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April 30, 2007

The angels took the honey from the bee dressed it up in fine clothes and then called it me
Carl Perkins

Jbensch Flamesredblack 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Flames-Red And Black" by J Bensch
Surprisingly good news today.
Three of my kids were selected in the NFL draft. I read about two of them in the paper and the third called me.
They're all going to different teams.
If that doesn't explain why I find it impossible to be a fan of any one NFL team, I can't offer any other explanation.
I know how hard those young men worked when I was with them. I know how hard they had to keep working. It's nice to see their efforts rewarded with a chance to continue to excel.
They're good kids. They will continue to be proud of themselves in all they do, whether they succeed or fail.

Then I got a call from a person at the shelter. They tell me that the little puppy is almost as good as adopted!
So, yeah, I'm feeling like I'm pretty magnificent.
Of course work still sucked.
I guess it all has to balance out.

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April 29, 2007

Bang the drum slowly Traditional

Click images for desktop size: "Fragile" by Unknown
Earlier this week a friend of my puppy's passed away.
She was 12 years old.
Like most of my puppy's best friends she was a patient in hospital. She had lympho ballistic leukemia, which is the same strain that I have.
It sickens me and puts pressure on me that I'm still shuffling around while a bright, personable child succumbs.
One thing I have always known and been quite comfortable in the knowledge of, is that any kid has the potential to do things greater and bigger and more wonderful than any of us can ever believe possible.
I see the empirical proof of it everyday and everywhere I look.
I think a lot of people "of a certain age" disregard this. Maybe they think that's it is merely potential. Without potential what are any of us? Without the dreams to exercise that potential what are we?
1939 - At The Circuis2Xs I love kids. Lucky for me.
Her mother sent me an email telling me of her passing. It was unbearingly sad.
I've lost a child. The sadness is near unendurable. I can only imagine the horror of watching this disease age and cruelly modifying your child..
The little girl wrote to my puppy almost every day. Her mother says that on days where the lethargy was so intense the whole family felt like giving up the little girl would demand on going to her computer (a Windows PC she claimed was much much better than my puppy's iMac) so she could go to my puppy's web site to see if my puppy was having anymore great adventures.
I understand the lethargy and fatigue. It makes me feel smaller than a little girl that I have to struggle so hard against it.
She was a brave and bright little girl.
It is too painful a thing to remember the dreams and plans she had, just the ones she shared with my puppy were all luminance and astonishment.
There is no doubt that the world is a darker less welcoming place with her gone.
It hurts that she's gone but its no exaggeration that the hurt is far far less than the joy, happiness and laughs she bought into my life.

I am slowly feeling better.
I know I am by using the disgustingly dirty house barometer test.
I notice the filth so I must be feeling better to notice it.
Conversely I wonder how sick I was to let things get this terrible!

My puppy and I are still happy. The foster dog is starting to become a real dog and not just a frightened animal.
The little puppy we acquired and took to the shelter had people come look at her this weekend. She's such a wonderful little thing I'm hoping she gets a happy a home as she deserves.

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April 26, 2007

Sitting In la la waiting for my ya ya uh huh Lee Dorsey

Scarey Nightmare By Donnalorelei
Click images for desktop size: "Scarey Nightmare" by Donna Lorelei
I felt pretty good yesterday.
It was my day off. Hence no work and none of that insipid drama.
At the doctor's I realized that the pain had abated.
Not gone but just calmed down to the point where I hadn't even thought of taking pain killers for the past 3 days!
It's still there, like a sprained ankle that you can walk on but you're always aware of. That's okay, even if i does flow through my whole body.
That thought buoyed me through the rest of the exam. Everything is holding steady. And that's good.
I took the rest of the news in better cheer. They want me to stop working - which is great except they don't offer to pay my bills or feed the puppies.
Its not so much that they object to me working, they don't want me to have contact with people. People are germy things, I guess. Maybe that's why I find them so attractive. They want me to go into a plastic bubble sort of environment..
That's not worth considering. Its not so much that people will kill me. Not mere contact anyway, so much as people will always make me sick like this. I can't fight off infection, its not like HIV, its that all infections will step up my white cell count and decrease the red cell count, which means pain, fatigue and general creepy feelingness.
That's not so bad. People are worth that . . . most people anyway.
1940 - Girls Under 21 I just have to tell those guys who like to come around me and spit constantly to knock it off. I find it disgusting anyway. Not so much the spitting but it seems there are some guys, usually the ones who like to tell me jokes from the "Blue Collar Show" who think that clearing their throats and spitting every 90 seconds (yeah, I've timed it) is cool.
If you have the flu or a cold I get to bop you one!
It can be dealt with.
Then my puppy has started to feel better. She apparently had an irritated colon. They're not sure what caused it but the speculation is that she was stressing because I've been so unwell. Who built empathy into the canine mind?!?
Our vet gave me FREE advice. I was thinking we'd done something to offend her and she didn't want us to come into the office . . . yeah, I've been sick . . . she was just saving us money.
Her free cure is working!
the dumb puppy never acted sick, she was always happy and telling me jokes but she was panting heavily, drooling and had diarrhea for 6 days. Poor thing, and she still kept telling me jokes and bringing me coffee . . . she does tell me jokes anyway . . . dog jokes . . . they are not very subtle . . .
Finally I got to go to the Animal Shelter and visit the puppy we "rescued".
It angers me that her life before was so bad that this is the first time I have seen her unafraid and very happy. She was so much better I couldn't hold on to any anger on her behalf.

I was feeling so good I agreed to be a special consulting coach for the pee-wee football team.
I think that means I get all of the fun and none of the stress. One thing about pee-wee football is that too many parents and adults don't understand that I've got nil interest in winning those games. I'm more thrilled having the kids tell me how a play worked. I seldom can understand exactly what they're saying - usually they forget to take out their mouth pieces when they're talking to me. But I certainly understand the joy in their faces and the thrill of succeeding.
That's the biggest victory you can have.

Works getting worse. I don't even like thinking about it. Too much nonsense. For an unsupervised job where I get paid by the hour they demand too much, they take too much and they give too little.

April 23, 2007

And the news today

Click images for desktop size: "Sunset Watch" by Unknown
Early one morning the sun was shining
I was laying in bed
Wondering if she'd changed at all
If her hair was still red
Her folks they said our lives together
Sure was gonna be rough
They never did like
Mama's homemade dress
Papa's bank book wasn't big enough
And I was standing on the side of the road
Rain falling on my shoes
Heading out for the east coast
Lord knows I've paid some dues
Getting' through
Tangled up in blue

She was married when we first met
Soon to be divorced
I helped her out of a jam I guess
But I used a little too much force
We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out west
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best
She turned around to look at me
As I was walking' away
I heard her say over my shoulder
1936 - The Walking DeadWe'll meet again some day
On the avenue
Tangled up in blue

I had a job in the great north woods
Working as a cook for a spell
But I never did like it all that much
And one day the axe just fell
So I drifted down to New Orleans
Where my luck it was to be employed
Working for a while on a fishing boat
Right outside of Delacroix
But all the while I was alone
The past was close behind
I seen a lot of women
But she never escaped my mind
And I just grew
Tangled up in blue

She was working in a topless place
And I stopped in for a beer
I just kept looking at the side of her face
In the spotlight so clear
And later on as the crowd thinned out
I's just about to do the same
She was standing there in back of my chair
Said to me, Don't I know your name?
I muttered something under my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces
Of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

She lit a burner on the stove
And offered me a pipe
I thought you'd never say hello, she said
You look like the silent type
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the 13th century
And everyone of them words rang true
And glowed like burning' coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul
From me to you
Tangled up in blue

Thunderbolts 07
Click images for desktop size: "Thunderbolts" by Marvel Comics
I lived with them on Montague Street
In a basement down the stairs
There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air
Then he started into dealing with slaves
And something inside of him died
She had to sell everything she owned
And froze up inside
And when finally the bottom fell out
I became withdrawn
The only thing I knew how to do
Was to keep on keeping on
Like a bird that flew
Tangled up in blue

So now I'm going back again
I got to get to her somehow
All the people we used to know
1937 - Marked WomanThey're an illusion to me now
Some are mathematicians
Some are carpenters' wives
Don't know how it all got started
I don't know what they're doing with their lives
But me, I'm still on the road
Heading' for another joint
We always did feel the same
We just saw it from a different point
Of view
Tangled up in blue

Bob Dylan

My old friend called me this evening. She was laughing because she found a bootleg memorial CD . . . of me. I told her I'm not dead . . . yet.
She said lighten up. It could be worse. They could have done one of those Tribute albums, where they get a bunch of bands I never liked to do rushed covers of some of my songs.
I did think that was funny, the idea of it.

At least my puppy understands.
I spoke to her vet today. She doesn't have any parasites or toxins or blood in her stool. That's good, but she still has diarrhea and has for 5 days now. She's off food for tonight and on chicken and rice tomorrow. The little black puppy we "found" is out of parvo quarantine. She's available for adoption. I'm going to visit her Weds, after the doctors.
The foster dog has recovered fully from her spaying. So much so that she's driving me nuts but in the nice way.

I really hate my job.

April 21, 2007

Its like the dog, only not so low. It's like the hully gully only not so slow. Baby just come on and do the swim
Bobby Freeman

Vsal Rosewoodcanvas 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Rosewood Canvas" by Vsal
Fascinating that Bush appears to be as insensitive to affluent kids in Blacksburg, VA as he has been to the poor kids of New Orleans. Maybe he just hates people.
My demeanor is getting bad. This is a time I miss Southern California. When your infected with this general malaise of heart, mind and body LA really does have it all.
Depression is something you have to work hard to cling to when there are 40 foot palm trees swaying against cloudless blue skies. You can think about the sunsets being so spectacular because the pollutants are killing you also make pretty purples in the air, and you can think about the rats that infest the palm fronds, but if you need to do that there's not much hope for you anyway.
There's Taquitz Rock out by Palm Springs, Joshua Tree where you can go remind yourself that you're still alive by clinging to rocks. Where if you make a mistake you will probably die. Nothing brings the senses and concentration in focus like pain and imminent death. Never met a rock climber who suicided.
But there is mainly the surf. There's something about floating in cold salt water, straddling your board and looking out at the ocean. No matter what's behind you in front of you is vastness. Somewhere in the world there is always a storm. The storm comes to you in line after line of waves.
1959 - The Killer Shrews Some people look at surfers and call us "the monks of the sea", which to me just proved they didn't know what they were talking about.
But like all things that are 99% wrong there's the 1% that's true.
Surfing has gotten to big. There's only one ocean and just a few hundred miles of decent breaks. Like on a 6 foot northern swell there might be 300 - 400 people in the water. Half of them will drop down on one 20 foot section of wave.
And the rush from hearing the girls gasp when you pull off your wet suit off your shoulders isn't nearly as cool as the rush of having a wave to yourself.
But when I would get to the point . . . this point, what ever you call it, I'd go to a break called Zero's. It was hard to find, a left and even on ankle snapper days had a totally crunching shore break that keeps the beach goer's away.
On small days the place was deserted. Even on good days lefts are the province of the goofy footers. It was a small point and didn't often mesh up with the pounding beach breaks for tubular action. Pain was too much for the kuks so it was a place you could go and have an ocean to yourself.
The one percent that's true about "sea monks" is that you do sit out there, half your body immersed in water, some of the time your teeth are chattering and you just stare out into the ocean. Your watching the lines form figuring what ones will peak right at the point.
You're not doing any complicated math. In your head there's nothing but white noise and the moving image of the humps of water rolling in.
Sometimes there's a playful dolphin or an annoying sea lion that forces you to accept your not truly alone in the universe, because sometimes you need the reminder, but most of the time there are no distractions, no thoughts, no hammering through problems or issues, there's just the wet and the lines.
Yeah, so the same people who romanticize surfers as meditating monks have that as their soul/sole argument. The same people also tell you that if you leave anything on the beach the surfers will steal it. One a good day you turn and catch the peak with two strokes, then take that plummet as you fall down the face of a mountain of water, timing and preparing to crank a bottom turn that will propel you back up the surface, maybe for lip smack, or get some air, or just shred the face.
Wallpaper 94 Distressed 1600X1200
Click images for desktop size: "Distressed" by Titanium
Thing is you don't know. There's no enough time to plan these things. You can only react to the power of the wave. If you stop to think or plan you probably wouldn't die but you'd get tumbled along the bottom and probably look very uncool.
Its a slinging rush that defies description. Better than sky diving, better than drag racing. Just better. So fast, so pure reflexes and vision. You always walk away from a session feeling something elusive, something private. Surfers always understand this. They understand that we all experience the same thing and that our experiences are always personal and profound and private.
We can understand the rush of finding a 25 footer that peels out perfectly, we all can, but we also understand the stuff that happens in our body and mind belongs only to me or to you. There's only the acceptance that we are individuals who rely only on ourselves and that language and paintings and film can only convey so much.

Humor not helped much by my paycheck. The mammoth 3% raise didn't appear. They insist they're right. I know they're wrong. What's the problem with sending me the payroll details via email instead of waiting 5 days. I think I'll get cheated.
1959 - Return Of The Fly And the little puppy is still at the shelter. This saddens me.
I got some new food that is guaranteed healthy and not subject to recall. I can breathe easier except my lovely puppy has diarrhea. They say it seems to be prevalent this year. I have no idea what that means. It hurts me to see her suffer.

My foster dog got spayed Thursday. I'm supposed to keep her calm. I've no idea how to do that. She won't drink the brandy.

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April 18, 2007

Running down the backroads

Dark City-3Dfiction
Click images for desktop size: Dark City" by 3D Fiction
I'm glad they honored Jackie Robinson this weekend. It was cool with everyone wearing the same number. I wonder if score card sales dropped because of it.
I'm saddened that his playing ball was being celebrated because he was black, that it was an issue then and still is today.
I never saw him play. He was way before my time. I think how much poorer the sport would be with out Don Newcombe, Bob Gibson, JR Richardson to name just a very few.

On Saturday there was a Bazaar to raise money to rescue dogs. They called it a bazaar but it just a jumble sale. They had hoped to raise $1,500 but ended up with $2,650.
I had to go. I didn't want to. I helped them with various things getting ready for the sale and I figured that not going would hurt their feelings.
They're helping dogs. I owe a huge debt to dogs. Hurting their feelings wouldn't have been fair.
For the same reason I had to go see my friend's, Patrick, last gig with the band. They're breaking up. No reason except the usual ones. Bands are like that. Its like dating until you hit the big time. Not like divorce, like dating!
1958 - It! The Terror From Beyond Space The band sounded tight on some numbers, very tight. On others they were playing in opposite directions. It was fun in some ways, the most fun was seeing a student excel and surpass his teacher.
And we had to worry about the little puppy we - acquired - last week. Her owners never called about her. Bastards.
As old and mean as I get I still can't stomach being cruel to children or dogs. A lot of things bother me but that still makes me approach violence. About the only thing that can push my buttons to that extreme. The puppy is at the shelter. No one claimed her. She clearly had none of her shots. At least she'll get them now.
She should find a home if not we'll think of something. She had worms which has me worried about my guys.

With all the hassle about foods being recalled I found local company that makes their own high quality stuff. Its good and they seem to like it. They deliver so no more stressing about how to get the 40 pound bags home. Carrying them 2 miles is possible but not fun. Best news is not having something extra to worry about. I just want them happy.

The foster puppy gets spayed tomorrow.
I won't be there. I gotta work. She'll be picked up by volunteers and she'll be well cared for.
My annual physical today was a chore. No better or worse than anyone else's I guess. None of it was enjoyable but I really wish they'd come up with a new way of getting a bone marrow sample, a better way than just drilling into the bone while your conscious.
I got a B-12 shot. I like those. Too much energy to feel pain.
Still too tired.
Still feel like every thing's just going bad when everything should just be all right.
Doesn't matter. I have to remember that.
Things just keep rolling along.
Good or bad, loved or unloved, agonized or smiling in the blue skies, they just keep rolling along.
I like that.

Been taking a lot of pictures. The only ones that interest me are of my puppy.

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April 12, 2007

And all the psychodramas and the traumas are hung upon the scars and then along comes Mary
The Association

Cezanne Skull
Click images for desktop size: "Skull (Detail)" by Cezanne
In England our bass player had a friend. She was a paramedic. Her life long dream was to sing in front of a rock band. A coworker of hers was having a party on a rented boat and told her that she could perform if she could put together the band and could do it for no money.
So she asked our bass player and he asked me. I thought the woman was alright and after she explained that this was a dream and part of a plan to impress a man she had a crush on, I was in.
As usual I played rhythm. We went to the first rehearsal and we were a little bit surprised. The rest of the band, the drummer, keyboards and lead guitar were strictly amateurs. This was there dream too, I guess.
They were enthusiastic and pretty untalented.
Really enthusiastic.
Ol and I looked at the charts and were surprised that we had to cover Sk8er Boi and Like A Pill, but she had some standard charts so we were able to get through them with no big problem. The rest of the band, as amateur musicians tend to, got worse with rehearsal. I had to play drums on a couple of the tunes because the drummer couldn't keep the beat or do the fills or grace notes, let alone handle the breaks. But the woman handled it all well, bossed the band real good and she got a sound she was happy with.
1958 - Cool And The Crazy Come show night the crowd was about 200 strong, mostly doctors and nurse and heavily female. The stage was a 6 inch riser.
Neither Ol or I were too stressed. It was "just a laff" for us. Maybe if we hadn't been so busy harassing each other we would have noticed that our band mates were having serious anxiety attacks.
The first number was a nightmare. Ol and I may not be much good but we keep the beat and the rhythm rock solid. The rest of the band was rushing as if the best thing that could happen would be to get this whole thing over with as quickly as possible. I even used the old Chico Marx line at the end of the second number, "Well, I sure beat you guys that time!"
The third number was Sk8er Boi and I had to sing the harmony parts (all of them I think) and she was going through the lyrics so fast that as soon as I'd catch up she'd go faster.
Then there came the ultimate disaster: A request from the audience.
They wanted "Sweet Child Of Mine" for the guest of honor . . . I thought cool. Easy enough to fake and the lead guitarist gets to wail on a real easy pentatonic scale. Except he refused to play it . . . He said it was too hard.
Of course I got asked if I could play it. I said sure and did my standard imitation of hard rock lead guitarists everywhere. Like a fool I kept trying to get the lead guitarist to step in and take over. In my experience even the worst guitarist will generally jump in and improvise a bad lead on this sort of tune.
Then our lead singer, the one who roped us into this stopped singing! And then gave me an elbow to the kidneys to take over.
The tune went down well and we got a lot of stamped feet and whistles.
Now for this story to have a real point there should have been an EMI executive in the crowd who was so blown away with me stepping up at the right time that he offered me a 10 figure deal.
What really happened was that a bunch of drunk female doctors and nurses pinched or patted my butt, and we all know how much I enjoy that . . . then at the end when I was trying to get my amp and gear to the car I had to disentangle unwelcome arms from around my neck and keep twisting my head away from mouths that reeked of beer and whiskey while they tried to jam a tongue down my throat/ear/nose or lick my cheek. Then the lead guitarist announced that he would never play with me again because I had upstaged him! It didn't help that I burst out laughing when he said this. He was serious. I guess he thought all the drunken women actually belonged to him.
Flowing Paradise Wp By Wirestyle
Click images for desktop size: "Flowing Paradise" by Wirestyle
But the woman was flushed with pleasure. She'd had her dream. She'd stood in front of a crowd, fronted a rock band and sang her songs, so it was worth it.
Anytime someone accomplishes a dream whether its big or small its always worth it. People forget that.
Sometimes we forget to dream.
What else is there?

I've been feeling pretty rotten. I saw the doctors and after all the tests its not an onset of the leukemia. Its not that bad. It just infections running rampant through my system. Unless I'm prepared to live in a plastic bubble I'll have to deal with that for the rest of my life.
Its dealable, especially when you have a dog to watch over you at night and tell you good jokes.
I've been approached, with no elegance, to coach a Pop Warner team. I have to think about it. Can I handle it. I think teaching the little ones is hard work, but a lot of fun. There's nothing like giving a big pre game speech and looking out at a team of crooked helmets and kids wearing their shoulder pads backwards.
I worry about handling the rather awesome responsibility of such young children.

I still haven't missed any work.
I only seem to miss communicating with people.

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April 4, 2007

Kid, what's it worth to you?

Click images for desktop size: "Safe" Major League Baseball
I've been a bit . . . unwell.
Saw the doctors today on an emergency visit. Its a good news/bad news thing.
The good news is that I don't have to take that horrible oral chemo till they sort it all out.
The bad news is that my white blood cell count is too high and red cells too low - which explains a lot about how I've been feeling.
The worst part is just the general malaise and fatigue. There's freaky pain but its just pain and nowhere near as bad as the pain of losing a friend.

I lost a friend today.
Eddie Robinson passed away. He was 88. He coached football.
He wasn't like what most people would consider a friend. I met him once when he spoke at a conference for coaches.
I was coaching in England then. Had just started. I loved the kids but there were odd things - just as an example. I was the HC but before every game I had to mark out the field, set up the end zone and all the field markers. Then after the games I had to break all down and put it all away.
1956 - The Creature Walks Among Us Nothing wrong with doing that but it felt weird.
I cornered Coach Robinson and talked about it. He told me about when he started at Grambling he had to do the same thing.
He got to the point where he looked forward to it and when Grambling Football got big enough to support a full time grounds crew he sometimes even missed it.
I remembered that. I always remember it too the first time some players showed up early just so they could help me get the field ready for game day. My team were considered socially excluded, which is fancy talk for being bums and hoodlums. It meant a lot on that day - I remember thinking that the sun cut through the early morning haze a bit quicker that day.
I never saw them that way but the rest of the UK did. The hardest part was making sure they didn't see themselves that way.
I talked to Coach Robinson a few times about it. I've talked to a lot of football coaches in my time and one thing he and I never discussed were X's and O's.
We never discussed the mechanics of playing the game on the field. He always talked about getting the players prepared to step on that field and more importantly about the time when they would step off the field forever.
Coach Robinson won a lot of football games. He's still number 1, 2 or 3 all time. (I'm not sure where Bobby Bowden or Coach Paterno fit in on the list). He sent a heck of a lot of players to the NFL. He was proud of them but I think he was prouder of the players who left the game and opened their own businesses and raised families.
The few times we talked it was always about how to use this sport of ours to get these young men ready to win in the important game out there in the world.
That's what I'll miss the most, that there is one less man on this planet who thinks that more important than dollars, more important than fame, is the importance of being proud of yourself, of loving your community, of loving your family. That more important was how much love you could give, not how much you could take.
The coaches most important job was to instill those qualities in the players who came to you and to teach them that those qualities won on and off the field.
Eddie Robinson was a great coach and a great man.
Blatte Satinends 1440X900
Click images for desktop size: "Satin Ends" by Blatte
There's a lot more that's been going on.
My little foster puppy Noelle is on her 1 week trial for her new forever home. I hope it works out. I was surprised to discover that some people think that they are getting to try out the puppy for a week, and some think the puppy gets to try out the new parents. I think its just enough time to see if they fit and can become a family.
I have a new puppy to share the place with my puppy. She's older and a bit scared right now. She just came an hour ago.
She'll be fine.

I got a raise at work! Fifteen months after my last raise. I got 3% which would be okay if I were making 60K plus.
I get paid by the hour so the raise is less than $500 per year . . . or about less than half the going rate of inflation.
I merited this raise because I increased net profits by 18%.
What is shocking is that they'll be shocked when I quit.

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