Sunday, December 31, 2006

Hmm, so this year...

After having "Looking Back on 2006" themes stuffed in our face for the past week or two...It seems appropriate for me to add to it :-D. This year has certainly had its ups and downs, but, heck, life's good. You may not be interested in reading about my life, but...well...I need to post something for the new year. Keep in mind I did not start my blog till June.

My dad and I kicked off 2006 with our first big trip on our Pelican kayak, an 8-mile trip on Durbin Creek and Julington Creek on New Years Day.

I made my annual camping trip (7th year there, I believe) at the Battle of Olustee Reenactment in February. My dad and I drove into Lake City on Saturday night to eat at the Cracker Barrell restaurant. I intentionally wore my period dress, because I knew that Cracker Barrells in north Florida are always filled with culturally clueless tourists passing through to Disney World. Seeing the place filled with men dressed in uniforms, they must have thought They really DO think The War's still being fought! (and it is...just not with weapons.)

June brought a new chapter in my life, as I got into the whole blogger craze with the creation of The Minorcan Factor. I have discovered that there really are other people outside of my family who care about true Florida...however, I have yet to find another person my age who cares...but there's got to be one out there somewhere. It really has been, and still is, a great experience to (sort of) come into the lives of a few bloggers.

June also brought castnet knitting into my life. Though I have yet to post on this yet (darnit, no pictures), I have been slowly learning the traditional technique to create these tools that were so vitally important to my ancestors. One of my favorite old fools, Mr. Stuart Pacetti, has welcomed me into his life and home (well he is a distant cousin, I guess), to learn this valuable skill. I have been told by many that he is the master castnet knitter in Florida (he ties EVERY knot himself, unlike others who just knit together pieces of machine-made mesh.) It is an honor learning from the best. Not to mention the fact that his is one of the best story tellers I have ever met. A true Cracker, indeed.

July brought Camp Hope, which is always a great experience.

June, July, August, September, October, and November brought an unusually inactive hurricane season. Bummer. Unfortunately, it has not quieted down all this global warming *&%& like I had hoped it would.

August brought my birthday and a very memorable trip on Juniper Creek.

December brought my brother Andy back down from Chicago. When I turned the country music station on the night he got home, he asked me to turn it off...Too much of a culture shock. I fear he has been Yankeeized. (And now he'll quit griping about how I have not mentioned him on here yet.)

Well, I have rambled enough for tonight...only about 2 and a half hours till 2007. I will miss 2006, but I know 2007 has a lot to offer me too (such as my sister-in-law coming down from Chicago.) :-D

Have a good night, everyone...I don't really have a sly way to end off this post as I usually do, so I will have to resort to my Bag of Randomness (see below.)Hopefully the new year will bring back my dry humor...and take away this dry weather.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Editorial

This is the editorial I wrote that was printed by the Florida Times-Union last Thursday, for those of you who do not subscribe to that paper. I know almost all of you who read my blog will be saying "amen" to pretty much everything in here. You're true Floridians :-D.

As a ninth-generation native Floridian, I have an indescribable love for the state in which we live. In my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful parts of this nation in many different ways. But what I look around my homeland, I see my beloved native soil being torn apart before my very eyes. The greedy pillaging of our land, commonly known as "progress" or "development," has wreaked permanent destruction upon Florida's land and culture. It is vital that, as responsible representatives, the leaders of our community take a step back and look at what is being lost as we develop our land. Pick up a kayak paddle, lace on a pair of hiking boots, attend the Florida Folk Festival, and go see what true Florida is about. I am sure you will all be horrified by the destruction, too, after you seee what is out there being destroyed. If we do not implement tighter controls on development now, the Floridian heritage will be relegated to history books by the time my children attend school. I am sure you do not want to be remembered as the generation that destroyed Florida.

Just an update

I suppose I have been lazy lately...well, lazy when it comes to blogging at least! I really have a hard time sitting myself down in front of the computer long enough to write a post, and sometimes when I do, Blogger decides to screw things up by not allowing me to post pictures, closing unexpectedly, not publishing my work even though I clicked "publish," etc., etc. However, in other senses I have been far from lazy. I have had 2 walks in the swamp (more on those later,) a couple kayak trips, two trips down to St. Augustine for castnet weaving lessons, and the usual working and tending to my citrus (which is DELICIOUS this year) and datil peppers (more on those later, too!)

I had plans to go back out into the swamp and into the swamp with a couple of friends this week, but a cold has just come onto me tonight, and I feel like that sludge that mysteriously forms underneath large items lying on the ground for a long period of time. I have started to feel a little bit better now that I have taken some medicine to tend to it, but it seems that I will be relegated to the house tomorrow...and the weather's supposed to be so beautiful!! Well, at least this hit me after Christ's birthday and not before. I wouldn't want to be sick for that party!!

I really should be getting my rest if I want to fight of this sickness effectively, so I guess I must go try to get some sleep. I would expect updates tomorrow, however, as I will be inside pretty much all day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

News Bulletin...

If you get the Florida Times-Union, read today's editorial section :-D

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Own Poetry...

I have posted a couple Wendell Berry poems on here lately, and there is even more to come in the future. However, I wanted to share one with you that I wrote at around 2 in the morning, during one of those nights when I just couldn't fall asleep due to my continuous thoughts of Florida. My "Uncle" Stuart put it very well when he told Coastal Living, "I've laid in my bed at night and literally cried at the devastation." Those of you with Florida coarsing through your veins know what we are talking about. Anyway, I am usually apprehensive about sharing poetry, especially works like this that sound like what my generation calls "emo." Nonetheless, I want to share this one with you, and I may decide to post more. We'll see :-D.

An Untitled Poem
By: HurricaneTeen

O what this tree
has been through
over the years
of its life.
From age to age
it's had little
to weather.

But the termites
have crept into
its sprawling limbs.
It is torn,
not fallen,
but falling.

And every limb
felled from its
majestic trunk
is a limb
torn from ours,
never to be

The destruction
is wrought
before our very eyes,
but we are blind.
The termites work
within the tree,
while we plunge
our heads into the sand.

They feed off
off of the tree,
and they feed off of us;
feed off our ignorance.
We allow them to eat
our bodies and souls.

We look to the Lord
with a heart
aching, seeking
to find what is lost,
in futility,
and our souls
will never again
be complete.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Pictures from the Phantom Ruins Hike

These are the pictures that go along with the swamp hike I took last month with my dad and history teacher. If you haven't read the written post about this, you can scroll down (it should still be on the front page) or go to my Archives section under November.

Durbin Creek: Dark brown water and lots of logs. Your typical Floridian swamp run.

This is the fanned-out cypress tree I noted in my story. This is much more impressive to see in real life than in a picture.

The swamp was completely dry except for a few sloughs that still held slippery muck. This is unusual, and we can thank the recent dry weather for the easy hike.

Okay, the brush we went through was a lot thicker than this picture makes it seem. It was interesting trying to maneuver myself through all the vines while holding a 6-foot kayak paddle and snapping pictures at the same time. Fortunately, though, Mr. Sarcasm pointed out, we did not run into any briars. Ow.

This is the open grassy area I was expecting to reach, and where Mr. Sarcasm is standing is nearly exactly where the ruins were supposed to stand.

We walked the entire area, but there was nothing to be found but knee-high brush. It was an enjoyable walk, though.

This is the HUGE cypres tree I have been talking about forever, but have never been able to get a picture with (thanks to that water moccasin that one time :-D). And I still didn't...I let Mr. Sarcasm be the perspective-giver in this one. We estimate this thing to have a diameter of 9 FEET, which makes it about 28 FEET around the entire trunk. Wow. This thing is easily thousands of years old. Do ya'll have any age estimates? Cypress trees grow very slowly, and it would take a LONG time for it to get this big. Do ya'll have any age estimates?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Sixmile Creek

I only took one picture at Sixmile Creek today (well, the picture's really of a part of Palmo Cove on the St. Johns River) because of the bad lighting conditions, but I thought I would post it tonight while Blogger was actually letting my post pictures. I have a story about this coming soon, but right now I need to finish up my studying and go to bed.

Learning Is Fun!!

Wow, surprisingly, on a very busy day, I landed 3 posts here on the Minorcan Factor. My friend, Phil, and I have been studying for a Precalculus test all weekend...literally...and, as a result, we have not really had lives (though I did make a nice trip on Sixmile Creek today.) To put into persective how large this test is, we have been working on the same chapter since October 16th. Not fun, but I think all of the studying will pay off tomorrow. Here's some pictures of us studying, because I have noticed that there is an irreprehensible lack of pictures on the front page right now. Enjoy.

Hmm, so that's...
3 Precalculus books
2 Very Expensive Graphing Calculators
2 Binders
Innumerable Amounts of Jumbled Papers
2 Gatorades
1 Publix Orange Soda
1 Cell Phone
and, last but not least...
2 Nerds/Geeks

This is what everybody's favorite Ukranian, Phil, thinks of Precalculus. Umm, turn your head 90 degrees to the right...I took the picture vertically, and I don't feel like taking the time to rotate it in Photoshop.

Dark With Power

By Wendell Berry

Dark with power, we remain
the invaders of our land, leaving
deserts where forests were,
scars where there were hills.

On the mountains, on the rivers,
on the cities, on the farmlands
we lay weighted hands, our breath
potent with the death of all things.

Pray to us, farmers and villagers
of Vietnam. Pray to us, mothers
and children of helpless countries.
Ask for nothing.

We are carried in the belly
of what we have become
toward the shambles of our triumph,
far from the quiet houses.

Fed with dying, we gaze
on our might's monuments of fire.
The world dangles from us
While we gaze.

Hmmmm...A Factual Error

On my way home from church today, I got to thinking about my geneology once again. It turns out that it was my great, great, great, great, (gasp), great, great grandfather who came to Florida in 1768. This makes me a 9th generation native Floridian instead of the 7th generation I have been telling people all this time. Wow. My little nephew is the 10th generation of Floridians in my family. Hopefully, he will care about that extraordinary fact when he grows up.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Porch over the River

My English teacher lent me a book of poetry by Wendell Berry today, and over the next week or so, you can expect daily posts of poems I find outstanding. So, here is the first, and they will progressively get better until we reach my favorite.

In the dust of the river, the wind
gone, the trees grow still--
the beautiful poise of lightness,
the heavy world pushing toward it.

Beyond, on the face of the water,
lies the reflection of another tree,
inverted, pulsing with the short strokes
of waves the wind has stopped driving.

In a time when men no longer
can imagine the lives of their sons
this is still the world--
the world of my time, the grind

of engines marking the country
like an audible map, the high dark
marked by the flight of me,
light stranger than stars.

The phoebes cross and re-cross
the openings, alert
for what may still be earned
from the light. The whippoorwills

begin, and the frogs. And the dark
falls, again, as it must.
The look of the world withdraws
into the vein of memory.

The mirrored tree, darkening, stirs
with the water's inward life. What has
made it so?--a quietness in it
no question can be asked in.