S4 E34 — Preconceived Notions Hit the Road for Prescott

Jay texted us to ignore the GPS which wants to direct you a different way.  Don’t turn it on until you speed past Blythe, drop by Quartzite for cheap gas just across the California-Arizona border, and then trust your CarPlay.


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Hi and welcome to Friday’s 34th Episode in Season 4 of  Our Disruptively Resilient Year” on this 29th day of April in the spring of 2022.

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll

    • @KnowLabs suite of 36 digital magazines, according to my analytics, grew from 12733 this week to 12817 organically grown followers.
    • Orange County Beach Towns 220 viewers stopped by the week before.




Surprise, everything fit into my Honda CRV and surprise, surprise we closed our garage door — this time without backing into it like I did in a hurry moments before our Italy Anniversary Vacation. 

And slid onto our street headed first to the 241 toll road and eventually into Highway 91, then Freeway 215 and for the long haul, the 10 Freeway east past Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Coachella, Indian Wells and sped past signs to smaller, more remote destinations along the way.

Image Credit: Apple Maps

Jay texted us to ignore the GPS which wants to direct you a different way.  Don’t turn it on until you speed past Blythe, drop by Quartzite for cheap gas just across the California-Arizona border, and then trust your CarPlay.

Because Jay, who looks like an aging James Brolin with streaks of gray hair, has a good sense of humor I asked him an inside joke, which road should we take to “the Freeway” Alicia Parkway or El Toro Road?

Alarmed almost immediately he called, “Aren’t you taking the tollway?” which was kinda a joke on me, because I hadn’t visualized the route in my mind yet.  “I was just yanking your chain”.

“At the roundabout, take the second exit” had become a running joke when Jay rented a GPS unit in Florence before we headed out into the awesome Tuscany rolling green fields and small towns.  His idea of a vacation was to wing it, you know.  Get in the car rental and follow your whims from vineyard to small Italian town and on to the next.  

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard copyright 2022

However comma Emma the Baroness and I didn’t want to leave our precious anniversary vacation to chance.  In fact we bought Rick Steves guide for Italy and followed his recommendations as best we could.  Since back then Jay and Elle lived less that a mile away from us, it was fun to kick around itinerary ideas at each others house.

Italian wine and meals got us into the mood.  Google maps displayed on our big screen through Apple TV assisted forced choices accounting for travel time between regions, maximum days at each destination and choice of final accommodations.

In Cinque Terra, either in the hallway or our hotel’s lobby as we waited for Jay to finish his phone conversation, or maybe it was at the same breakfast when we learned from Anna that the Villa Steno had been in Mattes family for 26 years — Carla and he are the owners, that Elle dropped the bomb on us.

Image Credit: Stephen G Howard copyright 2023

They were closing escrow long distance on a place in Prescott, and renting their Italian-planning-home.  Both Emma the Baroness and I were in shock.  Jay and Elle had just returned to their neighborhood in Mission Viejo not that long ago from Durango, Colorado where Elle had tripped on the lower rung of an extension ladder as Jay was fixing something next to the kitchen door in their garage.  She lost her balance and fell on their driveway.  

The fall added to some of her health issues, which kept her from fully enjoying the sights and sounds and walking delights in Venice, Florence, Cinque Terra, Tuscany especially in Sienna and finally in Rome.

While she and Jay made the effort by driving the same six plus hours along the same route to attend Jazzy and Delta Girl’s wedding in Oceanside, California both Emma the Baroness and I agreed she seemed very frail and tired three months ago.

Today we were reversing the trip.

But, Arizona?  

I felt like Daniel on his way to the lion’s den.  

Weren’t there some cyber ninja Q-Anon believers in charge of recounting the 2020 election results over and over and over without finding anything suspicious?

Maybe over the course of the next few days it will be like, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and we can keep our friendship in tact.

The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book

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“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Preconceived notions are obstacles to overcome. Having zero expectations makes it easier to accept what is. You’ll be amazed at what you can do when you deal in realities instead of fantasies.” Aries

We concluded the three-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed — during the “normal” pre-pandemic year compared to the pandemic year, and more recently to the paradoxically normal year. 

Season Four continues now within domestic and global chaos.

Previously in Season Four, The Disruptively Resilient Year

S4 E33When Was The Last Time Honesty and Character Counted?; S4 E32A Rudy By Any Other Name Still Smells …; S4 E31Butt Dialing Your Way to a $Billion, What Could Go Wrong?  

Related from Season Three, the Paradoxically Normal Year

S3 E34Why You’re Susceptible to Subliminal Suggestions Like …; S3 E33Do Meaningful Coincidences Really Exist?; S3 E32But, Why Should You Care?; S3 E31Treat It Like a Pawn Ticket to Sketchier Things  

Related from Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E34Why Is This Kicking Off the 4th Industrial Revolution?; S2 E33What Happens When Your Business Collapses?; S2 E32Trapped and Bored? Or Unleashing a Reinvention Wave?; S2 E31Getting Charged from Box Automattic-aly 

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E34Day 34 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E33Day 33 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E32Day 32 of My 1-Year Experiment; S1 E31Day 31 of My 1-Year Experiment


Holiday Theme: 

… taking stock of what matters most to us. Old things, systems and beliefs will break. We’ll realize instances in which we were relying unnecessarily on things that have diminishing relevance to our future. We’ll be inspired to change and … talk about it to anyone who might benefit from the sharing.

Won’t it be nice if today’s Holiday Theme actually comes true?  I mean, it does with the love of my life sitting next to me in the passenger seat.  But, I’m not so sure how well talking about old things, systems and especially beliefs will turn out well for us.  Remember, don’t bring up politics or religion.

“4”  Steve Zahn, 51: “If you want to get good at something, there’s much you could add to your practice. But if you want to get great, this will require you to go the opposite direction. Eliminate the extraneous and isolate only what works.” Scorpio

I’m feeling the tension, not what four seasons of one thing propel me forward with its own momentum.  I intended to build out a pipeline of written works in progress and have mastered that.  But, am I trapped?  It will take another year or longer to publish what is already earmarked.  And, I want to shift gears to my “Volume Three” and “Volume Two Manuscripts”.  Will this Arizona vacation help or hinder me?

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“5”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “Preconceived notions are obstacles to overcome. Having zero expectations makes it easier to accept what is. You’ll be amazed at what you can do when you deal in realities instead of fantasies.” Aries

Isn’t it much more difficult to practice not giving in to preconceived notions with the political circus exacerbating our us vs. them uncivil war in American politics?  I know it is for me.  And here I expect our trip will take us deep into MAGA country.

“4”  Steve Aoki, 41; Steven Spielberg, 74: “Energy has dipped and progress has slowed down. Things will pick up after a good rest. If you needed an excuse to take one, consider this your permission slip.” Sagittarius

Just getting away again on a vacation may pep Emma the Baroness and me up.  I’ve left bread crumbs — notes about where I left off in each of my passion projects so I can regain momentum in those I feel more passionate about.

“3”  Steve Harvey, 62; Stephan Patis, 53;  Stephen Hawking (1943 – 2018): “You will connect the dots of a formerly fuzzy sketch. When you help someone learn things for the first time, you will relearn them in the process — everybody wins!” Capricorn

Connecting dots is what I do, especially in fuzzy, unknown situations.  My opportunity for helping somebody else learn for the first time my be limited on this roadtrip, but we shall see, right mom?


    • “Here, Right Matters: An American Story” by Alexander Vindman. “We’d long been confused by the president’s policy of accommodation and appeasement of Russia, the United States’ most pressing major adversary. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, seizing the Crimean Peninsula, attacking its industrial heartland, the Donbass, from the capital, Kyiv. By 2019, little had changed, Russian military and security forces and their proxy separatists continued to occupy the Donbass. The biggest change was to Ukraine’s importance as a bulwark against Russian aggression weeks earlier, the White House had abruptly put a hold on nearly four hundred million dollars.” 
    • David Enrich begins his book with a suicide in “Deutsche Bank Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction” and then meticulously details the bank’s Russian money laundering operations. Deutsche’s Russian business surged after revenues had fallen 50% due to the 2008 financial crisis. Putin’s Russia, poured in to Deutsche from deals it did with VTB Bank, linked to the Kremlin’s intelligence apparatus. Deutsche positioned itself as a crucial cog in “The Laundromat” by doing what couldn’t be done — processing cross-border transactions for banks that were too small  and didn’t have offices outside their home countries.
    • “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy” by Jamie Raskin recalls one tragedy no parent should endure — the suicide of his son — and then a second tragedy at almost the same time — the insurrection on January 6th 2021, that terrified he and his congressional peers who were tasked by the Constitution to routinely oversee the orderly transfer of power from one former president to the duly elected new President. 
    • “A Warning” by Anonymous (Miles Taylor) written prior to the January 6th Insurrection as an insider’s account documenting how frequently the former President’s behavior and rage without any “guard rails” showed just how far he would go to win the next election at any cost while spinning lies and misinformation on top of each other.  
    • “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa provides anecdotes, stories and inside reporting documenting the controversial last days of Donald Trump’s presidency, as well as the presidential transition and early presidency of Joe Biden. 
    • “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising,” by Joshua Green tracks the money behind the scenes leading up to the 2016 presidential election and the growing influence of Steve Bannon’s network of extreme nationalists.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate