Updated October 15, 2004
Bienvenidos, amigos! Welcome to El Rancho Arcana - the Mystery Ranch. Here you'll find an eclectic collection of work delivered in an entertaining and possibly edifying manner.
(10/15/04) A note for those who've been here before: Work continues on moving GRA to the new host and new content management system. It's taking a LOT longer than I thought; but no, GRA has not been abandoned yet. I'm been forced to divide what little time I have to either writing content, or working behind the scenes on the delivery system. Trying to do two things at once often leads to mediocre results, so please pardon the delays and loose ends. Watch this space for further announcements...
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So what's this Rancho Arcana all about?
The idea for this site grew out of a series of letters I've written over the years to friends, scribbles in my journals, and other things I've found rattling around in the kitchen junk-drawers of the Internet. My friends seem to enjoy reading what I've written and I enjoy writing for them, so it seemed like a good idea to simply publish this stuff all in one place as I go. We'll see.
Another reason I've developed this site is to help me sharpen my writing skills. Maintaining a website is a good way to develop discipline and keeping it open-ended allows me to try out different styles and topics.
Does this stuff warrant having its own website? Good question. It's a lot of work, but I've gotten some gratifying feedback so far. I'll stick it out if you will.
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When I started thinking about doing this, I visited other sites to find examples of what works and what doesn't. I came across quite a few weblog sites.
Weblogs are slick, but the content often seem to be written by the volcanically inclined. Lots of Fire. Smoke. Cinders. Maybe they're hoping to uncover nuggets in all the slag. Maybe they expect you to find them. Whatever. I keep my shovel in the garage and I suppose you do too.
So I'll make a promise to you, dear visitor. I'll actually read what I've written before I post it and hopefully you'll find what I write interesting enough for a return visit every now and then. I don't expect to always hit the mark, so we're both going to have to take chances here.
I'm also planning on taking my time at this, so be patient. Patience is a virtue and we all know the virtuous will be rewarded. Someday.
This is a work in progress. What this means is that I'll do my best to organize things in a logical manner as I add materials. This site will eventually split into well-defined parts, just like good organic peanut butter.
Another thing to bear in mind is that even though the materials found here are calculated to address a larger, impersonal reading audience, I'm still writing for my friends. If you don't like what I'm writing, blame my friends. I do. Works great.
Finally, I reserve the right to change names and places and anything else to protect the innocent. Those friends I mentioned? I'd like to keep them.
No old girlfriend stories, either. They're all nice respectable people now.
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A Family-Friendly Warning: I don't believe in the gratuitous use of profanity, sex, political mudslinging, attacking another's religion, or any of the other things one can do and say to offend polite company.
It's not because I have a thin skin, or because I'm a particularly well-mannered host, but mostly because I think it reflects cheap and sloppy writing.
HOWEVER, this is also a site written by an adult for the entertainment of other adults. Occasionally, just occasionally, you may find profanity (particularly in dialog), political/religious views with which you may or may not agree, and a number of other potentially offensive things.
Metaphorically speaking, we're not going to spend all our time chatting politely at the family dinner table. Sometimes you and I are going to excuse ourselves and sneak out back by the shed and whisper low, out of earshot. Hopefully, someone will wonder what all that laughter outside is about and maybe someone else at the table who can guess will simply shake their head with a wry smile and remember their own salad days. Just like real life.
When it looks like the writing is getting a little too warm, you'll find a heads-up somewhere alerting you to potentially offensive content. You're my guest, and your comfort is my concern. I also trust that you're an adult. Proceed with care if you're easily offended. I'd sincerely rather have you not read this stuff if it might offend you.
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You may ask "What exactly is a Mystery Ranch?"
A Mystery Ranch is just a name for the internal world each of us owns, a world furnished with the evidence of our senses and arranged by our fantasies; the home of memory, identity, and all the other things that go into making sense and finding value in life itself. It's a place with no horizon, where all boundaries are relative, and all questions arise. Questions like Who am I? Where am I? How did I get here? Where am I going? What's important? What's not? And why?
I don't have those answers, yet (and answers are not what this site is about). However, in exploring the questions, I've found some measure of adventure poking around in my back forty, the barn, the shed, the attic and basement, the hills, and other people's ranches. Sometimes the adventure is interesting enough to write down or work with in some manner.
I think all of us at some point come to know a little bit about the Mystery Ranch. Finding old treasures stashed away in odd, out-of-the-way places. Terrain we thought we knew. People and things who appear one way, then another, as we grow older and hopefully wiser. Maybe you'll start exploring your own Rancho Arcana. If not, you're welcome to visit mine. Take a look around.
And Greeley is no one in particular. I think it just rolls off the tongue well.