Sitesetis ~ Introduction
Once upon a time, the idea of making a website was an interesting one to me. With a computer, an internet connection, and some knowledge of the code for constructing a webpage I could express creativity, opinion, whatever, and potentially have it seen worldwide. After nearly 25 years of using a computer and making websites, blogs and forums, none of which are online anymore save for the one you're reading now, I still find interest in this but as with anything in time and space, things change.
It is currently estimated that there are over 3.7 billion people who use the internet. That's almost half of the entire world's population. As a person who uses the internet it is inevitable that in the context of so many I have to do some revising as to expectations for "my" website. Whether with endeavors on the computer or for that matter with life in general my expectations were never what could be called grandiose, in the most personal sense life itself is grandiose enough regardless of extra-personal considerations. How then do I negotiate the personal expectations with the extra-personal environment?
What the accumulated years of experience have taught me in this particular regard is that success of any type begins first in the mind. But thinking it so does not necessarily make it so as I have often learned in life. There also has to be a component of feeling, something that makes the thought more palpable than a passing notion however enticing. When feeling and thought are balanced then a mere wish can become a real possibility.
In this introduction to the website I'm not going to digress too far into an examination of mind and feeling (or what some would note the blending of the two as more accurately being, 'intent'). I note it briefly for the reader so he or she may have a reference point. Especially their own reference point.
Those who have ever been involved in the making of a website probably wondered how many people would visit it, how many would share in the maker's interests. Searching online regarding attracting an audience one finds many suggestions ranging from content production, to email subscriptions, to 'notices' on social media, and so on. There are tips as to how to make the website better, faster, search engine "friendly", and how to make things concise and speedier for those readers with attention spans measured in milliseconds; in other words, if your website happens to be one where the focus is a chapter by chapter analysis of Tolstoy's, 'War and Peace', well, good luck with the smartphone crowd.
If there is an interest in making the website a financial prospect there is likewise advice on how to "monetize" it with, adding value, marketing, affiliates, email lists, and anything else just short of making grandma pose for boudoir pics. But as a Forbes article from October 2016 states: "It's not easy making money online today. With so much competition and so many people and headlines vying for our attention, sifting through and finding reputable sources to generate any respectable amount of income through the web has become an ever-increasing challenge." Add to the figure of internet users previously noted that at the present there are over 1 billion websites and that according to statistics the average person only visits 96 separate domains per month, then one gets an idea of the field and the phrase, 'forest for the trees', takes on a sharper meaning. So, what that leaves the website maker with is the managing of a situation on different levels:
One, making a website simply for the personal enjoyment of it. Whether it's a website or other creative endeavor the most reasonable starting point is that you enjoy what you're doing and not be over-concerned as to what others will think, but neither can the isolation-orientation be that high if it's a public presentation. No webmaster is an island? There may indeed be some who even qualify as remote atolls, but not many. As human beings we'd like some feedback on our endeavors, something that says a connection and awareness, even if fleeting, is being made. As to what that in turn signifies for both presenter and recipient is of course another matter, i.e., one does not want to mistake representations of flowers for real ones however representationally perfect they appear. Caveat Perceptio.
Two, there is the matter of an agenda, or putting it less bristly, 'intent'. This one can be tricky because intent itself is not always clearly defined. Yes, I can be fairly certain of intent when arithmetically it's no more complicated than 1-2-3, but when the situation gets algebraic, as it usually does, then intent can become squirrelly especially for the intention-bearer. For example, one can say that their intent is to get one-thousand dollars into their bank account by a specific time. But ask them what their intent is in the overall scheme of life, time and space, and the negotiating of personal consciousness with the external universe, then the math is not so simple. In other words, I know what my intent is in making this website but in the overall context of not only my own experience in life but also the experience of many of us, a person has to make adjustments of all kinds in order to negotiate the aforementioned particulars of inner and outer realities. I can think of Sitesetis and envision its development and possibilities in glowing terms but ultimately that's a personal position and from there I have a decision to make as to the intent of my endeavor for myself compared with the regard of it by others. Needless to say, this personal position is something all of us deal with in our individual experience whether it's with another person, a creative endeavor, a website, etc., and especially in those quiet moments when you've just woken up and start sorting the thoughts for the day about to begin, prepping the "I" to the best of our capabilities.
That leads right up to three, because when everything is said and done and regardless the measure of success or failure, the individual is left with the same big questions they had before they set out on whichever path. There may have been changes, assertions, accomplishment and deferment in intent, but when they're by themselves and everything else is left outside the door then the earth continues revolving, the sun and moon continue their seesaw, and the same "You" continues even if a little weathered from the journey.
In the book, 'Thinking and Destiny' by Harold W. Percival (1946), he states in the introduction that the purpose of life: ". . . is not merely to find happiness, either here or hereafter. Neither is it to “save” one’s soul. The real purpose of life, the purpose that will satisfy both sense and reason, is this: that each one of us will be progressively conscious in ever higher degrees in being conscious; that is, conscious of nature, and in and through and beyond nature. By nature is meant all that one can be made conscious of through the senses." There are particulars in his book that I question, but I have to admit that this description is about as simple and to the point as it gets. In essence, one is creating, building, a consciousness that transcends mortal concerns. Yeah, I can get with that. :-)
Having said all that, then it seems that the most forthright thing that I can do is simply present Sitesetis and any personal expectations regarded like someone planting a seed and wondering if it will sprout toward some blooming destiny. With sun, soil, water and air my expectations are relatively safe but in my experience the elements for an 'online' seed, and probably for other types of seeds, are more of a psychological character and best regarded with what I would term an abstract expectancy. Think of when you've viewed an abstract painting at a museum or gallery: a swath of blue, some shapes of green, a rigid block of brown, and next to the painting a little plaque stating, 'Sunday In The Park'. Do you believe your own interpretation or the title's? In a situation like that the best that can be hoped for is an amenable middle-way for artist and viewer to share, where the latter can "see" the park and the former understands that "park" is simply a suggestion. That's more or less how I regard this endeavor, this intent. I bring to it what I can and in turn see what others bring, don't bring, or even an indifference where bringing anything is not the issue.
Along with the personal considerations there are of course considerations of the world at large. There is social inequality, economic inequality, natural disasters, regional conflicts and tensions with innocent people suffering, the now you see it-now you don't specter of a world war, government officials who act more like opportunistic janitors than conscientious representatives of the people, and on and on. Yes, I have enough years and experience to know that not all who wish to be of service to others are so predisposed, but there are plenty of others who at their core feel that, 'better-them-than-me', is justifiable survival.
With all of that in the mix, what am I supposed to think about 'my' website? Am I supposed to get all alpha about it and pound away through the crowd to get at least relatively near the top of the heap? Or should I take a more mindful approach where I keep the faith and if I get near the top congratulate myself on doing it with a lot less karmic baggage? The latter doesn't sound too bad, but again experience has shown me that there are casualties both in the former and latter.
So, that leaves me with with the aforementioned abstract example: the little plaque says 'Sitesetis', as to what the picture shows, I figure the best I can do is just do it the best way I can, then wherever I am later on whether canyon, valley, foothill or peak, it will yield an elevated experience simply, gracefully, and without the din of expectancy. In essence, I'm keeping things at a healthy halfway position and see what meets me there. Besides, at this point in my life to worry about a website is like me looking at a beautiful sunset while thinking about my life and wondering if I turned off the monitor before I left the house. Let the little red light flash, it really doesn't mean that much in the long run.
Lastly, having said all of the above there is as usual a simple idea at its center. For myself, it is to express something in form with whatever capabilities I have to do so. Wherever you are as you read this, look around you and you'll see forms everywhere that exist whether because of someone's capabilities or that of nature. Yet for the form to have significance it has to possess something that addresses the mind thus giving it a quality, a purpose, and a host of other attributes. One can see this immediately with a phone, form-wise it is nothing more than a small rectangle composed of plastic, metals, etc., that by itself is about as useful as a doorstop or a coaster for glasses. But add the minds that went into the making of it and the minds that use it and the object is transformed into a storehouse of knowledge and a communication device that in seconds allows you to speak to someone on the other side of the world; a concept that would have been baffling to pony express riders. Now, as to what we do with such a marvel is an ongoing story.
In the nearly 25 years that I've played and worked with computers and made a couple of websites and various blogs and forums, I've reached a point where I reasonably know what is and what is not. I don't profess to be a master at computers or the internet, I don't need to. The only thing one has to master above anything else is their sense of self in this context of time and space that we exist in. That is an ongoing endeavor for me and in that sense Sitesetis is just a few words in the diary. That others add it or not to their diaries is not the point, the point is simply to continue ahead of diaries whether yours or of others.
If I contacted you by email, twitter, or some such it is only a one-time notification. Tell others if you find the site interesting and when you get a chance let me know what you think. For the moment, this page, 'Main', is active along with the 'Regions' pages. There is a 'News' page but I'm leaving that one blank and pending till I see what's what as things develop. The Regions pages have only North America and Europe at the moment, likewise I will develop the others depending on participation. There is a Radio page for some sounds and a Contact page for messages; and you can also use the Disqus. All are accessible via the menu icon.
For those who wish to contact by email: Send Email
So, let's see where Sitesetis leads to and meanwhile I shall enjoy hiking quiet trails.
Thank you for taking the time and space to read this. :-)
A Friend Visits
Lake Mead - Las Vegas - Ash Meadows - March 2017
Once again my friend, Dave, from Los Angeles visited here for a few days of going to some favorite places and for us to catch up on how things have been going in our respective worlds.
This visit was supposed to happen last year in the autumn but due to matters at Dave's work he wasn't able to. This time, he took an extra day and we put it to use going to Lake Mead twice (different areas), a bus tour; actually, just taking the regular bus to visit some casinos which gave Dave a day free of driving, and on the last day we went to Ash Meadows.
Having seen the lake level decrease in our past visits I suggested we drive farther out to where we could possibly get nearer to the lake. So we went on Northshore Road to Callville Bay, one of the remaining marinas in Lake Mead. On Google Earth I had noticed a trail that led from a campground parking area to just about the shoreline but when we got there that trail was actually hilly and would have been a bit strenuous. That in itself wouldn't have been a problem but we arrived around 2pm so it was simply a matter of time before sunset and not wanting to spend most of that in hiking there and back.
We chose to park the car by the marina boat ramp and from there did a short hike up a hill where we found an area to enjoy the atmosphere and view.
The ever-impressive Fortification Hill on the lake's southern shore. Descriptions I've read of it say it's an extinct volcano or a mesa that was capped by lava flows from a supervolcano in the Miocene epoch. Some have noted that hot springs scattered through the region indicate geothermal activity. Personally, I don't see it blowing its top in my lifetime but if recent news reports are to be considered then things are getting a little steamy.
Fortification Ridge runs east from Fortification Hill. At its bottom the 'bathtub ring' of the water-level drop can be seen. To give you an idea, if the levels were at normal then a sizeable portion of the middle foreground would be underwater.
Continuing east, Dave's red backpack offers a distinctive note to the scene. :-)
This image is at an angle that if water levels were normal then it would be all water past the foreground of white rock and bush. For those with a taste for preciseness, the following images speak for themselves. In the middle is the 'viewpoint' marked by a yellow thumbtack. This is the area from where the previous photos were taken.
Pondering the Holocene past and Anthropocentric future.
Though mostly enjoying the personal, present view.
I think it wise to return soon, future-soon, and rent a houseboat for a few days of serene rides exploring the lake. Yes, there's still plenty of water in the lake for those of you thinking about visiting. If you don't go boating or hiking then drive on over to Boulder Beach for an easily accessed, expansive view.
As we were leaving I took a brief video of the quiet marina.
video: Callville Bay Marina
(Note: Mobile users may might see only the video controls but they do work to bring up the video frame.)
The next day we rode the city buses to visit the Strip and downtown. Below, Dave is in the foreground and across the way is Container Park with shops and restaurants housed in shipping containers (construction costs were no dout reasonable :-D). The place is not that big but interesting enough for a few minutes' walk-through.
You can almost see me in the middle of this view of what is called the 'Fremont St. Experience'. On the image there is a tiny white dot that I placed right below where I'm standing.
For a few years now there has been an increase of street performers on the Strip and downtown Fremont St. In one of the photos that Dave took of me standing there this particular performer seemed on his way to work. As for the front view, let's just say it was the barest minimum allowed by decency laws. The guy in the 'undead' shirt looks like he's trying to make some sense of it. What kind of performance did the stringed fellow do? Dave and I didn't stick around, we had seen enough already. :-)
On the way to the transit center for the bus which would take us to the Strip, Dave had an impromptu "Singing In Las Vegas" moment; possibly due to the Orange Julius drinks with vodka we had earlier. There was hardly anyone on the street and so no coins in the hat.
The bus dropped us off at the SLS hotel which used to be the old Sahara. I hadn't been to the Sahara in years and while the hotel-side entrance seemed the same other than a little sprucing-up here and there, it was the casino area that showed the most remodeling with an industrial look where the ceiling was removed exposing pipes and ducts all painted black. The walls were different colors with some artworks and the floor had colorful carpets. I didn't take a photo but here's a large one I found online of the center bar with overhead LED display.
We had another OJ/Vodka to boost us for the two-mile walk down the Strip to the Bellagio Hotel. Walking it at night is a little strange since for a mile it's dark making for a surreal contrast with the more illuminated part of the Strip in the distance. An eerie reminder of natural night encompassing artificial declarations.
We stopped at the Venetian Hotel for Chinese fast food, then a quick walk to the Bellagio. On Dave's visits we usually go there to see the Conservatory, an area for season-themed flower displays but this time the next display was under construction. Here is a video of the exhibit that was constructed.
Before leaving we saw the fountains show. While there I took a video of the Cosmopolitan Hotel next door which had a large LED video display at its top. The voice you hear in the background is Dave's whose brother just happened to call him. Dave tells him he is in Las Vegas. Oh, and we each had another OJ/Vodka. Hey, it's a lot of walking. :-D
video: Cosmopolitan Hotel
That was it for the evening so from there we proceeded toward Tropicana Boulevard to the bus stop. It's a short distance but pedestrians have to take the overhead walkways that were built in the late 90's-2000. The reason for them was because traffic was becoming impossible along with the large flow of pedestrians and of course the many accidents that resulted. It's safer now but the time has doubled to cover the distances and it can be quite the physical workout especially when some of the escalators that take you to the walkways aren't working; yes, there are elevators. So if you plan on visiting Las Vegas and walking from casino to casino along parts of the Strip, make sure you have the best walking shoes possible. Seriously.
On the third day we went back to Lake Mead but before doing so we went to my aunt Alma's place so Dave could visit her. Dave and I have known each other since high school so he's regarded by my aunt as almost a second nephew. Alma is now 91 years of age. Here's a photo of her and Dave.
At the lake we went to a place we've usually visited before, '#33 Hole'. After nearly two years the water-level drop was noticeable especially in the narrowing of the channel between shorelines. This time we explored a little slot canyon near the parking area. Not as spectacular as Arizona/Utah slot canyons but interesting in its own way. The following are photos of the slot, two of them of a tunnel you have to walk through. One I took of Dave with the faint glow of his phone light, the other Dave took of me as I exited the tunnel. As can be expected, the tunnel has interesting acoustics.
Brittlebush flowers by the tunnel. Interesting note, early Spanish settlers burned the resin for incense.
Below, Fortification Hill at sunset. Taken by Dave from position in the above photo.
Here's a link with more photos and description of 33 Hole slot canyon. Hover on the dots and right-click for a slide show. The map also zooms in/out with mouse wheel. Note: On the phone the dots and map do not show but the pictures do if you scroll down.
On the fourth day we went to Ash Meadows. It was good to be there again and the weather pleasant with temps in the high 70s to 80s. I had thought there would be some early blooms and greenery but by the look of it the show would be in another month or so. But regardless, Ash Meadows always gives me a peaceful feeling. Visiting there is also visiting an inner place, a state of being.
Dave on a bench in the boardwalk loop.
Nearing twilight on the reservoir. In the two photos you can just make out Mt. Charleston still dusted with snow in the far distance between the hills .
The road to Shadow Mountain. Well, that road doesn't really lead to it but it's symbolic enough in that I've been researching the mountain for a future exploration.
We didn't take too many photos on this visit to Ash Meadows, but that's all right. The mood was a quiet one and perhaps indicative of this particular time in the spring. The mind was taking more images than the camera could and that can also be said for the four days we roamed around. As for how things are in our respective worlds? We had ongoing conversations whether outdoors or when back at the apartment and I guess the best that can be said is that each of us continues to manage the journey and thankfully with a measure of interest and inspiration. Of course, at this time in our lives the ebb and flow of experience is an intricate thing. There is much knowledge to draw from but none of it is as immediate and palpable as that knowledge of the present moment, the moment when the traveler and the journey become one. That moment is the one that keeps the inspiration going for me.
Dave and I talked about the possibility of next time going to Northern Nevada for a few days, up to the Ruby Mountains and points in-between. That'll definitely make for interesting experiences and images to share with others such as I have done here.
Thanks to all who viewed this and may your own measure of interest and inspiration be abundant and graceful. If any of the readers have questions about Las Vegas and the nearby outdoor areas, please feel free to leave a note in the comments section or send it to, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till next time, I leave you with a flowing, Ash Meadows stream. :-)
video: Ash Meadows Stream
Any comments for the above article can be posted in the Disqus for the introduction.