Four Friends in a Boat

In a previous post, three of my friends responded. Glorious. And I wanted to expand upon that by exploring the river’s flux even further.

I am reminded of Ratty’s response in The Wind in the Willows to the practice of ‘being about on boats’.

“What?” cried the Rat, open-mouthed: “Never been in a—you never—well I—what have you been doing, then?”

“Is it so nice as all that?” asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

“Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat solemnly as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,” he went on dreamily: “messing—about—in—boats; messing—”

“Look ahead, Rat!” cried the Mole suddenly.

It was too late. The boat struck the bank full tilt. The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, lay on his back at the bottom of the boat, his heels in the air.

“—about in boats—or with boats,” the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. “In or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not. Look here! If you’ve really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?”

The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness, spread his chest with a sigh of full contentment, and leant back blissfully into the soft cushions. “What a day I’m having!” he said. “Let us start at once!”

This is my way of inviting my friends and more of you to climb aboard to play on the banks in this boat:

View Old Nobody on Hackpad.

The Release and the Reveal

It is all there.  We just can’t see it all at all.

Over the weekend I had an issue with our tractor.  The transmission case filter needed to be replaced.  Clogged.  When these filters fail the tractor has a fail safe that won’t allow the ignition to engage.   Smart…but annoying.  I was pretty near the “800 hour” hydraulic fluid change so I decided to go ahead and renew the fluid.

This is not a trivial task.  Simple, but not easy.

In the picture to the right you can see a square dark space.  That is the fill hole for the transmission fluid, its destiny (or destination).  The problem was that I could not find the uniquely useful tool, a 1/2″ breaker bar, that fits that hole.  I could not find it anywhere. What I did find was the little swivel ratchet pictured to the left above.

Problem.  It would fit, but it was short, had little leverage, and was nearly worthless as a tool. So very cheap.  Not designed to do what I intended it for. In fact it was a leftover tool I got from my days as a chimney sweep.  When I bought that business, I got the ratchet.  That was 35 years ago. I had never used it for anything.  In fact, I actually tripped over it as I was looking for the breaker bar and stuck it in my pocket thinking only vaguely that it was my emergency tool plan Z. Literally, the last thing I expected to work.

I attached a vise grip wrench to it, stuck it in the hole and turned. After some initial protest, the plug released.  Then I realized how unlikely a chain of events had just occurred. A tool I bought along with a business 35 years ago and never used rose to the surface in a moment of need and got the job done.  I had kept this tool through 35 years of consolidating and moving around and reshifting.  Then…it slotted into position, into its destiny. Really? Perhaps I would not think so normally, but other events conspired.

I was putting my phone in my pocket later that day after the tractor triumph when I accidentally invoked a Google Hangout, a “butt-dial” of sorts.  I hung up hoping I hadn’t disturbed anyone and went about my business. My friend Autumm responded on Twitter:

My response:

buttdialal response


Release and reveal.  That appears to be the pattern.  While on the tractor that afternoon, listening to a TED talk podcast I found George Monbiot connecting us to the wolves of  Yellowstone, Bernie Kraus’ remarkable bioacoustic revelations and Marla Spivak’s idea that the death of the bees is not caused by one thing but by connections to many things.

Release the wolves and we get a reveal.  Release toxins and monoculture in agriculture and we get a reveal with the bees. Release commerce upon the wild and we get a reveal from the birds. These are not trivial reveals like the one with the ratchet above, but full blown Gaia demonstrations.  What the ratchet forces is personal awareness.  I am sure that all of us have these epiphanies of connection and disconnection.  Connection across decades, connection across continents, negative connection and positive, too, but for me these moments are coming not willy nilly but in a seeming stream of meaning, a signal.  This post is my way of struggling to tune the broadcast.  I know it is there.  It is all there.  I just can’t see it all.


I am satisfied somewhat by my walk through one connective door after another in the palace of the adjacent possible, but more is coming.  I feel the release and the reveal behind it, the turning knob and the opening door, the ratchet turning anti-clockwise into eternity.

I am a bubble

who rolls unseeing

toward the others.

We blind bump merge.

and embiggen

and release

and roll on,

a funny little bit of magic,


“Together” revealed.



I have been playing about with a resurrected version of Z33ga. Not resurrected by me, but by my daughter’s significant other, Brennan. Not sure if he wants his name bandied about. He has been a total mensche about getting me running after I asked him to just take a glance at the github source code for the program. He is an astonishing tech dude with a little free time so he just took on the project. It’s not open for prime time yet, but my goal is to exercise due diligence and get this on my own server and see how much I can share without things breaking the bank for server access.

I recommend as always that you click on the play button then hover over the lower right hand corner of the image box and go to full screen. Much better that way.

Also, please read Simon’s post first. Why? The post and the multimodal z33ga are supposed to work together. In fact, I have always envisioned each z33ga as first intended for an audience of one and then afterwards for others, but only if they read the post first. Ideally, folks would come to their own translation via the remix aspect of zeega.

I first started doing z33gas as a method of close reading by translation. By recodifying text into image and music I was able to really do the original work much greater justice. Besides…I am a slow wit not a quick wit (don’t go the rest of the way there, pardner) and this tool is perfect for getting me part of the way into a text. My first reading of Simon’s post was basically, “WTF?” By using z33ga, I got my camel’s nose under the tent.