taking time OFF AND LOOKING FOR CONTEXT
21 January 2023
I am looking forward to downtown Portland tomorrow. For Vancouverites, that must sound shocking for a few reasons. One is the traditional rivalry between the cities, separated by the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Another is simply the wariness most people have of going to downtown Portland with all its complications. However, for me the reward with really be at the end of the journey. I am going to see the Shen Yun, Chinese performers.
I am taking my friend Enola. She told me that seeing them has been one of her life’s dreams. So we have pooled our resources, pulled out dress clothes, and will be part of the spectacle. This will not be my first time seeing this kind of performance. About six years ago, I attended another Asian acrobatic/dance troupe performance in Portland.
That time, I was on a date with an Asian-American woman with ethnic Chinese roots. She wanted to share her heritage with me, so throughout the performance, she whispered commentary about cultural context. Sometimes it was about the traditional meaning of colors, to symbolism of clothing, or mask design, etc. Every gesture and action had cultural meaning she told me. While I appreciated the insight, I came wonder who much of this context she knew for sure, and how much she was making up.
One portion of the performance portrayed a young warrior prince meeting a beautiful princess (don’t stop me if this sounds familiar). They walked around a garden of delights together, until an army of demons arrived on ropes. After a short struggle they beat the prince, and stole the princess. (I told you, don’t stop me if this sounds familiar.) A handful of the demons surrounded the prince, who lay beaten on the ground.
“You can tell those are demons,” my date told me in a stage whisper. “You can tell because they are wearing masks, each of which portrays a famous mythological demon.” The demons began circling the prince, yelling taunts at him.
“OK,” I whispered back. “I get you can tell those performers are demons, because of the masks. But…”
“But what,” she sounded a bit impatient.
“Why are they riding unicycles? What’s the cultural significance of demons riding unicycles?”
There was a long silence from her. Finally she said, “That’s probably something the dance choreographer put in to make it more exciting.”
“Oh,” I said. We finished watching the performance with a bit less commentary.
Planning for 2023 Events
20 January 2023
This week has been very busy. I have been trying to set up my schedule of events for 2023, and a bit beyond. This year, I am actively looking for events related to ghosts, cryptozoology, and entertainment having to do with ghosts and cryptozoology. I am lucky I live in the Pacific Northwest, where there is strong interest in all three. I remember when I was growing up, I had a reputation for being slightly creepy for my interest in the paranormal. I recently went to my high school reunion, the first time in over a decade. I found that society has caught up with me in being weird and slightly creepy!
I will be at Squatchfest 2023, in Kelso, WA, the weekend of 27 and 28 January. Unfortunately, I will not be on any panels, but I will attend one or two, if I can find someone to help out at my sales booth. One of the main speakers is Jeff Meldrum, who has been researching and writing on Bigfoot for decades.
In February, I will be at Fan Expo Portland from 17-19 February. In prior years, this was known as Wizard World Portland. I will be set up in the Author’s Alley most of the event. However, I expect to be on a few author panels as well. If someone wants to learn about self-publishing, or researching the paranormal, stop on by. My friends Rock Smith and Aaron Collins may be by as well.
In late March, the Oregon Ghost Conference takes place in Seaside, Oregon. I applied late for a vendor/display table. Let’s see if I can get one. If not, I will probably be walking around, or attending various talks and training sessions.
In addition to the paranormal, I still research and write on military history. If you are interested in this, I host military history talks about the Vancouver Barracks, WA. Check out the Vancouver Barracks Military Association website for our schedule: http://www.vbma.us/projectsTalks.html
I will post more about events from April through Halloween as we get closer to those dates.
Why Change Websites Now?
19 January 2023
This is my first spontaneous blog entry in new website. My introductory statement (above) was a bit less spontaneous. So where do I start? Which is more of a rhetorical question. Let me start with some reasons why I am changing over from an information based webpage to this personal webpage style.
Probably the biggest reason is to stay relevant. I have maintained a web presence for over 20 years now. When the general public started using the Internet, it was to cache and share information. At that time, I fit right in; I was an archaeologist and researcher, switching to paranormal researcher. In the years since, the Internet is still a place to store and share information, but is much more.
Now the Internet is a place where many people live a majority of their lives. That is not always a bad thing. You can get local and international news on the Internet. You can get sports and financial information on the Internet. You can talk to friends who live half the world away, on the Internet. You can meet that special someone and even get married on the Internet.
One of my younger friends, who is something of a social influencer and promoter told me, “Jeff, today, many people want to share the life-experience of people who do get out, go to interesting places, and do fun things. You should try it.”
“By that,” I asked, “Do you mean I should start following someone interesting on the Internet?”
“No,” he replied, “You’re interesting and you do fun and interesting things. You should post more of that on the Internet.”
Maybe it is modesty. Maybe it is a lack of self-insight, but I never considered myself that interesting, much less fun. Some people who know me think that I am boring. An opinion I share some of the time. Though I admit, I do some interesting things. So here I am, ready to share what I think are fun and interesting things that I do. I will do my best not to delve into politics or social commentary. That is the last refuge of people who do not have something interesting and fun to say. And there are some personal things I do not care to share; I hope you allow me some privacy.