Category Archives: Writing

My Great Grandfather Adam Naf, 16th Century Hero and Swordsman

 

First, let me say thanks to a blog follower named Tim who asked me some questions about the Naff family and, as a result, I ended up re-reading my mother‘s genealogy book entitled, A Genealogy of the Ancestors and Descendants of Jacob Naff Sr. and Marvin Edward Naff of Virginia by Betty Naff Mitchell,

It turns out that my great grandfather Adam Näf fought in the battle of Kappel with great distinction.  Here’s the story, courtesy of the Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy page:

“The Forest troops were pressed back but about five in the evening the tide of battle turned…the standard bearer  [John Schweizer] refused to give way. The battle became very fierce around the standard bearer but he would not yield ground…He was forced into the stream and the weight of his armor bore him down and he was drowned. Kleinsbaus Kambli rescued the banner. As he seized the banner he was rushed by a number of the enemy. He cried out, “Is there no honorable Zuricher here to save his army’s banner?”  Adam Näf of Vollenweid responded to the cry. Adam was an axguard who under Hans Huber of Tufenbach had come to defend Zürich. His father and two brothers were also in the battle as well as two sons. Adam Näf attacked with his broad sword and cut off the head of the man who had seized the banner. Kambli was again able to hold the banner high and retreat in an orderly fashion. In the retreat there were 512 soldiers left behind including Adam’s father, Hans, and his two brothers… On November 15-16, ambassadors from both sides met to arrange terms of a peace and on the 20th the treaty was ratified.”

Betty Mitchell — August 2nd 1937 ~ January 13th 2016

Näfenhaus still stands, now the property of the the Naefenstiftung, a charitable organization that helps poor members of the Naff family and arranges holiday celebrations at the house.

Thanks Mom, for writing your incredible book book for me and the family.  I’m so proud of you and of my heritage.

 

My DIY Adventure Trailer Build

So, I just built an adventure trailer (a.k.a. a bug-out trailer, expedition trailer, camping trailer, etc.).  Why?

  1. I love camping.
  2. I’d go more often if I didn’t have to haul my equipment in and out of the attic every time.
  3. I want to travel more.  Camping is more frugal and fun than staying in hotels.
  4. Why a trailer and not a camper?  A trailer is way cheaper than a camper.  Besides, I have a mattress and a camper shell for my truck and sometimes I want to sleep in a tent anyways.

This thing cost me less than a thousand bucks to build.  Here’s the breakdown:

Item  Amount 
Lowes 40″ x 60″ basked trailer  $  459.00
Title tags, registration  $  166.00
Hardware and accessories  $    21.94
Paint and sundries  $    61.10
Wood, glue, screws  $  115.59
TOTAL:  $  823.63

And here are some build pics.

Here’s to great adventures!

 

The empty trailer straight from Lowes

The basic frame made from 2 x 4s, secured with 2 5/8″ deck screws and exterior grade construction adhesive.

The dorky white rims that came with the trailer had to go.

…so I sprayed them black with Rustoleum gloss black my masking off the tire and the nuts. Getting the back was kind of a pain, but no big deal.

Here’s the frame after the screw holes were puttied and the first coat of premium house paint was applied. The space under the frame is for waterproof storage bins with wheels.

Here’s the storage cabinet on the passenger side after the first coat of paint.

Close up of the cabinet after attachment to the frame. FYI, I did not build or design this cabinet I just modified and repurposed it slightly. My father-in-law made it for my brother-in-law. Plastic storage boxes fit perfectly into those cubbies.

This is the black truck box on driver side — I already had it laying around so I used it to save money.

Almost there. Everything is on the frame at least, just waiting for hardware on order and for the muscle to put it on the trailer.

The finished product! Note the open space at the front with the low deck — two coolers fit there perfectly!

My Talk with Paul VanderKlay about Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris

I had a fun conversation with Paul VanderKlay yesterday, and I’m flattered to say that he thought it was interesting enough to post on this very popular YouTube channel.

We talked mostly about the  Jordan Peterson/Sam Harris Vancouver talks (Part 1 and Part 2) but about some other things too.  Public reaction has been 95% positive.

By way of introduction, Paul is the pastor at Living Stones Church in Sacramento, CA and has been referred to as “the Pastor of the Intellectual Dark Web.”

Here’s the video.

Language! (My Swear Jar)

I’m trying to eliminate all swearing.

This is not easy.

So I enlisted the help of Captain America. As you can see by the picture on the right, I now have a Captain America swear jar (a.k.a. “piggy bank”). And thanks to Post-it® Speech Bubble Notes and my desktop flashlight to hold it up, Cap has his eye on me.

Why Cap? Because everybody knows that, although he doesn’t like foul language, he sometimes slips up (just like me).

Wish me luck in my quest. And, just for fun, here’s a recap of Cap’s complicated relationship with swearing.

Fort Raleigh Historic Site

While we were down in Kitty Hawk, NC on vacation a couple of weeks back, I took a little trip over to the Fort Raleigh Historic Site.  Fort Raleigh protects and preserves the known portions of England’s first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590, as well as the cultural heritage of the Native Americans, European Americans and African Americans who have lived on Roanoke Island.

There are also two other attractions adjacent to the historic site — the Elizabethan Gardens (which I didn’t visit) and the Lost Colony Theater (which was in the off season so I couldn’t catch the show).

Here are the photos!

A huge writing spider (a.k.a. garden spider or Argiope aurantia).

Muscadine grape vine. The place was thick with the stuff. Fun fact: what may be the oldest living cultivated grapevine in the world is on Roanoke Island. << Click pic to read article >>

 

Remnants of old colony earth works.

Entrance to the Lost Colony Theater

View of the stage at the Lost Colony Theater

Camping Pics and Insights

Dinner Saturday night: Jiffy cornbread, Nathan’s all beef hot-dogs with Saverne sauerkraut with dill, and Bush’s baked beans. Heaven on a plate.

My adult son and I went camping at the Peaks of Otter this past weekend.  Here are some pics.

I took only a few because I had the phone off most the trip.  And, as often happens, when I ditch the tech and get out in the woods I start seeing things more clearly.

Camping never fails to teach me something.

If you’d like more details, check out this rare public post on my Patreon blog.

A fawn still showing spots. Mommy was just off frame to the right.

Perfect cornbread — hot, moist, and not sticking — cooked in a vintage M-1942 US Army mess kit. Camp with me sometime and I’ll show you how it’s done.

Our parking pass from Peaks of Otter Campground.

 

 

Cord and Rule: Training Involution #118

I’m camping with my son this weekend, so T.I. #118 is posting early this week.  Lots going on around the Cabal Fang Temple these days.  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • We are testing a new Cord and Rule program to track attendance and keep students motivated.  More info below.
  • Started getting my head around this nonprofit thing.  Started reading books, making calls, getting on grant application email lists, got a Linkedin profile, etc.  Time to start attracting high-powered board members and big donors!
  • No more being shy about asking for donations.  All events and services will be on a “please give what you can” basis.  Yes, we’re a non-profit.  But it takes a few hundred dollars a year just to keep up with web-hosting, legal services and basic program materials, and we want to save up money to build a fancy new temple.
  • Another student in the Hermit Path Distance Learning Program faces his Constitutional trial this month.  The program is virtually free (please give what you can) and there’s only one text bookEmail me to get started.
  • As part of my continuing martial arts education I’ll be headed to Tennessee in October to attend a Western Warrior Boot Camp hosted by Mark Hatmaker — two full days boxing, wrestling and hanging out with some of the toughest guys on planet Earth.

Stay tuned!

Cord and Rule: Cabal Fang Training Involution #118

  1. Work your body.  Set timer for 8:00.  Complete as many strikes as you can vs. your heavy bag before the timer beeps.  If you don’t have a heavy bag,  make one; if you don’t have anywhere to hang it indoors, throw a rope over a tree limb or lash it to a tree or post.  When done, shoulder your bag and see how far you can carry it, switching shoulders as needed.
  2. Work your mind. Write down your strike count and the distance carried.  Are you writing down measurable metrics for all training sessions — such as rep counts, time elapsed, distance, etc. — and trying to improve?  If not, you aren’t training, you’re mucking around.  “That which is measured improves.”
  3. Work your spirit.  Set a timer for 10 mins and assume your meditative posture of choice with a chalice (or an image of one from a book) at roughly eye level.  Regulate your breathing as you stare at the chalice.  Allow thoughts, feelings and images to manifest.  What can you learn from the chalice?  As always, record everything in your training log.

Ancient Mesopotamian tablet showing the god Shamash holding the cord and rule.

The Cabal Fang Cord and Rule Concept

As a way to motivate students, add more structure, deepen the mind-body-spirit connection through mettlecraft, and better track attendance, we’re adding a rule to our knotted cord.

Since ancient times the mark of a “ruler” was the holding of a knotted cord and a hashed rod or rule – the cord for measuring long distances, such as in surveying land, laying out a building’s foundation, measuring the speed of a ship in “knots,” etc., and the rule for measuring shorter, more precision distances.

According to ancient myths, deities only bestowed cords and rules upon human leaders who were competent to rule.  A “ruler” should be is a person we can all measure ourselves against — someone we respect, admire, and believe is worthy of being emulated and followed. Our cord and rule will remind us to strive to become people we feel are worthy of respect, admiration and responsibility.

Babylonian goddess, likely Ishtar or Ereshkigal, holding cord and rule

The cord and rule are mentioned in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 40:3: “So He brought me there; and behold, there was a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze, with a line of flax and a measuring rod in his hand; and he was standing in the gateway.”

A blank ruler will be issued to each student at the beginning of the third month of study.  Starting after the first trial, the rule will be stamped with various words and symbols to mark monthly training milestones, to commemorate the completion of trials for rank advancement, etc.

Marking and maintaining the metal rod ties into Mettlecraft — it is a tangible item of “metal” that is marked based on one’s “mettle.” Our cord and rule help us determine how we “measure up” against the people we were when we started.