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A Letter From Hunter S. Thompson

By: calpoppy , 8:00 PM GMT on May 27, 2014

I have always liked Hunter S. Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism. Born in 1937 and died at the age of 67, in 2005. At his request at his memorial service his ashes were shot out of a cannon. If you ever saw Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, well that was Hunter, drug user and a big drinker. But he was a terrific writer, and I find this letter to be full of truisms!!!

A letter Hunter wrote to a friend when he was 22 years old. I saw this on Farnum street.

April 22, 1958
57 Perry Street
New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal— to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect— between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?

The answer— and, in a sense, the tragedy of life— is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

I’m going to steer clear of the word “existentialism,” but you might keep it in mind as a key of sorts. You might also try something called Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre, and another little thing called Existentialism: From Dostoyevsky to Sartre. These are merely suggestions. If you’re genuinely satisfied with what you are and what you’re doing, then give those books a wide berth. (Let sleeping dogs lie.) But back to the answer. As I said, to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors— but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires— including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life— the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN— and here is the essence of all I’ve said— you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.

Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve lived a relatively narrow life, a vertical rather than a horizontal existence. So it isn’t any too difficult to understand why you seem to feel the way you do. But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know— is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

If I don’t call this to a halt, I’m going to find myself writing a book. I hope it’s not as confusing as it looks at first glance. Keep in mind, of course, that this is MY WAY of looking at things. I happen to think that it’s pretty generally applicable, but you may not. Each of us has to create our own credo— this merely happens to be mine.

If any part of it doesn’t seem to make sense, by all means call it to my attention. I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that— no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.

And that’s it for now. Until I hear from you again, I remain,

your friend,

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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50. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
1:48 PM GMT on June 11, 2014
calpoppy has created a new entry.
49. clearlakemike
4:40 PM GMT on June 10, 2014
I walk on the paved asphalt on the streets with the dog. It is of such poor quality that it is great for walking, lol. Porous and provides a "bounce" which a cement surface does not. Sort of like a running track surface. We used to go walking with her on a lava trail adjacent to the subdivision in a state park. The lava is broken up into small pieces. Hard for me to walk on it but she seemed to have no problem with her paws. Their paws toughen up. The cats walk around on the rough a'a lava around the house with no problem at all.

I stopped going to the state park as this awful woman that mutters threats at me in front of the local grocery store was at the hiking trail the last time I went and was muttering her same threats again at me. I don't feel safe there. Plan to hike in the other adjacent park, federal land that is an extension of the National Park which surrounds us on two sides. Unfortunately, they don't allow dogs out on the trails like most National parks. We are surrounded by hiking trails and parks here but I have bad encounters in the state parks, mauka and makai. National Park land is always a pleasant experience. This is a great island for hikers. The hike down into the Kilauea caldera is fascinating and a good hike. Steep return up out is a great work out. But I advise staying out of the state parks in Ocean View area...too many weirdos.

Kirkwood is near Lake Tahoe. Yes, Yosemite in the fall is much better. It is a mad house in the summer months, LOL.
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48. Ylee
1:34 PM GMT on June 10, 2014
Two words: Adblocker Plus.
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47. calpoppy
1:31 PM GMT on June 10, 2014
Hi MIke! How does walking on the lava affect your dog's paws? On your side of the island the hiking would be nice! To be able to have such a big elevation change!!!

Kirkwood would be out of Yosemite? I have never been to Yosemite, to many people for us. But it would be nice to travel there in the fall. I would like to see half dome!

A while ago some bloggers here would put a word in a comment to see what ad would come up! So I am not surprised that REI has now shown up on your blog, LOL!

HI WW! Butterfly and Shooting Stars are up in the gallery. The butterfly was just so beautiful and different!! And Shooting Stars are one of my all time favorite wildflower!

HI GG! Thanks, it is nice to be home, I think! Way to hot for me right now. We haven't reached 100 yet but it has been hovering around 97 and 98! Cooler tomorrow down to the low 90's. It was windy yesterday and with the heat I had to go out and water some plants to keep them from stressing!

It will be fun to have Brody here, and my DIL has never been here. Don't know if she knows what to except. One room cabins aren't common where she grew up, LOL! I told them it would be like an RV park, with WIFI, a dump station, electrical and wildlife, LOL! My son already warned me that Brody likes to chase critters, so he hopes my peacocks do not suffer a heart attack. I told them they do fly and can easily escape from the clutches of a almost 3 year old, LOL!
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46. GardenGrrl
10:12 AM GMT on June 10, 2014
Hey Welcome Back! Sounds like you had fun and even more fun coming up. I know T&T are really going to appreciate the kiddie pool and a kiddie to play with in it. Take pictures and videos cause you know way later on these will be important.
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45. WeatherWise
12:11 AM GMT on June 10, 2014
Okay, I will be waiting for your posting of the blue butterfly and the shooting star wildflower pics.
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44. clearlakemike
8:50 PM GMT on June 09, 2014
calpoppy, I have an old WU membership and get ads. Now I am seeing REI advertisements!!!! LOL

Yes, I noticed the elevation and your gain...that is quite a climb!! I sometimes walk up 600'. I could go even higher. The subdivision I live in goes from 2000' to 5000'. It is the biggest single subdivision of land in the US. The ascent in a car takes about 15 minutes and goes up quickly in about 10 miles over lava and kipukas on the southwest rift zone of Mauna Loa - which tops out at over 13k.'. Just above the subdivision are volcanic vents that have historically erupted massive lava flows within hours over this area.

We use to enjoy hiking and camping at Woods Lake near Kirkwood. Beautiful area with a not too overly challenging day hike up to the lake. Can't remember the elevation there.
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43. calpoppy
7:01 PM GMT on June 09, 2014
Hi Bug! I think man is a hazard to wildlife!!! I guess all we can do is clean up our part of the world, and not leave a trace in the wilderness areas. We made sure our campsite was spotless when we left. Most of the dispersed camping in that area are real nice, most people that go there care. Now in the Mojave that is a different story, the dispersed camping areas were just littered, and broken bottles from people shooting, illegal of course!!

Hi WW! May favorite shots were up at the lakes, though everywhere was a picture! Tomorrow I am posting the blue butterfly and the shooting star wildflower pics.

HI Mike! 400' is a good elevation gain for keeping your heart rate up! I think on our hike the elevation was the killer. We spent two days acclimating to the altitude before we took off for the hike. The hike itself wasn't super hard, you are just going up continually. We encountered snow over the trail several times, and had several creek crossings. Two which were leaping from rock to rock, fun!! I think I got wore out at the end just carrying that heavy Nikon camera and then my Panasonic too! The trail actually goes on from East lake and continues to I think 3 more lakes. There is snow in some places up there all year long.

Hi Reno! Thank you!!! I am sure you know the area. It would be awesome in the fall with all the Aspens!!!!

Hi Ylee! Like I told Mike I think it would be the altitude that would get you before the hike did!! My legs were really tired at the end, Mr. P just keeps going on at a fairly fast clip and I kept getting farther back, LOL!! And he is 11 years older then me!!! I know I'll get back to work, LOL!!! Glad you enjoyed, your turn will come to see all the west has to offer :))

HI WTS! The daytime highs were in the mid 70's with one day in the high 60's. One night of 28 degrees (we have a indoor outdoor thermometer, weather nuts} We had 3 T-storms that dropped some rain but never quite got to us full on.

This weather here really sucks, LOL!!

So Nate and family I think are in Portland or headed to Portland today. They will probably stay there a couple of days. Since I only get to be a grannie occasionally, I headed to the store to buy some movies and a toy for him. I also stopped at the Mono lake ranger station when we were coming home( great ranger station) and got Brody a Junior Ranger backpack. Okay I know he isn't even 3 yet, but he might use it a little later, LOL!!! Mr. P is headed to town to find a kiddy wading pool. Am I excited, you betcha, LOL!!!
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42. clearlakemike
5:55 PM GMT on June 09, 2014
Beautiful photos! Beautiful place! What was the temperature there? I did a 5 mile walk with my dog on the streets around here yesterday with elevation gains of 400 feet. Takes a long time for my legs to warm up. Not sure I could do a hike like that all in one day...might have to pack a small tent and a sleeping mat, LOL.
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41. WatchinTheSky
5:51 PM GMT on June 09, 2014
Really nice photos, a bit of snow left - but what were the day temps, 60s? Looks like you came back to summer in the High Desert! Yay, company!!
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40. Ylee
3:52 PM GMT on June 09, 2014
Fabulous pics, cal! Once again, I'm sooooo jeaslous, lol! Ten miles is a long hike! Don't know if I could do that without working up to that mileage!

Glad TNT ahd a good time, too! Now get back to work, lol!
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39. RenoSoHill
2:11 PM GMT on June 09, 2014
Great series of photos - thanks for taking us along! Congratulations on the AC in the series.
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38. clearlakemike
5:12 PM GMT on June 08, 2014
Surprised to see snow still on those peaks, calpoppy. But I guess there was some last of the season storms as I remember being reported as California went through its record dry winter. Good to see it green there also. G and I use to hike on the western side near Kirkwood and also up along Hwy 4. Some years there was lots of snow still left even in July. Lots of mosquitoes also.

Must be that snotty LA crowd up there strutting in their REI ensembles. I hope your poor fashion victim on the PCT made it home in one piece.

Photos are great!! Glad you had a good time!

The Doc and others are reporting that there is a good possibility of a moderate to strong El Nino developing. Hopefully, that means more rain and snow for the Sierras next season.
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37. WeatherWise
5:08 PM GMT on June 08, 2014
Just saw your last four shots! Fantastic! Congratulations on AC photo!

Willows and pine Still has snow Taking a hike along Green Creek Looking down on the valley 
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36. palmettobug53
4:52 PM GMT on June 08, 2014
Cal, the trash problem would be solved if people would quit throwing their crap on the ground instead of carrying it out or putting it in available containers.

As for the balloons, they're fun and colorful but they can be hazardous to wildlife. Not to mention the fact that what goes up must come down and they'll litter up the landscape somewhere.

Well, I thought it looked like a mocker but it's sure colored/marked different from ours.

YAY! Nate and family will be with you shortly. I know you're looking forward to having them visit.
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35. calpoppy
4:39 PM GMT on June 08, 2014
We got back yesterday late afternoon! It was an amazing trip, we did NOT want to come back, that is for sure! We did a 10 mile round trip hike, 1400' elevation rise, to two alpine lakes, Green Lake and East Lake. Peace, tranquility, and my legs were just a bit rubbery the last 2 miles back, LOL!! These two old folks still got it going on!!!! Lots, and lots of pics, I will be putting them up each day. Lots to do at home, as Nate and family will be here this weekend if not a bit sooner. TNT had the time of their lives, a huge meadow with native grass and wildflowers to play in. A creek to drink from and sometimes fall into :) And the biggest, neatest hike of their lives. Oh, and they did reek a little havoc on the poor native squirrel population (sorry squirrels).

Hi Mike, LOL, soup nazi!!!!!! Now the people who were hiking in the Sierra Nevada shopped at REI, LOL!!!

Hi Ylee! Pretty sharp image on the Mocker! Still lots to figure out on the new camera. Thanks for the bump!

Hi WW! Nice pic of the Stella De Oro, they are very prolific bloomers!!! I took both my cameras, my old friend the Nikon and the new Panasonic.

Hi GG! What a great story and you tell it soooo well!!! I saw your peacock blog, my peacocks are jealous of those in your pics, as they probably won't have much of a tail to tell anyone about, LOL! To many rocks and dirt out here breaks off those pretty tail feathers.

Hi Bug!!! The balloons made me look like a hoochy coochy lady, LOL! We pick up trash all the time, balloons always seem to land out here, we are always stuffing them in our pockets. Glad to hear you do the same, if we all picked up the trash the world would sure be prettier!! I also stop on our road and pick up errant grocery bags, I hate plastic bags!!! I use a neat resuable bag that attaches to the sides of the grocery cart! It can carry up to 40#'s!!!

Oh, that is a Mockingbird!

A new blog a commin' but not for a couple of days, loads of laundry and grocery shopping to do. Vacation over :((
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34. palmettobug53
3:49 PM GMT on June 08, 2014
Ooooh, I can't wait to hear about your trip to the Sierras.

Dang! Wish I could have seen you with those balloons tied to your waist! LOL

You and Hubby and I must be related. We all pick up trash.

I get horrified remarks from the girls at work, if they see me at it outside the office. "You're picking that up with your bare hands?! That's NASTY!" My reply is, "That's what soap and water are for."

The stretch of sidewalk in front of the office on down to the bus stop just a few steps away is always littered with trash. AND THERE'S A TRASH CAN RIGHT THERE AT THE BUS STOP! People are such slobs.

And I'm not going to get into the subject of trash (and worse) on Everest.

Is that a catbird in #28? It looks just like our mockers, except for the color and lack of markings.

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33. GardenGrrl
3:08 AM GMT on June 07, 2014
Hi, hope you are having fun. You really should have taken a selfie of the balloons wrapped in an environmentally responsible way around your waist.

I'm debating about whether I should recount my story involving a full bouquet of helium balloons attached to a construction barrier that was much too close to the city bus I was riding in while on my way to work and it was hot and crowded so I leaned out the window for some fresh air and subsequently became entangled in said helium balloon bouquet that then suddenly became attached to an officer of the law as the bus started moving again to which to bystanders may have thought looked like a tug of war for the balloons between a bus passenger leaning out a window and a police officer and I was mortified to think so but the ribbons had completely ensnared my arm which was quite alarming as the bus was now moving and the helium balloon bouquet was being stretched taut between myself and the officer when suddenly a balloon popped and it gave way from his hands as the busdriver just kept driving down the street unaware of the drama that was playing out so in the interest of public safety and to prevent further helium induced mayhem I reeled the bouquet in balloon by balloon through the bus window as all the passengers clapped and cheered my selfless act of civic duty and by golly it felt good to do public service so when I got to my job which was reading case files to a blind attorney and explained what had happened she laughed so hard and kept laughing every time she heard the balloons bounce along the walls and ceiling that the next time I went to read for her they had given her her own office with a door so she would not be disturbed when I came to read for her again which just goes to show the kind of good karma that comes from being environmentally and safety conscious regarding errant bouquets of helium balloons.
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32. Ylee
2:00 AM GMT on June 06, 2014
Just giving your blog a bump, and hoping that your trip is going well!
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31. WeatherWise
7:43 PM GMT on June 02, 2014

Hi Calpoppy, Can't wait to hear all about your trip to the Sierras! Sounds like such fun! Hope you take your new camera along. Happy June Days of Summer! I had three Stella de Oro Daylilies in bloom today! Should have zillions but last year right after I said that some critter came and ate all of the tender buds. I hope that does not happen this year. My daisies are slow to bloom. I have one that is trying to open with several that will be right behind it. I just love the daisies and day lilies of June!

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30. Ylee
7:35 PM GMT on June 02, 2014
Is there any other way to be a photographer than to be lazy? ;' ) That's a great picture!

Have a great trip!
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29. clearlakemike
8:24 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
Ok, so now you are the hiking equivalent of the "Soup Nazi" lol...I use to love going into the REI store in Berkeley. Didn't buy much but it was fun to look at all the stuff. I thought San Bernardino went bankrupt, lol.

Have a fun time on your trip. Sounds wonderful!! I wish I had something nice like that to look forward to. Maybe someday....

Great pics from the new camera!!
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28. calpoppy
7:22 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
Tomorrow it is off to the Sierras! Getting everything loaded up today, plus cooking up some more dinners to take. That way I am not cooking all the time! We have to stow everything very well this time, 2 1/2 miles of dirt road here to the highway but there will be 8 miles of dirt road to the camping site!!!

I did my garden talk yesterday for the county of San Bernardino, it went well but the turn out was a bit sparse compared to the other few years. To late in the season, and school is already out so vacations may well be under way. The first talk for them I did, they provided everyone lunch complete with chocolate covered strawberries! Last year it was cookies from a bakery and donuts, this year its was water and a small bag of Famous Amos Chocolate Chip cookies, LOL!!!! I think the county has had some budget cuts, though they gave me a raise this year :)))

Thought I would put this up, not a great composition but look how sharp the pic is!!

I can be the lazy photog now and sit on my patio and take pics, LOL!

Hi Mike! I probably do sound like the fashion police, LOL! I just can picture what that kid's shoulders will look like with the pack straps rubbing on bare skin all day long!! Only REI certified clothing out there, LOL! Course today on my hike I would have been stopped! There was a whole string of half deflated balloons complete with curly ribbon hanging all over it. We pick up trash along the way that is blown in so I wrapped the string of balloons around my waist to carry back home. Quite festive, LOL!

HI Sandi! I joined the group but haven't put up anything yet, maybe when I get back from my trip. House ownership is a never ending project :) Enjoy your computer class!!!

HI SP!!! My oldest son is a Thompson fan, complete with a tatoo of some cover of one of his books, LOL!

There are a couple of birds in the desert with crests, the Phainopepla and the Titmouse. As far as how common the Western Kingbird is I believe they are quite widespread. Though honestly I haven't seen them anywhere else but here and at my neighbors up the way. I have 3 pair here, and soon many more :)) But they are the only ones with that little peak on the head that I have seen.

I finished my dish cloth and it even has a pattern that I had to follow. Easy and looks cool. I made it for the Minnie, but soon everyone on my Christmas lists will receive one, LOL!!!!!

Coastie son and family (yay Brody) will be here on the 14th. They are wandering somewhere in Canada right now. I know they planned on going to Banff and surrounding areas. I won't here from them until they get to the states as they declined to get international cell service. By the time they get to the states I will be still up where there is no cell service. One way or the other we WILL get together before they are far away once again .

HI Bug!! The raven and his/her mate are peanut crazy right now. They have their fledglings to take care of. They are really hard to photograph, or I should say to photograph well. Their black plumage can be difficult.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is overall an okay movie, but some of the scenes are incredibly funny to me. Like the bat scene, which is one of my all time favorites!!!

HI ronnm! Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog!! Thompson does remind me of Edward Abbey who is one of my favorite writers, even though he has written a few of the worst books ever, LOL! Abbey was always considered a environmentalist but he always denied it, he thought himself an anarchist. I believe that Thompson never wanted to follow the path of others but take his own path, wrong or right in that way he was very much like Abbey. Both men had drinking problems and social problems too. Abbey left his wife and young kids waiting for him in Las Vegas and never came back to get them.

I also think that in the letter Thompson was really getting his friend to take a creative path, a new path not predestined, which I think young people should take to heart.

Hi Pros!! Happy white rabbits x3 or is it Happy white Mimi's x 3, ohh that might be to many Mimi's , LOL!! I hope your eyes are doing better!!!!! And yes Hunters was very self destructive!!!

Hi YCD! You have been working hard for a retired person, LOL!!! The camera does what a very expensive long lens for my Nikon would do or almost do ;) And it is a heck of a lot lighter!!

Hi Linda!! Love that quote!!! And for everyone you should read the link that Linda left, it is worth the read :))

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27. Thoughtsteader
4:33 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - Hunter S. Thompson

That quotation's gotten me through more than a few situations!

Of interest might be this selection from a 19-year-old Thompson, published in Letters of Note. His fictional memorandum is hilarious. If only we had a couple of clones of this guy to insert into the bureaucracy today.
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26. ycd0108
2:29 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
Happy 32nd of May calpoppy:
http://www.objectmythology.com/juan-astica/113-ma y-32nd.html
Finally got to read Hunter's letter - I've always enjoyed what writing of his I have read.
Movies made from his books and the snippets of his life that appear in other media are generally entertaining but somehow miss the point(s).
That is some telephoto camera you have acquired!
The Raven seems to know he will be viewed by many.
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25. Proserpina
1:28 PM GMT on June 01, 2014
@Maria photo 20140530_7622June_zps39a99db8.jpg

A very smart 22 year old, and a very stupid 22 year old for getting into drugs and booze. Sometimes genius and stupidity (or is it hubris) go hand in hand. As I said, that a very astute, insightful, smart letter.

I hope that you are well.
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24. ronnm
5:36 AM GMT on June 01, 2014
Inversely, I'd guess I have at some time or other read most of his books. A great great talent. Similar to Jack Kerouac in that regard, wonderful to read but to my taste lacking a bit in logical aspect... both I'd say.
Curiously I had a acquaintance I used to spend hours upon hours with talking of things, who himself committed the big S due to in the main, unbearable back pain.

On this particular, in our object oriented way of looking at things to which we are always educated, or indoctrinated(I'd say I don't know which) of course a person must have a goal, a something to live for or up to. If it was found human was a participant in a herd always, as a herd animal of course providing a purpose would always be necessary.
Can we imagine a other? A place or way of being perhaps which is not herd? In such a place I would suppose a goal of being may not be so singularly important. Such a thing though not human perhaps found would be found to have no concern for this thing of purpose, this thing of needing to add to the herd what it is.
Then perhaps it would be able to only live enjoying this thing before us. Perhaps not I do not know.

Some say back pain, wether from injury, defect in mechanism or action, always is found in those who hold great anger, for themselves or others. I can not say if this is true or not, as my experience is incomplete.

Pain, suffering, goals to be met or not met, products of circumstance all, as Hunter displays. Our opinions also this context serves well.
Hunter….a great writer more than that I cannot say.
I have always wondered…..is a study of the need to establish such goals, (as Hunter describes), so conditionally formed…..is this a goal as well? Seems yes and seems no, the answer to that. If one was to form ones life upon that thing….could one possibly fail at that thing?

Curious that I'd guess, to think about that thing in this way. Hunter reminds me of one also who in a way did commit that thing. Edward Abbey, drank himself to death. Seemingly pursued by anger, as I'd guess was Hunter, back pain or not as evidenced, by closely following his writings. William Burroughs and the list goes on. All great fighters they say do have at their heart of hearts a problem with communicating, so they communicate with their fighting. I wonder at times if all great writers and communicators, do they have a problem of a different sort, a problem of anger in what circumstance they find before them, and their writings the form, they use to alleviate in part the feeling before them.

Pain suffering, many pass that without self infliction of death.. Is not that the reason why, this self infliction of death, anger. Pain suffering certainly but also accompanied by, for oneself, ones circumstance, or other,…. anger…. seems so.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
23. palmettobug53
10:32 PM GMT on May 31, 2014
Hi, Cal.

Did The Raven mutter, "Nevermore" as you took his picture? lol

Really nice selection of photos and I chuckled nervously at your description of that inappropriately dressed hiker. Even though I'm not a hiker, I do have common sense and I've a feeling he'll learn his lesson - painfully. OUCH.

I do know who Hunter S. Thompson was and that he was er.. shall we say .... quite the character? For whatever reason, I've never read any of his books nor have I seen 'Fear and Loathing.' I'm sure HBO or Showtime has aired it at some point but I either missed the fact that it was on or there was something else on that I really wanted to watch.

I guess I ought to add his book and the movie to my 'must read or see' list.

I remember when Thompson committed suicide. I think Linda did a blog on WP right after that. I also recall that Depp arranged and paid for the funeral. It seems to me that there was some kind of red tape to-do over getting permission to dispose of Thompson's remains by cannon shot, too, but I can't swear to that.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
22. sp34n119w
8:47 PM GMT on May 31, 2014
My nephew was a senior in High School when he discovered Thompson, bought some aviators and a trench coat and a cool hat, and wore them everywhere for the next few years. It was pretty funny. Not that he didn't rock those shades but that his notion of risk-taking is driving to the grocery store with only half a tank of gas in the car. So many things could go wrong!!! lol
I think he liked Thompson precisely because he (my nephew) is not a gonzo anything.

Those photos of the birds are really spectacular! If that's what you can do right out of the box I can't wait to see what happens when you master the new camera.
Is the Western Kingbird pretty common out there? I ask because I saw a bird on top of a Joshua Tree (on that last trip out there) that had just a little peak on its head but the lighting and distance kept me from seeing much else and I wonder now if that's what it was. Your photo definitely looks like what I saw, but that was weeks ago. I'd asked a birder at the Poppy Reserve but she said there are no birds with peaks in the desert.

Your mountain hike sounds wonderful, even if you lost some photos (and, nearly, your buddy, lol). The lupine are so pretty and your description of the long view is perfect.

How long until you get to see your grandson? (I'm supposing they haven't already been and gone but maybe I missed it, I've been so absent.) Hope they are enjoying their trek!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
21. sandiquiz
7:32 AM GMT on May 31, 2014
I hadn't realised you had joined the Panasonic group!

I had to go and look which one you have ....the Fz 200. I have the 150 but will be upgrading to the 250, which I guess will be launched later this, or early next year!! Can't afford to upgrade right now, the house needs new windows:-(

I will not be as 'visible' for the next six weeks, but when I need a break from mind stretching algorithms, I will drop by WU to check up on you all:-)
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20. clearlakemike
2:33 AM GMT on May 31, 2014
Thank you for the Fashion Police report from the PCT, calpoppy!! Sorry to hear about the SD card :/...Looks really nice up there! Ba’adan mibinamet بعدأ میبینمت...
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
19. calpoppy
8:35 PM GMT on May 30, 2014
First off I had a great time hiking yesterday, despite that fact that I lost my friend, just for awhile but I was concerned!! It would be really difficult to get really lost up there, but I guess if it can happen it will. Then when I got home and put my SD card into Aperture, it took forever to download then 90% of the pics were just file names, no pic. right now I am assuming that it was because of the cheap SD card included with the camera. I have up at a job all morning so now I can try my camera with a different SD card.

There is a water tower up on the mountain that has an observations deck, up we went and what a view, the desert to the north and east and nothing but mountains to the south and west, but alas those are some of the pics that were lost. But on the up side it doesn't take much but a bunch of hiking to get there :))

And then while I was waiting for Jen (whom I thought might be lost) I saw a young man with his mother and brother. He was getting ready to do at least part of the PCT, but you should have seen his pack and his clothes!! OMG!!!! He was wearing those nylon shorts that runners wear, then to make it worse he had on a nylon tank top complete with stars and stripes. His pack was actually round from all the gear he packed with a bright pair of orange tennis shoes hanging out, LOLOLOLO! His shoulders will be rubbed so raw, that kid will not make it to far at all. I have seen many strange things that PCT hikers have had, one being a lawn chair tied to this backpack the other a rifle that this guy was carrying, which made me a bit uneasy. But this kid takes it all :))))

I am impressed with the quality of the zoom, now the photographer behind the camera is a different story, LOL!!! I am sorta all thumbs right now, it has way to many gadgets :) And yes my Nikon will be my go to camera, but the zoom on the panasonic will be great for birds and critters.

Hi BF! Holy cow, do you think Hunter has done a few drugs in his life, LOLLOL!!! Thanks for the link, it sure made me laugh! Oh I took two more shots of the silver lupine in which you can comment on :))

HI Briar! I think the raven is an older one, did you notice how old his beak looks?? His kids (yes, I think it is a guy raven) have shiny new beaks, LOL!

I am trying to get a very good shot of the raven, there is an artist at Goff's who is very good and paints from photos. I have always wanted a neat picture of a raven, so now I can at least try and get the one I want myself and have her paint or do a pen and ink or charcoal.

I know happy dancing all the way with our sidebar back!!!! Also on my phone the gallery pictures actually slide over like they are supposed to do now, LOL!

Hi WTS! Hey, this camera is both my birthday ( a long ways off) and my Christmas, plus probably a lot more at least according to Mr. P ;))

Hi PSP! Isn't it great!! I am not good at looking at the gallery so I know I have missed many neat photos!!! We had to put them up on our blog so our friends could see them :)

Hi Sandi! Thanks for the comments and the voting!!! You have a great weekend too. I think we are all looking forward to your computer course, LOL!!!

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
18. sandiquiz
3:18 PM GMT on May 30, 2014
Came by, saw the photos in your group of four, so wandered off and left several votes and a couple of comments, meaning to come back.... but forgot!! lol

That's what getting old does for you!! lol

Have a happy weekend:)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
17. PugetSoundPost
2:49 PM GMT on May 30, 2014
It is great to be able to actually FIND and SEE your new photos with the new camera! I am happy for the return of the 4 recent photos, and actually just even a link to people's photos. Thanking WU for doing this. You have some great new shots that I spent some time enjoying.

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16. WatchinTheSky
4:37 AM GMT on May 30, 2014
Looks a little windy in the full raven photo! Getting a little antsy looking at the photos from GG's and your new cams ;) Shoot, and birthday has already gone by...
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15. BriarCraft
10:26 PM GMT on May 29, 2014
Thanks for the intro to Hunter Thompson. Have I been living under a cabbage leaf, that his name doesn't ring any bells?

Love your new camera! What awesome detail on the raven's head! And the western kingbird is so cute.

And don't you love that the 4 photos are back in the sidebar?! The click-through wasn't working on them for me, but "calpoppy's Wunder Photos" link below them worked just fine.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
14. Barefootontherocks
3:32 PM GMT on May 29, 2014
"I'm a binge writer..."
~Hunter S. Thompson
(video link of Letterman show when Rum Diary was released)

Was trying to rate the Silver Lupine photo, but looks like it is a portrait. Anyway, I like it a lot!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
13. GardenGrrl
3:11 PM GMT on May 29, 2014
Hi, those are some good shots. The camera does black quite well. Yes, the Nikon will always be your first love and go to camera when you have time to compose, but the new camera will give you a lot more freedom of mobility. It is very nice to not lug a lot of equipment and to get the far away shots.

Have fun!

Oh, and hope the raven becomes a fun wild friend. They are such smart birds but hide your shiney stuff.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
12. calpoppy
2:40 PM GMT on May 29, 2014
Hi Mike! Some very funny scenes in that movie!

I have a ways to go on the new camera, the old learning curve. It is a pretty simple camera though, just trying to keep the background from blowing out, like on the first raven pic! I will be taking it up to the mountains for another mountain hike today. Still love my Nikon though, it is an old friend!!!

Hi WW! I can't believe they put the photos back, hooray for WU! They really listened, LOL!!!!!

Hi BF! For a 22 year old he had a very wise philosophy!!! Though he was quite the terror in his own personal life! Isn't that the way it is some times ;) I have enjoyed some of his books, others not so much, but all were interesting!!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
11. Barefootontherocks
3:04 AM GMT on May 29, 2014
What fun reading. Thanks for the post. My philosophy jives with his.

Who you are is not what you do but how you do it.

Normally I am not on new wu because of the crawly script but tonight I am and, yes, I also see the blog's four photos have been restored.
Have fun with your new camera, calpoppy.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. WeatherWise
1:51 AM GMT on May 29, 2014

How exciting - a new camera! Nice photos! Did anyone notice besides me that the latest 4 photos are back in NUWU? Now if they would only fix my link button. Of course, I have not reported it except in Briar's latest NUWU tips blog. Interesting letter in your blog entry.

Your latest four photos:

Western Kingbird read for take off Raven Ready for takeoff Silver lupine 

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
9. clearlakemike
12:56 AM GMT on May 29, 2014
I didn't notice the cactus...I was just so spellbound by them, the car and the music, LOL. And my memories flashing through my mind! I watched it several times too, lol. If they filmed that in Arizona as the locale for Barstow then yes it would belong. I guess they thought a lot of people wouldn't catch that. No saguaro near Barstow or Vegas and any points between. Yes, I think it was an Impala or a Caprice, can't remember now. My mother, and I, loved that car!! It was that same exact color with the white interior. Oh, yes, the music was great...like going back into time....

Congratulations on the new camera!! Great photos...especially like the third one down of the raven.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
8. calpoppy
12:37 AM GMT on May 29, 2014
I have to share a couple of photos I took this afternoon with my new Panasonic lumix FZ200. After waiting patiently ok not so patiently for the battery to charge I got some shots of the raven and the Western Kingbird!!!

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
7. calpoppy
5:18 PM GMT on May 28, 2014
Did you notice the saguaro cactus! I do believe they made a mistake sticking it there, lol!! A Joshua tree would have been a bit more appropriate ;)

I don't know cars to well, was that an impala?

The music just brings it all back :))
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
6. clearlakemike
4:32 PM GMT on May 28, 2014

That movie clip was my typical day after high school!!! Even the same exact car, lol. It was my mother's car and she let us use it. And the music blaring out of it the same as the soundtrack, LOL! The trunk wasn't as well stocked, lol. But we were still tripping the light fantastique...

Is Amanda headed toward us? I hope so. The bigger the better!!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. calpoppy
3:39 PM GMT on May 28, 2014
HI Mike! Aren't they cool, man!! Aviator style?

Hi WTS! Farnum Street has many, many interesting things on it, a very good site! How come we don't get any moisture from Amanda, NOT FAIR!!!!!

Hi Ylee! He did, he was always on the cutting edge of things, LOL!

Here is a link to a movie clip of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, one of my favorite scenes from the movie, the bat scene, LOL! Now I did not put up the video (I can do those things now, lol) because of some bad language. Johnny Depp is perfect as Duke! Link

Nature talk! We now have 3 fledged ravens from our resident pair of ravens. If you have ever hear raven fledglings you will know who loud, noisy and cute but annoying they are! Anyway I really enjoy them, between them and the peacocks blowing their air horn sound right outside of the cabin before dawn, there is no sleeping in here, LOL! Lots more fledglings, the California thrashers, the scrub jays and the endless parade of sparrow and house finch fledglings! Waiting for the Western Kingbirds and the Orioles to fledge. The scrub jays fledglings are a little less annoying then the ravens, LOL! Also Mr. P is now making one of the raven adults a semi tame pet, with peanuts, LOL! With Shorts it was almonds ( our semi tame antelope valley ground squirrel).

My new camera comes today!!! Don't you just love Amazon Prime!! It will be a great compliment to my Nikon D90! I have wanted a longer lens (who doesn't) but didn't want to lug a huge lens around, plus the cost, plus having to use the tripod all the time. So this Panasonic will be just right with a zoom to 600mm. My Sigma 70-300 lens takes okay pics, but is sooo slow, but it was a really inexpensive lens.

Cooler today, yay!! I am already sick and tired of the 90's and so are the pups! They will be back though, on that I am sure!
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4. Ylee
3:56 AM GMT on May 28, 2014
Hunter did a selfie? :' )
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3. WatchinTheSky
3:24 AM GMT on May 28, 2014
That's a lot of insight and, I think, level headedness from a 22 year old.
Hmmm... Now another site bookmarked requiring frequent check backs. :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
2. clearlakemike
9:22 PM GMT on May 27, 2014
Love the sunglasses!! And the letter he wrote to his friend also, lol...
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1. calpoppy
8:07 PM GMT on May 27, 2014

Hunter S. Thompson
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

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About calpoppy

If it is wild to your own heart. Protect it. Preserve it. Love it. And fight for it. Rick Bass

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