Max’s Journal 10/24/2014


By Max R. Weller

I saw this guy at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless just this morning — but the well-dressed young lady was nowhere to be seen:

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”

This is an athlete (and by coincidence a friend of mine):


This guy, not so much, because his athletic skills were enhanced by banned substances:

Which one should you respect? To me, the answer is obvious . . .

Here’s an interesting piece I came across on the Internet — Homeless survival: Practical tips and advice derived from personal experience. (Of course, we can presume that the author was SOBER, physically fit, and in possession of his mental faculties at all times.) Quoting from the article below, in reference to seeking shelter:

Obviously this is the main problem faced by the homeless. Those who stay in the city are restricted by laws against putting up any kind of temporary shelter. This is why the homeless are so often seen huddling in doorways, alcoves, tunnels, etc. Many cities have outlawed sleeping outdoors, which gives police the power to harass anyone they see lying down with their eyes closed. In fact, as long as you can be seen by anyone at night, your safety is at risk.

Homeless shelters may be no better. Filled with drugs and mental illness, they can be more dangerous than the streets, and many transients know enough to avoid them. Similar problems exist in tent cities. Diseases and parasites can easily spread when many people, all with poor hygiene, live close together.

Wooded areas appear safer and can be found throughout cities in the form of ravines, forests, valleys and parks. Some homeless build shelters there using tarps, plywood, cardboard boxes, or whatever else they can find. This may work for a while. But authorities keep tabs on these encampments and sooner or later come to take them down. Also, any shelter can be a target for thieves and squatters when you’re not there. Its mere presence during the day tells everyone that homeless person is living there.

I get around these problems by using a relatively inexpensive “pop-up “camouflage dome tent found online. A pop-up tent can be set up and taken down extremely fast, with very little effort. The idea is to find a secluded area in the woods or a local park, put up the tent at sunset, and then take it down again at or before sunrise the next morning. There is no campsite for anyone to find because it does not exist during the day. This is also known as stealth camping and many long-distance cyclists use it to avoid staying in motels. They camp on public or private land and take off before anyone knows they were there.

Your safety will come from being totally hidden. For anyone to see you sleeping at night, they would have to enter the forest after dark, leave the path at the right spot, and see through your camouflage. Even in broad daylight, a camo tent amid foliage is hard to spot. I have spent several nights in city parks using this method and haven’t yet been detected. A tent is one of the best possible temporary shelters you can use and gives a sense of security, even if it is mostly psychological. It does need a relatively flat, clear area of ground to be set up, so scout locations before you need them and clear them of debris before nightfall.

An even smaller shelter that fits practically anywhere is the bivy sack– essentially a zippered bag just large enough for your body, made of waterproof, breathable material. Some fold down to the size of a water bottle. A bivy will keep you dry and sheltered but won’t have room for anything else, like changing clothes. Some come with a framework that holds the fabric away from your face for some breathing room.

Satellite images on Google Maps are great for finding dense woods in your area. You want areas that are more “wild” and overgrown, not those which are obviously mowed and well maintained by the parks department(though if you are very diligent about always taking your tent down at sunrise, you should have no problems either way). Find spots which are totally hidden from both the trail and the street. At the same time, they should not be too far from places you want to go during the day. Eventually you will have memorized a few ideal spots around the city and can rotate between them so that you never camp in the same place too long. I use a heavy camouflage tarp as a groundsheet, protecting the tent floor from sharp debris. This can double as a cover for your gear, keeping it dry and hidden in the forest while you go about your daily business.

My own approach has been to stay away from other homeless people who like to spend the overnight hours drinking and drugging, yelling and fighting, and in general drawing as much attention to their presence as possible. Inevitably, this results in EVERYONE being told to move on by the authorities, and understandably so. If you’re alone and well-behaved, both property owners and law enforcement will usually give you “a wink and a nod” and even stop by simply to check on your welfare.

Very few chronically homeless people here in Boulder, CO seem to be able to act in their own best interests, however, and this is why so many resources are devoted to keeping them from dying on the streets. Better, in my view, to build a sufficient number of Tiny Houses for everyone in need, with a community kitchen/dining area and restroom/shower facilities.

The Homeless Philosopher will be back on Monday.

Boulder Shelter goes to the dogs


By Max R. Weller

Being at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless at 6AM and staying just long enough to shower (and do laundry if necessary) is about all I can tolerate. It gets worse every year, with more and more mentally ill transients from Denver and elsewhere taking resources needed by Boulder County’s own homeless people. Now, BSH has decided that a kennel will no longer be provided for dogs owned by the homeless; presumably, this means that ANYONE can claim that their mangy critter is a service animal and keep it inside the facility at all times — including going through the serving line and eating in the dining room, dog hair (and worse) being shed in other people’s scrambled eggs.

Welcome, Travelers! Anything goes at BSH, where those in authority sit up late at night thinking of new ways to make a bad situation even worse:

Untrained dogs and their human handlers

I asked the BSH staff member on duty at the front desk if any inquiries would be made of dog owners claiming that their canine companion is a properly trained “service animal” — not surprisingly, she couldn’t answer my question. See: IAADP Minimum Training Standards for Public Access. It’s moot, unfortunately, because federal law allows for dog owners to use the “honor system” in response to questions. In other words, they can lie with impunity up to the point where their dog causes problems.

Even so, the rights granted to owners of so-called service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act are not absolute. See: Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals. Quoting from it below:

When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

More to the point of bogus service animals is this excerpt:

A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.

This is why I’ve suggested that the owners of service animals be permitted to eat breakfast and dinner in the day room at BSH rather than the dining room, and they might do so with their dog as far as I’m concerned. Otherwise, the untrained mutts are likely to be shoving their faces into trays of food belonging to anybody at random.

BTW, almost all of the service animals owned by homeless people I’ve seen here in Boulder, CO are out of control, and you can tell right away if you sit near the front of the SKIP bus as I do. Usually, these dogs sniff your crotch as they’re boarding with their owners, who make no attempt to correct this misbehavior.

Like so much else in re homelessness, it’s a farce . . .

Boulder, CO falls behind


By Max R. Weller

Boulder, CO is lagging behind more progressive cities in the most cost-effective way to house those homeless people who are ready, willing, and able to assume more responsibility for themselves. Consider 11 Tiny House Villages Redefining Home for a look at a far better model than the $6 million plus 31-unit permanent supportive housing project at 1175 Lee Hill (about $194,000 per resident), a collaboration between Boulder Housing Partners and Boulder Shelter for the Homeless. Bridge House has its own $4 million plus project in the works as well in south Boulder, to house only 48 residents in a “transitional living” program (about $83,000 per person).

It seems to me that Boulder’s nonprofits are intent on keeping the chronically homeless, in particular, helpless and needy and dependent on the social services system; nobody except those working in the dysfunctional shelter/services industry and various government agencies which support the poor and homeless is benefitting by this corrupt state of affairs. Granted, a big part of the do-gooders’ benefit is the chance to FEEL GOOD about themselves (in addition to a salary).

Why not something like this here in Boulder? See:

Quixote Village in Olympia, WA

Quoting from the article linked to above:

Originally a self-governing tent camp of homeless adults in Olympia, Washington, Quixote Village now consists of 30 tiny houses, a community garden, and a common space with showers, laundry facilities and living and dining space.

Goodness knows, with about 70 square miles of Open Space surrounding our fair city, there is more than sufficient room for several Tiny House Villages dedicated to the needs of Boulder County’s own homeless people. Frankly, the Homeless Philosopher doesn’t give a damn if the inflated value of McMansions up in the Foothills is reduced by 10% or 20% — if it means that the most vulnerable among us are housed in safety and dignity.

Talk is cheap. Time to walk the walk, Boulderites! Simply writing another fat check to a local nonprofit isn’t dealing with the issue of homelessness; share the public land which you’ve been using as a moat around your castles for decades . . .

“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” — Mother Teresa

Owls calling at 4AM, and more


By Max R. Weller

I was awakened by the owls’ conversation in my neighborhood very early this morning; it seemed that it was coming from three directions and close by, too. Of course, this is much better than the yelling of pickled idjits leaving the Bustop Gentleman’s Club, and the wild critters pose no threat to anyone in my experience here. Coyotes, bears, mountain lions, and owls; I regard them all as fellow residents of the Great Outdoors.

A trio of snoozing Barn Owls

I wouldn’t mind sharing an old barn with these birds of prey, either. They would keep the field mice from raiding my leftover corn chips and scurrying across my face as I sleep, no doubt.

A kind lady asked me yesterday, after handing me a $10 bill as I played the role of humble beggar at the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36, if I stayed at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless in the wintertime. I told her I lived outdoors year-round, except for brief respites in a motel or with friends in Longmont. I assured her that it was much better for me this way, and any man who doubts the truth of my statement should make a visit to BSH around 6AM, in order to see the filthy conditions in the men’s dorm and restroom/shower area. The floors rarely get mopped, when you would expect it to be done on a daily basis given the number of homeless guys and gals using this facility. I understand from female friends who have stayed at BSH over the past few seasons that it’s just as bad, and maybe worse, in the women’s dorm and restroom/shower area upstairs.

There’s no shortage of free labor available, and I’m certain that homeless folks seeking emergency shelter would pitch in to sweep and mop if they were asked to do so by staff. It’s pathetic — a fairly new homeless Hilton which cost several million dollars to build is the dirtiest I’ve ever seen anywhere! This goes straight to the man at the top, as far as I’m concerned: Greg Harms, the executive director at BSH.

It’s no wonder that my friend “Sally” has decided to leave her spot in the First Step/Transition Program there, and return to living in her van. She’s one of the few program residents who was diligent about doing her assigned chore, and more. The people who could gain the most wind up dropping out before housing becomes available (and who can blame ‘em?), while the bums are recycled through the program again and again — after being evicted from apartments — to nobody’s benefit. It’s a farce. STOP SUPPORTING IT!

Winter is coming, but I don’t mind that it’s been delayed by this great weather lately.

That’s all for now . . .

An obsessed fan, Indian Summer, and more


By Max R. Weller

Only in Boulder, CO have I encountered pseudo-intellectual poseurs — understandably hiding behind a cloak of anonymity on the Internet — who take great exception to my views on homelessness, but fail to address the points I raise. It’s much easier to dwell on sensational aspects of the crime(s) I committed over a dozen years ago back in Missouri, for which I pleaded guilty and served time in Missouri DOC and on parole supervision until January, 2008. Since my arrest in September, 2002 I’ve never committed another criminal offense of any kind, although I did abscond from parole supervision on two occasions (an administrative violation of parole conditions in my case).

In fact, I’d never committed any violation except for a couple of misdemeanor traffic offenses before that arrest on felony charges at the age of 46.

Obviously, anyone using the terms “sociopath” or “psychopath” to label me is NOT a trained mental health professional who has done an evaluation of me. As part of the process in Missouri DOC and under parole supervision, I was evaluated several times (every time one is moved to a new “camp” it’s repeated, and likewise may be ordered again by a new parole officer). The consistent diagnosis in my case was Clinical Depression, something I now understand that I’ve suffered from at various times since puberty. A couple of psychiatrists along the way offered to prescribe low doses of antidepressant meds, but I didn’t find them helpful and it was agreed that I could discontinue their use. Another psychiatrist offered a prescription for an antihistamine, because of its noted side effect of producing drowsiness in people who have some difficulty in getting to sleep, but I disliked the feeling of being hung over in the morning and again we decided to drop that remedy.

I did seek out cognitive therapy from a local psychology clinic while I lived in Springfield, MO in 2004. My therapists were graduate students in the Ph.D. program there, and I did find it helpful to verbalize feelings I’d kept to myself for decades. After a while, however, the focus of these sessions became my dislike of the parole officer assigned to my case at the time, and it was agreed that this was not a productive use of our time and we ended the sessions, with the understanding that I could return whenever I felt it necessary due to depression.

I am who I am, and indeed I did what I did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have the unique perspective on the issue of homelessness that I blog about.

Well, duh.

BTW, anonymous obsessed fan, you misspelled the word “philosopher” in the name of your website devoted to me. ROTFLMAO!

Works at a nonprofit in Boulder, CO — and believes all critics of it must be crazy.

The weather outside has been delightful recently, and the sun has retreated far enough to the south that I don’t need to apply sunscreen. Sitting on the wall at my shady spot in the 4900 block of N. Broadway, reading a book or talking with a friend, is quite relaxing. There have been a few bums drifting off into places they aren’t welcome since Boulder Shelter for the Homeless opened last Wednesday, but that will sort itself out as time passes and complaints are made to the authorities.

Read the editorial Have fun, but show restraint on Halloween in the Times-Call. And because every night is Halloween at BSH, I urge both the emergency overnight guests and program residents there to behave themselves throughout the year. It will make your life in general so much easier!

Tonight at my campsite (on sale now at King Soopers for $1):

Tasty straight from the can, with Ritz crackers.

Max’s Journal 10/17/2014


By Max R. Weller

Another quiet and restful night at my campsite, probably because the drunken transients are using up their allotted 90 nights at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless while it’s still warm outside. The pickled idjits will wish they’d saved those nights when the really cold weather hits in December and January.

I’m told that there was a serious verbal confrontation between a transient and the only BSH staff member (a newbie) who was required to be awake yesterday morning in the 4AM hour — the very first night emergency dorms were open. Luckily, the troublemaker was persuaded to leave the premises before anybody got hurt. A few thoughts on this incident and others like it:

1) Tell the miscreant to leave just ONCE, then call 9-1-1. Boulder PD expects to receive these calls for assistance, and will typically respond promptly with more than one unit. The staff member on duty should be sure to get an accurate physical description of the bum, in case he/she leaves before police arrive and a search of the neighborhood becomes necessary. All such cases involving Harassment or Assault should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

2) The idiotic BSH policy of allowing one of the two staff members on duty overnight to SLEEP has to end. These are NOT firefighters working a 24-hour shift! They’re inexperienced  employees supervising a homeless shelter where sociopathic and/or mentally ill clients often wander around in the dayroom at all hours. Two staff members on duty, both wide awake, are a necessity.

3) A few of the more reliable homeless men and women should be hired as part of the BSH staff. Many have previous experience working in homeless shelters, and all of them have a better understanding of who and what they’d be dealing with while on duty. The newbies on staff, especially, spend entirely too much time listening to bull**** from clients, when they should be paying attention to what is going on all around them.

4) Prohibit registered sex offenders at BSH, and show compassion to those homeless clients who have been victims of sexual abuse.

5) Require valid photo ID and proof of residency in Boulder County for anyone who seeks shelter/services at BSH. Transients from Denver and elsewhere have no stake in keeping our fair city livable, and many of them seem intent on trashing Boulder, in every sense of the word.

Bums like this should be given the $5 bus ticket on RTD to Denver, along with a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a bottle of water to-go:

“I have the right to do whatever I want!”

Another example of a Michelle Obama-inspired lunch for schoolkids:


NOT what is served in the White House. 

Maybe next winter I’ll have a tiny house of my own:

Tiny House Plans: A-Frame Vacation Cabin

The Homeless Philosopher will be back on Monday . . .

Return to Boulder, CO and more


By Max R. Weller

After a week recuperating at a secret location in nearby Longmont, my friend Dan dropped me off at my campsite in north Boulder yesterday morning. It seemed only natural that some bum I’d never seen before was lying in the ditch on the other side of the barbed-wire fence from my camping gear, but I’m happy to report that nothing had been disturbed. It was wet, however, from rain a week ago. I spread everything out to dry in the sun and gentle breeze, added a couple of new tarps to replace the old, along with a comforter from Walmart, and when I reassembled my “bed” and crawled into it early in the evening it proved to be most comfortable.

At my shady spot in front of the Mexican restaurant across the street, I found that the bums had once again, during my absence, started to toss their empty beer bottles around. I brought over a trash bag from my campsite and collected those I could reach, and “Sally” picked up a couple that were down in the ditch when she came by to visit later on.

Apparently, not much has been going on at the corner of N. Broadway & U.S. 36 — which is a positive. I still don’t quite feel like standing there, flying the little sign I’ve had for the past four years, but Sally and anyone else who can behave decently while panhandling is welcome to do so. Characters like Drunk Brian (gone back to Michigan), Shouting Joe from St. Louis (in Boulder County Jail for three felony counts of Sex Assault), and the Denver King (who may have left the state after failing to appear in court on a Harassment charge) need never return to our peaceful neighborhood.

I went over to Boulder Shelter for the Homeless at 5PM to see how many transients were there for intake on the first night of the season, and also to put away some new clothes in my locker. Didn’t appear to be very many, maybe a dozen, but this was before the Free Bus from downtown arrived. When I went back to BSH this morning at 6AM, it still wasn’t much of a crowd compared to what you’ll see in December and January, and the rule that limits anyone to just 90 nights during the course of the 6-month season probably will lead many transients to save their nights during this Indian Summer of October.

Greg Harms, executive director of BSH, was on hand in case the media showed up. I don’t think they did. I’ve often said that an “undercover” reporter should spend a night or two in this facility; the resulting story would open the eyes of a lot of people here in Boulder, who mistakenly assume that any nonprofit must be on the side of the angels. LOL!

Well, the KC Royals have swept the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS, and are returning to the World Series for the first time since winning it in 1985. No sober person could have predicted this at the beginning of the 2014 baseball season, but here we are. Right now, their probable opponent is the San Francisco Giants, who hold a 3-1 games lead over the Cardinals in the NLCS.


Kansas City Royals on Facebook

Tonight at my campsite: unhealthy goodies from King Soopers, including Halloween treats.