toadstar2019’s Weblog


In the beginning was the word.
October 12, 2019, 2:52 pm
Filed under: Superstruct, Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

In the beginning was the word. And with the word came power. The power to change the world, to change peoples minds. Martin Luther showed the power of the word when he nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the power of Indulgences to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

I went to my study to hone the one weapon that I know the best, the one I know can start a revolution. The word.

I think about our journey, from Houston to here. A journey fraught with uncertainty and fear. I am reminded of Carl Sandburg and his poem ‘The People, Yes’ – a poem written for another generation of people who were forced from their homes in search of food and shelter, starving, hysterical, on the brink of madness. They went west to California, to fertile lands filled with green grass and promise. And like those people in Sandburg’s poem, we too will live on. We the learning and blundering people will live on.

I moved to Houston when I was 19. I didn’t want to move. Especially to Texas, but move I did. And after a while I made a life for myself. Found a girl, got married, had two children. I had settled there, found rootholds. I had always longed to leave the city. That humongous city without a center, without a heart. I wanted to go someplace smaller, someplace with seasons, but the rootholds held me fast. I didn’t want to leave our parents and extended families behind.

Until the storms started. In 2015 the Gulf Coast was ravaged by storms. Millions of people were displaced. Unwanted. Left behind.

After the first storm things slowly started to get better. Trucks of food and ice arrived on time. The local governments had learned from the mistakes of Hurricane Ike. They had local companies that stood in for FEMA. They could handle one storm. Not two. Not three. After the third storm-the infrastructure fell apart. People were left without food. Without water and power. Roads were blocked by debris. After six days without help; six days without hope, the people started to revolt. It wasn’t long before those in power declared a state of emergency, which quickly degenerated into martial law. We became prisoners in our own homes.

The National Guard and various government-hired mercenary armies took over our city, led by the Department of Homeland Security. They treated all of us like looters – and in their minds all looters are terrorists.

We woke up early one morning to the sound of a bunch of black suits storming my neighbors’ home. Bad information indicated that their oldest son was involved in the looting. They took his father, who suffers from ALS, and threw him to the ground. Took their guns and pointed them in his face. Yelling at him. Demanding answers. He had no answers, he can hardly speak. After their interrogation of him, one of them hit him in the face with his M-16 riffle, knocking him unconscious, as they dragged of his son, black mask forced over his face, mother, wife and child crying. Begging, not to take him away. The black suits ignored them.

It was soon after that we decided to leave. I couldn’t live in a city in which those who were brought here to protect us from terrorism, are worse than the terrorists. We had to leave. So we packed up a few precious belongings and headed west. Toward freedom.

In the darkness with a great bundle of grief the people march

In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the people march:

Where to? What next?



October 6, 2019
October 6, 2019, 10:27 am
Filed under: Superstruct | Tags: , ,

04-04-04 Crystal Beach, Galveston, Texas. I sit on the beach, stare out at the ocean and ponder infinity. I watch the waves roll and crash against the shore and be pulled back again much as they have since before humans crawled down out of the trees, since the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

I remember as a teen, walking along the beach with my mother, her telling me that she’d never met someone with his head so far in the clouds. I remember the North Sea and playing on a tidal island looking at all the animals that suddenly appeared as the tide rolled back. I remember hearing stories about the North Sea Flood of 1953. About all the family members who were taken out to sea, never to touch dry land again.

Time becomes unstuck-memories flow and roll over me like waves drowning me in the past. Yesterday my wife’s sister was married on the beach. After the wedding, I held my baby niece, wrapped up in a blanket, and walked up and down the shore with only the light of the moon to guide my way. I watched the waves and wondered what my future children would be like.

09-13-08 Houston, Texas. I wake up at three in the morning. The power is out. The wind is wailing. I’ve never heard wind like that. Hurricane Ike has hit land, the dirty side of the storm is going over my house. I walk over to the door to peek outside and step in water. The winds have blown the rain under the door. I find some towels in the dark and as I push them under the door to stop the rain I peek out the window. I watch a 40 foot tall pine tree whip around like a damp noodle. My fence is gone. Tree branches, leaves and pine needles fly down the street like so many humming birds searching for nectar.

For a minute I start to panic. Why on earth did I stay here, why did I put my family in danger? The mayor told us to shelter in place, but I fear that this was not sage advice. I wish for electricity, so I can watch the TV, check the internet, listen to the radio, anything to connect me to the outside world, anything to hear the weatherman tell me that it’s going to be okay. That we’re going to make it.

I attempt to sleep. To take my mind off of it. My sleep is restless, I toss and turn and hold my breath every time I hear the wind pick up.

Finally the sun comes out of hiding and shines it’s rays down upon the damage. I peek out the back window-the bushes are just bare branches. Half of the neighbors pine is gone. Fences everywhere gone.

Still it rains.

The wind blows.

My in-laws never lost power. We go there to seek shelter-food, lights, a warm bed. My family’s first experience as climate refugees.

The drive there feels like a dream. All the houses and buildings that I drive past are still there, but different somehow. Everything is changed like in some bad dream. Trees block the roads.

We get to my in-laws house and look at the damage on the TV. Galveston is ravaged. Parts of Bolivar Peninsula are totally wiped off of the earth. One house remains standing. All of it’s neighbors gone. The hand of God striking them down. Total devastation.

Crystal Beach is gone. The beach house we stayed at gone.

Thousands of people displaced. The island is closed, residents can’t even see if they still have a home to come home to. In the middle of the destruction, I feel lucky, blessed. I still have a home and my family is safe. I fear that next time I may not be so lucky.

10-6-19 Near Stonewall, Texas. I sit on my farm and look up at the moon. We’ve moved north since Ike.

Displaced.

Exiles.

More hurricanes came-they destroyed the shore, destroyed the cities’ infrastructure. We moved to higher ground. To the hill county, near the place were President Lyndon B. Johnson was born and raised.

It’s hot and muggy. My heart is heavy.

It’s been a week since the Global Extinction Awareness System released their report stating that mankind has about twenty-three years before our carelessness and stupidity removes us from existence. The reactions have been varied. Some are in shock. Some try and discredit the report. Some have chosen suicide.

The news took me by surprise too and I sank into despair. I felt as if I were drowning. The waves pounding against me until I fell and the riptide took me out to sea.

I remember all the other storms in my life, each another wave driving me further and further under.

Another wave hits me and I think of the weeks following Ike-the anger and frustration at not being able to fix it, feeling helpless.

Another wave, one of despair at the thought of leaving my house-leaving everything that we had built together behind.

Another, the fear and frustration of not knowing where to go, who to trust.

Another, the fear and paranoia of moving northward, through groups of other exiles, some with masks on, some sick with ReDS coughing, hardly able to move, helped along by others. I want to help, but the risk is too great. I have to protect my family-to see them through this.

It’s my family that pulls me out of the depths. From fathoms below, I hear them. Lucas and Logan. My pride and my joy. If GEAS is right my boys will be in their thirties when the world ends. That is too short. I want them to have families of their own. Grow old and gray. See what’s left of the world.

This realization steadies my resolve. I come to my senses and shake off the storm. My wife sees me and we share one of those looks that lets her see whats in my soul and she understands. She sits next to me and holds my hand.

“You’re going to fight to make things better aren’t you?” She said.

“I have to. For them.” I reply and go off to my study to write.



Lunch August 22, 2019
August 22, 2019, 4:11 am
Filed under: Superstruct | Tags: ,

I step off of the porch onto the back yard. The chickens are pecking at the grass and dirt looking for tiny morsels to eat. Goats earn their keep as mini lawnmowers, keeping the grass shorn close to the ground.

I look across the yard to the barn. Logan, my ten year old son is walking toward me, he pulls a red rag out of his back pocket and slowly dabs it at his brow. Heʼs been in the barn all morning working on our replicator. Heʼs been trying to replicate parts for our old 1950ʼs Ford tractor in time for the fall harvest. There are very few remaining parts available so heʼs trying and piece together the parts in CAD using old repair books and blueprints that heʼs downloaded.

Logan may only be ten, but his IQ nears 200. Heʼs had this innate ability to just piece things together ever since he was much younger. Ever since he was a newborn he was always trying to keep up with his older brother Lucas. He walked early, he talked early all in an attempt to keep up with his elder sibling. We home schooled the both of them; mostly we just let them go and figure out things for themselves, merely guiding them along the way. Both of them surpassed my mental abilities long ago. Now I spend most of my days in awe of them. Between the pair of them they managed to set up the maker shoppe in the old barn, build a replicator, set up a server, secure the property, among many other advancements to our little farm. With their help the farm is completely off the grid and self sustaining. We grow enough to keep us fed and taken care of, which is more than I can say for most.

Global warming hit harder than most of us expected, sea level rose, storms and drought destroyed much of the country and fresh drinking water is in short supply. It makes me look back on the turn of the century with a sense of shame-all those little plastic water bottles that we just wasted. Weʼre lucky enough to have found a good water supply under our property; we use it as sparingly as possible, using filtered grey water for most everything else.

Some days I feel like I spend most of the day worrying. I worry for the world that I have left my children, I worry about looters-starving and dying of thirst, but I have faith in my boys and I know that they have put their everything into helping me keep this place safe. I only wish that I could give them a better adolescence, one like I had, I feel like theyʼre growing up too fast, but this is the world we live in. They stand to do something that my generation will not-outlive their parents. Gone from their world are the chemicals and bastardized corn products that filled my diet, everything they eat, we grow. That gives us a sense of great accomplishment.

Today is one of those rare days when I forget all the worries of the world and loose myself in the moment. Today that moment is having lunch with my family. My wife and my boys. I look at Lucas and I remember ten years ago, taking him to McDonalds and feeding him food that I knew was bad for him, that I knew was depleting the rainforests, but I just didnʼt care. Apathy helped to create this global mess weʼre in and action is what is fixing it. So we live here on our steampunk version of ʽLittle House on the Prairieʼ and try and make the world better one day at a time.