I live on the edge of the wilderness . . . in the redwoods and rain
on the Northern California coast. The extraordinary beauty here is matched
only by the danger of an unforgiving, rugged ocean coastline. Where
summers can be as warm and as inviting as fresh baked cookies, the winter
storms can tear out giant redwoods and drop them on power lines (and leave us
without power for days). The region can be rendered isolated by floods that
seem to sneak-up on everyone. One year it floods, the next two years don't. Then it'll
flood every winter for three years. Ya' just never know when it's coming.
Every summer, the tourists pour in. They "ooou" and "aaaahhhh" at the
majestic redwoods and sharp-edged, wild coastline. Every summer, a few confuse
Disney movies with raw nature, ignore the warning flyers and signs, and promptly drown (or fall off the
cliffs or get lost in the forest). We have some of the most skilled search
and rescue people available, but tragically, it is impossible to protect people
who act foolishly (disrespectfully?) towards nature. Fortunately, lawyers have not figured out
how to sue God for creating such a hazardous playground.
So, as yet, the region hasn't been covered in foam rubber. If lawyers do
figure out how to sue Nature, no doubt this region will be
stripped bare paying judgements to victims that "mistakenly"
got caught up in the natural selection process. If
you visit this coast, keep a close eye on kids and dogs and heed the
warnings posted (no matter HOW peaceful, and beautiful things seem).
It's amazing how many homes go up for sale at the end of each
winter (with flood lined walls carefully painted over). Still,
people keep coming here to live . . . more every year. Most of these people seem to be
looking for a piece of the beauty here. The survivors receive the beauty, but are
required to earn it. The price is developing a self-reliance and an unyielding
spirit. Folks here EARN the right to live in a remote region. Many choose
this region because they prefer the company of nature and solitude over
the company of wall-to-wall people. Some move here because they flat
cannot live with people at all. Privacy around here is generally respected.
Yet, most locals understand the unspoken
truth that to stay here - through battering storms, forest fires,
and crazy tourists - you MUST get along with your neighbors.
It's a fine line between being stubbornly independent and being
a good neighbor. It's a pain in the butt sometimes, but you still,
have to walk that fine line as best as possible. The word 'tolerance' comes
to mind . . . I remember being taught that 'tolerance' was a key virtue.
When did 'tolerance' become the vice, and 'zero-tolerance' a virtue? Hummmmm.....
Skattered through-out the region are local bulletin boards.
Now, I'm talkin' bout' the ol' fashion type made of wood with
real paper notices tacked up.
I love pouring over old wood boards covered in tacked-up notes checking if some "newbie"
is selling his chainsaw and moving back to civilization . . .
AWAY from this unpredictable land.
The best bulletin board is run by a stern, elderly woman
whom I'll call 'Marge'. Marge only posts
information she thinks is appropriate, and there is no debating with her about it.
Maybe because it's "Marge's way or the highway", her bulletin board
is neat, clean and always has
something worth investigating posted. Marge's bulletin board gave me an idea.
When I first arrived on the Internet in 96', it was rough going. I had
a terrible time finding quality, online Internet training
- usable graphics - reliable services - clear instructions on how search engines work
- and so forth. Eventually, I
did find excellent web sites that taught me HTML and JAVA. I found places which
provided me with graphics. Everything I know about the Net' I learned
from the Net'. What I could have used was a good, old fashion bulletin board
filled with valuable, helpful and interesting information. A bulletin board
that had some "human-ness". So, I decided to build
1 NetCentral.Com: a bulletin board-like web site
where only fun and practical Internet resources get tacked up. It's my
way of giving back to the Net' what I've taken from the Net'.
I do it free. And, I only post what I personally find valuable or interesting.
The primary focus is on helping folks be self-relient on the Internet. Given
the dynamic nature of the Net', maintaining
1 NetCentral is a never
ending activity. I do it the best I can, time permitting.
Like this untamed coastline I live on, the Internet is a wild and wonderous place.
The Net' is literally a new, unexplored frontier. We pioneers need to be fiercely independent.
We need to be protective of our privacy and our rights.
We want to respect the environment and "go with the flow", rather
than trying to own or dominate it. We need to take full responsiblity for
where we travel on the Net' and not expect others to take care of us. And, we need to
be good neighbors. A happy, healthy society does not just "happen".
It arises from the effort of those who contribute to building it.
It may seem that being free; being ornary; being independent; and being a contributor
is a highly paradoxial mix. However, once you've lived on the edge of the wilderness,
this contradictory mix makes perfect sense. It is an attitude.
It is about feelings and fostering the correct feeling in others. It is
not easily written down nor accurately explained. It is accurately FELT,
if you're open to it.
Basicly, I'm a hard-edged, ol' hermit webmaster living at the
edge of the wilderness who only posts what he likes. I hope
others find the humble effort of 1netcentral.com valuable. If you don't like it, too bad.
And that's all there is too it.
K. Grant, Webmaster
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