes: silent and "ON"). I have been camped out here on this corner of the InterWeb, writing about this and that for what will now be my 18th year and am up to over 4500 posts of varying value and worth (in other words, one gets what one pays for, and we do not charge, so...).
A very brief history: I grew up in a small town somewhere deep within the bowels of Baja Canada, the same town my parents and my mother's parents had grown up in - not quite the "Small Town" of John Cougar Mellencamp, but close enough. I went away to college for two degrees that have nothing to do with what I ended up actually doing, then came back home and lived in and around that area (referred to here uncreatively as "Old Home") until 14 years ago, when due to a layoff we had to move (to the also uncreatively named) "New Home". Due to an unexpected health issue with both of my parents (see here, Moving TB The Elder And Mom), I now spend about one third of the year at Old Home, and the other time wprking to get back there on a more permanent basis to The Ranch (see below).
I have a variety of interests. I am a practitioner of Iaijutsu, a Japanese martial art which is (somewhat crudely but correctly) defined as the "quick draw" of sword techniques (my style has existed since the 16th century). I make cheese and other dairy foods. I train with weights. I garden. I write (perhaps somewhat obviously). I have thrown in Highland Games (at least prior to an injury last year). I have taken to hiking with a vengeance, having completed hikes both in the Grand Canyon and to the top of Mount Whitney. I study languages, both current as well as the dead ones. I read voraciously - primarily history and theology, but also philosophy, agricultural books and "old style" (say pre-1985) science fiction and fantasy. I travel (not always as willingly as might be hoped for).
And I will try almost anything once.
- The Ravishing Mrs. TB: To whom I have been married for over 25 years now and who actually makes sure the trains run on time and things get done.
- Nighean Gheal: Number one daughter, a college graduate with a degree in International Business now living in The Big, Big City.
- Nighaen Bhan: Number Two daughter, also a college graduate with a degree in Communications and pursuing a Master's level program.
- Nighean Dhonn: Number Three daughter, currently a Senior in high school and selecting colleges.
- The Actor: One of my two best friends from High School and still currently one of my best friends. Lives in Old Home and has more than a small theatrical bent (far more creative than I).
- Uisdean Ruadh: The other of my two best friends from High School and still currently one of my best friends. Also lives in Old Home, currently living in The Cabin at The Ranch with his mother A Mhathair na hUisdean Ruadh . Deeply Catholic, loves traditional Catholicism, planes, and history.
- The Berserker: My weight training coach. I have trained with him for 7+ years now. I live in fear of his weekly training regimes, although they have been very successful.
- The Shield Maiden: A friend I met throw Highland Games 9 years ago? 10 years ago? I do not keep track of such things now. She lives much farther away than she used to (almost Alta Canada but not quite). We chat via the InterWeb every day. She is a reservoir of wisdom and the much needed lectures I will get from no-one else.
-La Contessa: My very good and old friend (post high school, so not quite as long as The Director and Uisdean Ruadh, but almost as long). We regularly have dinners once a month when I am in Old Home.
-The Outdoorsman: My brother-in-law and hiking partner in crime. What started as lark of an idea (hiking the Grand Canyon) has turned into 3-4 smaller training hikes and a single big hike a year.
- The Cowboy/The Young Cowboy: A father and son team, they have kept cattle at The Ranch for almost 20 years now. They are regularly present there and help to keep an eye on the place when I am not present.
- Old Home: Where I grew up and lived up to 13 years ago. Originally a combination of the small town I actually grew up in as well as the larger areas there which we lived in before moving to New Home, I use it more now to indicate my hometown.
- New Home: Where I currently live. An urban area also buried in Baja Canada.
- The Ranch: The Ranch is the property my parents own and live on in <insert yet another undisclosed location here>. It is approximately 90 acres of land in the mountains which has been our extended family for over 60 years. You will see plenty of pictures from here. This is where I am ultimately trying to get back to.
What do we do here?
Like most budding bloggers, when I started this blog I had great visions of this being a mighty bulwark of discussion and thought that would be a beacon of light (and, coincidentally, would let me write full time). It only took about 10 years to realize that neither of these things were going to happen. Either because of obstinance or foolishness (I am guilty of both) I persevered.
What I did find - and what I still believe in - is that blogging represents the Social Internet (not a phrase that I came up with, but one I love): the ability of people to read, think, and discuss things on the InterWeb (as opposed to Social Media, which I detest). What has become critically important to me s creating a sort of InterWeb agora, a place where we can discuss subjects - some deep, some completely shallow - in a way that hopefully encourages thought and helps to build connections in a society which values neither thought nor connections except of the most shallow kind (otherwise known as Social Media).
What you find here most days is a combination of personal on-line journal, thoughts or concepts that have run through my mind, book reviews, occasional fiction, things that are just "going on" in my life, ruminations, and the occasional meme. It is a smorgasbord of my existence (there are literally times I sit down to write with no idea what will be written, and no-one is more surprised than I am when it shows up).
Ichiryo Gusoku Philosophy: My overall guiding policy on my philosophy is here.
Ichiryo Gusoku Goals: My overall goals are here (to be fair, these are always in a bit of flux).
The Collapse: A rather long running fiction series (in a series of letters) about a man watching society slowly collapse is here. It has not been continued for a year, but likely should be picked up.
Moving TB The Elder And Mom: As mentioned, my parents suffered a series of health reversals in 2021. This page pulls together the experience in hopes that others that have or will have the same issues will benefit.
What are the rules?
There are only four.
1) Be kind in your comments: In all my years of writing here, I have had to not publish only a handful of comments because, frankly, they were mean. You can certainly poke holes in my theories or my writing or the responses of others. I just ask you do it kindly. Everyone you are responding is going through something.
2) No profanity: My mother was an elementary school teacher and a lovely Christian woman, so comment as if you were speaking directly to her. Any profanity will simply not make itself a visible comment, no matter how relevant or good the comment is.
3) We do not argue current politics: Politics as it is practiced currently is simply an exercise in "It is your fault! No, yours!" followed by vulgarity and crudeness. Political Science (the practice of forming political societies and their functioning) is far more useful to actually reach a solution.
4) We do not argue religion: I state up front I am Christian (useful background for some of what I write) and will happily discuss my own trials and travails and thoughts. What we do not debate is the nature of religion or different religions. Again, see the previous comments on kindness.
Reading anything is an investment; taking the time to comment is more so. Thanks so much for taking the time to spend a few moments of your precious time (a commodity which we cannot make more of) with me.