Column: ‘Blogging from Nowhere Land’

If you find a sleepy nowhere land to live in and it’s fairly close to everywhere, you should buy a house there. Nowhere Land is highly under-rated, on the contrary, it can be quite juicy with life! Not everyone can live where it’s happening. Heck, nowadays with the internet, everything is happening everywhere, nowhere men and women are harder to find. 

cropped-profile_2015_hawaiiluau_300px.jpgDamien Riley is a blogger and podcaster who writes a column at RileyCentral.blog once a week. He has an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton, he married a princess (now his queen) and together they have 3 children.

Living nowhere has its advantages. I live in a town called Victorville and it’s conveniently seated 2 hours South of Las Vegas and about one hour from Los Angeles. The only thing to do here is going to movies and go out to eat. We have the basic corporate chains: Olive Garden, Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Red Robin. These are great places to eat, I’m not knocking them. Living in the high desert dusty sands of Victorville can have its advantages though.When you want to go to see a film, Cinemark holds the monopoly up here. Tomorrow I’m going to see a novelty showing of the original Planet of the Apes, which will be insanely fun. Still, we don’t get indie films up here and the theaters cycle in the trendy blockbuster stuff week in and week out. This is fun, as long as I can get someone to go with me. My wife used to be gung-ho for any film I wanted to see, I remember driving way “down the hill” (This is a colloquial term for driving South down the Cajon Pass toward Los Angeles and Orange County.) On that date we drove about 90 miles to the UC Irvine move theater to see Jennifer Lawrence in an indie film called Winter’s Bone. Over the years, her mind has become more closed to crazy indie films like that, especially the horror and goofy stuff I’m reviewing these days: ie; Tusk, Swiss Army Man. So, I have taken to seeing films like these with my daughters or by myself at home. If I review a trendy blockbuster, it’s likely I saw it with my wife. Horror or goofy, I probably didn’t.
We have a mall up here that is first class. I still like to shop at Barnes and Noble, even though I really don’t read. If I have a general interest like lowering blood pressure or another sort of fact sheet, I might look up a free pdf online and read it in my Nook. Otherwise, I’ve learned I don’t have as much patience for books these days. I push myself to read other peoples’ blog posts but books are sort of on the back burner for now. The last novel I read was Nos4a2 by Stephen King’s son “Joe Hill.” He also wrote Horns which was a horror that I truly loved. There is an amazing food court and a Starbucks kiosk. I’m an avid coffee drinker so I love to get a Starbucks on my app. Every purchase earns me stars and enough stars gets me a free drink. Starbucks is a holy word in my house. My wife and I must spend 10K there a year (guesstimate). They have a See’s Candy store in there where I have bought my wife Valentine’s Day candy for years. The line is never unreasonable. I used to live in Orange County and I can tell you there is almost always a mile long line in those malls for See’s Candy on Valentine’s day.

There are a few parks up here that are pleasant to hang out at. They are hot in the Summer though. I think anyone living up here learns a way to get wet and stay cool. I have my pool. It costs me a lot to keep up but I love it so I spend happily. Jumping in a pool up here on a 108F day is akin to a religious experience. In the evenings, I enjoy my jacuzzi that I usually heat up to 101F. Kids love playing at the park. There are regular “ice cream man” trucks that jingle by. One plays the Music Box Dancer song by Frank Mills and I always love hearing it. Liberty Park is a great place to have an impromptu picnic. Several times we have picked up a box or friend chicken, some drinks and sides, and laid down a blanket for a tasty lunch. The kids get to play and we can lay around with our laptops or just lay on each other’s stomachs and have a nap.

I guess when I say there is nothing much to do here I mean cultural things. There are no playhouses or theaters. There is a community college but no University. I say it’s no wonder why so many denizens up here succumb to drug use. Crystal Meth and Heroin are a couple of the big ones. I’m sure LA and Hollywood have problems with more expensive drugs. I guess that’s why I started blogging a few years after I moved here. I could connect with people all over the world through the blog software Wordpress. Facebook wasn’t invented yet so there was still a little prestige and mystique in blogging. Nowadays when I say I’m a blogger, some people equate that with someone addicted to social media. The blogging I do is far more content oriented. It is social but I seek to leave the world a better place with the articles I leave behind. Facebook is more about liking your friend’s son’s Bah Mitzvah (sp?).

As a teacher, I get breaks throughout the calendar year. My contract is from August to June with some weeks off in-between. Even when we were struggling financially years ago, my wife Sarah and I made sure to plan and take family vacations as much as possible. We still do. This past Summer we went to Hawaii, OC Beaches, we’re going to Vegas in a few days, and tons of movies, restaurants and other stuff. We really do live like Kings. Still, before anyone go resenting us, trust me we live month-to-month and both of us have hefty student loan payments. Our son can’t qualify to waive his college tuition, so we feel sometimes on the outside up here. I don’t ask for anyone’s sympathy but I would appreciate a level of respect that we made choices to get where we are and there are always consequences whether you make choices for college of not. It’s called adult life.

It’s a sleepy place I live in but I recommend a place like this for life. We aren’t a stone’s throw from anywhere but we can get in the car and be somewhere pretty quick. And so do you see the value of living in nowhere land? Oh I almost forgot, the traffic is virtually non-existent.

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