I wrote a poem to my son – he thinks it’s hilarious

You didn’t even cry.

Just hunkered there in my arms

blinking with meek lids

staring

as if to say,

‘Is this the right place?’

Maybe it isn’t.

Maybe it is.

But there we were, the newest of companions.

If nothing else,

you were swift to stake your claim.

That time you loosed your little bowels

in my hands.

The dinner you gave back

while in bed

on my face

twice.

When you loosed expletives

at the bedroom door

as if it were a bartender

denying you a beverage.

The time you leapt headlong

into the filthy water

and nearly died

but came out laughing.

Your odd disdain for corn.

Your completely understandable hatred

of Mondays.

Your well-aimed,

tiny yet formidable

fists.

When you asked me

whether bubble gum counts as dessert.

The way food touching

pretty much causes

the end of the world.

Eccentricities, some might say.

The building bricks

of a child

one day a man.

Not to me.

These are the foibles of a friend.

The wisest sage among

little boys

the world has ever known.

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For more words, find me here. 

J Edward Neill

Every BAD review I’ve ever gotten

Hi.

I’m J Edward.  I write books.

I try to please my readers. I really do. I want them ALL to have a great experience whenever they crack the cover.

But…

We writers can’t please everyone. Not even close. Some readers will be indifferent, and others only mildly interested. And still others will be so non-entertained they’ll take to the internet to write a gut-busting negative review.

A lot of writers hate this part of the job. They’ll say they don’t mind a bad review or two, but then when it happens to them, they’ll be indignant, even angry. I’ve watched the cycle play out hundreds of times.

As for me, I cherish bad reviews.

“Wait, what?” you ask.

Let me explain.

First, a bad review gives me a glimpse of what I need to do better in my craft. If a reader puts together a thoughtful diatribe about how bad one of my characters sucked or how long-winded a chapter was, it’s an opportunity for me to improve.

Secondly, and 500% more awesome, is that I simply like reading bad reviews more than good ones. It’s fun for me in a way I’m not sure most writers understand. I savor the crappy reviews as much as I do the good ones. Even the ones written by vindictive trolls. (Yes, it happens.)

Hell…I’m considering writing something truly awful just to see how many bad reviews I can collect.

And so…

Here’s some of the most interesting bad reviews I’ve ever received. Each one is three stars or fewer. Each one appears on Amazon, Goodreads, or a similar site.

Oh, and these are verbatim. I didn’t edit or correct grammar or spelling mistakes. Oops.

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Down the Dark Path

2.0 out of 5 stars

By Shirley  on March 8, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition 

“Too bloody.”

*** Shirley’s right. It’s pretty bloody. Especially at the end. (Which means she read the whole thing. Cool.) 

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AND

1.0 out of 5 stars

 on December 17, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition

“ok so far..cool thing is free.”

 *** If this is the worst review I ever get on this book, I’m fine with it. It’s not like the reviewer paid for it. 🙂

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AND

Eugene rated it 2 out of 5 stars 

“The only complaint I have for this book is that it’s too damn long. I actually got so frustrated that I skipped a few chapters just to get to the end. The author changes perspectives (by that I mean switching to events happening elsewhere) at the most inopportune moments. So that’s two complaints I suppose. Oh, well. At least it gets better in the second book.”

*** Now this is a constructive review. After reading it (and others like it) I actually went back and chopped tens of thousands of words out. I did a total rewrite. Took me a year to finish. Ouch, but worth it.


**


The Fall of Castle Carrick

Reviewed by Martha in the United States on January 5, 2020

Format: Kindle Edition

 

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Reviewed by Lynguy in the United States on March 26, 2019

I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. This book takes place in the distant future and is relatively well-written despite a few editing errors. It deals with enhanced virtual reality, world building, how people with different priorities can become enemies, AIs, and high-tech war.

The main characters could have been better developed if the book was a little longer. However, the book was thought-provoking and had a different take on the subject matter than a lot of other sci-fi novels. I am glad I read it, but it did not blow me away.

 

*** This one is a thoughtful, well-written review. If all reviews were this insightful, I’d be one happy camper. 

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AND

Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2016

I’m not a huge fan of scifi, which is what this book screamed at me with its brief synopsis. I found that the cover art was what initially captured and pulled me in. The futuristic story was more captivating than I thought, but I wish the Author would have used other terms than “Jacked-In” or “un-jacked”. I found myself laughing when I read a particular sentence.

” Gerrard De Napoli, un-jacked himself…..”. Apart from some awkward terminology, I was sucked into the book. It’s dark, gritty and more terrifying than anything else, it’s a very believable concept!
*** Who doesn’t like to un-jack after a long, stressful day at work? Am I right??

**

 

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AND
1.0 out of 5 stars
No

Reviewed by Patryce in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition
*** Just ‘No?’ Come on, Patryce. All I ask is that if you’re going to crush me, do it with style. Give me more than, ‘No.’
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AND*

Format: Kindle Edition (101 Questions for Women)

“The author claims to have put on his filter in order to save the book from becoming chauvinistic drivel. While I appreciate the gesture, the book still is fairly chauvinistic and not too enlightening philosophically. The questions show a clear bias (e.g Do readers think of feminism as: a) somewhat useful b) silly c) much too confrontational) with the moderate path being laughably mainstream. Critical thinking and philosophical content (dilemma, insights etc) are incredibly thin. In short, the book focuses on the otherness of women from a masculine perspective. While this might help one feel special and while men frankly discussing their worldview can be rather enlightening in itself, I wouldn’t recommend the book to any woman interested in philosophy.”

*** Boy the ladies are really killing this book. Anyway, I can’t disagree with her. (I’m assuming the reader is a woman.) This book is def biased based on my masculine point of view.


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Darkness Between the Stars

Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2019

The first 60% of this book was about as exciting as listening to Tom Hanks talking to Wilson. Also, it appears that the MC is trying to grow up to be Ender Wiggins.
This story comes across flat; it is a galaxy-sized tale with a small, narrow, one person point of view. So much so that it takes away from the believability. There isn’t a lot of world building , and what is there doesn’t ring true according to the premise of the story. There is no depth to the characters, except maybe the MC. I also like to see more Science in a science fiction tale, and less magically produced technology that is all ultimate, unbeatable awesomeness, and is available even after long-term global war and collapse.
For the first quarter of the book, the MC doesn’t even leave the farm, and there is quite a bit of repetition of maudlin details throughout the book, as well as other filler.
Kudos the editor! I found only one spelling error, which is extremely refreshing. Thank you! However, what is up with the line spacing at the beginning of the chapters?Spoiler Alert:
Vampires? Vampires?? I almost quit reading the first time this word was used! Why do we even have to refer to worn out, over-used urban myths when in deep space? How is it even believable for the excessively sheltered MC to know about them, considering the world he came from? Isn’t it possible for a fertile imagination to come up with something (anything) original to name a group of energy-suckers?
*** Heyyyyy!! I liked the parts with Tom Hanks and Wilson, and I cried when Wilson died. 

Lords of the Black Sands

Reviewed in the United States on April 5, 2019

So, I won this as a GoodReads giveaway and decided to use this as a book for a reading challenge (category: giveaway). If I hadn’t had to finish the book to count it for the challenge, I probably wouldn’t have finished it.

Lords of the Black Sands is dystopian fiction, which I don’t mind in and of itself. But this is oppressively dark. It actually really reminds me of Orwell’s 1984, except 1984 was meant to be sociopolitical commentary, and Lords of the Black Sands is not. This might have been a decent story if not for the fact that reading it is a trial with pretty much no payoff. There were some better parts, but ultimately this is not a book that I would recommend and I’m happy not to have spent money on it.

*** I admit it. This book includes some pretty oppressively dark scenes. It wasn’t an accident. And it’ll probably happen again. 

 

101 Questions for Couples*

2.0 out of 5 stars

By kmcmur02 on September 6, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition |

It’s fine for getting some new questions but it’s very heteronormative and the questions largely focus around your relationship to each other, but not necessarily about how you as a couple relate the the world at large.

It’s pretty repetitive.

It also assumes some traditional gender roles, which didn’t really work for us, so we ended up skipping a bunch.

*** I guess the guy and girl on the cover didn’t give the theme away. My bad. 


 

 

Hollow Empire – Night of Knives

2.0 out of 5 stars

on December 15, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition| (Hollow Empire)

“I did not like it–it did not hold my interest so I only read a few chapters.”

*** I blame my co-author, John R McGuire. Just kidding. Love ya, John!

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Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2019

This book has questions to ask your friends or dates to generate discussion and get to know them better. For example, “If you died tonight, could it be said that you lived a good, fulfilling, and satisfying life? If not, what actions will you take tomorrow to make it so?” What is the noblest profession? What is the most despicable profession? Assuming you have a job, is there anything noble about it?”

The book has only questions, no answers, no discussions. If you have trouble coming up with questions for discussion on your own this book might be helpful. Frankly, I was hoping for something deeper and more interesting.

*** I appreciate this review. The reader could’ve slapped a cruel one-star on it and had a laugh, but instead hammered out a thoughtful few words. 

 

And lastly…positively, absolutely my favorite bad review of all time…

 

The Hecatomb

Reviewed in the United States on April 1, 2019

This writer is only prolific at making toilet paper, which is all this book is good for.
Simplistic writing at it’s worst. The hook was horrid and that was the best part. I do not recommend this book or this writer.
His writing style is very much the same as a preteen emo boy without the depth. Save your money, time and imagination for something else… anything else.
*** I seriously want a cat who poops books. It’d save me years of being emo, and I’d be able to blame the cat for everything!
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That’s all for now, folks. I promise, as soon as I gather up enough terrible book reviews, I’ll publish another one of these.
Until then, get to reading.
J Edward Neill

The Cure for Nothing – A cranky new poem

It shouldn’t matter whether

your mirror is cracked

or whole

or a pile of coins peering up at you

from some dank, municipal gutter.

The face looking back

isn’t yours.

You earn nothing.

Good or bad,

you deserve less.

The only meaning in your vibrant

but astoundingly brief life

other than the roses you never gave

the trains you never took

and the amber liquor you left

sitting on the counter

quarter-finished,

is the meaning you make for yourself.

The expressions of your waitress,

your pastor,

the doctor who will one day

pronounce you dead,

they are dust,

and you’d do well

to let them float right through

the bulbous lump atop your neck.

If having a god suits you,

don’t.

When prayer, the grand placebo,

seems to soothe you,

it doesn’t.

Whatever soul stirs

in the grey soup around your bones,

it isn’t meant for this place,

these sewer-pocked streets,

these placid suburban shacks,

the hum of your television

as it begs for your inaction.

You don’t belong here.

You never did.

You’ve always known as much.

But hell, you pretend just the same.

Don’t kid yourself.

The worth of your accomplishments,

the hill you slogged to climb

in your shiny new shoes,

in your robes

which made you look royal,

is to be the highest grain of rice

in a field soon to be harvested.

How does it feel

to be a crop?

It should be a wonder

to be so free.

To walk whichever street you want

humming a tune only you can hear

sowing the garden of your mind

with carrots, or pumpkins

or bales of black cigars

or with love

or hate

or with whatever idea, scrawled on a wad

of paper,

rolls up with the wind

and hits your heel.

Those problems you have,

the debts, the wheels falling off,

the heart raked over the coals

of your last great error,

the faults placed in yourself

or with anyone but,

those aren’t real.

You and your soul,

and your broken mirror,

you don’t belong here.

You never did.

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Read more J Edward Neill here. 

Fantasy Books you should read – Down the Dark Path

Down the Dark Path

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When Andelusia Anderae leaves home in search of a better life, she accidentally plunges into a world-ending war.

The deeper she falls, the more she senses the dark powers rising within…*


Twin Flames – A Brief Definition

Prior to 2018, I’d heard only faint glimmers of the term, ‘Twin Flames.’

It was a far-off concept, something I’d heard my Aunt Sue and her patrons banter of. It was an airy thing, difficult to catch, hard to hold onto, and nebulous.

I heard these glimmers and paid them no mind. A curiosity, it seemed. Nothing more. Nothing real. Certainly nothing I’d ever encounter.

It’s good to be wrong.

Today I know better.

If I had to describe twin flameage briefly, I’d use two words:

Gravity. And Inexorable.

Gravity, because it is an essential universal force.

Inexorable, because there’s nothing one can do to stop it.

Now, if I had to describe it at length, well…then…

Being one half of twin flame scenario is a life event without equal. It’s like winning the lottery and giving up half of one’s soul (willingly) all in the same five-minute span. It’s like being hit by a spiritual train, which, as it passes through one’s body, rearranges all things therein. You thought you knew your heart? You were wrong. You believed you were in total control of your life? Think again. You’ve been trucked by the universe, and now you are awake.

Twin flameage is the gravity between two souls, impossible to resist, which, with its power, can either create one complete (and possibly utterly joyous) entity, or two very much changed individuals. Actually, both are possible. To call it love is inaccurate, for even though love is a part of the inferno, there are other parts. A physical, sexual, intellectual, spiritual, emotional collision, not unlike two massive celestial bodies impacting each other with nuclear force…this is twin flameage. It promises nothing, changes everything.

Is it fate? No. Because although it may feel as if the two people involved in a twin flame collision are destined to be together, being half of the flame guarantees nothing beyond forceful change. The event tends to burn away most (if not all) of each person’s previous concepts of self. Personally, I find myself asking not ‘what have I become?’ or ‘how did I get here?’ but instead, ‘who was I before this?’ and ‘what do we do now?’

But there are no real answers. Like almost all genuine things in life, being part of a twin flame is not a question waiting to be answered or an objective at the end of some long road. It’s a force of nature. It’s a powerful, amazing, terrifying union of two people. It happens on what feels like an atomic level, as if both parties had once been born in the heart of the same star, and are just now remembering one another.

It’s likely all twin flame scenarios are subtly different, and yet equally unquenchable. Some flames might never recognize one another. Others might enfold each other in a spiraling, hot embrace which lasts their entire lives. Some might reject it. Some might flee. Some might dance around it, only to be slowly consumed. A thousand possibilities, all of which will change each person whether they like it or not.

If it happens to you, I won’t say to prepare yourself. You can’t. You’re not really in control anymore. All you can do is, when the gravity gets you and you catch fire with another, look it in the eyes and acknowledge it for what it is.

…a once in a lifetime chance.

 

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J Edward Neill is an author and (newly-awakened) romantic.
Learn more about him here.

The Fall of Castle Carrick – Tell Me Where to Send Your Free Copy

Alex O’Riley has always tried not to fit in. In his simple life, at his tiny Savannah house, he paints quiet masterpieces while living as a hermit.

But with one phone call from a brash New York lawyer, Alex learns he’s inherited Castle Carrick, the grandest castle in all of Northern Ireland.

At Carrick, strange and dark events begin to swirl ever closer to him, turning his hoped-for quiet life inside out.

Now he must decide: flee from Ireland and give up his inheritance…or embrace the dark power which compels him to paint wondrous, yet terrifying things.


Goodreads Giveaway – The Moon is Forever – A poetry book

Love.

Sorrow.

Hope.

Heartbreak.

Poetry of the Night contains powerful, expressive poems, each diving deep into individual life experiences

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Moon is Forever - Poetry of the Night by J. Edward Neill

The Moon is Forever – Poetry of the Night

by J. Edward Neill

Giveaway ends January 16, 2020.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Poetry of the Night – A New Dark Poetry Book

Love

Sorrow

Hope

Yearning

In their first published poetry book, J Edward Neill and H.R. Reiter touch on these subjects and more.

Poetry of the Night is full of powerful, expressive poems, written in free verse, meaning no attachment to form, structure, or rhyme.

Get it now…right here.

 

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Goodreads Giveaway – The Fall of Castle Carrick

Enter here for a chance to win one of 100 copies of The Fall of Castle Carrick!

Alex O’Riley has always tried not to fit in. In his simple life, at his tiny house, he paints quiet masterpieces while living as a hermit. But with one phone call from a brash New York lawyer, Alex learns he’s inherited Castle Carrick, the grandest fortress in Northern Ireland. At Carrick, strange and dark events begin to swirl ever closer to Alex, turning his hoped-for quiet life inside out.
Now, he must decide: flee from Ireland and give up his inheritance…or embrace the dark power which compels him to paint wondrous, yet terrifying things.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Fall of Castle Carrick by J. Edward Neill

The Fall of Castle Carrick

by J. Edward Neill

Giveaway ends December 24, 2019.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

7 Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids

 At the dinner table.

 On road trips.

 On slow winter nights.

 Anytime. Anywhere.

 Put your kids’ minds in motion.

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7 Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids


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The Gift

Tomorrow, when you wake up, there will be an object in your bedroom.

This object will be the thing you want most in life, the object of your dreams.

It can be anything you desire, so long as it really exists in the world.

What is it?

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One Word Answers

For each of the following things, say one word to describe how you feel about that thing.

Dogs

Fast cars

The moon

Winter

The ocean

Brussels sprouts

Art

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The Vaccine

 

If you could pick one thing in the world to never, ever be able to hurt you…

What would it be?

You can pick anything—fire, water, falling, a broken heart, bees, spiders, the flu…

Anything you want, and it can never cause you any harm.

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My Life as a Meteor

 

Pretend that all objects in the universe are alive. Rocks, water, wind, stars, comets, space dust, all of it.

And pretend you could become any one of these you choose. You’ll live as long as the object will exist and you’ll see whatever it experiences.

Name your choice.

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The Newest Avenger

 

Pick one of the following superpowers you’d like to have:

Flying

Invisibility

Super Strength

Super Intelligence

Super Speed

Water Breathing

Shoot Fireballs from your Fingertips

Now…pick your superhero name.

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Explore THIS!

 

If you could pick one of the following places to explore, which would you choose?

The bottom of the ocean

Outer space

The center of Earth

The inside of an atom.

An alien civilization.

Why?

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Heart Emoji

 

Most than anything else in the entire world…

…what makes you feel loved?


 

Want enough questions to keep your kids’ brains busy for days?

Go here.

For the Love of Vines – A Debut Novel from author N.L. Hurtic

A young woman approaching her 21st birthday…

A mysterious phone call from a foreigner who claims to be a relative…

Against her better judgement, Aurora follows her intuition, journeying beyond her familiar town in which she’s lived all her life…

Way down to the deep south…


For the Love of Vines

An urban fantasy novel

From debut author N.L. Hurtic

the Hecatomb – ‘heka’tom/

In a drowned village, on a dark shore, in a city of white stones, an ancient evil stalks.
It has no name, no face, and no desire but to see the death of everything…
…and everyone.
Down through the ages it exists, sleepless and void, a relic from the world before humanity.
One dead. Every night. Forever.
Until nothing remains.

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Hecatomb – ‘heka’tom/ (noun) – An extensive loss of life for some cause.

or…

The name of my terrifying new novella.

 

 The Hecatomb includes 4 short stories, each connected, each taking place in the same world.

It’s up to readers to decide the order in which they take place.

J Edward Neill

The Fall of Castle Carrick – A New Suspense Novel by J Edward Neill

Alex O’Riley has always tried not to fit in.

In his simple life, at his tiny house, he paints quiet masterpieces while living as a hermit.

But with one phone call from a brash New York lawyer, Alex learns he’s inherited Castle Carrick, the grandest fortress in Northern Ireland.

At Carrick, strange and dark events begin to swirl ever closer to Alex, turning his hoped-for quiet life inside out.

Now he must decide: flee from Ireland and give up his inheritance…or embrace the dark power which compels him to paint wondrous, yet terrifying things.

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The Fall of Castle Carrick 

Sustainability Tour of South America – Riders with the Storm – Volume 3

Hello everyone,

Here’s the third entry in a series of blogs from writer, rider, and environmentalist explorer, Michael Kristensen. He’s a native Dane riding through South America, exploring opportunities and cultural challenges to sustainable environmental practices.

His Facebook page is here.

The original blog appears here.

Every week (possibly more often) Michael will be riding through South America, remarking on his experiences, and blogging at length. We at Tessera Guild will follow him every step of the way. This week marks the third leg of his journey. His second week is here. 

Please note: these blog entries are direct from Michael. No editing. No proofing. As raw as any blog you’ll see.


Sustainability Tour of South America, “riders with the storm” volume 3

Challenges, not a day without challenges:

The purpose of my trip is to report about sustainability, which I haven’t been too successful with yet. Admittedly I have also been way too ambitious, my goal was to find 3-4 projects per week to report about. I must realize that it’s close to impossible, the daily tasks of finding projects, doing the necessary research, finding accommodation, planning my route, getting something to eat is way more than a full time job. I will in the future try to report about 2 projects per week. That seems a bit more realistic.

I am in Argentina now, and it has been a somewhat challenged marriage, I am in love with the bird, but damn this Latina woman makes me work hard every day, and I have little or no time to do the necessary research. Well I will tell more about my challenged marriage later in this blog.

The challenges I have experienced here reflect the challenges the great people of Argentina are going through daily. I have had the privilege to live close to a very big family for 5 days, a mother and her 10 children and all their family and friends coming and going, it has given me an of course limited insight in how an Argentinian family live and which challenges they are facing and fearing.

I interviewed some of the younger people I have met, to get their view of climate change and sustainability, it’s  not a big surprise to me, that it’s not a topic they are hugely engaged in, its not to say they don’t care, because they do, they are just having other more basic stuff to deal with.

The economy here is not at its best. The pesos has been devalued 53% within a year. For the younger generation this fact has made it hard for them to get a place of their own, or for that matter to get a job, the youth unemployment rate is close to 26%, the interest rate is at an astonishing high of 62% initiated by the national bank to try to control the inflation, so no wonder that the youth has other priorities than sustainability and climate change.

The young women are also dealing with a more present problem “gender equality” (SDG goal 5) they feel discriminated and targeted, can’t walk alone after nightfall without being afraid of being assaulted, feeling a lack of opportunities and fighting for free abortion. Latin America is a very male-dominated region, with that in mind it’s very understandable that especially the young women have other priorities.

When talking to the older generation I get the feeling that they have given up, they don’t trust their politicians. Everyone I talk to say that corruption had taken hold of everybody including them self, corruption has become the norm, especially among the politicians. (SDG goal 16) one of the men I talked to said “we only live try not to think”. Most of them don’t feel represented politically, they don’t feel they have a voice, and when asking them what they think should be done regarding sustainability, they don’t know what they as individuals can do, they are well aware of the problems we all are facing, but find it hard to give me answers to what they can contribute with.

When I drive through the Argentinian landscape, it’s obvious that ranching is an extremely important part of the economy (third largest meat producer in the world), there are cattle and horses everywhere for miles and miles it’s what dominate the rural part of the countryside. Gladly the thousands I of livestock I saw were all free grazing. The sad story though is that huge areas of the famous pampas has given way for crops, Argentina is now one of the worlds largest soybean and corn producers which ironically mostly is exported to meet the demand of  the rapidly growing Chinese cattle production. In short terms the cow production has gotten pushed out of the pampas and in to feedlot staples, subsidized by the government using corn as the main source of feed. Some estimates say that 80% of the production now is feedlot cattle. There are strong movements trying to move the beef back on grass, but it’s a hard battle between the crop farmers and the ranchers. One of the solutions could be having free grazing cattle on the fields, letting them fertilize the area for 5 to 7 years, them letting the farmers grow crops for a short 2-3-year period, in a way more sustainable circle.

On the positive side in regard to sustainability, I saw thousands of birds driving thorough the countryside, and plentiful of them were birds of prey, falcons, Eagles, hawks and much more, I have never seem that many birds of prey anywhere. And the cities are full of trees and have parks on abundance, Especially La Plata the capital were very green with a park each 6 blocks and trees everywhere. On the negative, As everywhere else I have been recently, the absence of insects is obvious.

The Good, the unbelievable friendly people of Argentina, I have met so many giving warm people, they have been absolutely fantastic. I am met with curiosity and open arms, I have been invited to dinner, beach volleyball, tango, doing my laundry, beer and friendly talks about all and nothing. I highly recommend visiting this great country just to meet and talk with the people. Mate, the special herbal tea of this region, is here there and everywhere, its cute how the carry their thermos and cubs of Mate around like small babies, young and old are sipping Mate on every street corner. The list of health benefits this tea is supposed to grant you is as long as the plains of Patagonia. I have gotten to like it in its raw bitter form, so well maybe I will arise as a new healthier version of myself.

And they really like motorcycles, they like to ride them and admire them, there are lots and lots of bikes here. I have gotten so many compliments on my bike and numerous pictures has been taken by all from Policemen to small kids. It’s been a great way to start a conversation.

The present exchange rate is not bad either, things here are very affordable. Beer prices one LITER (a quart) domestic beer cost 100 pesos (1.80 $) in the shops and 200 pesos in a bar an import 150 pesos and 250 (5,50$ equal 1.80 for a normal serving) in a bar. I like that they serve Liter beers without asking.

The Bad (surprise) wauw Buenos Aries rush hour traffic, that’s was kind of a surprise. I arrived late afternoon by ferry from Uruguay, to my luck I had met a local on the ferry and we got to talk about where I was heading. He told me to follow him through customs he was also driving a Florida reg. bike, so he had to go through the same process as I was including getting a TIP (temporary import permission) waiting to the customs to do their thing, which by the way was fast efficient and free it took less than 15 min. he asked me where I was going, he laughed you better follow me I will show you through rush hour traffic. Wow I am glad he offered that, I mean I have been driving in south east Asia, and its crazy there, but I tell you Buenos Aries beats Asia, mostly because of the speed they travel at, in Asia at least things are moving slowly and organically like one big organism. To be honest it was not the cars that was the worse, there was unbelievably many cars, but they mostly drive ok, it was the Motorcycles that swarmed around me as irritating mosquitos, small stinking MC’s coming from everywhere crisscrossing in and out of all lanes form left and right. To skiers, it was like having thousand snowboarders passing you from all angles not obeying any of the “rules” we skiers follow 😊. Well my new found friend he was a local and he drove as one, I suddenly found myself riding on the freeway shoulders passing the slow moving cars with 60 miles an hour, crossing in front of cars mingling in between them from left to right, I decided to stay on his tail because I wouldn’t have been able to find my way without him, looking at my GPS and navigating through the hell was not an option. I managed to stay close and only lost sight of him a few times, he didn’t wait LOL. But thanks, my friend for guiding me to my first accommodation in Argentina.

The Ugly, being robbed is never an experience you grace and wait for to happen. I was aware of the possibility of having things stolen, somewhere/sometime throughout my trip of 6 months, but being robbed only spending 3 days on the road was not what I had dreamed about.

I had carefully planned my next move on day 3, downloaded off line maps, booked a place to stay for the next couple of days, and was well un my way beating Buenos Aries traffic without problems before 12, it started out as planned but an hour into the drive I lost my phone, it was a stupid move by me driving 70 miles an hour trying to correct position of the phone in my gas tank bag I flew out of my hand, there was nothing I could do but swear at my self for being so idiotic, well the phone was gone and I had a spare. I found a place to stop and got my spare phone out, I only had one problem with that, I had no charger cable, it’s an iPhone and it won’t hold a charge for long. So I decided to make an unplanned stop in La Plata hoping that stores in the capital would be open on a Sunday, to my surprise was the city almost shut down, Not a single store open driving down the main avenue, once more swearing at myself I did another stupid thing, there was a bunch of street salesmen probably illegal since all their stuff was on blankets, easy to pull together and get out of there in seconds, I knew they would have cheap shit copy charger cables, so I stopped a bit desperately hoping to buy a cable, since I needed a charged phone to GPS my way to my accommodation. Sure, enough they had a shit copy charger cable, and shit as it was, I couldn’t let my phone charge on my USB outlet on the bike. I thought “let me find a café and charge the phone for an hour get some coffee and a bit to eat, and then back on the road” hey it was 2 o’clock midday in the capital of Argentina what could possible go wrong, as an answer to my prayers not even a block away from the street sales guys there was an OPEN café, I considered very carefully how I would park my bike on the sidewalk, right in front of the café in plain site not 5 meters away from where I could sit at a table that had e plugin for my charger, watch my bike and relax for an hour, I didn’t get to that, before I knew it my sissy bar bag was gone , I didn’t even see them taking it, it was tied with straps to the back seat and quite heavy, not an easy steal , but it was gone just like that I lost most of my belongings, computer, iPad, rain clothes, sleeping bag, hammock,700$ cash credit cards, my Green card and  more than half of my clothes.

I was in a state of total disbelief, how that hell could that happen, me being so damn careful, I really didn’t think I had been reckless or naïve, I truly felt I had taken all necessary precautions, and yet here I stood like an idiot robbed blind in the middle of the day on a busy street in the Capital. I of course called the police and they wrote a report, well knowing that this was all they would ever do, they were very nice and pretty efficient, maybe because they couldn’t wait to get pictures taken with an on my Harley.

One thing is to loose a lot of stuff and having to deal with that heartache, another thing is to regain control of your life, seriously it took me 4 days, and I am not done with the insurance yet, I had to close cards, order new, offset all passwords and create new ones, buying a new computer and a phone isn’t easy because there are limits on how much one can charge on the one credit card that wasn’t stolen, then setting up phone and computer again, not to mention downloading all the damn app’s that we need these days, damn it I was near giving up on the whole thing and just go home where stuff wasn’t so complicated.

Nothing is so bad that’s its not good for something. I have had a wish to travel lighter, but couldn’t get my self to get rid of the stuff I had brought along, especially to many clothes, well now that was taken care of, and it was WAY easier to pack my bike when hitting the road. When things like this happen the most wonderful people enter your life, a couple og days later I got an email from a total stranger, writing me if I had lost a Green card, driver license and some clothes, I couldn’t believe that he had gone through the trouble to pick up my stuff he found on the road, finding my email on one of the flash drives that was part of the lost items, getting in touch with me and delivering it back to me with a big smile on his face, refusing to let me pay him a reward for his help, all he took was a picture of my Harley LOL.

I am back on the road, Argentina she didn’t turn out the way I had hoped for, I spent way to much time dealing with the robbery, making it impossible for me to do the research I had planned.

A Giveaway for Readers and Art Lovers

Book lovers…

Art collectors…

Humans…

Here’s what’s up.

If you buy any one of the following four books, I’ll send you a free art print of your choice. No restrictions. Any art print from my catalog you like.

I’ve got a fun conversation-starting book, a sci-fi thriller, a futuristic novella, and a dark dystopian tale.

All you have to do?

Look me up on any of my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) show me a proof of purchase for the book, and the art print is all yours.

Same-day shipping. Free. US residents only.

The books?

Right here:

The art prints?

Go HERE. 

See you soon.

J Edward Neill

The South American Sustainability Tour – Part 2

Hello everyone,

Here’s the second entry in a series of blogs from writer, rider, and environmentalist explorer, Michael Kristensen. He’s a native Dane riding through South America, exploring opportunities and cultural challenges to sustainable environmental practices.

His Facebook page is here.

The original blog appears here.

Every week (possibly more often) Michael will be riding through South America, remarking on his experiences, and blogging at length. We at Tessera Guild will follow him every step of the way. This week marks the second leg of his journey. His first week is here. 

Please note: these blog entries are direct from Michael. No editing. No proofing. As raw as any blog you’ll see.


I have designed a “sustainability flag”. The rainbow symbolizes the diversity of the entire world regardless of, race, religious beliefs, nationalities, political standpoints, gender, and sexual orientation. We are all connected to the same planet, and hopefully everybody wants earth to be habitable for generations to come.

The colors of the rainbow resemble the colors in the 17 UN sustainable development goals, the SDG’s. The mirrored E’s are Earth, and stand for Equality, Environment, Eco-friendly, Energy, circular Economy. The green E is land and forest, the blue E water and air. There are 17 stars in the flag, which resembles the 17 UN SDG’s and the lone star in the upper right corner  is my guiding star, the 17th UN goal, and it is supposed to tie everything together, in knowledge-sharing and good governance named Partnership for the goals.


The journey Begins, firing up the Iron horse.

I can’t find the words to describe how it feels to fire up a motorcycle, jump on it, and twist the handlebar. If you haven’t tried it yet, I can only say the famous words “just do it”. The feeling of ramming toward an unknown horizon on a distant highway with a 1480cc 110HP twin engine pounding underneath you is exhilarating.

Pura vida is what comes to mind, not much in life beats that feeling. Now stop don’t give me the “giving birth and seeing your child for the first time” cliché, then you surely haven’t tried it. I have on the other hand done the seeing thing, but fair enough not the giving thing. Anyway, back to what really matters!

Yesterday was the first real day of my journey, me alone on a bike driving into the unknown, with the hot wind blasting against my skin, my nostrils filled with the smell of fresh cut grass mixed with a scent of manure , coming from the thousands of cattle, greasing alongside the road in the Uruguayan country side, I find myself almost alone out here, cars are far and in between, the same with the shattered villages I pass by. I am filled with sense of utterly freedom, And I scream it out but nobody listens , I don’t know if it’s my Viking blood that boils within me, or maybe I am just a curious gypsy, a nomad that become alive when facing adventures ahead.

I got a tattoo on my shoulder, it’s a Rune meaning “look into the horizon with an open mind, and hereby experience expanded consciousness” it really sums it up for me, always be curious and humble in you quest for knowledge, and never stop looking, never stop trying to better yourself, through the perspective of strangers. you will find is an abundant well of wisdom.

The good the bad(surprise) and the Ugly

The Good, I got my bike through customs quite painlessly, it took some time in the cargo warehouse at the airport, 2 hours to be precise, but it was really hassle free, the shipping agent and the customs handlers was extremely helpful. The shipping agent Oliver drove me to the airport, he helped me pick up some gas on the way, since the MC was drained, it would have been hazardous flying it here with a full tank of gas, he even paid for the gas at the service station, which by the way all have full service in Uruguay.

I find it kind of cool, since being a gas service station helper was my first job, literally 4 decades or more ago. People waiting fir their own shipments at the cargo warehouse, was very curious about the Harley and a bunch jumped in to help to unpack it.

The bad (surprise), when i unpacked the MC I realized that both tires were flat, especially the front tier was totally without air, i tell you a HD Softail heritage classic is VERY heavy on flat tires, impossible to push alone. I was wondering if it was something the shipping company in Miami would have done, to be able to fit the bike in the case, or maybe it was the change in pressure in the cargo room of the plane that had coursed it to lose all air?

On top of that the battery had died, when I turned the ignition key there was not a single spark, I was afraid the battery had gone bad, but then again it was brand new, and a good quality Lithium battery. Once more the wonderful Uruguayan people jumped in to help, I didn’t even ask for help, they realized the problems I was facing, and without asking they found jumper cables, together we got the bike charged and started up, but of course I couldn’t drive it anywhere on flats, without totally destroying the brand new tiers.

The resourceful truckdrivers arranged for a makeshift build wood ramp, that enabled me to slowly drive my bike up and into a van, luckily there was a side door that could slide open, remember I couldn’t turn off the bike, because the battery was dead, I had to let the engine run to power up the battery again. Here I was sitting on my Harley in the back of a van with the engine running, looking out of the sliding door gasping for fresh air, while hoping the driver didn’t drive to fast or hit a bad bump on the way to the gas station, I had a firm grip on the handlebar front break and both legs planted firmly on floor of the van, trying not to tilt.

We arrived safely to the gas station and wit a little muzzle and wriggle, got the HD out of the back of the van without anybody or anything got damaged. after that it was just a matter of pumping up the tiers, and off I went, of course not before I had given a huge thanks to the driver and shipping agent for helping out.

And the Ugly, Cheap perfume, my senses was challenged beyond, it’s everywhere in Montevideo the cheap chemically stinking perfume, the first experience with it was in the taxi from the airport, that’s not really a surprise, most taxi drivers now a days take baths in horrible cheap perfume, and that’s everywhere I guess.

When I arrived at the hostel and walked in to my private room, it hit me again this time thousand fold, the entire room stunk in the most nauseating manner, I couldn’t escape from it, the sheets were clean, but it must have been washed the cheapest possible detergent. I decided to unpack my sleeping bag and put some of my dirty laundry on top of the pillow, crawled into my sleeping bag and indulged with pleasure my head into my sweaty T-shirt.

I woke up with a pounding headache, and eyes I could hardly open. The stink evaporated from my room, after a full day and night with all windows open, but I never escaped the smell, everywhere I went it stuck to me, or that was the feeling I had anyways, because it was literally everywhere, the hand soap on the bathrooms, walking the damn streets, first I was wondering if it was a scent from the abundance of street trees , but I realized it wasn’t, it came seeping out from every house and store.

I don’t know if you can imagine how liberating it was to hit the highway and take in the fresh smell of grass and manure.

 

The South American Sustainability Tour – Riders with the Storm – Part 1

Hello everyone,

This is the first entry in a new series of blogs from writer, rider, and environmentalist explorer, Michael Kristensen. He’s a native Dane riding through South America, exploring opportunities and cultural challenges to sustainable environmental practices.

His Facebook page is here.

The original blog appears here.

Every week (possibly more often) Michael will be riding through South America, remarking on his experiences, and blogging at length. We at Tessera Guild will follow him every step of the way. This week marks the very beginning of his journey, and some early challenges to his adventure, which will begin in Argentina.

Please note: these blog entries are direct from Michael. No editing. No proofing. As raw as any blog you’ll see.

Without further ado…

*

Sustainability Tour – Part 1 – ‘Riders with the Storm’


Sustainability, climate change and circular economy, it’s all about sharing. Sharing the resources in every sense of the word, sharing space, and sharing knowledge.
I have decided to drive my motorcycle, from Argentina all the way north through most of South America and parts of Central America.
The purpose of the trip is to find and report, about climate change and sustainability projects from the continent.
I hereby hope to help and inspire people around the world. I wish to motivate them to start their own projects or pass on the knowledge I collect and report about.
I want to pass on knowledge from person to person, company to company and Municipality to Municipality. knowledge that will change the way we think and act when creating more sustainable solutions.
The tour will start in Buenos Aires Argentina November 2019, I will blog and promote all good eco initiatives on my way north, but I need your help to be able to find these projects throughout the region.
Please if you know about people or places, I shall visit let me know, write me and email and connect me with the relevant persons.
I will also do speeches at schools or other interested institutions about climate change and the possible solutions.
It’s important for me to say I don’t do this for self-promotion, I do this because I want to try to make a difference, and help spreading the word. I am so far self-funded, my plan is to look for funding, help with this will be hugely appreciated.

Sponsors so far: www.servicehuset.dk https://www.borgbigum.com
https://www.facebook.com/Sustainability-tour-in-southcentral-America-341589869790702/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZt-CxvWlmcju2yC-bOJC-g?view_as=subscriber

Itinerary:
The tour will start in Montevideo Uruguay where I fly in Nov. 8 then I will take the ferry to Buenos Aires Argentina approximately November 12 and will travel as below:
Argentina 12-24 Nov.
Uruguay 25-nov-11 Dec.
Brazil 12 Dec-2 Jan. 2020
Paraguay 3 Jan -11 Jan.
Chile 11 Jan-18 Jan.
Peru 19 Jan-3 Feb.
Bolivia 3-11. Feb
Ecuador 12-19 Feb
Columbia 20 Feb-2 Marts
Panama 3-9 March
Costa Rica 10-17 March
Nicaragua 18-24 March
El Salvador 25-30 March
Honduras 31 March-4 April
Guatemala 5 April -18 April, and end in Belize approximately Ultimo April 2020 if any of you have any relevant contacts in any of these great nations please let me know
(the dates above are approximately dates and are subject to change)

Limbo in Montevideo Uruguay

I am at the moment stuck in Montevideo waiting to get my Harley released from customs. Arriving on a Friday was not the best choice, and information is sparse from the shipping company. I guess I must be patient and accept I have arrived in Latin America where most things are Manana, so I will relax and prepare for the trip ahead.

The Good the Bad(surprising) and the Ugly

The theme of my tour will revolve around the old spaghetti western The Good the Bad and the Ugly, meaning that I will find a good a bad or surprising and an ugly experience or project and write about it in more detail. My journey is mostly a lonely one, one man on his iron horse meeting all kinds of obstacles.

My first experiences noted as this:

• The good, Uruguay is a very organized and friendly country, weather this time of year is a perfect 25C 77F in the daytime and 18C 64F at nighttime. The country is very energy efficiently oriented, currently an astonishing 97% comes from alternative energy sources, such as Hydropower (60%), wind/solar power and Biofuel.
Just 10 years ago Uruguay was heavily depending on energy from the neighboring countries Argentina and Brazil (60% imports), now they have a surplus of energy and export to their neighbors. Mind you this has been done in less than 10 years without government subsidies.
Uruguay is also one of the most electrified countries in the hemisphere with a coverage of 99.4 % of all homes. The country it totally independent of fossil fueled produced energy. Their conversion to alternative energy allows Uruguay to use wind energy for base power and hydroelectric to meet peak demands.
Practically this mean that the country keeps hydroelectric reservoirs at near-maximum capacity. When needed, the reservoirs could be opened with as little as 15 minutes’ notice to meet additional demand. (export.gov)(Wikipedia)

  • The bad, (surprise) there are not a lot of ecofriendly or green restaurants in the capital, as most of you probably know Uruguayans are a meat eating nation, and it shows when it comes to find vegan and vegetarian alternatives, they are sparse to say the least. The capital is also very silent, compared to other Latin American cities, the secondary roads are almost empty at all times of the day, it fells like walking in a ghost town if you walk away from the main traffic arteries. almost every building has iron bars and barbwire attached as security even-though the city has a very low crime rate in comparison to most of Latin America.

There are lots of vacant ground level stores, and the price level in the city reflex in the high living standard.
Beer prices will be my comparison tool along the way, in Montevideo a beer at a bar costs, Domestic 0.5 l (which is great) is 2,5$ and an import 0.33 l approximately 3$.

 The Ugly, Sorry Miami but once more you show your ugly crook face, the shipping company TOP Cargo based in Miami, gave me a quote for shipping my bike 3 months ago. Originally i wanted to ship it by boat, since that of course it the cheapest way to ship a bike from Florida to South America. I started 6 months ago asking for estimates, trying to be in good time, I got a quote of 1500$ and told them that I needed the bike in either Buenos Aries or Uruguay by no later than Nov. 10th.

Communicating with them was like pulling nose hair, they asked for the same paperwork over and over, copies of passport driver license and more, i must have send 10 copies to them of each document. Apparently, they don’t know how to scroll down the email correspondence! I was trying to get a date for the shipment for weeks and weeks, then suddenly I get notified that it’s too late to ship it by boat. WAUW really guys, they were kind enough to give me a quote for shipping the bike by air, which of course is way more expensive.

Now I had to pay 3000$, I had the choice to postpone my trip a month having to reevaluate my itinerary missing out on a couple of places, or pay up, I chose to pay for airfare. But that of course was not the end of their crooked behavior, they picked up the bike and took it to their warehouse a week before it was shipping out, I was ok with that and it meant that they had time to build a transportation case, as per estimate.

I am told to come to Montevideo the day after the bike was shipped out which was Nov. 7. I arrived in Montevideo Friday morning and went directly to the shipping agent here, they were very welcoming and we did the necessary paperwork with them, company name is Wave Logistic and so far seem very professional, (still don’t know when i get my bike released though)
Now that my bike is in the air i get an invoice from TOP Cargo that had increased with a 1000$ now I all the sudden have to pay 4000$ in total. I get at them and ask them why , their response was that my bike is an oversized motorcycle, and cost more to transport, they have hade the make and model and VIN number for 4 months, well knowing it is a Harley Davidson Softail heritage, which is a quite normal size HD.

Their threat to me now is that they won’t release the bike from customs before I pay up, so they hold my bike hostage so to speak. I got very upset and have been fighting them all weekend. end-result is that they offer me a DISCOUNT of 400$, which of course is not a discount but a raise in price according to their estimate. I ended up paying them because the cost of storage at the airport would cost me every day it was delayed by my missing payment. Hopefully I will have my HD in my possession tomorrow Tuesday.

the good the bad and the ugly

New Dark Poem – The Forever Man

The Forever Man

*

*

*

I knew a man without a name.

He walked the streets of everywhere.

At dawn, at twilight, and later

his soles unpolished pattered on roads,

in alleys,

under eaves rotten with neglect,

beyond gates silver and gold.

He knew my name

but his, I only guessed.

*

The people in whose shadow

he trailed

looked upon him in dismay,

the children with wonder,

and the world-weary with aching delight.

The lamps, whose lights fluttered in his passing

told not whether he smiled

or whether his face was many

or only one.

*

Everywhere, I saw him.

On ships, walking the prow.

In church, standing silent

as the poor bent a knee beside kings.

Strolling beside farmers’ ploughs.

Waving his pallid fingers

above cribs.

*

Everywhere, I saw him.

‘Neath his hat, beaded by rain,

stirred no worldly gaze.

His strides, measured always

to match his chosen ward.

His shoulders, heavy with a timeless suit

made of shadow,

looked the same to me

whether in sunlight

or gilded by the moon.

*

One day, I came to him.

Was it a fever I had?

Or exhaustion in my bones?

Or had I struck the first of many nails?

I could not remember.

I spoke to him,

at him

through him.

And he told me,

“Today is not your day.

“Nor tomorrow.

“Look for me no longer.

“And find me later than you expect.”

*

*

*

J Edward Neill

Find more words here.