The Mother Road

I have just completed driving the entirety of Route 66. It is almost 2,500 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. Double this for the return trip, of course.

Living one block away from Route 66 here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we started our journey to California and back in February 2019 for one week. After a few months, we were able to again, start from the center here in Tulsa and complete the final leg to Chicago and back.

The United States is a beautiful country and I am extremely grateful to have experienced this journey. I’ll provide a photo tour after I’m done processing all the images and notes.

Back In Cyberspace

Screenshot of this website in an RSS feed

Cyberspace- A long time ago, before we allowed ourselves to bottlenecked into a few social platforms, fed into massive surveillance machines, mined for our attention, and controlled by algorithms, there was an idea about internet freedom. Cyberspace.

We allowed cyberspace to become dominated by a few large companies. It was unregulated, free. We created things and shared ideas and we didn’t need anyone to do it for us. We just did it.

Web 2.0- We became lazy and enticed by centralized/connected web applications. Back in 2005, I became hooked into the Google platform thanks to Gmail. Flickr was new and exciting way to share photos. In 2006, I was one of the first users of TWTTR (now Twitter) and I even had a MySpace account and then Facebook. We then coined the phrase “social media” and it was good. The internet became a cesspool of ads, trolls, marketing and algorithms after that.

Social Media- No Google, no Facebook, no Twitter. Thanks to the massive digital footprints I’ve left behind, you can still find some references to my usage but I am off of social media. The Flickr account I subscribe to is not social. It is an online repository and cloud backup to my photo archives. I have an Outlook account from Microsoft but that is residual and for using their services (which I am weaning off of.) No more. Most of us rely on those corporate platforms that decide what they think you need to know. Facebook news feeds anyone? Google search, anyone? Controlled by algorithms designed to keep you hooked and sedentary inside their apps.

I’ve spent the past year winding the clock backwards and starting over again. I have fully reclaimed my little hub here in Cyberspace. My domains are secured again. The website is self-hosted. Email domains are mine.

Since the early 2000’s most of us have used and since then forgotten two brilliant tools to consume information; E-mail and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds.

With E-mail and RSS we control what we want to focus our attention on. For either information or for pleasure. I’ve slowly re-introduced E-mail subscriptions to informative websites I trust. They use it as communicating ideas, just like we did in cyberspace a long time ago. They won’t sell my information and they won’t spam me. When/if they do I’ll simply unsubscribe.

Since I first discovered RSS back in the early 2000’s, I was hooked. I’ve relied on it almost daily as an information resource. Here’s why: every website or blog has a feed attached to it. Once you set up or subscribe to these feeds in a feed aggregator like Feedly (free), you could read articles from your favorite websites without visiting them all. No ads, no tracking, no algorithms and in one central location.

I am in control of what I see. No one else. Now, that does not mean I won’t visit the web, far from it. I still use it for research purposes like everyone else but those websites are prevented from tracking me thanks to ad and content blockers. I use a secure browser called Firefox Focus which blocks them. I use Duck Duck Go to perform searches on the web. They don’t track or sell you anything. Pretty soon I will purchase a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that masks my internet provider’s information.

There is a lot of cyberspace out there still. The corporate platforms and strict governments haven’t completely taken over it, even if they do fancy themselves as masters of the universal internet.

I do not advertise and will never have advertisements here. I will never spam or sell anyone’s information. Ever. If you’d like to add my website to your feed aggregator it is [https://chrisdenbow.com/rss].

MissAdventure

Date a girl who travels. Date a girl who would rather save up for out of town trips, or day trips than buy new shoes or clothes. She may not look fashionable, but behind that tanned and freckle face from all the days out in the sun, lies a mind that can take you places and an open heart that will take you for what you are, not for what you can be.

F**k It List

Some people have bucket lists. Boring! These are the fun things I want to do this year (subject to change, add, subtract, multiply)

  • Another Tattoo

  • More skinny dipping
  • Route 66 trips. New Mexico to Chicago
  • Hiking new trails
  • Biking (need a bike)
  • Running/Hashing
  • Focus on urban erotic portrait photography

Novice

I’ve never been what you’d call musically inclined but there have been a lot of influences lately and I decided to try my hand, literally, at this gorgeous ukulele.

After some initial tuning mistakes that are now corrected, I played a total of two chords tonight. Looking forward to a jam session with my very patient muse this weekend.

#deletegoogle

I first mentioned I was migrating off of Google way back in April. Well, it has taken me just that long to do it. Every photo, video and document I shared with them has been downloaded finally.

I deleted my 10 year old Google account this morning after liberating all my stuff. That stuff is mostly sitting on an external hard drive to be sorted and archived but that is for a much later day.

Until then, I will work to close out my other Google account that I created last November. Shouldn’t be so bad. One year’s worth shouldn’t take nearly as long as ten.

Anyway, up yours, Google. I will not willingly volunteer my data to you for you to spy on anymore.

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Goodbye Google

Previously I mentioned I was in the process of dropping all products made by Google but it was half-hearted. The amount of data they have on me for the past thirteen is overwhelming. I recently requested my data delivered to me via their own data freedom tool called Google Takeout.

It took all day to archive and send me my request and I saw why. 124GB worth of data compressed into 56 downloads of 2GB each(!!). And this was for my main account. I haven’t even started on my backup account I created just this past year yet.

The reason behind all this effort to liberate myself? Security and privacy. Also, they are showing signs of controlling/manipulating data and interfering with users. Google’s motto used to be “Don’t be evil.” That motto disappeared sometime this past month. Hmm.

Ever since I made my decision to migrate I have been adapting myself to new software tools. Alternatives to the Google ecosystem that has been so pervasive.

iPhone > Android

Windows > Chromebook

Duck Duck Go > Google Search

Firefox browser > Google Chrome

Outlook, own domain email > Gmail

Youtube > Vimeo

MS Office > Google Docs

OneDrive, iCloud > Google Drive

Apple Notes, Bear > Google Keep

iOS Photos > Google Photos

iOS Maps > Google Maps

Namecheap domains > Google Domains

Adobe > Snapseed

Ever notice how ubiquitous Google is until you saw these examples? Truth be told, I LOVE most of Google’s products and it hurts to leave them behind.

I am still looking for alternatives to a few of their software offerings like Google Earth, Voice, Translate, Book Archives and more. If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

The migration process is still just that. I am slowly setting up new spaces for old content. Once completed I will be pressing that oh so sweet “DELETE” button.

100 Word Challenge

Long-form writing is overwhelming so I’m trying short stories. Guess what? There are even shorter stories out there called micro-fiction. 100-word stories. Believe it or not there are even 50-word stories. I’m not ready for that, especially since they read like Haiku. Anywho, here’s my take on micro fiction. To be developed into a proper story in the future.

The Civilian Conservation Corps was a public works program developed in 1933. It was created so poor and unskilled younger men would have the chance to earn a wage while helping to re-build the country. Sonny Fisher just saw it as his meal ticket. 

If it wasn’t for the CCC he’d likely starve or be shot. Either way, he’d be dead if he stayed back home in Ohio. Here he was in  Texas bustin’ his ass for pennies a day and good food.

While digging he struck an iron pot. Sealed with worn leather and covered in mildew. Gold coins?

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Idea Cycle

How I figure things out

Get an idea.
1. Read, hear or experience something inspiring. 
2. Obsess about it.

Research the hell out of it
3. Find several books at the library, in the bookstore 
4. Look online.
5. Watch videos.
6. Take a field trip. 

Document your findings
7. Take notes.
8. Take photographs or screenshots. 
9. Sketch. 

Apply what you’ve learned
10. Make something
11. Show someone. Let them know what you’ve learned.

Something else catches your eye.
12. See step 1