August 15, 2022
I have not really gone on any photo adventures this week as days off were few and spaced apart so I mostly used them for taking care of household stuff. However, my creative energy and wandering mind have turned inward more and I’ve been working on my miniatures, cross stitch, and entering photography contests. Every once in a while social media places an ad for something really useful in my feed which helped us with the idea to enter some of these contests. I also became a big winner a couple of weeks ago in a Lust for Gold Treasure hunt competition which gave me a winning/competitive boost of energy for this. We may not win any prizes from these contests, but we are choosing those that are free to enter so what do we have to lose?
For the Lust for Gold competition, I had to complete photo and video challenges doing various things related to treasure hunting, taking care of the environment, and the southwest. These all match my current interests so why not? I also had to watch some video clips and answer trivia questions which were super easy. Lust for Gold, A Race Against Time is a new documentary made by SenArt Films about a group searching for the lost gold in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. When I first began the competition, it was just for something fun to do. However, as time went on and I completed more challenges, I realized I could win this. The grand prize is $400 to an outfitter to purchase hiking and camping gear. I have not received the prize yet nor gained many details about it, but they have published my bio and photo on their website and Facebook page.
The news in the world continues to be interesting, at times rather grim or outrageous. It is easy to slip into hopelessness about the future, but I think we can all take things a bit too seriously. My best path forward is to continue to enjoy life, take care of those around me and the environment, be a positive part of someone’s day, and maybe that will inspire others to pay that forward and little by little we make this a better place. When confronted by absurdity, I say why not fully embrace it? Perhaps that is why Kurt Vonnegut has been one of my favorite writers since early adolescence. Maybe in part due to his influence, I have always been drawn to the unusual or ridiculous. The renegades that decided to do something no one else had done. I am also drawn to Pastafarianism and look for a group or sect of this religion in every place we go.
If you are not familiar with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (or FSM for short) here is a brief primer. My husband hosted a podcast a couple of years ago and they did a trivia game about it as their first episode. I also found this short video on the website spaghettimonster.org. When you consider the main values of this church I believe it is less ridiculous than some of the mainstream religions out there. They do believe that much of the benefit people receive from religion comes from the community and that religious texts and science tell us that humans are evolved from Pirates. Pirates were the original Pastafarians and were actually peaceful explorers, not evil pillagers as history and Christian theology has led us to believe. They also believe that global warming and other natural disasters are directly caused by the shrinking number of pirates as illustrated in this graph. To be clear, they do not think the original Pastafarian pirates at all resemble the pirates of today.
This church all began when Bobby Henderson wrote an open letter to the Kansas Board of Education about their decision to permit the teaching of intelligent design in the classroom. He demanded equal time be given to the teaching of Flying Spaghetti Monsterism alongside intelligent design and evolution. This became an internet phenomena and since its start in 2005 has acquired a large number of followers and has received some recognition as a real and legitimate religion. For example, former adult film star Asia Carrera has had her identity photos taken at an Utah RMV with the traditional Pastafarian religious headgear of a pasta strainer on her head. The Utah state DMV office has shared that at least a dozen people in the state have had their license or ID photo taken with similar headgear. This actually has happened in several US states as well as other countries. All thanks to our constitution which states that it is not up to the government to decide what constitutes a religion. The religion also aptly points out that there is just as much scientific evidence to back Intelligent Design as there is to support that the universe was created and held together by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. There are generally no rules or requirements for joining this church. This includes no requirement to literally believe any of the beliefs they set forth. They do have a list of We Really Would Rather You Didn’t tenants such as “I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Use My Existence As A Means To Oppress, Subjugate, Punish, Eviscerate, And/Or, You Know, Be Mean To Others.” They also celebrate several joyful holidays such as Talk Like a Pirate Day and Pastover in which they enjoy a feast of pasta, dress like pirates, and have a ritual passing of the eye patch. This holiday is usually celebrated in March or April, but the date varies year to year.
They also encourage dressing, talking, and acting like pirates, spreading FSM propaganda, having a good time, and not persecuting others who do not believe in the FSM. You are also encouraged to end every prayer with the word “Ramen” if you should choose to pray. Check here for more about how to become a Pastafarian. I’ll leave this topic here with some of my favorite religious artwork which was displayed in my home when I had one. This is called “Touched by his Noodly Appendage”. If you are offended by any of this, I encourage you to lighten up, embrace the absurdity, and try to take things a little less seriously.
I had a nice day off yesterday and had coffee with my friend Gabby, did some chores, and then went for a hike with my new neighbor Rosalyn. She is very sweet and nice to be around. Funny how most every neighbor I’ve met since starting the RV life seems to be a generally happy, friendly, and kind person. We hiked up into the pillars a bit at Devil’s Garden and I only had my phone to take photos, but I got some interesting new perspectives by wandering to different spots this time.
She took a couple of photos of me and her phone gave me some super long distorted looking Gumby legs which is fun.
We got some new truck tires after Luke got a flat in the wilderness in the middle of the night last week. They are badass tires and I feel invincible driving the truck on gnarly ass roads now.
Where will go for adventure next with these tires? The world is our oyster. I have a few ideas in store for my time off this week. I am thinking about sticking around the Southwest this winter and sticking with Yonder. I really like the people here, the area keeps providing interesting places to see, and the company will be opening new locations down the road in places we want to visit! Come visit us in Yonder! It’s a fabulous time surrounded by happy people and magnificent rocks!
I some other exciting news, Luke has an interview scheduled with the Mac Power Users podcast. It’s super nerdy, but he listens to every episode and loves it so he’s stoked about that. I emailed an editor at Country magazine to see if they would like to publish my blog. They have a call out for travel stories so what I write may be a good fit for them. Luke was looking for magazines that I might publish in and sent me that one. I may look for more opportunities like that. I’m not confident I will get my email read or responded to there, but you never know if you don’t try.
Jennifer MacNeil is currently traveling the US with her husband and two dogs. She loves to have adventures, explore, meet fascinating people, and see amazing places. She strives to learn every day and spread kindness to others. She documents her journey through her photography and blog to share with others.