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Sunni's Salon, July 2006

July has brought its heat to the upper midwest, where I'm currently hanging my hat, and we're mostly enjoying the fire. Life has settled into an interesting amalgam of old-fashioned farm life and modern enjoyments. We don't have to care for the cows in the field beside our house, but it's fun to watch them while we tend our little herb patch; and I've come to enjoy hanging the freshly-washed clothes on the line and roasting our coffee beans. The kids enjoy splashing in an ersatz pool—really a huge cattle-watering container—and improving their bike-riding and reading skills. Grillouts keep the kitchen heat outside, and usually by the time the brats are ready the sun's low enough to make dinner al fresco a pleasant possibility. We're no longer adjusting to being here—and our departure is still far enough away to be a distant speck in our minds—so we all seem to be enjoying the moments as they tumble by, a jumble of accomplishments and realizations and pleasures.

That may not seem like a very impassioned lifestyle, but to me it's exactly the kind of variety that keeps me fired up. If I tire of online activity, it's an easy thing to pop outside and pick gooseberries or raspberries, or check on the basil to see if another batch of pesto is possible. Various projects allow me ample opportunities to hone my poor mechanical skills, some good pro-freedom friends are within driving distance should we want company, and if I want quiet time for thinking, hanging laundry or a walk along our quiet road or into the woods fills the bill. Reading and exploring music are more infrequent indulgences, but are always available. Most afternoons carry the threat of thunderstorms, which frequently drench our verdant plot in even more vibrant hues, across both sky and land. Not every moment is high energy, but the variety, and the relative ease of shuffling among the opportunities open to me here, yield deep satisfaction.

This month I'm hoping to share some of these fires here at Sunni's Salon. That's probably most obvious in my Prometheus-finalist mini book reviews. (For those who might not know it, the Prometheus Award is awarded by the Libertarian Futurist Society to the best pro-freedom science fiction novel published each year.) Another long and varied conversation, this month with the editor of LFS's newsletter, Anders Monsen, touches on many topics we both are passionate about—and not all of which are related to culture! The theme in this month's webby wanderings might be fire-bringers I originally undervalued; all are pro-freedom gents with perspectives that energize me in some way. And the music—oh, the music!—in the little bit of time I've devoted to exploring the music library, I took a chance on two unknowns and came up a big winner on each. They aren't my typical musical maunderings, which means that you might just discover something new and enjoyable as well.

And that, to me, sums up the fire that drives my life. New flavors, new experiences, new skills, or improvements and refinements to existing ones ... stretching further and keeping engaged in living. Sure, not every experiment will be richly rewarded, but trying something new and learning in the process is its own reward for me. This July, as the heat blazes outside our Salon pagoda, Tom and I hope to offer you some things to stoke your own personal fires, and to help you blaze a freer path in your own life. The blackberries aren't ready to harvest yet, but I can finally offer you some gooseberry preserves to top that cool slice of lemon-kissed cheesecake. Welcome to our fires; and please, do tell us if we need to adjust the heat for your comfort.

A brief program note: because my time here is fleeting, because each issue of Sunni's Salon requires a substantial investment of time, and because I don't want to flame out in this effort, I will be taking a much-needed vacation month from the Salon in August. Other sections of Endervidualism should continue as usual, and I encourage you to explore them—Tom does a great job keeping up on current doings and freedom-related movies each week. We'll be back in September, refreshed and raring to go at it again. In the meantime, take good care!

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