Southern Man

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Saturday In The Park

Southern Man and a few friends drove an hour northwest to one of the state parks for a day of fun.

The park entrance. There was a geocache hidden in those trees to the right.

Girls cannot park.

At the lodge. Photo by a friendly passer-by.

Mini golf.

The winner!


Another geocache was hidden near this mural.

A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Going Galt, Going Gray

At the dawn of the 21st Century we look back and marvel at the world that we have made. And by "we" Southern Man means Western Civilization, the source of pretty much all that is good today. That's right - dead white males built the world, and you get to live in it. You really can't thank them enough.

For the first time in human history, social stratification is a diamond, not a pyramid. For most of history most poeple were dirt poor; there was no middle class and few were wealthy. Now the middle class dominates. And we are almost unbelievably wealthy. A family of four living on the so-called "poverty line" in the USA lives in a constructed home with electricity and heat and air conditioning and indoor plumbing, with refrigerators and cable TV and cell phones, whose most significant health concern is obesity. To actually be "poor" in the traditional sense of the word, in the USA, is rare indeed. And while we in the USA and in the rest of the First World have it really, really good, it's improving worldwide as well. At no time in human history have so many had so much access to the basics of human needs: good food, clean water, shelter, clothing. Life is getting better all over, every day.

And in the First World we have built the most woman-friendly society ever. Well, that's what men do - take care of women. Never in history has there been a cleaner, safer place to be a woman than the 21st Century USA. There is no metric - none, zero, zilch, nada - by which women were better off in any time or place other than right here, right now.

And what are the unintended consequences of this utopia? There are many. Increasingly feminized workplaces, where a single unfounded accusation of harassment can cost a man his job, and increased disdain for what were once considered honorable jobs and "skilled trades" - construction, carpentry, oil field work, farming. The burgeoning welfare state, where nearly half of the population live on the forced charity of the other half. Mass media that portrays men as ignorant oafs, unnecessary and disposable. Universities that advocate anti-male programs of study and openly discriminate against men, who are dropping out in record numbers. And, most critically, no-fault divorce and woman-friendly family courts, meant to protect women and children from abusive relationships, has caused the divorce rate to skyrocket and the increasingly one-sided nature of marriage itself is causing many men to simply opt out - a problem that is exaberated by easily-available birth control (which has transformed sex into a commodity) and pornography, both of which gives men an outlet for their sexual desires that doesn't require the hassle of dating and expense of marriage - and leave a lot of women wondering where all the "good men" have gone.

Why is this a problem? Married men, with wives and children to support, overproduce. Men want the best for their families and they work hard to provide it. It was the industry of married men that built this country. Unmarried men tend to be less willing to put in sixty hours a week when twenty will do. And workers in general look askance at the welfare state and ask themselves why they are paying the way for a bunch of ne'er-do-wells who won't lift a finger to support themselves.

The result are two philosophies in the MGTOW movement: going Galt, and going gray.

Lots has been written of late about going Galt, or simply chosing to cease to be a productive (that is, over-producing) member of society and simply going your own way and earning just enough to take care of your own needs - like that unmarried thirty-something dude who is perfectly content with a part-time job and his video games and porn. Since most middle-class wage earners actually consume more in services than they pay in taxes, that's actually a drain on society. And it's not just the USA; Japan, in particular, has a surprisingly large percentage of young men who have no interest in marriage at all and will no doubt earn just enough to get by. They've never even heard of John Galt, but that's who they're following.

And Southern Man sees lots of men going gray - that is, leaving traditional jobs and working for cash on the gray market. Why continue to feed a ravenous beast that actively works against their own interests? Southern Man's auto mechanic, his brush-hog guy, the men (and women!) at the farmer's market, the dealers at the gun show, the crews of Mexicans who can erect a rural outbuilding in a day... No taxes, no W-2s, no 1040s, and cash only, if you please. Muchas gracias, seƱor.

Southern Man is doing a little of both. Continuing improvements on The Land will make him a little more independent. And if opportunities arise that allow him to convert his labor and skills into unreported cash - well, he was once a stickler for doing everything By The Book but today he's not going to turn that down. His retirement plan might consist (in part) of a tractor with a brushhog and box blade along with a (hopefully considerable) output of home-grown food. Slowly but surely, going Galt and going gray.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Southern Man has a fairly extensive collection of music; lots of classical, lots of classic rock and blues, a fair bit of gospel, plenty of post-hardcore (thanks to Southern Son) and modern pop (favored by both Southern Daughters), and a scattering of others. It is mostly inaccessible - LPs boxed up in the barn and CDs scattered everywhere. So in an effort to (a) gather his music into one accessible place and (b) free himself from the tyranny of 20th-century rotating storage media Southern Man is gathering his CDs and copying them to MP3s for easy playback.

Yes, these too will eventually become MP3s. At least the ones that aren't already duplicated on CD.

The tools that Southern Man is using to accomplish this task are:

  • Exact Audio Copy - rips CDs to very accurate MP3s, has good error recovery, uses FreeDB for track listings and AccurateRip to verify quality.
  • MP3Tag - to add or modify ID3 tag information.
  • Mega MP3 Splitter - to break large MP3s into chunks; used primarily to strip movie dialog from the beginnings of songs on movie soundtrack disks.
  • Merge MP3 - to combine two or more MP3 into single files if desired.
  • Amazon Cloud Player, in which MP3s for pretty much every CD that Southern Man purchases on Amazon appears automagically after ordering.
  • The Southern City Metropolitan Library System, which has pretty fair music holdings on CD.
  • where Southern Man's carefully-tuned jazz and blues stations generate at least one new CD purchase per week.
These tools and services are all free and pretty much do all that their authors claim. The Amazon autorip service for purchased CDs is particularly nice. And so is Amazon Prime, which is the best $69 Southern Man spends every year.

Southern Man hisself is writing a "DJ" program (in Java) that will select songs based on a variety of criteria and playlists and move them to a USB stick for playback in the car. He wrote a "proof of concept" version to prove to himself that he could handle the hard parts; now he just has to finish it. And then he has to get his stereo set up again and digitize those LPs.

Southern Man does not have a "record player." He has a LAB-400 dual-motor direct-drive turntable, which was manufactured by CEC and rebranded by Marantz and Quadraflex as well as Radio Shack. This turntable does not have a "needle" but a hi-fi cartridge that costs as much as your record player. Yes, Southern Man is possibly oversensitive about records and their care and playback. This baby was acquired when he was in high school (indeed, one of his first major purchases with his own money), it's a good thirty-five years old and still plays like a charm; he's very pleased with it. Coupled some decent click-and-pop reduction hardware and/or software, it ought to make excellent copies.

And then he will be able to fully enjoy his music!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Justice for Christopher

Person A, who is lawfully carrying a firearm, encounters person B. Shots are fired and person B dies. The shooter claims that his actions were taken in the necessity of self-defence; the victim's family claim that he was a good person, gentle and harmless, who was minding his own business. The shooter stands trial for murder and is aquitted. What happens?

If it's George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, all hell breaks loose.

But when the shooter is Roderick Scott, a black man, and the victim is Christopher Cervini, a white man...crickets. No threats of riots in the streets. No pastors organizing rallies in a hundred cities. No crowds of angry crackers demanding "justice for Christopher."

And that's the way it should be. A jury heard both sides and made their decision. Justice was served.

Oh, and by the way, a hundred young black men have been murdered in Chicago this year. Alas, they were, by and large, the victims of other young black men, so their stories - like Christopher's - have no place in the mainstream media's narrative and you didn't hear much of anything about them. Did you?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Southern Man offers his deepest condolences to the families of those killed, and all of those injured, in the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport last week.

And now he has some questions for San Francisco news station KTVU and for the National Transportation Safety Board.

You probably already know the story: in KTVU's coverage of the accident they displayed a graphic with clearly-fake and offensive names attributed to the cockpit crew while a momentarily-clueless reporter read the names aloud:

The truly curious can probably find the original broadcast on YouTube but Southern Man isn't going to link it here; they're getting taken down about as fast as they're going up.

Before airing this report the station had called NTSB for confirmation of the spelling of the names. In fairly short order KTVU apologized for the error, NTSB confirmed that a summer intern had erroniously confirmed the names, and later fired said intern.

Southern Man has questions that are still unanswered by the media. Who conjured up these names in the first place? How is it possible that the person who created that graphic not notice what he or she was typing? And why in God's name does the NTSB, dealing with the first wide-body accident in the USA in years, have a summer intern working the phones?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Asiana Airlines is suing KTVU over the incident. Southern Man's prediction: they'll quickly reach a settlement and hold a joint press conference to announce that a large-ish sum of money will be contributed to a charity that is assisting the families involved.

[Update 25 July 2013] KTVU fires three veteran producers, sends blizzards of DCMA take-down notices to YouTube, and Asiana drops the lawsuit.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Daughter Day

After work Southern Man took Teen Daughter to her piano lesson, then shopping for "school supplies" and to dinner at Charleston's.

Torn between ordering from the "grown up" menu or getting her usual kid's chicken fingers and mac-and-cheese. She eventually went with the latter, with a side salad.

One of a long series during which Southern Man was trying to figure out how to use the new camera in low light.

Back at the Ancestral Manor with a haul of goods.

Apparently Southern Son had worked hard today. Or something.

Southern Father.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weekend Photos

Saturday was a busy, busy day!

A high-school car wash at Cactus Jack's, Southern Man's favorite hang-out in high school where he and HS best friend David put many a high score on the Asteroids and Night Driver. But not Space Invaders or Defender, both of which usually got the better of us.

Car Wash Girls

A terrific drumming corps.

The area geocachers meet up once a month for lunch and general frivolity. Today's was at an area lake pavilion.

These guys put out a lot of caches in the area. We appreciate you Kand and Gilo!

Yes, we all have funny geocaching names. However, Southern Man's geocaching name is not Southern Man, for reasons too complicated to explain here. Well, they're not that complicated; Southern Man's 'caching name is a "game" name he picked up 'way back in grad school. Alas .com was already taken so the his online identity is Southern Man instead.

We love to see kids involved in caching.

A good crowd.

The kids help out with the door prize drawings.

Whoo hoo! We won prizes!

As luck would have it Southern Man won the final prize, a nice container that he'll put out as a cache Real Soon Now.

This truck was made for Kachin'! Kand Kachin', that is.

After the picnic a few of us walked over to the lake to pick up a cache "below the dam."

A treacherous descent by CoastalCacher (who lives only a few miles from The Land) and his daughter KittyCatLover.

Found it! This fellow is one half of a group called "Insane Posse."

KittyKatLover signs the log sheet.

Teen Daughter returned from a week-long mission trip late that afternoon.

Home at last!

Teen Daughter gathers her luggage.

"We have to eat! And go to Wal Mart!"

The evening ended with the monthly Christian Dance.

Good friends.

Dancin' the night away.

Paul lines up his shot.

Shirley cues up the next number.

And Sunday after Sunday School and lunch with the gang Southern Man met up with some of the cachers to pick up several caches that were, let's say, higher in altitude than the usual. We called it "ladder caching" much to the chagrin of those who actually just climbed up and got them the hard way. Fortunately the rain let up just as we got started.

Insane Posse Sr to Insane Posse Jr: "Of course it's up there. Can't you see it?"

You young 'uns can shimmy up the beam; Southern Man's taking the easy way.

Age, experience, trucks, and ladders beat youth and vigor...

...or you can just give youth and vigor ten bucks and send them up the ladder.

We (Insane Posse, IP Sidekick, and Southern Man) picked up three tough caches and took a look at a couple of others that we couldn't get. Southern Man is contemplating on how to nab both of those next weekend.

What a great weekend! Lord, thank you for family, good friends, and good times. Amen.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Self-Improvement Week: Long-Range Plans

Now we put it all together into long-range plans. This comes in two phases: the next five years, and the following ten.

The next five years will be dominated by the needs of Teen Daughter, who deeply desires to live with Southern Man and will be able to do so relatively soon. Southern Man will do his best to steer through through the turmoils of dating and driving and high school and prepare her to leave the nest for college or a career (she's thinking "flight attendant" right now). That means most of the plans for The Land will be on hold for a while as Casa Southern Man relocates to northwest Southern City. So the goals are:

  • Negotiate with the ex and with family court until Southern Man gains physical custody of Teen Daughter. Motions were first filed in May; first hearing is in September...
  • Find a suitable casa in the desired school district and move there.
  • In spite of reduced income and increased outlay (Teen Daughters are expensive) maintain a financial plan with appropriate spending (so we have a good, fun life) and savings (for security and emergencies) without going further into debt, and pay off existing debt.
  • Ensure that Teen Daughter has every opportunity to be successful in school.
  • Ensure that Teen Daughter has every opportunity to continue her involvement with church activities.
  • Ensure that Teen Daughter has enough, but not too much! (She's a little spoiled. OK, a lot spoiled. Yes, it's Southern Man's fault. Well, Southern Parents and Southern Sister may have had a share in that as well. She's a very spoilable girl.)
  • Guide Teen Daughter through the perils of dating, learning to drive, managing her budget, understanding cell phone contracts, and the other stuff that everyone needs to know as they prepare to kick off their adult life, and ensure that when she flies from the nest that she's happy, well-adjusted, and prepared to face the world.
  • Maintain The Land; do not let it slide back into disrepair and decay. This will make for a lot of very busy weekends.
  • Do not neglect the goals listed on the previous page.
*Whew* That's going to be a tough five years. But it will be so, so worth it.

The next phase is centered on The Land: clean up the scrap piles, finish the existing buildings, finish the dock and firepit area, put up a garage / office, get a couple of wells down, put in a garden, construct the long-anticipated garden pond... The first two are ongoing and will continue until completed. Once the scrap piles are gone and the existing buildings finished out, Southern Man will start on other minor improvements and begin to plan and execute the third building. That won't be for a few years, at least, so for now this part of the plan is fairly vague.

In ten to twelve years Southern Man hopes to be settled on The Land, with all construction goals accomplished, and ready to enjoy the remaining years of his life in leisure and relaxation. And that's The Plan in a nutshell, right there.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Self-Improvement Week: Personality and Goals

This installment was inspired by this post at Steve Pavlina, which he points out that your goals should not conflict with your personality.

So what is Southern Man's "personality?" According to the Helen Fisher Personality Test, he's mostly Director, followed by Builder, Negotiator, and Explorer. The Meyers-Brigs test pegs him as INTJ, with I and N hard against the wall. Both indicate a rational temperment ruled by reason and logic with little room for emotion. In reconcilliation counseling with the incomprable Dr. Jim Talley Southern Man tested three standard deviations from the norm on the rational/unemotional side, while his ex came in at the 99th percentile on the feeling/emotional metric. In retrospect, that explains a lot. But most believe that these simply describe our dominant components and that there's a little bit of every type in all of us. So Southern Man is going to list some of his goals and match them with some of the general personality types (some from the Meyers-Briggs list, some from Helen Fisher, and others he simply made up), in much the same fashion as Pavlina's blog post referenced above.

The Mastermind

Southern Man's dominant personality component is analytic problem-solver. It's no surprise that his favorite teaching assignment for many years was a graduate course in mathematical logic. He loves to solve problems using computer programs, sometimes to gain a practical solution but often simply for the love of the challenge, and he'll often pick a problem off of Project Euler and solve it just for the fun of it. Put him in enforced down-time (waiting for the doctor or for a flight) and he'll be doing Sudokus; one of his favorite computer games is DOS Sherlock, which generates "five-house" logic puzzles. Sadly, current research indicates that solving puzzles does not keep you smart as you age; it merely makes you better at solving puzzles. But such will remain one of Southern Man's favorite leisure activities.
Goal: put those abilities to work not only as an educator but as a consultant. The air force base is just down the road, and surely they need analysts and programmers with Southern Man's skills...not to mention his ability as a naturalized citizen to obtain the necessary security clearance!
The Teacher

Oddly enough, the Meyers-Briggs "Teacher" type, ENFJ, is very nearly the polar opposite of Southern Man's type. But he's always loved to teach, ever since his first assignment running the sophomore electronics lab as a graduate assistant. So it makes perfect sense that he works as a STEM educator, teaching in fields that map well to his dominant personality type where the principle activity is teaching others how to solve problems.
Goal: maintain a career in STEM higher education.
The Builder / Craftsman / Architect

The Meyers-Briggs "Craftsman" (ISTP) and Helen Fisher "Builder" (Guardian) are strong secondary types. In a sense, this is the real-world "engineering" complement to Southern Man's strong theoretical side. This shows in his leisure activities as well; Southern Man loves games that require him to build a system to win. He also loves to build and is constantly planning his next project out at The Land.
Goal: continue to design and construct the facilities he desires out at The Land.
The Dreamer

Unfortunately, Southern Man tends to allow his Builder / Craftsman tendencies to verge into imaginative fantasy rather than reality. He often dreams (literally) of accomplishments out at The Land that are, frankly, impossible. And by "impossible" he means requiring technology from Star Trek. That's no surprise; when he plays Star Trek: Armada (a game in which you must design and construct organized structures in order to win) he gets totally immersed in the game. It is disturbing that he always plays as the Borg. It is even more disturbing that he often slips into an elaborate, well-constructed fantasy world, to the point that he prefers this world to ugly, mundane reality.
Goals: be wary of allowing plans for the future (particularly at The Land) to verge into fantasy and steer that overactive fantasy life into creative outlets. Southern Man already has one Star Trek trunk novel, written the year he finished his dissertation. He ought to finish that (it's held up surprisingly well, considering it was inspired by and written during The Next Generation's first season) and put some of his elaborate "Borg History" storylines on paper. In this era of self-publishing, why not?
The Composer / Performer

Although he scores very low in these areas on the standard tests Southern Man does have a streak of composition and performance in him. He was actually once a fairly accomplished pianist (through hard work, not any particular musical gift) and has some performances under his belt of which he's still very proud. And he's pleased to have arranged a classic hymn (Praise To The Lord, The Almighty) for piano, organ, and brass quartet and hear it performed as the bridal processional at his wedding. Southern Man has a deep and abiding love for classical music, which often brings him to tears with the power and depth of its emotion. Like many reserved people, Southern Man's emotions may not be apparent on the surface but they run strong and deep.
Goals: regain lost skills on piano, acquire new ones on acoustic guitar, and occasinally perform for others.
The Explorer

This type comes in dead last in the Helen Fisher test. Yet Southern Man does enjoy travel and seeks to follow roads less traveled almost daily. His primary outlet for this is (as regular readers already know) geocaching, which he's followed with considerable enthusiasm for several years now. In part, geocaching also helps sate his tendancies towards OCD as there is a "statistics" page and Southern Man revels in maintaining his day-to-day streak and finding caches in every county and so on. This has become more apparent in just the last few years; when Southern Man drove Navy Daughter's car up to Maryland last year the main attraction was geocaching in several new states, and Southern Man recently took a vacation all by himself (for the first time ever) to Branson and, again, did a lot of 'caching. Southern Man grew up as an introverted bookworm who was quite content to stay in his bedroom and read all day but even then spent lots of time outdoors in the big undeveloped field across the street riding the bike trails. It gives Southern Man a good deal of pleasure to stomp about outdoors, and his next major purchase will be a small motorcycle to allow him to have even more outdoor fun.
Goals: continue to use geocaching as a means of getting outdoors and exploring. Purchase a starter bike, learn to ride, and have (safe) fun with it.
The Member

Southern Man is by nature reserved and quite content with his own company. To combat this he made a resolution some years ago - when asked to go to a social event, say "yes" even if you'd rather stay home - and he's held to it pretty well. He values his membership in the church singles group and Sunday-school class and has had a lot of good times with them. It doesn't come easy for Southern Man to socialize and he has to work at it, but it's always worth the effort.
Goal: continue to maintain an active social life, cultivate existing friendships, and develop new ones.
The Master / Commander

Increasingly, Southern Man is learning to take more control of his own life and his own destiny. He enjoys being in charge, both professionally and in his personal life. He's pretty good at it - it helps that he stays calm under pressure and has mastery over his own emotions - and it helps fulfil his need for structure and order. This is a new turn for him, having spent most of his life putting the needs of others ahead of his own to an extent that it was damaging to both him and those around him. He's getting better at it, and the benefits are already apparent.
Goal: find and maintain the proper balance of mastery and control in every aspect of life.
The classical approach to setting goals is to focus on different areas of life - financial, social, professional, whatever - and set appropriate goals in those areas. This works well for many people much of the time, and in some areas it's still the best way to go; for example, Southern Man's financial strategy is very much based on a classical budget-based plan. But in others it may be better to identify those parts of your personality that crave expression and find ways to give them voice.

So The Explorer will go geocaching today (as he does every day) and will along with The Member attend a geocacher's lunch meet-up on Saturday. The Builder will put in a few hours at The Land to continue to transform ideas and plans into reality. The Dreamer will enjoy many hours of fantasy play over the weekend. The Master / Commander will control and direct activities on a date this weekend, which will result in much mutual pleasure. And on Monday The Teacher / Mastermind will put the finishing touches on the remaining material for the summer physics course. The Composer wrote a poem a few months ago and may polish it up a bit and post that sometime soon. Sadly, The (musical) Performer is on hold for the time being as both the keyboard and guitar are gone (long story) but The (social) Performer will have some fun this weekend at a Christian dance on Saturday evening.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Self-Improvement Week: Fitness and Exercise

This is an area in which Southern Man is sadly lacking. Since moving out to The Land last summer he's had a gym membership (and he goes to said gym nearly every morning to shower) but has made little use of the exercise facilities. This has got to change. It's not that Southern Man doesn't get a fair amount of exercise - keeping up with ten acres is hard work - but he needs to be in a regular fitness and stretching routine to repair the damage that countless hours sitting at a computer has done to his back. Southern Man focused on his remaining upper-cross syndrome at the chiropractor but every other week isn't enough. This doesn't have to be complicated and doesn't even require a gym: a routine of squatting (which strengthens the core) and simple lifts (there's a great video of a simple lift routine that if Southern Man can ever find again he'll imbed it here) followed by stretching would do wonders. It wouldn't hurt to focus on balance exercises as well. Southern Man also needs to improve his aerobic health; the gym has a lovely lap pool and plenty of cardio machines and he just needs to schedule the time to do them every morning. He was quite the long-distance runner back in the day but isn't sure that his knees would respond well to that today but running is an option as well. Southern Man has no intention of looking like a body builder; he just wants a routine that's simple and that gets decent results without a lot of fiddling around and record-keeping and such but there's no doubt that putting on a little muscle will help with weight loss as well as increase his overall levels of health and fitness.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Self-Improvement Week: Diet and Health

Southern Man's views on diet haven't changed much since this post in which he compares the old and new FDA food pyramids and proposes Southern Man's Platter, which is a watered-down Gary Taubes approach (Southern Man won't cut all carbs and starches and go into ketosis but he's pretty careful with them) plus paleo (mostly by snacking on apples and nuts and berries and such rather than dark chocolate). He's stuck with it fairly well, avoiding processed foods (although he sometimes eats some fairly nasty microwave meals for lunch and dinner) and keeping the carbs and starches low (although nachos have recently re-entered his repertoire) and it's helped him maintain his soft diet-and-health goals (don't get fat and stay healthy) but his weight is still a bit higher than he would like. Southern Man lost a fair amount of weight using the low-carb, low-starch approach and the Hungry Man microwave meals and nachos may have to go for a while until he sheds a few more pounds. A long-term goal is to get a water well down at The Land and get a garden started. A hindrance there is that if Southern Man is successful in his ongoing court battle to gain physical custody of Teen Daughter Casa Southern Man will move back to town and The Land will again become a series of weekend projects until she is off to college in five years or so. But the long-term plan is to grow (and eat!) as much as possible out at The Land. He may re-visit the geocache site where he found those wild blackberries a few weeks ago and transplant some to the fenceline this winter and just see what they do.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Self-Improvement Week

Regular readers may notice that the right of the page contains a number of links to "manosphere" blogs. Some focus on PUA, a topic in which Southern Man is largely uninterested but often offer insights onto the dynamics of relationships that are of value. Others call themselves "red-pill" blogs and focus on what they percieve to be the (often painful) truth of reality (particularly where relationships are involved) over the blissful ignorance of illusion. Others focus on men's rights (which they pointedly refer to as "human rights") and offer advice as to how to cope with an increasingly feminized world, with particular emphasis on dealing with entities such as social services and family court which are (in their opinion) strongly biased towards mothers and against fathers. And a number of blogs that focus on other issues (such as the mighty Instapundit, which is primarily technology, current events, and politics) also have strong undercurrents of manosphere themes; his wife focuses on men's issues in her own blog and has a new book out on the topic. While some advocate leaving what they percieve as an unfair and biased world and striking out on your own ("going Galt") most accept that the world is what it is and offer advice on how to change what you can and otherwise deal with things the way they are.

Southern Man is interested in all of this (that blogroll is there for his convenience, not yours) and has learned quite a bit in the six years since divorce, to his benefit and often to his advantage. It's been a difficult road and has required actions that run quite against his nature and intuition, but, face it - Christian Grey didn't reel Ana Steele in with dinner and flowers.

One common theme that runs through all of these blogs is self-improvement. Physical fitness, improved health through diet and exercise, self-improvement through continuing education and the aqcuisition of new skills (via both traditional and non-traditional routes), fiscal responsibility, and (in general) how to be a real man in today's world - all are frequently discussed on many of the sites on the Southern Man blogroll. Some make this a part of relationship life, emphasizing that to have a good relationship you have to pull your weight; a good example is What Do You Bring To The Table? from Return of Kings. Some emphasize the skills and abilities that a man ought to have, such as Twenty Five Things Men Should Know How To Do at AskMen (there are countless similar articles) or blogs like The Chef In Jeans. Others focus on a man's inner life and those activities and skills that bring personal satisfaction; the second half of Aaron Clarey's book Enjoy The Decline is a good example. Still others are simply about the outright enjoyment of the good things in life, such as La Vita Nuova (NSFW), which embraces and celebrates the beauty of women. But all want you to become a better, more complete, and happier man than you are today.

So Southern Man will bring you four more posts in this week-long series on what he sees as his personal journey of self-improvement and accomplisment in the areas of fitness and exercise, diet and health, personal goals, and a long-range plan of action to bring him closer to the life he desires. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Random Photos

A few photos from the long holiday weekend...

Teen Daughter mugs for the camera. That's Adopted Cousin and Southern Sister in the background.

Ride 'em...mermaid?

Southern Father checks the ph and chlorine levels. "For what I spend on this pool," he said, "we could buy YMCA family memberships in three cities."

Geocaching at a local wildlife refuge.

Why, yes, this is what a geocache looks like. Sometimes.

Sunday lunch at Flat Tire Burgers. This is the price of living in the country; The Hyundai was washed only a few days earlier.

Southern Man attempts some close-up nature photography - a paper wasp nest in a tree out at The Land.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Independence Day 2013

Celebrating the birthday of the greatest nation the world has ever seen, in good old American fashion - with good friends and good food and good times.

Our Hosts at the grill.

Chef Paul grills ribs.

Southern Man and The Girls. He takes pics like this to prove that he has a social life, sort of.

"Don't you dare put that on Facebook!"

A tense game of "washers" which is sort of like horseshoes but different.

Southern Son makes his throw.

Watching the city fireworks display, launched from a park about a mile away. That's Jacob and Southern Son at the right.